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Talk:The Fool in the Fox

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Figured I'd hit you back. So far, I'm enjoying it. Its a well done introduction, and I like how you jump right into the day. None of this slow start stuff like mine. The frantic pace helps pull in the reader, and keeps them there until you've slowed down into the story. I also like how you use fox based measurements, instincts, and senses, instead of the fox just being thrown in as an accessory to the story. I'd tell you to keep up the good work, but you already are. I'll just sit back and wait for the rest, reading it as it happens. --Concerned Reader 03:58, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Thank you very much for the feedback, I was a little concerned the beginning was leaning towards an infodump-type situation but I guess that wasn't the case. I should have the next little bit ready by thursday. --Lloyd

The thing is, and I noticed this with TBP, you almost always have to start with an infodump, because not everyone is familiar with the story universe. The way you did yours was good, as it followed the flow of the rest of the story. --Concerned Reader 16:40, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Must say that I love how you have the character forget the full name of TFOR ('Transformative Failure of Ontogenetic Regulation'). The full name is quite a mouthful and doesn't, quite, make sense unless you know what 'Ontogenetic Regulation' is :) I was going to hold off commenting until you got a little more written, but decided to chime in now anyway. -- ShadowWolf 16:57, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Eureka!

Ok! I've figured out how to proceed! Now, I think the next part of the story will work better if it involves an established character rather than a throwaway generic so... who wants to have a cake explode in their face? --Lloyd

Well, if the victim were Allen, the explosion would cause his heart rate to spike, forcing a phase shift. Thus whoever was around him would get hit. Other than that, I don't know about who else is established at this point. The main choices from the collab are Alex, Rosa, and Scott. I don't think Coati would be one to get jokes in the mail, and Rosa is fairly new to the bar herself, so it could be an introductory joke on her. It could even lead to friendship between Jonah and Rosa. --Concerned Reader 03:15, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
Okay, so I'm not too familiar with the setting. But I think a plausible idea would be to have Jonas open the box, and have nothing happen. Just an ordinary-looking birthday cake or something. Then Jonas insists that the recipient of the cake, Gordy, cut the cake, because it was addressed to him. When Gordy cuts the cake it As Splode, blowing icing and stuff all over him. Then he blames Jonas, thinking that Jonas must have known that cutting the cake would trigger the trap, because Jonas insisted that Gordy cut the cake. But of course Jonas didn't know anything. And then there goes your conflict: between Jonas and Gordy. End it however you see fit. For added effect, the icing that sprays over Gordy can have a bad side effect: like an allergic reaction or something. --Drake, 12:44, 27 June 2009
Actually, I'm probably going to change the target to someone other than Gordy, since giving the person who serves you drinks an exploding desert doesn't seem like the smartest idea. I think I know how to do it for Allan though, is it alright if I use him? --Lloyd

It's fine with me. If anything about him changes, we can retcon it into your story. I don't mind him being the recipient of an exploding cake, that's exactly why I created him; so that other authors would have an established character in the bar. If you have any questions about him, let me know. Other than that, you have the go ahead!--Concerned Reader 14:55, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Alright! Cake explosions! Well done with your descriptions, though you might want to mention Allan's watch reacting to his change in heart rate. As for what follows, I believe Allan, being the gentleman he is, would offer an apology and towel to Jonas.

Very nice. I think you captured Allan's voice very well. I was going to suggest that he fall through the chair, but you seemed to have figured it out on your own. I repeat, very nice! --Concerned Reader 20:50, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Critique, Criticism, and Shameless Self-Flattery

Since I should be done this story in the next day or so, assuming I don't procrastinate any more than I already am, I figured I'd just make this heading now rather than later. I'd appreciate if people reading this story could keep an eye on my dialogue, as it is something I've always had trouble with, my use of qualifiers, and any repetition that may occur as these are issues I can never seem to fully weed out of my writing on my own. --Lloyd

When it's done I'll give it the same look I've done for a couple of WolfyDrake's stories. I promise not to be too harsh, but I also won't pull punches. -- ShadowWolf 16:33, 28 June 2009 (UTC)


On that note, I've just thought of something else for Allan to say.

"Hey, don't sweat it. The first time I was in here, I was so nervous, the drinks went right through me."

He he he. Humor. --Concerned Reader 17:58, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Alright, nicely done! --Concerned Reader 16:00, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

While I appreciate the praise, some critique would be nice. --Lloyd

Sorry, but my critiquing skills are lagging behind my praising skills. I'll see what I can do.

Here we go:

  • "There was also the matter of part of him now being inside the seat."
This is highly vague, and anyone less familiar with the setting, or Allan might not actually realize what is being described. I'm going to have to go through and fix this in my own story as well.
  • “I think your appearance is repayment enough as it is.”
you might want to add a description here, as it sounds like Allan is just happy to see Jonas, instead of enjoying his fluffed out fur sticking out of a full suit.

That's all that I've noticed so far, I'll let shadowWolf go over the grammar and syntax. He is infinitely better at it than me. --Concerned Reader 20:18, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I wasn't sure that you'd completed it... And as I've just finished a lengthy, interactive (via EtherPad) critique of a story. Give me a bit to relax after that and I'll get on to a critique like you've requested. -- ShadowWolf 22:30, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Was it on Robotech_Master's new story? I was lurking in #Transformations and heard tale of it. --Concerned Reader 01:10, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, yes it was. It's a good story - going into the Pack when he uploads it. -- ShadowWolf 01:36, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
Wow, I'm famous! —Robotech_Master 01:40, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

The recent edits are perfect. --Concerned Reader 18:16, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Hmm...Nice one! I see what you did there. Adding that stuff really put a little more flavor in the story. One problem, though...the shift from the first to the second paragraph seems a little abrupt. Perhaps you'd like to add in something in the middle, like what ShadowWolf said below. Something like, "Yup, that's right, tail. I'm a fox, you see. So sue me.". All right, so maybe that last bit wasn't necessary. I just like saying "So sue me". It's amusing. But anyway, I think something along those lines will help smoothen the change between the two paragraphs.

Oh, and I thought you mentioned something about Jonas being pretty passive around strangers, only warming up to friends. At least, that's if I remember right. If that's the case, then the part about him saying "Heya!" as he enters the bar is a little out-of-character. But it's your call; after all, you are the writer!

And one last thing. I think it's really cute when he says "b'ai". No, I'm not gay. "Cute" is an adjective that normal people use too, you know! Just not so often. :) --Drake 06:33, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

The passive thing was sort of an earlier draft. I hadn't fully worked out his personality when I wrote this the first time and now I think I've managed to finalize it. I'll add in some form of paragraph transition again in a sec. --Lloyd

ShadowWolf's Critique

Overall it's well written and captures a fun moment in the setting. The characters are interesting and the language terse but descriptive. 3.5 out of a possible 5 stars.

Now to get serious…

(And sorry - I'm in pain and rather sleep-deprived right now. It isn't helping me be as nice as I'd like. I'm also sorry for it not making it more in depth… I'm not really up to complex thinking right now.)

Split the "Yes, thats right, tail." off as a single line paragraph at the start. And try something like:

Yes, thats right, T-A-I-L. Tail.

It makes it a bit more sarcastic, as if he's run into the question a couple thousand times and is answering it pre-emptively and as sarcastically as possible because he's tired of being asked.

End the first sentence of the second paragraph - the "Perhaps an explanation is in order" one with an ellipsis (… – that's … for the unicode character). You're leading into a small but important info-dump and the sentence would more naturally "trail off" and not just end abruptly. The ellipsis specifies this. (small side-note… The character is "hellip" because it's a "horizontal ellipsis" and in languages where vertical text is just as common as horizontal there is also a "vertical ellipsis")

In the third paragraph you have a small problem with passive phrasing, but it works well enough that it doesn't really need to be fixed. I mention it because passive phrasing slows down a stories flow and when over-used can be jarring enough to break the readers "willing suspension of disbelief".

"While I did know about the Pig and Whistle, it’s impossible to be a teefer living in Polyton without hearing about it, I had never been there." — Use "em-dashes" instead of comma's to separate out the sub-clause. Having it comma-separated doesn't feel right to me and I think there is something about it in one of the big style guides.

Okay, check that—Your problem with the passive voice isn't minor at all. It breaks any flow and moves the story from "showing" to "telling" — In other words you have Jonas talking directly to the reader—breaking the fourth wall completely—rather than just taking the reader through the day.

You've also got a problem with the characterization and writing about Jonas. He's what, 80% or more "Vulpes Vulpes" (red fox)? Yet reading about him is like watching an episode of Star Trek, where all the aliens are just humans with false foreheads. You should add more about his extended senses—Foxes, like almost all animals, have excellent senses of smell and hearing with better volume characteristics and wider frequency ranges but their vision suffers. But you don't make use of this to help the reader feel how different he really is from a normal human. See Furry Tales versus Furcoat Tails by Michael Bard for more on it.

If you can move the story from the passive "telling" to a more active "showing" and incorporate more about the senses this story might even be worth 4 stars. -- ShadowWolf 21:03, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Thank you very much for the feedback. To make sure I am understanding the critique properly before editing, it's that I use commas in places where a dash would better maintain the flow, and that I do not give a distinct feel to Jonas being a fox? --Lloyd
That's two of the bits. For the better part of the story it is possible to forget that Jonas is a fox – so yes, that needs to be fixed. You also have a couple of spots where the em-dash would work better than commas. But the biggest single problem, really, is that the passive voice makes it feel like you are standing at the front of a room giving a detailed report on the days events rather than it actually being a story. In all, though, I rank it as a 3.5 out of 5 as it currently stands. -- ShadowWolf 22:03, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Alrighty, I've done a preliminary round of editing and I think I've gotten the comma thing under control though I could be mistaken. I've also made some changes that I think tone down the passivity and I'm fiddling with ways to highlight Jonas's species- thought I'm hesitant to do more until I'm sure I am headed in the right direction. --Lloyd
You've done wonders in making it clear throughout that Jonas is different. And you have made positive changes in regards to the passive phrasing as well. So yes, you are on the right track. I did notice, however, that you lost the italics that you had used to make the "note" different. I hope that was unintentional… In all you have managed to make a good start in cleaning up and polishing this gem of a story. -- ShadowWolf 16:58, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately you seemed to have lost the two fixes from earlier. I assume it was an unfortunate copy/paste accident. Other than that, It's looking very good. As for dialogue, that has never been my strong point, but I'll help out any way I can. --Concerned Reader 23:21, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I refrained from mentioning the dialogue because I was not in the mood to get into that and because it is one of those things that is very specific to a character. In this story I don't see it as being as important as it could be. -- ShadowWolf 01:14, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm holding off on editing the second half of the story until I finish Interview. --Lloyd