The Ballad of the Winter King

Player Rating5.51/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 17 ratings since 01/07/2018
played 56 times (finished 21)

Story Difficulty4/8

"march in the swamp"

Play Length4/8

"A well spent lunch break"

Maturity Level4/8

"need to be accompanied by an adult"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG.

A little girl falls asleep on Christmas Eve, and wakes up in a town filled with wonder. But as she explores her dream world, she slowly discovers she is not alone. An unspeakable evil is on her trail, and the weather is turning cold.

This is my ballad entry for Bucky's 2017 December Contest.

Player Comments

I really was quite stunned by this piece of poetry, as one seldom sees such quality!

Throughout the poem you kept to a very consistent meter, and were not afraid to use words such as "Twas" and "Tis" to do so - which was excellent. The result was an nicely balanced and regular rhythm, which gave the poem a sort of "flow" if you will - it sounded nice. The standard rhyming pattern used was also implemented very well, and I think it's impressive how few sentences sounded overly contrived in order to maintain the rhyming pattern. Some of the imagery used was absolutely beautiful - one of my favourites being "softly wept with snow" near the beginning. These fantastically evocative descriptions pervaded the entirety of the story. In particular the sparingly used of similes and metaphors were brilliant. I loved the closing couplet that at the end of the poem too, it's always nice to have a little twist to the regular structure! The plot also was good, and reminded me of a fairy-tale I had read when I was younger, but nonetheless seemed fairly original. The title's cool as well.

There were just a few things that could have been improved, and I feel that I'm being quite nit-picky here. There was slightly too much vocabular repetition throughout the poem. For example, certain adjectives were repeated twice (or even three times!) within the same stanza (e.g. "crooked" twice, "tiny" thrice etc.) Some adjectives were also repeated too often throughout the poem, which detracted a little from the imagery ("encased"). While I wouldn't recommend being glued to a thesaurus while writing a poem (or while writing anything for that matter), I think it would be a good idea to look for alternative adjectives sometimes.

There were also a few sentences which seemed a little contrived. Presumably this was to squash them into the meter and rhyming pattern. As is common when people try to do this, the word "did" was often artificially used as a consequence, e.g. "some shadows did convene", "some warning bells did ring" followed by "all warning bells did ring", "with bitter cold did wrack" etc. Some of these sound a bit awkward, and disrupt the flow of the poetry. I would like to paste some of the verses here and suggest alterations, but that would be a bit silly.

Spelling, grammar, and punctuation were generally fine with a few slips here and there ("blanket", not "blanked".) More noticeably (particularly later on) there were a few slips of punctuation at the end of stanza lines.

A very few phrases were ambiguous due to poor adjective application.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this poem, and found the descriptive style and rhythm very effective. It is obvious that quite some effort has been put into writing it (considering it's length and diversity at different junctions), and it is not overly linear (at least not for a work of this length). A fantastic contribution to the site.
-- llImperatorll on 1/9/2018 7:52:37 AM
No longer seasonally appropriate, but still excellent. Definitely one of the better, if not the best poem-CYOA on the site. Outside of a few forced rhymes that didn't quite work ("pedestal" and "fall"), this was a pretty excellent example of poetry that works, and is fun to read.

The Winter King was properly creepy. I liked how Santa comes in at the end. The whole thing had a cool twisted fairy tale vibe; reminded me of the Krampus movie, or End's children's game. Also, the rhyming helped with the fairy tale vibe.

It was pretty short, but it was poetry, so I'm happy to cut it some slack, as it is way harder to write than regular prose.

I did think it was a bit lazy to re-use the same death verses, but that's a small mark against an otherwise stellar game.

All in all, this was well worth the read. Glad it was the first game I read in 2018.
-- Malkalack on 1/8/2018 12:23:54 AM
The imagery was lovely and that's the perfect ballad to read. Very fairy-tale like. :3
-- Crescentstar on 1/8/2018 11:15:22 AM
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