Mnemosyne, guide me!!

Verum Vitae

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I am something of a writer, and sometimes an artist. I'll be using this thread as a graveyard for my failed projects (mostly failed because I can't critique my own work objectively,,,)

I joke, I joke.

I actually wanted to get some thoughts on something that I've been working on for a bit. I don't expect kid gloves, lay it on me!

View attachment LexiconTheWheel.txt
 

ZaXo Ken'Ichi

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Read it. Enjoyed it.

I'm not 100% sure, so I'll ask: is this original, or is it fanfiction?

Overall, I enjoyed what you have here. It's got compelling and diverse characters. While I of course can't say whether or not they're deep, based on just this, I can say they have layers, and therefore have potential to be deep. The world you have going here also feels really fleshed out, and the combination of these two factors made this a rather engaging read. I do however have three points of criticism to make.

1. It's been said a million times before, to millions of writers, but show, don't tell. Obviously, you understand this to a large degree, because you did use words effectively to craft scenes in the readers mind. And when you did so, it was excellent. But just as often you dropped into exposition. Granted, the exposition wasn't all bad, since you wrote it with its own personality, rather than as cold and unfeeling information. Regardless, you spent quite a bit of time just explaining things; machines, backstory, personality quirks. The density of it was a bit too much, particularly because some of it was already explained through scene building and characters... only to then be re-explained through exposition. I know this is supposed to be a techy style, complex sci-fi. But there are smoother ways to introduce all of these things, including just spacing them out.

2. This goes with the previous point, but because there was so much exposition with lore-centric terms and whatnot, it became somewhat hard to follow and exhausting to read. There were several times where I almost stopped reading, not because what I was reading wasn't interesting. But rather, because I was getting tired of reading. Pay attention when you're reading something that you can't seem to put down, and notice how much effort goes into making the actual act of reading fell effortless. Reading this was entertaining, but so absolutely full to the brim that it was also tiring. Again, just spacing all of this stuff out would alleviate the problem. Allow things like terms, character traits, and backstory to sink in a little bit.

3. Regardless of how much I enjoyed all of the content that was actually on offer here, I'll be honest (since you asked for it, lol). I'm not gonna remember most of this tomorrow morning. The reason? The culmination of the two previous points. There's just so much there, that I won't be able to retain it all. Were this to, say, be the first chapter of a novel, I would be super scared that I'd be lost by chapter three, simply because there was too much here. It all feels important, as if you're going to use every detail that you set up here (and that is the point to a first chapter/prologue, etc.). So just forgetting one of said details feels detrimental to the experience. Granted, there were a lot of things that I will probably remember. I will probably remember what a gynoid is for a while. I'll probably remember what slime is. And I'll probably remember what the Lunahri feelings toward humans and such are, despite just reading this one thing. But beyond that, I get the impression that everything else will fade away rather quickly; quick enough that unless I binge-read a whole novel of this stuff in just a few days, I'd probably get lost along the way.

Hopefully that helps you in some way. Again, your world and characters are super interesting, and your language usage is diverse and smooth. It was just a bit overloaded with 'stuff'.
 

Verum Vitae

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That's actually incredibly helpful! I'll answer your questions as best as I can.

This is actually an original piece, that I've been working on for some time. I've been trying to cram most of it in as more of a thought-dump than an actual story, which is kind of why it feels so clunky. Even rereading it myself is taxing, to be fair. But again, it's a rough draft.
I will be refining it, but the idea belongs to myself and my future wife, so I'm very glad that you did enjoy it.
 

ZaXo Ken'Ichi

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Well then I'd say you definitely have something here. There's a consistency to the way you characterized both narrative and speech that is really entertaining. The use of dialects and such here feels consistent, and I like that it bleeds into the regular storytelling. And like I said, your characters and world here are really compelling. It gave me sort of a... Mass Effect meets Star Trek meets Mad Max vibe (with some Stargate and Farscape thrown in for good measure, lol). I'm honestly kind of jealous of how grounded it feels, since my writing style eres more on the side of being dramatic, metaphorical, and almost more like poetry masquerading as narrative sometimes, lol. When I do try to be more grounded, it's often a bit dry. So it's nice to see something that hasn't been edited to oblivion for mass consumption, that I can maybe learn from since it's so raw :)
 

Verum Vitae

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I'll consider that a huge compliment, honestly!
I wasn't going for any kind of "feel" in particular, I was just having a brainstorm with my lady and she said "Write it" and I did. She helped me make a lot of the edits to my original style, which is definitely more focused on storytelling through dialogue and diatribe.
I suppose that one could say the Lunahri themselves are a parody of a particular religious faction, but I wanted to actually distance from that- hence the planetary zealotry that they're so known for. I did take your critiquing to heart, though, I want you to know, and though I haven't made any spectacular edits yet, it's coming.

If you would like, I can keep this thread updated with changes, and even load in some lore as it comes to me.

Thus, it would be something similar to a compendium of knowledge regarding the tale that I can cobble later!
 

ZaXo Ken'Ichi

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I suppose it's good that you distanced the Lunahri from whatever religion you were trying to parody; I've got a good idea which it is obviously, but it's different enough that it actually could fit several. The point is, not only does it feel like its own thing, but it also didn't beat me over the head with any real world political idealogy. That to me is important, because anyone can write a loathful parody that doesn't try to hide itself; it's basically like tracing in illustration. It takes skill to hit the same beats while making it feel like its own unique thing, and presenting moral ideas without alienating readers. And it takes even more skill to show more positive (or negative depending on the initial outlook) aspects to that same thing, creating more realistic and honest nuance. Personally this is the way I approach all of my narratives. If a person, or an organization or whatever is good, I always try to find something wrong with them. And when I'm making something villainous, I always give them logical reasons for believing they're the good guys... or at least that they're not doing anything wrong. This is of course barring simple stories with simple motivations, or ones where the character is unhinged/primal/etc. enough that they're incapable of rational thought. For example, that's why I like the role of Daisy Fitzroy and Comstock in Bioshock Infinite if you've ever played it. A lot of people miss the forest for the trees with that game, and criticize those characters for, well, basically for not just being generic good guy/bad guy tropes.

Right now I'm slowly (very slowly) working on a novella that focuses on both the potential good and the potential bad of a world where fully sentient and independent AI in human-like bodies exist. Not a novel concept, I know, but it's one that I think I can provide some nuanced reflection on.

As for what you choose to do with this thread, do whatever works for you :) I know that doesn't really need saying, but Im'a say it anyway!
 
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