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Serenes Forest Scribbles 2016. Winners announced!

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Now that voting has closed, I can say that I have mixed feelings about my entry, "A Shiver From Beyond."

I'm happy with it conceptually and content-wise. I think I managed to create the sense of atmosphere I intended, and I'm happy with the magical and supernatural aspects of it, and how I portrayed Canas. I'm happy that I got back to writing and managed to finish it at all.

Yet I'm disappointed, because I know it could have been better. Parts of it were rather rushed. I had the idea for it soon after the contest was announced. I had several parts written, but then I hit a massive case of writer's block that lasted for a few weeks, and inspiration did not return to me until the day before the deadline, in the form of last minute panic. Certain scenes were not my best ideas, but rather the best idea I could think of at the moment. I feel the original characters were lacking a bit as well. And of course, grammatical errors, as I didn't get a chance to properly edit and proofread. That's the nature of working with deadlines on creative things, I got stuck for too long to truly write things to my satisfaction.

I haven't looked at the results, I was a bit nervous. No matter what they may be, I'm happy this contest got me writing again.

@Jotari

Spoiler

 


Thanks for the feedback! I do appreciate it.

One of the earliest things I learned about writing fiction is to not use "said" for every piece of dialogue. I guess I overdid it with trying to create variety and avoid using "said" too much?

I did struggle with the earlier scenes after the introduction with the library. I needed some way to:
a) Give the characters knowledge of the threat the storm presented
b) Establish what was at stake and explain why they would give up their lives to stop it
So I end up with these expository scenes that perhaps aren't too exciting or interesting, and maybe even drag on too long before the actual action starts...

Anyway, lesson taken: I need to work on getting the right balance between introductory exposition and getting to the action.

Thanks for the compliments!

 

@Wist

Spoiler


Thank you for your feedback. I'm glad the most atmospheric scenes came across well, and that you think I portrayed Canas well.

Volf was definitely lacking characterization. I could have done more with his character, as he is he's not much more than a tool to present certain plot points (guiding them to the shrine and recognizing the threat of the storm). In my head I had him as kind of a lone wolf and outsider, and a survival expert and outdoorsman. Which is why he wouldn't be too worried about the storm, he knows he can take care of himself and he's not very connected to the town. But I didn't get that across in the story, did I.

 I'm not very good with creating original characters... That's part of why I write fanfiction, that I can work with and expand upon existing characters. At some point I should take the plunge and create something truly original, but I don't feel confident enough yet.

 


@EllJee

Spoiler


Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that you liked how I portrayed Canas and the magic!

Unfortunately I did not have much time to proofread it (see above on it being somewhat rushed), so errors abound. Ideally I would have taken a break of a few days when finished before returning to proofread and edit several times... but I left things off to the last day waiting for inspiration to dawn on me (it didn't).

Since you offered, I'd welcome any more detailed feedback you can provide regarding style/structure/content/characterization etc. outside of the obvious grammatical/spelling errors.

 

I do appreciate everyone who took the time to offer feedback! Thank you, I very much welcome it. (And just to be clear, by responding to the feedback it helps me absorb and process it and think of how I can use it to improve). This turned out to be quite the reflection.

Also it makes me feel bad that I didn't provide solid feedback myself. If anyone does want some detailed feedback/constructive criticism, let me know, I can do it by PM.

PS. If anyone really enjoyed my story and is interested in reading more, my FanFiction.net profile is in my signature, I have a few other Fire Emblem stories of a similar nature.

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7 hours ago, Thane said:

Sure, but going by that logic, I could've voted for my own story and I would've been in the lead regardless. However, I voted for A Greater Cause because I liked it the most, and I don't think I would've voted for my own story even if it were the only one in the competition.

I really do appreciate you voting for my story. Even if it turns out I didn't place in the top three, I'm just glad I could write something people found enjoyable.

Ah now, I didn't mean it as a point of contention, only one of comparison. The voting was pretty tight this year.

2 hours ago, XaosLogos said:


Now that voting has closed, I can say that I have mixed feelings about my entry, "A Shiver From Beyond."

I'm happy with it conceptually and content-wise. I think I managed to create the sense of atmosphere I intended, and I'm happy with the magical and supernatural aspects of it, and how I portrayed Canas. I'm happy that I got back to writing and managed to finish it at all.

Yet I'm disappointed, because I know it could have been better. Parts of it were rather rushed. I had the idea for it soon after the contest was announced. I had several parts written, but then I hit a massive case of writer's block that lasted for a few weeks, and inspiration did not return to me until the day before the deadline, in the form of last minute panic. Certain scenes were not my best ideas, but rather the best idea I could think of at the moment. I feel the original characters were lacking a bit as well. And of course, grammatical errors, as I didn't get a chance to properly edit and proofread. That's the nature of working with deadlines on creative things, I got stuck for too long to truly write things to my satisfaction.

I haven't looked at the results, I was a bit nervous. No matter what they may be, I'm happy this contest got me writing again.

@Jotari

  Hide contents

 


Thanks for the feedback! I do appreciate it.

One of the earliest things I learned about writing fiction is to not use "said" for every piece of dialogue. I guess I overdid it with trying to create variety and avoid using "said" too much?

I did struggle with the earlier scenes after the introduction with the library. I needed some way to:
a) Give the characters knowledge of the threat the storm presented
b) Establish what was at stake and explain why they would give up their lives to stop it
So I end up with these expository scenes that perhaps aren't too exciting or interesting, and maybe even drag on too long before the actual action starts...

Anyway, lesson taken: I need to work on getting the right balance between introductory exposition and getting to the action.

Thanks for the compliments!

 

@Wist

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Thank you for your feedback. I'm glad the most atmospheric scenes came across well, and that you think I portrayed Canas well.

Volf was definitely lacking characterization. I could have done more with his character, as he is he's not much more than a tool to present certain plot points (guiding them to the shrine and recognizing the threat of the storm). In my head I had him as kind of a lone wolf and outsider, and a survival expert and outdoorsman. Which is why he wouldn't be too worried about the storm, he knows he can take care of himself and he's not very connected to the town. But I didn't get that across in the story, did I.

 I'm not very good with creating original characters... That's part of why I write fanfiction, that I can work with and expand upon existing characters. At some point I should take the plunge and create something truly original, but I don't feel confident enough yet.

 


@EllJee

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that you liked how I portrayed Canas and the magic!

Unfortunately I did not have much time to proofread it (see above on it being somewhat rushed), so errors abound. Ideally I would have taken a break of a few days when finished before returning to proofread and edit several times... but I left things off to the last day waiting for inspiration to dawn on me (it didn't).

Since you offered, I'd welcome any more detailed feedback you can provide regarding style/structure/content/characterization etc. outside of the obvious grammatical/spelling errors.

 

I do appreciate everyone who took the time to offer feedback! Thank you, I very much welcome it. (And just to be clear, by responding to the feedback it helps me absorb and process it and think of how I can use it to improve). This turned out to be quite the reflection.

Also it makes me feel bad that I didn't provide solid feedback myself. If anyone does want some detailed feedback/constructive criticism, let me know, I can do it by PM.

PS. If anyone really enjoyed my story and is interested in reading more, my FanFiction.net profile is in my signature, I have a few other Fire Emblem stories of a similar nature.

I should probably clarify now that you should take my critique with a grain of salt. In attempting to edit a novel I've developed a high sense of "cut everything unnecessary", for better or for worse. The first few scenes before you reach the meat of the story were engaging, I just feel overall they were non vital to the story being told and when it comes to a competition like this the longer a story is the more detrimental it is to reader interest to a certain extent (but of course the story that was probably longest ended up winning so like I said, take my opinion with a hefty does of salt).

 

Edited by Jotari

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8 hours ago, Thane said:

Sure, but going by that logic, I could've voted for my own story and I would've been in the lead regardless. However, I voted for A Greater Cause because I liked it the most, and I don't think I would've voted for my own story even if it were the only one in the competition.

I really do appreciate you voting for my story. Even if it turns out I didn't place in the top three, I'm just glad I could write something people found enjoyable.

The fact anyone voted for A Greater Cause genuinely surprises me. It wasn't exactly brilliant, well-written, or planned. Just one look at Dragonson made it seem...insignificant.

I really did enjoy Cages. :) I thought you did a great job capturing the tension Flora must have felt.

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Wowie.... um hi///// I'm always hanging around my corner of ao3 rather than be in forums lol. I entered this contest on a whim, and I didn't think my fic (too much not enough) would be successful///// hhhvvbbhhjnb thank you for your votes and feedback !!! 

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1 minute ago, starlies said:

Wowie.... um hi///// I'm always hanging around my corner of ao3 rather than be in forums lol. I entered this contest on a whim, and I didn't think my fic (too much not enough) would be successful///// hhhvvbbhhjnb thank you for your votes and feedback !!! 

As someone who normally dislikes AU pieces, I thought you did quite well with it. I truly do. :) Right after reading it, I knew it had to be one that got my vote.

Edited by TheFreelancerSeal

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2 minutes ago, TheFreelancerSeal said:

The fact anyone voted for A Greater Cause genuinely surprises me. It wasn't exactly brilliant, well-written, or planned. Just one look at Dragonson made it seem...insignificant.

I really did enjoy Cages. :) I thought you did a great job capturing the tension Flora must have felt.

Neither was mine. It was written in two sittings, and I didn't have time to edit it in spite of me noticing some of the flaws that have been pointed out. I think that stuff, while very important, obviously, takes second place to you wanting to convey a good story.

Thank you, bud, that means a lot!

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Just now, TheFreelancerSeal said:

As someone who normally dislikes AU pieces, I thought you did quite well with it. I truly do. :)

Ah thank you! Most of what I write tries to be closer to canon, but when I got the idea for this I was like... what if something TOTALLY opposite happened. And so. I actually want to continue this story sometime but I'm not yet sure how lol ^^;

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3 minutes ago, Thane said:

Neither was mine. It was written in two sittings, and I didn't have time to edit it in spite of me noticing some of the flaws that have been pointed out. I think that stuff, while very important, obviously, takes second place to you wanting to convey a good story.

Thank you, bud, that means a lot!

Well, at least you noticed your flaws. It took me hearing someone read A Greater Cause out loud to make me realize what an ear sore it really was. The story may be "good" but mechanics are important to me as well, and even after 9 years, I don't seem to make much headway in that area. So, I've pretty much decided it will be my last story, much to a very small group's dismay.

Just now, starlies said:

Ah thank you! Most of what I write tries to be closer to canon, but when I got the idea for this I was like... what if something TOTALLY opposite happened. And so. I actually want to continue this story sometime but I'm not yet sure how lol ^^;

I'd say that's a good trait in a writer, examining opposites. I even had a few interesting ideas for things like that myself, but I was too much of a stickler to write them.

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1 minute ago, TheFreelancerSeal said:

Well, at least you noticed your flaws. It took me hearing someone read A Greater Cause out loud to make me realize what an ear sore it really was. The story may be "good" but mechanics are important to me as well, and even after 9 years, I don't seem to make much headway in that area. So, I've pretty much decided it will be my last story, much to a very small group's dismay.

I'm not gonna lie, man. I rather enjoyed A Greater Cause. I think you did a fine job of examining the kind of principles that drive the Lucia we came to know. I understand frustrations with developing the technique of it all! The line between style and substance vexes me continually. But at the very least, the strength of your ideas begs you to continue. I think it is much too worthy a story for you to quit on! If you must step back, then please keep writing, even if only for limited audiences who'll give you hard feedback and identify areas of concern. That way, if/when you do decide to put your work up again, you'll come out on the other side so much better for it.

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2 minutes ago, SpareTimeEntertainment said:

I'm not gonna lie, man. I rather enjoyed A Greater Cause. I think you did a fine job of examining the kind of principles that drive the Lucia we came to know. I understand frustrations with developing the technique of it all! The line between style and substance vexes me continually. But at the very least, the strength of your ideas begs you to continue. I think it is much too worthy a story for you to quit on! If you must step back, then please keep writing, even if only for limited audiences who'll give you hard feedback and identify areas of concern. That way, if/when you do decide to put your work up again, you'll come out on the other side so much better for it.

This is exactly the point. You can always improve your writing; hell, the very best novelists out there say the same. There's an industry joke that runs something like: How do you know an author is done revising? When the publication deadline hits. You look at someone like Margaret Weis and you go "Wow, I can literally see her writing style developing as she writes more books." The only real goal is to continue to grow and improve; not to reach some mystical hypothetical pinnacle of written ability.

We attribute "Once you stop learning, you start dying" to Einstein himself, but it could be just as easily attributed to any writer or thinker or scientist or intellectual you respect. The more you read, the more you'll be able to hone the ideas for the stories that only you can tell; the more you write, the more you'll be able to hone the language for those stories. And to leave them unwritten would be a great loss, no matter who--if anyone aside from you--is allowed to read them.

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25 minutes ago, SpareTimeEntertainment said:

I'm not gonna lie, man. I rather enjoyed A Greater Cause. I think you did a fine job of examining the kind of principles that drive the Lucia we came to know. I understand frustrations with developing the technique of it all! The line between style and substance vexes me continually. But at the very least, the strength of your ideas begs you to continue. I think it is much too worthy a story for you to quit on! If you must step back, then please keep writing, even if only for limited audiences who'll give you hard feedback and identify areas of concern. That way, if/when you do decide to put your work up again, you'll come out on the other side so much better for it.

Well, I guess I can take comfort in that. I mean, Elincia would have been an obvious choice for doubt and even fear at the idea of killing, but I did begin to wonder if Lucia would have felt that same fear. BTW: This story is a one-shot, so I can't exactly quit on a story that's already completed.

But thank you for those words. :)

One thing you should know about me. I'm a perfectionist by nature. Always have been. So, critique and realizing my mistakes probably hurts me more than it does a normal person. Heck, first person who ever called me out on one of my bigger Fire Emblem pieces wound up causing me to discontinue the story, although the crowd wasn't all that accepting of it either and the ones that were have moved on in life. I know he meant well, but it had me questioning my ability (not to mention the sincerity of my readers, even if FFN does lack standards). But I digress.

17 minutes ago, EllJee said:

This is exactly the point. You can always improve your writing; hell, the very best novelists out there say the same. There's an industry joke that runs something like: How do you know an author is done revising? When the publication deadline hits. You look at someone like Margaret Weis and you go "Wow, I can literally see her writing style developing as she writes more books." The only real goal is to continue to grow and improve; not to reach some mystical hypothetical pinnacle of written ability.

We attribute "Once you stop learning, you start dying" to Einstein himself, but it could be just as easily attributed to any writer or thinker or scientist or intellectual you respect. The more you read, the more you'll be able to hone the ideas for the stories that only you can tell; the more you write, the more you'll be able to hone the language for those stories. And to leave them unwritten would be a great loss, no matter who--if anyone aside from you--is allowed to read them.

I've been trying to 'improve' for 9 years now, and I've had one person describe my work as 'consistent.' I don't want consistency. I want improvement.

Well, most of my ideas are just for more fan fiction, so it's not any 'great loss' if I hang it up or not. I did once think of trying to adapt my pieces into original works (hey it worked for a complete piece of garbage) because there doesn't seem to be so much pressure with fan fiction. But I've largely let go of that idea, so part of it there doesn't seem to be much point to nurturing those ideas. I mean, let's face it, fan fiction really doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. Not to diss anyone, but it's not a well respected writing medium. I once heard it described as the 'sewer spawn of all written work.'

I'm rambling I know. But I do thank you for the words of encouragement.

Edited by TheFreelancerSeal

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41 minutes ago, TheFreelancerSeal said:

Well, at least you noticed your flaws. It took me hearing someone read A Greater Cause out loud to make me realize what an ear sore it really was. The story may be "good" but mechanics are important to me as well, and even after 9 years, I don't seem to make much headway in that area. So, I've pretty much decided it will be my last story, much to a very small group's dismay.

Being hard on yourself is one thing, but ignoring one's accomplishments and berating oneself is another one entirely. You're going out of your way to put yourself down for no reason.

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11 minutes ago, TheFreelancerSeal said:

Well, I guess I can take comfort in that. I mean, Elincia would have been an obvious choice for doubt and even fear at the idea of killing, but I did begin to wonder if Lucia would have felt that same fear. BTW: This story is a one-shot, so I can't exactly quit on a story that's already completed.

But thank you for those words. :)

One thing you should know about me. I'm a perfectionist by nature. Always have been. So, critique and realizing my mistakes probably hurts me more than it does a normal person. Heck, first person who ever called me out on one of my bigger Fire Emblem pieces wound up causing me to discontinue the story, although the crowd wasn't all that accepting of it either and the ones that were have moved on in life. I know he meant well, but it had me questioning my ability (not to mention the sincerity of my readers, even if FFN does lack standards). But I digress.

I've been trying to 'improve' for 9 years now, and I've had one person describe my work as 'consistent.' I don't want consistency. I want improvement.

Well, most of my ideas are just for more fan fiction, so it's not any 'great loss' if I hang it up or not. I did once think of trying to adapt my pieces into original works (hey it worked for a complete piece of garbage) because there doesn't seem to be so much pressure with fan fiction. But I've largely let go of that idea, so part of it there doesn't seem to be much point to nurturing those ideas. I mean, let's face it, fan fiction really doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. Not to diss anyone, but it's not a well respected writing medium. I once heard it described as the 'sewer spawn of all written work.'

I'm rambling I know. But I do thank you for the words of encouragement.

Some of the cornerstones of western literature - Virgil, Dante, Milton, can all technically be counted as fanfiction if you stretch the definition. To be sure, they are based on works of far greater import than our beloved Fire Emblem, but nonetheless, they are derivative and transformative works. But we are not Virgil, or Dante, or Milton (except maybe the guy who did FE7 Epic, for real), so I implore you to focus on what makes you happy about writing. I understand your perfectionism, your frustration. I understand that seeing yourself plateau - even stagnate - must leave you as raw as meat in a butcher's window. But I would implore you to drop the need for perfection, because perfection is rightly unattainable. Just go one piece of writing at a time. "What do I need to focus on with this one." Experiment with genre, experiment with form. Write things you swore you wouldn't six months ago. And, most of all, cherish your ideas. You say there is no point in nurturing them, I say that is the single most important point. Without a spark, there can be no story.

Also, one-shot or not,  Elincia is perhaps my favourite FE character, or is at least very close - if you were to write a companion piece featuring her, I'm sure it would be devilishly interesting. I certainly know that I would be delighted to read it and I'm sure many here would also. It's important to always be looking forward to the next story, and I hope we see one from you.

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13 hours ago, SoulWeaver said:

Aw, man, who voted for me? I was the only one with 0 Votes! I mean, yes, I appreciate you liked my story enough to throw me a Vote, but that was my shot in the spotlight - the only written entry to receive 0 Votes!

I would love to try and critique people's stuff, but unfortunately my comp SUCKS so I haven't been able to load, let alone read, any written entry dependent on Adobe Reader or on any site other than SF or Docs, and I'd rather not just critique some of them, so…sorry, guys, if yours was one of the abovementioned and you wanted as much feedback as possible, I kind of let you down. Thanks a bunch for your feedback, though, and I'm honestly surprised nobody's called me out on the last paragraph on the last page - it was kind of a last-second cheeky thing of me to do and I expected to get BLASTED for it.

So, now that voting is over. . .

I had two issues with your story:

1. The premise.  While what-ifs are interesting, yours had a lot of conditions.  I'd start with maybe two conditions (Corrin being blicked and perhaps Azura as the mediator), and run from there.  If you want to experiment, make a very simple premise, then write it out in under 2000 words.

2. Formatting.  Check out the other stories for how to format conversations.  It can be difficult for conversation-heavy pieces, but part of writing is making sure that the reader isn't overwhelmed by a wall of text.  This was the primary reason why I didn't vote for you.

12 hours ago, Sunwoo said:

Oh yeah, that makes sense.

Well, now that the voting round has closed ... I wrote the one with the Pokemon. So which four of you voted for mine?

The ending was great (with apologies to Hinoka).  I couldn't really figure out what was going on otherwise - were Corrin/Azura in a different dimension for the entire story?  And why not Landshark for Corrin?

10 hours ago, Thane said:

Neat, thanks. Since the voting time is over, I guess I can reveal that 'twas I who wrote Cages. 

Please imagine that I threw off a dark cloak dramatically. 

Anyway, a big thank you to everyone who voted for it, I'm very happy you enjoyed it!

Not surprised at all.

The only thing that made me scratch my head was Flora's powers.  Making her own bath lukewarm sounds like an interesting first world problem she has.  Freezing a pot of tea is believable, if the opening scene is to be believed.  Sending out a wintery blast was something I had a little bit of issue wrapping my head around.  Magic seems to be bound to weapons, and the Ice Tribe seems to be the only people that can use any sort of innate magic (from my shitty memory).  I think they'd have issues fitting into society in general if they had that much innate power - history shows us that people don't like great power inequity and will act on it (see: witchcraft in general).

10 hours ago, Jotari said:

Don't go quoting me just yet on that. My own story (Hatari Investigations) and Fire Emblem 7 Epic were also in the running for third but I think Cages came out one or two points ahead, regardless it was pretty close, I could have not voted for Cages and voted for my own to force a tie. Dragonson's lead was pretty high from close to the start but Too  Much Not Enough only pulled ahead in the last day or so.

That was probably my fault. :P:

The premise was interesting.  The first three runs were funny, and Volug would probably rock a trench coat.  However, clicking through every single ending became really tedious, which meant that I was in no mood to read everything - and as a rule, I don't vote for pieces that I didn't read all the way through.

---

Congratulations to the winners.  My voting criteria in general:

- If your piece had consistent grammatical errors, I didn't vote for it.  Please consider a proofreader in the future.
- If I couldn't read your entire piece, I didn't vote for it.  It may have been an issue with format/voice/something else.  I will make a special mention of the epic poem here.  It looks like you put in a lot of effort, and from what I did read, it looked fine on a technical basis.  However, I don't like epic poetry, because it gives me a gigantic headache when I try to make sense of it, so my apologies.

The rest then came down to what you wrote.  If anyone wants an individualized review (which I'll be pretty blunt about), feel free to drop me a PM.

---

As for my story, here's the summary of critiques:

- Wist merely mentioned what my story was about
- Jotari didn't say anything
- EllGee was the only one that had something of note, and that was the ending, which I will explain.  My story is quite literally Paralogue 1, no more (compare her dialogue with Corrin to the actual game script).  For whatever reason, she's absolutely fine with her mother being pounded to a paste, then joining up.  Realistically, she'd probably go with Corrin to make sure that she didn't die to the Faceless, then stick around because she has a new, crippling fear of being alone.  Since this was also Paralogue 1, I couldn't make mention of the nights she woke up screaming, because she saw her mother's death in her dreams, or how she puked after she killed her first person, or how she instinctively freezes after seeing a Faceless, something that she never quite got over (which nearly killed Silas, who ran to save her).  Much as I'd love to do a full psychological evaluation of everyone's favorite village girl, that's outside of the scope of the story.

So, I want an explanation.

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3 minutes ago, eclipse said:

The only thing that made me scratch my head was Flora's powers.  Making her own bath lukewarm sounds like an interesting first world problem she has.  Freezing a pot of tea is believable, if the opening scene is to be believed.  Sending out a wintery blast was something I had a little bit of issue wrapping my head around.  Magic seems to be bound to weapons, and the Ice Tribe seems to be the only people that can use any sort of innate magic (from my shitty memory).  I think they'd have issues fitting into society in general if they had that much innate power - history shows us that people don't like great power inequity and will act on it (see: witchcraft in general).

Hmm, I'm not quite sure I see what you mean. Flora shows in her supports that her powers are tied to her mood and that she can lose control over them, similar to what happened in my story. When she's in control of them she can even freeze a large part of the ocean. Maybe I misunderstood your question or wrote something wrong.

Also, keep in mind the royals in Fateslandia can all change the landscape at will. That's power inequity for you.

Edited by Thane

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3 minutes ago, Thane said:

Hmm, I'm not quite sure I see what you mean. Flora shows in her supports that her powers are tied to her mood and that she can lose control over them, similar to what happened in my story. When she's in control of them she can even freeze a large part of the ocean. Maybe I misunderstood your question or wrote something wrong.

Also, keep in mind the royals in Fateslandia can all change the landscape at will. That's power inequity for you.

Magic looks like it's either invoked from tomes, or imbued in weapons (Shining Bow, Corrin's Dragonstone, etc.)  Azura's song seems to be in another category, but I can see her as an exception to the rule, due to story reasons.

What this world has shown us is that people will get suspicious of those with great innate power.  I'll assume that Flora isn't someone that's freakishly powerful, so that would extend to all of the Ice Tribe.  If an entire race (?) of people was like that, I can't see how they'd be able to integrate with everyone else.  While the royals can change the landscape, notice how the enemies react - they comment on the change, and not on the person that does it (while your servant/Gunter don't freak out, which is expected).  This tells me that they don't know what caused the change.  If they did, there's no telling what would happen - while most would be cowed into obedience, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if some would try to spark a rebellion because of that.  Then again, this is Fates, and trying to equate its lore to actual people is an exercise in head-scratching.

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4 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Magic looks like it's either invoked from tomes, or imbued in weapons (Shining Bow, Corrin's Dragonstone, etc.)  Azura's song seems to be in another category, but I can see her as an exception to the rule, due to story reasons.

I was going for something along the lines of this: https://youtu.be/QGZwx2UaZGM?t=242 Except, you know, I have it fueled by negative emotions, rather than her thinking Corrin is the best thing since sliced bread. 

 

Edited by Thane

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2 minutes ago, Thane said:

I was going for something along the lines of this: https://youtu.be/QGZwx2UaZGM?t=242

 

. . .never mind, this is Fates being extremely stupid.  However, it's also an A support, and given Flora's personality (strong face outside while she's falling apart inside), this tells me that she doesn't let this detail slip to any old stranger.  So the magnitude of her power is idiocy from the lore side, since it makes very little sense in terms of how we humans actually regard such things.  I'd expect the Ice Tribe to be on the run, since there would be groups that would hunt them down for being so drastically different.  I still think it would've been more fitting (Fates-power-level-wise, which is asking for trouble) if she froze everything to the table - gets the message across, gives everyone an excuse to look for her, and perhaps the entire royal family can try their hand at cooking their own meal.

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If I can interject as a reviewer...

The thing about Flora, as characterized by that fic (and her supports), is that she doesn't really have the ability to quite control how broadly her power is applied; she can't just affect the food on the table all at once, unless that's all she's near. The Nohrian royals would notice the temperature in the room suddenly dropping significantly long before the food would have frozen (at 32° F or 0° C for just water; anything with any amount of salt, for example, would require an even lower temperature). Freezing something to the table would similarly require a level of condensation that's suddenly dropped to 32° F. The food might have bee frozen to the table in the fic; we don't know. The reason we don't know is that none of the Nohrians present (as they are portrayed as caring, to an extent) would have cared about the food once Flora's outburst made itself known. The narrative doesn't say that because it's not important to any of the characters--and therefore not to us.

And it's not like the Ice Tribe DOES integrate; they stay secluded in their ice village, and the twins are political hostages as maids for Corrin; they're the only ones we see outside the Ice Tribe village. So far, that's all within the bounds of canon.

 

21 minutes ago, eclipse said:

As for my story, here's the summary of critiques:

- Wist merely mentioned what my story was about
- Jotari didn't say anything
- EllGee was the only one that had something of note, and that was the ending, which I will explain.  My story is quite literally Paralogue 1, no more (compare her dialogue with Corrin to the actual game script).  For whatever reason, she's absolutely fine with her mother being pounded to a paste, then joining up.  Realistically, she'd probably go with Corrin to make sure that she didn't die to the Faceless, then stick around because she has a new, crippling fear of being alone.  Since this was also Paralogue 1, I couldn't make mention of the nights she woke up screaming, because she saw her mother's death in her dreams, or how she puked after she killed her first person, or how she instinctively freezes after seeing a Faceless, something that she never quite got over (which nearly killed Silas, who ran to save her).  Much as I'd love to do a full psychological evaluation of everyone's favorite village girl, that's outside of the scope of the story.

So, I want an explanation.

Yes; it's Paralogue 1. Yes, you didn't have leeway to look further into the future for how Mozu behaves when she's already in the army. That's not the issue there, really; the issue I had, as I said, is that whatever narrative you ARE using resolves too neatly within the confines of the progression you're limited to. We don't even really have a hint of the future issues she'll be facing--which, given that we know she will, seems a little too important to leave out entirely. I'd be happy to offer a full markup of the thing using Track Changes, if you'd like to have that privately.

For example: You didn't really discuss her "new, crippling fear of being alone." The paragraph that leads up to Mozu's “No! I have to fight!” is the closest we get to that, but what it tells me instead is that she has a favor to repay, and that she fears for Corrin's life. Not that she fears being left alone again.

Which leads me right into:

1 hour ago, SpareTimeEntertainment said:

Some of the cornerstones of western literature - Virgil, Dante, Milton, can all technically be counted as fanfiction if you stretch the definition. To be sure, they are based on works of far greater import than our beloved Fire Emblem, but nonetheless, they are derivative and transformative works. But we are not Virgil, or Dante, or Milton (except maybe the guy who did FE7 Epic, for real), so I implore you to focus on what makes you happy about writing. I understand your perfectionism, your frustration. I understand that seeing yourself plateau - even stagnate - must leave you as raw as meat in a butcher's window. But I would implore you to drop the need for perfection, because perfection is rightly unattainable. Just go one piece of writing at a time. "What do I need to focus on with this one." Experiment with genre, experiment with form. Write things you swore you wouldn't six months ago. And, most of all, cherish your ideas. You say there is no point in nurturing them, I say that is the single most important point. Without a spark, there can be no story.

Also, one-shot or not,  Elincia is perhaps my favourite FE character, or is at least very close - if you were to write a companion piece featuring her, I'm sure it would be devilishly interesting. I certainly know that I would be delighted to read it and I'm sure many here would also. It's important to always be looking forward to the next story, and I hope we see one from you.

I've been trying to improve for much, much longer than nine years. Have I? Well, that's up for debate. Will I ever stop? Not really. @SpareTimeEntertainment nailed it; what's important isn't that you amaze people, or that you fit some objective standard of what "good" is; what's important is that you keep trying. And the only way to do that is to keep writing--and reading. Examine your style as compared to others to find concrete things they do that you like or that you do that you'd rather not do. Find a writer's circle, rather than focusing your hopes for critiques on the internet (where people are likely to be on either end of the perfect/it sucks spectrum, rather than trying to offer a proper critique).

The single best piece of advice I have for my students has always been: Worry about the work, not the grade. In my own schooling, the work I'm most proud of has always been the work I tried my absolute best on. If that's an A (and there were a few)? I'm proud of that. If that's a C (and, yes, there were a few)? I'm proud of that too. The As I got from not trying? Those were the assignments I regret. I regret not investing everything I could. I regret not being the best I could at any given moment. Because expectations are only useful if they're reasonable. If they're too high OR too low, they don't help you grow the same way. If you strive for the best you can do in any given moment REGARDLESS of what anyone else says about your work, the quality (and the grade) will follow, with significantly less stress along the way. And if the grade isn't as great as it could have been? Why, then you're also better able to pick back up after it and be okay with what you got--knowing that it is, after all, just an arbitrary thing like all grades really are.

 

And speaking of Virgil/Dante/Milton... This may be an appropriate time to say for those of you for whom it wasn't painfully obvious that I entered the FE7 Epic. And holy dang does it suck. I look at it and I see errors, failures, things I wished to include but didn't, things I had to include and was trying to avoid. I've a long, long way to go before I'm to the point where I'm satisfied with my work (since I doubt that will ever happen). This was an experiment on my part, since I'd never worked in dactylic hexameter for quite this long a piece before. Let this stand as evidence to what I'm talking about above.

If you're curious as to the process of writing that thing, send me a PM. I might be amendable also to continuing the experiment through to the end of the chapter, perhaps the whole game (I'm gonna regret that declaration, aren't I?)--if enough people ask me to.

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1 minute ago, EllJee said:

If I can interject as a reviewer...

The thing about Flora, as characterized by that fic (and her supports), is that she doesn't really have the ability to quite control how broadly her power is applied; she can't just affect the food on the table all at once, unless that's all she's near. The Nohrian royals would notice the temperature in the room suddenly dropping significantly long before the food would have frozen (at 32° F or 0° C for just water; anything with any amount of salt, for example, would require an even lower temperature). Freezing something to the table would similarly require a level of condensation that's suddenly dropped to 32° F. The food might have bee frozen to the table in the fic; we don't know. The reason we don't know is that none of the Nohrians present (as they are portrayed as caring, to an extent) would have cared about the food once Flora's outburst made itself known. The narrative doesn't say that because it's not important to any of the characters--and therefore not to us.

And it's not like the Ice Tribe DOES integrate; they stay secluded in their ice village, and the twins are political hostages as maids for Corrin; they're the only ones we see outside the Ice Tribe village. So far, that's all within the bounds of canon.

 

Yes; it's Paralogue 1. Yes, you didn't have leeway to look further into the future for how Mozu behaves when she's already in the army. That's not the issue there, really; the issue I had, as I said, is that whatever narrative you ARE using resolves too neatly within the confines of the progression you're limited to. We don't even really have a hint of the future issues she'll be facing--which, given that we know she will, seems a little too important to leave out entirely. I'd be happy to offer a full markup of the thing using Track Changes, if you'd like to have that privately.

For example: You didn't really discuss her "new, crippling fear of being alone." The paragraph that leads up to Mozu's “No! I have to fight!” is the closest we get to that, but what it tells me instead is that she has a favor to repay, and that she fears for Corrin's life. Not that she fears being left alone again.

1. Flora froze a pot of tea earlier, and no one seemed to notice the temperature drop.
2. I'll take the mark up via PM.  Thanks~!

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1 hour ago, eclipse said:

The ending was great (with apologies to Hinoka).  I couldn't really figure out what was going on otherwise - were Corrin/Azura in a different dimension for the entire story?  And why not Landshark for Corrin?

Altaria and Salamence are my two favorite dragon Pokemon, which is why landshark didn't make the cut. Well, that, and Garchomp as far as I know doesn't have entire dex entries devoted to how they destroy shit!

To answer your question on what was going on otherwise ... well, honestly, my original idea was for Salamence to eat Corrin and Azura. But when I was actually writing, I felt that it was too mean so I just had them knocked into another universe. Only other important thing is that the story was just supposed to be Conquest if Corrin and Azura were Pokemon and no one noticed. No real plot.

Busy right now, so will make proper responses to stuff later.

Edited by Sunwoo

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Well, I don't want to start a fight over this, so I'll just address what was addressed to me, directly or indirectly, and I'll leave it at that. Seriously, all of you did a great job. :)

2 hours ago, Thane said:

Being hard on yourself is one thing, but ignoring one's accomplishments and berating oneself is another one entirely. You're going out of your way to put yourself down for no reason.

I can't argue with that because you're right. I know I put myself down a lot. But I don't know how else to be about this. I know my work is, by and large, not seen as legitimate writing, not that it would make much difference to me. Point is, most probably wouldn't see it as an accomplishment. And as for the rest, I find myself so unsatisfied with my efforts, and I'll probably always be that way. Pride is something elusive to me, especially when it comes to my writing.

I also try to turn that into focus if for no other reason than to prove myself wrong about my work. Lately, it hasn't been working like it once did.

2 hours ago, SpareTimeEntertainment said:

Some of the cornerstones of western literature - Virgil, Dante, Milton, can all technically be counted as fanfiction if you stretch the definition. To be sure, they are based on works of far greater import than our beloved Fire Emblem, but nonetheless, they are derivative and transformative works. But we are not Virgil, or Dante, or Milton (except maybe the guy who did FE7 Epic, for real), so I implore you to focus on what makes you happy about writing. I understand your perfectionism, your frustration. I understand that seeing yourself plateau - even stagnate - must leave you as raw as meat in a butcher's window. But I would implore you to drop the need for perfection, because perfection is rightly unattainable. Just go one piece of writing at a time. "What do I need to focus on with this one." Experiment with genre, experiment with form. Write things you swore you wouldn't six months ago. And, most of all, cherish your ideas. You say there is no point in nurturing them, I say that is the single most important point. Without a spark, there can be no story.

Also, one-shot or not,  Elincia is perhaps my favourite FE character, or is at least very close - if you were to write a companion piece featuring her, I'm sure it would be devilishly interesting. I certainly know that I would be delighted to read it and I'm sure many here would also. It's important to always be looking forward to the next story, and I hope we see one from you.

I was most happy about taking an idea and putting it into words. Yeah, I probably tended to show off or overcompensate with my words choices, but when it's Fire Emblem, I find myself wanting to make it sound like it has that Middle Age flavor to it. Oh, I'm not the best at it, that's for sure, but I never wanted to make it sound too modern.

I can't argue that. Perfection is something I know I never will attain. But it's so ingrained into me, I can't help it. Even in grade school, if I got 99% on a test, I'd focus more on the 1 answer I missed rather than the 99 I got right. When something goes that deep, it's hard to change. As for nurturing my ideas, what I meant was I find no point in letting them grow. It starts with an idea, but to me, nurturing it means taking the time to let it grow into words, then sculpting and working them into the finished draft. The ideas still come, but I find myself wondering why I should let them grow beyond ideas.

I guess I find myself questioning the legitimacy of my work, given that it's been fan fiction. But I like to try things out with it, experiment and such.

22 minutes ago, EllJee said:

I've been trying to improve for much, much longer than nine years. Have I? Well, that's up for debate. Will I ever stop? Not really. @SpareTimeEntertainment nailed it; what's important isn't that you amaze people, or that you fit some objective standard of what "good" is; what's important is that you keep trying. And the only way to do that is to keep writing--and reading. Examine your style as compared to others to find concrete things they do that you like or that you do that you'd rather not do. Find a writer's circle, rather than focusing your hopes for critiques on the internet (where people are likely to be on either end of the perfect/it sucks spectrum, rather than trying to offer a proper critique).

The single best piece of advice I have for my students has always been: Worry about the work, not the grade. In my own schooling, the work I'm most proud of has always been the work I tried my absolute best on. If that's an A (and there were a few)? I'm proud of that. If that's a C (and, yes, there were a few)? I'm proud of that too. The As I got from not trying? Those were the assignments I regret. I regret not investing everything I could. I regret not being the best I could at any given moment. Because expectations are only useful if they're reasonable. If they're too high OR too low, they don't help you grow the same way. If you strive for the best you can do in any given moment REGARDLESS of what anyone else says about your work, the quality (and the grade) will follow, with significantly less stress along the way. And if the grade isn't as great as it could have been? Why, then you're also better able to pick back up after it and be okay with what you got--knowing that it is, after all, just an arbitrary thing like all grades really are.

And speaking of Virgil/Dante/Milton... This may be an appropriate time to say for those of you for whom it wasn't painfully obvious that I entered the FE7 Epic. And holy dang does it suck. I look at it and I see errors, failures, things I wished to include but didn't, things I had to include and was trying to avoid. I've a long, long way to go before I'm to the point where I'm satisfied with my work (since I doubt that will ever happen). This was an experiment on my part, since I'd never worked in dactylic hexameter for quite this long a piece before. Let this stand as evidence to what I'm talking about above.

If you're curious as to the process of writing that thing, send me a PM. I might be amendable also to continuing the experiment through to the end of the chapter, perhaps the whole game (I'm gonna regret that declaration, aren't I?)--if enough people ask me to.

I'd probably be too afraid to find a writer's circle, since most of them would probably look down on me, not that I'd blame them for it. I know I'm probably making too much for this. For the foreseeable future, writing has been relegated to hobby status with me, not that I ever wanted to make an actual living off of it; I couldn't put that much pressure on myself. But you'd be surprised the critiques I've found from online. My (now former) proofreader has a major in writing, so I'd say he knows his stuff, even for fan fiction. I guess what I'm trying to say is your advice is noted and appreciated. I will say that I do want to amaze people though. I like the thought that people have found something meaningful in my work, whether it takes the form of fan fiction or not.

That piece of advice is interesting to me, mainly because it's the complete opposite of how I'd view things. To me, the grade is what gives the work its validation and its meaning. Going back into student mode, to me the effort never meant much to me on a test, but rather the grade saying the effort was worth it.

I'm kind of glad to know I'm not the only one who is dissatisfied with their work. I mean, yes, I found that piece of yours overwhelming, but the effort alone is excellent. I admit, poetry is not my forte (I only ever wrote one such piece for Bastian (I am indeed serious)) but I appreciate the effort it took to achieve it.

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3 hours ago, eclipse said:

So, now that voting is over. . .

I had two issues with your story:

1. The premise.  While what-ifs are interesting, yours had a lot of conditions.  I'd start with maybe two conditions (Corrin being blicked and perhaps Azura as the mediator), and run from there.  If you want to experiment, make a very simple premise, then write it out in under 2000 words.

2. Formatting.  Check out the other stories for how to format conversations.  It can be difficult for conversation-heavy pieces, but part of writing is making sure that the reader isn't overwhelmed by a wall of text.  This was the primary reason why I didn't vote for you.

 

Yeah, I wasn't really thinking much about it because that's kind of how a lot of my extended family writes things, so I've kind of just assumed everyone was fine with the whole wall-o'-text thing. Ah well, something to remember for the next time, whenever that will happen to be as I think I might be unavailable for next year's Scribbles.

Conditions…I don't think I'm familiar with this context of the word, but I'm going to pretend I am and go from there because I do almost nothing better than winging it. Originally, the entry was going to start at the point where Corrin is killed during the fight at Shirasagi, beginning with the actual switch-out for Corrin and Arilon(me), and from there progress through where my final entry was. I included the link, but I haven't gone back and added any paragraph breaks yet, so it's also kind of a wall of text, however it's only 5 pages as opposed to my 13-page final so hopefully you guys can find time to struggle through it and compare. The reason I decided to be the mediator instead of Azura was because I looked at Corrin making a split-second decision between families and thought that seemed ridiculous, so Arilon instead would've asked for 24 hours to decide as choosing to basically backstab a family is hardly an on-the-spot thing to decide, and wants to go around to each sibling to of course attempt to recruit them, which I felt I could do personally better than Azura owing to my knowledge from the games about what would convince each sibling(Appeal to Leo's sense of logic or Camilla's motherly devotion to her beloved brother, for example). I say would've because I didn't get that far writing the first draft. Anyways, I'd love to hear this "Individualized Review" however blunt it happens to be(can't improve if you run away from everyone telling you something you did wrong), so hit me!

By the way, though I think it seemed kind of obvious, the reason I wanted to keep one of Sakura's retainers, specifically Subaki though I don't remember if I mentioned it in the actual entry, was because I was hoping to eventually go to Awakening and there hook Subaki up with Cordelia to give Severa/Selena her ultimate nightmare family with a perfect mother, perfect father, and perfect sister because Caeldori. I don't really know why, but I seem to have a somewhat sadistic enjoyment of Severa/Selena's inferiority complex - I can't stop pairing her with Subaki in Revelations so I can watch her have a meltdown for her A-Support with Caeldori.

Finally, if anyone won Cipher packs and don't want them, I volunteer as tribute.

Edited by SoulWeaver

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