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  • #46
    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    Did Death of the Author fall out of favor when I wasn't watching?
    I've not studied English Literature since high school, but do you honestly prefer analysis that does not try to infer what authors are attempting to achieve and how a particular technique is used to achieve that? Do you really prefer analysis where the person looking at the text probably knows what the author is trying to achieve but is then... silent on the matter?

    *Sorry if I've not got you right, I just can't understand that mindset of like "Oh, well let's not talk about how the author is particularly trying to use language to convey the feeling of love, even if we feel it doesn't work because... the author is dead". How can you analyse literature at *all* like that, with complete ignorance to intent? Though I'm not sure that's even what Death of the Author even means as I understood it.
    Last edited by Ghosthead; 02-21-2017, 07:27 AM.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by kongurous View Post
      The question, then, is do you want those choices to be in the first thing people will read in your book? This isn't polarizing based on the content of the story, but on the construction of it fundamentally, which is not an area in which I would want my first impression to be debatable.

      Originally posted by HighPriest View Post
      Yikes. Reading this for the first time makes me appreciate my long-standing policy of not reading fiction chapter breaks in RPG books.
      These responses rather bely this intent:

      Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post

      That's why I was so adamant in my first post that this wasn't anything personal towards Jenna, and by extension I want to make it clear that I didn't want this to seem personal to anybody who enjoyed it. I just wanted to discuss it, openly, and compare different opinions.
      Your posts insist your judgement on structure, grammar, atmosphere, and intent are correct. I am actually deeply uncomfortable with the thread so I will simply note the following:

      : the intent of the magic pig is to be both magic and a pig. That is, a sign of the small magics that infest Creation, and a nice source of protein for dubiously made pork buns.

      : you can dislike and get lost in a sentence all you want but it does not make it a badly crafted one, but Ghosthead has that covered.

      : the Boar of Standing Water is probably less obvious to those who have not hung around farms but I imagine it is a combination of both the myth of filthy mud and the way that pigs are actually clean animals. The reappearance of porcine symbols can be read a multitude of ways but I take it to be a stylistic choice based on how Wu-Jian is structured as a culture and as a city (pork is a good protein in crowded environments when compared with beef, or even birds).

      : Sabriye's references to food are not a poor attempt at Whedon (blech) but a constant reminder that this poverty laden guttersnipe has been ripped from her home by glory and then left to suffer it alone. These are the first people she has met like her. She doesn't want to kill them she wants to be friends, to have company. And she will try to do that, because that is the kind of person she is.

      : this is about character not just history, even so Wu Jian is her home and she does not want to leave. This is the story of her realising this. Musing on herself as a Solar, and as a resident of Wu Jian.

      : the intent is to show that Ex3 isn't just Big Damn Heroes. The narratives of the game are not the straigtforward tales of glory. Sure, Perfect Soul would have made a nice simple story but she isn't messy the way this story is. Any rpg can do simple heroics, so why start with the mundane?

      The story, is not undeniably unstructured, or badly written, regardless of how sure one person's criticisms may be. As I said though, horribly uncomfortable (even though I didn't write any of those intro fics, I know most of the people who did) but wanted to note that the criticisms are not nearly as cut and dried as it seems.

      (Also pls forgive typos amd weird words - on my phone since my laptop bricked and is in the shop)


      ". ... for me, the transformative power of art is you are not above the material." -= Guillermo del Toro

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      • #48
        (Also, psst, Kyman infers something far more egregious than 'what Jenna is conveying through use of style' when he mistakes a repeated use of symbolism for attempting to ape Whedon's dialogue so Ghosthead is continuing the trend in a much more acceptable way that...well doesn't have all that much to do with Death of the Author in terms of literary critique? )


        ". ... for me, the transformative power of art is you are not above the material." -= Guillermo del Toro

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Morangias View Post
          Did Death of the Author fall out of favor when I wasn't watching?

          "Death of the Author" was always stupid. I hated it when lecturers took that approach. As if the writing could in any way be divorced from the person who wrote it.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post

            That's a very good point. That's probably why I actually felt like the 2e Intro Comic was actually a better introduction. Because it DID actually serve as a good introduction to the kinds of things a group of Solars will go through.

            Also, since I seem to be getting some nice feedback... I thought maybe I'll do the same thing with the other Chapter Fiction in the book. Who'd like to see that?
            I'd be curious to see the your review of the 'Perfect Soul's Exaltation' and "Chejop Kejak musing" chapter fictions. That would serve as a kind of calibration for your criticism of writing for me, I suppose.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Lucy Darling View Post
              Sure, Perfect Soul would have made a nice simple story but she isn't messy the way this story is.
              Man, now I really want to see Perfect Soul wind up in Wu Jian somehow. He would hate it - awful terrain for horses, awful food (I will absolutely take Jin's word over Sabryie's on this), desert nomads probably aren't into dark/moist/crowded conditions, and to top it all off, the most noble Solar in the Core has to make deals with pirates and cutthroats.

              ...what can I say? I take joy in the suffering of fictional people.


              "For me, there's no fundamental conflict between really loving something and also seeing it as very profoundly flawed." -- Jay Eddidin

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
                I take joy in the suffering of fictional people.
                Me too. This is why I write and run games. :P


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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Chejop Kejak View Post
                  Man, now I really want to see Perfect Soul wind up in Wu Jian somehow. He would hate it - awful terrain for horses, awful food (I will absolutely take Jin's word over Sabryie's on this), desert nomads probably aren't into dark/moist/crowded conditions, and to top it all off, the most noble Solar in the Core has to make deals with pirates and cutthroats.

                  ...what can I say? I take joy in the suffering of fictional people.
                  *cough* You're thinking of Prince Diamond there. Perfect Soul's the one he's helping.


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                  • #54
                    I'm gonna just... sidestep these feelings... *tiptoes past the bear traps laced with acid*...

                    So, I'm not a fan of the intro. It's meandering and cutesy and just... overly whimsical. It's so whimsical that if the whimsy level of the piece was sugar, reading it gave me Type IV Diabetes, a fictional disease I just made up. Use more butter next time.

                    On the plus side, I think Jenna is probably too expensive for WW to afford these days, so maybe we'll see less of this.


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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by ParanoiaCombo View Post
                      I'm gonna just... sidestep these feelings... *tiptoes past the bear traps laced with acid*...
                      The fun kind of acid or the melty kind of acid


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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by kongurous View Post
                        The fun kind of acid or the melty kind of acid
                        Por que no los dos?

                        (Both)


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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by NullApostle View Post
                          "Death of the Author" was always stupid. I hated it when lecturers took that approach. As if the writing could in any way be divorced from the person who wrote it.
                          My feelings on the whole "Death of the Author" mindset is a bit complicated. I personally believe that you should keep what the author intended in mind... But you should also keep in mind that sometimes what an author intended and what an author wrote can be very different things.

                          To use some low-hanging fruit as an example... Stephenie Meyer intended to write a story about a charming gentlemanly vampire falling in love with a shy unremarkable modest average girl. What we GOT was... Well... I think everybody knows what we got with Twilight.

                          Lucy Darling - Like I said, I'm really really REALLY not trying to be mean, and I'm sorry that this is making you uncomfortable. I personally figure that Jenna will never know about this thread (because frankly she's got better things to do than worry about some guy on the internet not liking something she wrote) and that's why I've been a broken record in saying "Nothing against the authors". Just me talking about my thoughts on some fiction, and hopefully getting others talking too.

                          Anyway, now I'm going to post my thoughts on the the Introduction Section Fiction, on page 18.

                          I admit, I'll be going in super blind for some of these, since once I got past the intro fiction and got to the book itself I mostly navigated via bookmark, which jumps most of the intro fictions. One consequence is that I'd actually forgotten how short most of these were. One page fictions, I should be able to talk about in one post rather than break it into pieces.


                          Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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                          • #58
                            Gonna keep this short. I am also an overly-pedantic English major. While I'm not always partial to Ms. Moran's work, my opinions on this piece run far more toward agreement with those of Ghosthead, TCA, and Lucy Darling. There are a lot of problems with this critique.


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                            • #59
                              So, we open with the iconic Night Caste, Novia Claro.

                              Originally posted by Page 18
                              Wind at her back, Novia Claro raced across the rooftops of Nexus, her boots making no sound as they slid across the worn mud-brick. The crumbling remnants of Old Hollow stuck out like boulders in a sea of gems—great towers of clay and earth watching over the brightly colored market awnings like sentinels. Novia bounded past them like a swift hare, letting the wind guide her as she leapt from one rooftop to the next with supernatural grace
                              Alright, we've got some nice descriptors, both conveying the feeling Novia gets when jumping across the Nexus rooftops, and how Novia herself can motor when she pushes herself.

                              The next paragraph is Novia musing about how Nexus is her city, how she's been down every street, visited every district, and how she's been inside most every establishment, "whether by invitation, clever ruse, or brute force". Novia has her fingers in most every organization, playing them for gain, and using her resources to protect her home.

                              While she's having her Internal Monologue, she approaches her destination, a warehouse at the harbor.

                              It didn’t take long for her to reach the barely-standing warehouse at harbor’s edge, padding across the thatched roof like a great cat. The building was supported more by
                              the stacks of crates inside than the original structure, but the westernmost side provided a suitable perch as she crouched low to survey the goings-on of the harbor below
                              You know, I actually am rather digging some of the descriptive language being used here. Wish I had a chart of who wrote what section.

                              So then, Novia spots the object of interest. A trade ship flying Realm colors had only just now docked, and Novia wants a look. Novia gets her Assassin's Creed on by slipping into a group of dockhands, scoping the security of the ship. One lone watchman, puffing on a pipe.

                              We get a peek at Novia's mindset as she makes her plan. She knows full well how to get into places (via keeping her head down and looking like she belongs there) but it appears in this case she has a playful side, where she basically shows off by ghosting past the guard by using the smoke from his pipe as cover.

                              Once onboard the ship, Novia proceeds to stealth her way onward, via using her Essence to dampen the sound around her, and throwing a knife to cut some of the rigging holding the sail. Given that the sail almost clips the guard, it does a more-than-adequate job distracting him so Novia can sneak into the captain's cabin.

                              Now we do run into a thing that made me frown slightly. One paragraph notes that Novia knows she only has "moments to secure her prize" (which appears to be the navigational rutter and the captain's log, as well as any loose coinage lying around), but the very next paragraph starts with "A steady barrage of footsteps told her that she had only moments before the ship’s officers discovered her". This is a minor thing, I admit, but I wouldn't personally use 'moments' twice in those two paragraphs for the same meaning. If it were me I would have replaced the second 'moments' with a different word, or possibly have rewritten it to be "A steady barrage of footsteps told her that her time was short". But this is mostly a personal thing, and can't say it's a major problem.

                              So after Novia muses that if the Realm wants to influence trade in Nexus, it'll be on her terms, Novia just rushes out of the cabin the second the door opens. And the parting narration mentions Novia's final little message to the Realm. In that she set the ship on fire.

                              Which, y'know, as messages go is pretty unambiguous.

                              So, how was this fiction? It was... Serviceable. I admit I believe I skipped this on the first read through the book and never actually went back to read it. For what it is, a one-page look at Solar Stuff, it actually does its job pretty well. There's some nice imagery, like mentioning Novia showing off by teasing the guard as she sneaks past using his pipe smoke as cover.

                              I'll also say this - Given that I hadn't come across an extended bio of her yet, like I know SLS has posted for Prince Diamond and Perfect Soul, this is probably the most insight I've gotten into Novia's character.

                              This fiction didn't really jump out and grab me, and it might be one that I have to take a moment to remember before going "Oh RIGHT, with Novia and the Realm ship", but there's nothing that I actively disliked.

                              I get the feeling that this may be the most common reaction I have to the fiction in the book. Up next is, I believe... The moment of Perfect Soul's Exaltation. Either later tonight or tomorrow.


                              Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                                Now, the intro fiction… I know people like it. I know some people love it. I personally think that it’s a mess, and happens to be the weakest piece of writing in the core. Underneath the Janest story, the segment about the bored Necromancer in Thorns, Volfer in the teahouse, and the little snippets detailing what each Ability covers in the Mechanics chapter.
                                Worse than Chejop Kejak's Big Day, though? Because that sucker is bad.

                                I think you've got a basically sound assessment. I found the final confrontation with the pig god especially kind of unreadable - there's just not enough flow there for me to keep track of who is doing what to whom with what consequences, and while the characters might find a fight confusing and chaotic, I-the-reader would like to have a little more sense to it. I don't actually think the piece is bad, for all that, and I don't think it would be hard to make it really very good - like you note, there are a number of cool moments in it, even if the whole thing (and the overly cutesy "But our meat buns though" shtick) doesn't quite land for me. I don't mind it - but it's not a great first introduction to Exalted; both First and Second were better in that regard.

                                The Wu Jian picture is still really gorgeous and evocative, though.

                                I think you've done a really good job making it clear that this is a lit-crit thing and not an attack on people, for whatever that's worth. Looking forward to your takes on the rest of 'em!
                                Last edited by Irked; 02-21-2017, 05:29 PM.


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