Subject: Hello there.
Posted on: 2020-02-13 09:19:28 UTC

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.


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