This is the critique board, suggested by Outfoxd. Come here to request critiques and critique the work of others. The goal of this board is to be a respectful environment conducive to the improvement of writing skills.
Will
Player
Joined: January 24th, 2012, 7:55 pm

February 26th, 2015, 8:07 pm #81

Finn please!
V6 Characters:
------------------
----Cassandra "Cassie" Venus--------------------------------Eleanor "Elle" Duval----------
[+] spoiler
------------------
--------B011: Finn Grant ------------------------------------- G020: Stacy Ramsey------
----------Weapon: Megaphone--------------------------Weapon: Bryan Calvert's SPAS-12
---------------------------Multishot---------------------------------------------- Caught in a Moment-------------------
[+] spoiler
Finn Grant: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Stacy Ramsey: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
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Mr. Danya
Joined: June 26th, 2011, 8:09 pm

February 26th, 2015, 8:13 pm #82

That'll top the queue off, for now! Critiques will start rolling again in the near future.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler
G056, Alda Abbate(Adopted)
It was difficult to nail down exactly when the anger started. Remembering a time when it wasn't there, coiled up and waiting to strike or alive and thrashing, was growing more and more challenging. It'd been with her for so long that it no longer felt like an intruder in her mind. It felt like a part of her.
[+] spoiler
B062, Garrett Wilde
I multiplied. Then I subtracted. That's what we do now. That's how we keep the most people around.
[+] spoiler
B014, Joachim Lovelace(Adopted)
Your turn.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler

Abby Floyd:This place was vile. Overwhelmingly, terribly vile. Character Theme: Everything's Alright-Emily Scholz
Ty Yazzie: You ever wonder if you still got a home to go back to? Character Theme: Warrior People-Medicine For The People
Isaac Brea(Adopted from Espi): Isaac's well of fucks was bone-dry. Character Theme: The Whiskey, The Liar, The Thief-Patent Pending
Caedyn Miller:So...how did you wanna do this? Feeling an open casket? Or is that dumb? Nah, don't say it, that's dumb. We'll be soup by the time they send us home anyway. Character Theme: Sleep-My Chemical Romance
Irene Djezari(Adopted from CicadaDays): Death was not worse than Meme Hell. Character Theme: A Beautiful Lie-30 Seconds To Mars

NPCs:
Jacob Brooks: ... Character Theme: 1812 Overture-Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
[+] spoiler
Blaise d'Aramitz: Blonde Hair, Black Lungs-Sorority Noise
Helena 'Hel" Fury: Okay, but riddle me this: where in the rulebook does it say it's not a series of automatic critical hits if I Flurry of Blows an ogre's nutsack like a speedbag? Bad Liar-Selena Gomez
Jeremiah Widdlestone: NOT--FOR--YOU 911/Mr. Lonely-Tyler The Creator
Damian Riccardo Maradona Reyes: I'll go all day, all week, all year if I gotta, big guy. Just try and stop me. Years Of War-Porter Robinson
Barbara "Babs" Mulaney: One. Deux. Tres. Vier. Fem. Yug. Haft. Aath. Dyev-yat. Dez. Might Tell You Tonight-Scissor Sisters
Zyzzx Rigs: Last of the first, folks. Light me up.You Know You Like It - DJ Snake ft.
AlunaGeorge
[+] spoiler
Some Guy Probably: A thing he said? Character Theme: Flyers-Bradio
Alex Darby: Let's weigh what everyone brings to the table, and find a suitable compromise. It's in your best interest. Character theme: Devil's Gift-Shaman's Harvest
[+] spoiler
Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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VysePresident
Mr. Danya
Joined: June 7th, 2012, 10:55 pm

February 27th, 2015, 8:25 am #83

I just wanted to pop in and say thanks for your time & insights Doc! There's a lot here for me to digest, and I think you hit the nail on the head in regards to me failing to fully flesh out Chase. To be honest, I feel that he suffered a little more from 1st Character Syndrome than Ian did.

Feel free to hit me up, if you want. I've already been toying with trying something similar for V6 - Actually, I had a bunch of ideas on how to build off that one-shot, but I never felt comfortable enough to do so at the time. (Funny story, there was a short period of time where I felt that one-shot was the Worst Thing Ever Written, and tried begging the mods to delete it. In retrospect, I'm glad I lost that one. )
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!
Character #1: Boy #37 Ian Williams - Now with 55% less self-insert.
Designated Weapon: Polaroid Instant Camera With Film (Enough for 8 photographs)

Past - | 1 | 2 | (Current thread - Birds of a Feather)
Pregame - None
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (Final Thread - Glass
)
Character #2: Boy #66 Chase Rodriguez - Adopted from Pippin.
Designated Weapon: Silver Pill Box Containing Three Cyanide Capsules

Past - None
Pregame - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (Last seen in - Diversions)
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | (Final Thread - Drawing to an End)
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Mr. Danya
Joined: June 26th, 2011, 8:09 pm

March 21st, 2015, 5:45 am #84

WISE FROM YOUR GWAVE with CRITIQUE: MICHAEL ROBINSON

THE COMPELLING

Yugi takes Michael over in a pretty interesting spot, transitioning into his first full thread in ...And In Her Self-Loathing and Despair, She Found Wrath. Not only is he immediately finding Michael's voice in a conflict situation, but he also adjusts to a partnership at the same time. This is a tricky spot to find yourself in, coming into an adoption, because it forces you to play with extra variables to inform the head-space you're slipping into. For Yugi's part, he does a pretty good job of keeping Michael's tone natural and distinct. One of the things he latches on to early that really helps this is his focus on the team dynamic. It makes him more comfortable around Zoe, while instilling a greater sense of conflict between their duo and Anzu/Dougie. Michael is clearly sliding downward, accepting that the people who aren't on his team have to die, but he also doesn't want to be the one that kills them. He's very hesitant about engaging Anzu and leans on Zoe for the first encounter, which I think supports this first encounter pretty well. He's dancing along this edge of taking charge but excluding responsibility that I find very intriguing.

There's also a nice moment in his last post in And In Her Self-Loathing that keeps Michael on an even keel.
wrote:He stood up, clutched the bat in his hands, and rushed towards Dougie, hoping that it could do some damage.

He was right behind him at this point, ready to attack, he raised the bat, and

no

He saw Dougie working on the school project with him, he saw Dougie on the sportfields, helping his team. He saw Lily, hoping that she could find Dougie before she died.

He couldn't do it.

He couldn't kill a fellow classmate.
I dig this in the vein of Michael and Zoe's dynamic. Hesitance, doubt, and regret have a tendency to haunt him a little more than they do her, which comes out in how often she flings herself into danger in one of their plans while he plays back-up and ultimately falters. Zoe has to keep coaching him and playing the muscle and fury to their game. I absolutely love how Michael flounders and plays damage control with Lily in Blue Moon while Zoe just keeps swaggering. It's delicious. I'd really like to see Yugi and Ohm write a pair like this again sometime, because I think they play well off of each other and experience is only going to ripen that.

Michael's death sells this dynamic in spirit. While Zoe is still blustering and challenging the Ice Palace group, Michael is trying to smooth things over and get a handle on the situation. When that fails, and he ends up with his back to a wall and his blood on the floor, he laughs it off. Part psychosis, and part relief. The stress of having to kill someone was eating him up, and Yugi keeps that in the forefront during Michael's death. It's an interesting spin on the moral complications of SotF, especially in the TV universe, and I enjoyed it.

THE DRAGGING

Michael's main problems under Yugi tend to be stylistic, mainly in the way he thinks to himself. It's mostly that his flow of thought isn't always clear or connected. The last few lines of his death lay this out particularly well:
wrote:During his time on the resort, Michael dreaded what he had to do. He didn’t want to kill people he considered friends, as he felt that doing so would make him lose his morality, lose the people that he cared for, make people lose faith in him. But he knew that he would have had to at one point. Nobody got out of here without killing at least one person, and he knew that he couldn’t pull off an escape attempt. He had made choices, all throughout his resort time. Bring Lily and Valerie with him. Go with his team rather than find Lily again. Lie to Lily.

But now he didn’t have to kill. There was another choice all along. Die here and he didn’t have to kill.

If this wasn’t SOTF, and if this wasn’t him, he’d be laughing right now. He had acted like he was going to win all this time, and that death was something that’d never happen to him. He had acted like he had to kill someone all this time, but as it turned out, now he didn’t have to. There was a choice all along, and he had now picked an option.

And he would now act on it for the rest of his life.

And as Michael Robinson bled out on the floor, he realized that he never had to kill, and that he had selected the right choice all this time.
This is a big chunk quote, but the context of all of it is important. The disconnect comes in the way he frames his actions: The choices he's made up to this point in his narrative seem to fall, in his perception, on the path towards killing. He feels guilt over lying to Lily and staying with his team rather than his friends, choosing his teammates and their well-being over people like Dougie, Lily, and Valerie who he values as friends. In all of his previous threads, these actions were seen as nudges towards finally killing someone, both in his internal monologue and his exchanges with Zoe. Now though, at the end of his post, he seems to view them as choices to avoid killing altogether, rather than little steps towards becoming a murderer. Now, both views and interpretations are equally valid, and I think you can even spin one into the other, but the way it's structured here makes the ideas feel extra dissonant. I think it could have benefited from some more reflection towards how his actions kept people alive and kept Zoe in check. A callback to Lukas's suicide that he found so bewildering would also have helped flesh things out, since Michael is now viewing death as an escape from the game and even characterizes what's happening to him as a "choice," similar to the choices he couldn't understand Lukas making. Using other characters and their decisions as a sort of mental sounding board can be very helpful for maintaining internal clarity.

THE NITPICKY

So, here's a thing about Michael that you notice quickly: He barely knows anyone, according to his narrative. The only person(under Yugi) that I could find real strong, pre-Resort connections to was Dougie, and even that was more in the line of being an acquaintance than a friend. This stands out to me, because in Michael's profile he's become reasonably social by high school. Through drama and SotF, Michael should know a reasonable amount of people fairly well, possibly including some of the folks he encountered during the game. I would have liked to see these relationships and reactions fleshed out a bit more, especially given how great the pay-off is for digging into his past, simple relationship with Dougie. They don't need to be best friends, secret lovers, or long lost brothers to have a powerful moment, as that scene clearly demonstrates. You can not know someone very well and still receive a lot of strong emotions and memories of them in this context. It's the sort of thing to keep in mind while building future relationships, especially with an adopted character. You don't have the luxury of a pre-game or lots of plotting to figure out who their friends are over a long period of time, so getting with the original handler and really digging deep into their tenure with the character on your own is important to create a natural flow in the game.

Overall, Michael's a fun first-time showing who displays a lot of promise for the future. I'm excited to see where Yugi goes in V6 and SCDos!
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler
G056, Alda Abbate(Adopted)
It was difficult to nail down exactly when the anger started. Remembering a time when it wasn't there, coiled up and waiting to strike or alive and thrashing, was growing more and more challenging. It'd been with her for so long that it no longer felt like an intruder in her mind. It felt like a part of her.
[+] spoiler
B062, Garrett Wilde
I multiplied. Then I subtracted. That's what we do now. That's how we keep the most people around.
[+] spoiler
B014, Joachim Lovelace(Adopted)
Your turn.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler

Abby Floyd:This place was vile. Overwhelmingly, terribly vile. Character Theme: Everything's Alright-Emily Scholz
Ty Yazzie: You ever wonder if you still got a home to go back to? Character Theme: Warrior People-Medicine For The People
Isaac Brea(Adopted from Espi): Isaac's well of fucks was bone-dry. Character Theme: The Whiskey, The Liar, The Thief-Patent Pending
Caedyn Miller:So...how did you wanna do this? Feeling an open casket? Or is that dumb? Nah, don't say it, that's dumb. We'll be soup by the time they send us home anyway. Character Theme: Sleep-My Chemical Romance
Irene Djezari(Adopted from CicadaDays): Death was not worse than Meme Hell. Character Theme: A Beautiful Lie-30 Seconds To Mars

NPCs:
Jacob Brooks: ... Character Theme: 1812 Overture-Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
[+] spoiler
Blaise d'Aramitz: Blonde Hair, Black Lungs-Sorority Noise
Helena 'Hel" Fury: Okay, but riddle me this: where in the rulebook does it say it's not a series of automatic critical hits if I Flurry of Blows an ogre's nutsack like a speedbag? Bad Liar-Selena Gomez
Jeremiah Widdlestone: NOT--FOR--YOU 911/Mr. Lonely-Tyler The Creator
Damian Riccardo Maradona Reyes: I'll go all day, all week, all year if I gotta, big guy. Just try and stop me. Years Of War-Porter Robinson
Barbara "Babs" Mulaney: One. Deux. Tres. Vier. Fem. Yug. Haft. Aath. Dyev-yat. Dez. Might Tell You Tonight-Scissor Sisters
Zyzzx Rigs: Last of the first, folks. Light me up.You Know You Like It - DJ Snake ft.
AlunaGeorge
[+] spoiler
Some Guy Probably: A thing he said? Character Theme: Flyers-Bradio
Alex Darby: Let's weigh what everyone brings to the table, and find a suitable compromise. It's in your best interest. Character theme: Devil's Gift-Shaman's Harvest
[+] spoiler
Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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Mr. Danya
Joined: June 26th, 2011, 8:09 pm

March 21st, 2015, 6:59 am #85

Get ready for a slow burn with CRITIQUE: DEANNA HULL

THE COMPELLING

The imagery that D/N plays with in Black and Smoking Christmas Trees is simply stunning. It's such an ambient, rich scene to start a character off on, and shows the benefits of waiting a bit before the initial rush. Because Deanna doesn't jump right into the game, she gets to play off an interesting early game event, that being the suicide of Dave Russell, in an effective way.

I'm captivated picturing this: Deanna, sitting in The Cove, smoking away at borrowed cigarettes as if they'll burn away her memories of their owner, acting as if nothing has changed in her world, when Dave's body comes flying down. It invades her space, both physically and mentally/emotionally, disrupting her ritual and forcing her to recognize the new world she's in. This violent, sudden introduction to the world of SotF juxtaposes neatly with her prior calm and leads very well into her encounter with Kyran. The reduction of her problems to "teenage bullshit" in the face of danger shakes up Deanna's world and puts her in a great position to join one of V5's best partnerships.

I love the dynamic of Deanna and Kyran. There is something so natural, so endearingly awkward and uncertain about how they carry themselves from the start that builds them up as human beings, and Deanna more than pulls her share in that relationship. The early posts in Don't Stop, Tick Tock, Sun Blows Up Today lay the foundation, but it really starts shining in Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room. Deanna's fear that she won't last on the Island, and that she's weighing Kyran down with responsibility, adds great dimension to her character, again juxtaposing that flippant calm with deep fear and insecurity. What's great about Dee though is that as scared as she is, she's still trying. She's searching for supplies, she's offering suggestions, she's acknowledging her weaknesses, and it sets her into this really comfortable mix of background and foreground scaffolding that I appreciate.

A good way that Psych and D/N both build on this dynamic is by having Deanna and Kyran join something larger than themselves. Deanna pulls the pair along really strongly here, because while she doesn't necessarily have the means to contribute to player hunting with Garrett, Matt, and Cammy, she definitely has the will. She urges Kyran on in cooperating with the group, and I think that helps her brand of active plot movement come across more clearly. It's clear that the idea grates on her, but she doesn't want to die hiding. This translates into the character growing more and more flippant, as her reactions to Garrett's death and discovering Ruby show in Hunger For Freedom, which is an effective way of communicating how the Island is changing her. Now, the intrusions aren't disrupting her so much. She's actually adjusting to this world, to a degree. I dig that a lot.

And then it all comes gloriously crashing down seconds later when Sharon and Ruby begin their fight and Dee gets tackled. It's another great little moment for Dee, if not quite as impactful as Dave's suicide. What's important here is how quickly she recovers from it, which to be honest is pretty admirable. Again, a really good sign of character change and growth.

THE DRAGGING

One area where Deanna left me a little disappointed was how she dealt with her initial separation from Kyran. Her reaction to his death and the way she incorporates him into her death post both hit right on with laser-guided targeting, but the fact that she doesn't devote much effort to him until he dies after they part ways was a little problematic. These two characters had such chemistry and such a strong bond, and for a bit it just sort of...vanishes. It's a minor concern, really, in the scheme of how strong they both are throughout their stories, but I would have liked it to be played with a bit more so that the separation felt as organic as the rest of their relationship.

I'm also a little confused by the imagery at the end of her death post. The bird/fish conflict comes out throughout her story and it's wonderfully implemented, but the last mention of it in The Adolescent Sky really throws me. I'm willing to bet that it's just going over my head, but I cannot wrap my head around why she's embraced the "fish" and incorporated it into her idealization of the "bird." I think this could have been fleshed out and elaborated on just a bit more at the tail end of her death to give the reader a clearer picture of what's happening.

THE NITPICKY

Deanna's another one I'm going to have nothing to nitpick on, other than the distraction that D/N's flagship box brings at time of writing. Seriously, talking about bringing back one of my strong favorites for V3? Don't play with my heart.

Deanna is a really solid character. I don't think it'd be a stretch at all to say she's one of V5's best. She scaffolds on the core themes of her story marvelously, and is a great case study for exploring partnerships in the SotF context. I highly recommend her to anyone with questions or concerns about getting a similar partnership off the ground, you won't regret giving her a read.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler
G056, Alda Abbate(Adopted)
It was difficult to nail down exactly when the anger started. Remembering a time when it wasn't there, coiled up and waiting to strike or alive and thrashing, was growing more and more challenging. It'd been with her for so long that it no longer felt like an intruder in her mind. It felt like a part of her.
[+] spoiler
B062, Garrett Wilde
I multiplied. Then I subtracted. That's what we do now. That's how we keep the most people around.
[+] spoiler
B014, Joachim Lovelace(Adopted)
Your turn.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler

Abby Floyd:This place was vile. Overwhelmingly, terribly vile. Character Theme: Everything's Alright-Emily Scholz
Ty Yazzie: You ever wonder if you still got a home to go back to? Character Theme: Warrior People-Medicine For The People
Isaac Brea(Adopted from Espi): Isaac's well of fucks was bone-dry. Character Theme: The Whiskey, The Liar, The Thief-Patent Pending
Caedyn Miller:So...how did you wanna do this? Feeling an open casket? Or is that dumb? Nah, don't say it, that's dumb. We'll be soup by the time they send us home anyway. Character Theme: Sleep-My Chemical Romance
Irene Djezari(Adopted from CicadaDays): Death was not worse than Meme Hell. Character Theme: A Beautiful Lie-30 Seconds To Mars

NPCs:
Jacob Brooks: ... Character Theme: 1812 Overture-Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
[+] spoiler
Blaise d'Aramitz: Blonde Hair, Black Lungs-Sorority Noise
Helena 'Hel" Fury: Okay, but riddle me this: where in the rulebook does it say it's not a series of automatic critical hits if I Flurry of Blows an ogre's nutsack like a speedbag? Bad Liar-Selena Gomez
Jeremiah Widdlestone: NOT--FOR--YOU 911/Mr. Lonely-Tyler The Creator
Damian Riccardo Maradona Reyes: I'll go all day, all week, all year if I gotta, big guy. Just try and stop me. Years Of War-Porter Robinson
Barbara "Babs" Mulaney: One. Deux. Tres. Vier. Fem. Yug. Haft. Aath. Dyev-yat. Dez. Might Tell You Tonight-Scissor Sisters
Zyzzx Rigs: Last of the first, folks. Light me up.You Know You Like It - DJ Snake ft.
AlunaGeorge
[+] spoiler
Some Guy Probably: A thing he said? Character Theme: Flyers-Bradio
Alex Darby: Let's weigh what everyone brings to the table, and find a suitable compromise. It's in your best interest. Character theme: Devil's Gift-Shaman's Harvest
[+] spoiler
Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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Mr. Danya
Joined: June 26th, 2011, 8:09 pm

March 21st, 2015, 6:31 pm #86

Winter is coming with CRITIQUE: ZOE WALKER

THE COMPELLING

Zoe's game, so far, has leaned a lot on teamwork. Right off the bat she starts running into members of her team and staying with them, regardless of how well they align. She really sticks to the team dynamic in a way we haven't seen much this season, working with members across schools and purposes to survive and keep moving. She sums up her logic pretty well in A New Morning
wrote:Fuck it, got nothing better to do.

Zoe has a very "go with the flow" sort of narrative, where she reacts moment by moment and doesn't really plan ahead much. It feels pretty natural for her. It leaves her in a space where she acquiesces to whatever the emotional tone of the scene around her is, which makes her a sort of barometer that's fun to watch. Zoe does not play around with bullshit. She'll lie, if it suits her, and she'll sure as hell cheat, but she does not hide how she's feeling very well and she doesn't have a lot of patience for other people getting in her way. This ends up being a neat little test for her in United, with her mentor pushing for the surviving Scarlet Panthers to form up and kill-squad their way to the finale. Everybody has a different idea about how they should respond and move forward, and it's clear that it's frustrating her to some degree. Ohm dwells a lot on their mistakes and the dissonance in the team, right up to the point where everything implodes and Norma runs off by herself. Lukas exits quickly afterwards in House Edge, and Ohm does a good job of maintaining Zoe's calm and flow despite everything. It solidifies Zoe as someone who cares about the team, but not necessarily everyone on it. Everyone serves a function towards her survival, and if they're not going to play ball with that, she's not too broken up about them bailing.

The partnership with Michael ends up being her best yet. We see a lot of Zoe's vicious side come out during encounters with Dougie and Lily, and it even starts to come out again before Michael's death. It'll be really interesting to see where she goes without a team partner for the moment, because Lukas and Michael have both been keeping her grounded to a degree and coaching her away from lashing out. Their absence, along with all the enemies she's made and her trigger happy mentor, could push Zoe into a strong killer role, especially now that most of her competition is dead. The big killers so far are either dead or released, so there's a nice void for Zoe's anger to fill.

THE DRAGGING

Zoe would benefit from editing. A lot of editing. I like the meat of what's going on in her posts, but it's distracting because of how often dropped capitals, doubled punctuation, hanging thoughts, and clipped sentences come up. She needs more connectors between her sentences to help her writing match the natural flow of her thought process and personality. As it stands, a lot of her posts come off as choppy to me because the sentences are short and disconnected, with few paragraphs or transitions. It also helps to keep eye for misplaced details(such as instances where she calls Michael Markus), because those can take a reader out of the moment as well. There is some really, really good stuff going on skeletally for Zoe, but it's having trouble connecting for me because it needs to be fleshed out and polished a lot. That's natural, because she's Ohm's first character, but it's good stuff to think about heading forward for the rest of TV2, as well as into V6 and SCDos. Zoe's a good character right now, but with some more refinement, she could be a great character.

THE NITPICKY

Zoe's a kickboxer. Her profile and advantages make a pretty big deal about this. In her profile, she's described as "loving the thrill of each fight." There is so much that could be played with here, and I feel like it's not been explored much so far. A lot of good physicality can come from employing her training in scene blocking, and that thrill plays into her impulsive, moment by moment characterization. I feel like this particular hobby has a lot of relevance to where she's at in the game right now, and I'd like to see it brought out hard to help flesh her out for the rest of her TV2 play. It'd help some with her choppy voice at the moment and lend a lot of personality to her encounters that may be difficult to convey otherwise.

I liked Zoe and Lukas as a team. I liked Zoe and Michael as a team. I get a pretty good feeling that I'll like Zoe on her own or with whoever she may end up sticking to out of the surviving cast. I'm not sure which direction I'd rather see her go at this point, but it should be a fun ride either way.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler
G056, Alda Abbate(Adopted)
It was difficult to nail down exactly when the anger started. Remembering a time when it wasn't there, coiled up and waiting to strike or alive and thrashing, was growing more and more challenging. It'd been with her for so long that it no longer felt like an intruder in her mind. It felt like a part of her.
[+] spoiler
B062, Garrett Wilde
I multiplied. Then I subtracted. That's what we do now. That's how we keep the most people around.
[+] spoiler
B014, Joachim Lovelace(Adopted)
Your turn.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler

Abby Floyd:This place was vile. Overwhelmingly, terribly vile. Character Theme: Everything's Alright-Emily Scholz
Ty Yazzie: You ever wonder if you still got a home to go back to? Character Theme: Warrior People-Medicine For The People
Isaac Brea(Adopted from Espi): Isaac's well of fucks was bone-dry. Character Theme: The Whiskey, The Liar, The Thief-Patent Pending
Caedyn Miller:So...how did you wanna do this? Feeling an open casket? Or is that dumb? Nah, don't say it, that's dumb. We'll be soup by the time they send us home anyway. Character Theme: Sleep-My Chemical Romance
Irene Djezari(Adopted from CicadaDays): Death was not worse than Meme Hell. Character Theme: A Beautiful Lie-30 Seconds To Mars

NPCs:
Jacob Brooks: ... Character Theme: 1812 Overture-Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
[+] spoiler
Blaise d'Aramitz: Blonde Hair, Black Lungs-Sorority Noise
Helena 'Hel" Fury: Okay, but riddle me this: where in the rulebook does it say it's not a series of automatic critical hits if I Flurry of Blows an ogre's nutsack like a speedbag? Bad Liar-Selena Gomez
Jeremiah Widdlestone: NOT--FOR--YOU 911/Mr. Lonely-Tyler The Creator
Damian Riccardo Maradona Reyes: I'll go all day, all week, all year if I gotta, big guy. Just try and stop me. Years Of War-Porter Robinson
Barbara "Babs" Mulaney: One. Deux. Tres. Vier. Fem. Yug. Haft. Aath. Dyev-yat. Dez. Might Tell You Tonight-Scissor Sisters
Zyzzx Rigs: Last of the first, folks. Light me up.You Know You Like It - DJ Snake ft.
AlunaGeorge
[+] spoiler
Some Guy Probably: A thing he said? Character Theme: Flyers-Bradio
Alex Darby: Let's weigh what everyone brings to the table, and find a suitable compromise. It's in your best interest. Character theme: Devil's Gift-Shaman's Harvest
[+] spoiler
Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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Mr. Danya
Joined: June 26th, 2011, 8:09 pm

March 21st, 2015, 10:32 pm #87

Here comes the deja vu with CRITIQUE: BELLA BIANCHI

THE COMPELLING

Bella's game starts out in a neat way. The way she presents being picked up for SotF is different from what I've seen so far, and a little different from how I always pictured it in my head, but it's a good to see a fresh perspective. I feel like this particular device could have been fleshed out a little more, maybe collaborating with some other people during pre-game to see who else would have been picked up in that particular class so they could be referenced and incorporated into the moment, but it works on it's own. It contributes to the feeling of disorientation that runs through Bella's early threads, and I dig it.

Where Bella really starts to pick up is the end of her time in The Jellies Experience. When she takes it upon herself to hunt down Gene with Yagmur, she really wrests control of her narrative. I love their little team-up, and Bella's shaky but determined resolve as they catch up to him. The framing of the kill so that she not only has to shoot Gene in the back, but watch him writhe and curse until she beats his head in with a fire extinguisher(Aside: We are getting way into head-crushing this version, aren't we? That's at least three now. That seems...high. Is it just me?) puts a lot of the focus on Bella and gives her the active voice she's needed for awhile now. Yagmur and Bella also have a very nice chemistry that she hasn't really found with anyone else up to this point, so I enjoy seeing them leaning on each other and trying to muddle their way through the mess they're in.

Bella's best thread so far is Picking Up The Pieces, because it really builds on the base laid down in Rock the Flock. It's establishing Bella as not so much a player or player hunter, but a guardian of sorts. She doesn't want to kill people, it seems, but she absolutely will if she has to to prevent more death. It puts her in an interesting space, in the TV universe, where she can go a lot of different directions and it still makes sense. That's important, here near the end of the game where the prominent roles of Endgame are starting to be filled out, because it leaves her with a lot of places to go to carve out her niche. I like that. I think she'll end up doing well.

THE DRAGGING

Bella has a bad habit of fading into the background in way that hurts her characterization. I love background characters. Some of my favorites across all versions qualify as "background" characters. But the way Bella tends to do it simply does not work for her. Throughout her first couple of threads, Bella finds herself strongly overshadowed, in the midst of these big, climactic events and struggles without adding a whole lot to them. Whether it's the clash between Pia and Matt or Gene's absolutely bonkers rampage through Jellies, Bella often finds herself without a lot of voice or place. When Bella asserts herself and takes at least a portion of the reigns, she has a really strong voice that I enjoy. Rock The Flock and Picking Up The Pieces show how effective she is as a narrative centerpiece. When she slips into the background though, she tends to slip out completely, which is unfortunate.

My concern here is that it's an issue that's starting to crop up again towards the end of Picking Up The Pieces and into The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway. Bella needs to find more middle ground between being center stage and being in the shadows, because I miss her voice when she has to drift back for the purposes of the scene. Part of this is her tendency to disappear into her own head. The tail end of Paisley's death helps display this well: immediately after Paisley dies, Bella recaps the blocking of the death we've seen through Paisley's eyes, and leaves the rest of the post wholly to her own thoughts. This is problematic, because it leaves her threadmates without new hooks to interact with and tacitly sections her off from the rest of the scene. This kind of effect has a tendency to snowball unless others actively pull you back in, and it's definitely something to keep an eye on in the future, because it hampers the wonderful potential that Bella has by killing her momentum.

THE NITPICKY

One of the early things that Bella pins herself on is her friendship with Shadi Williams. Because of a variety of circumstances, Shadi and Bella never end up meeting in the Resort. Bella makes a lot of references to Shadi throughout her first couple of threads, and one or two later on, but for how focused she was on her in the beginning, the relationship really falls flat post-Jellies Experience. The only reaction to Shadi's death, and her continued playing before that, is an offhand comment about wondering whether she'd get a chance to bury her or any of her other dead friends. It seems...incongruous, given how she worried about her early on and only assuaged her fears by assuring herself that Shadi was a "big girl" and would take care of herself. A lot of the problems here come from OOC issues, but I feel when you make a character that prominent a focus in the early game, there needs to be a bit more in your story about them. I was expecting to see some raw emotion from Bella once she heard about Shadi's death, and it just hasn't happened yet. She seems to have not given the incident more than a passing thought. This issue shows with a few other characters, such as Eden and to a much lesser degree Gene and Paisley, but I would like to see some of the treatment Will gets in her narrative spread around a bit to round out her emotional state and keep her consistent.

Bella has a lot of potential and she's in the perfect place to start utilizing it as TV2 winds down. I'll be keeping an eye on her to see how she develops.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler
G056, Alda Abbate(Adopted)
It was difficult to nail down exactly when the anger started. Remembering a time when it wasn't there, coiled up and waiting to strike or alive and thrashing, was growing more and more challenging. It'd been with her for so long that it no longer felt like an intruder in her mind. It felt like a part of her.
[+] spoiler
B062, Garrett Wilde
I multiplied. Then I subtracted. That's what we do now. That's how we keep the most people around.
[+] spoiler
B014, Joachim Lovelace(Adopted)
Your turn.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler

Abby Floyd:This place was vile. Overwhelmingly, terribly vile. Character Theme: Everything's Alright-Emily Scholz
Ty Yazzie: You ever wonder if you still got a home to go back to? Character Theme: Warrior People-Medicine For The People
Isaac Brea(Adopted from Espi): Isaac's well of fucks was bone-dry. Character Theme: The Whiskey, The Liar, The Thief-Patent Pending
Caedyn Miller:So...how did you wanna do this? Feeling an open casket? Or is that dumb? Nah, don't say it, that's dumb. We'll be soup by the time they send us home anyway. Character Theme: Sleep-My Chemical Romance
Irene Djezari(Adopted from CicadaDays): Death was not worse than Meme Hell. Character Theme: A Beautiful Lie-30 Seconds To Mars

NPCs:
Jacob Brooks: ... Character Theme: 1812 Overture-Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
[+] spoiler
Blaise d'Aramitz: Blonde Hair, Black Lungs-Sorority Noise
Helena 'Hel" Fury: Okay, but riddle me this: where in the rulebook does it say it's not a series of automatic critical hits if I Flurry of Blows an ogre's nutsack like a speedbag? Bad Liar-Selena Gomez
Jeremiah Widdlestone: NOT--FOR--YOU 911/Mr. Lonely-Tyler The Creator
Damian Riccardo Maradona Reyes: I'll go all day, all week, all year if I gotta, big guy. Just try and stop me. Years Of War-Porter Robinson
Barbara "Babs" Mulaney: One. Deux. Tres. Vier. Fem. Yug. Haft. Aath. Dyev-yat. Dez. Might Tell You Tonight-Scissor Sisters
Zyzzx Rigs: Last of the first, folks. Light me up.You Know You Like It - DJ Snake ft.
AlunaGeorge
[+] spoiler
Some Guy Probably: A thing he said? Character Theme: Flyers-Bradio
Alex Darby: Let's weigh what everyone brings to the table, and find a suitable compromise. It's in your best interest. Character theme: Devil's Gift-Shaman's Harvest
[+] spoiler
Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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Mr. Danya
Joined: June 26th, 2011, 8:09 pm

March 22nd, 2015, 9:08 pm #88

Everything's O. Kay with CRITIQUE: OWEN KAY

THE COMPELLING

Like I mentioned in Aileen's critique, I really enjoy Aileen and Owen's dynamic, and I think Owen brought a lot to the table when it comes to their relationship. One thing I like more from Owen's perspective is the slow inversion of their relationship. In This Is A Message From Lord Nergal. "I Await You On The Dread Isle.", Owen is falling apart. He doesn't know how to deal with the environment of SotF, and Aileen's presence and pragmatism calms him down a great deal. Even as things turn violent with Lauren, Aileen stabilizes and reassures him, which adds some decent cement to their partnership and holds Owen as someone shakily finding his feet on the Island.

I like that Owen also keeps a complex view of the Island and his interactions with everyone. Even in all the chaos of First Page - Planning, along with the insults, manipulations, and threats being tossed around by pretty much everyone else, Owen still doesn't identify any one person as "the bad guy." Unlike everyone else, Owen isn't willing to strike out or dehumanize those around him. He restrains Aileen throughout the game from pursuing violence and taking out her frustrations on their classmates, inverting their original relationship to keep her steady and both of them relatively safe. I like how Pippin slowly pushes Owen into this side of their dynamic, giving him more and more of a steady voice as he stays on the Island, until he's able to assert himself frequently to keep things under control.

This becomes even more interesting in Huddle, since Aileen and Owen have both been through a ton at this point, and Travis has been dancing in the edges of Aileen's concerns since the beginning of the game. It's not Aileen who makes the first move to keep Travis away from the group, however, but Owen.
wrote:“There’s p-plenty of shelter across the island” Owen said. “Can’t be too hard to find somewhere else to stay, can it? So... no. Fuck off. You’re not coming in.”
I really like this moment for Owen, because it shows the dual-sides he plays to make peace. Owen wants to prevent violence and keep people safe, but he's not naive about it. He understands at this point that some people are dangerous and cannot be trusted, and Travis is absolutely one of those people. It's a great bit of character growth.

THE DRAGGING

There's a downside to tying yourself so heavily to a partnership. It makes things a little difficult when the reader is used to seeing two characters together, and suddenly they're not, and I think this is a trap that Owen gets caught up in immediately after Aileen's death. His narrative becomes aimless, and I don't just mean in the sense that he spends a lot of time IC wandering. There's not a strong grip on where Owen's going from there, and after a big event like that, with Aileen dying and Travis escaping, I wanted there to be...just something. Some form of direction for him to take from it, especially given the way he frames Aileen's influence on him. He specifically states that without Aileen, he could have become someone like Travis, and he's slowly pushing towards fighting Travis up until he kills Aileen and flees. When the two finally come into conflict again in A Human Work, I expected some sparks to fly and for Owen's backbone to fully develop.

Instead, Owen dies crying for help and pleading that he doesn't want to die. Even before Travis shoots him, he's not angry or defiant or even shocked, he's right back to talking despite everything that's occurred between them. It feels very unsatisfying, for me, and I don't understand it from Owen's perspective. He gets really worked up when Travis tries to enter in Huddle, and it just sort of disappears. I would have liked more consistency at the end of Owen's story, because there was a very clear and interesting arc up to that point and it's a shame to see it become muddled.

THE NITPICKY

One thing that's always difficult to convey through text is vocal affectation. Accent, cadence, that sort of thing. Something like a simulated stutter can certainly help, but in Owen's case it becomes far too much for me. A good example is the very first time he speaks:
wrote:“He-hello? This is... This is Owen. Owen K-Kay! British Owen... L-look, whoever you are... you c-can come out from hiding... I’m... I’m pretty much unarmed...” Owen paused a second. In that pause, he realised he was inadvertently holding onto the reception desk, as if to keep himself standing.

“That... That and I’m f-fucking terrified right now...”
That's a lot of stuttering. It feels very unnatural to read, for me, and it stays that way most of the time. It's not always that pronounced, but Owen stutters a lot, and it only occurs when he's very afraid. Since it's not a natural part of his speech, it comes across as very forced, especially since most of the expression of his fear comes through his voice rather than his body language. Given how measured and free Owen is with his speech in pre-game, this didn't sit very well with me.

I think Owen goes some interesting places, and he sparks a few ideas in me regarding the nature of peace and pacifism in the context of SotF. At the very least, he's a pretty interesting character to study.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler
G056, Alda Abbate(Adopted)
It was difficult to nail down exactly when the anger started. Remembering a time when it wasn't there, coiled up and waiting to strike or alive and thrashing, was growing more and more challenging. It'd been with her for so long that it no longer felt like an intruder in her mind. It felt like a part of her.
[+] spoiler
B062, Garrett Wilde
I multiplied. Then I subtracted. That's what we do now. That's how we keep the most people around.
[+] spoiler
B014, Joachim Lovelace(Adopted)
Your turn.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler

Abby Floyd:This place was vile. Overwhelmingly, terribly vile. Character Theme: Everything's Alright-Emily Scholz
Ty Yazzie: You ever wonder if you still got a home to go back to? Character Theme: Warrior People-Medicine For The People
Isaac Brea(Adopted from Espi): Isaac's well of fucks was bone-dry. Character Theme: The Whiskey, The Liar, The Thief-Patent Pending
Caedyn Miller:So...how did you wanna do this? Feeling an open casket? Or is that dumb? Nah, don't say it, that's dumb. We'll be soup by the time they send us home anyway. Character Theme: Sleep-My Chemical Romance
Irene Djezari(Adopted from CicadaDays): Death was not worse than Meme Hell. Character Theme: A Beautiful Lie-30 Seconds To Mars

NPCs:
Jacob Brooks: ... Character Theme: 1812 Overture-Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
[+] spoiler
Blaise d'Aramitz: Blonde Hair, Black Lungs-Sorority Noise
Helena 'Hel" Fury: Okay, but riddle me this: where in the rulebook does it say it's not a series of automatic critical hits if I Flurry of Blows an ogre's nutsack like a speedbag? Bad Liar-Selena Gomez
Jeremiah Widdlestone: NOT--FOR--YOU 911/Mr. Lonely-Tyler The Creator
Damian Riccardo Maradona Reyes: I'll go all day, all week, all year if I gotta, big guy. Just try and stop me. Years Of War-Porter Robinson
Barbara "Babs" Mulaney: One. Deux. Tres. Vier. Fem. Yug. Haft. Aath. Dyev-yat. Dez. Might Tell You Tonight-Scissor Sisters
Zyzzx Rigs: Last of the first, folks. Light me up.You Know You Like It - DJ Snake ft.
AlunaGeorge
[+] spoiler
Some Guy Probably: A thing he said? Character Theme: Flyers-Bradio
Alex Darby: Let's weigh what everyone brings to the table, and find a suitable compromise. It's in your best interest. Character theme: Devil's Gift-Shaman's Harvest
[+] spoiler
Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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Mr. Danya
Joined: June 26th, 2011, 8:09 pm

March 22nd, 2015, 10:09 pm #89

Getting to the point with CRITIQUE: CATHRYN BAILEY

THE COMPELLING

Cathryn has another interesting abduction opening in A New Morning. This one is a little more "classic," but that's intentional and played well in the opening post in a way that I enjoy. Maraoone constructs this nice picture of a typical, almost cliche kidnapping scene and juxtaposes it with the fact this is a societally acceptable thing to do because of the presence of SotF-TV. I also love the fact that after the situation sinks in, we cut back to Cathryn and she has absolutely demolished the room she's in. It's such a good visual, and so unexpected given her profile and interests, but it makes a surprising amount of sense. This is a good trait to keep track of, because it's this slow boiling anger and whirlwind of destruction that Cathryn keeps sort of barely contained for most of her narrative so far, and it's a real gas to observe. It crops up in this thread when she nearly attacks Zoe, and she channels it in an intriguing way:
wrote:Cathryn turned towards Zoe. "Wait, I'm sorry, what? Zoe, look at me and listen carefully, because this is the only time I'm going to try to help you. This guy's plan," pointing at him, "is stupid as fuck. It's basically 'Have a cup of tea and wait for this to blow over.' I'm not sure if you watch SOTF that much, but I'm pretty sure that hasn't worked yet. I mean, even if you plan to escape or whatever, you need to put actual effort into finding the flaws. Waiting for everyone else to just kill each other and coming out as the last survivors sounds nice in theory. And I swear, if it actually worked, I would drop everything and join this plan. But it won't. If this is what you plan to do, you might as well start making your coffins already."
There's a lot to think about here. Is Cathryn being completely altruistic? Earlier, she states that she needs to prove that she's "reliable," so laying her cards out in this way could be a ploy to establish her honesty and offset Lukas's authority, since him being in control of the situation leaves it in completely unknown territory for her. There's also some implication later on that the exchange is more argument for argument's sake as a way to try and get one over on Zoe. This is the sort of complex, varied decision making I like seeing so early on in a character, because it leaves Cathryn with a lot of places to go. Her relationship with Zoe is problematic for reasons I'll get into later, but this is a really, really strong start.

Cathryn also puts forth an interesting frame for dealing with the first announcements:
wrote:Cathryn raised her eyes a bit at the number of killers from Whittree, but other than that, the announcements didn't really elicit any strong reactions from her. Sure, she felt a twinge of sadness and disgust at the fact that people were actually dying, but that was because she was human. It was like this every version, no matter what school you picked. Not really breaking news.
I love to see this sort of thing in TV, because it dances on the line of Orwellian Double-Think that the fluff of the TVverse implies. So many times I see characters who are just outright disgusted and appalled by SotF-TV, despite its vast cultural stranglehold, or characters that fully buy into it without a thought, but the most interesting place, for me, is a character who is somewhere in the middle. This "twinge," as Maraoone puts it, that something is wrong about this situation, accompanied by a sense of sheer normality that keeps it from becoming overpowering. Maraoone further sells this emotion when someone Cathryn truly cares for, Leah Bissard, ends up being read off at the tail end of the announcements in Don't You?. She can't be angry. But she can't really be sad, either. She just ends up in a state of suspended shock, and moves along. I like how Maraoone handles this, because it creates a compelling character built equally on both what she does and what she doesn't do. Restraint is very important for Cathryn, and I dig that. The following encounter with Jewel solidifies that base marvelously:
wrote:Normally, Cathryn would have spat at her, shouted, maybe try to vivisect her with her words, because that was her specialty, and hey, an eye for an eye, right? No way she'd be humiliated on national TV, yeah? But why should Cathryn value her pride over her life? She'd gotten used over the past few years to being isolated, to being a pariah, so how bad would a few more days be?
The underlined portion is especially important. Up until now, Cathryn has not wanted to kill. When Jewel kills Naomi, Cathryn feels sick, panicky, and out of control. But when Jewel offers her the option to live, it gives Cathryn her first taste of truly being in a position where she could lose her life, and being given a way out. From here, it's an easier and easier slide down to killing.

One more important stop along the way is her confrontation with Lucia in The Jellies Experience. The payoff here, given Cathryn's focus on Leah and her death, is wonderful. It's filled with denial as Cathryn is torn between the world she knew and the realities of the Resort. It makes it all that much easier for her to kill Nina Riddhi in Makeup
wrote:"S-same. Not anywhere close to playing. Uh, hey, do you have a-any blankets there? Kinda close to freezing to death here."
Oh what a damned lie that ends up being. This scene is wonderfully crafted on both Kamikaze and Maraoone's part, and I'm only just now appreciating it fully. Cathryn makes the decision that she absolutely wants to live, and that means that she has to kill. Not only does she have to kill to survive, but she has to kill so that if she ever sees Lucia again, she won't let her walk away. So she smothers Nina to death.

God. Damn. It's a perfectly executed arc, so far. It's not flawless, IC, but the mistakes just make it more wonderful and real. Cathryn is presumably on the cusp of another kill, looking at Alice Young's death thread, one far more brutal than she attempted before and right in front of the man she tried to stealthily rob before she was disrupted. Part of me wants to hold off this critique until I see where that goes, but I have faith that it will be as consistently well-played as the broad notes of Cathryn's story has been so far. Hat's off, Maraoone.

THE DRAGGING
wrote:Zoe's collar spoke, and Cathryn's breathing stopped. All the ingredients were there for a disaster. Two people on the same team were there, both with weapons far more fatal than hers. And now someone was telling them to kill. She raised her flamingo up, ready to smash it into Zoe's face. It wouldn't have killed her, not by a long shot, but it would've bought her time. Besides, it would be well-deserved, after all she'd gone through due to Zoe.
This is another well-written paragraph from A New Morning, and I think this feud could serve both Cathryn and Zoe well in the final stages of TV2. The only problem is that I have absolutely no idea where it came from or why it's happening without asking either handler. Cathryn and Zoe briefly interact in the pre-game thread Aqualung and Zoe's presence stirs up Cathryn's rancor once more, but again there's no explanation. There's no relationship between them in either of their profiles, so I was honestly stumped until I asked Ohm about it during Zoe's critique. I'm not going to go into the details here just in case they're purposefully holding the relationship in the shadows, but I will say that this was distracting for me. Cathryn thrives on relationships and this could have been another additive driver to her current arc, and instead it just sort of falls flat. I would highly recommend elaborating on this one soon once both characters are free of their current threads, because there is some great stuff that the reader simply cannot touch at the moment, and it'd be a shame if this plot point was never realized.

THE NITPICKY

I don't have any nitpicks about Cathryn. She's a wonderful character. It's possible she's my favorite character of TV2. I haven't decided yet, but she's a very strong contender. Go read her.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler
G056, Alda Abbate(Adopted)
It was difficult to nail down exactly when the anger started. Remembering a time when it wasn't there, coiled up and waiting to strike or alive and thrashing, was growing more and more challenging. It'd been with her for so long that it no longer felt like an intruder in her mind. It felt like a part of her.
[+] spoiler
B062, Garrett Wilde
I multiplied. Then I subtracted. That's what we do now. That's how we keep the most people around.
[+] spoiler
B014, Joachim Lovelace(Adopted)
Your turn.
[+] spoiler
[+] spoiler

Abby Floyd:This place was vile. Overwhelmingly, terribly vile. Character Theme: Everything's Alright-Emily Scholz
Ty Yazzie: You ever wonder if you still got a home to go back to? Character Theme: Warrior People-Medicine For The People
Isaac Brea(Adopted from Espi): Isaac's well of fucks was bone-dry. Character Theme: The Whiskey, The Liar, The Thief-Patent Pending
Caedyn Miller:So...how did you wanna do this? Feeling an open casket? Or is that dumb? Nah, don't say it, that's dumb. We'll be soup by the time they send us home anyway. Character Theme: Sleep-My Chemical Romance
Irene Djezari(Adopted from CicadaDays): Death was not worse than Meme Hell. Character Theme: A Beautiful Lie-30 Seconds To Mars

NPCs:
Jacob Brooks: ... Character Theme: 1812 Overture-Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
[+] spoiler
Blaise d'Aramitz: Blonde Hair, Black Lungs-Sorority Noise
Helena 'Hel" Fury: Okay, but riddle me this: where in the rulebook does it say it's not a series of automatic critical hits if I Flurry of Blows an ogre's nutsack like a speedbag? Bad Liar-Selena Gomez
Jeremiah Widdlestone: NOT--FOR--YOU 911/Mr. Lonely-Tyler The Creator
Damian Riccardo Maradona Reyes: I'll go all day, all week, all year if I gotta, big guy. Just try and stop me. Years Of War-Porter Robinson
Barbara "Babs" Mulaney: One. Deux. Tres. Vier. Fem. Yug. Haft. Aath. Dyev-yat. Dez. Might Tell You Tonight-Scissor Sisters
Zyzzx Rigs: Last of the first, folks. Light me up.You Know You Like It - DJ Snake ft.
AlunaGeorge
[+] spoiler
Some Guy Probably: A thing he said? Character Theme: Flyers-Bradio
Alex Darby: Let's weigh what everyone brings to the table, and find a suitable compromise. It's in your best interest. Character theme: Devil's Gift-Shaman's Harvest
[+] spoiler
Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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Mr. Danya
Joined: June 26th, 2011, 8:09 pm

March 23rd, 2015, 12:21 am #90

Things aren't always black and white with CRITIQUE: GRAY EMERSON

THE COMPELLING

Gray has a relaxed opening that establishes his demeanor pretty well. The First Drop has him giving more thought to the loss of his MP3 player than to the fact that he's in a murder game, in a way that makes a surprising amount of sense. Gray just...kind of doesn't give a fuck. I like it. It's consistent throughout his opening as he fixes his locked up leg, stuffs his gun in his pocket, and looks for other people in a rather matter of fact way, like he's stumbled in early to a party and he's not sure where everyone is. I find it rather endearing.

Steadier Footing continues that theme. Gray absent-mindedly goes along with Andi's plan without giving too much thought to the details, or getting too upset with things don't quite work out. He takes people coming and going through these early encounters in a stride, and isn't too shaken up by just about anything. He thinks the game is sick and he feels guilty about potentially abandoning people, but he doesn't make a big deal about it. He just keeps rolling forward consistently, keeping himself cautious, calm, and collected. He tries to take care of the others in his group, evidence in little moments like instructing Corey to give Cassandra water once she finishes puking in Tell No Tales. I think this is a good place for him, and Deamon handles it well. Gray's at his best when he's holding things down and working as a sounding board for other people to figure out their plans and feelings.

I think this comes across particularly well during the encounter with Sean in Tell No Tales. Gray is trying to jar Sean out of the strange, delusional world he's constructed for himself. He even takes a trip into that world himself to keep Sean from killing himself.
wrote:"If you shot yourself you'd be a coward and pirates aren't cowards."
This is a nice touch, and it works well for the scene. I like Gray and Sean together, because Sean is the sort of person Gray needs most for his direction to work. It also allows a few cracks to show in his calm, with Gray reflecting on his anticipation towards violence and whether that makes him a broken person. Even with his own doubts, he keeps looking after Sean, acting in a sort of sponsor capacity. It's almost as if taking care of someone else allows him to maintain his calm and keep out his own niggling doubts. It's an interesting dynamic that he establishes with a variety of characters smoothly. Pretty impressive, all things told.

I think the way he kills Sean plays into that well. It stands out in strong contrast to their earlier, drawn out fight with Hansel. He gives Sean a chance to talk with him and work things out, and when he can't, resolution comes swift and to the point. Gray doesn't look back. It's one of my favorite moments in his story, and what I consider the high point of his narrative. The brevity of the situation is used very well. It's about what I imagined a Gray kill would look like, and it doesn't disappoint.

THE DRAGGING

Gray's biggest problem is pacing. His threads tend to have a stop-start step to them that makes them a little hard to follow. In some cases, such as Love And Marriage, this works really well. In others, such as his last two threads, this becomes complicated. Coming out of Love and Marriage into Under This Killing Moon kills Gray's momentum to a degree, right when it's at its highest. I would have liked for Gray to have ended up somewhere a little tenser coming out of this thread, because it makes it hard to sustain that great movement forward that came with Sean's death.

Gray also has a lot of relationships made throughout the Island and in pre-game, but he doesn't comment much on any of them. Andi, Cassandra, Corey, Kyran, Cooper, and others pass without much note. I would have liked to see Gray respond more to the more important relationships he had, especially with how well the connection between Gray and Sean developed. There could have been a lot more of that to support his momentum.

I also wish Gray had explored the ideas he started going over in Gethsemane towards his buzz at the thought of violence. Sean's death and the two fights with Hansel would have been great places to explore this, but it just kind of ends up dropped as a theme. This definitely would have helped carry that momentum on through to his last couple of threads and raised Gray's personal stakes while allowing him some much needed character evolution.

THE NITPICKY

I'll go back to an oldie but a goldie for Gray: Thread linking. Almost none of his thread exits are linked. While in some cases he has a thread mate who links the next thread for him, in others there's no recourse but to go hunting through the wiki and hoping it's up to date. I'm certainly not blameless on this one either, but it is frustrating, and it's an issue I feel the need to comment on when it happens as frequently as it does with Gray.

All told, Gray starts off from a really solid place with a good concept to back him up, and that's a blessing and a curse. It means that he maintains a pretty stable, high line throughout the whole game, but it also means we don't get to see a lot of evolution in his arc because, for the most part, it's not necessary to keep his quality decent. I would have liked to have seen more from Gray, but I'm pretty happy with what we got as well.
[+] spoiler
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G056, Alda Abbate(Adopted)
It was difficult to nail down exactly when the anger started. Remembering a time when it wasn't there, coiled up and waiting to strike or alive and thrashing, was growing more and more challenging. It'd been with her for so long that it no longer felt like an intruder in her mind. It felt like a part of her.
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B062, Garrett Wilde
I multiplied. Then I subtracted. That's what we do now. That's how we keep the most people around.
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B014, Joachim Lovelace(Adopted)
Your turn.
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Abby Floyd:This place was vile. Overwhelmingly, terribly vile. Character Theme: Everything's Alright-Emily Scholz
Ty Yazzie: You ever wonder if you still got a home to go back to? Character Theme: Warrior People-Medicine For The People
Isaac Brea(Adopted from Espi): Isaac's well of fucks was bone-dry. Character Theme: The Whiskey, The Liar, The Thief-Patent Pending
Caedyn Miller:So...how did you wanna do this? Feeling an open casket? Or is that dumb? Nah, don't say it, that's dumb. We'll be soup by the time they send us home anyway. Character Theme: Sleep-My Chemical Romance
Irene Djezari(Adopted from CicadaDays): Death was not worse than Meme Hell. Character Theme: A Beautiful Lie-30 Seconds To Mars

NPCs:
Jacob Brooks: ... Character Theme: 1812 Overture-Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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Blaise d'Aramitz: Blonde Hair, Black Lungs-Sorority Noise
Helena 'Hel" Fury: Okay, but riddle me this: where in the rulebook does it say it's not a series of automatic critical hits if I Flurry of Blows an ogre's nutsack like a speedbag? Bad Liar-Selena Gomez
Jeremiah Widdlestone: NOT--FOR--YOU 911/Mr. Lonely-Tyler The Creator
Damian Riccardo Maradona Reyes: I'll go all day, all week, all year if I gotta, big guy. Just try and stop me. Years Of War-Porter Robinson
Barbara "Babs" Mulaney: One. Deux. Tres. Vier. Fem. Yug. Haft. Aath. Dyev-yat. Dez. Might Tell You Tonight-Scissor Sisters
Zyzzx Rigs: Last of the first, folks. Light me up.You Know You Like It - DJ Snake ft.
AlunaGeorge
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Some Guy Probably: A thing he said? Character Theme: Flyers-Bradio
Alex Darby: Let's weigh what everyone brings to the table, and find a suitable compromise. It's in your best interest. Character theme: Devil's Gift-Shaman's Harvest
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Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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