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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:10 pm 
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It is my personal opinion that this story is by far the most grim in the entire anthology, to the point where the runner up (Allo's Fortnight, also by Raven) is more part of a pack that contains other Hunter's Moon stories like "Through the Eyes of the Specter of Might Have Been" and "Crucible" than it is a real competitor to Cleaver.

Other than that, a fascinating slice of production history and good analysis from Raven!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:16 pm 
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It is my personal opinion that this story is by far the most grim in the entire anthology, to the point where the runner up (Allo's Fortnight, also by Raven) is more part of a pack that contains other Hunter's Moon stories like "Through the Eyes of the Specter of Might Have Been" and "Crucible" than it is a real competitor to Cleaver.

Oh, come on, it's not all that grim...

~re-reads "Butcher's Cleaver"~

:takei:

Okay, maybe that was a bit grim.

Honestly, though, when I think of horror, this is the sort of thing I think of, the sort of darkness-of-the-mind kind of thing where it's about the horrible things people are capable of. I feel bad for Mayri in this piece, and if I were to write this now, and not for an anthology, I would probably draw out her moral descent a bit more, but I do like this piece. Grisdolf remains my favorite, though, and I love how matter-of-fact he his. For some reason, I love when he just simply explains to Mayri that "you have the knife now." That speaks volumes to some pretty interesting, dark history there.

Other than that, a fascinating slice of production history and good analysis from Raven!

I may have done a little digging in the Wayback Machine for some of that info...

:D


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:59 am 
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I wonder what was the cause of Thaddan's death...

I have to admit, I was expecting something on the same morbidness tier of Tevish's Revel; from my point of view, the most evil acts portrayed in this story are Thaddan's will and Grisdolf's murders, and the second ones are implied to be relatively clean.

That said, the story has a great relationship with the card, and has a high quality narration.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:41 am 
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I wonder what was the cause of Thaddan's death...

Maybe he broke someone's heart...

:shudder:

I have to admit, I was expecting something on the same morbidness tier of Tevish's Revel; from my point of view, the most evil acts portrayed in this story are Thaddan's will and Grisdolf's murders, and the second ones are implied to be relatively clean.

Yeah, it's hard to compete with Tevish's Ravnica series, and "Revel" specifically, in terms of dark tone.

That said, the story has a great relationship with the card, and has a high quality narration.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:56 am 
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24 to go!

"Hollow" by Aaarrrgh is the story of Olav, a lost and scared child trying to find his way home, and remember why he was lost. Something was different. Something had changed. But Olav can do nothing but keep going until he finds what has been lost.

I really like the melancholy of this story. The repetition of the themes of being scared, not being hungry or tired, and trying to remember really do help build into the ultimate reveal, and of course, the way the story cycles back to the beginning lends itself to this sense of perpetual loss that is really kind of heartbreaking.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:17 am 
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Geists are interesting. Some of them seem cognizant of their status as the dead and able to form and retain memories in their 'afterlife' -- basically ordinary beings other than that being dead bit. Others, of course, follow the more "Resdual Haunting" rules where they're caught endlessly repeating some chain of behaviors unaware of their status and largely unaware of the truth of the world around them. Still others seem to slough off their identities entirely and become just spectral... thingswith some basic drives and no real hint of the 'person' they used to be. I find the complicated nature of their portrayal, which also ties in to the major sorts of ghosts and hauntings in earthly folklore, one of the stronger notes in the original Innistrad's already strong world-building.

As for this story, it's a microfiction. I like how it portrays what it portrays and feel that it is the best and most iconic version of itself, which is one of the best things I feel can be said about a microfiction... they're very distilled pieces, so to be the purest distilled execution of a concept is a good thing.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:55 pm 
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Even after all this time, I think Hollow is one of my favorite things I have ever written. And for good reason, as it was on the strength of this story that I gained my M:EMbership.

This story was not based on a specific card, but rather on a piece of lore. I just went reading the lore looking for inspiration and stumbled upon the destruction of Avabruck. And when I read that the spirits of the inhabitants were still walking around the place, I knew I had to tell their story. The format sort of just happened. I started writing and the first paragraph pretty much showed up on the page by itself. The repeated keywords came very quickly after that.

I do recall having to edit the end a bit because some readers couldn't get the reveal, but I don't remember what it originally said.

I just realized that this could be seen as a sequel to Dear Namior.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:57 am 
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23 left.

"Danse Macabre" by Tevish Szat is the story of a younger Lur, the same character who features prominently in "The Cellar Door," as he happens upon a truly strange sight on the shore. Lur, an apprentice stitcher dissatisfied with the ugliness of his work, finds in the moonlight a scene that, to him, spoke of the true beauty of the dead. Captivated, Lur investigates and finds an entirely different kind of necromancy, and from that moment forward, Lur has a new purpose in life.

Of all of Tevish's 13 stories in this anthology, "Danse Macabre" is my personal favorite. I love the ambience of the scene, and the starkly juxtaposed nature of Lur's type of necromancy and that of the mysterious woman. I love how, in this piece, necromancy in general, which is usually portrayed as this dark, sinister force, is presented as something beautiful and artistic in a pretty interesting way. And, of course, I love the wonderfully amoral Lur, who, if he is not given what he wants, simply orchestrates the taking of it. It's of particular interest to me on that front that Lur does not seem angry at the woman, but more so offended at the suggestion that there is anything he cannot learn, which seems a nice reaction to me.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention this line:

Tevish Szat wrote:
It groaned, it stirred, and finally rose

As a great fan of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," I couldn't help but catch that reference:

Coleridge wrote:
They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.

I do love a good Coleridge reference!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:34 am 
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Raven hit on the connection -- Lur is seen again from "The Cellar Door". In terms of the anthology (rather than Chronology) it's our first dead end. The Keynote card was Wakedancer.

This was an interesting one to write. I've talked about the Short Story Contest before, because I wrote several stories for it: my actual entry, "The Cellar Door", and bonus entries "To Purge the Wicked" and "Creatures of the Night". This story was conceived after, when I was working on the dreaded 13 for the Anthology and knew I wanted to link everything up. I was looking through the block spoilers, deciding on what cards I wanted to adapt (A practice that I'm ever so slightly saddened we don't really do anymore after Scars) and hit on Wakedancer and leaving a very fascinating hook. So I penciled in a Wakedancer story, and then when I set about to write it and weave it into the network of Innistrad I was creating, hit upon addressing Lur.

It is interesting, I feel, to have the Lur stories in this order. "The Cellar Door" is Lur's ultimate end -- not just because he perishes, bit because that's where he creates his Magnum Opus, the ultimate expression and supposed perfection of everything that's kept him going for the majority of his fairly long life. "Danse Macabre" is Lur's beginning. True, he was already a Skaberen with the basis of that science in his mind, but he didn't become the Lur he was by "The Cellar Door" until that seaside night. This is the event that shaped him, in some ways utterly, and informed everything we've seen he'd become. It's also the beginning of that Magnum Opus in every sense, both the genesis of the idea and, given the nature of the work in question, the harvest of the first part. The heart he harvests from the Wakedancer's shallow grave is the same one beating in Laurie Blake's new body when, after decades, she puts an end to Lur's reign of terror.

Part of me wonders if Laurie would be capable of learning the Wakedancer's art, but oddly I think that her incautious curiosity coupled with her wit means that if she were to go down a dark road, Lur's own path would be more fitting. I doubt she'd willingly follow either and with SOI I don't intend to explore it unless we're really doing another anthology, but if I had to write a sequel I might go that way.

Oh and the Coleridge reference is both fully intended, and sort of a doubled reference as the Rime of the Ancient Mariner line referred to is also the original flavor text on Scathe Zombies, which have the same statistics as a Wakedancer-made Zombie Token. (The wakedancer herself has the same mana cost, power, and toughness as well)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:42 pm 
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Oh and the Coleridge reference is both fully intended, and sort of a doubled reference as the Rime of the Ancient Mariner line referred to is also the original flavor text on Scathe Zombies, which have the same statistics as a Wakedancer-made Zombie Token. (The wakedancer herself has the same mana cost, power, and toughness as well)

Oh, yeah, I forgot that card used part of the poem. The one I always remember is the original Will-o'-the-Wisp card that used his lines:
"About, about in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch's oils,
Burnt green, and blue and while."


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:26 am 
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22 to go.

"Thirteen" by RavenoftheBlack is a short poem, just thirteen lines, about a dismal Innistrad scene. Although not based on any one particular card, this poem nonetheless attempts to capture the ambience of Innistrad, both as a set and as a setting.

When the Innistrad anthology rolled around, I knew that I wanted to do something with the "Thirteen" theme that Innistrad had running through some of its cards. "Thirteen" was the last one I wrote for the anthology, so I figured that I either had to use that theme or drop the idea. At the time, we were still kind of in the early process for the Anthology. We had put out the call for stories, and people had answered by claiming cards or basic story outlines, but we were still, if memory serves, unsure of how many of those stories would ever actually come about. One of the ideas that was floated around was to use poems as a sort of "filler," not to demean their use in the anthology, but rather because they tended to be a bit more flexible in terms of things like moon placement and such. So one goal of mine was just to get a few poems out there that could be used if needed, but didn't, themselves, need to be used.

For "Thirteen," I found myself in an interesting poem-writing conundrum, and that is that I like to write in meter, and the word "thirteen" does not play all that well with meter. Oh, sure, I didn't need to used the word "thirteen" as often as I did, nor did I need to start off each line with "Thirteen," but I liked the tone it set for the piece, so I wanted to forge ahead. Then I hit on the idea of having thirteen syllables in each line. This posed another problem, which I solved by essentially creating my own form. Each line in this poem can be read as a combination of one iamb (a set of two syllables, unstressed-stressed), three anapests (a set of three syllables, unstressed-unstressed-stressed), and a second iamb (unstressed-stressed), for a total of thirteen syllables. This does require a little effort, as you need to pronounce the titular word "thir-TEEN" (which I think most people do) and you need to de-stress other syllables you would ordinarily stress, like the first syllable of "shattered."

But, while I am proud of the unique, presumably one-of-a-kind form that this poem takes, what I more like about this piece is the atmosphere it seems to have for me. It is only thirteen lines, but each image builds on each other in a really interesting way. The first few seem to be just dismal snapshots of Innistrad, but around when the ravens come into the poem, I start getting the sense that this is depicting a specific scene, one in which prisoners, perhaps innocent men, are being executed, culminating, of course, in the heedless prayers to absent angels. I just really like the effect.

Enjoy "Thirteen!"


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:36 am 
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As I said, I'm not as good at poetry criticism as I should be. Raven covered both the production history and the form, so I can pretty much say that I enjoy and remember this one, and that I think it may be the most essentially Innistrad of the poem choices

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:06 am 
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21 more.

"Crucible" by Skibo_the_First is the story of Anton, an alchemist, and his plans to create a mysterious potion from assorted bits of things...and people. Sandor is a man hot on Anton's trail, determined to stop them. As Anton looks for parts, Sandor looks for Anton. It will all come down to which one is better at the things that they do.

I have to say that I think this is another one of those stories that would benefit from a little more length. Anton comes across as suitably able and menacing, to a point, but Sandor to me comes across as a pretty ineffectual chaser. I think a bit more time in Sandor's head, and maybe a few more clues tracked, would have helped. I mean, he does decipher the meaning of the dog and correctly guesses the inn, so I am perhaps being a bit unfair, but I just feel the tension of this chase could have been drawn out a bit more with some more space.

There is also not a lot in this piece that screams "Innistrad" to me apart from a few location name-drops. I think it fits the anthology well enough in terms of tone, but it sort of seems to me like a sort of generic fantasy world story retrofitted to the Innistrad theme rather than one written specifically for Innistrad, if that makes sense. While there is nothing about this story that I actively dislike, by any means, it is not really one of my favorites in the anthology.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:40 am 
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The line that gives this story its title is one of the more memorable in the Anthology for me. The rest of the story... not as much. Like Raven says it doesn't really scream 'Innistrad' or play well with the themes (rather than the trappings) of that world. But as with many Horror productions it's got that really great final moment (In this case, book-ends for the story, so beginning and end) that makes it... if not great itself, than at least worthwhile.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:28 am 
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Hollow: the reveal is good as the synthesis and I love the idea of the cycle, though I think the last lines could have been polished the littlest bit more.

Danse Macabre: nice. I like the card choice, the adaptaion and the ideological clash of the two necromancies.

Thirteen: good poem, though I miss out on the feeling it's depicting a specific scene. It sets the mood gorgeously, and having thirteen sets of thirteen please my mathematician's mind.

Crucible: as you say, the first lines are very good and the ending is fine, but the setting is relatively bland. While the last chase could have been handled better, I wouldn't complain about Sandor, though a little bit of extra backstory wouldn't have hurt.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:24 pm 
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20 to go!

Adrianna Moore, of "Childhood's End" fame, returns to the spotlight for "Ill Met by Moonlight," by Tevish Szat. And her luck has not significantly improved since we have seen her last. In this story, Adrianna is a young woman attending a celebration and dance. Rumors of Adrianna's past and occasionally eccentric behavior have given her a reputation of sorts, and she is thoroughly convinced that none among the crowd of young people would be interested in her. But the mayor's son, Zachary Ramel, of all people, is apparently just that. Together, the two head away from the celebration and to a very different kind of party, where Adrianna must yet again fight for her life against dark forces.

I'm a big fan of Adrianna Moore, and I love the way her story frames this anthology. I believe (though I may be wrong, and Tevish will remember better than I) that it was I who suggested the placement of this story. I think we had already predetermined that Tevish's ultimate plot convergence story, "The Fateful Hour," would end the anthology, and somewhere along the line, we thought "Childhood's End" should begin it, and I thought it would be a nice thematic nod if this story, also featuring Adrianna along with the other two, would sit about half-way through Hunter's Moon. I remember that there was some jostling around of stories, especially in the middle stretch of Hunter's Moon, but I was a proponent of this story sitting at either 6 or 7 in the second section. And I still like the overall effect, because this is very much like coming back to a familiar face who, unlike perhaps that of Lur, we were hoping to see again.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:34 pm 
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There were two keynote cards for this story: Sulfur Falls and Skirsdag Cultist. Raven's memory and mine agree that he was the first one to float putting this story in the center of the anthology, but with the start and end it only makes sense I suppose. my favorite coincidence of the placement, though, is that "Ill Met By Moonlight" takes place halfway through the Hunter's Moon in character.

There's a way in which this is kind of the first 'real' Adrianna story. True, she's evolved again when we see her next in "The Fateful Hour" but in a lot of ways she's the same cynical young woman, as opposed to the wide-eyed child she was in "Childhood's End". She's also, despite her stories not being my strict favorites out of my own work, my favorite character out of all the recurring personages I created. Laurie Blake was second, but she didn't have as much time to be quite as endearing in her single appearance as Adrianna did over... I'm going to call it three because even if "Childhood's End" doesn't count in full, "The Fateful Hour" is long enough to be more than one... three appearances.

We'll be seeing Helene, the one Skirsdag not accounted for, again in "Occurance at a Moorlands Manor".

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:25 am 
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19 left, and happy Friday the 13th, everyone!

"Allo's Fortnight" by me is the story of Allo, an Innistrad soldier who, along with 29 others were sent deep into the wilds to construct and man Fort Agric. Calamity ensues, however, and the half-finished fort is beset by werewolves until only seven soldiers remain. But then, things get even worse, as the remaining soldiers are hunted, slowly, from within. Who, and what, is the killer? This is the question that Allo and his perpetually dwindling number of allies must seek to answer.

"Allo's Fortnight" was a top-down design story for me, but unlike many of the stories in this anthology, it was not built top-down from a card or set of cards, but rather from the title. The name of this story popped into my head one day, and it sounded like a fun story, so I set about figuring out how to create a story from it. Eventually, I decided that the Innistrad anthology could use a bit of "survival horror," something I like conceptually but had never tried to write before. It wasn't long before I settled on this underlying concept of "who is the werewolf," and the sort-of lynchpin idea that maybe a werewolf doesn't necessarily know it is a werewolf, which of course led to the mostly first person narration of this story.

I remember when I first posted this, Keeper's response was something like "Oh, great, another Werewolf story." Werewolves are, in fact, over-represented in this anthology, to the point where I once quipped that we should ditch the Innistrad anthology idea and simply do a Werewolf anthology. However, I like the various permutations of the concept of "werewolf" throughout the anthology, as they are explored from a variety of different angles.

The opening line of this story, "There were seven of us left when we found Lukho's body," is one of my favorite opening lines I've written for the M:EM.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:38 am 
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18 to go.

"Getting Ahead" by Skibo is the story of three companions, Lew, Dimka, and Fanya, who are just trying to get ahead in life. Once they've gotten it, it's a mad dash out of the cemetery and across werewolf-infested wildlands to deliver the goods to their employer.

I never really had any interaction with Skibo, at least that I remember. Even though Skibo has four pieces in this anthology, I think he had pretty much vanished by the time we were putting this anthology together. While I naturally approve of the punny title of this piece, I find the story itself sort of bland, and the payoff is especially "meh" to me. There is nothing wrong with the writing by any means, and the scene setting is pretty good, but this story just doesn't have the punch to me that many of the other stories in the anthology have.

Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:51 am 
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Here's where we all get aheaaaaaaaaad!

Puns aside, the ending is pretty anticlimatic, I concur.

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