Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 4 May 2014 - 10:26

@Alfisti wrote:
@taerkitty wrote:I may change the parent-talks-like-that thing.  It's on FP, and my guess at the demographics there is mostly teens and young adults, not parents.  In that case, it doesn't matter if it's realistic or not, it matters if it sounds realistic or not.

Honestly, if my mother was using my middle name, it generally meant I was in some variety of trouble.  Razz

When Michele uses Kara's middle name, there is no "general" about her being in some variety of trouble. Wink

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sun 4 May 2014 - 10:43

Chapter two is now up:

https://www.fictionpress.com/s/3194213/3/Daughters-of-Icarus-Volume-1

I'm curious as to what you expected and what you got from this chapter.  (I've blabbed about Daughters of Icarus on and on in chat, so I'm pretty sure everyone knows what the story is about.)

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Il Direttore on Sun 4 May 2014 - 10:53

One slight grammatical issue aside, Shit. Shiiiiiiiit. Oh SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIT. 

So our options are: 

1) Dennis becomes the leader of the Icarus Division. 
2) Emily resurrects as a Daughter. 
3) Both. 

I don't know which one freaks me out more, honestly....

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sun 11 May 2014 - 13:50


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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Il Direttore on Sun 11 May 2014 - 16:15

....somewhat confused by this chapter. Need some more context, I think.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 11 May 2014 - 16:25

Made sense to me. *shrug*

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Fri 16 May 2014 - 16:14

Here's a change of pace.  I don't feel like I am prolific enough to justify a separate thread, so here's my first drawing in a long time, and my first one coloured, even.  Done on my Surface Pro with Autodesk Sketchbook 6.


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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by tremec6speed on Sat 17 May 2014 - 13:00

Jean: Ok handlers, here it is, Introducing the new series of mecha girls:
'The Cyborg Seven', fully equipped with intro-focused, quadra-injector beams of pure rage an fury!!!!!
Victor: (looking at Marco) intro focused whah?
Marco: (shrugs) I'm just gonna smile and nod my head yes....
Seriously though, cool art man!  head bang

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sat 17 May 2014 - 14:38

Thanks, but it's still got a long, long (long) way to go.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Mon 26 May 2014 - 10:59


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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sat 31 May 2014 - 10:50

I'm sleep-deprived like hell, but I got the drawing bug back.

Here is the first level baddie:

And here is the tank type:

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Alfisti on Sat 31 May 2014 - 19:07

Nice. These DoI related? (sorry, I've still not got to reading it, currently slated for once MiI is squared away).

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sat 31 May 2014 - 19:10

Yeah, should have said so.  DoI is going to be less 'low key realistic' and more 'balls to the wall anime/manga monster-buster' in feel.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sun 1 Jun 2014 - 15:55

I was re-reading some of my older writings and decided to post them to FictionPress:

How Do You Kill a God?
(From the archives.) Darkness is red. Not blood red. Not midnight red. Sort of a dark, dusty rose. Mauve. That is darkness. It is red, it is small, it is easily swallowed. It kills from the inside. No, not like that. It kills what counts from the inside.

Poetry: Life - Rated: K+ - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 1 - Words: 630 - Published: 2h ago - Complete

The Last Question
(From the archives.) And the Angel of Death asked, "What do you wish to carry forward to your next incarnation?"

Poetry: Life - Rated: K - English - Spiritual/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 1 - Words: 127 - Published: 2h ago - Complete

Tomas' Sacrifice 
(From the archives.) "Tomas Kincaid Baxter, you face the charges of public display of power, of unauthorized magical combat, and, most serious of all, of illegal use of Blood Magic. How do you plead?"

Fiction: Supernatural - Rated: T - English - Supernatural/Mystery - Chapters: 2 - Words: 10,639 - Published: 1h ago - Complete

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Wed 4 Jun 2014 - 0:25

The first short in Daughters of Icarus Volume 1 is finally done!  Yaaaaaaaaay!

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Il Direttore on Wed 4 Jun 2014 - 19:49

I feel like
Spoiler:
it would have been exponentially creepier if Dennis had actually started making out with Jimmy.

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- President John F. Kennedy
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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Kiskaloo on Wed 4 Jun 2014 - 20:20

@taerkitty wrote:The first short in Daughters of Icarus Volume 1 is finally done!  Yaaaaaaaaay!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEStsLJZhzo

 Very Happy

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Fri 13 Jun 2014 - 21:19

Most of you in chat have seen this already, but I did some fan art for a FictionPress o-fic on DeviantArt:


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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sun 15 Jun 2014 - 20:19

More struggles with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 6.



(More fanart for the review club.)

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 15 Jun 2014 - 20:32

It's good to be the King.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Alfisti on Mon 16 Jun 2014 - 5:50

@taerkitty wrote:More struggles with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 6.
Only one way to get better though.

Out of curiosity: are you sketching on paper first? Or drawing direct to computer?

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Mon 16 Jun 2014 - 9:09

Direct to computer. I'm using a Surface Pro, so I'm drawing directly on the screen, like a mini-Cintiq.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sun 14 Sep 2014 - 20:51

This is obviously an anachronism, but the thought just struck my mind:

Paolo looked up from the computer.  "I don't get what's so special about this 'Ice Bucket Challenge.'  We already did it, didn't we?"

Dina smiled.  "Yes we did, Signore Paolo.  Yes, we did."

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Untitled Happy Dina Story Chapter 1 Draft

Post by taerKitty on Fri 19 Sep 2014 - 1:00

Below please find a rough draft of the first chapter for an as-of-yet untitled Triumph of the Heart story.  I wanted to write a "happy Dina" moment.  As usual, time is in short supply, and it hardly ever seems to align with quiet, energy and mood to write.  I'm fortunate enough tonight to be able to counter that trend, and wanted to share my good fortune with you.

Happy Dina Chapter 1:

The whistle sounded.  Dina lowered her pistol and latched the safety.   Four paper targets fluttered as overhead tracks drew them near.
 
Dina smiled - all her shots were center-of-mass.  Any of them would disable the target at the very least.  Her smile faded a bit when she saw the next lane's target.
 
Rico's shots were easily within a hand's width, a much tighter grouping than her own.
 
The next target over, Claes', was just as neatly pierced.  Perhaps slightly more so.
 
Well, she's using three-shot bursts.  That's why.
 
Once at the bench, she ejected her Beretta 90Two's magazine, then locked the slide back, ejecting the chambered last round.  She filled the magazine and handed it to Paolo.  Her pistol found shelter in its hard side foam-lined case.  Out of the corner of her eye, she saw others performing similar actions.  That VP70 stock is so cute as a holster.  Claes is so lucky!
 
"You're getting better, Dina."
 
"Thank you, Signore Paolo."
 
"I think you're still flinching."  Paolo stopped and laughed softly.
 
"What's so funny, Signore Paolo?"
 
"You just flinched."
 
"I did?  I didn't notice."
 
"I think that's why.  Next time, try to see if you can catch yourself doing that.  Your grouping could be a little tighter than that."
 
"Yes, Signore."
 
"Chin up, Dina.  I'm not scolding you.  I'm just trying to help you feel better about yourself."
 
"How?" This was still directed at her shoes.
 
"Each time we finish practice, you always look so sad when you compare yourself to everyone else.  I just figure if you got a smaller group, you'd feel better."
 
"Yes, Signore."  Dina studied the latches on her pistol case.
 
"How about this?  You're placement is fine.  For what we do, it's good enough.  But, it looks like that isn't good enough for you, is it?"
 
"No, Signore.  I want you to be … oh, I get it!"  She stopped when she finally looked up, when she finally saw his smile.
 
"Yes.  Now, go catch up with the rest of them."
 
"Yes, Signore Paolo!"
 
Dina blinked as she emerged from the indoor range into the bright midday sun.  Rico, Henrietta, and Claes waved her over.
 
"Sorry, Signore Paolo was giving me some pointers."
 
"That's fine.  We were talking about going back to the dormitory."  Rico, her smile as sunny as always, started walking.
 
"I want to get back to a book on the Old Masters I just started."  Claes adjusted her headband.  "Say, if any of you want to borrow some of Signore Raballo's books, I can ask him."
 
Dina nodded.  "Does he have a lot of novels?"
 
"I don't think so.  He's a very practical man, and he has a very practical library."
 
"I see."
 
"That's fine, Dina.  I can ask Jose if he has any."
 
"Thank you, Henrietta.  I … I don't remember if I liked to read before, but I'd like to try it."
 
The girls walked silently.
 
When Dina could bear it no longer, she fumbled for something to break the chill.  "So… what are we going to do back at the dormitory?"
 
In response, Henrietta and Rico both looked at Claes.
 
"Oh, all right.  Tea party in my room."
 
Dina blinked.  "Doesn't Triela…"
 
"Yes, silly.  But, it would be confusing for me to say 'our' room right?  That would mean we all share a room."
 
Rico's eyes brightened.  "That would be a lot of fun!"
 
"I don't think the rooms are big enough for two sets of bunk beds."
 
Claes sighed.  "You have got to stop taking things so literally, Dina.  Rico was just pretending."
 
"Well, we could probably knock down a wall--"
 
"-- and now she's become delusional.  Okay, let's head to the break room, first.  Rico, you heat the water.  Henrietta, you get the china…"
 
In the end, Dina helped Claes carry some assorted tortes back to the room she and Triela shared.
 
"You have a lot of bears, Claes."
 
"Oh, those are Triela's.  I don't care for them."
 
Dina tried to imagine the tall and business-like blond girl playing with the bears.  She's always so serious!  I just can't see her having fun with them.  In fact, I can't see her having fun at all!  It just didn't align.  "Uh, what does she do with them?"
 
"Do?  Look at them, I guess.  Sometimes she takes one down and hugs it while she's talking.  She seems to like Bashful best."  A lazy hand indicated a light-grey bear with leather pads for paws and black buttons for eyes.
 
"Do they all have names?"
 
"Oh, yes!  There's Sleepy, Doc, Sneezy, Bashful, Dopey--"
 
"-- no, that's Happy."  Claes interrupted Rico and pointed at the bear sitting on the side table by the window.  "That's Dopey."
 
Dina applauded softly.  "Do they talk to each other?  What about?"
 
"…"
 
She looked around.  The other three girls just glanced at each other, lips shut.  Eventually, both Rico and Henrietta stared at Claes.
 
Outnumbered, she took a deep breath before answering.  "No, they don't.  They're toys.  Toys don't talk."
 
Dina looked at her half-eaten chocolate torte.  "Uh, I know that.  But, don't you pretend?  You know, like…"
 
She looked around.  They all sat silently, waiting for her to finish.
 
Oh, well.  Here goes.
 
"… like if Bashful was Daddy and Sneezy was Mommy and the rest were their kids?"
 
Claes cleared her throat.  "Well, those are Triela's bears, so we should probably ask her first."
 
At that Henrietta nodded, and Rico chirped her agreement.
 
"Well, I have some dolls in my room.  I can go get them."
 
Claes turned a page. Loudly.  "No thanks.  I'll pass.  The Mannerist artists are some of my favourites, and I just got to Dosso Dossi."
 
Rico and Henrietta exchanged glances.  "Say, Rico?  We forgot to do laundry this morning."
 
"Huh?  Oh, that's right.  We have to go … do laundry.  See you!"
 
They left behind teacups half-full, and tortes with but one or two nibbles missing.
 
Dina finished her tea and torte.  "Thank you, Claes.  It was delicious."
 
A page turned.  Loudly.  "Hm?  Oh, you're welcome."
 
"If you want, I could help you the next time you… you know, make them?"
 
A pause filled the room.  "Maybe."
 
Dina closed her eyes and exhaled softly.  "Well, see you."
 
Another page turned.  Loudly.
 
===
 
Paolo entered to see Dina sprawled on the bed, face-down on a pillow.  "Hey, do that to the target, not yourself."
 
"Oh, Signore Paolo!"  Dina formed a smile, and realized her cheeks still burned.
 
"Why are you crying?"
 
"I'm not, Signore Paolo."
 
"All right, why were you crying?"
 
"Well, after range practice…" No, I'm not going to be a tattletale! "… it wasn't anything important."
 
"If it's important enough for tears, then it's important enough for me."
 
"I… it... I mean… it was all a misunderstanding?"
 
"Was it?"
 
Dina found new tears forming and clenched her eyes shut.  She nodded her head wildly. 
 
After the third or fifth bob, it landed hard against Paolo's abdomen.  She made to look up and apologize, but his arms hugged her in place.
 
"Was it the other girls?"
 
Dina shook her head.
 
"Really?"
 
Dina shook her head again.  "All I wanted to do was play with them."
 
Once started, the tale spilled out unchecked.
 
"… and that's when I came back here."
 
Paolo nodded, his face still creased with concern.
 
"You… you're not going to say anything, are you?  To the other handlers, I mean.  Please, Signore Paolo?"
 
"Do you want me to?"
 
"Nonono--"
 
"Then I won't.  But I don't see anything wrong in what you said, Dina."
 
"Really?"
 
"Would I lie to you?"
 
"No, Signore.  'If I said it, it must be true,' that's what you say."
 
Paolo ignored the faint twinge of guilt those echoed words elicited.  "It sounds like you just wanted to play 'house' or 'let's pretend', right?"
 
She nodded.  "I don't know how--"
 
Paolo's extended index finger stilled her words by lightly, gently touching her nose.  "Well, I have good news.  The next mission will be just that - you playing pretend with another little girl about your age."
 
Dina cocked her head slightly to one side and blinked.
 
"It's sort of complicated. Remember the adverts for the Nazzari boy?  Looking for a kidney donor?"
 
Dina nodded.
 
"Well, they found one.  And just in time, too.  So, the Nazzari family wants us to look after her until they can come get her."
 
"And she's the little girl you were talking about?"
 
"Yes.  Gessica Lago.  She's 9, likes ponies, castles, and butterflies."
 
Dina's eyes lit up.  "Really?"
 
"Well, that's what it sounded like when they gave me the briefing.  The Nazzaris are in Switzerland at a clinic, and all of their security staff are there as well."
 
Dina nodded, but her face framed a question.
 
"They're worried that someone is going to kidnap Gessica.  If someone grabs Gessica, that's almost the same as kidnapping Roman Nazzari himself."
 
"Oh, I get it!"  She bounced off the bed and ran for the door.
 
"Where are you going?"
 
"Triela's room.  I mean, Claes'… their room.  I left my pistol case there!"
 
"I'll have it sent over.  Don't ever do that again.  But, right now, you won't need it."
 
"Huh?"
 
"That's why we're doing it.  Gessica's mother won't allow any guns in her home."
 
"What?"
 
"You heard me.  No guns.  She didn't allow the bodyguards that the Nazzaris hired into her flat."
 
"That's stupid."
 
"Don't say that."
 
"Don't worry, Signore Paolo.  I won't say it to them."
 
"No, just think about it this way: if Signora Lago wasn't so dead-set against guns, you wouldn't have a chance to play with Gessica, would you?"
 
"Oh!  You're right!"
 
"Remember: no matter how cloudy, the sun is still there.  You just have to look for it, right?"
 
"Yes, Signore Paolo."  She rewarded him a beatific smile.



Last edited by taerkitty on Sat 20 Sep 2014 - 3:33; edited 3 times in total

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Il Direttore on Fri 19 Sep 2014 - 12:13

Generally good work, Taer, but I think your grasp of the Mundane isn't quite as good as your grasp of the Traumatic. While you do a cute!Dina well, her social interactions with the other cyborgs don't really feel present. I think there's more a sense of sequential ordering rather than of genuine misunderstanding and confusion, and have less investment in the story because of that. 

Cheers though, and I hope you do more. Cute!Dina is ridiculously adorable, and I'd like to see more of her.

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"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

- President John F. Kennedy
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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Thescarredman on Fri 19 Sep 2014 - 17:27

@Il Direttore wrote:Generally good work, Taer, but I think your grasp of the Mundane isn't quite as good as your grasp of the Traumatic. While you do a cute!Dina well, her social interactions with the other cyborgs don't really feel present. I think there's more a sense of sequential ordering rather than of genuine misunderstanding and confusion, and have less investment in the story because of that.
Disagree somewhat. Dina's reactions do seem a bit out of synch, but I read that as the result of emotions still raw from her recent conversion coupled with her heartrending eagerness to please. It made me uncomfortable, but only because I sympathized; it didn't seem out of step for a new cyborg trying to find her place in the dorm culture.
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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Fri 19 Sep 2014 - 17:40

ID and I talked further about this - his point is that the tea party scene (the specific part that takes place in Claes and Triela's room) was too direct, too set-em-up, knock-em-down.

I could add some 'filler' before Dina asks about the bears, but once she asks, it's pretty much inevitable she runs from the room.  I can 'pad' that conversation, but that exact exchange feels natural.

So, the question is to buffer the tea party or not.   Do I have them start talking about another topic, e.g. "What book are you reading, Claes?" and then lead it to the bears, or just have Dina start with bears.

I would think that Dina, being more toy-oriented, would pretty much instantly focus on the bears upon entering, but that's me.

Note: as with so many other parts of the D+P saga, Dina's desire to play with toys is thanks to this forum.  As Alfisti and others have noted, the canon girls don't act like real girls.  They act like idealized children: mostly neat (even when working a garden), quiet, and generally trouble-free in their rooms.

This may be a result of the conditioning. (If so, I'm sure some of the rare parents on this forum may be tempted!)  This may be the author simply having troubles writing realistic kids. Even Maria Machiavelli was subdued most of the time, handcuffing Tri and Hilshire aside.   And, come to think of it, that's more of an older teenager's prank than one suitable to her perceived age.

Now, this is also a break from my slavish desire to hew to canon as much as possible.  It's not my first.  Waterboarding (and ice bucketing) Dina is something I don't see Yu Aida doing, but I liked it too much.  

Same here.  I just want to see Dina-the-ten-year-old, playing dolls with someone her age, not Dina-the-metal-murder-midget.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Alfisti on Fri 19 Sep 2014 - 23:30

Happy Dina? Who are you, and what have you done with taerkitty?

As to the bears conversation, I think it's pretty much alright as is. It could possibly use another line or two before Dina has her foot-in-mouth moment, but in terms of child-like tunnel visioning it works. What I found more off-putting, to be honest, was Triela's reaction, the "we don't have time to pretend, Dina".

Perhaps she's just having a bad day, or Dina has done something in the past to irk her, but I've always pictured Triela as more willing to let the younger girls be just that: younger girls. Shouldering burdens is her job, not theirs, telling her to grow up seems like more of a Claes line.

That's my take a least, your mileage may vary.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sat 20 Sep 2014 - 0:41

That's a good point.  From when she asks about bears, she's doomed to tears, but the catalyst can be sharpened.  I think this was a case were I wanted to get to the next scene and cut a corner.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sat 20 Sep 2014 - 0:57

Here's the next chapter.  Boy, a single line in my notes turned into 1100 words!

Spoiler:


Paolo parked the Audi a few streets from the Lago’s apartment building.  The streets were narrow, parking was scarce.  As they exited, Paolo smirked.
 
“Notice anything, Dina?”
 
Dina turned and took in the surroundings.  She studied the buildings, dirty and rough-faced.  The windows were all closed, most obscured by drapes, but some with patterned bedsheets.  The doorways were shallow, and no one loitered in them.  The cars were equally deserted, equally grimy, and equally neglected.
 
"Uh, no Signore Paolo.  Am I supposed to?"
 
"It's not a test, Dina.  I was just thinking that my car is probably the newest car on this whole street."
 
"It's very nice, Signore Paolo.  You take very good care of it."
 
"I know.  I'm just wondering if it will still look as nice when we get back."
 
Dina shrugged her right arm free of her backpack strap and smoothly slung the bag under her other arm.  Instinctively, her right hand slid under the flap and …
 
That's right.  No gun this time.
 
She withdrew her hand with a sour expression darkening her face.
 
"It's all right, Dina.  It's insured."
 
"Ensured?"  The little girl tried to fit the word into the context.
 
"You know, insurance?"  Paolo took in her puzzled look.  "If anything happens to it, they'll fix it."
 
"You mean like me?"
 
Paolo ran a hand through his wavy hair.  "No… not quite.  Another company, an insurance company, will pay me to get the car fixed.  Then I have to find someone to fix it.  But, if it's stolen or wrecked, they'll give me enough to pay for a replacement."
 
Dina nodded, her brow knitted by thoughts unspoken.  Her pace slowed, and her lips tightened slightly.
 
Once they crossed the street, Paolo stopped.  His hands alighted on Dina's shoulders and guided her to face him.  "All right, what's on your mind?  And don't say, 'Nothing'."
 
"Yes, Signore Paolo.  What about me?"
 
He tried to buoy her heavy expression with a smile. "Well, I think anyone who tries to steal you will live to regret it.  Or… maybe they won't live.  But they'll regret it, either way." 
 
"And if I'm wrecked?"
 
"We'd fix you."
 
"No, I mean, if I'm really, really, really wrecked, Signore Paolo."
 
"We'd still fix you.  I'd make sure of it."
 
"Even if I'm really, really, really, really, really, really…" Dina gulped air.
 
Paolo finished for her. "Really, really, really multiplied by one million times wrecked.  So long as you're alive, we'd fix you.  I'd make sure of it.  Do you know why?"
 
Dina looked up, her eyes hungry and hopeful.
 
"Because you're mine."
 
"Thank you," Dina whispered.  "Thank you, Signore Paolo."
 
"You're welcome."
 
They walked to the next intersection.
 
"Signore Paolo?"
 
"Hm?"
 
"How can you multiply a word by a million?  I don't get it."
 
Paolo bent over and kissed the top of her scalp, then started walking again.
 
===
 
In the elevator, Paolo asked, "All right.  Notice anything this time?"
 
"Two men sitting in a Fiat outside, right?"
 
"Yes.  But, think about it - in a building like this, do you think they could afford to hire a janitor?"
 
"Oh!  I'm sorry, Signore Pa-"
 
"Shhh.  Don't worry.  This is a great chance for you to learn stuff like this.  You can't learn this at the Agency, no matter how many times you visit the range, right?"
 
"Yes, Signore Paolo."
 
As they exited the elevator, Dina looked around.  The hallway was empty.  The carpet was worn, the wallpaper peeling, but the lights were all brightly lit. Directly ahead was a paneled wood door with no less than three keyholes set into it.  To their left, the hallway served four doors, two per side.  It ended at a window guarded by iron bars mounted to the outside of the building.  To their right sat six doors, three per side.  Its window showed a fire escape beyond. 
 
"Let's see.  Apartment 4G.  That's this way, I think."
 
They followed the tarnished brass letters to 4G. 
 
As Paolo straightened his tie, the lights flicked off.
 
"Signore Paolo!"  Outlined by light from the far window, Dina was crouched, knife in hand.
 
"Stand down, Dina.  I'm sure we can explain things to this gentleman behind me."
 
The diminutive shadow straightened.  The knife still sat in her hand, inverted, with the handle held by the sides of her index and little fingers, and the flat of blade pressed against her forearm.
 
"Lights," the voice behind Paolo announced.
 
The hallway brightened once more.  Paolo stood with his hands raised, a neutral expression on his face.
 
Behind him crouched a large man dressed in a black suit and shirt, and no tie.
 
Behind Dina stood ready another man with a pistol wearing a grey sport coat over a white, collared shirt and dark blue pants.
 
Paolo cleared his throat.  "You should have been told to expect us.  We're from the Nazzari family's security team."
 
"Who are you?"
 
"Amando Podesta.  Wallet's in my rear pocket."
 
The pistol barrel lightened its pressure on his back as his wallet left his pocket.
 
"Why did she call you Paolo?"
 
"That's not your business."
 
"I don't like loose ends."
 
"I don't care.  Are we good or not?"
 
The pistol withdrew.  His wallet was slapped against his side.  "Take it.  You're at the wrong door."  The other man also holstered his Beretta M84.
 
"Hm?"
 
"We swapped the letters around.  Geraldo will show you where."  He re-entered apartment 4G.
 
Dina slid the knife back into its hidden sheath under her bag.  She looked up and caught Geraldo staring at her.
 
He quickly looked away.  "Uh, this way, please."
 
Paolo gave his jacket's lapels a slight, almost negligent tug.  "Very good.  I assume you have cameras, too?"
 
Geraldo looked over his shoulder and smiled.  "Yes.  We're one of the best in the business.  Yes, we are."  His eyes landed on Dina and he snapped his head back forward.  "Uh, here."  He knocked lightly on the door frame.
 
"Thank you, Geraldo."
 
He nodded and entered the opposite apartment.
 
A clattering of latches and bolts preceded the opening of the door.  A scowling middle-aged woman blocked the way in.
 
"Are you armed?"
 
"I have a knife, Signora Lago."
 
She jutted her chin at a wide-eyed Dina.  "What's in her bag?"
 
"A knife and a first-aid kit, Signo--"
 
"--and three dolls!"
 
Paolo turned to her. "Dolls?"
 
"Yes, Signore Paolo.  To play with Gessica."
 
She held out her hand, palm-up.  "Show me."
 
"Dina?  Show her, please."
 
"Yes, Signore Paolo."
 
Signora Lago unbuckled the flap and peered inside.  "You have … foam cutouts for these dolls.  Are they valuable?"
 
"No, Signora Lago.  That's where my Beretta normally…  Oh, sorry, Signore Paolo."
 
"I… I can explain, Signora. Please--"
 
She shocked them both with a hearty laugh.  "All right, you proved to me that you're not armed… Dina was it?  And you proved you're an honest girl."  Signora Lago crouched eye-to-eye with Dina.  "Now tell me, is your Signore Paolo armed?"
 
"Just a knife, Signora Lago.  He doesn't lie either."
 

"Very well, please come in."
  

===

Okay, and here's the redone "Do you play with dolls?" scene:

Spoiler:


 
Dina applauded softly.  "Do they talk to each other?  What about?"
 
"…"
 
She looked around.  The other three girls just glanced at each other, lips shut.  Eventually, both Rico and Henrietta stared at Claes.
 
Outnumbered, she took a deep breath before answering.  "No, they don't.  They're toys.  Toys don't talk."
 
Dina looked at her half-eaten chocolate torte.  "Uh, I know that.  But, don't you pretend?  You know, like…"
 
She looked around.  They all sat silently, waiting for her to finish.
 
Oh, well.  Here goes.
 
"… like if Bashful was Daddy and Sneezy was Mommy and the rest were their kids?"
 
Claes cleared her throat.  "Well, those are Triela's bears, so we should probably ask her first."
 
At that Henrietta nodded, and Rico chirped her agreement.
 
"Well, I have some dolls in my room.  I can go get them."
 
Claes turned a page. Loudly.  "No thanks.  I'll pass."
 
Rico and Henrietta exchanged glances.  "Say, Rico?  We forgot to do laundry this morning."
 
"Huh?  Oh, that's right.  We have to go … do laundry.  See you!"
 
They left behind teacups half-full, and tortes with but one or two nibbles missing.
 
Dina finished her tea and torte.  "Thank you, Claes.  It was delicious."
 
A page turned.  Loudly.  "Hm?  Oh, you're welcome."
 
"If you want, I could help you the next time you… you know, make them?"
 
A pause filled the room.  "Maybe."
 
Dina closed her eyes and exhaled softly.  "Well, see you."
 

Another page turned.  Loudly.



===

Oh, and I'm using [ spoiler ] tags not because this is anything super-secret, but to keep us from having to scroll past screens and screens of story to get to the discussion.  Speaking only for myself, I find the discussion posts to be gold!

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Thescarredman on Sat 20 Sep 2014 - 18:37

Claes is such a party pooper.

I really liked the hall-entry sequence. Dina is sweet, but she can still be devious - as in when she told the woman that Paolo doesn't lie, having just heard him identify himself by a fictitious name. Which means that she lied to her as well.

The hasty retreat beaten by the girls at the 'tea party' is a little sad - to think that they're uncomfortable using their imaginations to create a make-believe home life. FYI: Triela may not actually play with her bears, but she does invent personalities for them. She once told Claes that Caligula was a trickster who gets into trouble when no one's looking.
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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sun 21 Sep 2014 - 20:51

Hm.  I may need to redo it a little more, then.  I like the peer-review aspect of this.  Thanks for the input, folks!

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Tue 23 Sep 2014 - 22:44

I love being able to go back and change stuff here.  I always feel like once I've posted something to FF.net, it's set in stone, and, if I were to back-edit it, it's somehow cheating.

Of course, then I look at some of the stuff and cringe at my inconsistencies with canon, or even with my own prior stuff.

Here, I feel like I can revise it based on your inputs and try to make it as good as I can before posting it to FF.net.  (And I need to finish my current story there, first.)

Without further ado, here's chapter 3.  (Oh, and I need to come up with a naming scheme for them, but I generally do that after all five chapters, and sometimes the epilogue, is done.)

Spoiler:

After the introductions, Gessica led Dina to the bedroom.  It was very neat, a necessity given the amount of furniture in it: two twin beds lining the walls on either side of the door, bookcases on either side of single window, a freestanding armoire at the foot of one bed, and a dresser bookending the other.  But all of two meters separated the sides of the beds.
 
Gessica sat on this strip of linoleum, her back toward the window.  She reached under one neatly-made bed and slid out a rough, wooden box.  "Watch out for splinters."
 
Dina nodded.  "Thank you.  Oh, is that a Little Maria doll?"
 
"Uh-huh!  I had her dog too, but … I lost it.  I love Piccolo in the show."
 
"Uh, me too."  Dina looked down at the faded doll.  At the agency, they watched some television as part of their training, but she didn't remember a dog.  Before this showed the limits of her familiarity, she blurted out, "I have some dolls, too!"
 
"Oh, let's see them!"
 
Dina pulled her book bag between them.  "Here you go."  She lifted up the flap.
 
Gessica carefully lifted one from the foam pocket that normally contained her Beretta 90Two's suppressor.  "Oh, you made clothes for them!  That's so cool!"
 
A warmth seeped over Dina's cheeks.  "Thank you."
 
"Why is this one's hair so short?"
 
"I didn't have a … uh, a boy doll.  Alessia, that's this one, wanted a daddy.  This one is Favianne, Alessia's mommy.  So that one is Pappy."  With each name, she produced the other two dolls.
 
Gessica smiled.   She held Pappy upright and wiggled the doll while she spoke.  "So, do you two want to go to a movie?"
 
Dina giggled.  She held a doll in each hand, and each hopped when she spoke for them.  "Sure!"  "Which one?"
 
===
 
Signora Lago smiled on the other side of the closed bedroom door.  "It's good to hear her laugh again."
 
Paolo looked up from the cup of coffee she just served him.  "She hasn't been, Signora Lago?"
 
"Cecilia, please.  It's... it's been difficult.  She's scared.  I mean, who wouldn't be?"
 
"She's a very brave girl to do this.  She's a credit to you, Cecilia."
 
The mother sighed and looked down at her own cup.  In a voice scarcely above a whisper, she said, "Well, the money helps, too."
 
That didn't surprise Paolo.  He merely nodded.
 
"You're judging me, aren't you?  I'm a horrible person, for wanting money, that I'm some kind of monster for selling a part of my daughter, right?"
 
"No, Signora.  No, Cecilia.  I just said she's a credit to you, and I still mean it.  She wants to do this, right?"
 
"Of course!"  Stricken, the woman reared back, her eyes blazing.
 
Paolo's expression remained the same, peaceful, open.  "Then, it's her choice to save that little boy's life.  She made a difficult choice, and she did it because she had a good model, a good mother."
 
Cecilia took a deep breath.  "Thank you."  After another deep breath, she repeated herself.  "Thank you.  It's not my money.  It's not my kidney.  I'm going to put the money in the bank, save it for when she goes to college."
 
"That's smart." He rubbed the back of his left wrist.  "Finding money for college was hard for me and my brother.  I'm sure she'll be grateful when the time comes."
 
"They say you always try to give your children what you wanted when you were a child."
 
Paolo gave her a warm smile.  "You had to do the same thing?  Struggle to find money for college?"
 
"No, I didn't go to college, Signore DiTomaso--"
 
"Paolo, please.  If I'm going to call you Cecilia, you have to call me Paolo."
 
"All right. I didn't go to college, Paolo.  I …" She looked at the door.  "I'm giving Gessica something else I didn't have when I was growing up.  Parents."
 
"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."
 
She locked eyes with him.  "Signore DiTomaso.  You normally carry a gun, right?"
 
"Huh?"  Paolo blinked, surprised by her manner and abrupt question.  "Yes."
 
"And you don't have one today, right?"  She waited for his nod.  "My past affects not just me.  Here, it is affecting you as well.  Do you think it is only right for you to know why?"
 
"Well, if you put it that way…"
 
"The Years of Lead.  Do you remember them?"  She sipped her cup again.  "My parents were at the Piazza Fontana when it was bombed.  I was five at the time."
 
"I'm sorry, Signora."
 
"Violence solves nothing in the long run.  I've had a long, lonely childhood to think about it.  To this day, no one knows who did it.  The right, the left, the government.  You ask five people, you'll get six answers.  But, if you ask 'why,' you always get the same answer - there's no reason that's worth it."
 
"But, and I'm just saying this for discussion's sake - violence can save someone.  If someone were to try to grab Gessica, wouldn't you fight them?"
 
"Yes.  Yes, I would.  There are some times when the only thing that can stop a force for evil is an opposing force, and sometimes it has to be an opposing evil force.  Newtonian laws as applied to morality, as it were."
 
Paolo reassessed Cecilia.  In her mid-thirties, she had eyes of a much older, much worldlier person.  Through them shone a fierce wit, a bright intellect.  "So tell me, if you didn't go to college, how did you … well, how did you come up with that?"
 
"With what?"
 
"That's an interesting blend of science and philosophy."
 
"It's pretty basic science and pretty basic philosophy."
 
Paolo nodded.  "Yes, but I think some of my classmates wouldn't have thought to combine them like that."
 
"I've read a lot of books.  That's one of the benefits of being a nun."
 
===
 
Gessica handed the doll back to Dina.  "Thanks, that was fun.  Want me to show you how to make a bracelet?"
 
Dina grinned.  "That sounds like fun!"  She put the Pappy and Favianne dolls away.  "Uh, Gessica?  Would you like to … well to exchange dolls?"
 
"Huh?"
 
"Well, we could, you know, swap dolls.  Here's my Alessia doll.  I give her to you, and you give me one of yours.  Only if you want to, I mean."
 
Gessica thought about this a moment, then grabbed the Little Maria doll.  "Uh, is this one okay?"
 
"Sure!  But, are you sure?"
 
"Yep.  I love these clothes you made for Alessia.  Will you make some for Maria, too?"
 
The swapped the dolls.
 
"Uh-huh.  Okay, Maria, let's see if we can find Piccolo!"  Dina waddled her new doll up some imaginary steps and into her bag.
 
Gessica looked out the window.  Dina joined her, side-by-side.  The sun was low in the sky, burning it a rich rust-colour that matched some parts of the fire escape framing the white ball between its bars.
 
"I'm scared, Dina."
 
"Don't worry.  Signore Paolo and I will protect you."
 
"No, not that.  I'm scared of the hospital, of the … the…"
 
"The operation?"
 
"Yeah, that.  Have you ever been in the hospital?"
 
Dina nodded.  "Yes."
 
"What for?"
 
"I… I was poisoned.  They had to replace my lungs."
 
"What?!"
 
"Well, it's a special hospital."
 
"Did it hurt?"
 
"No.  But like I said I was at a special hospital."
 
"Can… can I see?"
 
"Huh?"
 
"Do… well, do you have a scar?  Can I see it?"
 
Dina nibbled gently on the inside of her cheek.  "Sure, but I'm… I'm not like you, Gessica."
 
"I still want to see."
 
Dina unbuttoned her collar and tugged it and her undershirt out. 
 
Gessica peered down under her blouse.  "Wow.  No scar!  That's better than what Mamma said it would look like!"
 
"Gessica, listen!  I'm not like you.  I'm a cyborg, all right?"
 
"What's a cyborg?"
 
"Uh, part of me isn't, uh, natural.  It's kinda like a machine."
 
"Oh, like in the movies!  Cool!"
 
"You're… you're not scared?"
 
Gessica giggled.  "Don't be silly.  That's really cool!  Why didn’t you tell me before?"
 
"Uh, I thought you'd be scared?"
 
"Nope!  Besides… even if you're a cybug, can I … can I be your friend?"
 
Dina's grin stretched ear to ear.  "Really?"
 
Gessica held out her right hand, all fingers curled in except her outstretched little finger.  Upon taking in Dina's puzzled look, with her other hand, she guided the cyborg's right hand towards her.  "Now, stick out your pinky."
 
"Uh… okay."
 
They hooked little fingers.  Her eyes bright, her smile wide, Gessica said, "There, we pinky-swore on it.  We're friends forever."
 

Dina whispered a happy echo.  "Forever."


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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Il Direttore on Wed 24 Sep 2014 - 13:26

1) That's pretty well done, Taer. I'm not totally sure on the dialogue, but I think it's because I'm used to 14+ year olds. 

2) Oh God no whyyyyyyyy. Dina don't do something like that you'll get her killlllllled. 

...no seriously, does she die on the operating table, Taer? Gessica better not freaking die on the operating table, Taer.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Thescarredman on Wed 24 Sep 2014 - 13:41

Now you've done it. She won't die on the operating table. It'll be something worse. Much, much worse.
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Mario Bossi would make a better handler than Marco Toni. Come to think of it, so would Christiano.
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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Il Direttore on Wed 24 Sep 2014 - 13:43

@Thescarredman wrote:Now you've done it. She won't die on the operating table. It'll be something worse. Much, much worse.

Oh God I have, haven't I. *flail*

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Wed 24 Sep 2014 - 15:22

@Il Direttore wrote:1) That's pretty well done, Taer. I'm not totally sure on the dialogue, but I think it's because I'm used to 14+ year olds. 

2) Oh God no whyyyyyyyy. Dina don't do something like that you'll get her killlllllled. 

...no seriously, does she die on the operating table, Taer? Gessica better not freaking die on the operating table, Taer.

1) I'm always unsure about my dialog, too.  My closest experiences with kids is my daughter, but that was years ago, and she's mildly autistic, so her emotional age was younger than her chronological age.

2) "When the reader knows something the character doesn't, it's suspense.  When the (a?) character knows something the reader doesn't, it's mystery.  When the reader knows as much as the character, it's action."  I forgot who said that, but it's more or less true (if you accept 'action' as any sort of current conflict, be it physical, social, et. al.)

Here, the reader is expected to be Genre Aware, but the characters aren't.  Thus, they'll make promises like this, and we all know It Won't End Well.  That makes it suspense, which is a good way to engage the reader.

@Thescarredman wrote:Now you've done it. She won't die on the operating table. It'll be something worse. Much, much worse.

This is what I had in mind when I posted my latest to On Writing, about predictable unpredictability.  You all have followed my tormenting my OCs for many chapters.   I try very hard to make their trials both realistic and yet novel.  I won't sacrifice internal consistency nor believability for novelty, of course.

Spoiler:

This being GSG, and me being The Dark Prince, we know Gessica is going to die.  However, as TSM points out, and as I've said many times before, killing a character is the cheap way out - oft-times, it's isn't as effective as the author hopes.  These are all known qualities in my writing, so I don't feel I'm cheating anyone by spilling spoilers.

All that's left are the usual writerly questions: when, how, and, most importantly, why.

So, we're left with predictable unpredictability.  I'm hoping what I subject Dina and Gessica to is logical, that it doesn't feel like I'm forcing something just to make it unexpected.  However, as TSM accurately says above, it's expected.

Predictable unpredictability.

@Il Direttore wrote:Oh God I have, haven't I. *flail*

Only in cementing my resolve to make the heart-stab as poignant as I can.  See, there's one more aspect of the whole predictable/unpredictable spectrum: effectiveness.  

One of my favourite books is the first half of Heinlein's Time Enough for Love.  The protagonist announces that his wife is dead, and that we will cry when he tells the story.  He repeats this a few times during the course of narrating other anecdotes from his life.  

Then, he does it, and I bawled.  

It's totally predictable.  The wife dies.  I don't feel guilty at telling you all this.  How he manages to make it so painful, so heartfelt is ineffable.  That's a quality that transcends the whole predictable/unpredictable continuum.  

That's what I am desperately trying to attain, if only in miniature.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Wed 24 Sep 2014 - 23:06

All right, chapter 4.  Thanks to CI for giving me the idea for this chapter.

Spoiler:

"Mamma?"  Gessica peered around the bedroom door.  "Dina says that they can make parts for people. That means I don't have to go to the hospital, right?"
 
"Paolo, is this true?" / "Dina, is this true?"  The adults spoke simultaneously.
 
"No, Signore Paolo.  Well, kind of."
 
"Come here, Dina."
 
"Paolo, answer the question.  Does Gessica have to do this?"
 
"Cecilia, no one ever said Gessica has to do this.  But, we can't give Roman Nazzari a kidney.  Now, Dina.  Tell me what you told Gessica, please."
 
Dina's face was flush, and her heart felt like it was about to explode. "AllItoldherwastheyuhyouuhtheAgen--"
 
"Slow down, slow down.  Take a few deep breaths.  And sit down, please.  This might take a while."
 
"Gessica, bring Dina some water, please."
 
"Yes, Mamma."
 
"All right, Dina.  You feeling all right?"
 
Her mouth was dry, but she nodded.  "Y-yes, Signore Paolo.  I told Gessica that the Agency replaced my lungs when they were poisoned."
 
"And she doesn't have a scar, Mamma!"
 
"Is this true, Dina?"  Cecilia fixed her eyes on the petite cyborg.
 
"Yes, Signora Lago."  Dina swallowed.  "I…  I--"
 
"It's a little different, Cecilia.  It's a lot different, actually.  The Agency has some very advanced medical… uh, advances.  But, they're not ready for the public."
 
"What, they're experimental?  Don't you need more people to test it?  Why not the Nazzari boy?"
 
"No, not… not experimental.  The medical staff have a pretty good idea of what they're doing.  It just has a very, very high cost."
 
"I'm sure the Nazzaris can afford it.  When he offered me ten thousand Euros, the man said it like the money was something he found behind his sofa."
 
"Wow, Mamma!  That's a lot of money!"
 
"Yes, honey.  It'll be for your college.  We're not going to spend it now."
 
"Yes'm."  Gessica looked at her hands neatly clasped and folded in her lap.
 
"And that is," Cecilia glared at Paolo. "If you do it.  So.  Costs."
 
"Dina, you and Gessica might not--"
 
"My daughter stays.  It's her body, and she is going to understand all the facts before she makes her decision."
 
"Signore Paolo?  Can I stay, too?"
 
Paolo nodded and exhaled softly.  "Might as well.  It's about you and your body, anyhow.  Where to begin, though."
 
"Well, if you are having problems starting at the beginning, you can start at the end and work backwards."
 
"Good point."  Paolo raised his respect for this woman yet again.  "Dina is a … well, a cyborg.  She's got a lot of, well, artificial parts in her."
 
"Not just her lungs, Signore Paolo?"
 
"Call me Paolo, Gessica.  Dina calls me Signore Paolo because it … well, she likes it, but she likes being the only one."
 
Dina gathered her knees in front of her, pressed her face into her knees, and smiled.
 
"Dina, feet off the furniture.  And sit like a lady, please."
 
"Oh!  Yes, Signore Paolo!"
 
"Now, getting back to Dina being a cyborg - she has new lungs, eyes, ears, and a lot more that was replaced.  Not her kidneys, though.  But, what wasn't replaced was … well, improved."
 
"Yeah, I'm strong and I'm fast!"
 
"I wanna be, too!  Strong and fast, I mean."
 
Paolo took a deep breath.  "Are you sure you want Gessica to hear about this? It's not very … easy to say."
 
"I want Gessica to make her decision with as many facts as possible.  It sounds like your medical staff can create a kidney, if they haven't done so already.  A human eye is an amazingly complex organ, orders of magnitude more than just about anything else.  If they can do that, why not a kidney?"
 
"Well, it has some very serious side-effects.  They're so severe that they're not an option for the public.  We use them only when the child is almost sure to die without it."
 
"People who have lost both kidneys are almost sure to die.  At that point, dialysis is just giving them a few more months."
 
Paolo nodded.  "Yes.  But, what we do only gives them a few more years.  Five, on the outside."  He looked at Dina, an apology heavy in his heart.
 
Cecilia and Gessica both stared at her, too.  "Did you know this?"
 
"Uh-huh.  That's why we spend so much time together.  I don't have a lot of it, so I have to make it count."
 
"And… and you're okay with this?"
 
"Yep.  I get to make Signore Paolo proud of me when I take… uh, when we work together."
 
Cecilia leaned back, and a thought darkened her expression.  "Earlier, you said something that I thought I must have misheard.  You said that your bag had a spot for your Beretta.  Is that right, Dina?"
 
Dina looked back to Paolo.
 
He cleared his throat.  "That's right.  Her bag normally holds a handgun, two extra magazines, and a silencer."
 
"Suppressor, you mean."
 
Paolo blinked.
 
"I read a lot, remember?"
 
"Ah, yes."
 
"Might I inquire why a girl her age is carrying around a gun, Signore DiTomaso?"
 
"I'm not the bodyguard."
 
"I'm sorry, I didn't hear you clearly."
 
"I said, I'm not Gessica's bodyguard.  Dina is."
 
"All right.  Explain."
 
"It's tricky. Most of what I've told you already you can't tell anyone else.  All right?"
 
"I've held other secrets far more private.  Not as … surprising, but far more intimate and damaging to some very important people were they to get out.  So, no, I won't tell anyone.  You have my word."
 
"Okay, here goes.  Dina has been trained to shoot, and to fight hand to hand.  She can take down a trained martial arts practitioner in seconds.  Remember the two thugs guarding this hallway?"
 
"There are four, actually."
 
"Well, with two she is almost certain to win.  With four…"
 
"--I can do it, Signore Paolo!"
 
"All right.  I believe you."  He turned back to the agitated woman.  "She can disable four regular bodyguards.  Armed bodyguards."
 
Gessica looked at Dina, a smile under her excited eyes.  "Wow…"
 
Dina smiled brightly.
 
"She's probably a better fighter, in any sort of fight, than I am.  No, I take that back.  She's definitely a better fighter.  That's why she's Gessica's bodyguard."
 
Cecilia set aside her cup and saucer.  She stood and took a deep breath.  She took another.
 
"Are you all right, Cecilia?"  Paolo also stood.  He extended his hand.
 
"No, I am not all right.  None of this is 'all right.'"  Ignoring his hand, she turned.  Two strides took her to the door.  "I need some fresh air."
 
The door slammed.
 
"Mamma!"
 
"She probably needs some time to think about things, Gessica.  What do you think?"
 
"Dina's like… like a superhero!"
 
"Yes, she is, isn't she?  But what about Roman Nazzari?"
 
"Oh, I was always going to do it.  Nicholas Green is one of my heroes."  Gessica smiled at Dina.  "You're another."
 
"Thank you."  

Dina's  words were so soft, Paolo knew what she said only from watching her lips. "Nicholas … Green?  The American boy?"
 
Gessica nodded.  "Yes the one who died here.  Mamma always said his gift was the gift of life."
 
"Who's Nicholas Green, Signore Paolo?"
 
Paolo brushed back his hair with his hand.  "Uh, he was a tourist who was shot--"
 
A woman's scream interrupted him.
 

"Dina, watch Gessica!" 
 

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


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taerKitty

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by crazyidiot78 on Thu 25 Sep 2014 - 6:06

nicely done taer and glad i could help out
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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Il Direttore on Thu 25 Sep 2014 - 7:44

@taerkitty wrote:All right, chapter 4.  Thanks to CI for giving me the idea for this chapter.

Spoiler:

"Mamma?"  Gessica peered around the bedroom door.  "Dina says that they can make parts for people. That means I don't have to go to the hospital, right?"
 
"Paolo, is this true?" / "Dina, is this true?"  The adults spoke simultaneously.
 
"No, Signore Paolo.  Well, kind of."
 
"Come here, Dina."
 
"Paolo, answer the question.  Does Gessica have to do this?"
 
"Cecilia, no one ever said Gessica has to do this.  But, we can't give Roman Nazzari a kidney.  Now, Dina.  Tell me what you told Gessica, please."
 
Dina's face was flush, and her heart felt like it was about to explode. "AllItoldherwastheyuhyouuhtheAgen--"
 
"Slow down, slow down.  Take a few deep breaths.  And sit down, please.  This might take a while."
 
"Gessica, bring Dina some water, please."
 
"Yes, Mamma."
 
"All right, Dina.  You feeling all right?"
 
Her mouth was dry, but she nodded.  "Y-yes, Signore Paolo.  I told Gessica that the Agency replaced my lungs when they were poisoned."
 
"And she doesn't have a scar, Mamma!"
 
"Is this true, Dina?"  Cecilia fixed her eyes on the petite cyborg.
 
"Yes, Signora Lago."  Dina swallowed.  "I…  I--"
 
"It's a little different, Cecilia.  It's a lot different, actually.  The Agency has some very advanced medical… uh, advances.  But, they're not ready for the public."
 
"What, they're experimental?  Don't you need more people to test it?  Why not the Nazzari boy?"
 
"No, not… not experimental.  The medical staff have a pretty good idea of what they're doing.  It just has a very, very high cost."
 
"I'm sure the Nazzaris can afford it.  When he offered me ten thousand Euros, the man said it like the money was something he found behind his sofa."
 
"Wow, Mamma!  That's a lot of money!"
 
"Yes, honey.  It'll be for your college.  We're not going to spend it now."
 
"Yes'm."  Gessica looked at her hands neatly clasped and folded in her lap.
 
"And that is," Cecilia glared at Paolo. "If you do it.  So.  Costs."
 
"Dina, you and Gessica might not--"
 
"My daughter stays.  It's her body, and she is going to understand all the facts before she makes her decision."
 
"Signore Paolo?  Can I stay, too?"
 
Paolo nodded and exhaled softly.  "Might as well.  It's about you and your body, anyhow.  Where to begin, though."
 
"Well, if you are having problems starting at the beginning, you can start at the end and work backwards."
 
"Good point."  Paolo raised his respect for this woman yet again.  "Dina is a … well, a cyborg.  She's got a lot of, well, artificial parts in her."
 
"Not just her lungs, Signore Paolo?"
 
"Call me Paolo, Gessica.  Dina calls me Signore Paolo because it … well, she likes it, but she likes being the only one."
 
Dina gathered her knees in front of her, pressed her face into her knees, and smiled.
 
"Dina, feet off the furniture.  And sit like a lady, please."
 
"Oh!  Yes, Signore Paolo!"
 
"Now, getting back to Dina being a cyborg - she has new lungs, eyes, ears, and a lot more that was replaced.  Not her kidneys, though.  But, what wasn't replaced was … well, improved."
 
"Yeah, I'm strong and I'm fast!"
 
"I wanna be, too!  Strong and fast, I mean."
 
Paolo took a deep breath.  "Are you sure you want Gessica to hear about this? It's not very … easy to say."
 
"I want Gessica to make her decision with as many facts as possible.  It sounds like your medical staff can create a kidney, if they haven't done so already.  A human eye is an amazingly complex organ, orders of magnitude more than just about anything else.  If they can do that, why not a kidney?"
 
"Well, it has some very serious side-effects.  They're so severe that they're not an option for the public.  We use them only when the child is almost sure to die without it."
 
"People who have lost both kidneys are almost sure to die.  At that point, dialysis is just giving them a few more months."
 
Paolo nodded.  "Yes.  But, what we do only gives them a few more years.  Five, on the outside."  He looked at Dina, an apology heavy in his heart.
 
Cecilia and Gessica both stared at her, too.  "Did you know this?"
 
"Uh-huh.  That's why we spend so much time together.  I don't have a lot of it, so I have to make it count."
 
"And… and you're okay with this?"
 
"Yep.  I get to make Signore Paolo proud of me when I take… uh, when we work together."
 
Cecilia leaned back, and a thought darkened her expression.  "Earlier, you said something that I thought I must have misheard.  You said that your bag had a spot for your Beretta.  Is that right, Dina?"
 
Dina looked back to Paolo.
 
He cleared his throat.  "That's right.  Her bag normally holds a handgun, two extra magazines, and a silencer."
 
"Suppressor, you mean."
 
Paolo blinked.
 
"I read a lot, remember?"
 
"Ah, yes."
 
"Might I inquire why a girl her age is carrying around a gun, Signore DiTomaso?"
 
"I'm not the bodyguard."
 
"I'm sorry, I didn't hear you clearly."
 
"I said, I'm not Gessica's bodyguard.  Dina is."
 
"All right.  Explain."
 
"It's tricky. Most of what I've told you already you can't tell anyone else.  All right?"
 
"I've held other secrets far more private.  Not as … surprising, but far more intimate and damaging to some very important people were they to get out.  So, no, I won't tell anyone.  You have my word."
 
"Okay, here goes.  Dina has been trained to shoot, and to fight hand to hand.  She can take down a trained martial arts practitioner in seconds.  Remember the two thugs guarding this hallway?"
 
"There are four, actually."
 
"Well, with two she is almost certain to win.  With four…"
 
"--I can do it, Signore Paolo!"
 
"All right.  I believe you."  He turned back to the agitated woman.  "She can disable four regular bodyguards.  Armed bodyguards."
 
Gessica looked at Dina, a smile under her excited eyes.  "Wow…"
 
Dina smiled brightly.
 
"She's probably a better fighter, in any sort of fight, than I am.  No, I take that back.  She's definitely a better fighter.  That's why she's Gessica's bodyguard."
 
Cecilia set aside her cup and saucer.  She stood and took a deep breath.  She took another.
 
"Are you all right, Cecilia?"  Paolo also stood.  He extended his hand.
 
"No, I am not all right.  None of this is 'all right.'"  Ignoring his hand, she turned.  Two strides took her to the door.  "I need some fresh air."
 
The door slammed.
 
"Mamma!"
 
"She probably needs some time to think about things, Gessica.  What do you think?"
 
"Dina's like… like a superhero!"
 
"Yes, she is, isn't she?  But what about Roman Nazzari?"
 
"Oh, I was always going to do it.  Nicholas Green is one of my heroes."  Gessica smiled at Dina.  "You're another."
 
"Thank you."  

Dina's  words were so soft, Paolo knew what she said only from watching her lips. "Nicholas … Green?  The American boy?"
 
Gessica nodded.  "Yes the one who died here.  Mamma always said his gift was the gift of life."
 
"Who's Nicholas Green, Signore Paolo?"
 
Paolo brushed back his hair with his hand.  "Uh, he was a tourist who was shot--"
 
A woman's scream interrupted him.
 

"Dina, watch Gessica!" 
 

It's decent, but suffers from Moving Through For Plot syndrome. This sort of thing is inevitably going to slow down the story a ridiculous amount, and I think you're not going to have the time with what format you want to do this properly. From what I've seen in other stories, this is the sort of thing that requires a 8000 word chapter, at minimum, to get through naturally.

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


"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

- President John F. Kennedy
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Il Direttore

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Thu 25 Sep 2014 - 8:11

Unfamiliar with "Moving Through for Plot" as a syndrome, so I'm not sure what the exact pain point is.  

This question addressed two needs:  The first one is a pause between the girls meeting and the inevitable attack.  (No spoiler here, I'm hoping.  It's GSG.  There's gonna be violence.)  I wanted a physical pause, a chapter's worth of pause, and not just a timeskip: "two hours later..."

However, I was at a loss for a meaningful buffer.  I didn't want the reader to feel that "this is just filler. Get on with it already."

Also, I needed Gessica and Dina to be by themselves when the attack comes.

In talking with CI, I realized that Dina had already said the Agency replaced her lungs, so Gessica might expand that to artificial implantable kidneys.

Cecilia is a former nun (and, I hope, a returning character so I'll explore her background more later) and a highly conscience-driven person.  The concept of a child soldier in brush wars (such as Central East Africa) and insurgencies is reprehensible to her, and Dina is exactly that: a child soldier.  This puts her in an interesting moral quandary that will carry over to when she returns.

This also gives me a reason for her to leave, prompting Paolo to leave.

===

I think my confusion with your comment is the use of pronouns. 


...This sort of thing is inevitably going to slow down the story a ridiculous amount, and I think you're not going to have the time with what format you want to do this properly. From what I've seen in other stories, this is the sort of thing that requires a 8000 word chapter, at minimum, to get through naturally.

Some elaboration would help.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Il Direttore on Thu 25 Sep 2014 - 8:24

Ah, sorry, sorry. 

What I mean is: I have found that when you have a large scale info dump and a slowing of the action in order to focus on shifts in the characters, the time required to accomplish that shift usually requires more than 1500 words to do. When I did a similar thing, I ended up taking about two or three thousand, but that was also when I had a lot less experience, so your mileage may vary. In TTS, that one fanfic I like, the author regularly spends entire 5,000 words working up to a single relevant worldbuilding point (examples available upon request). So my argument, therefore, is that you need to spend many more words in this chapter getting to your worldbuilding explanation, and it currently feels like you've sped through it quite quickly.

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


"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

- President John F. Kennedy
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Il Direttore

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Thu 25 Sep 2014 - 8:37

The goal really isn't worldbuilding here.  I'm trying to do the following:

- Have a meaningful chapter (it could be anything, so long as it logically fit and didn't seem like it was crammed in there) to lull the reader into false security.

- Build up Gessica and Dina's relationship.

- Get them alone.

I don't want to 'worldbuild' here.  In general, I don't want to 'worldbuild'.  Most of the time, what I read when an author tries to worldbuild seems like either the story, or I-the-reader, am stuck in amber.

Besides, there's not a lot Paolo can say here.  He's bodyguarding her, so he is expected to at least explain his (and Dina's) qualifications.  Dina's already spilled the beans about her organ transplants, so he can elaborate slightly on that.

He can't go into her combat modifications.  He talks about her training, and then her ability to face off against multiple attackers that outweigh her, but that doesn't talk about carbon-laced bones or amped up endocrine systems.

He can't out-and-out say, "the Social Welfare Agency has a secret program called Section Two that takes terminally ill children, turns them into metal murder midgets, then points them at terrorists."  He's said as much throughout the course of the conversation, less the part about the terrorists, but he can't spit it out black-and-white like that.

I'm trying to set up the chess pieces for a mate-in-two, not worldbuild.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Il Direttore on Thu 25 Sep 2014 - 23:19

ffffff, long day is long. 

Okay, so: 

Yes, worldbuilding isn't really the goal. However, world building is sort of inevitably here. You've never really elaborated on the nature of Dina's implants, and so any snippet of information you drop needs to be either detailed enough to stand alone in the story OR be obscured by character behaviours. Part of the problem I see is that your dialogue doesn't include enough characters-moving-twitchily to demonstrate how they're treating the situation. 

As an example, I would expect Paolo to become increasingly Poker Face as the conversation wears on, starting out friendly and quickly becoming more and more closed off. He might begin the conversation with some idle twitchiness, but by the middle he's choosing his words carefully, with his fingers set just so in the mission-pose that Dina's so familiar with. By the end, he's gone full Soldier Mode, and Dina's unconsciously twitching towards full readiness. We should see a transition over time, along with a visible shift in the behaviour of the character, which emphasizes the fact that this is Not The Whole Story. 

Alternatively, if the idea is that they remain consistent to be obfuscatory, then I would expect a lot more time spent on describing an extremely normal behaviour*. You've minimized most everything, which sort of ends up concentrating the Information of this chapter. As a consequence, it sort of defaults to Worldbuilding, which is a problem. 


*Random Scene w/ Troublesome Cop: "Paolo raised a questioning eyebrow and scratched his left ear. 'I'm really not sure what you're talking about,' he admitted with a shrug and an apologetic smile. It arced halfway up his cheek on the left side. 'Ehe. Sorry signore, I'm just passing through.'"

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


"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

- President John F. Kennedy
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Il Direttore

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Forum Posts : 1003

Location : Chicago, Illinois, United States

Fan of : Henrietta, Triela

Original Characters : Lieutenant James Spettro/Caterina

Comments : In yon strait path a thousand may well be stopped by three. Now who will stand on either hand, and keep the bridge with me?’ -Horatius


Registration date : 2012-07-03

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Alfisti on Fri 26 Sep 2014 - 23:36

@taerkitty wrote:I love being able to go back and change stuff here.  I always feel like once I've posted something to FF.net, it's set in stone, and, if I were to back-edit it, it's somehow cheating.
To be honest, it's not even ff.net for me. The moment something is in the public sphere it is, to a greater or lesser extent, set in stone... so I had better have my shit sorted before-hand.

Yes, there have been some elephantine errors I've had to go back and fix (first chapter of AtAC actually... might have had some influence on my approach to the whole thing come to think of it), and some mild massaging of AtAC once I had to give throw-away lines actual stories in order to make MiI mesh better, but the thought is there.



@taerkitty wrote:I'm going to put the money in the bank, save it for when she goes to college.
This may be a bad time to point it out, but I'm fairly certain tertiary education in Italy is mostly government subsidised. Two minutes on Google (so not thorough in the slightest) says uni fees are going to run one somewhere in the order of 850 to 1000 Euro a year.


@Il Direttore wrote:I have found that when you have a large scale info dump and a slowing of the action in order to focus on shifts in the characters, the time required to accomplish that shift usually requires more than 1500 words to do. When I did a similar thing, I ended up taking about two or three thousand, but that was also when I had a lot less experience, so your mileage may vary. In TTS, that one fanfic I like, the author regularly spends entire 5,000 words working up to a single relevant worldbuilding point (examples available upon request). So my argument, therefore, is that you need to spend many more words in this chapter getting to your worldbuilding explanation, and it currently feels like you've sped through it quite quickly.
I think the time required for a shift to feel right for the reader really depends on both the reader in question and the writer's style. Taer writes short, to the point, stories and, within that, things can afford to happen quickly. The change felt okay here to me (though, as noted before, I've only managed a fast read). Doing something that rapidly in my own stories would, however, feel very out of place.

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Alfisti

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Forum Posts : 5763

Location : A Town by the Sea, NSW Central Coast, Australia

Fan of : Triela, Hilshire, Priscilla, Ferro

Original Characters : Jethro + Monty

Comments : If in doubt, overdress.

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Sat 15 Nov 2014 - 15:53

(This is a duplicate of my post to the Fanfict Updates thread, but I wanted it here so there's a chronological context.)

@taerkitty wrote:Finished First Kill chapter 4, halfway through chapter 5.  Then, it's off to the Epilogue, and ...

Let bake for a fortnight.

In not-so-good-news, I had the last chapter of the unnamed Happy.Dina short story wrapped up and was letting it bake for ... well it got lost in my real life struggles.

Some of which included loading Windows Technical Preview on my laptop, which grew progressively more of an impediment to my day job, so I flattened the hard disk.

I thought I had the Happy.Dina story backed up to OneDrive (a.k.a. "da clowd"), but that was evidently not the case.  Fortunately, I already posted chapter 1 - 4, but I think chapter 5 was eaten.

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Alfisti: "Welcome to the SWA... don't worry, your cyborg is probably less confused than you are".
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taerKitty

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Thescarredman on Sat 15 Nov 2014 - 17:07

It's happened to me before, to the tune of 15k words. It takes a Herculean effort to begin re-writing a story you've already written once, and of course it's never the same. But it gets easier as you go along, and sometimes new insights come to you, and you end up happier with the new version.
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Thescarredman

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Forum Posts : 1880

Location : Toledo, Ohio, United States

Fan of : Rico, Bice

Original Characters : Kristal & Verotrois / Doc; Angel / Jack Keaton; Tiffany/Stefan

Comments : .
Mario Bossi would make a better handler than Marco Toni. Come to think of it, so would Christiano.
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Elizaveta didn't jump - she was pushed.
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Registration date : 2012-02-04
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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Mon 1 Dec 2014 - 0:15

Still working on recreating the Happy Dina chapter 5. In the meanwhile, finished up on Volume 3 of the Dina + Paolo saga.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10112187/1/Side-Story-A-Triumph-of-the-Heart-Volume-3

It's a good thing seeing that I posted the first part of the story in March!

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Alfisti: "Welcome to the SWA... don't worry, your cyborg is probably less confused than you are".
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taerKitty

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Il Direttore on Wed 3 Dec 2014 - 21:34

Fuck.

That Epilogue.

....FUCK. DAMMIT TAER. THOSE FEELS ARE UNACCEPTABLY HIGH.

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"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

- President John F. Kennedy
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Il Direttore

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Forum Posts : 1003

Location : Chicago, Illinois, United States

Fan of : Henrietta, Triela

Original Characters : Lieutenant James Spettro/Caterina

Comments : In yon strait path a thousand may well be stopped by three. Now who will stand on either hand, and keep the bridge with me?’ -Horatius


Registration date : 2012-07-03

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Wed 3 Dec 2014 - 23:19

Thank you.  This fuels my desire to write!

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Alfisti: "Welcome to the SWA... don't worry, your cyborg is probably less confused than you are".
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taerKitty

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Alfisti on Thu 4 Dec 2014 - 6:42

Hmm... something tells me Lauro perhaps is not quite so certain about his words as he would like to be...

...and it seems Dina's own "purpose" , even if it may not be what she originally thought it was.

Great couple of chapters mate, more thoughts to come.

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Alfisti

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Forum Posts : 5763

Location : A Town by the Sea, NSW Central Coast, Australia

Fan of : Triela, Hilshire, Priscilla, Ferro

Original Characters : Jethro + Monty

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Thu 4 Dec 2014 - 9:30

In re-reading the newer chapters (because I read the old ones many times to try to get out of my rut), one line from the epilogue stood out:

"This was her first time."

Most commonly, this would indicate something else, something more suited for the dreaded Smut Locker.  However,barring hideous abuse like was suffered by Triela and Henrietta, that meaning doesn't apply to the cyborgs.

What remains is still some rite of passage, just a darker one.

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taerKitty

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Original Characters : Dina & Paolo

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Alfisti on Fri 5 Dec 2014 - 7:52

Ok, so... further thoughts

Chapter04
@taerkitty wrote:"Well, it's only a matter of time before Dina gets hurt, I figure. I wanted to know what to expect."

"No, you asked about what happens if a handler gets shot..."
Almost managed to change the subject... I wonder if it was a concious attempt on grounds of not wanting to elaborate? Or more a shying away from an unpleasant topic.


@taerkitty wrote:She did what she was supposed to do. Nothing more, nothing less.
Neat bit of foreshadowing regarding a cyborg's "purpose".


@taerkitty wrote:You can think I'm a jerk for acting this way. Go ahead. Most of the others do. But, this is the right way to think of them. Tools. Any other way, and you're going to get hurt. Badly. Believe it.
Sounds like the words of someone who already has been... or someone trying to convince themselves more than the other party.

I actually really enjoyed this section with Lauro, it was quite... humanising(?) for him. Distancing himself to avoid getting hurt, and then drinking himself stupid to escape the different type of hurt inflicted by that. Some of the more subtle nuances of that were good as well: I note Lauro never refers to Elsa by name, for example. Very well done.


@taerkitty wrote:"...Then again, we're not very popular up North."

"They know about us?"

"No, they just don't like people from the South who work for state security. Normally, we don't share that, but Lauro showed them his credentials, and … well, I guess someone heard about it."
Sounds like Lauro's either not very good at security, or has stopped caring...

I know you don't do a lot of world building, and your world runs pretty close to the canon one, but it's a good comment to remind readers of what's going on, as well as offer some explanation as to why Lauro might have been targeted this early in the conflict, ie. before the rumour of cyborgs had got around far enough to be taken seriously by the Padania.


@taerkitty wrote:Paolo sighed. "No. I just got a call from my doctor. One of my numbers is moving the wrong way."
While I imagine Paulo's medical issues are on his file, I believe that makes Priss the first person he has told about them on a more personal level... Raballo excepted of course.


Chapter05
@taerkitty wrote:Claes looked up at the scowling man, her eyes wide. "Please, sir. All the other stores are closed, and my sister really needs to use the bathroom."

As they rehearsed, Dina whimpered, "I can't hold it. I… I… I might-"
Not certain if "sisters" is the best cover story for these two, they're physically quite different. Then again, I guess they're not in a situation where it needs to hold up for more than a minute or so, and this is still a much less sophisticated and less aware Padania, with less experience facing the SWA, than they were facing later in the canon.


@taerkitty wrote:Paolo walked through the kitchen door, a briefcase under his right arm holding a matching Beretta 90two, and dragging the slight body of the man who ran out of the killing zone with his other. "Look what the cat… Dina, what's the matter?"
This is a nice, albeit brief, change of pace for Paulo: gone is the less sure, inwards looking, worried man on campus. This Paulo is calm, almost casual... this is what he does... at least until presented with a distressed cyborg. Good action sequence too: short, sweet, to the point, though...

@taerkitty wrote:Heart and lung shot, Claes thought. Pretty good. As she did, she methodically swept across the other four, each pull of her trigger loosing three rounds into each assailant. That last one was almost able to get a shot off at me. I need to be faster.
...to be honest, for me at least, this switch to Claes' internal thoughts broke the beat of it a bit for me. It's not really at a natural lull-point for the scene, though the battle itself is so short as to not really have an interim lull. I would perhaps have dropped the last bit of self-assessment to happen later, if at all, or possibly drop the "her mulling" from the paragraph after, to run it with more focus back on the action. Perhaps even just have "a sudden movement interrupted her mulling", something to flag the jump from internal to external focus.

This turning into thinking out (metaphorically) loud. I think I see what you were going for, the fight needs a beat before the last enemy makes his run but... I dunno... that beat feels just a little long or a little loud right now, to me at least.


@taerkitty wrote:"You said that killing someone would change me, Signore Paolo. I don't feel any different." Tears quickened their flow as shivers racked her body. "Why? Why don't I feel different? What's wrong with me?"
Small child literalness... with extra literal, because cyborg.


@taerkitty wrote:His attempts to ply her with cheer and sweets both failed. She mostly ignored the gelato, mumbling monotone replies at the melting pile as the two cookies slowly tipped...
The two cones? Perhaps? Or is this a comment on flavour?


@taerkitty wrote:Dina eased herself atop him. "Because I did what I was supposed to ... to do, Signore Pao..."

"Dina!" Her jacket was dark with blood.

"It's.. it's all right, Signore Paolo. It doesn't ... hurt."
And Dina effectively echoing Lauro's comment from the previous chapter. Great way to end it.

Come to think of it, the girls' are told that their purpose is to kill but, from memory, their actual programming is more along the lines of "serve the SWA, protect your handler". Hmm...


@taerkitty wrote:"To help her, dammit. I told her killing someone changes you, and she took it literally."

"Mannaggia, you're an idiot! Of course she took it literally. You're … you're like a god to her. Her heart and soul belongs to you!"
From memory, and I could be wrong, but the original comment was made quite early in Paulo's SWA tenure... something tells me Priss is mostly running on emotion here, and perhaps less interesting in explaining than she is in venting. Part of me can't help but wonder if Priss would be this worked up had it been any other cyborg, the impression is still that she very much considers Dina to be hers; something that Paulo just gets to borrow.


@taerkitty wrote:...you had to go ahead and tell her that she'd… What, that she would grow wings?
No Priscilla, that's Red Bull.  Incoming! 



@taerkitty wrote:"Please ... Momma, Pappy ... please stop fighting. Please..."
Again, working from memory, but I think this is the first time you've had Dina actually articulate, albeit from a comatose state, her wish to be part of a family.

I note you stopped short this time of showing us Priss cry though.



As I said before mate, great couple of chapter. This feels a lot more together than the last instalment and, frankly, quite a lot of your previous writing. It's always been good, but this just felt more polished: the conversation and story flow well, the characters seem more nuanced and feel more solid, there's a bit more subtlety to actions. In case you hadn't guessed, I'm struggling to find things to criticise, though I hope some of it was useful all the same. Looking forward to the next one.

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Alfisti

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Forum Posts : 5763

Location : A Town by the Sea, NSW Central Coast, Australia

Fan of : Triela, Hilshire, Priscilla, Ferro

Original Characters : Jethro + Monty

Comments : If in doubt, overdress.

Registration date : 2009-07-21

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Fri 16 Jan 2015 - 2:13

Thescarredman planted a mindworm in me today in chat. This is what resulted.

(Short Story)You Don't Want to Know


Summary: "Listen, Angelica. I've learned through painful experience that, when someone says, 'You don't need to know,' they're doing you a favor. Most of the time, it's stuff you don't want to know. All right?"

Category: Mystery/Tragedy

Characters: Marco, Angelica, Dr. Bianchi, Director Lorenzo

3 hours, start to finish (sorry, Alfisti!), 3k words.  Oh, and I haven't slept for 42 hours, which is why I'm so manic.

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Alfisti: "Welcome to the SWA... don't worry, your cyborg is probably less confused than you are".
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taerKitty

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Forum Posts : 1172

Location : Pacific Northwest

Fan of : Claes

Original Characters : Dina & Paolo

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by crazyidiot78 on Fri 16 Jan 2015 - 5:42

Wow, Taer, just wow.  In three short chapters you told an amazing story, with unique insight into the beginnings of the SWA.  The idea of a prototype before Angelica to test the drugs is unique, let alone how they acquired the test subject.  I was surprised and enjoyed that Fiona was one of the doctors students.  Also telling the story through Angelica, who is longing for a friend, made it all the more touching in a way.
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crazyidiot78

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Location : Mongolia.... that is all

Fan of : Claes

Original Characters : none at this time

Comments : Me- So I used Naruto as a way to explain how viruses destroy cells in class ...... ok that as odd...... but it actually worked.

Me- I feel like a secret agent man, as my wallet now has six different currencies in it

Me- It has come to my attention that it is impossible to buy liver in Mongolia because it is bad, but it is perfectly ok to buy salt sheep heads

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by taerKitty on Fri 16 Jan 2015 - 12:16

Thanks!  It's not canonical by any means, or even fanonical.  For example, I don't plan to use it in the Dina timeline. It was just a one-off idea about Tea that Kisk, TSM, and I kicked around.  The way this story's timeline has it, they tried to improve human mental capacity for use in an intelligence/counter-terrorism role, but it turned out otherwise.  At some point later, they recognized its anti-rejection qualities, and that lead to the metal murder midgets (I love OC's nickname for them) we all know and adore.  It made more sense to me than a Big Bang discovery that this drug could brainwash, and suppress cybernetic rejection, all at the same time.

Angelica was a good choice because I have more room for error in pre-canon era.  TSM is an excellent continuity editor, and I didn't want to unknowingly write inconsistencies.  I wanted to do his (and Kisk's) idea justice.  Using Angelica as an 'anchor character' gave us a perspective from which to watch the story unfold, and playing on her uniqueness and loneliness at the birth of the program gave her reason to enter the story's flow.  Otherwise, it would be a very simple story: 

Lorenzo: Fuggedabudit.

Angelica: Okay.

Smile

Finally, and as always, thanks for reading!

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Alfisti: "Welcome to the SWA... don't worry, your cyborg is probably less confused than you are".
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taerKitty

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Location : Pacific Northwest

Fan of : Claes

Original Characters : Dina & Paolo

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Thescarredman on Fri 16 Jan 2015 - 19:24

I love hearing about stories that force the writer to chase them with his pen. It was a good fic, Kitty. But my contribution to it was no more than a little spark: "Who exactly is Tea, anyway?" You brought the tinder, kindling, and firewood; you blew on it and made it blaze up. I watched the idea running away with you in chat, and it filled me with wonder. I'm glad you didn't let it fade away.
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Thescarredman

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Forum Posts : 1880

Location : Toledo, Ohio, United States

Fan of : Rico, Bice

Original Characters : Kristal & Verotrois / Doc; Angel / Jack Keaton; Tiffany/Stefan

Comments : .
Mario Bossi would make a better handler than Marco Toni. Come to think of it, so would Christiano.
.
Elizaveta didn't jump - she was pushed.
.
Sofia was pregnant. It would have been a boy.

Registration date : 2012-02-04
Your character
OC genger: 40

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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by PSVT on Fri 16 Jan 2015 - 20:00

My goodness was that one amazing story, Taer! Added thanks to TSM for providing the spark that led to it's creation.

Even if it isn't a canonical or fanonical insight into Tea's orgin, it's definitely a compelling one and very tragic indeed for the poor young woman. And I definitely like how you paced the discovery of the truth in terms of generating expectations within the reader. If I didn't know your writing well enough, the idea that Fiona maybe was a relative of Lorenzo, who maybe was born with a mental disorder, and possibly was given a job serving tea at the agency because she couldn't do much else would have served as a good enough (albeit very sad) explanation for how Tea became the way she is. The idea that she was actually a university student and that she volunteered to be tested for this drug that ultimately ruined her because she admired (and that's probably putting it lightly) Dr. Belisario makes it all the more tragic. Yet, at the same time, it's probably a better ending as it does provide the larger emotional punch. Double that with your decision to present the story through an early Angelica's viewpoint, with our knowledge of what ultimately would happen to her due to the same conditioning medication.

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PSVT

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Forum Posts : 512

Location : Pennsylvania, United States

Fan of : Triela, Claes

Original Characters : Giancarlo Rossi and his cyborgs Valentina R. and Eleonora R.; James Bernard and his cyborg Rachelle

Comments : Working on an actual story now, so please be patient... ^_^;

Registration date : 2014-05-27
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Re: Story (and Picture!) Time with taerkitty

Post by Alfisti on Sun 25 Jan 2015 - 8:15

Fantastic story mate, and one that really works well with your more minimalist style (and I'll forgive the thousand words an hour, no edits ;P ). It's always fun to see the early Agency and non-burnt-out Marco as well.

It's a great explanation for Tea/Fiona's presence too. I know I've written her as a steward but, to be honest, have never really managed to find a satisfactory reason for her presence there.

Anyway, more/proper thoughts to come at a later date but, for now, excellent stuff.

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Alfisti

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Forum Posts : 5763

Location : A Town by the Sea, NSW Central Coast, Australia

Fan of : Triela, Hilshire, Priscilla, Ferro

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Comments : If in doubt, overdress.

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