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Wisps of Aether

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About Wisps of Aether

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  1. Sorry for the late response. I'm doing significantly better now than when you wrote the message because I am now done with my bio midterm. My writing's going all right so far, and I hope that yours is going well!
  2. @Robinski @Majestic Fox I just added you both on NaNoWriMo. It took me forever to remember how to add buddies. My username's c0nn0r on the website. Good luck writing!
  3. Ah, thanks! I've definitely been called out for spoon-feeding exposition before, so I went to the other extreme here. Hopefully I can keep refining the ambiguous points so that they don't feel frustrating. Four times in the story... is that too much? Ah, that's because the academic guidelines for essays I write want me to do that and now I do it without thinking. Fixed. The key clue I tried to include was when Lisa called the DNA a "toy." For Lyn, analyzing DNA is just something that she plays with like a toy. Yeah, that's why I tried to make the focus of those lines about "How many?" and "Why?" The key point that I wanted to get across is that Lyn is demanding answers about a morally ambiguous issue and Lisa doesn't really have any. Maybe I can trim down the details. As for the killing babies, I guess that wouldn't be clear to a lot of people. I stated that the babies killed are clones that the father treats as experimental units (also a stats term for a non-human test subject yikes). In science, animal test subjects are quite frequently... disposed of once experiments have run their course, and the I was trying to convey that this process hasn't stopped with human testing. Which, in turn, reveals Lisa's desire to analyze her bother's DNA for Huntington's as being sentimental rather than an act of pure goodwill (she doesn't do anything to help the clones who are just as human, are more related to her, and are in more danger than her brother). And that sentimentality and obsession around Huntington's is necessary to suggest that Lisa herself has the genotype for Huntington's and is due to develop the disease later in life. Now I'm seeing that if any point along the chain breaks, the whole story kind of falls apart. Ughhh this is tough. Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad that you at least appreciated the effort haha.
  4. Thanks for the responses. A lot of the short stories I've been reading recently are a little ambiguous, so I decided to try something similar. And this being my first attempt.... well, I'm not entirely surprised by the outcome. Hmm, I am surprised by this one. The brother does have Huntington's disease, and I'll try to find a way to make it more clear. Yeah, I should probably take this one out. I was intending for it to explain why Lisa's more worried about her unborn sibling than her dying father, but it doesn't explain much of anything. I tried to prop up the setting to imply that Lisa's father is very rich and very powerful, and that Lyn's access to DNA comes from him. I might add in a few more details about this. I do think I added some cues that the brother means more to Lisa than her father's clones, which was meant to imply that he's not a clone. I can look into making this more clear. I think I established that Lisa finding more than 40ish repeating CAG units at the gene is clearly a bad thing. I might just need to make it more clear that the sisters are specifically looking for Huntington's disease, which I think would indicate that Lisa being crushed means that the sibling does in fact have Huntington's. I think I went overboard on trying to avoid "telling," and may have left their motivations ambiguous since it's so obvious to the sisters that their sibling has a high chance of inheriting the disease even if it isn't to the reader. Ah, I might need more explanation on this one. Being a real "scientist" that gets paid for practicing science can require a lot of post-graduate education and practice, and if Lisa wanted to be a research professor at a university for example she would probably be well into her thirties by the time she got a position. At that point, she might not have a lot of time left. The random letters aren't supposed to be clear yet, and the vase and the maids are supposed to indicate that Lisa's really angry and that she does live in a posh place. I'll try to set up the "rich and powerful family" idea earlier on. Dad's sort of a mad scientist. I mentioned that the girls were step-sisters, and I didn't intend for either of them to be seen as clones. Is there anything in particular that makes it come off that way? Because I should definitely fix that point of confusion now. Yeah, I was wondering if this would be confusing. The part that's the most important is as Lyn says "it’s caused by a dominant allele in a single gene." Does that statement make sense? The first time they do take over her thoughts, but later in the story she's reading holographic projections of the letters. I do mention multiple times that she's "counting" the letters in her sibling's DNA, so unfortunately I'm not entirely clear where the confusion around the letters taking over her thoughts is coming from. And you're right, that's not the story. This one might require a bit more background. Most inherited diseases are only a problem if one parent has it and the other is a carrier (which is rare), but because the mutation in Huntington's is dominant, only one parent needs to have the disease for the children to have a 50/50 chance of inheriting the disease. Lyn doesn't need to look at her own DNA since she's not related to Lisa's father, and as for Lisa... well, that's one matter that I should try to clear up. The clones themselves don't matter, but I like how Lyn uses them to portray Lisa's compassion for her unborn sibling as largely hypocritical. For now I think I'm going to keep them. Lisa's emotional investment in her brother's Huntington's disease is one of the key parts of the story, and I think it's important to imply that her feelings aren't always perfectly rational. Well, thank you for your feedback and sorry for the monster response. I'm feeling a bit more motivated about this one, since confusing ideas are easier to fix than bad writing. Please don't feel obligated to answer all of the questions I asked back; specific feedback around a few confusing points I mentioned would be ideal but I know that you're busy people. Have a great day!
  5. Hello, everyone. I originally wrote this story for a class so that's why the word count is a little weird, but I wanted to see what people thought about this story outside of a school environment and my teacher says it's fine to submit stories we wrote for class to other outlets. There's a lot of swearing in this story, and all I can say is that I've been spending too much time around other college students. Please do let me know if you feel like the swearing doesn't serve a functional purpose. Also, there's not exactly a tag for this and I don't anticipate it being seen as particularly offensive, but one of the characters is a fond of assigning genders to unborn human babies based on presence or absence of the Y-chromosome/SRY gene, aka "biology". Also, I'd like to know if people are able to follow the story and understand what's going on (especially the ending). In the same vein of clarity, I'd appreciate hearing about whether or not all of the science concepts I used make any sense, or if you know more about genetics than I do, whether or not I'm messing anything up. Other than that, I'd like to hear anything you have to say. Hearing positive feedback usually motivates me to get back to working on writing, but of course I do need to hear what needs to be fixed in the story. Hopefully your honest opinion involves a bit of both. Thanks!
  6. Uhh I know this is late but since it doesn't look like anyone else is submitting I guess I could toss out a piece tomorrow, if that's all right. I'm not sure if it's a story I want to do anything big with, but since submissions have been a little slow I figure why not? So yeah. If it's okay, I have a story to submit for October 23rd.
  7. Me with religion. I wasn't really raised religious, and I sometimes feel like I have to read extensively about every religion that's ever existed before I try to make my own in a fantasy setting. Part of that was because writing deeply devoted religious characters didn't really work when I tried it out on my own without proper research. I tried to combine religious concepts with outside material that I was familiar with, and it just felt like the religious characters were spouting pseudoscience. Definitely not how the majority of people in the world today should have their faith represented. But when I do research, I don't want to have a bias towards religions I'm more familiar with, and I haven't yet found tenets and theology that really would enhance a fantasy setting for me. So I've decided at least for now to focus less on religion, since I don't want to misrepresent it or have it feel one-dimensional. There are plenty of other setting details that can be just as cool. Doesn't mean all of my characters have to be agnostic/atheist/unaffiliated, but I don't need to go super deep into theology to make a setting work. Oh, wow. That's a monster read. Skimming through it, I saw that I cited in a college paper one of the sources she used about the Ottomans. It took some research about outside cultures for me to realize that women being cloistered doesn't always mean they're completely oppressed, and that women with restricted liberties could still wield immense power. Interesting stuff.
  8. I know I'm not around very often (or at all), but I might take NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to get back into serious writing. I've been working on a lot of experimental side projects that I don't think will ever see the light of day, but I'm feeling compelled to finish them and they always go longer than I expect. D: Although I do feel @Mandamon's point about getting bad writing when I go too quickly. Although joke's on me because I always get bad writing no matter what. Heh, heh...*smile slowly slides off of face* But yeah, I hope to give it a try and see how it goes. I have several different novel ideas in mind but I don't think that any of them are as fleshed out as I want them to be at this point... and then there's always organic chemistry to keep up with. *Tears hair out* Best of luck to everyone else trying NaNoWriMo.
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.