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  • #3
    I will repeat my comments from the general forum -- "For Marie" is a really interesting look into the kind of vampire we've seen, perhaps, but not quite in this way. And it was done very well in a way that Buffy is able to draw some perspective from her. I thought Tamara was very interesting and its a shame that there isn't more of her.

    I also very much liked "Lullaby" -- I think it takes a very good direction for the story after the events of "The Long Way Home" and Buffy is very in character.
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    • #4
      Thanks again for the kudos, King of Cretins. I appreciate the kind words.

      I wish there could've been more of Tamara. Unfortunately, she was just a bit too broken to live. I'll create another soon that's just as narsty, but for different reasons. Maybe this one will actually make it to day two.

      I'm flattered by the statement about character voice. Openly... I've only been doing this for about two months. That's pretty high praise for a neophyte to receive.

      Valyssia
      Last edited by Valyssia; 06-08-07, 09:14 AM.

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      • #5
        Just caught up with the latest part of your story, Val. I have to admit it's becoming kind of depressing--which is not always to the bad, though it can turn readers off.

        I became very confused somewhere around the bit where Buffy is fighting a hydra-thing; I couldn't tell if that was supposed to be real or not, or how we were getting from scene to scene there.

        Having the poor girl die is very logical, I suppose, but at the same time it was a bit of a shock. Traditionally the Scoobies don't give up on humans that fast. I also wasn't sure Xander would have the strength to snap a Slayer's neck like that, though perhaps he would, if he caught her unawares.
        DeadWar: Burden of Proof
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        Feedback is always welcome here.

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        • #6
          Originally posted by Mabus View Post
          Just caught up with the latest part of your story, Val. I have to admit it's becoming kind of depressing--which is not always to the bad, though it can turn readers off.
          Kind of depressing? And the understatement of the year award goes to Mabus. The story is two days in hell. It was hell to write and I'm not done. Whedon has certainly put the scoobies through similar to make a point.

          My point, simply put...there are people that you cannot save. This is so anti-Scooby that setting the ball rolling...making the point and standing back to look at the carnage...has sorta left me with a ton of broken characters. None of these people would come out of any experience you tossed at them to illustrate this painful idea with all their digits in tact.

          I systematically disassembled all the good, fluffy things Willow said in Lullaby to keep Buffy flying straight. ...And you know that's exactly why she said them, right?

          Let me ask you this... Would the Scoobies try to save... Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Jeffery Dahmer...oh...or Willow would so love this...Adolph Hitler?

          In response, I gave them a Hydra... The one monster in Greek mythology that the man himself (Hercules) cannot face alone. He needs help to destroy the thing. The amusing bit is that the mix of real mental illnesses that I used to model my deranged slayer on are sometimes referred to as a Hydra when they appear in combination. The idea being that if you chop off one personality, two personalities will often fill in the void. Bad on so many levels...

          This is as dark as it gets without completely leaving the realm of what the characters might be inclined to do.

          Originally posted by Mabus View Post
          I became very confused somewhere around the bit where Buffy is fighting a hydra-thing; I couldn't tell if that was supposed to be real or not, or how we were getting from scene to scene there.
          I'm not even sure what you mean here. Buffy spends the entirety of the second story (A Stranger) flat on her back, in bed. She's done...the only thing she does is wonder what the hell happened. Comes with the not remembering. Willow's set on spoon feeding her because she's afraid that Buffy will suffer a relapse if she just tosses out all the facts. The first part of second story is a dream state. She's not active at all otherwise. She fights a bit to get up, but it's just not there.

          In the first story (Lament) she sees something she cannot get her mind around and it causes her to malfunction. All the bits of Buffy that we love go into hiding. She's running as a purely defensive reaction or if you like...pure slayer... God she was fun to write like this. Wish I could justify doing more of it. Though I think she spends the majority of S6 in this mode. She realizes that the thing that committed the crime...made the little present for them...is human and it causes her to retreat more. The forest attacking her to get its pound of flesh is just icing. That's what actually leaves her so reduced...it physically drains her while she sleeps.

          Originally posted by Mabus View Post
          Having the poor girl die is very logical, I suppose, but at the same time it was a bit of a shock. Traditionally the Scoobies don't give up on humans that fast. I also wasn't sure Xander would have the strength to snap a Slayer's neck like that, though perhaps he would, if he caught her unawares.
          The girl dying is the only choice. The old gods demand it. Period. Xander kills her in self defense. He knows if she gets through Zay, he's next. It's that simple. Poor guy just doesn't much relish the idea of being the next item on the menu. We could certainly debate whether he has the physical strength for the task. He's freaked...the effects adrenaline can be fascinating.

          I'm not sure after all he's seen that he'd feel a hell of a lot of guilt over killing something that could do what this girl did. He ticks for a moment over the fact that she's just a girl herself...but there's a monster there... Doesn't matter what skin you put it in. It might cause him to tweak a bit, but of all of the core characters he has the greatest ability to understand the concept. He twitches over the division of demon and human (good and bad, white hats and black hats) through out the entire series. A good example of this might be his reactions to Spike. Xander has little use for Spike even with a soul. Take a big rubber stamp and label the girl "monster" for him. He should sorta have the uptake already done considering the fact that this girl stuck lumber through the body of someone he was romantically interested in. He never sees the result, but he sees what it does to Buffy.

          The real mistake was sending the Alpha Team to Willow, but it's actually just what she wants. Zayin makes the call to put these people on Willow's six because she believes she can handle whatever happens where she is. She knows this thing needs to die...she wants to finish it. Think about what she sees during the two days. She's the one that clearly views the monster. Keeping Willow safe, just in case the thing does break free...good idea...as far as she's concerned... On the Xander end of things she's resolved to kill or be killed...and dying is not something she plans to do.

          I could rework that part... I did debate who would actually kill the mentally ill slayer. It seemed to me that Zayin would have no trouble at all with the idea of beating her slowly to death...inch by painful inch... She's not so much with the moral hang ups as the rest of the gang. Or at least her morality is different... She simply doesn't see everyone as equal. She knows that there are human monsters. She was raised by one...taken in by one... The thing is if Zayin did kill her it would set her more apart from the people she's around now. Not very good for the character.

          Xander doing it...well...he can be forgiven. It also gave him a little bit of justice in the true Punisher sort of fashion. He's more into the Nick Fury thing, but...The Punisher...is something he could understand and embrace.

          Val
          Last edited by Valyssia; 27-08-07, 06:32 AM.

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          • #7
            Feedback for Valyssia's fic: Empty Spaces

            I didn't understand the idea exactly, but it sounds very sad to me.
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            • #8
              Re: Feedback for Empty Spaces: Stone

              Buffy is visiting her grave in my story. That's one of the few truly morbid places they didn't go in canon during season six, which seemed like sort of a shame to me. They might've said so much with a simple two minute scene. Such a scene might've even replaced ten minutes of other material and accomplished the same end.

              *shrugs*

              Thanks for the thanks.

              Val

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              • #9
                I agree, brevity captured by good cinematography and directing can add so much more pointed emotion than pages of dialogue. I too would have wanted a scene where Buffy visited her grave. I really loved the sense of touch you captured particularly her fingernails on the rough edges.

                I didn't really understand it was her grave she was visiting from the text so I really appreciated you pointing that out here. She spends so much time in graveyards, that I overlooked that it might be her own she was examining. Was there a particular reason you didn't use a possessive to describe the stone? I think that might have added an even more chilling note to the story. Something about her owning, or being owned by the stone would have emphasized how Spike's touch made her feel.

                Regardless, a beautiful little moment you created. I'm not known for my Spike/Buffy love, but their connection through closeness to death always appealed to me.
                Last edited by Ehlwyen; 29-05-12, 06:02 AM. Reason: Edit

                Lydia made the punch!

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                • #10
                  Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                  I agree, brevity captured by good cinematography and directing can add so much more pointed emotion than pages of dialogue. I too would have wanted a scene where Buffy visited her grave. I really loved the sense of touch you captured particularly her fingernails on the rough edges.
                  It's funny. I view this in just the opposite way.

                  Pages of prose give you something else entirely. Something that cinema can never really hope to adequately present...a truly intimate view of one character. You can flesh a character in in so many different ways using a well crafted narrative. Ways that Hollywood can only envy.

                  The only way I really have to support that claim is by example. Name a novel, any novel that's been made into a major motion picture. Now list the many details that they dropped from the story in order to trim it down to a feature length run time.

                  And there's another thing that Hollywood can only envy: your imagination. They present a very static product. Imagination is exactly the opposite. A well crafted narrative tugs at that. I love the fact that no two people will interpret the things I write in exactly the same way. I can't imagine being asked to cap that font as authors whose works are turned into screenplays are. On some level that has to be heartrending.

                  Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                  I didn't really understand it was her grave she was visiting from the text so I really appreciated you pointing that out here. She spends so much time in graveyards, that I overlooked that it might be her own she was examining. Was there a particular reason you didn't use a possessive to describe the stone? I think that might have added an even more chilling note to the story. Something about her owning, or being owned by the stone would have emphasized how Spike's touch made her feel.
                  Yeah, and that's unfortunate. I'm sure someone who reads this snip and instantly gets it has an entirely different experience from someone who reads it and has to puzzle it out.

                  That's my fault. One of my weaknesses as a writer is that I ask a lot of my audience. I am not one to explain. Howard gets on me for that. I used to not listen, but as I've interacted with people, I've come to see it for the liability it is.


                  Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                  Was there a particular reason you didn't use a possessive to describe the stone?
                  Because in that moment I didn't see her relating to it that way. And the language of the description really wasn't tailored to it. There's a kind of poetic cadence that would have been interrupted by a direct claim. I never have her say its a headstone, so putting 'my headstone' in there...

                  Also there are the confines of the drabble. It's gotta be 100 words exactly. That's not much to tell a story with.

                  I gave you an image that once you understood it became:

                  Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                  Regardless, a beautiful little moment you created. I'm not known for my Spike/Buffy love, but their connection through closeness to death always appealed to me.
                  I'm of the same mindset. Fool for Love is one of the single best episodes of the series. A fellow author describes it as containing the DNA of the Buffyverse and I think he's totally right.

                  That's the view of Spike and Buffy I appreciate. They are adversarial, but there are also elements of grudging respect. What a fun relationship to play with.

                  Now a few closing notes on Stone:

                  This is a true drabble so every word counts. If you're doing your job well, they count twice.

                  Even in darkness, the stone glistens.

                  Buffy is lost and this object has become a beacon to her. Doesn't necessarily say anything good, does it?

                  My fingertips slide down its polished surface. Edges catch. The words ‘devoted’ and ‘beloved’ grate my skin.

                  This is the point that I expected the reader to figure out that she was sitting in front of her own headstone.

                  The inscription reads: Buffy Anne Summers (1981 - 2001). Beloved sister. Devoted friend. She saved the world a lot.

                  What she's saying in this section is that those roles grate on her.

                  Dank cool earth bleeds through my jeans. I sit, numb, waiting, pondering…

                  The 'dank cool earth' reference is meant to conjure up images of being in the grave. 'Bleed' speaks to injury or death. And so on...

                  This piece is about as anti-Spuffy romance as they get. Buffy plainly wonders where Spike might want her to be, and then lists the places at this point in canon where they've had sex. It presents a stark view of their relationship as being nothing more than physical. That's the view we have of them in season six. The writers aren't trying to sell them as anything more than f**k buddies.

                  Anyway, thank you so much for weighing in. Your kind words mean a lot. I has foodies fer thoughts now.

                  Val
                  Last edited by Valyssia; 29-05-12, 08:00 AM.

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Valyssia View Post
                    It's funny. I view this in just the opposite way.

                    Pages of prose give you something else entirely. Something that cinema can never really hope to adequately present...a truly intimate view of one character. You can flesh a character in in so many different ways using a well crafted narrative. Ways that Hollywood can only envy.

                    The only way I really have to support that claim is by example. Name a novel, any novel that's been made into a major motion picture. Now list the many details that they dropped from the story in order to trim it down to a feature length run time.

                    And there's another thing that Hollywood can only envy: your imagination. They present a very static product. Imagination is exactly the opposite. A well crafted narrative tugs at that. I love the fact that no two people will interpret the things I write in exactly the same way. I can't imagine being asked to cap that font as authors whose works are turned into screenplays are. On some level that has to be heartrending.
                    I'm sorry, I was not clear. I meant on film use of good visuals can often say something more powerful than speaking loads of dialogue. I think the US version of The Killing does this well. Characters often have wordless moments which make us question what is going through their minds and then use our imagination to relate to them.

                    I agree that written prose has more advantages than film. I think time constraints are also a large part of that. Not just in that movies or tv shows average 2hours or 45 minutes to tell a story. Instead when reading, I find it natural to put down the book to contemplate a line or a passage for as long as it intrigues me. However, when watching film, the story keeps moving at its pace and using pause can feel like an unnecessary interruption.

                    Yeah, and that's unfortunate. I'm sure someone who reads this snip and instantly gets it has an entirely different experience from someone who reads it and has to puzzle it out.

                    That's my fault. One of my weaknesses as a writer is that I ask a lot of my audience. I am not one to explain. Howard gets on me for that. I used to not listen, but as I've interacted with people, I've come to see it for the liability it is.
                    It's true, a reader's experiences definitely shape interpretations. Ultimately, as a writer you need to know why you are writing something. Is it for your own expression or is it to convey something to someone else? Both are valid and neither exclusive to the other.

                    You are lucky to have Howard to trust in and push you to think in different ways. Creating is a very insular process and it can be hard to let other's opinions have any shape.

                    Because in that moment I didn't see her relating to it that way. And the language of the description really wasn't tailored to it. There's a kind of poetic cadence that would have been interrupted by a direct claim. I never have her say its a headstone, so putting 'my headstone' in there...

                    Also there are the confines of the drabble. It's gotta be 100 words exactly. That's not much to tell a story with.
                    Ah! I suspected maybe it was an exactly 100 word drabble. I am only vaguely familiar with fanfic styles of writing and was hesitant of how to ask.

                    I completely understand your choice to leave it out. I was just wondering if you had considered having that kind of connection. And I agree, I definitely don't think subbing headstone for stone adds to it.

                    I'm of the same mindset. Fool for Love is one of the single best episodes of the series. A fellow author describes it as containing the DNA of the Buffyverse and I think he's totally right.

                    That's the view of Spike and Buffy I appreciate. They are adversarial, but there are also elements of grudging respect. What a fun relationship to play with.
                    Yes! Fool for Love! Just the other day I posted about how important it is for me. Totally agree on what you are saying.

                    Now a few closing notes on Stone:

                    This is a true drabble so every word counts. If you're doing your job well, they count twice.

                    Even in darkness, the stone glistens.

                    Buffy is lost and this object has become a beacon to her. Doesn't necessarily say anything good, does it?

                    My fingertips slide down its polished surface. Edges catch. The words ‘devoted’ and ‘beloved’ grate my skin.

                    This is the point that I expected the reader to figure out that she was sitting in front of her own headstone.

                    The inscription reads: Buffy Anne Summers (1981 - 2001). Beloved sister. Devoted friend. She saved the world a lot.

                    What she's saying in this section is that those roles grate on her.
                    These lines definitely spoke these exact sentiments to me. I really do like how you focused on those specific words and how they cause her strife rather than comfort.

                    And mostly I come off feeling like a poor fan for not knowing Buffy's exact grave inscription.

                    Dank cool earth bleeds through my jeans. I sit, numb, waiting, pondering…

                    The 'dank cool earth' reference is meant to conjure up images of being in the grave. 'Bleed' speaks to injury or death. And so on...
                    Now this is something I didn't consider at all, I really like that interpretation.

                    This piece is about as anti-Spuffy romance as they get. Buffy plainly wonders where Spike might want her to be, and then lists the places at this point in canon where they've had sex. It presents a stark view of their relationship as being nothing more than physical. That's the view we have of them in season six. The writers aren't trying to sell them as anything more than f**k buddies.
                    I agree, I definitely got that feeling from your piece that it was only sex. That's never how I felt about the relationship at that point, but that's an old problem between me and the show best left undisturbed.
                    Anyway, thank you so much for weighing in. Your kind words mean a lot. I has foodies fer thoughts now.

                    Val
                    Oh good, I'm quite inexperienced at feedback of writing as opposed to visual art. I'm glad it was enjoyable commentary.

                    Lydia made the punch!

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                      However, when watching film, the story keeps moving at its pace and using pause can feel like an unnecessary interruption.
                      I get what you mean. I hadn't really thought about that. My standard is to watch something twice if I enjoyed it. Things I've really enjoyed I've watched many more times than that. I have a very short list of things that I watch every couple of years because I just love them.

                      Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                      It's true, a reader's experiences definitely shape interpretations. Ultimately, as a writer you need to know why you are writing something. Is it for your own expression or is it to convey something to someone else? Both are valid and neither exclusive to the other.
                      That changes with every piece. This one was written because I had an image of Buffy sitting in front of her headstone with her legs curled beneath her and hips cocked by the broken ground stuck in my bloody head. I couldn't shake it, so I wrote. It was that simple. At the time, I couldn't have given a damn what anyone else thought of it.

                      I wrote about 250 words and culled the piece down to drabble length by tightening sentence structure and eliminating redundancies. I lost a little bit I wanted to save, but that always happens when you write a drabble. I also managed to convey a pretty big story in an itsy bitsy package.

                      Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                      You are lucky to have Howard to trust in and push you to think in different ways. Creating is a very insular process and it can be hard to let other's opinions have any shape.
                      I was very closed off for several years, but I finally got over it when I realized that I was really hurting Howard's feelings. It took me too long to notice, which isn't that atypical for me. I felt like a heel and I started to listen. He actually made me nicer in a way.

                      He has some pretty neat ideas. He just bailed me out of an impossible fic request tonight with a marvelous concept that will add to the mythology of one of my novel length works.

                      Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                      Ah! I suspected maybe it was an exactly 100 word drabble. I am only vaguely familiar with fanfic styles of writing and was hesitant of how to ask.
                      There are four drabbles in the series. The best of the bunch IMO is Kinda Pretty. It tells the biggest story. Stone is the second best. That's not to say that I'm not just as proud of it. I feel like I'm cutting hairs right now.

                      The Paragon of Monsters
                      is in my opinion very average.
                      And Glass Heart is just too predictable for me to be terribly proud. The language is interesting. I played. But it isn't top shelf.

                      Just writing drabbles is arduous for me. Cutting away all of the fat until you having something that purely efficient is a real pain in the butt.

                      Maybe you've noticed, I like to talk. Me? Delete words? Perish the thought!

                      Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                      I completely understand your choice to leave it out. I was just wondering if you had considered having that kind of connection. And I agree, I definitely don't think subbing headstone for stone adds to it.
                      I hadn't considered that someone might not understand. Actually I mentioned it to Q.C. Howard last night and his response was "Really?" But then I shared the idea behind the piece with him going in so he was primed before he saw the prose. I guess that was a problem.

                      The thing is so few people actually give me real feedback that it's really difficult for me to see this stuff. I'm largely flying blind. (Not to complain. Please don't take it that way.) I have to try to intuit peoples interpretations and reactions as I go. I suppose I'm doing okay at that. I have a fairly large readership for such a niche writer. If I was consistently stumping them, you'd think they'd go away.

                      (I use site statistics to gauge reactions in lieu of feedback.)

                      Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                      And mostly I come off feeling like a poor fan for not knowing Buffy's exact grave inscription.
                      I had to look it up again to get the wording right.

                      Originally posted by Ehlwyen View Post
                      Oh good, I'm quite inexperienced at feedback of writing as opposed to visual art. I'm glad it was enjoyable commentary.
                      You did just fine.

                      Perfect, actually. This has been quite a treat.

                      The idea is to give the person something to think about and you've certainly accomplished that. At the very least you've made me wonder how many people have read Stone and not understood where Buffy was sitting.

                      Though there's a certain joy in walking away and having a spontaneous revelation about the material hours later. If I knew I'd accomplished that once in the past five years, I'd be a very happy girl.

                      Val

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