CommandanteLemming

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19 Noble-Blooded

About CommandanteLemming

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    Washington, DC
  • Interests
    Global Politics, Elections, Anything Australian, Star Trek, Creative Writing (Obviously)
  1. "Random thought - is it pronounced "el-EYES" or "el-IS"? Actually, it could also be "el-ICE" or even "EEL-is" or something... How is it then?" Just a note - this is a not-uncommon name among Americans of my generation (millenials) - I've known a lot of girls named Elyse or Elise or some variation. They all pronounce it "el-EES" (I think it's French in origin so think of the "Champs Elysees")
  2. Once again, I'm late, but I want to know how it ends. This time I'll write as I read - I imagine you may have already made changes base on feedback (which I mostly haven't read yet) - but I'll try to go through the second half more thoroughly. I'll say up front that I absolutely LOVED what you did with this story - and the ending was great. What i've written below were my real-time reactions as I read, and I was harsh on a lot of the descriptions and dialogue in the middle. But that said I really think the concept is fantastic. PAGE 1 Okay...so we see Elyse as the girl from the fan pretty early - trying to decide if I like that. This is almost like a chapter break, so I'm wondering if the reveal should wait longer. Still this is interesting. "The woman on the fan is Elyse. But how can that be? What does it mean?"....I don't think you need to spell this out, we're all thinking it. "In a scenery like the one with Elyse you would not notice, but if you paid close attention to a picture of waves crashing against a rocky coast, you would realize that they were repeating in the same pattern. It was very subtle, so most people did not pick up on it." - you mentioned that you were not a native English speaker, and I'm amazed by people writing (well) in second languages because that would boggle my mind. That said, one thing to think about is that you are not using contractions ("Wouldn't", "Didn't") - adding more contractions to dialogue and thoughts will probably help flow, as it's very rare for to use the proper "Would not," "Did not," "Does not," or "Cannot" in actual speech. Also if this image of Elyse in the straw hat is in the fan, and the fan is indestructible, how is she now not in the fan? Debating about whether we need the whole internal monologue about how the books are in the study and the parents aren't home - might move the action better if he just goes and gets them rather than planning it out. "Sometimes James suspected that his father was quite eccentric." Haha! ... No really? I love this line because it shows that he thinks there's an element of normalcy to the craziness. I'm getting a lot of descriptions of actions like how he opens and closes doors - I think this probably slows things down, and to the degree you can, try to make your descriptions more sensory and focussed on how it makes him feel rather than just describing the things that have to be done before he is in position. Overdoing blocking is a problem in my own writing, so I feel your pain here :-) Loving the description of the office and how the desk seems to suck light out of things :-) PAGE 2 I keep thinking James' internal thoughts are too detailed an coherent - maybe have them trail off more or something. I don't read him as having a Sherlock Holmes type mind, and he's spoiling the readers' fun a bit by laying it all out for us. This is a mystery at some level, so tease us more with clues rather than telling us the solution. Thinking about the fan and how you describe it, I don't remember from the first piece that the fans were actually animated - not sure if that was me missing it or whether it wasn't there, but maybe do more to ensure we know that the fans are obviously magical and the images move earlier in the story. "he was pretty sure that he knew when he had dealt with Elyse’s captured essence and when he had talked to the real one." - I don't get it. If her captured essence is in the fan then he wouldn't be able to interact...or does that just mean before she was wiped. Clarify what you mean by this. Oh...I get it...but I still don't understand how the captured version got out of the fan. PAGE 3 "Then a visible change went through her. Her face hardened and her eyes set in determination. “So, where do we start?”" To easy - comes off as a split personality (which given your plot is entirely possible) but not sure that's what you intended. Not a fan of the description of them setting to work - they seem to know too much about what they are looking for and how to find it, especially Elyse who I would expect to be dazed, confused, and unfamiliar with researching magic. "It would mean the end of a legacy and probably also the end of financial stability for their family." Again I think this is too eloquent and two perceptive for internal monologue. Mr. Winchester and James' father are the same person right? I keep trying to figure this out. "Now is as good as any moment, he thought an hour later." - this is a bit of an odd transition. It's instantaneous while giving us a big time jump. i find it jarring. PAGE 4 Okay - Winchester and the father are the same guy. I'd pick one name and stick with it. Either "James' Father" or "Mr. Winchester" - I'd go with Jame's Father. I like the explanation of the magic system - although you're not telling me what a "focus" actually is - you note that it's not an object, but what IS it and how doe you interact with it? “How can you talk like that? Her life is worth as much as yours and mine.” - this is a bit preachy. PAGE 5 The opening and closing of the fan is AWESOME! But this argument is too blatantly philosophical. Oh WOW!! totally didn't see the mother thing coming!!! Nice work! "“Do you see now? By destroying my focus I would kill your mother.” - just say "Do you see now?"....trust me, we all get the implications....this is deep. PAGE 6 Love, love, LOVE the ending. More specifically, I love that you showed us what happened without telling us all the details, I think you could do this more with a lot of your other detail. On the whole I REALLY like this story and think you really have something good here. There's a lot of language that needs polished and some technical work on how you approach description but that's all secondary. The story itself is fantastic!!!!!
  3. I figured I should probably take a break from sending novel chapters this week as a lot of people are busy , I submit pretty often, and a lot of people were out for the last "Haruwin" chapter. But since it's a slow week, I'll toss out a short story I've been working on and see what people think. Normally I don't do shorts because I'm interested in getting in-depth, but this concept stuck in my head for a while, and I wanted to take a shot at doing something from beginning to end. I won't spoil too much except to say that this is a a send-up of conspiracy theories from my vantage point as someone who actually works in the Washington machine. I've always said that the main reason I don't believe in government conspiracies is that the government is too stupid to actually pull one off successfully.
  4. I'm in the same boat as Mark - I've got stuff I can send but only if theres room. I've been submitting a lot so I don't want to bore people or turn them off with something labelled "Chapter 6" or whatever. Granted I've also got a short story lying around so I could send that for filler. Either way - put me down as "filler if, and only if, there's room".
  5. Apologies for just now getting around to this but it's been a tough few weeks for reading - and I knew I had to read Part 1 before Part 2. A lot of this has already been chewed over, so I'll keep it brief. I was very pleasantly surprised, as I tend not to like slow-moving period romances, which is what I thought I was reading at first. I'm very, very interested by what's going on with the fans - you've teased it nicely and it's a very interesting little magic system - and clearly something that they take great lengths to protect. I'm also interested in the nature of Elyse's duties when she goes out to the field - I got the feeling early on that she might be suffering some type of abuse (other than the memory-wipe) - and maybe that's just me - but I want to know a lot more about who she is and what exactly happened. There were a few linguistic fumbles but that's negligible. The only thing I really didn't like was the repeated use of variations on the them "my dad would kill me if he found out." I also found that the later part of this piece read a lot smoother for me than the beginning, but maybe that's just because the beginning teased me into thinking that it was a type of story I generally dislike - and then it got weird and magical an fun. All in all - cool little piece!
  6. I have a rough mental outline of the order of the flashback scenes (I had a lot of pre-written history to pair down to what was relevant to the characters), but I'm mostly discovery writing the modern day stuff. That's a deviation for me compared to Millenial Reign which is more planned. That has it's goods and bads - the good being that I'm able to pace it a bit better, the bad being that I'm still not sure exactly what the main plot is for Prax and Anna - and I'd like them to have a bit more action than just functioning as the storytellers for what's essentially becoming "It's A Wonderful Life" on acid. I know what they need to see and roughly what I'm writing toward and how it ends for Praxedes, but I'm still trying to figured out the modern-day plot arc to go with the one told in flashback. Also, Praxedes' ancestor isn't who you think she is.
  7. So, we're flipping back to Haruwin this week - expect the stories to continue alternating without clear logic to which shows up in your inbox :-) To bring you up to speed - the story is set in a reality where the Selk'nam tribe at the southern tip of South America has survived to become a modern nation called the "Great Haruwin". Our protagonist is Praxedes Nam Chon, a grad student in History who serves as the resident assistant in the dormitories of her university and spends her free time playing an online history game called "PM2". Last submission, her night was interrupted by a mysterious figure named Adah who moved in a new student out of schedule. The next morning, Praxedes found the new girl, Anna, to be rebellious, disoriented, and unsure where she was. The chapter ended with Anna revealing that she also plays PM2, but claimed to have the same screen name as Praxedes. We pick up mid-chapter to finish off their conversation and see what's going on - and then things get even weirder. Interested to see what you all think. Quick note if you catch it that yes, Anna's last name has been slightly changed from Malihi to Malinski for reasons that become apparent in the text.
  8. I'll just flag now that I have something for Monday. I have new "Haruwin" material :-)
  9. Sorry it took me so long to get to this - not a great reading week for me but I wanted to at least get one read, and I wouldn't miss a W&S chapter. I like putting this action in the prologue - it sets up Benam's identity nicely for later. I also really like how you're setting up the fact that he thinks the praise is misplaced - he did something heroic but at some level sees himself as a charlatan. The Theracians are interesting, but setting them up this early means their culture better play a big role later. One thing i don't like is the bishop and the fact that his prayer is fully written out - it slows things down and it's a bit of a heavy handed way of worldbuilding. The king's speech is good - I wonder if narrating the whole ceremony is slowing things down though - but the actual writing is solid. I find the king an interesting chap. One quibble is that I don't like the use of the word "bullying" - insufficiently anachronistic verbiage for this type of fantasy. "Cheering and shouting with angry bravado rolled around the square." - like that sentence for some reason. "the crowd’s broken shouting and urging ringing in his ears." - not a fan of "urging" ringing in my ears - not a sound I can place. Just have their shouts ring in his ears. The description of Benam pulling the row of handles is exquisite. Like that he's raging with anger at the invaders and simultaneously disgusted with his own actions. I like the Threracian commander - but I'd consider making him even more aggressive/disgusted - maybe have him spit in Benam's face or something - just an idea. Okay - now I think the kin is one sick SOB. Wow. And finally, the burning of the bodies is interesting. I really want to know why he did that and that sets you up nicely. Funny enough this reminds me a lot of my own prologue for "Millenial Reign" - but executed better. You gave me some really interesting things to think about in reworking my own stuff here. Really love what's going on in Benam's head. Only real qualm is that I would cut the Bishop entirely or shrink his role dramatically. You'll have time to build the religion later. Good stuff!
  10. Tal does not sleep. Tal is immortal, all knowing, evolved beyond our primitive state of consciousness. Our concept of sleep is meaningless to him. Tal is... *Lemming run over by rampaging minotaur before completing thought*
  11. Haha no worries - I should have been clearer.
  12. Thanks for the comments - I'll definitely fix the carbonara thing - it was an edit mistake. I looked up what carbonara was, and it's a pretty standard issue dish, so originally Dragovich ragged on her for ordering "basic spaghetti". I think I changed it to "red sauce" on a later edit without double checking. On the election thing - I actually wrote my undergrad thesis on the process of electing the pope and attempting to data-model the conclave process. So I know waaaaaaaaay too much detail about that. What you're witnessing at the restaurant is one of the "prattiche" ("practices"), informal meetings of cardinals that take place around Rome BEFORE the election. That's where most of the politicking happens. They all try to get candidacies organized before they get locked in, because once they get locked in the first ballot happens pretty quick. Most Vatican journalists scramble like crazy trying to get notes out of the prattiche, because that's how you figure out who the candidates are. You're actually going to see at least one more prattiche session, and a lot more politicking once they get locked in. Actually Cardinal Giovanni Benelli said to have bragged about engineering the 1976 election of John Paul I over dinner at his favorite restaurant - so this is based off an actual event.
  13. I'm late to the party on this one but at least wanted to say I started it. Only got through the prologue but imagery was vivid and extra points for anyone that uses minotaurs. Honestly, I had to put it down because the minotaur death scene had a little too much emotional impact. That's nothing against you or your writing, I just don't handle suffering-and-death sequences well because I have difficulty detaching from characters. But I wanted to let you know I at least took a hack at it - and obviously it's a very interesting world. Good luck with this and I'm interested to see what comes out of this world.
  14. I read it more as a piece of fiction than as a realistic assessment of the power of laxatives - I would classify this as comedy, and within comedy I would probably classify it as slapstick... a subgenre that does not always have a grounding in physical reality (In a realistic world, Wile E. Coyote would not have survived his first cartoon). Hence, based on the prose, I think we can safely assume that the author does not intend to kill Chad - and more importantly it is implied that he not only doesn't die, but doesn't suffer lasting health effects. The ending implies that this really was a harmless prank. That said, reading through this, I did think the dose of laxative might have been strong enough to cause lasting damage - that's easily remedied with ten minutes of research on laxative doses, but at the same time I think that slapstick generally allows for suspension of disbelief when it comes to dropping anvils on people's heads, having them fall off cliffs, survive explosions, etc. So, coming at it in that sense - without expectations of realism - I thought it was a well done little comedy.
  15. I thought this was endearing and cute - to the point that such a thing can be said of a story involving uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting. My only real structural issue with it was tha on the second page you use the phrase "the guy" three Times in on paragraph. That and you never actually say what they put in the food. It's not hugely relevant and I think we all assume it's laxative, but I'd spell it out Other than that, good stuff and I don't really have much critique. Very enjoyable.