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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:28 pm 
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Follow sweet children
I'll show thee the way
Through all the pain
And the sorrow


If you look at our dear Luna this night, you might find a tint of blue. That might be because something quite uncommon is happening: I'm posting a story I wrote! To be truthful, I'm posting one-third of what I intended, but due to various reasons I figured it's better to post what I have and just work on the big story arc in parts. I would, of course, appreciate any feedback and critique, but I know it's a busy season and if it were me, I'd prefer commenting on the finished story arc anyway, so do whatever you do.

Something perhaps useful to know: this story takes place on Callia, one of the three planes of Tryptica which I've never finished -- actually, if things pan out this is how I'll be fleshing out at least Callia, through a series of stories set on the world each following a small number of characters.

Many thanks to OrcishLibrarian, who preread this for me and provided some needed support, especially in terms of a title.

So, without further ado, I bring you:

Her Song: Eastward

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:20 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:23 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:18 pm 
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So, Luna already knows how much I love this story, because I have told him as much, using lots of exclamation points and excited emojis. :)

But, for the benefit of everyone else playing along at home: :excite: I love this story!!! :excite:

:D

Anyway, I like the whole thing, from start to finish, and I'm desperate to see where things go from here, but I'm particularly fond of the opening section, which I think is just beautifully, beautifully written. It reminds me a lot of Luna's little series about the study of necromancy, in that there's an evocative *sparseness* to the language, which creates this almost aetherial sense of beauty. We get just a few, telling images, and a few, telling details, while the rest is just mist, but the images we get are exactly *the right* images, and the details we get are exactly *the right* details, and I'm left with a scene in my mind which is reminiscent of the best portrait photography, where the main subjects are cast in clear, beautiful detail, while the rest of the world is reduced to a blur in the background, just colors and shapes. And the sense I'm left with is profoundly emotional. I can feel the rawness of the sorrow in this scene, the yearning for a lost past, and it really sticks with me in a profound way.

I love the world, here, too. I love this idea of a world of almost theological beings, but with no gods or devils to serve, and no mortals to bear witness. It's a very eerie sense of isolation, of searching for purpose when nothing makes sense, and the idea that purposelessness becomes a harbinger of mortality for even these immortal creatures gives me a pang someplace deep inside.

And I especially love Jangles. He's my kind of guy. :) The scene in the market is one of my favorites, with his pile of junk he wants to trade on one side, and his pile of junk he has traded for on the other side, and Swan totally unable to tell the difference between the two. I get the sense that Jangles trades for the sake of trading, collects for the sake of collecting, more than for any of the things he actually accumulates. It's about the interaction, almost, not the goods. And that appeals to me. I can recognize that impulse. :)

Anyway, like I said, I love this story. Thank you so much for sharing, Luna!

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"And remember, I'm pullin' for ya, 'cause we're all in this together." - Red Green


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:15 pm 
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Very nice. I found the perspective very interesting, with terms and behaviors that portray the deeply alien quality of lives that transcend time. The mood is set magnificently, with a death scene and a depiction of absolute solitude that contrasts with the numbers we deal with later in the piece; while Callia seems bound to dissolve, the city and Swan both act as a chance for hope and purpose for each other. The piece sets up a hard and painful hope, a last dawn before the impending darkness, and I'm looking forward to see the continuation of this story.

I liked the classical use of the term "siren", rather than the modern one. I have nothing against fish ladies (*nods to Undyne and Penelophine*), but it's one of those little things that stand pleasantly out. I also have fond memories of the Kamigawa setting, since I started playing around 2006, so I appreciated the apparition of the kirin.

Thanks for sharing!

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To anybody reading this, including my future selves: have a good life!

I apologize in advance for any misuse of English grammar and idiomatic expressions.

“You're going to have to fight, and... you're gonna win!”


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:13 pm 
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Luna, this is really good. I can't believe that we've all let you get away with downplaying your ability as a writer for so long. You've been holding out on us, man!

So much truth has already been spoken, so I will keep this short, but your worldbuilding is on point, you have a very consistent tone that helps build the atmosphere, and I feel you do a good job of establishing how thoroughly inhuman these characters are, but in completely different ways.

Seriously, this is good.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:44 pm 
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I've been forgetting to comment on this thread. It is long overdue for a few replies.

First off, I want to thank everyone for the positive reception. I definitely stacked the deck in my favor by recruiting OL to pre-read the story for me, but I am really grateful that everyone else seemed to like it. I was especially worried that the opening scene didn't have nearly the emotional impact on others as it did with me.

A bit of behind-the-scenes talk, I actually came to tears in writing the opening scene, with Swan and the last other siren on that island. Inside my head, I could envision the millennia of history between these two, and I understood the social and physical (magical) nature of these sirens, and that made the goodbye deeply affecting. However, I know from experience that I couldn't spend paragraphs going over all of that information like it's my first instinct to, because then it would lose all that emotional impact. It's actually something I've come to realize because I've criticized others' writing for being too purple (both here and elsewhere), so I tried to focus only on Swan and Oriole, and hope that by capturing those last few tender moments, I could convey the emotions that it had instilled in me.

Secondly, I think it worth both explaining where those opening rhymes came from and asking whether we're okay with it. Those first few lines, before the actual story starts, are from a song I recently heard.
specifically this one

Now, I of course included the lines because they were one of the things that originally sparked this whole creation, those few words being so evocative of a dead world. However, what I am somewhat concerned about is whether wholly ripping those words out of the song -- and I'd like to take a moment and point out those are the only lyrics of the entire song -- to include at the beginning of my story is okay.

Now, I feel I should respond to a few individual comments.
Spoiler

Spoiler


Brentain wrote:
Spoiler

My only defense is that someone used to seeing pure, pristine white hair every day of their lives for several thousand years would, I assume, notice when there was suddenly a gray hair.



I'd like to come back to this, because I need to retire for the night, but I will hopefully address others' comments later.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:02 pm 
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So, Luna already knows how much I love this story, because I have told him as much, using lots of exclamation points and excited emojis. :)

But, for the benefit of everyone else playing along at home: :excite: I love this story!!! :excite:

:D

Anyway, I like the whole thing, from start to finish, and I'm desperate to see where things go from here, but I'm particularly fond of the opening section, which I think is just beautifully, beautifully written. It reminds me a lot of Luna's little series about the study of necromancy, in that there's an evocative *sparseness* to the language, which creates this almost aetherial sense of beauty. We get just a few, telling images, and a few, telling details, while the rest is just mist, but the images we get are exactly *the right* images, and the details we get are exactly *the right* details, and I'm left with a scene in my mind which is reminiscent of the best portrait photography, where the main subjects are cast in clear, beautiful detail, while the rest of the world is reduced to a blur in the background, just colors and shapes. And the sense I'm left with is profoundly emotional. I can feel the rawness of the sorrow in this scene, the yearning for a lost past, and it really sticks with me in a profound way.

I love the world, here, too. I love this idea of a world of almost theological beings, but with no gods or devils to serve, and no mortals to bear witness. It's a very eerie sense of isolation, of searching for purpose when nothing makes sense, and the idea that purposelessness becomes a harbinger of mortality for even these immortal creatures gives me a pang someplace deep inside.

And I especially love Jangles. He's my kind of guy. :) The scene in the market is one of my favorites, with his pile of junk he wants to trade on one side, and his pile of junk he has traded for on the other side, and Swan totally unable to tell the difference between the two. I get the sense that Jangles trades for the sake of trading, collects for the sake of collecting, more than for any of the things he actually accumulates. It's about the interaction, almost, not the goods. And that appeals to me. I can recognize that impulse. :)

Anyway, like I said, I love this story. Thank you so much for sharing, Luna!

Of course, I knew all this beforehand because OL and I had a bit of back-and-forth over this piece before I posted it. Still, I knew before I even sent it his way that OL would love Jangles. I kind of fell in love with the big oaf, too. He just kind of walked into my head, fully formed, with a pack mule's worth of broken and tarnished things strapped precariously on his back. One sack might contain dusty baubles from a dozen different pieces of jewelry, a cabinet might have a mostly-intact mirror, a drawer might have a bit of edible fungus, a trunk might have a few frayed bits of fabric -- it's a crapshoot, but it keeps him going, trading memories across the land and hearing the goings-on of the people, even if a lot of those goings-on are heartbreakingly bleak.

Jangles is definitely getting his own little story at some point.

Very nice. I found the perspective very interesting, with terms and behaviors that portray the deeply alien quality of lives that transcend time. The mood is set magnificently, with a death scene and a depiction of absolute solitude that contrasts with the numbers we deal with later in the piece; while Callia seems bound to dissolve, the city and Swan both act as a chance for hope and purpose for each other. The piece sets up a hard and painful hope, a last dawn before the impending darkness, and I'm looking forward to see the continuation of this story.

I liked the classical use of the term "siren", rather than the modern one. I have nothing against fish ladies (*nods to Undyne and Penelophine*), but it's one of those little things that stand pleasantly out. I also have fond memories of the Kamigawa setting, since I started playing around 2006, so I appreciated the apparition of the kirin.

Thanks for sharing!

I don't remember exactly what sparked the idea of the sirens' and the kirins' identities, but I pretty much based the sirens off of Theros's sirens and the kirins off of Tarkir's kirin. Very specifically, I read and was quite taken with the Uncharted Realms story about Theros's sirens and kind of stole/incorporated that into my story. I also quite simply preferred the aesthetic of the avian, almost angelic angels of Theros over the more "mainstream" watery tarts seen elsewhere in fantasy. For the kirin, I always associate it with Monster Hunter, and usually have to remind myself that this isn't a zebra-unicorn of thunder and lightning.

Aaarrrgh wrote:
Luna, this is really good. I can't believe that we've all let you get away with downplaying your ability as a writer for so long. You've been holding out on us, man!

So much truth has already been spoken, so I will keep this short, but your worldbuilding is on point, you have a very consistent tone that helps build the atmosphere, and I feel you do a good job of establishing how thoroughly inhuman these characters are, but in completely different ways.

Seriously, this is good.

To be fair, I not only self-deprecate a lot, I just absolutely cannot stand to go reading back over what I just wrote. I know it's a necessity, but I have a huge mental barrier for that. I can re-read things I've written months prior and have forgotten (and sometimes even pleasantly surprised by the quality), but I just can't go back over my work properly.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:57 pm 
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A bit of behind-the-scenes talk, I actually came to tears in writing the opening scene, with Swan and the last other siren on that island. Inside my head, I could envision the millennia of history between these two, and I understood the social and physical (magical) nature of these sirens, and that made the goodbye deeply affecting. However, I know from experience that I couldn't spend paragraphs going over all of that information like it's my first instinct to, because then it would lose all that emotional impact. It's actually something I've come to realize because I've criticized others' writing for being too purple (both here and elsewhere), so I tried to focus only on Swan and Oriole, and hope that by capturing those last few tender moments, I could convey the emotions that it had instilled in me.

I think it's a beautiful, beautiful scene, and you got the balance just right.

_________________
"And remember, I'm pullin' for ya, 'cause we're all in this together." - Red Green


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