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Storey

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Author #2 wrote a very well constructed story filled with understated ‘horror’. We start out thinking that the situation that the men find themselves in is the horror of the story but we learn from the dialogue between Francis and the Sergeant that there is more to this story than we first thought. A few questioned the dialogue between the Sergeant and Francis but I found it believable and it led me to appreciated the psychological horror of a man who has lost his reason for living but is too afraid to end his life. It may come across as less horrific than the situation they are facing, their probable imminent dead, but look at it from the Sergeant’s point of view. That which he craves, oblivion, is also that which he can’t have because of his inability to let go of a life that isn’t worth living. That’s a ton of horror in my book.

And while some have pointed out that Francois would be the proper name to use in the story I can sympathize since I wrote a story where I butchered several Greek names. Therefore I consider it unimportant!;)





Author #3 Probably the best written and most traditional horror story of the three. Many, many nuanced choices of words that I really appreciate in bringing the story to life. It feels like a lot of effort went into creating a clever and intelligent story that is filled with hints for the reader to stumble on in order to discover who the character is before he’s revealed near the end and no I didn’t figure it out. Really well done and I’d be hard put to find anything serious to criticize. Bravo.

Joe
 
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Rensslaer

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Do you think, Joe, that we've perhaps spent too much time criticizing #2 because the middle doesn't fit with the beginning and the end? Maybe it's that the beginning and the end don't fit with the centre, and we've missed the possibility that the beginning and the end are ancillary.

So far as the story goes -- the horror of the man's loss, and it empowering his fearlessness or resignation -- it's not bad. Maybe the beginning and end were just ways to set up the middle, which is the key to the story.

That's still a criticism -- a good writer should be careful to make his parts fit -- but it perhaps forgives a good percentage of the criticism directed toward the middle of the piece.

Interesting.

Rensslaer
 

Storey

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Do you think, Joe, that we've perhaps spent too much time criticizing #2 because the middle doesn't fit with the beginning and the end? Maybe it's that the beginning and the end don't fit with the centre, and we've missed the possibility that the beginning and the end are ancillary.

So far as the story goes -- the horror of the man's loss, and it empowering his fearlessness or resignation -- it's not bad. Maybe the beginning and end were just ways to set up the middle, which is the key to the story.

That's still a criticism -- a good writer should be careful to make his parts fit -- but it perhaps forgives a good percentage of the criticism directed toward the middle of the piece.

Interesting.

Rensslaer

I find it odd that some (not necessarily you) have felt that the dialogue between the Sergeant and Francis is awkward or unbelievable. I don’t see that. Some have suggested that Francis was going to try to get the Sergeant to close the door of the train because he and his friends were cold. Maybe or possibly Francis is using that as an excuse to start a conversation with the Sergeant and ask him what he really wants to know. So he asks a sensible question and that is how to survive the coming battle. How is that unbelievable? It reminded me of “All Quiet on the Western Front” When the young German recruits were asking the older veteran Sergeant how to do exactly the same thing, survive the coming battle. The conversation takes an odd turn when Francis asks a question that possibly no one had ever asked the Sergeant.

“Why not you Sergeant and HOW CAN I BE LIKE YOU? My emphasis.

I didn’t have a problem believing that this was the first time someone had put that question in that ‘particular way’ to the Sergeant and it triggered a surprising response from the Sergeant that led us to find out how he ended up on that train. Now whether or not the reader believes that the Sergeant would open up and tell Francis his life story is a fair criticism. I bought it because the portrait of the Sergeant was one of someone who was clearly on the edge of an emotional precipice and that innocent question from Francis was enough to push him over the edge. At least that’s how I took it. Go figure.

As to the Sergeant’s story of lost love I leave it to the reader to decide if they found it interesting or not. I’ve known a few obsessive people in my life so I didn’t have a problem believing that someone could go wacko if this happened to them. In a way it’s a classic love story.

And then the story ends where it began with Francis going back to his friends and telling them they’d best leave the Sergeant alone. Which I think was more for the Sergeant’s benefit than his friends. A fitting end to the story.

EDIT: So for me there is a strong beginning, middle and end to the story that is tied together and works well. There are small errors that have been pointed out and they do detract from the story but as a whole it works for me. What it all really comes down to, as always, is does the reader buy into the story.

Joe
 
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Peter Ebbesen

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For my comments on the different types of “moments of horror” involved, see This post


Author I

This is my longest bit of criticism this time around because this could have been great with just a bit more work, so before I go crazy and start tearing apart the story, let me just say up front that I really liked what the author attempted to do. Let me also immediately apologize to the two other authors for not going as much in depth with their work.

There's nothing quite like being dumped into a battle in medias res. It is a good way to get the adrenaline pumping so long as you can keep up the action, while, at the same time, smuggling in enough information, by hook, by crook, by inference, or by obvious reference, that the reader has a reasonable idea of what is going on the first time he reads it.

This one is a decent attempt at that and certainly succeeds in the action category, but – at least for me - it fell into the ”read twice, understand once” problem that my entry from last round of GTA suffered – not from being as weird, but from having only a few cross-references done amongst the background hints, this leaving the field perhaps a bit too wide for understanding, and from having trivial dialogue and description problems.

A few examples:

Choosing Roman naming to help guide the reader's thoughts into Roman Republic/Empire thinking is a really good trick since it sets a basic context – using the cohort/legion designations strengthen this.

Having said that, though this may come as a surprise to those who've read the story and now reads this critique, the tech level of the story is undetermined. There's one non-lethal blow to the head, one parry (of something with something else), there's a siege line, walls give a tactical advantage, one cohort rides (something), hacking enemy troops, and one use of a sword (last line in the story). If we hadn't read those Roman names to start with and started filling in details on our own, it could as easily have been a holding action in full body armour with powerful ranged weapons, power swords, or who knows what equipment, by some futuristic infantry. So, how many hands up in favour of this being a Warhammer 40k story or derivative product overusing Latin to give it style? :D Nobody, I hear you cry? Perhaps not, but it could. That aside...

There's a downside to the strength of building so much on so little; when nothing else in the story added directly on to this, it did in fact make some of the other critics think of this as Romans (without magic) defending against an invasion by Outsiders (with magic) – a classic trope in fantasy - whereas a careful read through of the story shows that this is a completely wrong interpretation – a clear-cut counterexample being our “Romans” using a portal of their own in paragraph 1. This is side_1 with magic versus side_2 with magic with nothing to indicate who is the dominant magic side in general.

Now, none of this weakens the story critically, but it does make it more ambiguous and ambiguity in a short fast-paced story is usually bad – it carries a significant risk of making readers concentrate a bit too much on the non-essential parts of the story and having to retrace and reread. There are many ways to mitigate this – things like adding the occasional adjective or supporting reference or, for that matter, giving the short story a title that gives away the setting. Adding more description to the scenes in general would be a truly great improvement.

There's another downside, though this is not so much a failure of Roman naming as it is a failure of the author pure and simple: Name recognition. An author should always be thinking about careful naming, and me bitching about it here will hopefully help another 5-10 people remember it next time they write a story. When you have about 7 or 8 paragraphs to write something character driven, you should make damn sure that none of the characters introduced have similar names. In this case, two main characters are introduced on the fly with no background and they are named Martellus and Mattius (Venerat) and the viewpoints switch between them erratically in different paragraphs [except for those paragraphs where it is hard for the reader to discern the particular viewpoint]. Ma & Ma is completely inexcusable from a naming perspective making it not only possible, but likely, that some readers have read through it once in the tempo that the action suggests, just to have to backtrack to find out who was actually who at different points in the story once they've grasped the overall feel of the story.

This also goes for full novels, by the way – sure, in history it is common to have many peoples' names being similar (and a curse on the readers), but in general it carries no advantage to either the author or the reader that this is the case, hence why practically all authors of fiction try to make things easy for the readers by making (important) names most dissimilar except when wanting to emphasize family or rank relationships.

Overall, it would truly have served the structure of the story well to have sneaked in more information about the ongoing conflict, the source of it, how long time it had been ongoing, and which armaments were used so long as it could be done without substantially slowing the narrative.

But enough about that. :)


My next concern with the entry is the poor use of dialogue or perhaps, rather, the poor formatting of dialogue. Too many people speaking per chapter without making it clear who is speaking. To be fair, this is only a big problem in the first chapter of the story – but that's the chapter that is supposed to grip the reader and set the tone, and instead it is a horrible mess unless you already know the story and the characters involved. This is an obvious place for improvement. :) The dialogue is also rather flat.

The Plot: Stereotypical for the genre and it works. If I might criticize one thing here, it is probably that the second chapter needlessly gives away the plot twist of the rest of the story (much like “Chief Brennan's” thoughts did in last months GTA, come to think of it). Well, unless the reader doesn't immediately realize that the second chapter introduces Ma#2, which can happen for one who is speed-reading. :D

The tempo: The author manages to keep it up from beginning to end, never letting up – great work!

Viewpoints: As I believe the Yogi has already covered, the story suffers slightly from viewpoint-confusion. That is not necessarily bad, if the author had intended the effect and taken advantage of it, but it comes across to me as slightly sloppy writing instead of intentional.

The writing in general: Excluding issues of dialogue formatting, lacklustre or absent descriptions etc., the writing itself was good and most words well chosen. I particularly liked the solitary “Hell....” comment when the skies turned red and the portals opened and so on and so forth – it worked truly well in a situation where a more elaborate comment might have diluted the effect.

The very last paragraph/chapter when 2MA meet up feels poorly written in comparison with the rest of the story. Mattius has just considered falling back and/or retreating to the priory, when the next scene opens he's on the way around a corner towards a cellar to the keep, then the place he is in is described as his hideout. I guess it is intended to be sometime later than the previous chapter after all defenses have broken down, and that MA#2 has been in hot pursuit with MA#1 only knowing that somebody is in pursuit but it comes across as a somewhat confused mess, which is a shame to end up with.



Author: For the use of imaginary pseudo-Romanesque troops and problems with dialogue as well as writing something I truly like, my guess is that Comagoosie wrote this, for these are many of the same problems I had with entry #1 last time (“Chief Brennan at the picnic”) and Comagoosie wrote that one. :D (On the other hand, he is generally pretty good with descriptions and details, so perhaps not, but hey, a guess is a guess).


If this story was all it could have been with another hour or three hours of editing and revision (or perhaps just half that), it would have been my favourite of the three, but it was not. Perhaps I am judging it too harshly* because I cannot help thinking of what I would have made of it had I gotten the idea to write something like this (sure, I'd have made other errors, but those would be for somebody else to criticize :)) and feel that this is lacking in comparison.

* Not with regards to naming, though. Ma & Ma was a bad choice pure and simple. Imprint the primary rule of naming: “don't make it harder for readers to remember who's who than necessary” :D


Author II

I am going to short-change Author II in the criticism department – not because he doesn't deserve it, but because he doesn't make the sort of easily-exploitable errors that are easiest to whine about. :)

Well, except for this major one. Writing a story-within-a-story where the internal story is of a much higher quality than the external one and the external one is irrelevant to the contents of the internal one is a bad idea plain and simple. The external story here has exactly one purpose (unless Rensslaer's unreliable narrator hypothesis holds true), setting up a viewpoint for the internal story with a standard sparring setup.

I dare say that the entry, as a whole, would be better by removing the external Francis/Kriegsmariner/we are all going to dieeee story root and branch and creating a viewpoint focusing squarely on the sergeant's remembrances, because that internal story of love and the destruction of a man through its loss, no matter how classic, how utterly predictable.... is well written. It is hard to imagine anybody human, who is not a sociopath, who will not relate to it as it connects with one of the most human of horrors. This author knows how to write emotion - or he got very, very, lucky.

Do not take me wrong – purely from a form and technical quality of writing perspective the whole of the entry is well written, this is obviously the work of somebody very familiar with storytelling, but the external story is a rough shell, lacking both heart and soul, to say nothing of requiring a substantial suspension of disbelief to achieve a feeling of consistency in the reader – a completely unnecessary additional requirement.

Author: The internal story reminds me of some of Storey's work, for he is one of the few writers (from the time in ages past when I frequently read AARs) who was good at writing emotion while being, if you will pardon the pun, a really good storeyteller. Emotion being one of the hardest things to write for most people. Rensslaer', however, came up with an interpretation so outré and unsupported by the narrative of what the whole thing was about (in which case the external and internal story would be intrically linked) that I guess it is him instead. :D

It is a crying shame, but though I really, truly, like the internal story the story, as a whole, falls flat for me. Even something as simple as changing it to a monologue or a discussion with the ghost of the girl (real or imagined) on the eve before battle would be hard pressed to not improve the story as a whole.


Author III

An internal monologue that persists through death is somewhat uncommon outside stock vampire-horror fiction and carries all sorts of potential problems with it and pure internal monologue itself is certainly not my favourite either, but the author manages to make it work – not without some problems - but it does work, and the reason it does work is probably that a thoroughly vile main character with no redeeming virtues whatsoever was chosen.

There's an obvious risk to such a choice as few or none of the readers will feel the slightest sympathy with him (and if any do, you should improve yourself dammit), and even empathy is going to be in short supply, so it can work as a real joy-killer for some people. On the other hand, it means that the usual cop-outs such as “he was a good man who fell into bad company/made a terrible mistake/deserve a second chance” that can lead to a happy ending are utterly done away with.

I really like it, but for a short story outside an anthology such as “Villains victorious”, conventional horror is “bad things happen to a good man” with “bad things happen to a bad man” hardly being worthy of notice – while it started gently and revealed the main character nicely along the way (and I was delighted by the description and attention to detail with regards to late medieval morality and religiosity), the story did not end up the way I had expected. An extra paragraph or two prior to the execution wallowing less in specific acts and more in personal justifications would probably have improved the story by making the paragraph following the execution – the real wallop/twist of the story - more powerful.

Though there were lots of hints along the way, a summary prior to the execution of what Gilles truly cared about (and hence was a cause for his horror in the end) would perhaps have helped: being in charge of his own destiny, actions, and temper, being master rather than servant, relying on his own wits more than anything else – stuff like that. Then again, it might just have fallen flat to have a checklist before death followed by a “by the way, let's just cross off stuff from the checklist after death one by one to show he's been well and truly betrayed by his own way of thinking”

The first line of the story: “Say this if nothing else, say he was an evil man.“, really says it all and is without shadow of doubt in my mind the best opening line in the last few rounds of Guess the Author due to the way it sets the scene.

Overall, the story is very well written and the only major fault I can find is that the proper use of tenses, so strictly adhered to until then, is utterly lost in the noose paragraph: (My highlighting)
Sooner than expected, I felt the noose tighten around my neck, and I felt the beginning of hope arise. Surely, I would be rescued soon. Surely, Barron would grant me the power to burn brightly, ending in glory! Despair fled me! Nothingness? Who can possibly fear nothingness! And, if not, then soon, my absent friends, I shall return to the dust from whence I came and we will dine in glory on the day of the resurrection of the Lord. Either way, I would win! I cracked with laughter as the executioner, the laggard, got moving.
In my most generous moments I think it might be an attempt by the author to insert emotion by the narrator (who is remarkably short on displayed emotion in the “what's done is done” part of his story only letting feelings be visible to all in his final “that's how things are now” sequence) to show what REALLY mattered to him at the time, but if so, it did not work well, and I suspect it is just a mistake of tenses, the author running with the moment in his madness.

Author: I guess that this story was written by me because that's what the majority, of those who've guessed at all, have been guessing. That puts me in good company whether I be right or wrong.

I deem this story my favourite story of the three, beating out number II which was twice as long as needed and killed my love for it as a whole thereby, and number I which, while a very good attempt, needed more work for it to qualify as a really good story.

I would love to see what the author of number I could get out of it if he applied himself a bit to further work on the structure and descriptions.
 
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Stuckenschmidt

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Dear Joe,

it is quite fine to see that you defend No. 2 and maybe I was too harsh in my criticism. But maybe not. In Germany there is a proverb: Der Ton macht die Musik. Hard to translate. Means something like: It`s not what you say, but how you say it.

First the "how", or better the tone of the story. And the tone is quite pathetic. Too pathetic by far in my opinion. Francis asks a good question, but how he does that (The guys said you`ve been calm in 36 and 37 and in 38,25 and even 40,667) and how the Sergeant answers (Well, well, DON`T you wish that). Or when the Sergeant describes his "time of death" (it was the 19th June 1935) and later his "real time of death" (oh no, it was the 29th June 1935 now that I think about it, because there is more drama coming up). I think you get my point.

But what really bugged me, was what he wrote. It`s 1945 and the SS-Division Charlemagne is on the way to the front, having a date with fate, as one may say. Good start. Then one learns, that there is a US-citizen (upper class) there. Ehm, one moment. Why is he there ? I can`t imagine a believable story to explain that. And that`s a good thing. I don`t want to believe, that a US upper-class-child with a severely broken heart would leave his family to join the Foreign Legion and, afterward, the Nazis.

But let`s continue with the story. The Sergeant tells his life story and somehow one get`s the feeling that the ten years between `35 and `45 have passed by without anything serious thing having happened. But Francis tells us, that the Sergeant has fought several times in the Foreign Legion. And in 1942 / 1943 the Charlemagne (or better: the 638th Infantry Regiment) was ordered to "fight partisans" (aka "burning down russian villages and kill all inhabitants"). I don`t know if the Sergeant seeks Oblivion, but that`s a strange way to do that for sure.

Conclusion: Pathetic writing + unbelievable character + annoying story = 3rd place.

Guessing the author: Pathetic writing + unbelievable character + WWII-Fanboyism = Age <= 20 (what would be kind of an excuse)

Sincerely

Pierre
 
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Peter Ebbesen

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:rofl:

Okay, you`ve got me. I surrender and Mr. Subtlety drives home another point.
Actually, that wasn't a point in the same way you seem to read it. It was just a reminder in my template post that if I reached that point in the post without having already stated that one of the entries was my favourite, then I should choose the appropriate i and make the note at the end of my post about my favourite entry. :)

It is funnier to read it the way you appear (based your post) to have read it, though.
 

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Ebbesenmath: "I liked entry 2.3 the best!" :p

Stuckenshmidt, I wonder if maybe your post came off harsher than you meant it.

I don't think the writing of the sergeant was pathetic... I think the sergeant's situation was pathetic, and the author is writing about that. It may be a little overdone. But, man... I've had conversations with other adults that sounded just as pathetic! You can understand some people, depending on their circumstances. Others have no excuse. Nevertheless, we have all types.

Whether the really pathetic type would become a fearless army sergeant... that's another matter. :)

Renss
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Ebbesenmath: "I liked entry 2.3 the best!" :p
As you will note, my template post no longer exists, it having been replaced by my criticism for this round (mostly concerned with #1 really, as it is the one where I felt I could give really useful advice) and I have announced by favourite entry with an integer number as is appropriate.
 

Rensslaer

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As you will note, my template post no longer exists, it having been replaced by my criticism for this round (mostly concerned with #1 really, as it is the one where I felt I could give really useful advice) and I have announced by favourite entry with an integer number as is appropriate.

Good Heaven, Peter...

I thought 2.3 would be the number of your favorite entry, not the number of pages you would take writing feedback! :p

Great work, Peter! Quality criticism is what this thread's about! :D

Renss
 

The Yogi

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Finally time to reveal the authors and the favourites;

Author #1: Avernite (couldn't find any AARs, but given the good response of this piece, maybe time to take it up?)
Author #2: Alfred Packer - Author of The Adventures of the Crovan Clan
Author #3: Peter Ebbesen -Author of Persian Tales

with the winner being Peter Ebbesen with 4 votes out of nine cast!

Thanks to all of you for submitting your work - this has been a great round, with all pieces having considerable qualities if very different.

Thanks also to the MANY people who commented this round of GtA. Such quantity AND quality of comment is rarely seen in GtA and bodes well for the future.

Comments given by
Alfred Packer (voted #3)
Stuckenschmidt (voted #1)
Rensslaer (voted #3)
Avernite (voted #1)
The Yogi (voted #3)
comagoosie (voted #2)
Snugglie (voted #2)
Storey (voted #1)
Peter Ebbessen (voted #3)

May we always get this many comments of this high quality!
 
Last edited:

The Yogi

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Oh, and let's loose no time, shall we?

The topic for May is a treat for all you would be mystery writers out there (or whatever else you may be able to do with the subject).

The topic is
"An investigation gone wrong"
As usual, topic interpretation is up to each writer. An investigation could be criminal or scientific or perhaps something entirely different. Fantasize away!

Deadline for author submissions is May 15th.
 
Last edited:

Avernite

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You're right I don't have AARs really. Well, I started one together with ForzaA once, and I wrote a bit for EU2 MP AARs way back, but not much really.

As to the main criticism of my piece: you couldn't know, but I guess lots guessed it: the story was originally just a part of a bigger story in my mind, I saw this round's subject, and I thought 'hey I can modify this piece a bit and actually write it'.

Marcellus, to come to the name issue, was pretty much a throwaway character in that story, being little more than a one-time subordinate of Mattius on a one-way trip to undeath. Mattius wasn't going to die in the actual story either, the only problem is that explaining the red sky and how that, by itself, was horror enough doesn't really lend itself to anything less than writing out the entire story. Which would probably take years if I did it, and a year or so if I could transplant my idea into an author's brain :p

So, note to self: do NOT pick a short piece from a longer story and try to make it work :)


Coming to dialogue: my major experience in that regard is fully unrelated to AAR and story writing, but is instead based on talking as a character in an RP-like game. I can imaging how that (which often looks more similar to the method used to communicate, namely a forum) would make the story's dialogue not so similar to what you expect in a story, but that is a good point to try to improve.


And overall, I am happy that people liked the story even if the style of writing can still use some improvement :)
 

Alfred Packer

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Well. I think everyones (excluding Stuckenschmidt's second round - which degenerated into general insults towards the author rather than criticism) critiques and comments were spot on. I'm glad some people liked it and I don't blame anyone who didn't (I'm not very fond of it's construction either).

The reason it seems like two stories mashed together is because it is. I wrote the middle, placing it in a generic military camp setting - but I imagined it as the Foreign Legion. At the last minute (about 20 minutes before submitting the storey) I grew concerned that the story might need to be affiliated with a Paradox Game, so I attached the World War II backdrop quickly in. I went to Feldgaru dot org and rustled up a French unit fighting on the losing side as I thought that matched the mood more. The Charlemagne Division, formed in very late 44 and send to it's doom in Feb 45 (they were attacked by tanks while still on the trains and the division was destroyed before even getting officially deployed). I meant to change the character to Francois, but forgot to.

Now, had I to do it again, I would have left the middle to stand alone rather than attach the trappings of WWII to it as it clearly disjointed the story while adding noting to it.

This was quite a lot of fun though (I also learned a lot) and I will definately participate again in the future.
 
Last edited:

Peter Ebbesen

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You're right I don't have AARs really. Well, I started one together with ForzaA once, and I wrote a bit for EU2 MP AARs way back, but not much really.
Either a) this was considerably better than your EU2MP AAR writing of which I read quite a bit at the time*, or b) my memory is failing me big time. As I dislike option b), I'll have to go with a). Very well done, Avernite - write more!



For those looking for early work by Avernite, you can find his entries in the
Throne of Heaven2: The Olympian Rebirth story thread, where he played Pelops, the chosen hero of Hephaestos.

A very fun game that was, even as it utterly broke at the end when the game masters unleashed the NPC titans on on the game world, which unfortunately slowed the game to a crawl making us abandon it.


He also has an entry or two in the earlier Throne of Heaven, playing Bistami of Viyajanar once in a while (substituting for Forzaa). For people thinking that MP has to be soulless and played according to standard power-gaming principles, read either AAR and weep. :)
 

Avernite

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Either a) this was considerably better than your EU2MP AAR writing of which I read quite a bit at the time*, or b) my memory is failing me big time. As I dislike option b), I'll have to go with a). Very well done, Avernite - write more!



For those looking for early work by Avernite, you can find his entries in the
Throne of Heaven2: The Olympian Rebirth story thread, where he played Pelops, the chosen hero of Hephaestos.

A very fun game that was, even as it utterly broke at the end when the game masters unleashed the NPC titans on on the game world, which unfortunately slowed the game to a crawl making us abandon it.


He also has an entry or two in the earlier Throne of Heaven, playing Bistami of Viyajanar once in a while (substituting for Forzaa). For people thinking that MP has to be soulless and played according to standard power-gaming principles, read either AAR and weep. :)

Yeah, well... I think that's what, 4-5 years ago now? :)

I should hope I improved a few skills in that time ;)
 

Stuckenschmidt

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Dear Alfred,

I didn`t mean to insult you and if I did I apologize.
 

Alfred Packer

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Dear Alfred,

I didn`t mean to insult you and if I did I apologize.

I wasn't insulted, I just didn't think your second critique was a critique, it was just kind of piling on, and I read with a kind of "Hey now!" gut response that I didn't have with any other critique, including your first one.

Your first critique was very well done, and I agreed with most of it (and found it quite amusing as well). The point by point breakdown as to your issues with the story were well thought out (as for Kreigsmariners, I made up the word...there were a few thousand French volunteers stuffed into the Charlemagne Division who'd actually volunteered for Naval service. I made it up because I didn't want to refer to them as 'sailors,' since that might link them in an unintended way with the sailors from the 'main' story)
 

Rensslaer

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I'm really, really busy right now, or else I'd follow up on earlier feedback. I'll have to come back later.

But congratulations to the authors! All in all, this was an impressive round of criticism from which much can be learned, and the pieces were very interesting and well done. That constructive criticism (and I hope all of it was offered in that spirit) is how we writers learn and improve our craft.

Onward to the next writing challenge! :D

Rensslaer
 

The Yogi

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Conclusion: Pathetic writing + unbelievable character + annoying story = 3rd place.

Guessing the author: Pathetic writing + unbelievable character + WWII-Fanboyism = Age <= 20 (what would be kind of an excuse)

I would like to say, for the record, that this passes the line that divides harsh criticism from abusive remarks. I know apologies have been made so all is cool, but please lets not go there again.