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  • #135259

    @fitz

    Ya, I didn’t see your comment on here for some reason, like it disappeared. That’s weird. But anyway, I can still reply because I got an email notification with your answer.

    So you like to play video games? I used to play them some a few years ago, but I don’t really anymore. The only one that I play like a couple times a year is Minecraft, since I like building things. 🙂

    I have a lot of things I love doing, haha. I love reading, writing ( I go back and forth with liking it and not liking it, though I keep doing it for some weird reason…), playing hockey, skating, playing piano, writing songs (worship songs and ones that just come to me), and hanging out with people. I’m an extrovert, if you didn’t pick up with that last one… 😛 🙂

    Even the smallest person can change the course of the future. -JRR Tolkien

    #135264
    Fitz
    @fitz

    Hey @irishcelticredflowercrown thanks for reposting all that stuff. Before I continue on with the critique, I did want to answer the question you had before it vanished (and I want to keep this thread separate to keep text bloat down)

    “PS. I have been having some trouble with one particular narrative I want to include, but now I’m not so sure anymore if I even want to, because it is confusing and a bit problematic. I won’t be giving names because it is a major plot point. It’s basically the superhero alter ego type: a character disguises himself as a mysterious guardian figure for the protagonist because he is sworn to protect that person. He uses this tactic because he actually happens to be on the wrong side of the war, more or less. He doesn’t want the protagonist to know who he truly is in order to protect her. He meets the heroine on several occasions as both alter egos. And – I might as well say it – there is going to be a romance between them. And for the past couple of years, I had this emotional scene in my head where his true identity is revealed.

    However I don’t want to be put in a situation where the readers have long figured who he actually is or when it is revealed, it doesn’t have an effect on them at all. I guess what I’m asking is can something like this work? I know that there is secrecy and dishonesty between them, which would be a problem for the actual love story. How far is too far? Any thoughts? Maybe you don’t have any thoughts at all on this lol, that’s totally okay if you don’t :)”

    Well, fundamentally, I guess the core question is whether or not you want to include a story arc like that; it is your story after all. The exact nature or unfolding of that arc can always be edited if it clashes with the rest of the story, but before removing it I would consider why it is you want to write it in the first place. If you know that, the rest can kinda fall into place.

    #135268
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @fitz

    Hi Fitz,

    I love those ideas.  Doing some work in the Genesis (in-betweens) myself.  If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting one of those World History Charts in Accordance with Biblical Timelines for your wall.  It has proven to be such a valuable resource to me going back to the early ages of mankind and what followed.  I think you can order them from http://www.amazingbibletimelines.com

    It is a circular chart, with scriptural references and the patriarchal lines that are such a help.  It also gives you a sense of what else was happening in the world when.

    Also, if you are into Audio Dramatic readings, check out the new Audio Cinema topic under the Fantasy Writers group.
    Here’s the link: https://storyembers.org/groups/fantasy-writers/forum/topic/audio-cinema/

    Have a very blessed evening!

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135271
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @olivia

    Yeah, a bunch of posts got deleted and some peoples messages stopped showing up for a day.

    As for games, I am in a similar boat. I think the last triple-A game I played new was Skyrim, since then I mostly stick to old games I know I like or smaller releases on steam every once and a while. Lack of time has a way of refining our palates XD

    Ha, I forget who said it, but there is a quote along the lines of “A writer is someone who feels more pain not writing than writing.” there are certainly times where that is true… Been a looong times since I have skated, and I have only done street hockey (though I have been to a couple of games, which are really fun). I love hanging out with people too, but I am more of an extroverted introvert: I can be social and love it, but I have to recharge at home.

    And yeah, I have written a few song lyrics, but I can’t say that music has ever been my talent. It has been one of those things I have had an interest in but the amount of time and dedication required for me to really get into it never seemed to line up.

    As for writing, what kind of stories appeal to you, or what are you currently working on?

    #135272
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Wow, that is really cool. I have only browsed a little but that is freaking awesome! Thank you for the link 🙂

    #135335
    Neasa
    @irishcelticredflowercrown

    @fitz

    Heyy, oh gosh thanks so much for answering my question! I actually totally forgot I even asked you that LOL.

    Well, fundamentally, I guess the core question is whether or not you want to include a story arc like that; it is your story after all. The exact nature or unfolding of that arc can always be edited if it clashes with the rest of the story, but before removing it I would consider why it is you want to write it in the first place. If you know that, the rest can kinda fall into place.

    That’s so true, I didn’t think of that at all. Abbie Emmons says in her youtube videos that you should always ask WHY does it matter to the character, WHY should we care etc. I’m writing it because it’s part of this character’s journey to find true redemption: it challenges him, leads him to question the beliefs and allegiances he’s held for most of his life. Because it causes him to change for the better, he becomes more virtuous and noble.

    Thank you so much for answering my question, its really helped me! XD

    #135345
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @irishcelticredflowercrown

    You are welcome, though I don’t feel like I actually answered your question, lol. Now that I know what direction you are going with it, I have a lot of thoughts about it, if you are interested.

    #135355
    Neasa
    @irishcelticredflowercrown

    @fitz

    You are welcome, though I don’t feel like I actually answered your question, lol. Now that I know what direction you are going with it, I have a lot of thoughts about it, if you are interested.

    You definitely did, I’m feel like I know what I’m trying to do now 🙂 And yes I would really love to hear your thoughts about this, the floor is yours 😉

    #135360
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @irishcelticredflowercrown

    Hey, so here is the last part of my critique 🙂

    “Pain rocketed up my spin, through my nervous system, and into my brain. I shrieked, falling to my knees as I clutched my head. Suddenly, I was pulled backwards by a rough force. Agony sliced through my forearms as they were suddenly pinned to the wall on either side of me. By two intricately carved daggers. Holding me in place.

    Something rocketed through my muscles from the point of contact of the daggers. Faces suddenly flashed in my vision, contorted ugly creatures from the past, howling with fury. Bloody battlefields, the bodies of men, women, children lying in heaps. And a creature of darkness rising out of that massive blood sacrifice with a face so terrible that I let out a shout of horror. I jerked out of the visions, raking in a breath.”

    I really like the descriptions here, vivid, creepy, and horrifying. Also, I think here it was a good choice not to show but to tell how terrible the evil creature appeared. This scene is impactful enough without it, and we can trust from the details of his agony just how bad it is; moreover, sometimes describing things like that can just get to be too much.

    The sentence structure here needs a little work. In: “Agony sliced through my forearms as they were suddenly pinned to the wall on either side of me. By two intricately carved daggers. Holding me in place.” You can simply remove the periods to get: “Agony sliced through my forearms as they were suddenly pinned to the wall on either side of me by two intricately carved daggers, holding me in place.” Now this is a little clunky/run-on sentence, so you could tweak it like: “Agony sliced through my forearms as two intricately carved daggers suddenly pinned me to the wall, holding me in place.”

    In the second paragraph, “Faces suddenly flashed in my vision, contorted ugly creatures from the past, howling with fury. Bloody battlefields, the bodies of men, women, children lying in heaps. And a creature of darkness rising out of that massive blood sacrifice with a face so terrible that I let out a shout of horror.” Can be easily changed to: “Faces suddenly flashed in my vision, contorted ugly creatures from the past, howling with fury: bloody battlefields, the bodies of men, women, and children lying in heaps. A creature of darkness arose out of that massive blood sacrifice with a face so terrible that I let out a shout of horror.”

     

    Ok, so for this next chunk:

    ‘“Him,” I rasped. Dread filled me as I finally understood what was happening. Who they were really working for. Who their so-called King was. “You’re bringing – no. No, you can’t do this!”

    I lurched forward, ignoring the pain in my hands. “You can’t bring them back, you thick apes! It’s blasted suicide, you just can’t. You’ll bring the blasted apocalypse down on us all!”

    Each of the druids wore the same hungry look in their eyes, the same poisonous grin. They said in perfect unison. “Oh yes. We will indeed.”

    “No! Stop this! Stop this!” I roared, my muscles straining from their agonizing restraints. I could feel the veins popping out of my skull. They just smiled and began to murmur under their breaths. Prayers or incantations, I had no idea.

    I shook from the agony in my body, staring at them wildly. This couldn’t be happening. It was too soon. The prophecies stated that these events would unfold, yes. But not yet! Not for another hundred years or–

    The coming events will unfold like a thief in the night. I fell slack as those words filled my head. I closed my eyes. Again, I was proven to be an absolute eejit. I had fallen into this trap. And now because of me, the world will face total annihilation.

    I knew why they were using me of course. They needed a representative of all the races. And it seemed I was their closest option.

    I let out a hiss through gritted teeth, my fists clenched so tight I could feel the nails cutting into my hardened skin. “You. Will. Never. Win.”

    “Why so ungrateful. You see, our original sacrifice is – unattainable. So, we must make do.” His lip curled mockingly. “You’re so very lucky scut.”

    I stared at them through lowered eyes, fury contorting my voice as I spat. “Blasted amadáin! I’ll kill you. Each one of you. I’ll kill you dead. And I’ll do it from the grave if I have to. Go mbrise an diabhal cnámh do dhroma!”

    Ó Dubhuir stepped forward and bent to his knees so that I was looking directly into his eye. “Ah. But you see, sea scut. We serve the one you call the Devil. So your petty insult is wasted on us.”

    I spat at his feet.

    He chuckled, rasping as if his throat was dry. “Say your last prayers.” His venomous smile grew, twisting his deformed face, and stood up. As he raised his staff and the mutterings increased in volume, their shadows seemed to expand behind them, becoming alive.

    Humiliating, was all I thought. This is how I die. At the hands of whiney, slithery asarlaithe.”

    Like I mentioned in the last big post, a lot of this can be condensed down so to keep the momentum of the scene going. We really just need a sentence or two back and forth to convey the situation and Ninja’s fear, but I do like the descriptions in it.

     

    “The light came first, blue and blinding, like lightening, ripping from the staff Ó Dubhuir held, connecting to the lines on the ground and flowing into the circle entrapping me. Then came the agony.

    And it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I felt millions of knives embed themselves into my skin, slip beneath and fill my veins, invading me, consuming me. The ritual circle lit up, its rays almost rendering me blind. My brain was consumed with burning venom as I violently slipped in and out of darkness. My muscles contorted, twisting and turning this way and that. My roars were drowned out in the chanting, as the Dark Druids stood in a wide semi-circle and raised their hands as they prayed to their beloved entity.

    Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to die. Then all of this agony would end. I would be free from this world.

    Then before my eyes, darkness manifested into something solid. A swirling portal of darkness flashing with purple lightening. I could hear a horrifying howling like a band of mournful banshee. The veins under my skin boiled as I felt the violent pull, the feeling as if all my cells were being taken apart and pulled one by one into that gateway of chaos.

    This was it. This really was my end.”

    Ok, THIS, THIS RIGHT HERE, is in my opinion, by far the best bit of writing in the whole thing. We not only get more of the physical descriptions of agony, but you follow that up with emotionally resonating words describing the feeling of violation, and you follow that up with despair that would occur for anyone in this situation. And you do the same with the last pair of paragraphs. It is succinct, flowing, and powerful.

    With that said, my only concern is for your heart. It is not my place to pry into things too personal, but if I might share a little, I have written some pretty dark things in the past and they have taken their toll on me. From that experience, I just want to encourage you to keep showing this to the Lord.

     

    “And then all of a sudden, it was over. There was a deafening screeching sound, accompanied with a roaring engine. Shrieking and howling, cracks and snapping, a series of brutal crushing-

    And then I felt a snap within my bones as if the hundreds of sharp threads that had been attached to them had been ripped off. There was loud clap as if lightening had struck the the ground before me, so loud it popped my ears. Whiteness danced before my eyes, and I gasped, greedily filling my lungs with air so cold that I cried out.

    White noise consumed my hearing as I slowly opened my eyes, struggling to squint through the whiteness. Stinking ash like rotten bodies filled my nostrils as I stood there, dazed. My brain felt as though it had been cut open and put back together again. Slowly the whiteness faded.”

    Again, another great series of descriptions; though, in this instance you are describing a sequence occurring over time instead of a single event, and you make it work 🙂

    I do wonder if he would have the energy or wherewithal to cry out, or know that he was crying out, rather than whimper or choke/cough. I have had my vision go white before, it was from that instance of glass I mentioned earlier and the nurse was cleaning it with a spray syringe full of water. Thing is, that stream of water hit an exposed nerve, and what I felt transcended pain, it was like I could feel every molecule in that stream that hit my nerve and my brain just overloaded for a moment from the sensation. Anyway, just more information for you to consider if you want.

     

    “After several excruciating moments, I regained some of my sight. Blinking the hot dampness from my eyes, I tried to take in my surroundings. The portal was gone. The asarlaithe were all lying in crumpled, broken heaps, as if they had been struck down like dominos. Dead? Or maybe just unconscious. I couldn’t help hoping that the former was true. I smirked. So much for their colossal power.

    To my right lay the battered remains of a vehicle. Its rear lights were on, glowing like rubies. Well – at least I knew what the ‘fire’ really was. Stinking gas was rising up into the air, meaning that engine was banjaxed of course. I blinked the sweat from eyes, my mind whirring. Someone had driven that jeep right in. And in doing so, had saved me.

    I had to be saved. From weedy sorcerers of all things. I gritted my teeth in frustration. There had never been a lower point in my life than this moment. “Mortifying,” I muttered to myself. “Someone had to save you as if you were a wee lamb, eejit.”

    Remembering the brutal twinging in my right arm, I turned to see it still pinned into the wall, the glow still emanating from dagger.

    I wasn’t stupid. I recognised the symbols carved on it, the faint circular lines splaying out and splitting my skin. I spat at the ground in disgust. The sigils of – . I couldn’t help shuddering when I thought about what they had tried to do to me. Until I was abruptly saved by a jeep of all things. A stinking jeep. If that didn’t reduce my honour to cinders I don’t know what did.

    Blood sacrifice. They attempted to destroy my body, my life, in order to attain forbidden power from a bottomless pit of chaos. In order to – bring their King back. I had never witnessed one up close before. Until now. In the worst way possible too. Crikey. At least I knew now what it felt like. I let out a bitter chuckle, which turned into a hiss as the pain in my right arm intensified.”

    My two concerns with this bit are that it goes on a little long and his mind seems pretty clear despite his ordeal. Considering what he just been through, I would expect his survival instinct to be moving his body almost without his permission and his mood to take the situation a bit more seriously (as we see later). I honestly feel that everything from “I had to be saved. …” to “…If that didn’t reduce my honour to cinders I don’t know what did.” Can be cut. Also, the part with the dagger is a little confusing as it sounds like here he is still pinned to the wall and later on it sounds like he is on the floor. The daggers were clearly holding him through magic, so them not being an issue once the ritual fails seems fine to me (or you can give them a throw-away line about them now being scattered).

     

    “Hazily, I turned to examine my left arm, wondering why I felt such numbness. At first, I didn’t register the empty space, the wispy ash floating in the air, the dagger still embedded into the brick, the blackness covering my bicep. I stared, my breathing becoming shallow.

    No.

    I blinked, hoping it was a mistake. I was suffering from hallucinations. The intense pain was making me see things. I had to be wrong. Because – there was no way.

    My shoulder twitched, and flakes of blackened particles fell off the stump. White noise deafened me. I suddenly found it impossible to control my breathing. Where – what –

    I wanted to roar with rage and horror, but no sound came out. Just this hoarse choking sound as I stared at the blackened stump that looked as though it was about to crumble even more.

    It was gone. My arm – was gone.”

    This here does a great job showing his discombobulated mind: his thoughts are ponderous and slow to come to terms with reality. Further, the ritual leaves him both physically and emotionally scarred, reinforcing the danger present with the villains by imparting a lasting consequence.

    This next bit though: “I let out a strangled yell, a crescendo that split my head open and made my eyes water.

    I don’t know how long I was roaring for, effing and blinding as if there was no tomorrow. I might have thrown up a couple of times too. Oh yes, my honour had most certainly been sucked down the drain.” Feels overdramatic to me. Considering the excruciating experience he just had and the energy level he has left (and more of this is confirmed later), this seems like too much. Further considering his training and his uncertainty about the well-being of his foes (as we see later), this seems inconsistent… with perhaps the exception of vomiting, as the combination of such intense physical trauma (with unknown side-effects) and his emotional state can make regurgitation likely, and I actually think it is a nice touch. Though, considering how much pain he is in trying to crawl away later, the act of vomiting should be excruciating.

     

    “I looked around frantically, hoping against hope that my arm was sitting here somewhere, and I had just missed it.”

    Again, another great sentence reinforcing what I said above.

     

    “A part of me wanted to move closer, to crawl to that human and check for signs of life, even though I knew it was a lost cause, but my pinned forearm prevented me. Besides that, the agony in my legs, my torso – every part of my muscle – was excruciating. I tried to move my left leg slightly and ended up screaming through gritted teeth.

    I wanted to move off this blasted circle. The longer I stayed here, the worse chance I had for escaping. Any moment, the portal could be restarted somehow. I couldn’t be sure that the sorcerer-freaks were all dead. But I couldn’t move an inch without feeling that burning pain.”

    This part seems really authentic to the scene. Again, I would probably down-grade screaming to crying or whimpering to reemphasize his lack of energy, but the descriptions here create the sense of his pain and soreness along with his desperation to get out of the situation. If you wanted another way of showing both his determination and care, if the daggers are no longer pinning him then you can get him fighting with all his might to move every inch. He is still in about as desperate a situation as before, but now that he is at his most vulnerable and desperate, even with his mind confused and every instinct telling him to run, if he is crawling not just to escape but to help someone else that creates a wonderful sense of his character for the reader.

    Lastly, I would probably switch “every part of my muscle” to “every part of my body” or “every muscle in my body” as they are a bit clearer.

     

    “And my arm was gone. I shook my head vigorously, numbness filling me. “This isn’t real,” I muttered to myself desperately. “My arm isn’t gone. I’m dreaming, it’s all just a brutal dream-“”

    So, like the little sentence I mention above, these sentences are a nice touch for keeping consistency throughout the scene.

     

    “I tried to lean forward to get a better look. A wave of agony came over every muscle in my upper body. I couldn’t stop the roar that came out, though I gritted my teeth in an effort to quieten it. My vision blurred, red, black and white patterns and spots swam like fish before my very eyes, and I felt more sweat breaking out on my body. Every muscle in my body was wailing as this acidic poison turned every part of my body into inferno.”

    I find this bit interesting, along with the other descriptions of muscular trauma above. Are you going more for a sprain/torn muscle type of pain/trauma? Because that kind does tend to have that very sharp sort of pain implied here. On the other hand, damage to nerves leaves that tingling to sharp poking sensation to numbness to deadness depending on how complete the damage is. General trauma tends to start as achy and sore and leads to swelling, which can get intense enough to cause that blurred vision (so much personal experience coming through here…). A note on that blurred vision: very well described, lol.

     

    “I thought I had known pain. I was wrong. This was inferno.”

    Considering what he just went through, this sentence seems out of place to me. If I went through what he did, I don’t know if anything else would ever compare. If you want to show his progression into unconsciousness, you can simply say how the darkness on the edge of his vision began crawling to its center (again, personal experience, lol)

     

     

    And yeah, that is it! I have to say, I like it, I like what you are going for, and I am excited to see what you do with it 😀

    #135515
    Fitz
    @fitz

    Testing to see if I can post anything…

    #135518
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @fitz
    Hi Fitz,

    So far so good! 🙂
    I did have some difficulties the last few days too, so I have been writing my post in a Word doc before pasting them into the online chat form.  This way if it doesn’t work, you can try again.

    Good luck and God Bless!

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135520
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Thanks. And yeah, I’ve been doing that too.

    #135522

    @fitz

    Huh, strange. Hopefully it didn’t delete anything long term.

    Haha, it’s true. Even if I did play more video games, I’d stick with the old ones that I know and like verses taking the time to find new ones.

    That’s such a cool quote! It’s not always the case for me, but it is sometimes. Especially when it comes to me not writing songs. (I know that’s a little different, but it’s still a form of writing.) Writing songs is one of my ways of expressing my feelings and getting them out into the open, and when I write them, it helps me work through whatever I’m feeling. So on that thought, if I didn’t write them, I’d probably end up feeling pain of some kind if I didn’t express myself in that way. Cool thought. 🙂

    In the winter here in Northwestern Ontario where I live, we skate and play hockey all the time. My brother and I usually play hockey with our friends at the outdoor rink a couple times a week, sometimes more. It’s so much fun! Those are some of my favourite times in the winter and even somewhat in the entire year. When I skate it makes me feel like I’m flying. 🙂 I love it so much. The funny part is that I’ve only ever been to a couple hockey games, mostly because I’d rather play hockey than watch it. But the ones I’ve been to were pretty fun, though I did get a little restless watching for hours. (Most because when I’d see the players, I’d just want to jump up and join them. xD Haha, though I’m definitely not good enough to play with them.)

    Ya, even though I’m definitely extroverted, I always like my alone time too. I mostly don’t have to recharge by myself, but at least once a week I have to take some time for myself. Usually it consists of me finding some quiet place outside when no one’s around and singing my heart out. I love singing, but I don’t prefer to sing in front of my family when everyone’s around, so I mostly sing quietly and hum when I’m with people. Lol, but the funny thing is that I lead worship at church once a month and I’m the lead singer and I don’t mind it. I think it’s because I’m not singing alone, since the whole congregation is singing with me.

    Ya, I can get that. Music really does take a lot of time and dedication. I just finished my… *thinks for a bit* either sixth or seventh year of piano, I think. I’m not sure how many years I took piano when I was younger, but I think it’s about that in total. But yes, it’s a lot of work!

    I have a mix of interests when it comes to writing. I enjoy writing short stories, mostly about funny things that have happened to me in my life, and poems when I don’t feel like sitting down to work on my longer stories. But currently I am just finishing the first draft of a story that’s about 40,000 words long, I think. I’d have to check to be sure, but it’s around there. It’s a speculative fiction piece, following the story of eleven-year-old Justin, who was separated from his twin sister at birth and then works to find her when he’s older and finds out about his past. It’s basically the story of how they meet and become fast friends over a summer together when they hang out just about constantly. It’s a story of friendship, love, and sacrifice.

    What writing interests do you have?

    Even the smallest person can change the course of the future. -JRR Tolkien

    #135527
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @irishcelticredflowercrown

    “However I don’t want to be put in a situation where the readers have long figured who he actually is or when it is revealed, it doesn’t have an effect on them at all. I guess what I’m asking is can something like this work? I know that there is secrecy and dishonesty between them, which would be a problem for the actual love story. How far is too far? Any thoughts?

    I’m writing it because it’s part of this character’s journey to find true redemption: it challenges him, leads him to question the beliefs and allegiances he’s held for most of his life. Because it causes him to change for the better, he becomes more virtuous and noble.”

    So, to answer your question more directly, yes, it can work. Romances are difficult to write but oh so rewarding when done well, and a worthwhile challenge to undertake. I have a lot of thoughts and they are connected somewhere between loosely and strongly, so bear with me if this gets a bit ramble-y XD Also forgive me if some of what I say is redundant because you are already aware of it… also because this is another long post of mine, lol, I really don’t do things halfway…

    Romances are fantastic, and they speak most clearly of the unfallen world we were all intended to be a part of. Where many romances fall short is the depiction of our true human ugliness and mess, and that is before combining arcs (such as romance and redemption). The more I think about it, the more I feel that all romances, fictionalized or real, are all also tragedies and redemption arcs. Because it is in the nature of romance to bring to light our greatest flaws, and where there is the greatest hope there is the greatest struggles. In or efforts to love or be loved our most fundamental brokenness is exposed and gives us the choice to either succumb to that pain or heal from it. In this way, true Love has much more to do with choice than attraction, and every good love story is a battle – always internal and sometimes external – to achieve that prize that comes from the union of two that are greater than the two separate. I guess one of my points here is to remember that this romance (no matter how it goes) will first and foremost be a redemption arc for her first; if the struggle is one-sided, then so is the character growth, and she is your main character (we will get into more of this later).

    The first question that comes to my mind is whether or not you want this romance to be true love or not. It sounds like his attraction to her is earnest and not a deception, but we will all experience many attractions throughout our lives while very few of them qualify for a lasting relationship. Even if it isn’t meant to be lead into a permanent relationship, there is still a lot of (mostly untapped) room for character growth in a romance that isn’t true love. I will get more into that later, but one benefit that a story of temporary romance can bring is a sense of raw realism, since we have all been there before and growing from that experience alone is worthwhile.

    Next (and this isn’t meant to be patronizing), there is a pretty big difference between attraction and chemistry. Initial attraction is an easy thing, but true chemistry comes from the nature of our characters. Many books and big budget movies fall into this trap where because the pretty main characters are in proximity of one another they must fall in love, without ever giving a thought as to why they would in the first place. People often have chemistry with those that are complimentary with one another in ways that are both similar and challenging. In my own life, I have found that those I have had the most chemistry with are not only those who “click” with me, but also hold traits that I admire that I might not have myself and who challenge me in some way. If you first create two characters who are yin/yang in that way, then a romance between them will happen naturally.

    One very important consideration with a redemption arc of this nature is to be very honest about how bad are the bad guys. The more evil they are, the less likely their redemption will be, the harder they will need to struggle, and the more difficult it will be to write. I am not sure if the romantic interest is one of the dark druids, but if he is, I would have a very hard time believing a fully fledged member trying to bring back literal Satan would have a change of heart outside of miraculous intervention. There are also serious practical limitations regarding someone in that state of emotional, mental, and spiritual health that can’t be ignored, even if they are making honest efforts to heal. If he is new, and the degree of ignorance is high for initiates, this can give some wiggle room. This does, however, bring up another point regarding the use of powers in this world. The difference between the two magic systems, as you have described, seems pretty black and white. If he is trying to help her then he will use the tool he has at his disposal, if that tool is evil he runs into a ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ problem where the use of evil, even in an attempt for good, will come at a cost. Costs of this nature will always infect and corrupt his good intentions until he is willing to give them up: to choose honest powerlessness over self-deceptive belief in his own empowerment. Those moments of course make fantastic scenes of real redemption; I just want to be honest about the pitfalls I see in the undertaking. But the greater the challenge the greater the reward.

    Another thought that comes to mind is something that is so often overlooked in romantic redemption arcs, yet we see it fairly commonly in Christian circles: changing for someone else. The need for acceptance and love within humans is a terrible and strong force, and we are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get it. It is all too common for someone to try and change themselves for someone else; especially when what is on the line is romantic love. This need is a double-edged sword as it can be the catalyst for change, but any change we make for someone else and not ourselves is temporary at best. This means, practically speaking for your character, that there is going to have to be some point where he is going to have to make that decision for himself: that he wants to be a better man because he wants it, not because she will love him if he does. This sorting of different emotions and desires is predictably and wonderfully messy. If the relationship isn’t meant to be permanent, then this moment can be both more dramatic and clear: if he is never going to be with her, does he still want to change? If the relationship is supposed to be permanent, this moment still needs to happen, but sorting it out will be more nuanced and will still probably come after a fight and at the risk of losing the relationship. Further, even if he solidly decides to change for himself at the start, interconnection with someone else on a romantic level will still add some human mess to that equation, even if they are overall a very positive reinforcement.

    But like I said earlier, she is your main character, not him, and her character arc is the most important one of the story. So what does this all mean for her? Simply to have her character flaws manifest during some of the stages of the unfolding story. When she initially meets this (masked?) man, does she resent his assistance past the point of worthy suspicion? Or does she trust him way to fast, through either naivety or budding attraction to his mysterious nature? Once his old (or current) allegiances come to light, does she turn on him with a hatred and vengeance that surpasses his actual betrayal? Does she isolate herself from others, either unwilling to trust anyone anymore or from his betrayal triggering an older and deeper wound she has yet to confront? How long does it take her to trust that his intentions are sincere, and what does it take to convince her? How is trust rebuilt? Does the question of him changing for her enter her mind, and if so, does that play into fantasy of hers or does she realize he needs to change for himself? If the relationship is temporary, do they manage to rebuild a friendship along the way or leave with hurt feelings remaining even if they are no longer enemies? These are all just a bunch of ideas to play with, and seeing what you (or other creators) do with them are the parts of stories that get me the most excited.

    As for the mechanics, such as the plot twist element, I would honestly worry about it too much. The actual surprise/shock value is the easiest to rewrite or modify in the editing phase, and the least important aspect of it. The two big pointers regarding it is A) Do not lie to the reader: it is easy to get a surprise out of the audience if you pull the rug out from under them, but those surprises are cheap and break any expectation of honesty between you and them. It is ok to mislead the audience, so long as you are misleading them with either truth or the lack of a complete picture. B) Keep everything else around the plot twist authentic: the true impact of a plot twist doesn’t come with the surprise, but the impact on the story and the characters therein. I have enjoyed plot twists that were spoiled because they were so important to the story, and important plot twists are enjoyable even rereads.

    Anyway, I know that was a lot, but those are my thoughts and I hope it at least inspires you with further ideas 🙂

    #135544
    Fitz
    @fitz

    @olivia

    Writing music is still very much a form of writing. The stories that songs tell are much more compact than books, but that does not make them less valid by any means.

     

    “In the winter here in Northwestern Ontario where I live, we skate and play hockey all the time. My brother and I usually play hockey with our friends at the outdoor rink a couple times a week, sometimes more. It’s so much fun! Those are some of my favourite times in the winter and even somewhat in the entire year. When I skate it makes me feel like I’m flying.  I love it so much. The funny part is that I’ve only ever been to a couple hockey games, mostly because I’d rather play hockey than watch it. But the ones I’ve been to were pretty fun, though I did get a little restless watching for hours. (Most because when I’d see the players, I’d just want to jump up and join them. xD Haha, though I’m definitely not good enough to play with them.)”

    lol, see, I am from sunny southern California, in my 30 years of existence here it has snowed once where I live. And I mean “snow” in ONLY the most technical of terms, but I do know what it feels like to have a snowflake fall on me, lol. On the other hand, we have had sleet that covers everything in inches so there is that. While there are ice skating rinks here, it really doesn’t seem like the same thing.

     

    “I love singing, but I don’t prefer to sing in front of my family when everyone’s around, so I mostly sing quietly and hum when I’m with people. Lol, but the funny thing is that I lead worship at church once a month and I’m the lead singer and I don’t mind it. I think it’s because I’m not singing alone, since the whole congregation is singing with me.”

    I love singing too, but I am definitely more of the ‘for fun’ or ‘in the shower’ kinda guy XD But hey, singing for the whole congregation has got to be a confidence boost!

     

    “Ya, I can get that. Music really does take a lot of time and dedication. I just finished my… *thinks for a bit* either sixth or seventh year of piano, I think. I’m not sure how many years I took piano when I was younger, but I think it’s about that in total. But yes, it’s a lot of work!”

    Yup. It is amazing though, how even on a piano, you can hear someone who plays with their heart or not. There is a certain magic in music that I have long pondered, but perhaps some of that magic is its mystery.

     

    “… following the story of eleven-year-old Justin, who was separated from his twin sister at birth and then works to find her when he’s older and finds out about his past. It’s basically the story of how they meet and become fast friends over a summer together when they hang out just about constantly. It’s a story of friendship, love, and sacrifice.”

    daw, that sounds lovely!

    As for writing interests for me… You can pretty much name it and I have probably applied myself too it at some point or another. In the OP I listed “fantasy, poetry, song lyrics, movie reviews, political commentary; tabletop RPG systems, adventures, [and] conversions;”, and just recently (in the giant wall’s of text you can’t miss, lol), I have been critiquing someone else’s work, which is not really something I have done before. I love the discovering how and why things work; I love being able to tell that discover to others or hear it from them. Sometimes that process takes me to genre’s of writing – or even things far away from writing – that I never would have otherwise had an interest in. And once my heart is done playing/discovering that thing, I typically move on. I guess my interest is in writing itself, though fantasy, and my WIP in particular, tend to capture my interest more than most. I hope all that makes sense XD

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Fitz. Reason: all the smile faces in my posts are huge and I have no idea why
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