Wisps of Aether

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About Wisps of Aether

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  1. Hello. Ooh, short stories are shiny. I can be flaky from week to week like I usually am and still know everything about what's going on. I don't see the PoV character's name or pronouns being mentioned anywhere, so I'm going to assume that PoV identifies as male to make typing out the review easier. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. The story does indeed work for me overall. I definitely liked it, especially for an action-based piece. The swearing bit seemed natural as well, and it fit with the characters. Good job on that count. I especially like the brief descriptions littered throughout the story. A few of the similes don't work as well for me (such as the grunt like a granite door slamming... maybe I haven't slammed enough granite doors in my time, but it's a little hard for me to picture a grunt sounding like that), but overall I thought the description was on point. Chari and the PoV character did engage me, and it felt like the other characters didn't really have enough time dedicated to them for me to be especially memorable. Since the story seems to focus on PoV's character so much, I shifted my attention towards Chari since he seemed to care a lot more about her than he did anyone else. I don't know if you're attached to the other characters, but since the PoV-Chari relationship is the only one really explored in depth, I'm wondering how necessary the other members of Chari's group really are. I, for one, would love to hear even more about PoV's and Chari's past and present relationships (in the character sense, not necessarily romantic), and removing the others from the story (or making them nameless grunts) might give you the space to do it. Just a thought. Also, I personally found Pennice's dialect to be difficult to decipher. Although I'm never really a fan of writing in dialects, so maybe I'm the only one who struggled with Pennice's. I, unlike rdpulfer, really liked the ending. I think it makes a lot of sense that PoV is really coming into his own now that he's not on the run from his own friends. I think that there could be cool ways to add more setup. For me, the part that sets up the ending for me is when PoV talks about only being able to save himself and not being able to help the rest of the world. It's a good start for explaining his change, and he hinted that it was different before, that there was still a part of him deep down that wanted to do more than save himself, it would provide even more setup. I also would appreciate PoV's switch from "I'm screwed" to "we're the heroes" to be a moment of active realization. I can piece together why the mental shift occurred, but I would prefer seeing it in person. Any acknowledgement, out loud or in his head, from PoV that he's finding a better way to look at the situation would be powerful. Another stray thought I had was that since PoV seems to be rather practically-minded, maybe he could describe the Prefect's and Governess' stuff (carriage, clothes, ect.) as being overly posh and the extra expense being not at all functional. If he disdains all the fancy stuff rich people have for being impractical, his lines about fighting for the poor fit together even better. Have a nice day, Wisps
  2. Hey, look who's here late. Ah, now I have to see this. Well, @kais this was quite entertaining. Even without really reading M's character before, I really got a sense for her in her interactions with Q. I, uh... feel like I should say more since you gave me so much to work with for my story, but I also don't think nitpicking little bits of this "just for fun" story would do much good. So I might just quit before I fall further behind. Cheers.
  3. Hey, sorry it took me so long to respond to these. I've been sick for a while and writing is kind of the last thing on my mind. Well, looks like a big mess-up for me there. I made a big mistake by mentioning rape in ch. 3 (which for some reason I decided to write in and then missed during my revisions). From what I'm hearing, it sounds like I made a possibly bigger mistake in ch. 4. I didn't actually intend the soldier scene to imply rape, which is why the whole scene sounds so flippant. But of course, if three out of three people saw rape in the soldiers' words, then the fault is mine and I apologize for making you all read that scene. I'll try to make sure that it won't happen again. There are definitely better ways to set up one of L's arcs (feeling annoyed that nobody takes her seriously and trying to prove herself because of it) than using a situation where L feels violated, and I'll definitely rewrite it. Even without the rape, I can see why the soldier scene has serious problems with power dynamics. Thanks for pointing it out. If revising my work makes me better at recognizing and dealing with these kinds of issues, I'll gladly take the opportunity to learn. Huh. I didn't even consider this. Ash's light skin is meant to show that she's literally half Jasuran half Xiran (but still looks Xiran to Lyra), and that Lyra's never encountered such a person before. Her description of almost being too perfect plays a plot role and is meant to act as a symbol later on (she can alter her appearance and she chooses to appear fake because she's not ready to open up yet), but I'm feeling more and more like it doesn't work. Looks like I have a lot of revising to do. It's a good catch, though. The consciousness of the world this story is set in places more value on a person's "race" as a whole than their skin color in particular. Thus someone who is viewed as a part of the "Xiran race" like Ash (so far as L knows) isn't really any different from another Xiran, and her skin tone is more of a strange afterthought. But in our world, what L notices about Ash might be taken the wrong way. I'm not ruling out the idea of a personal skin color bias in me (I think I might have a different one than the linked study suggested), and I'll keep it in mind as I write and edit. If I compound my biases with the fact that it could be reasonable for L to have a skin color bias, things could get ugly quickly. I'll try to keep a tight watch on my references to skin color. Noted. Maid and Butler is always difficult for me to weed out, so hopefully knowing it's there will help. I'll work on showing L's reactions and feelings as well. Are there any strategies you've come up with for describing feelings without sounding like "Character X feels happy and character Y feels sad"? Whenever I try to describe feelings, it kind of sounds like that.
  4. Hey, everyone. Sorry I'm a day late on this. Thanks to everyone who critiqued my first submission for AetherRealm. These chapters go from where we left off with a new PoV. Summary: Lyra and her friend Gerald get caught in the midst of an invasion and need to figure out how to survive a foreign occupation. Lyra looks for hidden food stores and meets a mysterious woman who goes by Lady Ashaya. For these chapters, I'm wondering how the characters of Gerald and Lady Ashaya come off. I've rewritten Ashaya multiple times so that her actions and affiliations (or lack thereof) would make more sense in the context of the overall setting. I'm not sure if it left any rough edges around her character. Gerald is a combination of two characters from earlier drafts with vastly different personalities, so I want to see if he stays consistent. And as always, feel free to talk about anything else you see. Cheers, Wisps
  5. I have another piece to sub tomorrow. It doesn't look like I'll need to fight anyone for the spot. Also, I've been spamming this emoji thinking that it was about being sneaky, but apparently it's supposed to be used to indicate fear. Considering that I get nervous when sharing my writing, I think it's appropriate either way.
  6. Uh, @kais @Mandamon @Robinski @industrialistDragon @rdpulfer, sorry to bug you all, but I came up with an idea for Ann and I was thinking I should definitely bounce it off of people. Ann's detachment is something that I really want to emphasize in the early chapters (and throughout the story), but I don't think it came off the way I wanted it to in these first few intro chapters. I was thinking that I could make Ann's detachment more kinda zen spiritual (not in terms of the literal Buddhist practices, but something along those lines), which would give off less of a victimized impression while still letting her be oddly calm with all the terrible things going on. I think it could also be a more interesting take on Ann's character in general. There's definitely a lot going on in Annabelle's mind that she's not showing, but since we're not really going to see into her mind I think it would be more interesting to mask her feelings with meditation rather than having her just appear kind of odd. Thoughts? Also when you're editing a longer story, do you tend to work ahead based on the feedback you've received? If you were in my place, would you begin to edit later chapters based on the feedback in these chapters, or would you wait and see what people have to say about everything in the story? Thanks and have a great day.
  7. Oh wow. I had no idea these were tropes, and I do think that Annabelle cuts close to these (in these chapters and in later ones). In fact, she seems to exhibit a lot of the telling qualities of both. D: Welp, thanks for letting me know. I know this is out of order, but if this is a light run for you then I kind of want to see a heavy run. This seems super comprehensive to me haha. Ooh, that's a lot of swords. Shiny. The only other one I've heard of before is the wakizashi, and that's probably because it goes with the katana. I just thought dual-wielding katana and wakizashi from d&d was super cool (even though the samurai class in d&d is actually terrible) so I decided to have Hen know how to use them. But I guess d&d is full of tropes as well. But weapon choice isn't really a big focus in this story, so I don't know how much time I want to devote to picking cool swords for my characters. Most of the weapons are generalized, so maybe I could generalize Hen's sword as well. It just felt like an easy starting point since everyone knows what a katana is. Yeah, this feels a bit like Hen, and maybe even more like the second protag coming next chapter. Who knew that anime had already stolen all of my great ideas? ...Yeah, I'll keep a lookout for this. Ah, I can work on descriptions for Naru. Is that normally a female name? I just thought it sounded cool. I think he fits into the friendly evilness category minus the fact that I don't really consider him to be really evil. He's kind of just doing his job. But if he comes off that way, it's good to know. Yeah, I'm glad that you mentioned this because I definitely feel like some of the tropes in my work are more problematic than others. Annabelle's been difficult to write and it makes sense that her tropes might take away from her character a bit, but I think for now I can work with Hen and Naru. And in retrospect, it makes sense that my story comes off as being anime-esque. Xira is supposed to feel vaguely Asian while Jasuro is supposed to feel vaguely European. But I've never been to either of those places, so I'm doing the best I can. And so far, it seems like that means relying on some pretty well-established stereotypes. Although it's interesting that everyone comes across as being Japanese because Naru's really the only one in the story who comes from the equivalent of Japan. I was actually worried more about the other extreme that I had lumped everything into one big "Asian" category (and in a way, I definitely did). As always, I'll make sure to take a look. Ah. After reading that piece, I think there's a very clear rivalry that pops up later in my story, and it's not between Naru and Hen. I'm guessing you'll notice it when it happens.
  8. Yeah, I think I'm aware of how important the early chapters are. I'm definitely planning to give the beginning a pretty massive rewrite at some point. I just hope I don't have to fundamentally change a lot of the way that the characters act throughout the entire book. It's actually pretty hard for me to write characters with real weaknesses because most of my characters are like me in some way or another and I've kind of coasted through life so far. Thanks for your suggestions. I think there's some internal conflict I could establish in Hentaro early on, but I do need to think more about actual weaknesses for my characters. Right. I can't let my characters be just okay. If I want someone random a thousand miles away to actually read this thing when they don't know me at all, I need to make my characters awesome. Now to work on actually doing that. Hmm, yeah, I'll definitely take a look at it. You're right, it shouldn't be hard. I'm probably going to rewrite the first few chapters (maybe multiple times), so I'll keep that in mind while doing so.
  9. Wait, it has another usage? *looks up word in the dictionary* Oh, that usage. Whoops. For now, I'm going to roll with it. Yeah, this is really good to hear. I heard everywhere that most early draft manuscripts take too much time to dive into the plot and that the first few chapters can usually be cut out, so I tried to skip right to the part where things are happening. I can see now that I may have gone a bit overboard with getting to the action. Yeah, that's more or less intentional. It looks like I need to find a better way to portray it so that it feels meaningful. This was definitely a struggle for me, mostly because Ann already feels like she lacks power or control over her life. It's not a great place to be in, and she was super uncomfortable to write. Anime-like names? Uhh... Is this something else I have to look up to make sure I'm not sending across the wrong message? I just found out recently that one of the characters from another book I'm writing shares a name with a character from Overwatch. Yeah. I definitely need to think about adding in more early characterization. Ann has some serious problems at the get-go with excessive detachment, but from what I'm gathering it seems to come of as being bland, or appearing to be a problem with how I portray her. Not brother/sister (they come from pretty different backgrounds) and not really romantically connected, either. They're just... travelling together. But romance or not, they're definitely close. If it's that bad, I could look into another motive/role for Hen and Ann. It was harder for me to fit them into the plot since when I wrote them all Hen seemed to want to do was run away and never deal with any of this mess again while Ann didn't seem to care a lot either way. I'm hoping that the other PoV will feel more natural. Although that one might have problems with being generic. Yep, that's my writing if I've ever seen it. And none of it's ever as interesting as I think it's going to be when I'm first writing it. Huh. I assumed that it would just come off that way naturally because I was 18 when I wrote this. I'm... not really sure what to do now. Hopefully it comes out more in later chapters. Well, I'm glad to hear that everyone liked the chapters. There's a lot more where this came from, so I'll definitely keep subbing. Sorry for jumping around and hitting all of your comments randomly. I get pretty nervous when I'm reading critiques, so I don't think I would have been able to organize my thoughts much better than this anyway. Next week, I'll at least try to hit everyone's points in separate messages. Thank you everyone who left a critique. Have a great day.
  10. Heh, I actually wrote quite a bit of fanfiction myself back in high school. Not sure if it helped my writing all that much, but it was a lot of fun. Well, I am definitely entertained. I take it Magda is Kaisa's character? I love how the two interact, and their actions definitely speak loud and clear even through their words (I think the fact that they both continue to engage in conversation and play along with each other despite Magda's slightly hostile demeanor says a lot about who they are). Although I must say that the favorite part of my chapter is the setting of "Earth (probably)." I'm not sure why. I also assume that the 2010 drink is ancient by that point. Since this is more of a fun chapter, I didn't go as much into the nitty gritty with the analysis. It definitely had me entertained all the way through. I'm looking forward to seeing your next submissions.
  11. Hey there. I haven't been reading your submissions, so I don't think I'm getting the full details of the background, but I'll do my best. The idea of being able to hear whispers is super awesome. I'd love to see (or hear?) a bit more imagery in that department. It's super cool that she can detect people's emotions by hearing hearing whispers, but what does it actually sound like? I also wonder what it would do Sofia and Lilium on an emotional level. They could definitely react in a different way, but I think that I would be pretty uncomfortable to listen and feel the raw intensity of other people's emotions. My first impressions were mostly positive. I liked the characters, and if I had a better handle on the PoV (it seemed like Sofia at the beginning but was Lilium for most of it?), I might be able to connect with them at a deep level. I noticed (and this is something I do all the time in my own writing) that the dialogue seemed to overpower some of the descriptions. It felt to me like that when they were talking, characters were describing what they saw to me instead of letting me see through their own eyes, and I wasn't sure if that was the response you wanted. Have a nice day.
  12. Er... meant to say some sections will have too much tell and not enough show. Whoops.
  13. Hey, everyone. This submission consists of the first two chapters of my first real novel AetherRealm. I'm definitely pretty new to this, so make of that what you will. These chapters set the stage for one of the POVs that we'll be seeing consistently throughout the novel. Summary: Teenage wanderers Hentaro and *Annabelle (I said Lyra in the email, but she's a different character) witness a surprise invasion of a small fishing town from a magical portal. They're captured and taken to General Kron, who notices Hentaro's magic powers and blackmails Hentaro into enlisting in the invading army. The entire town then enters the magical AetherRealm through a large portal. I really wanted to get the story started off on a fast note since I had a feeling it would drag on longer than I wanted in later parts, so there's a lot of setting information crammed in here. As a result, I'm guessing that some sections will have too much show and not enough tell while others will be just plain confusing. I'm looking for where these sections are so that I can clean them up. It also would help a lot to say what does work for you in these chapters (there's got to be something... right?), and maybe what you would want to hear more about. I have a pretty good idea of where I want this story to go, so there's no real danger of messing up my plot with cool suggestions. And of course, you're welcome to point out anything else you see. Have a nice day.
  14. I know I'm late, but is it okay if I submit something in the morning (well, I guess it's already technically morning, but I think it's clear what I'm trying to say)? It looks like we have a couple spots open. And who knows? Maybe it will be better for me to submit after a sinus headache has kept me up all night because I'll be too out of it to get nervous or defensive.
  15. Everyone seems to have such exciting lives. I'm just here trying to survive chemistry lab for the rest of the term without blowing anything up. And it's really cool that you guys are trying to meet up in person. I kind of want to join, but I'm also broke (sadness D:) and I don't think I've ever taken a trip on my own before so going outside my country sounds a little scary. Plus French is also a struggle for me. But RECon is a pretty cool name. This is a bit late, but congrats on the publishing news @kais.