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AYT’s Writing Library/Collection

2 months ago

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! 

 

AYT’s Writing Library/Collection

2 months ago
... and there was much rejoicing.

yay

AYT’s Writing Library/Collection

2 months ago

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.

Frostbite

2 months ago

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.)

Frostbite

2 months ago
Commended by mizal on 12/14/2018 5:16:25 PM

(Without proofreading!? Well, better than what I can do without proofreading, aha.)

Dialogue Punctuation

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:

  1. The writing style doesn't work well for the target audience.
  2. The writing being too unclear/vague, thus leading to a breakdown in flow + engagement as the reader ends up confused.

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.

Conclusion

The writing looks good to me, and what is there is pretty engaging. As such, keep writing!

TL;DR

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.

Frostbite

2 months ago

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.

Frostbite

2 months ago
Commended by mizal on 12/14/2018 5:17:23 PM

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.

Frostbite

2 months ago
Commended by mizal on 12/14/2018 5:20:53 PM
First, the disclaimers: this is my review. It is likely not like anyone else’s. In fact, you probably couldn’t find anyone else who completely agrees with what I write here. But it’s my opinion. I’m also writing this as I read through this for the first time. These are my first impressions as I read it. I’m not saying they’re right, just what I’m thinking. I haven’t looked at the other reviews or read anything else about this bit before writing this other bit. This is written in the spirit of helping you see how others (okay, me) see your story and to perhaps give you ideas for improvement, and not to be mean or anything else. Please don’t take it personally. This review is likely worth exactly what you paid for it. Finally, you did ask. Here we go: There’s a lot in that first sentence. It’s nice, actually. It really sets the tone and gives lots of useful details. I like how it gives so much detail without too much. Some writers will add adjectives just to put them in there and it feels like too much, but I like how that first sentence works out. It takes me right into the story, and at the same time, I feel like the story has already been going on before I got here (which is a good thing). The rest of the first paragraph feels the same way. The only part that gave me pause is that for some reason as I read the first part, I was picturing the speaker as someone younger, but when I read the bit about telling Malcolm to go sleep somewhere else, I realized that the speaker now appears to be an adult. We’ll see if I’m right on that as this moves along. I loved the comparison of sleeping arrangements. Ink? Do typewriters take ink? Did they ever take ink? I’ve heard of typewriter ribbons, but I don’t think I’ve heard of typewriter ink. Minor point on the yellowing thing – the way it’s written, I read it as the photograph gallery is yellowing. So I’m picturing a bunch of photos sitting in a frame or album and the frame and/or album are yellowing, but the pictures are not. If the photos are the ones yellowing, I would expect to see something like, “a gallery of yellowing photographs.” “By the time I reached downstairs” sounds awkward. If it’s action, I would think it might be cleaner with something like, “I headed downstairs and then found…” or something like that. Or maybe it’s the “downstairs” – I wouldn’t think someone who lived there would call the room they arrived in “downstairs,” but maybe the room they actually arrived in: “By the time I reached the kitchen.” I’m also a little off in the setting at this point. I thought I was building a picture of the little library with the extra rooms and the attic space. But when you walked downstairs, you ran into your uncle – who lived in a tiny room behind some bookshelves. Is that where the stairs come out? That’s extra creepy. I had pictures the stairs coming down in the middle of the building and the uncle stashed in a corner. But also when walking down the stairs, the footsteps were echoing off the shelves. When I picture shelves that echo, those shelves are empty. If they’re full of books, I don’t imagine they’d echo at all. I had imagined that the place was a full library. If this was supposed to be an old, abandoned library that these people took over as a house, I missed that. The tense change in the next section jumped out at me as we moved from “he stammered” to “I busy myself.” This section starts to have perhaps a few extra adjectives, but it still mostly works. “Which stunned me” is a sentence fragment, but I can see the idea you’re going for there. The last sentence in that paragraph might have three tenses in one sentence. Wait, where did Alice come from? I feel like she just suddenly appeared behind me and wasn’t there a minute ago. If she was there the whole time, maybe I see her when I come down the stairs? Or maybe ol Malcolm might give a nod in her direction when he mentioned the dry toast (who brings over dry toast to anyone’s house, ever?) And I’m not sure who is talking there. I had to read it more than once and figure out it was Alice because of the “both men” statement. Since Alice was the subject of the previous sentence, but the last object was “me,” I was confused. A simple, “Alice said” might make that more obvious. Quick question – is there another uncle? It sounds like there is, but that’s even weird that Alice would refer to the other uncle in front of Malcolm. I ask because she refers to some uncle’s mustache that is going to be drenched in drool when he wakes up – which implies that he’s asleep right now. And I was just talking to Malcolm, so unless he’s a narcoleptic or something, he’s still awake. Alice is proud of you that you agreed to open the door? I guess it doesn’t take much to impress her. I mean it sounds like this is something you actually do literally every day, but hey, she’s proud of you for doing it yet again today. I have to wonder if she hands out trophies when you poop in the outhouse by yourself, too. Hey, um, you just shut the gallery that your uncle was looking at. That seems rude. And it is especially rude since the galley was closed by that very uncle himself back at the start of this story. Oh, and yes, we were in the kitchen… of the library. And that’s where the uncle was with his yellowing gallery for some reason and he may or may not be asleep. There’s a pile of books there, so I’m back to being in a functioning library. But wait, wasn’t paper “off the market?” I would think that if paper were rare that books would suddenly be very, very valuable. And a place like a library, or people who lived there, would be quite well off. Maybe I’m missing something there. I’m kind of scared that the books are warm. I mean, I get that there’s some massive winter going on, but why would books be transported in a heated delivery truck? That again makes me think these people should be upper class folks with loads of cash, but the narcoleptic uncle who lives in a hole in the wall makes it sound like they’re not so much. Oh wait, here’s the explanation about the paper. Printing on plastic? WARM plastic? My mind just radically shifted. I was picturing a setting of relatively older times. I don’t know why. Now that we’ve got printing on plastic that’s apparently cheaper than paper, I’m thinking we’re in a future sci-fi setting of some kind. Maybe. But the plastic is warm. Now I really don’t know why because plastic tends to bend and melt when it’s warm, so if your not-really-valuable books are printed on plastic, I would think you’d want them to be kept cool. So now I’m questioning all the physics in this world and this setting. Actually at this point I now have no idea what the setting is at all. But hey, apparently since it’s cold out, that means you don’t print things – on plastic or the new, as-yet-unnamed magical recycled materials. I appreciate the attempt to explain the economy, but I’m not sure it works. If you can’t even grow any food in this kingdom, imports would be a little unrealistic. It is good that there’s mines with very valuable metal in them (once again, how are these people not rich?), but if that’s the ONLY thing in the entire area, I would expect a small mining camp or at best a tiny mining town with a bar. Everyone else (if this were a medieval setting) would have left or died. The last sentence just supports my confusion. We have these books. We’re in a place that has to import literally everything necessary for life. They don’t even have wood for heat, so I’m not sure how everyone isn’t completely frozen. Since they’re not, I have to assume they have access to something like coal or gas for heat. Therefore, I’m thinking we’re in a relatively modern setting. Now they just got a pile of books at random from another kingdom for some reason. I don’t know why because the people here appear to be just barely alive, so I can’t imagine there’s a demand for books. But wait, we’re going to sell the books for a hefty price! So we can get a lot of money from all these books – so we should be the rich people in town… the town that has nothing. Who, exactly, has the money to buy these expensive books? Is the entire town rich? Yeah, I’m clearly missing some parts of this, and maybe it’s explained in previous sections or things that I haven’t read yet. So anyway, that’s what I got reading through this one. I liked reading it, thank you for sharing it with the site. And good luck with your further writing. I hope this helps.

Frostbite

2 months ago

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!