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SF's "Write Your Butt Off" Competition HD II.5 Remix

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1 hour ago, Azure, Roundabouted Out said:

Ok, so how was the story aside from it, guys?

I've never played Touhou, nor do I know anything about it, so it was kind of hard to understand for me. But besides that, I thought it was pretty interesting. I can see why Remilia would give some sympathy to Seija. I kinda wanted to myself. I'm not sure what could make it better though, since as I said, I don't know anything about Touhou.

Also, there's nothing wrong with one little f-bomb. It isn't breaking any rules. Especially if a game like Xenoblade 2 where the word shit is thrown around a lot can be rated T and not M.

Edited by Anacybele

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Yeah story was fine, and from what I looked up, yeah that F bomb is fine if looking at the American PG 13, but won't silde in the Aus PG 13 rating.

 

Here's a good example in Australia Fire Emblem Awakening got an M rating as opposed to the T ERSB.  Fates and Three Houses are also rated M in Australia.

 

So I guess that's why I pointed it out.  Suffice to say I HATE the fact that there's actually that difference.  I think that's also partly to do with being on Fanfiction.Net for too long as well since that rating system is damn close to the Australian one.

 

ETA:

Here's another good example of the crazy Aussie rating system:

https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/star-wars-the-force-awakens-why-the-m-rating-is-confusing-for-parents-20151216-glolje.html

While I've been looking into some stuff.

Edited by TheSilentChloey
Edited to add

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1 hour ago, TheSilentChloey said:

So I guess that's why I pointed it out.  Suffice to say I HATE the fact that there's actually that difference.  I think that's also partly to do with being on Fanfiction.Net for too long as well since that rating system is damn close to the Australian one.

So my fic would be rated M on fanfiction.net? 

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Man I dunno why but I'm having a lot of trouble with this prompt. I can't seem to think of anything for whatever reason. ugh Why can't I seem to get out of this creative slump

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How much time until this prompt is over? The link in the timer is for 9 of September.

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23 minutes ago, Azure, Roundabouted Out said:

@AnonymousSpeed We need to know how much time the writers have left. Unless you are working on that problem.

Roight, yea, sorry.

Y'all got until midnight this Sunday, EST.

Still can't edit OP, so you'll have to make do with this, sadly.

Round 18 Writing Phase Countdown

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5 minutes ago, Azure, Roundabouted Out said:

😐

Yeah it sucks I know.  I don't remember off the top of my head but I'm fairly sure of it.

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Oh frick, that’s what I was supposed to do this week. Amazing what having a bunch of character ideas and being excited about building HEROs again for the first time in forever can do to you. Guess I’m burning up a bunch of time tomorrow.

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Other projects currently are playing havoc with my time.  Still I can't believe I haven't touched ST for a while...and I am again so ten to one says that there are three chapters on the way...

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Hey guys, apparently my family had a bunch of stuff planned this weekend. Can I get a 24-hour extension? I think I may need to use some of Sunday to finish up.

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14 hours ago, SoulWeaver said:

Hey guys, apparently my family had a bunch of stuff planned this weekend. Can I get a 24-hour extension? I think I may need to use some of Sunday to finish up.

You should have until the end of Sunday to finish up (at least according to my time zone). That would be fine, though, have the story submitted within that 24-hour period and it'll pass right in.

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A'ight boys, here we go.

From the Devil To the Devil

Spoiler

“Hello, Zephiel!”

A young woman with deep green hair, clad in the typical garb of a Dancer, waved sunnily at a tall man in royal armor, who merely scowled as she ran past.

“Insolent fool,” The king of Bern muttered to himself, glaring at the back of the retreating girl. “I’ve no time for idle chatter.”

This was, indeed, not a time for such frivolities as greeting everyone one saw walking the halls - Zephiel, king of Bern, leader of the finest army in all Elibe, wielder of the fabled greatsword Eckesachs, was troubled by a difficulty of extreme importance, one he had never before experienced in all his days.

He was starting to doubt himself.

When his mad father had attempted to poison him for his own insane purposes, Zephiel had made a simple decision: A race so filled with such wickedness could not be allowed to exist.

From that point, he had devoted his life to the eradication of mankind’s corruption. A suitable replacement for the rulers of the earth were found in Dragons, and so he had allied with them, intending to scrub the cursed stain of humanity from the world.

...Then he was called here.

Where ‘here’ was, Zephiel did not know, exactly - another world, separate from his own, where warriors from many different worlds, including his own, fought alongside one another as ‘Heroes’ though he had seen many he felt the title did not apply as well to. Such was the state of things when one had to place one’s trust in humanity, he initially thought, though there were some Dragons here as well.

The problem had come over time. He had made it clear from the beginning he was only here because he had to be, not to mingle with the refuse, yet a handful of infuriating individuals refused to accept that as the state of things and continually pestered him with attempts at friendship. Regardless of how coldly he replied to them and their efforts, they still attempted kindness towards him.

...It ate at him. This was not consistent with his prior knowledge of humanity. Humans were creatures driven by greed, hatred, jealousy. Wherein the constant attempts at friendship did these emotions factor?

“Excuse me, you are...Zephiel, yes?”

Another one? Of all the times-

Zephiel turned to find a gnarled man with dark grey skin, clad in a green Sorcerer’s robe, peering at him.

“You’re...Gharnef.” This was a surprise - Gharnef was similar to Zephiel in that he generally avoided all contact with others.

He was also, from what little Zephiel remembered, very much the exact kind of refuse he himself wanted to exterminate.

“Ah, so you have heard of me as well...heh heh heh, that saves me the introduction.”

“I have no patience for interruptions right now, snake.”

“Oh, I assure you, this is hardly an interruption.” Gharnef chuckled. “I have watched you for some time now, King of Bern, and I have seen your resolve beginning to weaken. You question yourself because of those around you.”

“...That is no concern of yours.”

“On the contrary! Though you do not realize it, we are kindred spirits, pursuing the same noble goal - the liberation of the world from the tyranny of mankind.” Gharnef laughed at the expression on Zephiel’s face. “You did not expect this, then! May I elaborate for you, King of Bern?”

“...Make it quick.”

“Most gracious of you, heh heh heh. We are both men wronged by the darkness of humanity, King Zephiel - you, by a foolish father so concerned about his own desires that he failed to recognize his own son’s attempts at garnering favor, myself, by an old imbecile who felt power was best placed in the hands of those too faint at heart to use it. Both driven, in the end, by jealousy and hatred, and I suppose some greed as well.”

Yes. This much Zephiel already knew about his own father, though hearing that Gharnef had experienced humanity’s evil in his own way surprised him.

“It’s a terrible shame, really,” Gharnef continued, looking off into the distance. “To think the two of us would have both succeeded in our designs had our places only been reversed.”

“...And what, exactly, is that supposed to mean?”

“You are an impressively powerful warrior and general, Zephiel.” Gharnef explained. “I would say the only reason you failed was that all of the legendary weapons save your own were brought to bear against you, including the Sword of Seals. Marth and his men, however, did not have that power, only Falchion, which, while a powerful blade indeed, is only one sword, wielded by only one man. Had Marth been forced to face you, he would have fallen, and with him the unity of his army. In such disarray, they would have been simple to pick off at will, and with their fall nothing would stand between you and your desired world free of humanity.”

Zephiel considered this. It was certainly true that his forces had proven under-armed compared to Roy’s army, with the legendary weapons. It seemed quite plausible that a world with only one legendary weapon would be less of a challenge to cleanse.

“And what of you? How would you have stood to benefit from such a trade?”

“In my world, the same fool who refused me the power that was rightfully mine crafted a spell to undo what power I did have - Starlight.” Gharnef spat the spell’s name as though it burned his tongue. “Such was the strength of his imbecilic belief that power should not be held by those who would actually use it. The Lycian army, however, had no such spell. Oh, I am aware that Aureola is quite a powerful spell of light, yes, but the darkness of Imhullu can only be pierced by magic specifically designed to defeat it. Without Starlight, there would have been none to halt my unification of the world.”

“...Unification?” Zephiel frowned. “You stated your goal was purification, the same as my own.”
“That I did,” Gharnef replied, turning back to face Zephiel with an almost...sorrowful look. “But I only turned to purification because my first goal was struck down - I desired a united world, brought together in peace through the power of Aura and Imhullu, and Gotoh was unwilling to believe such a thing possible. After he gave Aura to Miloah, I also realized what you no doubt did at some point as well: Even were I to achieve the peaceful rule I desired, I am but a mortal man. One day, I would die, and then how to prevent my successor from having those same qualities that I so detested in the weaklings around me? No, the only way to ensure a world of peace was to eliminate humanity from it, that the Dragons and Beasts could live in the harmony they’d already crafted for themselves, harmony only we humans could disrupt. It wounded me to have to resort to such measures, I assure you, but it had to be done, so that my dream of a peaceful, united world could be realized.”

“...I see.”

To be honest, in spite of himself Zephiel was moved by this. Here he had thought himself the only one among the ‘Heroes’ who understood the wickedness of humanity - even the few Dragons he had met here seemed to believe in humans in spite of their obvious evil. To think there was another who understood...still, though…

“You have still not fully explained why you sought me out, Gharnef.”
“Too true, and my apologies for digressing upon my reasoning.” The Sorcerer replied, shaking his head. “I wished to make you an offer.”

“An offer?”
“Yes. You know that here in Askr the so-called Order of Heroes possesses the ability to open pathways between worlds, yes? What I propose is an alliance - the two of us shall search through the kingdom of Askr’s historical and magical texts. I think it possible that we can find a way to duplicate this ability to open pathways, and with that, we can cross between each other’s worlds, allowing us to at last achieve our dreams of a pure, human-free world. Think of it, Zephiel! The Summoner claims that there are countless versions of our worlds. No other Zephiel of Bern, no other Gharnef of Archanea has this chance to finally achieve that which we seek! Will you assist me in this quest, that in the end we may both sit upon a hill and say ‘It is finished’?”

...To think he had dismissed such an example of exactly what he sought based on initial impression. Though Gharnef could be described as bitter, hateful, greedy, jealous...the man was only a creation of his own experiences, and he understood this. What did it matter if one dirtied oneself upon the journey, if one was to be cleansed from the earth at the end thereof? If anything, Gharnef perhaps embodied Zephiel’s own quest better than he himself did, for though he spoke of ending humanity, there had still been limits on what he’d been willing to do, wishing to preserve his own relative purity. Gharnef, however, understood that no depth was too low to stoop to, if one could be purified alongside the earth when the time came. Yes, in the end the Dragons of Archanea would no doubt see the Sorcerer as a champion, willing to accept whatever stain upon his name was necessary to bring about the peace of the world.

“...So be it, Sorcerer. I shall provide you with the assistance I can, in the name of my - of our dream.”

 

Gharnef chuckled to himself as Zephiel walked away.

Oh, it had been too easy. Bern’s King had been exactly as the histories had described him, and Gharnef had played him like the finest concerto. To twist his own past to appear tragic and misunderstood, and to catch the King with such a ridiculous tale...laughable!

Of course, not all of the story had been a sham - such was the best deception, enough truth to disguise the taste of the lies, make them sweet to the tongue. Gharnef really did intend to visit Zephiel’s Elibe - cleanse it, even, just as Zephiel wished. There was just one price Gharnef intended to exact from the World of Blades in exchange - the dread Tome, Apocalypse. It would be the beginning of his path to the ultimate destruction he so desired - all Archaneas, brought to ruin, scrubbed clean of the fools who would dare defy the Dark Pontifex.

“Let’s see…” He murmured to himself. “The next Tome...Naglfar. That would be...Lyon, of Grado. Gave his soul trying to save his father, poor boy, heh heh heh. I think I saw him around here earlier...”

Notes:

Spoiler

What with the whole forgetting about this and having to rush it out, I feel this wasn't quite as good as it could have been. I would have liked a couple days to go back over it and clean up anything that didn't sit right, but beggars can't be choosers when they wait until the last second. The basic concept here was meant to be an illustration of the dangers of having sympathy for the devil, as well as something of a double layer of the prompt - ideally, the reader begins thinking Zephiel is the 'Devil' that will be shown sympathy, only to discover that Gharnef is the 'Devil' being shown sympathy by Zephiel, ultimately resulting the reader feeling sympathetic for the deceived Zephiel, unknowingly fulfilling Zephiel's role as a 'Devil' shown sympathy. I think I may have tried something a little too...deep? That doesn't sound like quite the right word but I'm not sure what word I want here, you guys hopefully get the idea.

 

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1 hour ago, SoulWeaver said:

A'ight boys, here we go.

Didn't even need that extension, now did ya?

Looks like I didn't either. Just finished (briefly) proof reading my piece.

***

This...I'm not entirely sure what to make of this. I took my initial idea and ran with it, so this is a good learning experience if nothing else.

Title: The Accuser
Words: 1,629

Spoiler

Humans did not deserve mercy.

Mercy, favor, and blessings- their sinful hearts disqualified them from such rewards. The rightful reward for their actions and nature, that which was truly just to heap upon their heads, was damnation. The eternal flames of Sheol. That would be justice. Therefore it was just to turn a man towards his destruction.

This was quite a simple task in principle. The first step was to wait, as a panther in the night, for a human to commit some trespass against morality. If they would not do this, presenting them with justifications and rationalizations and all other manner of well dressed deceit would remedy the dilemma.

The next step was to ensure that these follies were never allowed to escape their recollection. Remind them constantly of their failings and their sins, and their sense of shame would come alive like a devouring disease within them. Continue this and they become overwhelmed with the sense of their wickedness, knowing finally that they are by their very nature despicable.

Once they realized this fact, which was self evident to him, they would understand that they deserved no goodness nor mercy, and they would flee from such things. Thus they forsake their own souls and ensure their eternal reward.

It was therefore expedient and necessary to bring constantly before humans reminders of their inward vice. Ceaseless accusations ringing true in their conscious to wear them down.

For this, they called him the Accuser.

Sometimes also the Adversary, but he much preferred the former. He might have stood against them, but he fancied the manner of opposition like that between a criminal and the state. He was the judge, them the accused.

Yet there was a persistent obstacle to these rulings. The very magistrate who had put in place these laws- He seemed to constantly impede their enforcement.

Why was it that He so defended these failures? 

What an offense!

To show them mercy when damnation was their just reward- how could they be so absolved by a confession and a sacrifice?

A lamb, a goat, two birds- how could such a weak atonement compensate for their transgressions?

They were all wicked, from the very first of them. It was something he thought he'd shown decisively. They were left with a single, trivial command, a task of such ease that it was more effort to break it than to obey. Yet with only a few words, he had turned their hearts to disobedience.

Centuries past, and he thought that He'd finally seen reason, when he decided to wash away the dirt from the slate of the earth. Yet he preserved the seed of that wretched race of humanity, and what of those He saved? A drunkard the progenitor of the future, a third of his descendants marked by a curse born from deviancy.

It was with the utmost ease they could be convinced to worship one of his servants as an idol. The lowly king of a city of mud would call himself a god without provocation. It did not even require him to whisper in their ears for them to tear each other open and display their heads on the tops of pikes.

How did He not see what he saw? Every bit of every one of them deserved to be destroyed in the most absolute and final way.

Even the so-called "good men" only acted so in hopes of receiving His rewards. If they expected nothing in return for their good actions, they would instead follow their evil hearts- and it was for that very reason he knew that no reward should ever be given for whatever obedience they held in their pragmatic facade.

Did He not see that he was enforcing His righteousness, His edicts, in their purest manner? The work he did was to make sure mankind received the punishment it deserved for its wickedness. For this good work, he should have been praised! For his enforcement of the law so rigid and unyielding, he deserved to have accolades piled upon him!

If he, in his blinding and resplendent glory, was to be cast down from heaven for his vice, surely the humans deserved to cast down for their vices as well!

It bothered him deeply.

He would receive honor for his dispensation of justice, in time. They simply needed to see the perfection of his course, the faultlessness in this task, the indisputable fairness in making sure each came to that which they deserved.

What to do?

Perhaps, he thought, he would destroy their temples, and deny them their sacrificial alters. A fine idea, one to try later, so as to shake their faith. However, keeping their shrines to Him in perpetual disarray would have been a hollow victory. It would be much more preferable if the temples were abandoned willingly, for human apathy to be embraced and exposed.

Perhaps, he thought...another demonstration was in order.

Yes, a demonstration that they were still innately wicked. That even those who acted goodly carried the same manner of evil heart within them. A different life, being thrust into different circumstances, these would agitate and reveal that wicked element, bringing out their true inward depravity. The idea brought a smile to his face.

So he took a break from his march, the cyclic route in which he lead men astray and into the pit which they deserved, and snuck his way into the presence of Him.

Though he had not revealed himself, He addressed him directly. "From where do you come?"

"From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it."

"Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?"

It was as if He knew what he would say before he said it- no matter. "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, and around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and all his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face."

"Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person."

So he went out from the presence of Him.

It was time to put his plan in motion.

Great suffering he heaped upon Job's head. All that Job had he destroyed, and he reached out his hands against Job's children. What did it matter if Job himself was beyond his reach? The important thing was to expose the weakness in his character, not that in his body. Job's children were not so protected, and it would strike at his soul harder this way.

All that remained to be done was to sit back and watch as his point was made. And yet-

In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

Hm.

A minor set back. The experiment could still be salvaged.

Once again he snuck his way into the presence of Him.

Though he had not revealed himself, He addressed him directly. "From where do you come?"

"From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it."

"Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause."

It was as if He knew what he would say before he said it- no matter. “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

“Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.”

So he went out from the presence of Him.

It was time to resume the demonstration.

To destroy Job's body would be his next task. He would then ensure that he was accused of sin. Who could stand fast in the face of such adversity? Surely Job would buckle under the weight of the suffering heaped upon him, and the experiment would be a success, having shown exactly what it was meant to. The inherent damnable nature of mankind on display. Irrefutable proof even to Him.

What would He do then? Reach out with some restoring hand and lift them up? What a joke!

Yet even if that was the case, or even if these tortures were withstood, it was well enough. Things would go on as they always had.

Their hearts were too dark and their sins too numerous. It was not as if there was some grand final sacrifice for them all to share in. The world would run out of lambs eventually.

If he could not have that favor taken away from all at the very source, he would continue to lead men to reject it.

One by one he would convince them of their wickedness, and guide them off the path of light and into the shadows of their sins.
One by one he would demonstrate to them the evil in the hearts.

Seeing that they had no ability within themselves to overcome it, they would embrace their inward vices, their innate sinful nature.
Having embraced their sinful deeds, they would loathe goodness and shun forgiveness, in this way forsaking their very souls.

This he would continue to do, one by one, until as many as could be lead astray received their just reward.

 

***

I don't normally do this, but for this piece I think some notes are appropriate.

Spoiler

"Sympathy for the devil" is, uh...well, it's not exactly a sympathetic portrayal, but I think my submissions are best then they most...abstractly interpret the prompt.

This is an odd piece in regards to how literary it is versus how theological it is.

It is definitely more a literary work, almost entirely so. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything here. I don't necessarily believe the interpretation put forward by the piece, it's much more meant as an exploration and an explanation of an idea.

However, it's an exploration and explanation of what is a pretty strictly theological idea. It's an idea I picked up from a sermon.

Underlined sections are most directly quoted from the NKJV.

Specifically asking @DarthR0xas for reviews, and, uh... @SoulWeaver too. I appreciate all reviews of course, but I think you two would have some really interesting thoughts on the matter.

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Alright everyone! With Soul meeting the deadline, the writing period for Round 18 is now concluded!

Entries:

We have 6 days to vote on our favorites.

Voting Countdown

Please submit your votes here:

Strawpoll for Voting on Round 18 Submissions

Though a vote must be submitted on the strawpoll to count, you are of course encouraged to give more in-depth commentary on any entries you have strong feelings about.

***

I've only read Soul and Chloey's submissions so far, and those were pretty good. I'm certainly curious to see what the rest of the entries hold. They aren't from settings I'm familiar with, so that should be kind of neat.

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I was beginning to wonder if my entry would be the only one not to use the word "devil" in the title. lol

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6 hours ago, Anacybele said:

I was beginning to wonder if my entry would be the only one not to use the word "devil" in the title. lol

It sort of is, in a sense.

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23 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

Specifically asking DarthR0xas for reviews

Well, I'll try to get to all of y'all, but since I was specifically asked I'll quickly look over yours.
 

Spoiler

Interesting take on the literal devil. Job happens to be my favorite book of the bible, so I quite liked this story. Before I dive into some theologistical ramblings, I'll say some grammatical junk on the piece. The overuse of He and Him makes the piece kinda hard to follow at points, especially later. Granted, you do use capitalization, but I don't think that's quite enough. Either reword them, or use bold on the ones in reference to god. I'd do something like "he snuck his way into the presence of the Lord". Still a tad clunky, but better than using masculine pronouns over and over again. I do like how vague it is at the start, it builds up to you realizing who our narrator is. It's a story you get a lot more out of the second read through.

I'm a little iffy on the characterization of the devil. Granted, he is the literal embodiment of human sins, but he's also a tad inconsistent. One second he's complaining over a minute detail, the next he's acting as if a semi-major detail being weird is just no matter. That pushes the envelop of realistic inconsistency imo. Although him being steadfast in his ideals is pretty accurate to how I feel the devil is, it also makes for a bit of a static character when they aren't really challenged. I know I'm complaining that the devil isn't developing, which is absurd, however I just wish that there were more cases where his ideals were challenged, and then we see him illogically try to work through that so he specifically doesn't develop. Basically, I feel that the story is a bit unfinished. If you had gone through the entire book of Job, and not just stopped before Job's body was destroyed, we'd get to the point where the Devil was actually proven wrong. Really, I just want a bit more. I also kinda wished we had floated a bit more in that vagueness. Maybe it's just because I'm predisposed to Theological stuff, but I was able to pick up on who our narrator was fairly quickly, and more specifically by what faith and position he is. 

I'm not gonna say it's a bad story, because it isn't, but it feels incomplete. You don't finish the book of Job, and the devil isn't really portrayed in that sympathetic a light. I didn't bring that up in my main critique, but in relation to the prompt, that is an issue. Again, if we see the Devil getting challenged, then he'd be more sympathetic. I'd probably have shown a light on his more pathetic sides. You just kinda hype him up as this super evil dude who is mad at humans for being illogical and all that jazz, but he is susceptible to those things all the same. I can see where you tried to portray sympathy, but it doesn't really work. "It bothered him" just makes it seem like an annoying gnat. Granted, to the devil that is most accurately what it's like, however as a character it's hard to derive sympathy from that.

 

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2 hours ago, DarthR0xas said:

Well, I'll try to get to all of y'all, but since I was specifically asked I'll quickly look over yours.

What appreciable expediency.

 

2 hours ago, DarthR0xas said:

[comments]

Spoiler

"illogically try to work through that so he specifically doesn't develop."
Ah, now that's a very good idea there. Definitely would have been good to have more focus on something like that.

"I'm not gonna say it's a bad story, because it isn't, but it feels incomplete."
Incomplete, probably, definitely could have used with being completed earlier and mulled over more.

"You don't finish the book of Job"
Job is like 50 chapters I had two weeks and three kids to feed what do you want from me

 

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15 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

what do you want from me

Perfection

Nah, I'd just hoped you'd hit a few more of the major plot beats. A lot of those chapters are just Job and his friends, and just talking and talking, easily skippable.

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4 hours ago, DarthR0xas said:

Nah, I'd just hoped you'd hit a few more of the major plot beats. A lot of those chapters are just Job and his friends, and just talking and talking, easily skippable.

Well, it's not a bad idea, definitely. Even before posting it I thought it might be cool to return to this and cover the rest of Job. Maybe it's something I can do when I start writing my collection, Comprehensive Literature.

Might also get to spread out and more thoroughly analyze some of the "arguments" in the piece.

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