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  1. That's an interesting place to start out with, most people I've met did not start with the magic system. Investiture is great, but the universal magic rules in the Cosmere exist in breadcrumbs scattered throughout the series, and most of the time those breadcrumbs are right next to spoilers. (For instance, Mistborn: Secret History reveals a lot about certain Cosmere aspects and various organizations. Very cool. It is also has spoilers for every single Mistborn book currently written, so don't read it until you've read at least the original trilogy.) Still, I'd say the long haul is worth it, also because Brandon writes very good books. Elantris happens to be my favorite of the group. I can't offer any help there. I mostly use outlines myself. I've heard that you can skip outlines if you follow tropes closely enough because the story writes itself, but aside from that ... not right now. If you're more specific, I might be able to offer better advice (like genre of novel, for instance).
  2. I happen to listen to audiodramas with a mild frequency, and I wanted to try my hand at one. I had an idea a while back for one which was a more 'supernatural' themed one, where the two main characters are a supernatural hunter and a local detective. The gimmick to it would be that it would be told almost entirely through flashbacks - the opening scene is the hunter being put into an interrogation room and going through a series of cases with the detective. Each 'episode' would be a single case file which would be told mostly through the two discussion the facts and the evidence around each case within the interrogation room. The reason for this was more practical than anything else - this kind of a set-up would let you get away with only two main voice actors, the 'hunter' and the 'detective'. And, full disclosure, the setup is based off the early season of The Magnus Archive. Unfortunately, I never managed to get anything more than a few pages of notes and a half-baked script for the pilot, but I would definitely be interested in dusting off my old files and seeing what I could work with for a collaborative project.
  3. Morgana Pendragon, older half-sister of Arthur Pendragon was sold by their father Uther Pendragon to the Unseelie Fey Court in exchange for a glamour. She was raised by fey, and thus got the nickname 'le Fey', meaning 'of the Fey'. Some knights I don't really expect anyone to know (I've never heard of Agravain before I started doing research), but given that Kay is the main character, I'd kind of hope that the name recognition will be higher. I might change some things, depending on other people's reaction. I chose it this way because I wanted to keep an aura of mystery around the Knights. There's essentially nothing more than glorified battle mechs, but it kind of kills the sense of chivalry and knighthood if you explain ahead of time exactly what they can do. For that reason, the full extent of the Knights will never be revealed. I can tell you that the tale that Caius says is about 60% accurate and the rest if actually corrupted history. There is a sword with Excalibur written on the side, but it was made after the Knight. V has a few motivations which will only be revealed later on, but he does have a good reason to join the quest, unfortunately, you'll just have to take my word on it. And, that's basically the plot of the book - the main character is going on a quest to stop the evil queen. I'll have to work on the initial confrontation between C and A. Sure, just reply to my email and I'll send you the rest. I'm glad to hear this was your response, and I've been toying with the idea of starting here, but I don't want to give up some of the worldbuilding and characterization of the first few chapters. I suppose I could start in media res and then resort to flashbacks, but that seems ... kind of cheap to me? Also, there's not going to be another proper airship fight until the far end of the book. They will fight a dragon, though. It's ripped off wholesale from the Hungry City Chronicles. There's a ship called the Jenny Haniver which gets passed around the main cast of characters, and I just really liked the ship name, so I gave it a small adjustment. On that note, have you read the Hungry City Chronicles, and if not, then I would recommend it. Well, the good news is that you seem to be enjoying it anyway! Second vote out of two for moving the information forward. There is a very good chance I'll have to juggle around the first couple of chapters. I would like to, but the amount of plot that her very presence would spoil prevents me from giving her a fully-detailed POV chapter. To whit, if you care about that kind of stuff... Answers: I should be a little clearer about this - 'dark iron' isn't meant to be literal, the knights are made from an enhanced alloy which is mostly composed of iron and carbon. The reconstruction is done at the molecular level, and the I-drives that power the Knights are basically magic (technically, they're nano-bot super-swarms which also can manipulate gravity, but this will never be even hinted at). There's no elemental association to the Knights, just thematic ones. Machine spirits can bolster the metal they're inhabiting, but the range varies - C's can strengthen his whole knight, but Ir can only strengthen her core engine. Scaling - I think that my scaling is fine. This is set in a medieval society, so the average height was closer to 5', giving the Knight a 6:1 ratio. The weapon I had in mind was a dirk, which can be up to 2 feet in length, so if you scale that up you wind up with a 12' dagger, which is closer to what I had in mind.
  4. This is the final chapter for the first arc of Bravely Defiant, and finally has a fight between two Knights, as well as the exposition and background for setting the stakes. Some familiarity with Arthurian legend is assumed for this part. In the event that you are completely unfamiliar with it, I've included a helpful summary of the various knights I've based characters off of. I'm looking for all your reactions, but mostly as to how much you're interested in the larger world and plot as a result of the information in this chapter. Also, try to guess what Caius's title as a Knight is.
  5. It seems to be that the mechanic for the heart transplant works as such: the vampire gives their heart to a dying human at which point it has a few effects. The first is that the new vampiric heart assumes the function of the old heart and allows the recipient to make a full recovery. The second is that it turns the target into a thrall. Classically, thralls have their free will stripped away and are forced to follow the orders of their master, but this seems to work slightly differently. Instead of straight up mind control, the recipient instead will feel an intense sense of the romantic love towards the donor vampire, and will be conditioned to accept anything the donor tells them, such as, for instance, the claim that the donor is a vampire. The recipient will also be disposed towards obeying outlandish suggestions from the donor (i.e. "You want to be a vampire"), as well as the recipient seeking a romantic relationship with the donor completely unprompted. While this isn't brainwashing is the 'classic' sense of full control, it is a situation where the recipient has no choice in regards to a very strong romantic relationship and incredibly prone to suggestion. While the ethical backlash is mitigated from D's perspective, given that she didn't choose to donate, the fact that it affects her as well means that she's been forced into the relationship too. This is not exactly what you would consider to be ethical, by just about any standards. Alright, I've jotted a few things down, and if you want to discuss anything further, than just ask. Vampiric Heart: This seems to be some kind of mechanic for vampires to train and recruit followers, ignoring the Machiavellian maxim of 'Better to be fear than loved' and choosing the opposite approach. Vampires would approach dying humans replaced their failing organs with the vampire's own, turning them into love-thralls. After the feeling of love had settled and the thrall was suitably in control, the vampire would change their prey into a full vampire and retake their organs, repeating the process as necessary to build themselves an army. These hearts are also magical and ignore pesky things like 'blood type' and 'body rejecting the donation'. Reproduction: This is a very big deal, and most vampire literature will ignore the implications of this. If vampires can reproduce, then they are their own independent species from humans with the unerring ability to recruit from humanity. If they can't, then they're nothing more than a parasite on the human race. Given that these vampires can (apparently) reproduce with others vampires, they aren't 'undead', or 'unliving' - they are, in fact, living beings, and while they seem to have some unique qualities based on magic (such as the ability to survive without a heart) that doesn't qualify them as dead. Blood sucking: The neck is the classic place because that's were the jugular vein is. The heart is a better place for blood, but that's a bit difficult to get too under normal circumstances and the next largest (femoral vein or artery) is located in the upper thigh and isn't exactly an easily accessible place. If you aren't seeking quantity and rather just want to insert your vampiric DNA (or whatever it is transforms the target), then the best option is to emulate a phlebotomist and choose the crook of the elbow. Vampire asexuality: While it doesn't make sense for a vampire, who's race has a mechanic for creating mutual love-thralls to not be affected by said mutual bonds and in fact be asexual, the same argument could be said for humans. Asexuality is, quite naturally, aggressively non-selected by the evolution process which favors people who want to reproduce. The reason people can be asexual is because human beings are really complicated and there really isn't such a thing as a single gene which controls a single aspect of human psychology, so an asexual vampire is no different than an asexual human.
  6. Request to submit for next week. It's going to be the final chapter in the first arc of Bravely Defiant.
  7. Thoughts As I Go: Pg 1: While the reveal of vampirism does explain a lot about the surgery, there’s still a bit wrong with this. Surgery is done in a sterile room (at best, the mother would be allowed to watch through glass windows) and a removed heart would immediately be put on ice. Pg. 1: Also, on that note, it’s hard enough for a full grown adult to handle a heart transplant. A three-day old baby, almost certainly not. It might be better to have the heart transplant done when D is a little older, perhaps around twelve, and adjust the other ages in the story accordingly. Pg. 3: So what did vampires do before heart surgery existed? This seems to be an odd gimmick of the vampires done to groom humans into potential partners which works with terrifying efficiency, but heart surgery is a rather recent invention, so… Pg. 7: Didn’t she drink tea the previous day? Pg. 9: How is D deceased? Wasn’t she born a vampire? Pg. 10: At this point, I’m not sure if D’s problem is that she’s objecting to be brainwashed into romance or if she’s just asexual. Or both. Pg. 12: Ick. That’s painful. A wrist is a very sensitive area of the body, and the veins are kind of horrible. Crook of the elbow is a better idea. Overall: I very much like the concept of an asexual vampire, especially as a satire given the unfortunate oversaturation of the genre with teen romance, but the execution here is a little lacking, mostly because of how much of a stickler I am for biology. The mechanics of the vampiric heart swap is never fully explained, and as a result, I’m left with more questions than I am with answers about what exactly is going on. Like I mentioned in my notes, this seem to be a full-blown brainwashing technique - implant a heart into a human and they basically become a thrall, albeit through mutual love which affects the donor vampire as well, which does fit into classic vampire lore well enough. D, for whatever reason, doesn’t seem to experience this, and the story is about that. I like the concept and I think that this could be a very well done short story, but I would like a clearer sense about what is supposed to happen with the heart-donor mechanic, and also how exactly the vampires in this word work. The characters are good. The love interest comes across as rather flat, which works to the story’s benefit as he’s essentially brainwashed, and I found D’s feelings always consistent and clearly defined. If you want to discuss the exact worldbuilding mechanics, I’d be game - I’ve never really tried designing biological vampires, which these appear to be, despite all the story's protest, given they are capable of reproduction.
  8. I'm not sure I would call myself a 'firearms expert', more of a 'antique weapons nut', but let's see what I could do. The pistol I'm envisioning right now is the Colt 1911, though a Luger makes more sense ... except a Luger uses an 8-round magazine, as opposed to the Colt's 7-round, and you specified the main character's gun having seven bullets (which actually means it has a six-round magazine, unless V forgot to load one in the chamber.) It is also not a great weapon to use against a bear. The Luger used a maximum of 9mm ammunition, which is comparable to a US .358 round, and it is a pistol round, meaning that it lack penetration and stopping power and while you could use it to kill a human, it will not be good against a charging bear. A better weapon would be a rifle (because you can shoot them at a long distance and it has penetration) or a shotgun (because shotgun). If I could recommend a pistol here, it would be the abandoned Salvator Dormus pistol, the first semi-automatic pistol built upon the principals of Maxim's machine gun. The pistol was markedly inferior to later pistols and was abandoned, with only a handful ever being commissioned. Nowadays, it's a rare and valuable antique, but It wouldn't be far-fetched for someone important in a village to buy one on the cheap when the military decided to upgrade it's weapons from them. It has a five round magazine (plus one in the chamber). For P's rifle, honestly using your grandfather's .22 is perfectly fine. The standard rifle for WWI companies was a repeating bolt-action rifle (the US 1903 Springfield, British Short Magazine Lee-Enfield, or the German Gewehr 98) but a village defending itself would be using whatever it had on hand and an old single-shot rifle would hardly be out of place.
  9. Thoughts As I Go: Pg. 1 – What happened to the other two sabotuers? Did they get caught by the guards, or did they run away? Pg. 4 – I’m not having a great sense of what’s happening. There’s an explosion and some kind of mech is shielding Vi? Pg. 5 – Seven round semiautomatic pistol gives me the year 1911 as a benchmark for the approximate technology age. It does make me wonder why they don’t have rifles with clips. Pg. 7 – It’s a pity that the Z is using Pa’s gun, I’m curious what the rank-and-file Z weapons are. Pg. 11 – I’m now picturing AT-ATs for the massive Z mechs. Pg. 15 – I was wondering if Ma was actually going to have a decent motive and train of thought Pg. 16 – Nevermind. There doesn’t have actually seem to have been a plan other than ‘flail wildly and hope it works somehow’. Overall: This seems to be a standard ‘war is heck’ story, with vague, but firm stakes. There’s really two parts to this, the opening scene and then the negotiation scene, so I’ll deal with them separately. The opening war scene is fine, but it could use a little more dieselpunk if you want to commit to it. Swap out the nameless enemy mechs for Panzers and there’s really no difference. The action itself was nicely done, but the weapons confused me a little – generally a pistol, especially a clip-fed semiautomatic, is reserved for military officers, it doesn’t make much sense for someone in a peasant militia to own one without some kind of explanation. The transition could be better. It took me quite bit into the second part to realize that Vi went back to the Z’s camp to deal with them. Romanian is also an interesting choice to give to an invading army in a dieselpunk setting - rewind the clock to the 1600s and it makes a lot more sense. The negotiation scene, which is Vi against Ma, could stand to be better as well. As it stands, Ma is kind of a crude caricature of a villain - he comes across as someone willing to sacrifice a lot to save a little when the little is close to him but also too stupid to realize that he can’t save the little either. (Seriously? A commando raid against the enemy when they have hostages?) If you added a little to his motivation, say, gave him a line about how the entire town would be dead even if they did turn over to the Zs when because they would get up in the crossfire, then I think that would go a long way towards making him a more sympathetic villain. Vi himself is written quite well over the entire exchange.
  10. This is the third chapter to my somewhat non-traditional but also very-traditional fantasy novel Bravely Defiant. This is the start of the inciting incident to finally get the plot moving, but it's also an excuse for some good ol' fashioned ship-to-ship combat. (Except, you know, steampunk. So not so 'ol' fashioned'.) I'm looking in feedback for everything, but here are three specific questions: Is any part of the combat too 'over the top'? Does any part of it take too long, especially considering that we're already 10,000 words in and the plot hasn't really started yet? How are the characterizations for the characters who haven't really been around a lot yet?
  11. Can I have a slot for next Monday, if there's one available?
  12. Thoughts As I Go: Pg. 1 – Did you mention the types of books that the MC’s mother writes? I don’t remember if you did, though it has been a while since the first chapter. Pg. 2 – Being asexual and aromantic shouldn’t disqualify a person from experiencing unrequited love. The exact number of different types of love differ based on how you count, but eros is just one kind of love. Pg. 4 – I would have An’s reaction at this point, too. If not for the fact that I know this is going to be setting up a plot point of the novel. In An’s situation, I’d advise a handy can of Mace. Or a taser. Pg. 5 – I’d just like to clarify this for my own edification. The poster itself isn’t a cutesy joke? Overall: Surprising basically no one, awkward high school relationships are, in fact, awkward. I’m more engaged with the supernatural elements of this story, so I’m slightly disappointed that the supernatural elements are completely glossed over. I’m also having not having such an easy time identifying with the MC’s motivations right now, somewhat ironic given how much the MC is thinking about every interaction.
  13. Glad to have you aboard, then. And, yes, that's basically the premise I use when describing the book, except I use 'Arthurian legend, but steampunk, but also mecha', except we haven't gotten up to the mecha yet. (Give it a chapter...) I'm not sure I want to definitively say it, but in a broad nutshell, the Kingdom is roughly around the Renaissance in terms of technology (1600s), the Southern Republics are Early Industrial age (1800s). Luin and Al-Andalus are slightly behind the Kingdom in terms of technology, close to the Late Middle Ages. The Drives that they use to power airships, however, are basically magic, so there's that. The Kingdom's gunpowder and rifle technology really isn't that great, so they rely on their weapons for the most part, especially since they have shields that can block rifle fire. As far as the gun, that's a flare gun based off the original Very flare gun, which had a 1" barrel. If you're unfamiliar, in pistol caliber, that's a 100-caliber round or roughly 25mm. To clarify, if you tried firing a round that powerful with one hand, you'd shatter your wrist. If you tried it with both hands, you'd shatter both your wrists. But, since it's a flare gun, it doesn't have the kickback a pistol would have. And if you're wondering why C didn't noticed it was a flare gun, it's because C isn't very knowledgeable about guns. I'm glad this is working! Unfortunately, since the entire plot is driven by C's past failure, I can't just give away all of it. That said, the specifics of just what happened will be given after the next major plot point. That's around where I want her character to be. I'm going to go back to the first chapter and flesh out her medical skills a bit, but I'm glad to see the characterization works. Yes, basically. The macguffin here is the Lady of the Lake, or more specifically, the quest is to the Lake where the Lady resides. Nope, sorry. This is actually ripped wholesale from Arthurian legend. Aglovale was a knight who ended up marrying a Moorish princess (he met her while on a quest for the Holy Grail, or something), so I incorporated that into C's backstory. Yeah, I actually need to figure this out. Originally Sh was supposed to have a Scottish accent, but this was thwarted by the fact that I have no idea what a genuine Scottish accent is, so I decided to just have her slip into a light brogue every now and then. The funny thing is that her other name is based after Charlemagne, so technically she's more Frankish than anything, but giving her a French accent would add some stereotypes to her character that I'd like to avoid. More's the pity considering that the reputation the Franks had in the Middle Ages would have been fine, so I'm kind of stuck here until I get a better idea. Thanks for the feedback! That's good. Not as good. Let me discuss the female characters first, because that's really a more significant issue and one I'm not really able to do anything about. This book is heavily inspired by Arthurian lore, and Arthurian lore, being your standard ye olde fantasy from the Middle Ages, doesn't exactly have a cornucopia of women to choose from and those that do exist within the lore are usually either trophies, shrews, or witches; and that's at best. Not to mention that, the crew of the Jenny notwithstanding, I restricted myself to only using character that I could base in Arthurian lore, and that is actually basing them in the lore, rather than just taking the name and rewriting the character. To that end, there are thirteen named Knights of the Round in the book (yes, that number is by deliberate choice) and only two of them are female (one of them being the current High Queen and the other is based off Merlin's apprentice Nimue). The rest of the female characters fall between abysmal choices, or decent choices, but too closely related to people who are far more important (cough Percival cough). The crew of the Jenny can have more females characters, but it's currently sitting at a score of 2-2 (Sh + Ir vs. Ve + Sa) or 1-1, depending on how you want to count. (That is to say, Sa is as much of a male as Ir is a female, and that's all I'm saying about either character for now.) Long story short, unless something drastically changes, the number of female character in Bravely Defiant is going to be the same number of female characters in Lord of the Rings. As for the other problem - my intention was to have C come across as distant, a mark which I obviously failed to reach. Sh is meant to be a naturally cheerful person who tries to help people, which is supposed to come into early conflict with C who is just looking to be left alone for the most part. If it's not too much to ask, could you please clarify what exactly you picked up on? Given my lack of female characters, I would really hate for Sh's character and relationships to turn sour, though I suspect a large part of your response may boil down to just stripping large portions of the dialogue away. (Which I probably need to do anyway.) Thank you for the feedback! It's responses like these which is why I submit to this group.
  14. Hi all. This is the second chapter to my somewhat non-traditional but also very-traditional fantasy novel Bravely Defiant. The setting, as some of you may have noticed (and if you didn't, you're going to), is heavily inspired by Arthurian lore. The beginning of the story is meant to be more of a slow burn, seeing as this chapter has a heavier emphasis on the setting and characterization, not to mention that there's a bit more being fleshed out to C's backstory and just how he ended up that way. Given that, what I'm looking for especially is for your impression of how the story and characters are establishing themselves, especially personality wise. And, lastly, for those of you who are more familiar with Arthurian lore, how exactly do you see this story playing out?
  15. I'd like to submit for next monday, if a slot is available.
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