Subject: Attempt #1
Posted on: 2020-02-13 03:47:10 UTC
Been wanting to post this for a long time. I will appreciate your input on it.
Subject: Attempt #1
Posted on: 2020-02-13 03:47:10 UTC
Been wanting to post this for a long time. I will appreciate your input on it.
A quick search of the Board confirms my impression that we haven't really heard much out of you here - actually, so far as I can tell this is your first time posting since we moved to the New Board - so are you just coming back, or have you been active on the Discord? Either way, hi!
So, first and foremost, as Thoth and Iximaz mentioned to you back in - what is that - July, we PGs don't like to hand out permission to write to people we don't know. So while someone who knows you on the Discord might be able to do so, I definitely can't.
Secondly, if you check out the FAQ on permission, you'll see that they're probably not going to do so anyway. We're not ruler-straight legalists, so we're not going to say 'your request didn't precisely match our expectations, Permission Denied', but the What To Include section is there for a reason, and that reason is to help us see what we're getting from you. Given that your attempt consists of all of one story, it's not likely to happen.
So with that out of the way, what can I say about your story?
-First up, Corvus and Cornelius make a nice pair. 'Old and wise vs. young and angry' is a fairly classic dynamic, but it's classic for a reason, and the reason is that it works.
-That said, I have no idea what they are. You refer to them consistently as a crow and a pegasus - but you also give them both hands. Then you have that odd instance of 'the edgy bird' in the last line, which suggests you want to make him Super Edgy, but couldn't think of a way to do so and just told us he was. Show, Don't Tell is standard advice for a reason, too. :) (And personally, Super Edgy isn't something I want to see in a PPC agent anyway.)
-I'm not sure whether the plot of your piece works or not. Does Corvus want to take the mission and is actually dissuaded by Cornelius, or is Corvus attempting to manipulate Cornelius into doing the work? Neither seems to entirely fit - Corvus straight-up says that he'd rather play games, while Cornelius says from the beginning that he wants to do it. I don't get a feel for your characters' motivations, which - given that this is supposed to be showing that you can write them - isn't a great sign. (That paragraph where Corvus straight up tells us his thought processes is quite clumsy, too.)
-Your spelling is good, which is great; your punctuation and sentence structure could use some work. For the former, I'm sure you can see the issue with “I could do it” was the crow’s answer., so I won't belabour it. For the latter: you've gotten into the habit of run-on sentences. I'll point you at your last paragraph:
“Okay, now for some more online Smash,” the edgy bird said before the console went [BEEEEEP], making him groan in frustration as he held his hands over his face and looked up, yelling “GODDAMNIT!”.
The run-on makes us have to rush through this sequence of events, tripping over ourselves to keep up. There's six things happening in that sentence, and you've rammed them all right up against each other. As a consequence, you've lost the space to actually immerse us in the moment and Show (Not Tell) us how Corvus is feeling. Check out this rewrite, which for the sake of consistently will assume that Corvus is a crow with (somehow) hands. (Honestly it would be more interesting to imagine him hopping onto the console and pecking at the controls, but you wrote it...)
Corvus waited until the Pegasus was well out of sight, then smirked and rubbed his hands together. "Okay, now for some more online Smash." He swung back to the console, hands poised, and-
The crow groaned and buried his face in his hands as the mission report appeared on his screen, but the words weren't going to go away. "Goddamnit," he muttered, looking up and fixing the screen with his best glare. "Goddamnit!"
See how much more you can do when you don't rush through it? Now, if you did this to every sentence of a story written in the style of your original paragraph, you'd end up with something stupidly long, but the solution isn't to rush through the events: it's to pick and choose which events you want to write. Check out this recent mission of mine, where I gloss over a long hike as 'they walked down the inexplicably long path', but give full detail on the conversation that happens towards the end. Choose what you want to focus on, and ruthlessly prune out the things you don't.
-Finally, while this piece isn't much of an example, your understanding of PPC concepts seems to be okay. I've played a lot with agents being seconded to other departments, and you don't say anything which suggests you don't understand what's going on. Cornelius does, with his 'guide the Floater' comment, but I chalk that up to personality and character voice.
Ultimately, I think this piece is right on the borderline. If I knew who you were, and if you'd included the rest of the request, and assuming it was of a similar style and quality, I'd probably go for provisionally granting permission, on the condition that you rewrote this piece to address the comments I've made.
(I don't have the time to look at your other stories, sorry - I think Zing has done a great job commenting them up, though.)
You've definitely solved the problem of what the characters look like - a simple 'anthropormorphic' or 'two-legged' has worked wonders, so good job there. (Although as the writer of Agent Mmrrowl, I have to convey his disappointment that there's not going to be an actual crow for him to chase.) I think the characters' motivations come through nice and clear, and chopping the previous Corvus-considered-his-decision back to one sentence worked nicely to preserve the surprise 'twist'. (As you've just demonstrated, one-sentence paragraphs aren't something to be afraid of! In the right place, they're brilliant.)
You've also nicely avoided the 'talking heads' problem; your characters interact with their environment and with each other all the time. I actually can't see any overall issues with the story, just specific mistakes that you'd want to look at. Like, the singular of hooves is hoof. ;) And this paragraph:
“Forgive me, but I object to that,” the Pegasus retorted, shaking his head. He then had a stern look on his face as he spoke. “I fear that you may do something reckless and endanger yourself.”
I think you can probably spot what's tripping me up here, right? 'He then had' makes it sound like the stern look just sort of... happened to Cornelius. How did it get there? I'd probably go with 'A stern look appeared on his face', or 'formed on his face', to keep the flow of time going; but you could also just drop the 'then' entirely. 'He had a stern look on his face when he spoke again', perhaps (or 'When he spoke again/continued, he had a stern look on his face'). There's lots of ways you could do it, but the one you have is pretty clumsy. (I'm guessing you originally wrote '... the Pegasus retorted. He had a stern...', and then edited the headshake in and added the 'then'? Good instincts, but you missed the mark on that one.)
Anyway: very much improved. Nice one.
As someone who's been active on the Discord, I do recognize you, and know you've been pretty active there since joining the PPC. I...would encourage you, and everyone else who's almost exclusively a Discord PPCer, to come over here now and then, though I do understand some people prefer one format over the other. Still, y'know, I'm not going to not encourage the whole community to at least occasionally post in the same place. Heck, maybe RP threads could work as a draw--last I checked, there were 2-3 Discord RP channels, with a good amount of activity, and we've had a ton of RPs on the Board over the years. (They're also neat because I'm most cases you don't need Permission to join!)
Anyway. Slight tangent aside...Silv is right. This is really (becoming) much more of a beta situation. And that's perfectly fine! You're allowed, even encouraged, to ask for Permission piece betas! It just normally...comes with that phrasing, or switches to it.
At any rate: hS also makes some good points. It looks like you've deleted the first doc or restricted access, so I have no idea what the edited version looked/looks like, but I did glance at the original yesterday. I also liked the Corvus-Cornelius dynamic; it got perhaps a little less clear toward the end, but I remember laughing a bit near the beginning.
He's also right about SPaG: your spelling is great--if there were any typos, they didn't jump out at me in any of your pieces, though I admittedly go over pieces much more thoroughly when my Hat (or just beta cap) is on versus when it's off. Your punctuation, on the other hand, needs work when dialogue is involved. This is especially apparent in your narrative Xmas piece. What you want is one punctuation mark inside the closing quotation mark; what you have in many places is either a punctuation mark outside the closing quotation mark or one inside and a different one outside.
(Some quick examples for clarity:
"Really, it's no trouble!", he said. <-is wrong.
"Really, it's no trouble!" he said. <-is correct.
"Really, it's no trouble," he said. <-is also correct.
"Really, it's no trouble", he said. <-is wrong.)
This rule holds true even if what's inside the quotation marks is written rather than spoken (although it could also be formatted as italics with no quotation marks, to symbolize writing).
What else did I want to say...ah. A couple of things.
Firstly, a little bit more on the second snippets you provided. The letter works nicely; it's a bit untraditional as a piece on its own, though, to be fair, it both really does work to show character and writing ability (and you've also provided dialogue+narration style pieces, so we aren't left wondering if you can do that as well) and seems to be a kind of extra for the second snippet. Nicely done there.
For the second snippet...well, I've mentioned the punctuation already. Apart from that, I think the story flow is reasonably good, but there's something I can't put my finger on that could be improved (which I know is pretty unhelpful. Sorry! Like I either said or implied earlier, I've done a quick read rather than a very thorough one in this case. Someone doing a proper beta job could tell you more). It might be something in the wording around introducing Vanille...? Not sure.
Which brings me to: for a Permission piece, which I'm assuming you mean this to be...I'm not saying using other characters is forbidden, but I think I might prefer a piece where Corvus is a bit more prominent if you're going with him as one of your Permission agents. As it is, with only this piece to go on we don't have a clue how he knows Gizmo, or even if he does; I didn't catch this at first because I remember seeing them interacting in RP format, but with only this piece to go on? The obvious implication is that they know each other well enough for this to happen, but that could mean anything from "I'm your best friend and found your Santa letter and decided to do something to make you happy because I don't want you to feel so homesick" to "I'm an acquaintance who stumbled upon your letter and decided to play Secret Santa on a whim."
But yeah. Put it this way: as a Permission piece, if your agents are Corvus and Cornelius, I'd advise using something where one of them appears more than just showing up at the end. You're trying to showcase the two of them; any other characters are making cameos/appearing as a bonus. These two should be the stars of these pieces.
As a regular interlude, especially if you've already put up something about Gizmo and Corvus or will soon after, you've got something solid. Add a little betaing and it'll work great.
One final thing: hS has another good point, and I want to state it a little more clearly. While we aren't going to pitch a fit if you go a little off book with your request (see: I'd be okay with a second Permission piece that's missing one of the agents, so long as the one who is there is very present), you do need to provide more components. Specifically, bios for your agents and a badfic to take on, unless they aren't in an Action department. hS' comments are actually a perfect illustration of one of the reasons why bios are so important: a reader who has never encountered your characters before has no way of knowing how and why agents identified as a crow and a Pegasus have hands! With a physical description and a continuum of origin, that confusion is eliminated. Personally, I don't think I've seen Cornelius before, so no clue there; Corvus I believe is from the same place as Gizmo, which I remember as being either Kingdom Hearts or a related canon? So he's a humanoid crow like Gizmo is a humanoid macaw?
That's one example, but bios are helpful in a lot of ways. Essentially, they tell us who your agents are, what they're meant to be like, where they're from, and what department they're in (can't remember if that was present in the first doc, though I do remember they were getting missions and weren't Floaters--possibly DMS, since they were going to assist on a mission with a Sue?) They're also helpful for gauging if your characters are well-rounded or have anything to them that really won't fit with the PPC, as well as how well your writing of them matches up to how you intend them to be (which can shift! But it's nice to see if there's an intentions vs reality gap, so we can help you sort that out).
Essentially: it's not a bad beginning, Fuda, but this is an incomplete Permission request. My recommendation is to take some time to put together the bios and find a badfic you want to mission (assuming your intention is to write missions), and write or choose a second piece that showcases one or both of your Permission agents more. (You can change which ones you're using in your request, by the way, though you do have a pretty nice dynamic going with Corvus and Cornelius. I just don't want you to think that you're locked into using them.) Once you have that, and/or in the process, get a beta or two via Discord, Board, or both, and then put it all up together as a Permission request (don't forget to acknowledge your betas!) (Also, a note on betas: they're encouraged even for Permission requests--especially for them!--because when writing missions and interludes, ideally you'll be working with betas. Betas are great: they help you polish your writing and your stories, and sometimes point out things you don't see on your own that spark amazing changes. Using a beta or several on a Permission request is both good in general and shows us that you can work with them and take advice/concrit. Also, depending on who they are, they may have already gotten Permission or seen/betaed successful requests, so...useful resource!
(You may have already heard this; I'm including it both in case you haven't/as a reminder, and for anyone else who might be reading this and wondering why we promote using betas for Permission requests.)
And I think that's it. Long, I know; hopefully you find it helpful.
Keep going, Hanafuda. You're very close; take a bit of time to put together a full, polished request, and it looks like you'll have it!
Maybe you should... wait a bit? It's not particularly, uh, expected, for someone to essentially ask for Permission twice in quick succession. The PGs have lives too, and you can't really expect for them to set aside time for you. It's the same reason why the prompts are only supposed to be 400-800 words, and why the bios are important: it gives the PGs enough information to tell if you understand how to write well, and that your characters are good, without them having to go through too much.
If you were going to post in quick succession like this, then maybe a beta is what you should have asked for, rather then going straight for permission.