Author Topic: King's Quest 5: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder! An adaptation by GrahamRocks!  (Read 11838 times)

Offline Numbers

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Okay, GrahamRocks, do you want feedback on your story? Because I'm going to be honest. Brutally, heartwrenchingly, bonecrushingly, soulstealingly honest. Give permission at your own risk.
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Offline GrahamRocks!

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I'm probably going to regret this, but...

Yes. I would like feedback from you.

Numbers? Have you ever heard the phrase, "You are your own worst critic"? I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my writing, and that seems to apply.

I know that my stories have problems.

Grammar isn't my strong suit (tenses keep switching around, sentence fragments and run-ons in dialogue due to the fact that that's how I talk normally), some scenes could have been written better (for example: The scene with The Witch could have had more courage from Cedric. "I'm not afraid of you- EEK!" is what happened, yet I wanted him to start feeling braver), and a couple scenes could have been good if they'd been written at all in the story if I hadn't thought of them AFTER I'd already written and posted the chapter (for example: there was a scene in the desert at night where Graham and Cedric were resting at an oasis, Cedric uses his Night owl spell to keep watch over Graham and is confronted by the ghost of The Wanderer! Like Colin Farwalker from 7, he'd been cursed to wander the sands for eternity, getting no rest. Cedric helps him... somehow, haven't figured that out yet, and he can rest. Cedric gets a tiny bit braver after that night.)

Both negative feedback and positive feedback helps me become a better writer. Positive tells me what I'm doing right, negative tells me what I need to work on.

One of my friends on wizard101 actually read my Quest for Glory fic (after I told him about it), and he REALLY liked it! I ask for any constructive criticism... and he gives nothing but positive feedback. That BUGS me! I know my story is decent, but it's not the greatest story ever told! He thought it was! I even told him, "Y'know, there are writers FAR better than me! I'm not really all that good!" He didn't believe me. The kid's in high school, and gave me nothing but praise even though my stories aren't the greatest ever.

So please, give me both positive and negative feedback, Numbers! PLEASE!

And hey, even if my stories suck from your point of view (which I hope they don't, but beggars can't be choosers), just look on the bright side: my stories back when I was younger (like 12-13)? They were much, MUCH worse! Flat characters, plots went nowhere, cliches everywhere, and I once had a villain literally just burst through the door of a church during a wedding and shoot up the place with no buildup whatsoever! He just... appeared in my story with no explanation!

Offline Numbers

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The look on my face when GrahamRocks gave me permission to review her story:



The look on GrahamRocks' face when she saw the above picture and realized what she was getting into:



And now, onto the matter at hand.

GrahamRocks, I'm going to start with the positive. You have tackled an ambitious project, and taken a dive into the deep, dark realm of fanfiction, a concept that has been the butt of many jokes over the years. And considering some of the creepy Harry Potter stuff that's out there (why did I look for that, anyway?), there is some merit to that. But fanfiction isn't all bad. I know for a fact that fledgling authors get recognized for their prose on fanfiction.net, and sometimes graduate to full-fledged authors as a result. I myself am looking for a career as a novelist, and I too am taking baby steps toward my goal.

Now, let's see how your writing skills hold up.

Your take on the characters of KQ5 is different enough to separate it from the characters from the source material, and I like that idea. As (somewhat) charming as KQ5 is, the characterizations are extremely flat and stereotypical. Your characters each have at least some personality, if a different personality from the game. Human!Cedric is given a backstory, and the royal family inside the miniature Castle Daventry get their own stuff to do, meaning that they won't be completely unseen until the end of the story.

There are also action scenes, which are a welcome change of pace, and pretty necessary for a written interpretation of a KQ game. If you followed the plot of the game too closely, a lot of what happens would just be puzzle-solving, which is fun to do in a game, but incredibly boring to read about. There will be KQ purists, of course, who insist that everything be exactly like how it's presented in the KQ Companion, but I say, to hell with that. It's your own story, you do what you want with it.

Now, for everyone's favorite part, the criticism...

First things first. Your use of exclamation points outside of dialogue is excessive. Extremely excessive. Actual novels reserve exclamation points in normal sentences for only the most significant of events. Here, they are tossed about to and fro, making it feel like the story is constantly shouting. Another bit of punctuation that irritates me are the parentheses. Novels hardly ever use parentheses. If you feel like you need to include more information in a sentence, rewrite it or use a semicolon. In a worst-case scenario, use double hyphens.

As you have said, tenses switch around, which makes reading those parts of the story a chore. Sentence fragments and run-ons in dialogue can add realism to the interactions between characters, but they can also make them look like massive idiots who don't know how to talk. This was an issue with TSL where characters sometimes said redundant information in the same sentence. In this case, it doesn't make the dialogue seem authentic, it makes the characters look like they forgot what they just said. Dialogue in novels is best written with more thought than the thought put into conversations that people have in real life. If an argument in a story was written too accurately to a real-life, it would quickly devolve into a profanity-laden storm that has more to do with being aggressive than what the argument was about in the first place. Such is the case here--if your characters are having an argument, make their dialogue sound witty and clever, because nobody wants to see a boring real-life argument that they've already experienced a million times. Just some food for thought.

Perhaps the biggest offender here is the fact that the story has a bunch of cliches. It's still better than the actual source material, but that's not saying much in this case. The cold hard truth is that all of the KQ games had their fair share of cliches, including KQ6, which, magnum opus though it may be, could still have cut out the most obvious tropes and been all the better for it. One such example here is Cedric having a very typical backstory along the lines of "I lost my mother to a bad guy that we'll obviously run into in this story so that I can avenge her." This has been done to death. Nonetheless, Cedric's personality has been changed, and he at least has a backstory rather than none at all, so that's already an improvement. However, it kind of feels unnecessary, as the end result is the same whether Cedric had ties to it or not. The encounter you proposed between Cedric and the Wanderer also feels unnecessary, as it would simply be a rehash of an already not particularly fun part of KQ7.

Another thing to keep in mind is the end goal. With the story I'm working on, I have already planned out how many chapters there are, what events will be happening in what chapter, what character development will be going down when, evenly spacing out the action sequences so that they're not too close to each other while still being entertaining, making sure that the bad guy of the story isn't ridiculously overpowered, making sure the good guys are smart, deciding what character traits to emphasize in each person, and so on. If you haven't already, you should plan out your story from start to finish. Write the chapters out of order if need be. Write the chapters you'll be most comfortable writing first, the others will fall into place sooner or later. If you're burned out, take a break from it for a little while. Don't be afraid to take a hiatus from your work. Before you go back and start writing new stuff, re-read the old stuff and see what could be changed.

And if you ever get down, here's a dramatic reading of a Doom fanfiction to make you feel better. It's only two minutes long, and it's easily one of the stupidest things ever written. And you will be safe knowing that you will never sink that low. (Don't worry, you don't need to know a thing about Doom to enjoy/be horrified by it.)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1RJevflSmI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1RJevflSmI</a>

Finally, the story I'm working on is a novelization of The Wizard and the Princess, in which the desert Wanderer is the main character. So...I got dibs.
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Offline GrahamRocks!

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The look on my face when GrahamRocks gave me permission to review her story:


What's that from?

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The look on GrahamRocks' face when she saw the above picture and realized what she was getting into:



And that?

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GrahamRocks, I'm going to start with the positive. You have tackled an ambitious project, and taken a dive into the deep, dark realm of fanfiction, a concept that has been the butt of many jokes over the years. And considering some of the creepy Harry Potter stuff that's out there (why did I look for that, anyway?), there is some merit to that. But fanfiction isn't all bad. I know for a fact that fledgling authors get recognized for their prose on fanfiction.net, and sometimes graduate to full-fledged authors as a result. I myself am looking for a career as a novelist, and I too am taking baby steps toward my goal.

No need to welcome my diving in, Numbers. I've been going down deeper and deeper since 2005-2006 with my Cars/Herbie The Love Bug crossover fanfictions which I think suck.

Of course, there are far, FAR better authors than me out there, both original and fanfiction authors. If I might drop a couple names here:

ScytheRider (Pokemon)

whoadrep (WALL-E)

Luna Goldsun (Kung Fu Panda)

and several more! I'm an amateur compared to these people!

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Your take on the characters of KQ5 is different enough to separate it from the characters from the source material, and I like that idea. As (somewhat) charming as KQ5 is, the characterizations are extremely flat and stereotypical. Your characters each have at least some personality, if a different personality from the game. Human!Cedric is given a backstory, and the royal family inside the miniature Castle Daventry get their own stuff to do, meaning that they won't be completely unseen until the end of the story.

Thanks! I especially like how I did Alicia.

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There are also action scenes, which are a welcome change of pace, and pretty necessary for a written interpretation of a KQ game. If you followed the plot of the game too closely, a lot of what happens would just be puzzle-solving, which is fun to do in a game, but incredibly boring to read about. There will be KQ purists, of course, who insist that everything be exactly like how it's presented in the KQ Companion, but I say, to hell with that. It's your own story, you do what you want with it.

Indeed. Lots of people didn't like the action sequences in TSL either, but I loved 'em!

and, of course, one action scene is canon anyway: the Mordack fight! That's gonna be FUN! :)

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First things first. Your use of exclamation points outside of dialogue is excessive. Extremely excessive. Actual novels reserve exclamation points in normal sentences for only the most significant of events. Here, they are tossed about to and fro, making it feel like the story is constantly shouting. Another bit of punctuation that irritates me are the parentheses. Novels hardly ever use parentheses. If you feel like you need to include more information in a sentence, rewrite it or use a semicolon. In a worst-case scenario, use double hyphens.

I've known that I need to cut back on '!'s for awhile now--sounds like I'm going on a diet if I word it like that-- but I never knew that about parentheses.

Quote
As you have said, tenses switch around, which makes reading those parts of the story a chore. Sentence fragments and run-ons in dialogue can add realism to the interactions between characters, but they can also make them look like massive idiots who don't know how to talk. This was an issue with TSL where characters sometimes said redundant information in the same sentence. In this case, it doesn't make the dialogue seem authentic, it makes the characters look like they forgot what they just said. Dialogue in novels is best written with more thought than the thought put into conversations that people have in real life. If an argument in a story was written too accurately to a real-life, it would quickly devolve into a profanity-laden storm that has more to do with being aggressive than what the argument was about in the first place. Such is the case here--if your characters are having an argument, make their dialogue sound witty and clever, because nobody wants to see a boring real-life argument that they've already experienced a million times. Just some food for thought.
TSL has that? Example?

True about arguments though. I've been writing some scenes out of order for my Quest for Glory fics, and there is a really nasty one between Finn (a Wizard) and Marcus (a Paladin) who are friends with eachother and Rico (a Thief), but here in Mordavia, their friendship hits its lowest point in its unravelling.

See, throughout their adventures across Gloriana I thought of an ongoing character arc that affects all three of them. They all grew up together in Willowsby and became best friends, despite their different home lives; Marcus lost his father at 11, and has been training and trying his best to be like him for the past 10 years to some degree of success, being already a good Fighter since he started training at 9 with his father and becoming a Paladin in Shapier. Finn's mama left his papa when he was a baby due to both a magic accident and her family forcing her to leave, thusly leaving Finn without a mother and his father, while he does legitimately care and love his son, he won't show it very often because he's afraid of being hurt again. as for Rico, his family's "tradition" is that they all teach their children to be thieves, and Rico's the latest member of that tradition. While he loves his job immensely, he still wishes that he didn't have to steal to survive since his family is very poor and wants moreso to be well off yet still be thieving. nothing wrong with having extra money, right?

Anyway, the arc continues through all five stories:

in Spielburg? They're very close pals, always sticking close together.

in Shapier? They're still friends but they're hanging out less and going off on their own to explore and make new friends.

in Tarna? Their friendship starts to unravel bit by bit.

in Mordavia? Their friendship continues unravelling until it hits rock bottom, and they no longer consider eachother friends.

in Silmaria? Well, when you hit rock bottom, there's no other place to go but up, right? By the end of that adventure, they are friends once more!

I've labelled the scene in Mordavia with the argument as "That Scene".

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Perhaps the biggest offender here is the fact that the story has a bunch of cliches. It's still better than the actual source material, but that's not saying much in this case. The cold hard truth is that all of the KQ games had their fair share of cliches, including KQ6, which, magnum opus though it may be, could still have cut out the most obvious tropes and been all the better for it. One such example here is Cedric having a very typical backstory along the lines of "I lost my mother to a bad guy that we'll obviously run into in this story so that I can avenge her." This has been done to death. Nonetheless, Cedric's personality has been changed, and he at least has a backstory rather than none at all, so that's already an improvement. However, it kind of feels unnecessary, as the end result is the same whether Cedric had ties to it or not. The encounter you proposed between Cedric and the Wanderer also feels unnecessary, as it would simply be a rehash of an already not particularly fun part of KQ7.
I'm planning on rewriting this story someday, so... what would you suggest for Cedric then? It's too late to change it now in this version, unfortunately.

I do apologize for the cliches though... I didn't think they were all that bad... :(

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Another thing to keep in mind is the end goal. With the story I'm working on, I have already planned out how many chapters there are, what events will be happening in what chapter, what character development will be going down when, evenly spacing out the action sequences so that they're not too close to each other while still being entertaining, making sure that the bad guy of the story isn't ridiculously overpowered, making sure the good guys are smart, deciding what character traits to emphasize in each person, and so on. If you haven't already, you should plan out your story from start to finish. Write the chapters out of order if need be. Write the chapters you'll be most comfortable writing first, the others will fall into place sooner or later. If you're burned out, take a break from it for a little while. Don't be afraid to take a hiatus from your work. Before you go back and start writing new stuff, re-read the old stuff and see what could be changed.

It's funny, y'know. I'm doing pretty much all that for my QFG fics, writing scenes out of order, trying to do character development, thinking of backstories for my characters enc. So... why can't I do that as well for this?!

What's wrong with me?!

and I feel awful for hiatuses! I feel like I'm letting my readers down, because I'm not working on the next chapter. Numbers, I have not released a chapter for EITHER story for NEARLY A YEAR!

Y'know, I ALMOST regret deleting some of my old drafts of some of my fics that never went anywhere. There was one that I tried to rewrite three times, called "Many Years Later..." and it just kept getting worse and worse and more and more convoluted and illogical and spinning its wheels, until I finally said, "f*** it! I'm deleting this!" and moved on.

I almost regret deleting it, because if I'd kept it, I could look back on it years later and see how I've improved. Sometimes I give up because I run out of ideas, I realize the story is stupid, or more rarely (only has happened once so far)... I've found someone who just does it better than I ever could.

5 years ago, WALL-E, one of my absolute favorite Pixar films, was released on June 27th. I saw it and I was hooked! So, I decided to write a fanfiction about it. Specifically, it was retelling the story with the characters being humans/cyborgs. It actually got pretty far-- twelve chapters --and i'd managed to get into the third act of the film. It was 2010 when I last tried to write the Garbage Disposal chapter, and not only did I run out of ideas, but I also found someone better than me.

Whoadrep also wrote a WALL-E fanfiction that had the same concept, and she did it better. Her science made sense! She took what I thought were great ideas and just made them better!

Feeling both impressed and a bit intimidated, i decided to stop writing that story, because it had already been done for me.

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And if you ever get down, here's a dramatic reading of a Doom fanfiction to make you feel better. It's only two minutes long, and it's easily one of the stupidest things ever written. And you will be safe knowing that you will never sink that low. (Don't worry, you don't need to know a thing about Doom to enjoy/be horrified by it.)



BAHAHAHA!!! Ah, Manwithoutabody! How I love your voice! I don't even have to click the video to know that's him, because I've seen that before!

Or... I could just be horrified by Stephanie Meyer's books. Ugh! I'm an amateur fanfiction writer and even I write better characters and stories than she does, I swear!

At least my characters are likable! at least, I hope they are.

Offline Numbers

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The first picture is of actor Willem Dafoe doing what he does best: being a complete nutcase. Don't know what movie it's from. The second is Emma Stone, a pretty young lass if I may say so myself, in the movie Easy A.

Indeed. Lots of people didn't like the action sequences in TSL either, but I loved 'em!

and, of course, one action scene is canon anyway: the Mordack fight! That's gonna be FUN! :)

It better be. As over-the-top as it was, the killing blow was really anticlimactic.

TSL has that? Example?

I don't have the exact quote, but I distinctly remember at the beginning of episode 2, Hassan uses the word "sometimes" twice in the same sentence. It didn't come across particularly well.

QFG fanfic-related stuff

Stay focused. We're talking about KQ5 here. You can promote your other material in a different thread.

I'm planning on rewriting this story someday, so... what would you suggest for Cedric then? It's too late to change it now in this version, unfortunately.

I do apologize for the cliches though... I didn't think they were all that bad... :(

Personally, if I were to write a KQ5 novelization, I would pick and choose what should be the same and what should be different. I definitely wouldn't include everything in the game. If I were to write Cedric, he would still be an owl, just not an idiot. Being an anthropomorphic animal makes him unique, even if his personality doesn't fit the "wise owl" trope. I might also put some focus on the fallout of Daventry being temporarily leaderless, but I don't know how interesting that would be. There would need to be a lot of made-up characters if you went that route.

As far as the cliches go, anyone can identify one--it's just difficult to avoid them in writing, no matter how knowledgeable you are. A writer will almost always fail to see an obvious cliche in their writing unless they are either very self-aware, or worse yet, think very little of their audience's intelligence. At least, that's my experience with it.

Anyway, it's okay to post stuff on the Internet and get feedback, but don't expect to ace it on the first try, or the second or even third time. It takes a lot of work to rewrite things to your satisfaction, and to other's satisfaction. But if there's an eventual payoff, then your work isn't wasted.

COUPLE OF QUICK EDITS:

If you make meta commentary at any point in your story, make sure it isn't too on-the-nose. The rat sounding like Roberta "the great dreamer" felt very awkward, and most people won't get what you're referring to. Try to be more subtle when putting things like that in, so that people who get the joke will smirk while the rest won't think twice about it.

I could just be horrified by Stephanie Meyer's books. Ugh! I'm an amateur fanfiction writer and even I write better characters and stories than she does, I swear!

At least my characters are likable! at least, I hope they are.

Clearly, you have never looked into 50 Shades of Grey, which took everything that Twilight did wrong and multiplied it exponentially. At least Twilight had Mustache Dad. Grey doesn't have any likable characters, period. While Edward Cullen was an idiot who meant well, Christian Grey is a complete monster, and one of the most horrifying characters I've ever seen in fiction, right up there with Dolores Umbridge and Hannibal Lecter.

And, last but not least, ever since the Grey books became best-sellers, the sales of duct tape and cable ties have gone through the roof, presumably because of women who want to "experiment." And to the women buying these supplies, I need only say this: duct tape and cable ties are the same thing a serial killer uses on his victims, you complete idiots.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2013, 02:14:52 PM by 929572 »
I have no mouth, and I must scream.