Hiya! After much debate and posting in the Discord for CYS, I have finally decided to create my own thread in the Writing Workshop forum! Cue kazoo, confetti, and cheering! Hooray!
Most of the things that will be collected here are stories and not, well, storygames (since the whole idea of interconnecting pages and links—especially variables if you do Advanced mode for the games—are a bit daunting to me). If I ever do decide to start developing a storygame be sure to check it out here because I’ll probably put headers on every new post that I write. Which will probably be...a lot.
Anyhow, please enjoy the content that I’ll be haphazardly throwing out here! I’m currently working on the beginnings of what I hope will become a novel that’s sort of a mix between The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, a bit of Captain America, and Red Queen. It hasn’t come chugging along quite yet since it’s still in its really young starting phases, but once I can really get writing for this, expect regular updates.
There is also another series that’s on the backburner that I’ve spoken about before, something to do with alternate time realities and the supernatural. I was actually planning to write that for NaNoWriMo but I was obviously getting way too hyped up to write it. It’s just kind of sitting there, guilt-tripping me, in my documents.
So! Enough about me rambling! Please stick around and keep bumping this thread if you can, tagging me occasionally, to remind me to update if I haven’t updated already. After all, positive encouragement feeds the muse. Signing off!
That novel sounds intriguing. Can't wait to discover how Captain America ends in Narnia!
Seriously though, I am genuinely interested in how it goes.
I woke on a Tuesday morning to the sound of my uncle Malcolm shoveling the sidewalk in front of the small library we called home. I had an attic room, with a small window that overlooked the town. The library was tall and with vaulting windows, and the staircase curved up into my room like a quiet, well-kept secret. My uncle, however, slept in the room behind the ‘historical fiction’ section like a stray dog tucked away behind a trash bin. I had insisted that he should start sleeping at his own damn house, but he had adamantly refused.
My aunt Alice would sometimes ferry his clean laundry to the library when he would stay writing and writing on the dusty typewriter he kept in that tiny room, or get him ink whenever he would run out. She was a capricious woman, with dark hair that fell to her elbows, and had the strangest laugh I had ever heard. She was, personally, one of my favorite people.
By the time I reached downstairs, my uncle was already pouring his attention into a yellowing photograph gallery a customer had brought in. My footsteps echoed off of the shelves, and his head immediately shot up, skewing his glasses.
“Reeves! You’re awake.” He stammered, stating the obvious. His green eyes were wide as he shut the glossed gallery that sat in front of him. “I’m so sorry, I had forgotten to make your breakfast. But I think Alice brought some toast for you.”
Thank Inador for Alice, at least.
I busy myself slathering blueberry jam all over a slightly cold piece of toasted bread, listening to my uncle mutter various things under his breath and scratch notes onto a piece of paper. Which stunned me, because paper had long since been taken off the market. As far as anyone knows, the cutting down of Teigard’s trees might have caused the winter that had befallen the kingdom for the past century.
Alice was standing at the register by the time I finished wolfing down my toast. “Both of you men can’t wake up early even if your life depended on it. For Pete’s sake, Reevie, you’re twenty three. Don’t you have any ounce of youthful energy in you? You remind me too much of your father.”
I just look at her, the mention of my father sobering me. Her expression fell as we both looked at each other.
“A-Anyway, dearie, I think you should start opening up shop before your uncle’s mustache freezes off. You know that thing is bound to be drenched in drool by the time he wakes up. He just looks like a very sad, very soggy raccoon.”
The mental image that conjures up for me makes me laugh, trying not to spit all over the freshly cleaned counter that I had carefully attended to the night before. “Sure thing, Auntie.”
Alice smiled at me, and the pride that lit up her face made me smile, too. I left the kitchen to pass by my uncle, gently shutting his photo gallery with my finger as I went. Then I set myself to the task of organizing all these books that had just been shipped in from the neighboring kingdom. Some of these were still warm, hidden in the extremely well-insulated delivery trucks that ran sensitive items back and forth throughout town.
Paper did in fact start to become a rarity in the last decade, though books were still printed on thin sheets of plastic instead. Some were even written in the thinnest sheets of new recycled material invented four months ago. We still receive shipments of newly-written books from the next kingdom over, as new books being printed in Teigard have dwindled in response to the bitter and unrelenting cold.
With all this smothering snow and ice, no plants or animals can thrive anymore. The entire kingdom relies on imports. The only valuable export are our prized metals, mined from deep within the ground. They are quite possibly the strongest material to date anywhere in the known realm.
I shelve some books here and there, gently pushing apart already-categorized novels in order to fit them in. Soon, we’ll have to sell some, and for a hefty price. Maintaining a library in a virtually paper-less kingdom was a feat that we were unprepared to complete.
(Feel free to drop feedback, this is something I’ve written without proofreading lol.)
(Without proofreading!? Well, better than what I can do without proofreading, aha.)
One of my favourite things to mention aside from proofreading, dialogue punctuation! I'd say you might want to look into a bit yourself, as I'm not really an expert, here's a link that seems to cover some useful things. Just look at the first few points and their examples, and really pay attention to what get's capitalised and the punctuation. Essentially, as I understand, you don't want to end the dialogue (stuff in quotations) with a full stop if it isn't the whole sentence, as you did here:
“Reeves! You’re awake.” He stammered, stating the obvious.
Instead, you'd use a comma. If the spoken part would end in a exclamation or question mark, you don't change it. This also means that you want to keep capitalisation in mind, as the "he" in the above extract would want to be in lower case as well (if following a comma). I'll quickly mention that, as I understand, interrupted dialogue, when resumed will not be capitalised, but when started would be. ie. "So," he looks around, "what now?"
I don't think this detracted from the writing, I just mention dialogue punctuation as often as possible if I believe to spot incorrect punctuation, mainly since dialogue punctuating tends to be something many people don't get right, and actually has much more concrete rules than I ever expected.
Setting & Exposition (& Reader Interpretation)
The setting seems to be rather interesting, and you have established quite a bit already, all without going overboard on exposition, this is always a big plus. I am curious to see what type of story (storygame?) this ends up being, but for the setting I don't really have any complaints.
I will mention that when words like "Inador" and "kingdom" started getting mentioned, I became more curious about the setting, as at first it seemed to be modern, but now I feel it is some sort of fantasy/modern hybrid. Granted, I might just be misinterpreting things when I see the word "kingdom" due to some personal tendency towards fantasy, which is certainly possible, but regardless, how you continue developing the setting should prove interesting.
I'll also mention that as you don't go into explaining everything as soon as it is mentioned (ie. Inador [again]), it will be important to proofread to make sure the reader can still deduce what you want them to from your writing. There is certainly a lot of benefit in respecting your reader's intellect in regards to figuring out stuff on their own without you outright telling them, and the only real issues I can think of with this are:
Generally, I don't think the first one would cause too many issues, but it is worth keeping in mind. The second one is why proofreading is extra important, but honestly, you seemed to do fine without it, but the more you write, the harder it will be to keep everything in check (or I believe so at least). Anyway, I definitely approve of this style (as I'd call it) as it can lead to a far more engaging read, since the reader ends up thinking far more about the things presented.
Finally, I should mention that as long as you are consistent within the story, never outright explaining some things could also (probably) work, but do make sure you know the answers to the questions you make the reader ask, ie. Who is Inador, (I assume a deity of some form or another). Oh, but if it is something that's supposed to be more open ended, as least have an idea at some of the possibilities, so that the writing in question will still make sense in the grander scheme of things.
The writing looks good to me, and what is there is pretty engaging. As such, keep writing!
Keep writing, looking good.
P.S. It might go without saying, but if there are more specific things you would want thoughts on, just ask. This is just more general feedback where I tried to keep it somewhat focused, and independent of the opening post for the thread (less bias that way!). As such, hopefully you got something useful out of it.
I've already shared some thoughts on Discord but I'll add something here. I liked the new paragraph involving the aunt, it shed some light on the Reeves's background and made me curious to know what happened to his father. I won't say much about grammar, Zake already covered part of it and you haven't proofread yet. Just be sure to pay attention to verb tenses. The setting is interesting and I've always had a fondness for Narniaesque atmospheres. Can't wait to read more about the lore since you have introduced these Pete and Inador figures.
None the grammar mistakes affected my reading of the story, so I’ll avoid mentioning any since it gets redundant.
I thought Reeves acted a bit too childish for being 23. The fact that he and Alice refer to each other as “Auntie” and “Reevie” seemed more fitting for a 10 year old.
I would also mention why the rarity of paper is a big deal if they can still print books on thin sheets of plastic. I think there is a big emphasis on the importance of paper books without explaining why the alternative is less desirable. What’s so bad about the plastic pages? Do more people prefer the look and feel of paper? Does the population desire paper-paged books (or even read)? My initial impression is that a high percentage of the population doesn’t read. I got sort of a “dark ages” vibe from the kingdom’s background and along with that is the assumption people aren’t educated. The kingdom relies on mining, so I would also assume the population is mostly manual laborers with no need for education. Reading through the whole thing, I know my initial reaction was off. The kingdom is much more modern (or possibly futuristic) than I thought with the mentioning of delivery trucks, the register, and recycling material. I’m not sure if the fault lies with me for interpreting wrong or the phrasing of the story. Perhaps a little of both.
Also, the last line kind of threw me off. I read it as they were prepared twice before realizing they were “unprepared”. That makes me think the rest of the story will move on from the “maintaining a library” phase and into something else. It seemed to me like they were prepared to maintain it, but maybe lack the funds. I thought the kingdom might be well off with possessing the strongest metal in the land, but maybe the amount being mined is far less than what I’m assuming.
I realize I wrote a lot of “I assume…” or “It seemed like...” phrases. It’s very possible you have addressed the issues I brought up in later sections of the story. I just assumed you’d like to read any sort of review and it seemed like a good way to help out.
Thank y’all so much for all the feedback, I’m starting to really crack down on this and stop being lazy. I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m satisfied with all the changes, but this has really started to put me on the right track!