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An Illustrated Travelogue
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destron



Joined: 25 Aug 2007
Posts: 262

PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Farsider wrote:

Moa'ki harbor is to the east, not west, of Unu'pe.


Alas, my age-old confusion of east and west strikes again.

Farsider wrote:


The Tuskarr were a fun group. I wonder if their heavy emphasis in this section means that we're not going to see them in Dragonblight (and we already missed them in the Fjord) They had a nice contrast to the Taunka, with similar spiritualism but a different manifestation. I can see their appeal to Lentese. If I had one criticism, it's that their society seems almost too well-functioning. The Draenei may be perfectly egalitarian, but the costs and consequences of their system are apparent. The Taunka seem to be nearly as egalitarian, they're all mutually supportive by cultural tradition, but they have none of the anti-individualistic or self-sacrificing drawbacks. Minor point, altogether, though. It sometimes is nice to read about a people who aren't full of simmering social resentment or inequity.


Keep in mind that the tuskarr are basically obliged to be happy at nearly all times. As such, complaints or grievances aren't likely to be aired. I wanted to show that, while they enjoyed a genuinely strong cohesion, problems within the village might not be addressed in an appropriate manner. I tried to hint at this with Inquanok's dismissive attitude towards the mourning tuskarr, but I can see how it might've been unclear.

Anyway, the next section is uploaded, as is another Scratched Nerve story.

http://destron.blogspot.com/2010/05/borean-tundra-part-3.html

http://scratchednerve.blogspot.com/2010/05/suburban-fury.html

EDIT: Oh, and I do intend to revisit the tuskarr in Dragonblight.
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Amaunator



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 2074
Location: Belgium ... innocuous but intrepid!

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm doing the Scratched Nerve story first, and I noticed that it's a different style than usual.

Only a few had the guts to jump the school during the day
Isn't it "jump school" as in "skip class"? I'm not by on youth-speak, so you just take a peak for yourself Razz.

Other than that, it's flawless Very Happy. And you seem to have a propensity for all kinds of racing? Is that a fantasy or another hobby manifesting itself through your writing? Wink Anyway, it was fun, it was gripping, it was dark and scruffy, like Hal himself, but I'm still waiting for something. You're building up to a spanking climax with that kind of cliffhanger (in this case, I find it to be a little too much, but you have people who appreciate that kind of writing Wink).

Edit: Borean Tundra!

Horde shamans find the Northrend spirits harder to deal with in expected, more interested in appeasement than negotiation.
Is it just me or did you forget a part of the sentence here?

“This unassuming sphere, which we call a arti-brain...
"an arti-brain".

why aren’t automatons aren’t more common?
Minus an "aren't".

“No need to apologize. I understand that its difficult.”
"it's"

Everything I do know is secondhand information at best.
"second hand" or "second-hand", but I'm pretty sure that "secondhand" isn't correct ^^.

Anyway, I liked this chapter enormously. So many different flavours and persons were shown in this one that it was easy to get lost, but you never lost my attention at least. I'm having the slight impression that you writing things like the Scratched Nerve stories helps for you to crystalise the particular styles of writing you have tried, including the Travelogue's style? Wink
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destron



Joined: 25 Aug 2007
Posts: 262

PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's Coldarra.

http://destron.blogspot.com/2010/06/coldarra.html
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Amaunator



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 2074
Location: Belgium ... innocuous but intrepid!

PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

whether a human before dragons or a Dalaranese citizens before the mages
"a Dalaranese citizen"

If we are to question them, than perhaps cattle should also agitate for more freedom
"then"

Well, the first part of this chapter was a little dull, actually (and the conversation with Eliast was a little forced; it didn't flow as well as it might), but from then on it whirled into a much more agreeable pace; If it hadn't been for the second part, I would have said that this chapter isn't one of your finest, but if you'll just do a little touching up on the first part, it could quickly become one after all! Smile
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Farsider



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 913

PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't have any problem with the start of the chapter. I enjoyed the begging conversations. If anything, Eliast was perhaps too willing to write off human competence and go along with the dragons' decision-making unquestioningly. I would have imagined an educated, somewhat-'elitist' like him would have put more faith in his own reasoning ability.

I quite enjoyed the rest of the chapter as well. I like the reasoning for why the Horde and Alliance have been led to believe that the Nexus War isn't such a big deal, and how the Kirin Tor have shot themselves in the foot with that one, doubly so since they've all but given the mercenaries first dibs on any artifact they may come across.

I've long said that I've not been too enamored by action sequences in written form, but I quite enjoyed this one. I felt a bit heartbroken when the two dragons died, and it was kind of a Shocked moment a couple paragraphs later when Destron said that he was having the same feelings about their demise as I was. I don't really know how to explain it, and I don't know if you knew what you had done, but you did something special with that sequence.


I just noticed that I haven't commented on your previous chapter. I don't have much in the way of specific comments, but I do remember thinking that it had been put togetherr well, especially being that it was more of a patchwork chapter, touching on a variety of groups, rather than being more focused, like Borean's Chapter 2. The gnomes came out great, again. Each sub-section was tight and enjoyable.


Apart from the frustrating cliffhanger and the exciting lead-up to what's to come, Suburban Fury strikes me as a great start to a contemporary horror story. Vast, impenetrable suburb, abandoned and decaying, overrun with wild animals and inhabited by social exiles...reminds me of the now-empty sprawling housing developments of the western US, now abandoned and taken over by mountain lions, the only other inhabitants being a handful of unemployed folks squatting in their own foreclosed homes, and the millions of mosquitoes growing in stagnant green swimming pools. Just the setting alone could give rise to dozens of horror plotlines, especially featuring teenagers getting lost in the suburban hell. Just throw in some serial killers/satanic cultists/slasher rapists/supernatural monsters/crazies/what have you, and you've got yourself a movie pitch.
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destron



Joined: 25 Aug 2007
Posts: 262

PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Suburban Fury is finished:

http://scratchednerve.blogspot.com/2010/06/suburban-fury-part-2-and-finale.html

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Just so that you don't get the wrong idea, this story is not really intended as a horror piece. While you could certainly interpret it that way (and the feral dogs of the first part do add a scary touch), the second part is more like a suburban Mad Max.

There's also a short travelogue update:

http://destron.blogspot.com/2010/06/ooc-delay-update.html
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Amaunator



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
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Location: Belgium ... innocuous but intrepid!

PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hah, this final piece is great Very Happy. A little nutty and not entirely cohesive, but great fun! Very Happy

A pair of sedans, attached to each other by metal braces, raced past Hal as a SUV-sports van...
It's just my impression, but I'd have written "an SUV-sports van" because of the "es" sound of "SUV".

And that the girl happens to be an estranged cousin of Alice is a little advantageous, isn't it? Oh well, I'll turn a blind eye. And yes, Hal's a softie Razz.
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the sun may melt the rain
may rinse the sky may sink
the clouds may meet the dirt
may drop your heart may heal

feelings of love you love
fluttering hearts you hate
revealing souls you love
breaking spirits you hate that

the sun...
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destron



Joined: 25 Aug 2007
Posts: 262

PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy to hear that you liked, Amaunator. I was trying to evoke a very pulpy feel with Suburban Fury, complete with narrow escapes and unlikely coincidences. Now, it's always a little risky to incorporate such things; it can easily come across as sounding lazy or too convenient. I guess the key is to make it as entertaining as possible, since that's the whole point of a pulp story.

I've got another Scratched Nerve story planned for July. All I'm going to say is that it's going to be a (sort of) romance with zero supernatural elements. I've also been toying around with a medieval noir/murder mystery involving a veteran of the atrocious 4th Crusade, but that might not be for quite a while, since I'll need to do some research.
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Farsider



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got to hand it to you. You sure know how to write an exciting action sequence. Chases are hard to do, and often as hard to read. This one was clear and thrilling.

Well done!
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destron



Joined: 25 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Farsider. Here's the first part of Sholazar Basin.

http://destron.blogspot.com/2010/07/sholazar-basin-part-1.html
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Amaunator



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
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Location: Belgium ... innocuous but intrepid!

PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Proving the camp’s ultimately frivolous nature, a tent of dwarves and humans competed against nature’s sounds with an litany of drinking songs.
A simple a/an error.

The other races disliked for many reasons, especially their allegedly inconstant nature,
Oh, and this one, "disliked them" Wink.

Rogrof shouted something to them, and they went returned to their business
"returned" should do it.

but he was no fool. Certainly he had little trouble understanding mm
"me"

“I see. I think I’ll pass, on that case.”
"in that case", slip of the tongue? Very Happy

I must say, I liked how you kept the mystery in the dialogue with Nesingwary. Other than that it was a nicely flowing chapter; it doesn't need any real razzle-dazzle because it's not an action story, so don't worry when I say that it was a fine, understated chapter Smile.
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the sun may melt the rain
may rinse the sky may sink
the clouds may meet the dirt
may drop your heart may heal

feelings of love you love
fluttering hearts you hate
revealing souls you love
breaking spirits you hate that

the sun...
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Farsider



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 913

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry that it takes so long to get on these comments.

I always felt that Sholazar was kind of a strange, offbeat distraction from the rest of the continent, and it took me a long time to even visit it (apart from flying over for the explorer achievement). I think that you captured that feel of it, being a backwater that hasn't warranted much attention. I liked how the Horde and Alliance were expending more effort to make sure that the other party isn't interested in the region than they are in exploring it themselves.

Nesingwary came off as quite a bit more sane than I would have thought. He seemed like a likable fellow, what with him devoting so much of his focus to raising the profile of other younger hunters than to spreading his own legend. I felt that his conversation was particularly well written. The dialogue was smart, and it made the characters seem smart as well. It achieved the 'show, don't tell' goal that is so lauded and so rare in any writing.

The wolvar were quite menacing, due to how self-destructive, and destructive in general, they are in their fight for survival. Looking forward to the Oracles. Seems like Destron would get along better with them than the Wolvar.

And I'm sorry to hear about your hard drive. That's a hard loss, I know, and I hope that it doesn't put you back too much.
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destron



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To give everyone an update, I've rewritten most of what was lost in the crash. Sholazar Basin 2 should be up by the 15th. In the meanwhile, I've also written a new Scratched Nerve story.

http://scratchednerve.blogspot.com/2010/08/crossed-paths.html
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Amaunator



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Location: Belgium ... innocuous but intrepid!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Computers are the devil's gift to mankind in that regard, yes Wink. You curse them when they get in your way, but we're so dependent on them most of the time.

he walked up a bored-looking girl
--> up to

Jason walked home, feeling a lightness in his step that had never been there before.
--> Nothing exactly wrong with this sentence, but I feel that you've evolved far past having to use clichés like this to express good cheer. Mind you, I love a good cliché or a clever witticism and I love mixing them in with metaphor, but a single cliché can be so bland sometimes; they lose their punch from all the misuse they've been put to over the years. Smile

By the by, absolutely adoring the reference to JSC Very Happy.


What a quaint story though... From all the other stories you've written, this one's the most wholesome, aesthetically pleasing and rounded. I mean, I realise that there isn't really a clue or a punchline at the end of the story, that in truth the story does not have any impetus or a hook, but in a way that kind of desolation matches perfectly that of the protagonist's, and it adds to the seeming anachronicity of the portrayed lifestyle.

And it's nice to see a reference to American Muslims fighting against the Taliban. That last comment's probably somewhat unexpected, but it's just that I'm getting a little bored of reading the impression of a Manichean world (yes, that word is amazing Very Happy) where everything WASP is good and everything Middle-Eastern is evil. And I don't know if you're aware, but you added a very interesting socio-economic dimension to the entire story by including her soldier brother. Considering the lion's share of soldiers is recruited from the lower socio-economic strata, it's also far more likely that Fatima's family isn't that well off. But, they manage to get her into college - which if it were a rigidly faithful family would never have happened - so you've painted a very colourful and slightly mysterious picture of her life with as few words as possible. The fact that you've left so much unsaid about her makes her all the more interesting to wonder at.
_________________
the sun may melt the rain
may rinse the sky may sink
the clouds may meet the dirt
may drop your heart may heal

feelings of love you love
fluttering hearts you hate
revealing souls you love
breaking spirits you hate that

the sun...
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destron



Joined: 25 Aug 2007
Posts: 262

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amaunator wrote:
Computers are the devil's gift to mankind in that regard, yes Wink. You curse them when they get in your way, but we're so dependent on them most of the time.


Yeah. I just got my old computer back, with a new hard drive. Right now I'm wondering if it's worth it to buy more RAM to play Starcraft 2. I need to make the decision pretty quickly (since I'm not going to have much time to play it in grad school). I'm asking around to see how well it runs on 3GB of RAM; if it works okay, I'll go ahead and buy (right now I have 1.5). If it needs 4GB, I'll probably wait until Christmas or something. While I can afford that, I simply can't justify spending that much for a game.

Amaunator wrote:
he walked up a bored-looking girl
--> up to

Jason walked home, feeling a lightness in his step that had never been there before.
--> Nothing exactly wrong with this sentence, but I feel that you've evolved far past having to use clichés like this to express good cheer. Mind you, I love a good cliché or a clever witticism and I love mixing them in with metaphor, but a single cliché can be so bland sometimes; they lose their punch from all the misuse they've been put to over the years. Smile

By the by, absolutely adoring the reference to JSC Very Happy.


I wrote the line about "lightness in his step" at the last minute, simply to connect the paragraph before with what came after. I had a feeling it would sound kind of dull, and I'll try to figure out a replacement. Also, I'm afraid I don't know what you mean by JSC...

Amaunator wrote:
What a quaint story though... From all the other stories you've written, this one's the most wholesome, aesthetically pleasing and rounded. I mean, I realise that there isn't really a clue or a punchline at the end of the story, that in truth the story does not have any impetus or a hook, but in a way that kind of desolation matches perfectly that of the protagonist's, and it adds to the seeming anachronicity of the portrayed lifestyle.

And it's nice to see a reference to American Muslims fighting against the Taliban. That last comment's probably somewhat unexpected, but it's just that I'm getting a little bored of reading the impression of a Manichean world (yes, that word is amazing Very Happy) where everything WASP is good and everything Middle-Eastern is evil. And I don't know if you're aware, but you added a very interesting socio-economic dimension to the entire story by including her soldier brother. Considering the lion's share of soldiers is recruited from the lower socio-economic strata, it's also far more likely that Fatima's family isn't that well off. But, they manage to get her into college - which if it were a rigidly faithful family would never have happened - so you've painted a very colourful and slightly mysterious picture of her life with as few words as possible. The fact that you've left so much unsaid about her makes her all the more interesting to wonder at.


I'm thrilled that you found it so interesting! This is the first time I've written a story like this, so I wasn't really sure how it would come out.

Though, if you don't mind my saying, the reader can't actually be sure that Jason is a WASP. While definitely a Protestant, he might of mixed Polish-Korean descent or something Wink WASP does seem implied however, and I'll admit that's how I pictured him.

I was actually a somewhat religious Christian during high school (though nowhere near to the degree that Jason is). I joined a nearby church, where I was very impressed with the pastor. He left after a while, promoted to a bigger position out in the MidWest, and his replacement was rather lacking.

His successor focused almost entirely on evangelization, pressuring the congregation (which consisted mostly of very proper and elderly Dutch-Americans) to basically get on the street corners and spread the word. Many of them fled to other churches. I stayed for a while, and did actually feel pretty guilty about not proselytizing (I made a few very weak attempts, mildly annoying my friends). Eventually, I wised up and got out of there.

I think there is an unfortunate strain in American Christianity that essentially turns the entire religion into a sales pitch. In addition to being horribly reductive to what is a very complex and actually rather nuanced faith, I don't think it works very well. There's an interesting piece about the subject here:

http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2006/02/lb_hospitality_.html

Slacktivist, by the way, runs a very entertaining and insightful page-by-page criticism of the infamous Left Behind series. While I disagree with him on many political/economic issues in his non-LB posts, he does a great job of examining the lunacy of Left Behind, and from a left-wing Christian standpoint no less.

(Fun fact: as an example of how beautifully crazy things are in the States, I was once in a Quiz Bowl team that had a leftist Democrat evangelical Christian who argued with a Buddhist-Taoist-Vegan Republican.)

Oh, and for those who are curious, I'm an agnostic.

Anyway, Jason's someone who's suffering very badly from the pressure to evangelize, and it really is a rather horrible feeling.

I don't know how clearly this comes across, given the protagonist's decidedly unreliable viewpoint, but I actually do agree with him on many aspects of American college culture. I found university life incredibly disappointing. Most students don't care much about learning, and are simply going in there because the job market expects them to have a BA (even if the BA is completely unnecessary for the job). Those who do learn too often fall into ideological traps, unable to see the bigger picture.

I'm really hoping the Master's program will be an improvement. I will admit that one reason I'm going in is to improve my job prospects (perhaps making me a hypocrite), but I also have a genuine passion for the subject.
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