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Mizal's IWT 10 Reviews Response

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  • Mizal's IWT 10 Reviews Response

    Better late than never right?

    Mizal

    Plot/Creativity 7
    Enjoyment 7
    Style 8
    Theme* 7

    When you said you were playing fantasy dime-novel adlibs, you were not kidding. It took me a bit to figure out what was going on here. Taking the approach of a chronicler was a bold style choice, but it is one which just did not work for me. It felt like I was reading the Cliff Notes version of your story. The idea of having CYOA branches serve as a glimpses of history or glossary terms is interesting and creative... but once again affected the flow of the story, or so I thought. Especially since those branches were small, and the choice up front was irrelevant to the latter half. The sporadic blue text was a bit off-putting, and I've never been a big fan of including images into a story.

    The hero seems overpowered only in the sense that he's wearing plot armor. He has power, but he's not the most powerful. He just happens to be favored by the Gods, and just happens to be more clever than most of his opponents. Still overpowered, but not as over the top as it could have been. Especially considering how crazy the airship guy was able to become.

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    Mizal: Saga of the Splintered Lands

    Mizalís story is really the beginning of a story, as yet mostly unknown and undeveloped. It seems like something truly grand could come of it, but itís not there yet. This story amounts, as it stands now, to an expository introduction. Events narrated have already happened, there is no moment where a real choice can be made, and it is also unclear how the theme of the overpowered-narrator-with-limitations will come about. The language and style are both very good and the piece is polished, with good formatting and attractive images. From a narrative perspective, however, it is rather static and unvaried. From a personal perspective of enjoyment, I find it difficult to stay engaged with a story that offers too much upfront, that throws information at me in the form of one very long footnote without simply incorporating this information gradually into the text itself. Nonetheless, Iíd be very curious to see where this story goes in the future, as the world it describes is extremely detailed and clearly already imagined by the author.

    Plot/Creativity: 9
    Enjoyment: 6*
    Writing Style: 9
    Theme: 6

    ----------------------------------------

    Mizal
    Saga of the Splintered Lands
    Writing Style: 10
    Plot/Creativity: 9
    *Enjoyment: 7
    Theme: 8

    This one seemed the most serious of the lot and I can tell a lot of effort went into making a rich and interesting world, but my eyes started glazing over and I just started glancing through a lot of it. Even the pictures didn't help.

    Probably needed more incest between Corugan and Cheladriel or something.

    Anyway I'll probably go back and reread this one later when I'm more in the mood to focus.

    -----------------------------------------

    Mizal: Saga of the Splintered Lands

    Writing Style: 7

    What's here is good enough. Grammar and so forth is fine, but you know that. I can see the promise here, but I haven't seen it actualized. Even if your saga turns out to be truly epic, I feel like the nature of this opening works against you. I feel like I'm reading through some ancient tome, and I keep wondering, "where's the story?"

    You cover a lot of history very quickly, and the formal tone you're employing isn't always in your favor. What you have seems like a solid backstory. If it isn't, I'd like to see it fully fleshed out; what you have here could be a complete IS story already.

    If this is just backstory, I'd like to see the focus on the present tense, with what you've written revealed at intervals - either slowly through plot and dialogue or through [History] choices. I enjoyed the segments where Deleran's sword is speaking.

    Plot/Creativity: 6.5

    A lot of thought went into this; you're trying to build a complete world and a history. Again, I can see the potential, but very little of it is realized so far. Your effort might be disproportionate to this score, but you're trying to build a "saga" - you know that disproportionate effort is going to happen at the beginning.

    * Enjoyment: 6

    I liked it, although it felt a little "musty," like a history, to me. I want to see what you can do with the present tense; I just didn't get that opportunity here. The IS choice elements haven't come into use yet.

    Theme: 6

    Is Deleran (reminiscient of Dalaran) your main character? I can't tell (and while we're at it, Cheladriel - an elf, no less - reminds so much of Galadriel that it shades my impression of her). We could be in "lore mode" for awhile yet, your protagonist undisclosed. Deleran seems to be defeating the other mages handily, but largely as a result of his strategy, some artifacts (e.g. the staff), and the influence of the Divines. I assume the protagonist - whoever he is - develops epic power at some point in the saga, but I can only rate what's there.

    There's a lot of ambition here. I'll leave it at that.

    ----------------------------------------

    Saga of the Splintered Lands by Mizal

    Writing Style: 6/10 I honestly had trouble following the story at first because so many different names and places were thrown at me at such a rapid pace. Eventually we got to a more cohesive tale featuring Deleren and his exploits which was much easier to follow. The story reads as a historical tome which is on purpose, but it honestly draws me out of the story. I don't really feel connected to the characters seeing them from this perspective. You expand upon certain events and characters in the choices which I appreciated and frankly wish there were more of these. Getting inside Delerens head and experiencing what he personally faced were some of my favorite elements of the story. The whole section concerning Deleren and Krogat seemed very exciting to me and I hoped there would be a closer view on those incidents. Expansion in these areas would be awesome.

    Plot/Creativity: 7/10 The tried and true fantasy tropes of wizard wars, dragons, mystical swords and flying airships are all here but in my opinion these tropes are tried and true for a reason. They are interesting and generally people enjoy hearing about such impossible things. I know I sure do. The plot was somewhat predictable so I docked some points for that reason.

    *Enjoyment: 5/10 Due to the predictability of the story, I figured there would be some deviation in the alternate choices. There were pretty much no choices other than expanded dialogue and information. When there was a choice it made no difference and just led you back to the broad historical storyline. Way too linear for a CYOA for my tastes. I always appreciate an epic battle or fight scene and I felt this area was lacking a bit. You got some really cool stuff here, it just needs to be expanded upon more. I think when you truly complete this it has the potential to be awesome if you place enough rooms explaining things in more detail while retaining your overarching storyline.

    Theme: 8/10 Many powerful entities in this story. Many fitting the bill of overpowered. Deleren is of course the main character of this saga and he is indeed overpowered. He always leads the charge, saves the day, has a plan to win. The character remains interesting because he is not perfect. Being partly responsible for the beasts of chaos, he carries with him memories of shame and guilt for not being prepared enough to face Scilera. I wish we could of gone into more detail regarding Delerens powers, but the tone of the tale restricts this in a way. I did like how he didn't just have to use magic to defeat his enemies, having other tactics at his disposal.

    You guys pretty much all have the same complaint so now that I'm done crying into several buckets of ice cream (and yelling at the forums for being down last night when I was trying to post) I can just be lazy and post a blanket response, awesome.

    No one liked the 'history book' approach, but that's going to remain my framing device so suck it up sunshine. I had reams of exposition and backstory I wanted to shovel at the reader, at one point in my life I literally had something like two and a half notebooks filled with hand drawn maps and details about this setting (I was a lonely kid ) so honestly you guys got off lightly, be grateful.

    The problem is that the entire thing was never meant to be Backstory: The Expositioning, but I ran out of time/was lazy/procrastinated and all the usual excuses. The idea was that if the reader wanted to they could go straight through this history book and get a more or less coherent, if dull, story. But the more interesting 'actiony' bits as well as the CYOA elements would be available as little vignettes linked off from every page. The book would just say something like 'and so the hero went to this place and kicked the bad guy's ass' and move on, but you'd be able to play out a little mini-adventure where he does just that, with your choices influencing how he goes about it.

    The whole scene with Scilera, for instance...there were supposed to be monsters, traps, and creepy fantasy biology labs to get past, and multiple ways to fuck up the encounter with her and allow Chaos to be released into the world. I also wanted to really underline just how unnatural and invasive the chaos creatures really were...but in the end I didn't have time for any of that and it's really the weakest and most rushed part of the story IMO. If I wind up continuing to work on this (and I'd like too, it's just a matter of getting some financial bullshit out of the way first so I can continue having a place for my computer to live) that'll likely be the first area I tackle.

  • #2
    Heh, "Backstory: The Expositioning"

    Really it wasn't so much that I didn't like the story book approach as it was that I was trying to speed read through all the stories to fulfill my good deed for the year by making up the number of votes needed because SOMEONE didn't show up to vote for the stories AGAIN.

    Given that you said how lazy you were being during the writing of the story and the fact you didn't show up for voting, I figured yours would be a quick read with an average of one or two paragraphs per page. I didn't realize you were going to try to channel Tolkien.

    So by the time I got to your story I was like, "Uh yeah this looks cool and all but I'm in no mood to focus anymore."

    In any case, looks like I ended up giving you the most points anyway. Hooray for sloth?
    Writing: It's more fun than a barrel of Ebola ridden monkeys!

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