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BobtailCon
January 30th, 2017, 06:22 AM
I haven't posted here in a while, but I figured I'd get a roadmark on my progress.

This is a piece, more.... not experimental, per se, just a test at some brief worldbuilding.

You can read it here, or on my blog (https://connorthewriter.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/wribble-neril/).


Neril


In the deep swamps of Vash’tar, where denizens of the great stone city O’tar exiled their undesirables into the murk. Where those left to the waters would stumble through the waist-deep muck until being swallowed by a Deletril, or perhaps devoured limb by limb from an Orvuntore. Where the alpines of the North descended from the Grognan mountains, slowly sparsing until only the snows fell down the hills, slushing into the murk and muck, cooling the volcanic pools.


In the deep swamps of Vash’tar, where nary glider nor boat could guide one away from the waters. In those swamps, Neril was.


Neril had few names, but more legends. Those daring or desperate enough to remain in the swamps knew it as Crone of the Water, but Neril was more than that.


To know Neril, one must look back to the Age of Spires, when the gods built their palaces among the mountains, and man was only just learning their speech.


In that age, the god Derumentil, The Shaper, rose the Grognan mountains to the North, and carved he the gray plateaus where later the great stone city O’tar would rise.In his haste to shape those lands for the creatures of the world, he let his hammer touch for only a moment.


In that moment, the stones of the gray plateaus melted, a molasses of rock slid to where that hammer lay. And the mountains of Grognan flash-boiled, spitting snow and ash down their slopes, coalescing as one great pool, one great body among the melted rock. The rock cooled, and the ashen water settled, but the earth grumbled under the surface, bubbles escaping the earth through the waters.


And as every land, from the high fields of Pellenal to the far-reaching Weretor hills held a keeper, so did those new swamps need theirs.


And so Neril was hewn by Olivia the Grove, Goddess of those living. Neril was made to roam the swamps, keeping over the muck and ash, and the trees standing their half-drowned vigil.


And there Neril still roamed, gliding over the waters with nary a whisper. And though Neril knew the swamps, it couldn’t grasp a world outside of its own.


It’s true, an occasional traveler would happen upon the Crone of the Water, and the Crone would listen in fascination to those tales of far-off lands. Those stories of kings fighting in the fields among their people, or of one gallant knight saving his village from piratical highwaymen. Neril would listen, and Neril would wonder.


But when Neril’s gaze lifted above the half-drowned trees of Vash’tar, and even when its gaze fell upon the alpine mountains of Grognan, what with a flicker of adventure. And even when Neril’s eyes fell upon the grey plateaus, where stood the great stone city of O’tar, and a gleam of hope shone in the Crone’s eyes, never did Neril leave.


Neril continued gliding over the ashen waters, the swamps of Vash’tar, and though adventure would grip the Crone’s heart, never did it act, for in the world of gods and men, servants had no breath to question.

watermark
January 30th, 2017, 08:41 AM
At first I thought you were creating a new Lovecraftian horror of some sort with all these sinister and weird names. Then it began to read like the Tolkien Silmarillion, and Neril reminds me of Gollum for some reason. :p

It seems your passage is about Neril, but somehow more detail is spent describing other deities and places that are related to Neril. Neril itself is never described except its alias "Crone of the Water." I can't really see Neril at this point.

O'tar the stone city sounds like an interesting location!

BobtailCon
January 30th, 2017, 08:49 AM
At first I thought you were creating a new Lovecraftian horror of some sort with all these sinister and weird names. Then it began to read like the Tolkien Silmarillion, and Neril reminds me of Gollum for some reason. :p

It seems your passage is about Neril, but somehow more detail is spent describing other deities and places that are related to Neril. Neril itself is never described except its alias "Crone of the Water." I can't really see Neril at this point.

O'tar the stone city sounds like an interesting location!

Thanksforthefeedback!

Yeah, I definitely think it sounds a bit Lovecraftian. And I do agree that I should put more description of Neril in there. It's interesting keeping it as a mystery, but perhaps it's better to look behind the veil?

Moonbeast32
January 30th, 2017, 11:19 PM
There sure are a lot of names. It looks like you're painting a very vibrant and colorful scene here, what with the green swamp, the grey plateaus, red magma, etc. I think color is great for a Tolkienesque fantasy, however, I would say that the colorfull scenes are a bit too squashed together. If mentioning all the scenes is necessary, I would spend a little more time describing each one if it were me.

Also, a note on the exposition. I know it says "To know Neril, one must look back to the Age of Spires..." but I have difficulty seeing much relationship between Neril, and this world's creation story, except for a detail at the very end. Perhaps you can include the creation story at a later part in the narrative. I can imagine that readers at this given point are probably more interested in Neril's character than they are in her physical origin.

As for the creation story, I like how the god is described as being so hasty that "he let his hammer touch for only a moment." I think you can expand on that in unique ways later on.

Keep at it!

BobtailCon
January 31st, 2017, 02:45 AM
There sure are a lot of names. It looks like you're painting a very vibrant and colorful scene here, what with the green swamp, the grey plateaus, red magma, etc. I think color is great for a Tolkienesque fantasy, however, I would say that the colorfull scenes are a bit too squashed together. If mentioning all the scenes is necessary, I would spend a little more time describing each one if it were me.

Also, a note on the exposition. I know it says "To know Neril, one must look back to the Age of Spires..." but I have difficulty seeing much relationship between Neril, and this world's creation story, except for a detail at the very end. Perhaps you can include the creation story at a later part in the narrative. I can imagine that readers at this given point are probably more interested in Neril's character than they are in her physical origin.

As for the creation story, I like how the god is described as being so hasty that "he let his hammer touch for only a moment." I think you can expand on that in unique ways later on.

Keep at it!

Yeah, I'll try to space it out more next time, try to add more flavor into the places I'm talking about. They're brief, making you wonder what they're like, but perhaps it'd just be better to show that.

Jay Greenstein
January 31st, 2017, 05:27 AM
If only I could hear your golden voice as I read, and know the changes in intensity and timber, and where you stop meaningfully for a breath. If only I could see the richness of expression you wear, the changes in it, and the sudden frown that says so much. I long to see the gestures you visually punctuate the narrative with, and study your body language, as it amplifies or moderates the emotion provided by the other things I mentioned. If only I could see your performance.

But I can't, because the written word provides not a trace of that, So in the end I have the script the storyteller would use, without the stage directions on how I should perform the piece as I read. See the problem? You're using the tricks of another medium. Have your computer read it aloud and you'll hear the problem.

As a reader I'm not looking to know the history of the place. Who reads history books for entertainment? No matter how you juice it up with vivid language it's still a disembodied voice talking about things for which the reader has been given neither context nor a desire to know. Vivid language is always a good idea, but it cannot convert, "This is what once happened," into "This is what's happening." Never lose sight of the fact that a fiction reader is seeking to be entertained, before anything else.

If I write a story set in modern day Australia, must I open with the history of how it came to be what it is, and how our protagonist grew up and who he is? No. The protagonist is concerned with what's happening, not what happened—as is the reader. The sig line on my posts says it all. We're trying to entertain, not inform. Is the story set in a swamp? The reader will know that when the characters take that into account as they act. Let the background remain in the background as your protagonist lives, moment-to-moment. Story, hot history, in other words.

The short version: Our medium differs from that of verbal storytelling, screenwriting, and journalism. Learning what the differences are, and their effect, so far as mandating the way we present a story is always a good idea, and time well spent. And a great resource that is the local library. You have the writing chops. The character studies in your blog are well told. But fiction requires an approach that our schooldays writing training didn't mention as existing, because there, you were being trained to be useful to an employer, not how to be a professional at fiction. But with a bit of digging, you can fix that.

Hang in there, and keep on writing.

BobtailCon
January 31st, 2017, 06:25 AM
So in the end I have the script the storyteller would use, without the stage directions on how I should perform the piece as I read. See the problem?

I get what you're saying, it's not expressive enough, doesn't give enough life to the story. I'll try to fix that.


Who reads history books for entertainment?

Yeah! Who'd do that, right? heh...eh..


We're trying to entertain, not inform.

I'll try to keep that in mind.


Hang in there, and keep on writing.

I appreciate your analysis. My writing's been odd lately. I've been going through this newfound passion for art, the visual kind, mainly. I've been finding myself delineating from writing stories, and find myself more wanting to make visual novels. If -and I don't know if you do- have any advice on that, I'd love to hear it, as well.

Bard_Daniel
January 31st, 2017, 01:07 PM
Interesting world building. Curious to see how the story develops. I would say write it all out and edit it when it is done as you see fit. But, hey, that is just me.

Thanks for sharing and keep on writing!

bdcharles
January 31st, 2017, 02:15 PM
I like it. Very Silmarillion but more accessible. That said, it reads more like a prologue or a kind of very stylised synopsis - but even so, if I was an agent and this dropped through my letterbox, I might well press you for the first 3 chapters, to see some of the actual story.

kaminoshiyo
January 31st, 2017, 04:25 PM
There's a lot that goes unsaid here and while it is disorienting in that nothing is really explained, I think it can be smoothed out just a bit to make it a little more easy-going. Someone suggested spacing things out and I think that's a good idea.

O'tar does seem like an interesting place, even though not much about it other than being stone was mentioned... I'm wondering why, lol.

The concept of the Keeper is intriguing. It feels almost like Real Estate- each God possessing dominion over a piece of the earth and assigning a Keeper to care for it. I'm wondering what the nature of the Keeper is- their role, their abilities, if any, and if they are immortal or not, since they are assigned to a location.

Last thing, though, even though this was just a trial-write, the grammar made it a little difficult. Not that you had to edit to perfection, but there were mistakes everywhere and it made it a bit of a choppy sail.

But I might be more intrigued about this world you built than Neril, lol.

Ultraroel
January 31st, 2017, 04:38 PM
If only I could hear your golden voice as I read, and know the changes in intensity and timber, and where you stop meaningfully for a breath. If only I could see the richness of expression you wear, the changes in it, and the sudden frown that says so much. I long to see the gestures you visually punctuate the narrative with, and study your body language, as it amplifies or moderates the emotion provided by the other things I mentioned. If only I could see your performance.

But I can't, because the written word provides not a trace of that, So in the end I have the script the storyteller would use, without the stage directions on how I should perform the piece as I read. See the problem? You're using the tricks of another medium. Have your computer read it aloud and you'll hear the problem.

As a reader I'm not looking to know the history of the place. Who reads history books for entertainment? No matter how you juice it up with vivid language it's still a disembodied voice talking about things for which the reader has been given neither context nor a desire to know. Vivid language is always a good idea, but it cannot convert, "This is what once happened," into "This is what's happening." Never lose sight of the fact that a fiction reader is seeking to be entertained, before anything else.

If I write a story set in modern day Australia, must I open with the history of how it came to be what it is, and how our protagonist grew up and who he is? No. The protagonist is concerned with what's happening, not what happened—as is the reader. The sig line on my posts says it all. We're trying to entertain, not inform. Is the story set in a swamp? The reader will know that when the characters take that into account as they act. Let the background remain in the background as your protagonist lives, moment-to-moment. Story, hot history, in other words.

The short version: Our medium differs from that of verbal storytelling, screenwriting, and journalism. Learning what the differences are, and their effect, so far as mandating the way we present a story is always a good idea, and time well spent. And a great resource that is the local library. You have the writing chops. The character studies in your blog are well told. But fiction requires an approach that our schooldays writing training didn't mention as existing, because there, you were being trained to be useful to an employer, not how to be a professional at fiction. But with a bit of digging, you can fix that.

Hang in there, and keep on writing.

Maaan Jay. It must be so hard for you to keep repeating these kinds of things. But, I love you for it as I always get reminded of those things you told me as feedback and its one of the reasons I try to focus more on the narrative and how to make it interesting on paper. Even though this advice is everywhere on these forums, it stays a good reminder.

Somehow, this also anchored me to believe that if you like it, most people will as you seem a more demanding reader.
Thanks for that. I bet Bobtailcon will have a lot of benefit from your feedback as well!

The Fantastical
January 31st, 2017, 04:58 PM
I love the tone of the story teller telling of the beginning of things. It is very myth like and mystical, as through you are talking us back to the start of things, a time when gods walked the shores of the swaps and great men shaped history. I like it, it is a good opening scene, with a good opening tone. Don'e change a thing.

BobtailCon
January 31st, 2017, 09:40 PM
Interesting world building. Curious to see how the story develops. I would say write it all out and moist it when it is done as you see fit. But, hey, that is just me.

Thanks for sharing and keep on writing!

Thanks, I appreciate it. I have this (probably bad) habit of only writing snippets, rather than fleshing out stories. I get so many ideas, I never let them develop where they should. I need to start letting these stories go where they will.

BobtailCon
January 31st, 2017, 09:41 PM
I like it. Very Silmarillion but more accessible. That said, it reads more like a prologue or a kind of very stylised synopsis - but even so, if I was an agent and this dropped through my letterbox, I might well press you for the first 3 chapters, to see some of the actual story.

Thanks! I'd love to write more in this universe, I guess we'll have to wait and see what comes of it.

BobtailCon
January 31st, 2017, 09:47 PM
There's a lot that goes unsaid here and while it is disorienting in that nothing is really explained, I think it can be smoothed out just a bit to make it a little more easy-going. Someone suggested spacing things out and I think that's a good idea.

Disorienting? Hm, I never read it like that. I'll take your word for it, I probably need to add a but more exposition of the actual places; explain them, yes?

O'tar does seem like an interesting place, even though not much about it other than being stone was mentioned... I'm wondering why

Yeah, I was trying to focus on Neril, and the story of the swamp, and lead on to O'tar and the Grognan mountains later..... but that later never came, haha.


The concept of the Keeper is intriguing. It feels almost like Real Estate- each God possessing dominion over a piece of the earth and assigning a Keeper to care for it. I'm wondering what the nature of the Keeper is- their role, their abilities, if any, and if they are immortal or not, since they are assigned to a location.

I wouldn't say real-estate, perhaps, more like.... a groundskeeper. Every land needs to be watched over, as man is not one to be let roam, and often destroys the lands to built their cities and citadels.


Last thing, though, even though this was just a trial-write, the grammar made it a little difficult. Not that you had to edit to perfection, but there were mistakes everywhere and it made it a bit of a choppy sail.

Could you give me some examples, please? Others didn't seem to have this, I'm just curious. The syntax is odd, I'll grant you that, but I didn't see any grammar errors, myself.

BobtailCon
January 31st, 2017, 09:49 PM
I love the tone of the story teller telling of the beginning of things. It is very myth like and mystical, as through you are talking us back to the start of things, a time when gods walked the shores of the swaps and great men shaped history. I like it, it is a good opening scene, with a good opening tone. Don'e change a thing.

I appreciate that, though I don't know if I can agree with not changing a thing.​ But thank you.

thesnowman147
February 3rd, 2017, 12:38 AM
It was a bit jumpy when I first read it, but I sometimes read too fast for my own comprehension, so when I went back and read it, it flowed much easier. It's a great introduction into Neril, who came across to me as sort of a cross of Gollum and a little bit of the mythology of Hades, in the sense that you are not sure if he's a good guy or not. The world building was fantastic, I don't know if you are familiar with Elder Scrolls, but I pictured Black Marsh and the entire world reminded me a bit of Tamriel.

BobtailCon
February 3rd, 2017, 03:53 AM
It was a bit jumpy when I first read it, but I sometimes read too fast for my own comprehension, so when I went back and read it, it flowed much easier. It's a great introduction into Neril, who came across to me as sort of a cross of Gollum and a little bit of the mythology of Hades, in the sense that you are not sure if he's a good guy or not. The world building was fantastic, I don't know if you are familiar with Elder Scrolls, but I pictured Black Marsh and the entire world reminded me a bit of Tamriel.

It was a bit jumpy when I first read it, but I sometimes read too fast for my own comprehension,

I hate that! It happens to me constantly, I start reading faster and faster, and everything sounds off.


I don't know if you are familiar with Elder Scrolls, but I pictured Black Marsh and the entire world reminded me a bit of Tamriel.

I love Elder Scrolls, been playing since Morrowind. Glad I could evoke worldbuilding such as that!

Thanks!

Scrivener123
March 5th, 2017, 09:18 AM
his is an interesting beginning. I just have a few comments. In the following sentence, perhaps you might want to change "man" to men: "and man was only just learning their speech."

Also, once you establish that Neril has many names, including The Crone, it might work better if you only refer to the entity as Neril, and not switch back and forth, unless it is a POV plot device: some people see or recognize it as one or the other. You could use something similar to what Tolkien did with Gandalf. His name depended on where he was, and who he was dealing with. Lastly, in the last question, did you literally mean "servants had no breath to question"?. If you meant will or inclination, I'm not sure "breath" is the best way to convey that.

In any case, thanks for submitting. You are definitely laying the groundwork for something bigger. All the best!

Kusinjo
March 30th, 2017, 12:28 PM
Very powerful language, but with little effect. Jeez, I only wish my vocabulary was as extensive as yours. My only issue was in trying to place myself in Neril's world, understanding what he was driving for. It was like looking across a great expansive landscape, knowing nothing about what or how any of it mattered. I really would have felt better had you condensed Neril's story into the first two paragraphs, and then went into the background of the gods and everything else. To me, it was like looking at a painting with many multi-coloured dots, creating a mosaic, but I can't move back far enough to see the picture. Neril should be the most important aspect of this piece (imho) and instead it is diluted. Plus: What is Neril? The only thing I can think of, is it is a stone golem. Is that correct?

My advice:Give Neril a real discernable story that I (don't care bout everyone else. lol jk) can grasp. The way you use words, I'm certain you can do it. I just think your mind understood what you were saying better than mine did.