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Thread: NeS workshop

  1. #1401
    Your posts seem to good to me! If I got things right, the ring Liberius holds allows him to swap places with his Writer counterpart, which is an interesting enough premise. Personally, I prefer to write under the assumption that the Writers are more or less like our real-life selfs in the 'real world' and that breaks in reality are actually just the madness of the writers, but there's been plenty of precedents prior to suggest that crossovers between the story world and the writer world can and has happened. I mostly act under my assumption because I feel allowing actual crazy things with the writers just shifts the focus too much away from the story characters and opens a "well the writers of the writers of the writers of the writers..." onto infinity.

    With what you've implemented, I will mostly be asking myself the following: 1) what advantages and disadvantages does having a Writer seem to have existing in the story-world? 2) what advantages and disadvantages does having a Character seem to have in the world of the writers? 3) What are the limits of the ring Lib in the story had? Is it directly connected to the ring Lib the Writer wears? Is this swapping effect tied directly to the rings (so that Al the Character and CM the Writer could swap if they just wear the rings), to specifically Lib the Character and Writer (making the rings more a focus of an innate power of his) or something in between (like the rings can only swap Al the Character with his writer)?

    I'll make a post shortly, but for now, it's mostly just to put Rachel and Geb back in the story. I'll try to post something more responsive to what you've posted when I can.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  2. #1402
    Well... Perhaps I can explain a few things then...

    First, the things that aren't really spoilers for anything I had up my sleeve...

    Geb, as you said, having a 'crossover' and such isn't without precident. I've read enough to know that. Personally, I feel as you do about the Writer's World. I don't feel it would be too right to mix them. To me, ultimately how I view the NeS (everyone has a different view, lol) is the Writer's office is seperate. It is where the actual NeS (where the characters are) is writen and we merely write ourselves writing the story. However, the we have the workshop and NSP's. In all technicality, the Writer's office is part of the NeS. As much as I did want to leave it out, I had an idea for something that I kind of really wanted to do. Looking at the office as part of the real NeS was the only way to get it done.


    That said, I can tell you a little of what I meant to go for, lol. I got PM from Al who was a little interested. You might not be, but I figure I'ld just put it out there anyway since he was kind enough to explain his view of Highemp to us. So it goes without saying, but there are a sort of *spoilers* ahead.

    So no one wanted to see what's going on in my head, nows the time to stop reading...



    Seriously...












    I wanted to play around with a character that really had intimate story knowledge. Something like a Writer. But couldn't figure how to work it. Then I figured... Why not have a Writer in the NeS? It's not like similar things haven't been done before. But how? And I had to find a way to do it in my own way. Something Cool Matty wrote in post#1219 caught my eye. It mentioned 'breaking the fourth wall'. It's physically impossible for us to do it. But that was the point I decided the fourth wall would be into the Writer's world. But then I had to set myself up for it. Though not really needed (it is the NeS), I like testing myself.

    So in post#1232 I brought up the ring. I wanted it to be different that the *previous* ring. Also, I figured I 'drop an anchor' as I like to say. I set up that it broke the 4th wall but left it at that and didn't really explain what I intended to do. I still didn't know how I was going to work it myself, I figured I had some time before I could do it. I just know I didn't want it just to go *poof* and your a writer or switched with one. What would have happened if one of the characters without a writing counterpart wore it? So I figured I'ld just bite the bullet and make it pretty much only Lib but how.

    Which brings me to what my ultimate plan is, or was I don't really know anymore. The absence of a backstory for Lib was the key... Both writer and character. I started working some in here and there for both of them. I brought up the journal for the character, but LibtW could easily just already know. Then I put in similarities. In short, my goal is/was to actually have them be the same being/person. JM split in the old NeS. Why not have the two Lib's be a part of the same person and they just got split into the different worlds of the NeS. I had to link them somehow, I figured if I gave the writer a ring as well it could work. Two versions the the actual Whole Lib's ring and if the two versions of Lib wore them at the same time, they switched.

    I tried to make it more obvious in the last posts so it made more sense. That's why I put so many parallel lines and phrases and such in both worlds.

    As far as other characters using the rings... Like I said, I didn't really want to break into the Writer's world in the first place. If just any person could do it, I fear it might be abused, lol. So I made it specifically Lib's wedding ring. But hey, it's not just my story. Or any one person's for that matter. Well... Maybe Geb. The NeS is his baby. But basicly, as always with the NeS, everything is up in the air at any given point.








    I think that should both clear up my motives, reasons, and where I was intending to go/what my basic idea with the premise was. Any questions, feel free to ask me. Other than that, feel free to use anything I put out there towards you own goals if it helps. We're all writing the NeS together. Anything I write is yours as well...

    Happy Posting!
    "Hello one day ban." ~ Baconfish
    >Liberius when he's not on Massassi<

  3. #1403
    Gotcha gotcha. And for you (and pretty much everyone else) who has said that the NeS is my baby, never forget that I've been an attempted baby-killer.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  4. #1404
    Yes, and he also kicked a poodle back in '86.

    Lib, thx for the insights. That's really cool! I tend to think the writers should be separate from the NeS, and that they should not have adventures of their own (like when all the writers were anime-ified), BUT:

    1. As stated, there are LOTS of precedents for it. The original NeSian Soviet superspy was TLTE the Writer, not TLTE the Hero. (And let us not forget TLTE Not the Hero!) And MZZT the Writer entered the story with the Ring of Ultimate Writing Power (which he promptly put to use in conjuring donuts).

    2. Two of the precedents have been my own: the years-old one where Highemp the Writer essentially possessed Highemp the Character (from whence came much of the latter's power), and when disconnected proceeded to plug all of "reality" into NeS' world. Then, the newer one, when I set up a backstory for MZZT's ring where Atlantean mages summon AncientWriter the Writer wuth the newly forged ring.

    3. (Virtually) ANYTHING GOES in NeS. This is the most important one. I only listed the previous two because they gave me a chance to reminisce.

    Also, Lib, I sympathize with you. I too have struggled with wanting to put something into a story, but the only way I ciuld see to do it was something I wanted NOT to do. Until we tap into the other 90% of our brains, we have to learn to have fun writing, rather than adhering rigidly to an agenda.

    Also, I think I've adopted the NeS, lol. Geb tried to kill it, and only acts as a support writer lately, whereas I hound him and Lib to write. Okay, so Geb's involved with [secret NeS-related project], but I at least have shared custody of the baby with him (that sounds SOOOO wrong, lol), though I'm surprised the judge let him have any custody at all, given his infanticidal tendencies...

  5. #1405
    From Geb: Double-post on pat of Al's
    Last edited by Gebohq; 04-16-2011 at 03:09 PM.

  6. #1406
    Hey all, well I guess just geb and lib, since they're the only other writers right now, I am currently writing up a MASSIVE post on notepad. Its just backstory, so if you want to go ahead and post something, feel free.

    Look for it later today. It'll be 3 posts, with the first being a short blurb with characters talking saying, I will now tell you my story. That will be followed by my massive backstory post, which will be headed by the disclaimer for new readers and writers that they can skip it if they like, since it is not essential to the plot. *FWOOSH* After that will be a final short post with a one line summary of the backstory (yes, one line, it pretty much sums it all up), and bringing it back to the current nes.

    However, I would appreciate it if you would read it, lib. I already know geb will. I'd like any comments you might have. As I've mentioned to geb a few months back, its the backstory of highemp, high imp, and alole. I've held it off because I wanted tlte's input, but I've waited him since december. So I'm typing it all up now.

    Warning: at one point in the backstory, highemp does some EGREGIOUS powerplaying. Don't get mad at me, please. The whole point I'm trying to convey is that highemp was a powerplayer, and how destructive powerplaying can be to a story.

  7. #1407
    That... was a lot of reading, lol. Yes I did get it all.

    My question is, how much of that has been in the NeS before? I remember reading some and being like, "Oh yeah, that was when..." but others seemed completely new. I ask because with Lib(the Character/Writer), if I ever find or figure out the name(s) I used before when I was posting, I was hoping to tie them in somehow. I actually DO have a huge, detailed backstory for the C/W Lib but have only been pumping it in the NeS in small bits. One, so it makes a bit of sense (which makes no sense with the NeS). Two, so it doesn't come off as some kind of powerplaying thing. No offence to Highemp or other powerplayers, lol. It's just not my thing. Finally three, so I can kind of build things up instead of *BAM* there's all my cards on the table and no more surprises or dramatic growth, lol.
    "Hello one day ban." ~ Baconfish
    >Liberius when he's not on Massassi<

  8. #1408
    Lib: the short, to my knowledge, is that most of his post is new to NeS. He tries in a lot of stuff mentioned in NeS and his NeS1888 stuff before, but the meat of the details of the relationship between Highemp and High Imp (or previously High Angel as revealed now) is new. Al I'm sure will be more than glad to list the specifics.

    As for my thoughts, the short is I liked it. I'm normally not the biggest fan of when you go off on 'epic backstory' as it were, but this time was different, and I think a lot of it had to do with the initial setup (it feeling more "NeS" to me) so that, by the time you did slip into epic backstory, I was already invested.

    My one major criticism: I don't understand why Highemperor and High Angel broke out into laughter and became best friends after Highemperor pretty much destroyed all of existence then reversed time to right before that. As far as I can see, High Angel still has every reason to dislike him, and Highemperor's actions only justified his dislike. I got the impression it was supposed to be along the lines of "they bonded in the bleak absurdity of it all" but that really only works if the two are either both contributing or victim of it, whereas in this case, there's no equality between the two.

    Also, as Lib said, at least compared to some of the things you've written in the past, I didn't really see much in the way of powerplaying. Then again, I think powerplaying is less about what a character can do (though it certainly plays a part) and more about indulging in inappropriate spotlighting (which isn't to say the spotlight always makes them out to be Superman, just making them seem more important to the narrative than they should be). Highemperor punching The Answerer in the face in the first page of NeShattered comes to mind: anyone can punch anyone else in the face, but that action was a slap in the face of where the story was going (an equal battle between Highemperor and the Answerer, with the spotlight on the two) and followed it into indulgent reflective tragedy (spotlight solely on Highemperor). You've come a long way since then, but remember that all of us always have to be on guard from indulgent powerplaying: you, me, Lib, even TLTE.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  9. #1409
    Hey, thanks for reading it and responding!

    If I got Geb to enjoy a product of "Fun Highemp Expositions, Int'l", then I KNOW I did a good job.

    Geb, your major criticism: that was where my thoughts on the friendship between Highemp and High Angel were fuzziest. My main thought was the idea where they hated each so much they started liking each other. Highemp hating High Angel because he questioned his power; High Angel hating Highemp because of his arrogance and power: before they finally realize how absurd they are. Sort of? Written like that, it doesn't make much sense. Like I said, it was the plot point fuzziest in my head.

    If we can figure out a better way to do it, I could edit it!

    Also, that's a good point about the nature of powerplaying.

    Now, Lib, let's see, which parts were new. Well, pretty much all of it.

    There have one or two posts in the past five or so pages where I did some stuff with Atlantis, including Highemp showing up there, the Ancient One being summoned, and the Champions of Atlantis being formed on behalf of the Illuminohqi.

    References to Highemp's origin in Armenia, the death of Harem Girl #87, and the moment he chooses to become Highemp at the death of his friend Erro (Geb and Losien's ancestor) that is all covered in NeS1888, which is a long backstory I wrote of some of the NeS heroes' ancestors in the 19th century, based on some flashback posts we (mostly I) had done in the early pages of NeSquared.

    Alole is first introduced in NeShattered, but only in brief (typically one- or two-line) flashbacks. It is revealed only that she and Highemp were in love, she died, and they had together a daughter named Iriana. Iriana was introduced on page one of NeSquared, my first post (as user name Highemperor) on that page, which was a lead-in to NeShattered.

    High Imp is first introduced as a nameless demon on an early page in the original NeS thread. (6? or so?) Semievil invokes several curses, and the demon appears, before going off to Canada, where it becomes Canada's leader, known as the High Demon. Later on, Geb and I were playing around with how "high imp" would be similar to the name "highemp" and thus thought about creating such a character as a sort of "dark" Highemp (as if Highemp wasn't dark enough to begin with!). For the big showdown on page 50 of the original NeS, the High Demon is retconned as High Imp, leading demonic forces to the Arena.

    You may notice that I expanded on the duel between Highemp and High Imp which is included in that massive two-post showdown at the end of page 50.

    Anyway, after High Imp's death on page 50, he was not mentioned again until page 25 of NeSquared, when drkjdi82 - the creator of the character Jim Seven, the Devil - posted, saying that numerous villains had escaped from Hell, including High Imp. Actually, it's that post which prompted me to think up High Imp's backstory. We knew he had SOME connection with Highemp, we just didn't know what it was. So I decided to create that connection. I had a few ideas, and bounced them off Geb several months, and he contributed to the brainstorming. (For example, High Angel's guardian angelship of King Emp in the 1800s was Geb's idea.)

    For me, the crux was Alole. Thinking that I could expand on her history with Highemp by tying it in with High Imp was my major turning point in coming up with these ideas. I then thought it would be even more potent if they had been friends before they ever knew Alole. So I tied High Angel's joining the Champions of Atlantis in, based on those two or three Atlantis posts I mentioned earlier this post.

    In the past couple of pages, I've dropped a couple hints. For example, on page 30, when Seraphim and Acidspitter are on a date, she mentions how the greatest of them, High Angel, fell from grace for the love of a mortal. In another, I mention how Alole was of the royal bloodline of ancient Atlantis - which, before this backstory, she wasn't.

    The myth of the Sun, Moon, and Passion-God comes out of an exceedingly embarrassing story I wrote ten or more years ago. I no longer have it, but I remembered that one part of it, which I was really proud of. Given the parallels between the Sun/Moon/Passion triangle in that story and the High-Angel/Alole/Highemp triangle in this backstory, I thought it'd be cool to work in.

    Alole herself was originally a character in my big novel project I was working on, also ten years ago, tentatively titled "Ecclesiastes" and later "Saga" - which also starred Highemperor, or at least another version of him. In "Saga", she was Highemp's second of three loves throughout the book. Her appearance was inspired somewhat by the childlike empress of the movie Neverending Story (which I obliquely referred to in stating that the name Iriana means "daughter of the moon" i.e. Moonchild). In "Saga" she was the betrothed of the emperor Anaximander of the a galaxy-spanning empire, but she and Highemp were drawn to each other. They have a similar dance scene in that story, where Highemp tells her how old he is and how much he has lost, and Alole says, "Then become young again with me." However, Highemp does NOT come back to her that night, instead maintaining a chaste distance, and Alole and Anaximander are married.

    Later on (still in "Saga"), Alole is killed, and while the king Anaximander rushes off in a rage after the assassin (who, interestingly enough, is her and Anaximander's son Airok), while Highemperor, who has still loved Alole all this time, cradles her form in his arms, saying he'll never dance again with anyone like he did with her (which is a MAJOR rip off from the song "Careless Whisper"), to which Alole replies, "Yes, you will," before dying. Sure enough, by the end of the story, Highemp finds his one true love, the lady Laurana - who, unlike Alole and Jewel (his first love in the novel) - does NOT die; instead, Highemp is the one to die, at the end.

    Still, I always wondered what might have happened had Highemperor and Alole gotten together in "Saga" despite Anaximander, and out of that wondering came the NeS version of their story that I put in.

    Finally, I reference in the backstory how Highemp is responsible, behind-the-scenes, for much of the flow of destiny in the NeSiverse, such as Geb's "destiny as an Ohq", is a metafictional jab at the fact that most of the epic stuff regarding cosmology, deities, chosen ones, etc., that exists in NeS was made up by me and mostly ignored by everyone else (which was fair, since back then I ignored them a lot too in favor of my own powerplaying agenda).

    Oh, and in case no one caught it, High Angel has six wings, with many eyes in the wings, because that's a Biblical image of cherubs from Isaiah (and possibly Revelation, but I can't remember for sure). I thought it would denote High Angel's rank and power more impressively than the standard pair of feathered wings.

  10. #1410
    So in my last post, I structured my post after some basics of improvisational theater which I have been learning through experience recently. I thought I'd share some of those basics (which are generally covered in a handout we were given our first day) that I attempted to apply to my post as well as add commentary on the matter. I hope to be able to follow the "rules" of improv more closely in the NeS in the future.

    "Improvisation has nothing to do with wit, cracking a joke or comic ability. A good improviser is someone who is awake, not entirely self-focused, moved by a desire to help and who acts on this impulse. The password to this world is YES!"

    ~from Improve Wisdom by Patricia Ryan Madson
    Most of us generally consider the NeS spirit to involve being comical, and I would not wish that to ever go away, but what the first sentence suggests is that good comedy, like good gameplay, requires many iterations of reworking and tweaking to get "just right" and improvisation does not afford us that luxury, which leaves us with two options: trying to be funny regardless or staying true to the moment. Since it is not uncommon for comedy to naturally arise out of improvisation anyway, the latter is best if we wish to make the most out of improv techniques, which means that, yes, we may have serious moments as well (again, though, this philosophy could even be applied to the dramatic).

    How do we improvise well? We must be "awake" (aware, energetic, active), "not entirely self-focused" and "moved by a desire to help" (dependent on working as a team i.e. collaboration), and "acts on this impulse" (that the drive to be all the above should come second nature, unconsciously, like any practiced skill). The last sentence will become more clear as I go on, but generally, "yes" allows us to be open, to move, to act in the moment and with each other.

    Performer Objectives:
    • To avoid stealing stage focus and instead shining the spotlight on others.
    Easy enough -- there is no "I" in "team" pretty much. To build a story such as the NeS requires writers to work with each other's materials, to spotlight not their own works but the works of the others.
    • To see possibility in the mundane, free up thinking, boost spontaneity and find what's right, not what's wrong.
    The principles of this point are the same as those for any brainstorming activity -- that there are no "bad" ideas, and that all are considered, in the present moment. Often this means considering the mundane, the "boring" stuff, as potential fuel, as it's commonly what comes first to mind without realizing it. Improv requires the brainstorming process to go straight to the "product" (the story, scene, etc.).
    • To listen with the whole body like a basketball player and see possibility (see the whole board) like a chess player.
    The idea of listening to one's body when writing may not be directly important, but the idea of awareness of one's self and one's surroundings (and their co-writers like teammates in a basketball team) ARE important -- to be able to notice and to keep one's senses (physical and mental) healthy and awake are key. To see possibilities like a chess player also means to move like one. We should write as a chess player, making one clear, publically-known move for the other writers and readers to see so that we never get too far ahead of them in the process.
    • To develop and trust your personal sense of play.
    I've written all sorts of stuff about play in regards to the NeS, and I consider play extremely important when it comes to the NeS. To be able to sense the space between the 'rules' in the NeS and the 'culture' surrounding it, to be able to sense the space between opposites such as mundane and epic, dramatic and comedic, input (writing) and output (reading), etc., is very useful in writing, so long as that play is both discernible (immediately clear) and integrated (part of the whole) so as to be meaningful. Whether one sees play as the experimental process (moving freely) used to co-exist and challenge rules (rigid structures) of games (perhaps altering the rules in the process), "just playing" (simulation and make-believe), "being playful" (physical, pleasure, light, etc.), the spirit of competition against others and fate, manipulation that indulges curiosity, as aimless, as spontaneous, as freedom from work, as a means of socializing or exploring or achieving or gaining power, or something entirely different -- one must sense, develop and trust how they and their team plays.
    • To create a team atmosphere and build a safe and trusting environment.
    Improvising requires the dependence on others, and so we must be able to trust each other that we'll be trying our best to be dependable for each other, that we won't aim to hurt each other's efforts but instead support and strengthen each other's efforts as much as we can.
    • To build upon the ideas of others, recognize verbal and physical cues and explore what is happening between the lines.
    To improvise requires collaboration in an act of instant creation, and to build, we do our best to help each other construct each other's sandcastles in the playground. Without the luxury of time, we must be able to notice cues (the subtext) given by others (ones they may not have even realized consciously -- after all, they would hopefully be able to tell you consciously in places like the workshop).
    • To take turns and include everyone in the exploration.
    Taking turns, again, like a chess player, allows everyone to stay on the same, clear place and rhythm, and involving everyone strengthens the dependence and trust in each other.
    • To remove the personal barriers of not being good enough or always needing control and letting go of being right.
    I've said plenty of times before that there is no such thing as a "bad writer" in the NeS. Regardless, though, thinking you're "not good enough" means you're stopping the rhythm, weakening trust in yourself and others, saying 'no' instead of 'yes' and so on. Letting go of needing to be in control is necessary to work as a team, and letting go of needing to 'be right' is necessary to trust yourself and others, to act on impulse, and the like.
    • To risk fully, get scared and learn to appreciate a newly expanded comfort zone.
    Despite everything already said, we are human, and to develop our sense of play, our trust in each other, and our ability to act in the present means taking risk (or else you consider something 'wrong' and a 'potential mistake' which do not exist in improvisation), being afraid (because we ultimately still fear 'messing up' in any number of ways) and growing comfortable with it so as to improvise better.
    Last edited by Gebohq; 06-28-2011 at 02:56 AM.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  11. #1411
    That's awesome, Geb. I noticed several things that I pointed out on the Lenses as being necessary for the NeS, and I wholeheartedly approve. I hadn't before realized the distinction between improvisation and comedy, but now that I think about it, I understand.

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. #1412
    Some Improv Rules
    Just say Yes...Then And:
    Whatever you partner offers you on stage you honor it by saying yes, uh-huh, ok, right, sure, a nod or some equivalent. Then you add the next piece of information by saying "And". Only saying "yes" makes you a yes man, adding "and" keeps you and your partner connected. Your character does not have to like the idea but they have to agree and build.
    This became the heart of even the early interactive stories here, the NeS included, particularly between writers. While having the characters themselves act this way is a great change of pace, they have the luxury of continuing a scene within one post. Between writers, however, it's imperative that one writer does not ignore, contradict, or otherwise say "what the previous writer wrote doesn't count" in a post they write responding to another. The NeS has the luxury of having "no mistakes" just as in improv, so work with each other, not against!
    Follow your gut:
    At least initially, you need to get those first thoughts out...and fast. You need to act faster than your judging mind. Even if that thought is awkward, weird, dangerous, obscene, or quirky you need to allow for these things, we need to say "Yes!" to it and then next time you get to choose differently.
    It seems natural for us to take our time in writing so that it's "just right" but I believe that some of the best material from myself has come when writing quickly on the spot, without thinking. Only have a few minutes before running off to work? Post just a sentence with whatever first comes to mind!
    And Commit to It:
    Improv is about serious play (we'll be tapping into our inner 5 year old, eyes wide and breathless). Taking all of your awkwardness, weirdness, and fabulousness seriously and committing fully to what comes out of your body and mouth. Remember: You're showing us that you have pride (and trust) in your creativity. Your sense of pride releases ours!
    This is a more subtle concern in regards to the NeS, but still applicable. Basically, you don't need to write about how terrible of a writer you are or avoid writing for certain characters because you don't "know them" as well -- just go with it and pretend "lalala" are actually the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody.
    Keep It Simple:
    There is nothing wrong with a simple suggestion like a kitchen. It will be up to you and your partner to find all the possibilities in this place so think more carefully inside the box. Avoid overwhelming "outside the box" ideas like: A kitchen on the moon during a meteor shower. Sounds fun but the audience's expectation is primed and there is now unnecessary pressure on the performer to make it happen, instantly.
    Those of us who have been around for a while know that the NeS can get VERY complicated even for us veterans, much less for anyone new. Simplicity is a great way to keep the "fat" out of the story, and it makes it easier for your fellow writers!
    Get Physical:
    Improv starts with some kind of suggestion: Location, occupation, etc. Once you get a suggestion (kitchen) and before you begin speaking, start by creating the space around you and mime some physical activity. Reach for a glass in the cupboard, turn to the fridge to get some water and pour a glass and then say: A: (handing over glass) "I am so thirsty." B: (drinking, yes...and) "Uh-huh, the water tastes great."
    Context and action! Don't forget that characters aren't ones to live in voids (usually) and can be doing things other than talking (which the NeS has a lot of in its many pages).
    Justify Everything or Recycle:
    Once you set-up the cupboard and fridge, make sure you use them more than once. Recycle them back into the story. Also, as you move around the stage, don't walk through your mimed creations... they still exist even if they're invisible. A: (sitting at table...you can always use a chair) "I could use a bite too" B: (going to fridge) "I have a cheese stick." A: "Great, running track makes me hungry and thirsty." Discuss: The various recyclable possibilities.
    While plotholes are useful tools for us NeS writers, they're also best used sparingly. Therefore, do your best to include what other writers have written about (collaboration!) and try to avoid the plotholes where appropriate.
    Get Specific:
    Fill in what you say with lots of detail while bringing that same detail to your physical space. A: "The water has a fresh taste". B: "Yup. I just changed the filter. It's a Britta. I only use Britta. The Pur filter turned the water green."
    A basic in storytelling -- offering concrete details, both in description and dialog, helps encourage the imagination of the readers (and your fellow writers). I've normally been an advocate of staying vague in the NeS, but vagueness often makes it difficult to progress as well.
    Try the Opposite:
    Rather than showing alarm at a partner's suggestion, it could be more interesting if you find it fun. A: "Green water...interesting. Kinda perfect for St. Patrick's Day". B: "I know, and I'm Irish!"
    People like surprises, and doing the opposite of the norm is normally a solid way to surprise them. This emphasizes the rule of "yes...and" that is so important in improvisation.
    Who Are You?
    Create an instant stage character with three things: An attitude, a different voice and physicality. A: (talking fast, getting nervous, shaking) "Look, Steve, there was something strange about that water." B: (talking fast, very reassuring with a toss of the head) "Julie, it'll be OK. The Britta filter helps with speed... you're gonna win that track event in Ireland."
    While we sometimes have character profiles to reference as writers, an easy way to strengthen the characters in your post (apart from having them act towards a goal of theirs) is to emphasize an attitude (depressed, snarky, bubbly, etc.), a voice (melodic, coarse, drawling) and physicality (pacing about, looking down and touching their face, talking with their hands). It's an easy way to help identify the many characters that often appear in the NeS.
    Look for Connections:
    How is it all related? As your scene plays out, be aware of how all your actions are connected. Nothing on stage is random but is in fact part of a larger story. Julie: "And my feet are growing!" Steve: "That's the cheese stick working its magic, bigger feet means better support for the race! Besides, the Irish love big feet."
    This is where some of your responsibility comes in towards your fellow writers. Whatever you write shouldn't be just random nonsense, but somehow be connected (and potentially connected) to other things already mentioned and possibly used later. You need to be dependent not on your own plans, but what other writers give to you, and in turn, they depend on you to help give them material to work with in their posts.
    Find the Problem...And The Solution:
    Every scene has its problem (conflict) and its solution. It is the responsibility of both you and your partner to actively discover the next issue and then offer a way to solve the dilemma. Julie: "I'm going to need new shows." Steve: "Not a problem, I've been working on a new shoe prototype in my lab. Let me show you."
    Things wouldn't be terribly interesting to read if there wasn't a problem to solve, right? But we also want to give resolution to those problems and not leave them as loose threads. In general, there should be a problem left by the writer of the previous post that you have your characters "solve" (in some small way) and end your post with another problem.
    Do the Next Thing:
    Before Steve and Julie start talking again they need to do the next thing. They need to go to a door, take the stairs down to the basement and head into the lab. Get specific and put lots of codes, locks and buttons on the door to the lab.
    As mentioned before with the metaphors of basketball and chess, it's important to never move too quickly or without enough clarity. If the heroes plan to storm the villain's gates, they need to start moving towards that immediately and not linger about talking some more. Anime does that; we shouldn't.
    Ask Questions That Give Information:
    Humans are hard-wired to investigate and ask questions. If you do have to inquire, make sure you provide new information in the asking. Julie (arriving in the lab, amazed): "You have a lab? I have a lab! How did I not know this?" Steve: Labs are where secret experiments happen. I'm done with keeping secrets. Would you join forces with me?
    As writers, this applies whenever we write some sort of mystery or unresolved situation in our post. If and when we do, we need to also provide more information and potential answers than questions, so as to burden the other writers as little as possible. It's the difference between the villain asking "Do you know where your friends are?" and "Shall I give your friends the same six minutes to escape that you gave me?"

    I may be adding more improv techniques and such later down the road, though this should be a good start. While improv is not the end-all be-all for the NeS, it's certainly a fundamental aspect of it, and we should do our best as writers to work with each other as a team and not be afraid to just let things happen on the spot -- lessons that I needed to be retaught myself.

  13. #1413
    The "Yes...and" rule seems particularly important to NeS.

  14. #1414
    Yes, and I need to uphold it more. For believing myself to be one of the first on the ISB to naturally (if also unwittingly) adopt this technique, I've grown far too comfortable without upholding it on my own writing.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  15. #1415
    By the way guys... sorry if it seems I've become inactive or something... I haven't really.

    It's just that my current computer is pretty much on its last leg. I told Geb about it before. I have a real POS pc. It sucks... bad. Now it decides when it wants to even turn on. I'm saving up to get a new one, but until then I am not sure how often I'll actually be able to log on or for how long
    "Hello one day ban." ~ Baconfish
    >Liberius when he's not on Massassi<

  16. #1416
    Okay, thanks for the update!

    And it seems like all the current writers are getting new comps! First Geb got one, then I got my netbook, now you're getting one!

  17. #1417
    It's still going to be a while before I get something that will actually run. However, if it will let me, I am going to try to get a post in tonight after work. I make no guarantees though. Fate has had a way of messing with me so as of late.
    "Hello one day ban." ~ Baconfish
    >Liberius when he's not on Massassi<

  18. #1418
    NOTE - UNDER CONSTRUCTION (I'll probably delete and un-delete when done)
    An update to the earlier improv objectives/guidelines listed earlier:

    To see the universe in a grain of sand, free up thinking, boost spontaneity and find what's right, not what's wrong.
    This line was mentioned earlier with an alteration different enough for me to feel I could include. The short of the emphasized point? See the importance in the smallest and most mundane of details.
    To commit fully to the ridiculous and take seriously the serious.
    When writing for the NeS, don't be afraid to go both completely off-the-wall wacky and utterly dramatic in the swing of a sentence. If you're writing is true and within the rest of the NeS spirit, and not forced, it works for you and the audience.
    To be happy instead of being right.
    At the end of the day, we're all reading and writing this to have a good time. Making things "as they should be" will ultimately be counter-productive in an effort such as that needed for the NeS.
    It's All About You
    ...about creating characters more in tune with who you are and what you bring to the stage natually from your life. The best story you tell is the one you've lived so let's bring that to the stage.
    It's common that the characters we write for in the NeS are little more than exaggerated stand-ins of ourselves, and this school of improv (to draw from yourself rather than made-up characters) embraces that creative pseudo-autobiographical storytelling method. A lot of famous artists inadvertently create self-portraits in works presumably not about themselves, so to those that believe writing essentially as yourself is poor technique, they may wish to reconsider. What ultimately matters is the experience of writing and reading -- so what where it comes from? (selfish, lazy and blatant plagiarism aside)
    Don't Talk...Do
    Start a scene by getting your hands busy doing something: Read a newspaper, sip some coffee.
    Sort of already touched upon, but it's good to emphasis that, even in a dialogue-heavy story like the NeS, it's important to have characters still DOING things and not just standing around yapping their mouths like an episode of Dragonball Z.
    Accept and Amplify:
    A: "I love this new cast iron skillet."
    B: Yeah...let's make some eggs."
    I don't think this example really does it justice at all, but the idea of the "Yes, And" is taken a step further here by not only saying the "and" should continue the scene and help the other writers, but you're making that "and" bigger too. For instance, if one story post ends with Angie telling Thand "I know who you are! You're the first human!" it would seem natural in the next post for Thand to simply say "Yes, and...?" (which would in intention really be a "no"), but not only could we consider a real yet non sequitor "yes, and" such as "Yes, and you are the first woman to contract the Metalucidrine Strain" or something to amplify what was said such as "Yes, and I was the first to err when I took knowledge that wasn't mine, just as you have now." Then again...
    Try the well-placed "No"
    What would happen if, in the middle of a scene moving forward, someone said "No." How would you deal with that?
    Maybe that initial "Yes, and?" that was really a no felt natural because that was the strongest choice to make. Even if, as a different writer, that's what they provided, it not only stays true to Thand, but also sets up for some curiosity on how Angie will proceed. Ideally, Thand (or the post in general) would continue so as to help give direction so that there is still a sort of "Yes, and" in its subtext and intent. Even Thand outright saying "No, I'm not" could lead to Thand having reason to lie or follow up with "In the story-world of NeS, there are many firsts, each illogically preceding the other" or a cryptic "Those that are first are to made last, and those last are to be made first."

    In short, a "no" has its place in collaborative improvisation, and when done well, is often secretly still a "yes, and" in spirit.
    Tell a Story
    ...about playwriting on the fly so while you are "in the moment" with your partner, you also have an eye on where you're headed. To that end, what's so special about today? Why are the stakes so high?

    • Begin with some exposition
    • Then, onto some rising action
    • Then, onto a climax
    • Then, onto a change of heart
    • Then, onto a resolution

    Well, this is familiar territory for writers, isn't it? Just because improvisation calls us to set aside usual writing mindsets such as intricate plotted plans, having a singular vision and avoiding plot holes, it doesn't mean we should abandon trying to craft a story altogether! A trick to keep in mind whenever writing a scene in the NeS is just asking "what's the conflict in this moment?" and have a little mini-story for just that scene. The NeS has been called a plotfractal before, and I think that's a good way to envision seeing its story, starting as small as a solitary moment or scene that repeats in structure over a larger story-arc and an even larger thread. Ideally, it should be easy to take any moment and say "This is the moment when _______ happened" or "This is the story-arc where ________ happened" that is special and intense with anger, sadness, happiness, hiliarity, or some other feeling.

    Again, these are only guidelines in pure improv, and the NeS isn't solely improv, but I feel these are good things to keep in mind when writing posts.
    Last edited by Gebohq; 07-22-2011 at 03:41 AM.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  19. #1419
    Haha, I love the reference to William Blake.

  20. #1420
    I may have some of my own, more random and personal things I've learned from my improv classes to throw onto the workshop, but for now, I think I'll try to stick with actual writing!

    Here's hoping I can get some of the people from my class involved, and that Al can get some of the people from TV Tropes forum hooked!
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  21. #1421
    More improv stuff! It's actually a lot of recap, but still. Improv works when...
    We say YES...AND to everything our partner offers us and refuse to say NO or BUT unless it is a very well-placed, conscious halt to things. Stopping the flow is taken very seriously and is often followed by a PAUSE as the character takes in the gravity of the situation.
    A reminder that, when the "No" occurs within the story, it should be a big deal in some fashion, and if a writer outside the story writes the essential "no" that they are giving the moment great weight and still remain working together with the other writers and not use the "no" to be dismissive or otherwise selfish.
    We RECYCLE a piece of information that has gone before, remembering that in an improv scene, everything has a potential connection to everything else... otherwise, why bother saying it and weighing down the scene with lots of talk? The scene won't wrap-up in a neat interconnected way...AND we listen for the possibility. We keep our ideas and actions SIMPLE and avoid getting too complicated too soon... we realize the paradox here: Keep it simple AND say yes to the irrational, non-linear and foolish ideas.
    With now 12 years of material especially, we should aim to be conservative with what we write; we should keep our writing simple and recycle material we already have whenever possible. Too often, a zillion new things occur that don't go anywhere and just clutter things up, which is both bad for fellow writers and readers alike. Do things with purpose and one step at a time.
    We follow a STORYLINE: Declaration, rising action, climax, falling action and resolve. Declaraction replaces exposition and will help jump start the scene in a more immediate way, as if things are already underway. We heighten the STAKES of the scene quickly. We know that the resolution may be messy or a scene may end miles before the conflict... where it ends is where it ends.
    While I still say exposition is useful, starting a scene with a declaration is certainly more active and showing-above-telling (it's the difference between "This coffee tastes funny" (declaration) and "The two were drinking in the coffee shop" (exposition). As with any conflict, raising the stakes is always a plus, and as is expected of the NeS, the conflict and resolution in mind may never arise and close -- the story goes where the story goes, and ending is the tool of the enemy!
    We harbor a long held SECRET that comes out during the course of our scene and we SWITCH attitudes with our scene partner and have a change of heart. Offering a switch gives our character dimension, we are sad and angry. We are aware that the scene wants to fill in the following: The Day When _____ Happened. We do not think of these things ahead of time because they won't exist until we start playing the scene. Plus, the only thing we have in improv is the current offer, the moment in front of us, the next step.
    This needn't quite be as explicit in a scene in NeS, as it could easily turn things soap-opera-like, but it's a useful technique all the same. Secrets naturally provide us with reason to be curious and to offer surprises, and switches are a common method of character transformation (however temporary). Framing a scene as "the day when [something] happened" is also useful in focusing our attention on why we care what's going on at the moment.
    We get SPECIFIC and avoid phrases like: "What are you reading? Who are you? What's that? You know...that thing." We answer those questions with an assumed offering.
    Again, while I've been an advocate in the past for vagueness, specificity helps each other out in writing and gives the reader concrete details to help the imagination.
    We risk being OURSELVES: Our mundane, in-the-moment, obvious, diverse, fascinating, compelling selves and knowing that we are interesting enough. Knowing that the funny, clever, and witty things are going to happen because we remain OPEN to our scene partner, LISTEN intently and LET GO of trying to do anything because trying always looks like trying.
    This all emphasizes that we should write what is natural for us, which is often about ourselves. Forcing ourselves to write something funny or interesting will show its forced nature, and we should be confident enough that what arises naturally will be plenty entertaining. And if some people don't like it? Well that's too bad for them.
    We give ourselves a simple ACTIVITY to keep our hands and body busy knowing that being true to the sipping of the imaginary cup of coffee is an important element of being COMMITTED to our creation.
    For the NeS, this means not forgetting to give detail to the actions and surroundings of the characters, to give them context to what they say and provide fuel for the imagination.
    We trust our creative INSTINCTS and voice the idea that scares us, seems too obvious or seems too outrageous. We stop saying "no" to the ideas that "won't work" because it is often those that bear the most fruit: Those are either the ideas that are obvious (the ones that everyone is already thinking and are waiting for someone to say it) or outrageous (new, different and innovative and still we are waiting for someone to say it.)
    Mundane is good! Outrageous is good! Try it one way and then the other, and then try both! Like many things, if you practice enough, your instincts can be honed to be trusted upon to do what you practiced.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  22. #1422
    So I'm hoping to work on a mega-post sometime this weekend to work on wrapping up this storyarc and move on to whatever for the next, but should anyone wish to beat me to it (I'm looking at you, Al), here's m notes which may or may not make sense:
    ------------------------------------------
    SOME GOOD INHERENT CHARACTER CONFLICTS (according to Geb and maybe nobody else)

    Rachel & Evil Geb with their simultaneous hate and attraction (but ultimatley hate) for each other
    Al Ciao & Citizen Rex with Citizen Rex taking Al's good ideas for his own and Al being ignored by the others
    Anyone & Geb highlighting Geb's cowardice

    POSSIBLE CONFLICT PAIRINGS

    Evil Geb & Citizen Rex
    Highemp & HighImp
    Lib the Writer & Lib the character
    Losien and JM (the "main" protagonist and antagonist)
    NOT likely Geb & Evil Geb (the two may look to do so and get interrupted - jokes about hearing your own voice and Geb wearing a crown and having a beard may ensue)
    Evil Geb & Rachel (making each other mad)
    Evil Geb & Jim (Jim thinks Evil Geb still has the paperwork for the souls)
    Evil Geb & HighImp (HighImp thinks its his personal duty to take care of Evil Geb)
    (man, Evil Geb is getting around!)
    Al (as Highemp) & JM (if he turns into Highemp, he'll try to get his powers back)
    certainly others - ideally one good guy is paired off with one bad guy at some point, suggested list below:

    THE GOOD GUYS
    Geb - (Jim)
    Losien - (JM)
    Rachel - (Evil Geb)
    CM - (GUNTHER)
    Mimiru - (Buck Takes)
    Al - (Mia)
    Cris B - (Geronimo)
    Capt. Von Trufflesnout - (Censor)
    Angie - (on the sidelines)
    CynthAI - (on the sidelines)
    Lib the Character - (Lib the Writer)

    THE BAD GUYS
    JM - (Losien)
    Jim - (Geb)
    Evil Geb - (Rachel)
    Highemp (old) - (HighImp)
    HighImp - (old Highemp)
    Buck Takes - (Mimiru)
    Censor - (Capt. Von Trufflesnout)
    GUNTHER - (CM)
    Geronimo - (Cris B.)
    Mia - (Al)
    Lib the Writer - (Lib the Character)

    ESTABLISH PERSONALITIES AND APPEARANCES

    Canadian Authorities
    various demon Mountie-types
    currently trying to reapprehead Evil Geb, held off by others

    Gebohq
    dark autumn moppish hair and clean beard, crown, parchment-white button shirt and blue tie, dark work pants and shoes - in Disney attire
    last deciding choice of duty vs love
    currently fighting off Canadian Authorities, likely to be amazed Losien is far better than him, has his plothole pistol

    Losien
    light autumn hair, brown peasant skirt, light blue tank top - in Disney attire
    last made main character role from Ante, love with TLTE, missing Geb (edit profile).
    Currently fighting off Canadian Authorities with her new storywielding powers (specialty on imparting power/boost aka leadership bonus onto others) and the NeSword

    Rachel Pi - in Disney attire
    5'6", Asian, mashup of traditional chinese dress and jester outfit
    last bonding with Geb in treasury, Fool and Protector
    currently helping hero-types fight off CAs, may superficially turn against the heroes

    Evil Geb(in Qhobeg's body) (one of the 11 villains - 1 of 11)
    mane of dark autumn hair, brown/grey t-shirt, combat boots, tattoo of ribs on back, dark camo pants, left eye pale grey
    last having escaped/sealed NeShattered, establish seeping EeP and his role as Protector/potential control of Geb clones
    currently killed by Nyneve and on the run from Hell's forces, dueling with Citizen Rex, may use his plothook again (which should be revealed to be the "key" quest item, a key to open door to NeShattered for future use) - ultimately fights Rachel due to history. Evil Geb will likely be knocked out of comission for a while at the end of this storyarc

    Old Highemperor - Citizen Rex (to become one of the 11 villains - 2 of 11)
    As Citizen Rex: White military-esque attire with red/white flag sash and HFO medal, blue w/stars cape, otherwise like Highemperor - in Disney attire and with an astrisk floating over his shoulder (Evil Geb's "curse")
    presumably fulfiling his role as Citizen Rex, really aims to "get powers back" from Evil Geb whom he is currently dueling. If he turns villain, he'll be smacked by Al the Writer, but would likely not go down without a fight against both Als to win the writer's favor, fights HighImp

    CM
    17 yrs old, 5'8", average build, scraggly grey hair, purple eyes, tan cloak, black tshirt underneath, Tsukasa ripoff/hack - in Disney attire
    last training with Mustang in Magium, learn of magic-life forcecalled to fight in Disney
    currently fighting off CAs, focusing on dropships

    Mimiru
    5'9", strong and pretty, brown short hair, blue knee-high skirt, red sleeveless top, blue eyes - in Disney attire
    last on subplot before Maybe and others, married to CM

    xCris Bx
    cook wear, squarish/fatish features of Cris, relaxing from previous adventurer life, created Cris B persona - in Disney attire
    last seen with Maybe group with his place trashed, wants revenge
    selling chikin to both sides, peeved that Geronimo is out-selling him, may still mentor Losien, may still want revenge against heroes

    Lucifer/Jim Seven (part of Dark Alliance - 3 of 11)
    cross of weird al and aragorn, 6'2"ish.
    last throwing everyone at Disney, ties with Evil Geb
    thinks Evil Geb has paperwork for heroes' souls, wants Geb dead for 'various complications caused'

    JM (leader of Dark Alliance - 4 of 11)
    built buff-ish, wears robe-ish blak shirt with pink sleeves and white undershirt, brown hair
    last with Maybe group, Atlantean JM wizard/lazy, looking at SOriel
    stole Al/Highemp's powers, plans to destory the NeS with bad writing/etc., probably lost interest in it in favor of just doing stuff to appeal to his ego (the specific number in their "Dark Alliance" a contributing factor in their downfall since the heroes didn't get all the proper items or info) - fights Losien to boost his ego

    Al Ciao/Highemperor - "Citizen Rex"
    As Al: late 30's, 6' slender-ish, mop of dark curls, brown eyes, charlie brown-esque outfit - in Disney attire
    As Highemperor/Rex: built, black hair, red sash and shoulder pads, black outfit
    last made deal with Thand to help friends (as Al) and now leader of Hero Force One
    currently has Highemperor side "hibernating" from powers stolen from JM, dating Mia 'exclusively', fighting off CAs with random items and pretending to be a customer to remain unnoticed, may be in possession of Ye Olde Historie Fantastique

    High Imp (part of Dark Alliance - 5 of 11)
    A demonic foil to Highemperor
    Wishes revenge on Highemperor, plans to kill Highemperor and rekill/take back Evil Geb, fights primarily old Highemp, may have quest items sword and shield that makes duel with Highemp dangerous

    Liberius the Character
    brown hair and beard, blue shirt, grey vest and slacks, black tie, typical "writer" look
    currenlty in the Writer's world, may have done the character/writer swap before (or not at all)

    Liberius the Writer (to be revealed as villain - 6 of 11)
    Looks practically identical to Liberius the character - in Disney attire
    went into story for an escape/vacation, currently cheering heroes on, wearing the quest item Writer's Ring of Infinite Story Knowledge (once owned by Mia) that mostly justified swapping in and out of the story, does villain stick because "it's dramatic" and "to get the women" - held back by Lib the Character (ultimately swaps)

    Capt. Von Trufflesnout the Third
    Lib's terrier
    biting heels of everyone, sometimes even heroes, has some storywielding thanks to montage

    Mia (to be revealed as villain - 7 of 11)
    [physical description here] - in Disney attire
    seemingly head-over-heels for Al as they're dating 'exclusively', fighting off CAs in her mech Raj (repurposed KnightCar), likely to find out villanous motive is due to psychotic reason (wanted to have Al/Highemperor's baby and is pregnant? has to kill Al because she thinks he'll ultimately betray one way or another), owns the quest item "magic armor" (Raj)

    The Censor (part of Dark Alliance - 8 of 11)
    only a masculine voice
    last denied powers through law, likely reinstated in some way (ideally different than before), is challenged by Capt. Von Trufflesnout, who is difficult to censor because he's a cute dog

    Geronimo Samuel (ultimately a villain - 9 of 11)
    pizza delivery boy from South America - in Disney attire
    once controlled by GUNTHER, now seems to be dragged into the scene, distracting CAs with pizza and competing with Cris B for business (the "fight" in business), won't find out the real truth about him (may be alias of sorts for GUNTHER)

    GUNTHER (part of Dark Alliance - 10 of 11)
    appearance unknown, seems to speak in a robotic tone, may look like real-life writer (permanent uneven stubble, slob-looking guy not even fit for the computer jockey he likely both lacking in constitution and overweight)
    seems to have a larger plan, may just be making **** up, perhaps thinking himself doing good.

    Buck Takes (part of Dark Alliance - 11 of 11)
    Looks similar to Bill Gates but with Texan flair
    in JM's debt thanks to being given Book of Gold (which can turn things to gold, quest item), proposes villains take up offer to make shovelware game for moon colonists about them that they accept before going out to celebrate with killing heroes, may be turned upon by other villains when they realize the proposal would set them up for inferior status/money/jailtime while Buck makes money with book, fights Mimiru in battle of riches

    Angie
    a taller, thinner woman (compared to CynthAI) with shoulder-length brown hair and wearing a blue sweater with a knee-length black skirt and boots
    Recently has life turned upside down thanks to Thand, hiding in car with CynthAI watching fight

    CynthAI
    unremarkable, short and stout-ish built woman with trim, ginger hair and wearing what seems to be a utilitarian jumpsuit - really a robot in a "walker frame"
    Hiding with Angie in car

    Nyneve
    long dark hair, red lips, amber eyes, pink cheeks, pale and pretty
    last seen trying to get Geb, look at various other Gebs and Losien as new targets
    currently has possession of souls of hero-types minus Geb (due to an actual plothole since he too died) & instructions from Thand to save the NeS, likely hidden and watching fight

    ----------------------------
    (leftover old list from when the storyarc first started and planned to re-introduce more characters, NOT for this storyarc anymore but maybe next one)

    (Arkng Thand)
    green/grey/blue suit, grey eyes, pipe and gold fob
    last with own story-arc protecting his dead love, opened Angie's eyes to larger world, gave Evil Geb instructions likely meant for Nyneve

    Krig the Viking
    yellow cape, blue tunic, red hair
    last back from raiding treasury (unspoken other quest)

    xMatthiasx
    young, thin, lavender scholar robes, glasses and slanted hat
    last with Howard as NeScholar, assist TLTE

    (Ben)
    5'2" athletic, short brown hair w/orange homemade hat, worn sneakers, tattered shorts and black shirt
    last seen in shack learning of NeS with Young, ties with Otter

    (Young)
    5'-ish, small, blue somewhat curly hair, princess look
    last seen in shack, looking pregnant, already talk with Ante on early 26

    Soriel (and Fred)
    6'1" skinny/gangly/muscley, messy dark blue hair, deep chesnut eyes, black pants, military boots, red t-shirt, white jacket w/lapels, red cape
    was about to go on Thand storyarc, went back, trying to learn story as hero to be better villain

    Tsolo (Darkside) -- Dark Tsolo?
    masculine/adrodgenous, white shoulder-lenght mane, black eyes, tan canvas wings, mix with Darkside
    last seen in the character merger with JM storyarc, Forgotten before that

    BokkenMonkey
    earth tone clothes, on the road 24 yrs old, 5'11" 172lbs, long blond curly bowlcut, soft build
    last seen in Story Arcade, now a travel writer

    Ricky
    late 20's, NJ "odd human", 5'8", thin-average bit muscle, femenine hips, dirty red hair, dark eyes, olive button down shirt old cowboy hat OR red dress OR waitress outfit (OR new)
    last seen offered deal by Dr. Evil, Without Credit before that, wants revenge on Geb

    possessed toaster
    1-2 ft dimensions, 2lbs, black and decker reflective black finish, 4 slots
    last seen in Story Arcade and LCA before that, testing character creation, terminator/conquor the future

    -xDr. Gebiylx-
    bald top, glasses, long beard, Geb-like
    last seen taking Gamecube fighting for Disney, influenced by evil Geb

    -xGeneral Qhobegx-
    pale left eye, military cut hair, general's outfit, Geb-like
    last seen taking Gamecube, fighting for Hell, influenced by evil Geb

    Ares
    6'5" muscular, see comic
    last seen getting beaten up by JM, Atlantis flashback

    TLTE
    6'2" late 30's, 85 kilos stocky, liam neeson, black uncle sam-esque hair, scars and evil goatee, blue/green eyes, charcoal russian overcoat, golden epaulets, soviet symbol on back, fedora
    last raiding treasury, bond with Amal, Ultimate Villain

    xAmalx
    frail-ish, straw-color/golden hair, was 9-10 and now 14-15 or 16-17, huge brown eyes
    foil for TLTE, last fighting Al Ciao in treasury, establish as Blank Character

    Mayaal
    *like bishops of chess, 6'4"ish (taller), 60ish (older), pale pink skin, puscular, pink/grey long hair, white labcoat, blindfold
    last debating about thand

    Bhac
    *like bishops of chess, 6'4ish (shorter), 60ish (younger), average/emancipated, bleeding fingertips, pink/grey hair and goatee, bloodshot eyes, red vest, black attire, ripped cape
    last debating about thand

    Maybechild
    short squirrelish, curly red hair, hippie clothes
    last trying to make hero group

    Otter
    half posh, half punk
    last trying to help Maybe make group

    Morthrandur
    really tall, thin, dark blue robe and hood covering face, white hands
    last flashbacking about Atlantis and arranging Evil Geb's wedding prior

    Mr. Stafford
    dull eyes, 6ft, business/merc look
    last bumping into Morthrandur w/Atlantis flashback, running Without Credit scheme, Damned Co. CEO, Protector, hint of mercenary and former princedom w/love of Fay

    Voodoo
    5'7", average/heavy, blonde hair, CSotD attire?
    last seen trying not to abandon other characters, with Sarn, may have pirates

    Sarn Cadrill
    early 30s, spanish/italian look, 6'2" slim brown/black hair, hazel eyes, scar above left eyebrow, dark clothing
    last seen back with Voodoo via plothole/JM storyarc, is really Kern Saldin (or not after JM arc)

    Ford
    6'1", average, long mouse brown hair, arcane symbols, grey/blue eyes, flair jeans and chucks, glasses
    last with Maybe and others, scholar/lazy

    MZZT
    'programmer's tan', tech look
    last with Maybe making group

    Semievil
    As Semievil: bones of ox muscle of bunny, hunched
    As Semsquatch: 10ft, brownish red fur pronounced brow
    last with Maybe making group, can turn into Semsquatch

    The Next True Evil
    like Geb, but long hair in front, shaved in back w/VHS player in skull and eyepatch
    super secret soviet clone project, last seen at treasury

    xMustangx
    Aragorn-ish, brown cloak?, blue tattoos, lich appearance, similarity to Ford
    last training CM in Magium, taking CM to Disney

    Subaru
    asian, 5'4", skinny, shoulder-length blue hair, purple shirt and jeans, green eyes
    last on subplot before Maybe & others, crush on Ante

    Wai
    5'4" priest robes, Beatles hair, glow of purple eyes
    last with CM and gang on subplot, ties w/ Thand

    Antestarr (Zania)
    pewter parka, black attire underneath, bald
    last plotting with Nyneve w/Losien, Amal too? Young, illness from paradox (bald no bleeding fighting writer-time), darksaber, previous leadership conflict with Maybe
    Last edited by Gebohq; 10-22-2011 at 10:24 PM.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  23. #1423
    Eleven hour work day. Clocked out at 2:40 am. Didn't get home till 3:20. If I didn't have to work tomorrow I would be up till dawn to continue what I started. unfortunately no post tonight. I am, however, going to try to get up early and work on it. Sooo... yeah. Patience, lol.
    "Hello one day ban." ~ Baconfish
    >Liberius when he's not on Massassi<

  24. #1424
    Rough! Don't push yourself too hard, man. As you can see, the story ain't exactly flying by.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  25. #1425
    So the last improv class I finished not long ago didn't have as much in the way of specific techniques or the like taught. However, it did have a few things on building characters and such that I think is useful. (Note: I may add more to this post in the future, or I may just decide to make another post.)

    How a character walks:
    When walking, does your character lead with their head, their chest, or their "will" (hips)? Depending on which, it typically shows something about the character's personality and behavior in ways you'd likely expect. Those leading with their head tend to think first, to live inside their thoughts, to analyze, perhaps self-absorbed or introverted, head in the clouds, and so on. Some NeS characters like this might include Master Thand, Angie, or Gebohq when he is "emo". Those leading with their chest tend to feel first, to live though their emotions, to empathize, perhaps dependent on others or extroverted, touchy-feely, and the like. Some NeS characters like this might include Rachel, Losien, and Gebohq normally. Those leading with their "will" (hips) tend to act first and live through actions before thoughts or feelings, to react immediately, perhaps sexualized or otherwise physical and the like. Some NeS characters like this might include Nyneve, JM, and Gebohq when running away. Obviously, a character needn't always walk one way, a character can walk slow or fast, looking up or down or forward, and a number of other things that can change things up. Thinking of, and showing, these parts of characters, though, helps define them.

    How a character talks:
    Nothing fancy for this one -- a lot of a character's personality can come through simply by how they talk, which is especially important in a dialog-heavy story like the NeS. You don't need to do, or should do, anything crazy to convey a different voice either; a voice can be different with very simple changes. If your character speaks slow, perhaps they are thoughtful or dumb. If they speak fast, perhaps they are nervous or energetic. A higher voice could indicate youth or femininity, and a deeper voice could indicate they are large in some fashion or serious. The character could also be quiet or loud, use small words, complicated words, practical words, flowery words. If you can convey an accent or character 'type' convincingly, go for it, but otherwise, don't force it. In a written work, we have the reader's imagination often on our sides, and it can help build expectations that we may or may not challenge. Highlighting different ways of talking just helps us identify each of the characters in its large cast.

    How someone reflects and reacts:
    For any communication to be successful, a message must be sent and received clearly by all people involved. For the sender, they must make sure their receiver is aware they're being sent something and then send the message clearly, and for the receiver, they must maintain awareness and listen well for whoever is trying to send them something and acknowledge they've received it. For characters, it'll show a lot about them how they send or receive; even if characters are doing their best to do nothing but pass messages to each other in an identical, robotic fashion, they will likely fail to enunciate or acknowledge they received or yell louder or swing their hips more or curse instead. How would your character reflect and react to a given message differently even in an attempt not to do so? For writers, of course, it's important we do our best NOT to mess up on communication. Other writers -- and especially other readers! -- need to know exactly what you want to convey, so you may need to repeat, exaggerate, and certainly entertain as a sender, and as a receiver, listen and acknowledge!
    Last edited by Gebohq; 12-28-2011 at 01:25 PM.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  26. #1426
    Just for anyone who cares to know, I intend to set up the next story-arc as such:

    Premise: Knowsoul, the joined form of the Darkside and Tsolo, plans to follow Memory Lane (a road which borders the Land of Story-Arcs past) back to the first page of the NeS and consume the lost beginnings of the NeS - and thus the NeS itself. With the questionable help of Master Thand, the NeS heroes give chase to Knowsoul in the hopes of stopping him before it's too late. In short, this will be something of a "clip show" or "bottle episode" where large chunks can simply be recycled post from the past (though 'new' material can certainly appear as well, and even old material can be rewritten if desired).

    Tentative Core Cast:

    Knowsoul -- the joined form of the Darkside and Tsolo, he'll be the primary antagonist of the story-arc. While I'm sure the heroes can 'catch up' and have a skiff every now and then, I mostly see him only really confronting the heroes at the end of the story-arc, serving mostly as a device for the heroes to travel down Memory Lane.

    Master Thand -- He'll be the one to tell the heroes (initially just Al, Geb, and Rachel) of the threat of Knowsoul and accompany them, if from a distance at times. Thand has particular vested interest in stopping Knowsoul since the past is largely Thand's domain and Knowsoul (particularly the part that is Tsolo), is a threat to him. He, of course, also finds this an invaluable opportunity to learn more of the NeS and implement any plans he may have with the rest of the cast, both aiding and hindering when suiting his needs.

    Gebohq -- Despite his role in the past, Gebohq would be accompanying the cast of heroes for 2 reasons: 1) to assist his sister, Losien, the now-main character, and 2) to do his best to win the 'bet' made by Al Ciao (explained later). He'll be spending most of the story-arc working out a new relationship with Rachel.

    Rachel -- She's there officially to keep the balance of Good and Evil in check as Protector of the Plotfractal, but she's also invested in making sure the bet with Al is won as well as work with her relationship with Gebohq.

    Al Ciao -- Due to events that will be posted relatively shortly, Al Ciao will be forced to put forth a bet in a fashion appropriate for the ruler of Hell. The bet will be that, if Geb can successfully stop Knowsoul, Al will turn over the contracts to the souls for everyone else he has, but if he fails, Al will gain Geb's soul. Of course, due to Canadian law, Al can't weasel his way out of it (at least not easily), and he ultimately hopes to free himself of Hell and his friends as well. Al will serve at times as a reluctant antagonist.

    Losien -- As the main character, Losien is obligated to carry out this quest, since she is currently the only one who technically can. She is also taking this time to renew her love with TLTE and 'their child' Amal. The story-arc will serve as happy bonding-time with her, TLTE, and Amal.

    The Last True Evil -- Even with the looming fate as the Ultimate Villain hanging over him, TLTE will seem to be overcoming his fate as he continues to support Losien and Amal. He feels his time is coming soon, and will act in this story-arc as a protective figure for Losien and Amal, particularly from Thand. With Losien and Amal, though, this story-arc will serve mostly as a happy bonding-time.

    Amal -- Having grown up into a wise and discerning young man of character, Amal will be put to his first 'real test' in this story-arc, both as a worthy hero and as a character with depth as he has to deal particularly with TLTE and Thand. With TLTE and Losien, though, this story-arc will serve mostly as a happy bonding-time.

    Young -- While Losien is technically the only one who will be able to stop Knowsoul for good, it is said that Young's blood is what drives what was once Tsolo and possibly the only weapon against him. Nearly on the verge of giving birth to her new child, Young accompanies the group to ultimately protect her mother, but may soon decide that there is only one way to protect the story from the destructive will of the Writers...

    Possible Supporting Cast

    Wai -- With vested interest particularly with Thand, Wai will also do his part at times to help out. As is characteristic of him, however, he's likely to wander off at the most inopportune times.

    Captain Von Trufflesnout -- Liberius Vir's faithful dog, the Captain is at a loss with his master technically gone and replaced by his master's Writer, and feels he can currently be of most use helping the others.

    Antestarr -- Concerned with Young, Thand, and the general future of the NeS, Antestarr tags along to monitor things.

    The possible supporting cast I'm still tossing around. I mostly have been considering them as 1) outlets for the other currently active writers (CM and Lib) and 2) in Antestarr's case, to wrap up a story-line with Young. While I don't know if the heroes will succeed in stopping Knowsoul or not (particularly if Knowsoul will live on past this story-arc or not), I do intend to wrap up the Young story-arc, which may end up being an 'epilogue' if Antestarr is left behind, so that a scene can be set where Antestarr can come in without having him likely being unnecessary weight for the rest of the story-arc. I'll probably also start this story-arc with at least an official engagement between TLTE and Losien, though I'm hoping TLTE the writer himself can cover that.

    While I realize that the previous story-arc dabbled in similar territory with the Land of Story-Arcs Past, I'd like to try and emphasize that the heroes have to stay on Memory Lane, where they can only witness the past, and deviating from the road and into the Land of Story-Arcs past would result in being 'trapped' and any escape would have them lose precious time for the chase. Generally, I'd aim to see this story-arc work from present to past, cultivating on page 1, though obviously some jumping around can and will likely occur.

    I'm hoping this story-arc will also encourage me to work on the NeS Notes site, as I need to get cracking on that. Considering the activity on NeS as of late, my intent is to take this story-arc very slow and assume that I, and probably Al, will be the only ones writing for it, though I do hope CM, Lib, TLTE, Antestarr, and maybe random others will contribute.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  27. #1427
    So in my obsession with the NeS, I've analyzed it in the light of craft and community, as a game, and through several comparisons with improvised acting (here, here, here, here, and here). You thought I'd stop there? You don't know me very well, do you?

    I'd like to talk about potentially fostering the NeS spirit through Agile now. Wait, what does a primarily software-development management system have to do with NeS? Well, I think the principles that presumably drive its manifesto could really help the NeS too (or at least remind us of what we're doing right already), and here's how I think it can. Note that I'm modifying some from my own recent work experience and are not presented in any particular order.

    1. Co-location and paired crafting - In Agile, the assumption is that face-to-face communication is always the preferred option, to which they suggest people work in the same physical location (co-location) and for people (generally programmers) to work in pairs. In the latter case, the idea is that they work similar to a driver and navigator, pilot and co-pilot, scribe and speaker, and are encouraged to switch roles often. For the NeS, I think an ideal would be for everyone to find 2 people who live by them that would like to write, and when possible, write a post together with one of them. Not only do I think this will help general writing and collaborating skills, I believe this will also help build a larger community, as having 2 people not only gives you a "backup" when one isn't available, but also encourages them to find more than just yourself to write with.
    2. Teams: self-made, self-motivated, and trusted - Just like in any situation, whether it be at work or in a gaming guild or whatever, you generally get more out of it if you can feel you're dealing with the people willingly, that you want to pursue a common goal, and that you can trust one another to pursue that goal. This applies both to the larger NeS community of writers and readers as well as the potential "pairs" or the like you may find yourself involved with. In any case, we shouldn't push people into things (I'm very guilty of this).
    3. Collective work ownership - Whatever is crafted, it's done with the intent that it's done with the consent and close collaboration of both the other writers and towards what a reader would want as much as possible. Our posts already let us know who posted what; we shouldn't be building a figurative contract that walls us into arguments when something goes wrong. Characters and ideas aren't mine or yours, they're ours out in a common space to work with together.
    4. Standardized craft standard - Establishing a standard is incredibly useful to keep everyone on the same page as far as what the team feels works and doesn't work as well as having the ability to clearly communicate. We do this to some extent in the NeS already (using present tense, using a script format, using terminology like Non-Story Note, etc.), and while we should always check to see if our standard should be revised, having a standard helps us improve quality of both the craft and community.
    5. Progress measured by what is produced, not planned -This may seem like quite the obvious statement, and I suspect it's more a problem from the world of bureaucracy than anywhere else, and it's still important to remember. No matter how much I go obsessing over the NeS with ideas in the workshop, what ultimately matters is the story posts I make, not spitting out ideas for other people to craft with instead of me.
    6. Progress made in small, quick steps - In the Agile world, they encourage what are called "iterations" which are basically breaking down a project into bites that can be managed in weeks or even days instead of months or longer, with the idea that more is ultimately accomplished. This is why I wasn't very happy about bumping the thread activity from 2 days to 2 weeks, since it encouraged giving more time for planning, for writing larger posts, and for just putting things off even longer, all of which are bad for something like NeS. While I'm not going to change it back to 2 days, I think it's best to try and post more often than note, and post something small and in the moment, something I know I once again have become guilty of over the years.
    7. Sustainable rhythmic pace - Another reason why Agile encourages small, quicker steps on a regular schedule is to keep a doable pace. While doing too little can result in compounded lack of motivation and the like, too much can result in the "death march" syndrome. I've seen it happen to more than one writer who seem to do too much at first and then drops out, quite likely because they wore themselves out. A common example I can pull is "catching up on reading" -- it's far easier to just check the thread every couple days to see what's new, rather than read in large chunks where you need more and more time and eventually becomes unreasonable.
    8. Simplicity -I think this one speaks for itself, and I'll be redundant regardless. Always aim for simplicity, whether it be between fellow writers or to the reader or what-have-you. It's OK to be mundane, really.
    9. Always adaptable - Agile focuses on the importance of accepting changes in a plan no matter where one is in their progress. The same goes here, and again, I am guilty of needing to follow this. If we're at the end of a story-arc, and suddenly someone (our presumed reader in theory) feels it should go somewhere else, we should be ready to take it in that direction. The short: improvisation is good.
    10. Synthesizing - In Agile, they cover this in part with ideas like refactoring and test driven development, and I'm going to broaden the idea a bit with the concept of a synthesis. Basically, you find something currently broken or assumed as the status-quo or something random because you feel like it (the thesis), you "attack" it by showing what fails or presenting an opposite to the status quo or generally experimenting (the antithesis), and then you attempt to reconcile with improvements or present an alternative (synthesis). Since we don't really encouraging the traditional "revision" process so important to most crafts, synthesizing gives us an option for the next best thing while staying in the moment. For example, perhaps Geb is being too much of a coward, so we might put him in a situation where he needs to be overly-brave, and we watch him fail, then tinker to either help him become more brave or discover another reason we don't like Geb being too cowardly (maybe we just don't like him running so much).
    11. Planning game - With Agile, you're encouraged to take time for daily evaluations of what you've done, what you aim to do, what might stand in your way of that, as well as retrospectives for when a team is done with a particular "bite" and "planning games" before they start a new one, to judge among themselves what they could do and relatively judge how feasible each team member thinks a particular task is among each other. Unfortunately, the only real option to implement this sort of thing for NeS right now would be to hold something like Google+ hangouts, and even then, much of it would need to be heavily modified. What I'd take away with this, at least for now, is that while planning specifics is bad, conferring with each other on a general direction and raising concerns we may have might not be a bad idea. Again, I've been guilty even now of saying "here's a story-arc, we're going with this" and not really talking it over first.
    12. Problem solving with metaphors - Sort of the odd ball out on this list, and it's still fitting. Basically, if you're stuck on an idea for where to take a story or how a character might act, try applying different metaphors to it and see if that helps. For instance, how should Geb and Rachel tackle their relationship? Maybe love is like drinking alcohol, or love is a battlefield, or a fire, or a gift, or an adventure, or a plant, and each one suggests a different way of approaching a scene.

    You might notice a lot of similarities with points I already raised in my previous analyzes with craft, community, games, and improv. I don't think that's just a coincidence; I think these things all tap into common ideas that work well with the NeS.

    Also, while not part of the principles, I was reminded of the old practice of apprenticeship, where someone starts out as an apprentice who's primary goal is to learn from a master, then they set out on a journey (becoming a journeyman) to apply their skill and learn from others, eventually with the potential of becoming a master. It's a practice I wish was more popular in fields such as game design, and I think it could be useful to some degree with something like NeS. That is, a new writer could start initially working just as a 'pair' with a more experienced writer, where the new writer can act more like the editorial intern for a bit before becoming an independent writer themselves and 'journey' into the story with other writers. Obviously, this isn't something I'd want to clamp down as a requirement, just act as a good guideline.

    Let me know what you all think of these ideas, please.

  28. #1428

    Post

    Always adaptable - Agile focuses on the importance of accepting changes in a plan no matter where one is in their progress. The same goes here, and again, I am guilty of needing to follow this. If we're at the end of a story-arc, and suddenly someone (our presumed reader in theory) feels it should go somewhere else, we should be ready to take it in that direction.

    This is one particular point I understand and sympathise with the most. From my writing degree the first thing you learn is that you will often need to "Kill your darlings" (or "Kill your babies" for some of the more sinister lecturers ). No matter how much you love something you've written, if it doesn't work then it doesn't work. By not working it could just be slowing the pace of the story, it could just be a floating sentence with no connection to the rest or it could just be confusing to any reader. This can be extended not only to the actual written words but the ideas. Even if you like an idea if it will only get in the way, it might be better to simply not do it or, if already started, bring it to a swift end.

    So many times I've had to chop and change and delete and abandon things I've liked. Mutilation I was calling it. Yet it is a necessity. So, get your kitchen knives out!

  29. #1429
    I definitely agree that, even in traditional writing, a writer has to be able to adapt and change what ultimately isn't working for the best of the story. I'm also glad you brought that up, Britt, as it raises an interesting dilemma: what if the 'change' brought up would make the story worse?

    For example, let's say you're writing a post where Soriel is about to chop off Geb's arm. You're set it up in your post that this is clearly what is intended to happen in the next post, and you believe (we'll assume rightly so) that it'll make for the best story if Soriel chops Geb's arm off. However, in my next post, I decide that Soriel has a change of heart, and doesn't cut Geb's arm off. I may have even gone so far as to suggest that Soriel never planned to cut his arm off, negating without question what you had offered up. It's clear I've done this simply because I don't want Geb's arm to be chopped off.

    What then?

    Well, we can go by one assumption: I am not writing in the NeS spirit, and I also made the story go in a worse direction. Therefore, you are in the right to essentially ignore my post in some fashion, and ultimately return to having Geb's arm chopped off. It would be a downer, as it's apparent from reader and writer alike that you essentially negated in response, and yet it's unlikely the reader or writer will be upset that you took that course of action. After all, my initial negation was far worse.

    I would, however, propose an alternative -- a challenge, if you will. Instead of essentially negating my post, however wrong it is to the story and to each other, you still welcome the change and adapt from there. You can be very clear that you don't LIKE the change; maybe your response post has it so that Geb's arm was meant to be chopped off, and because it wasn't followed through, now Gebohq can't save his sister from dying as he was meant to become braver from a loss of an arm (or whatever it was that would have made his loss of an arm good for the story).

    It certainly won't be easy, and you almost certainly won't like it, and I'd argue that going this route, even if it seems at first to be embracing something worse, will ultimately make both the story and the collaborative effort better in the long run. I know I felt I was faced with a similar situation just now, and I'm doing my best to break my old habits and instead trust that things will go even better than I originally envisioned. It's just like Tetris; sometimes, you got to have pieces in what may be bad places to keep playing in the long run.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  30. #1430
    In reference to Geb's last post, I have three words to say.

    Shadows. Of. Darkness.


  31. #1431
    That story thread is certainly a good example of how running with a 'mistake' can press on with something even cooler (though in all fairness, I wanted to run that story even before that happened, just as a 'what-if?' scenario instead). I'm fairly convinced that I had some improvisation skills back then that I've had to re-discover and become conscious of just recently.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  32. #1432
    Aye, the nature of the NeS means it's much more important to continue the story on from whatever the previous writers wrote up. Of course mistakes happen, that's where our plot holes occur, but otherwise a writer should just work with what he/she's given. That's why we're all writing it here, else what's the point? I could just stick with my own novel. So yes, whatever is given to you you work with and build upon, whether it has gone in the direction you would have liked or not.

    To also add, with regards to my latest post, I don't feel I really portrayed Twin Suns very well. I don't think he's quite what he's meant to be. I'll have to work on that I guess. Also not sure if I've messed anything up or not with regards to the continuity since I'm still not caught up. Hope I haven't caused any plot-holes to arise!

  33. #1433
    In all fairness, I have little to no idea what would be Twin Sun's "character" and it seemed entertaining and fulfilling the need of the scene, so it's good to me! If there are any other plot-holes, I can't say I noticed them.

    Also, for those who don't know, at least for now, I intend to post only once every 2 weeks there isn't a post, partly in hopes of dedicating time to the NeS Notes. I may or may not break from this pattern from time to time as I feel it warrants it.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  34. #1434

    Arrow

    Just wanted to jot down my thoughts on the current cast of characters and whatever other characters I feel deserve some of my thoughts. None of thiss fact or anything, just things I've noted or considered or observed after posting (rather than before hand with specific intentions). Mostly this is all rambling and probably nothing important, so don't worry if you don't read it

    Losien:

    The new "Main Character" of the NeS is instantly at massive disadvantages and is liable to flounder. If left without some serious focus not only does the very character of Losien become likely to flop, so does the very role of 'main character'. Essentially she's weak, that's her defining quality, and whilst the main character should always have development and struggle with their inabilities or concerns and *eventually* become a true leader, she is, as far as I'm concerned, too weak. It's been her defining trait. If ever a joke came up that required someeone weak-willed, she was the candidate.

    However she has demonstrated a more forceful, and overall more believable, nature from time-to-time. Strangely I'd say this came through in TLTE's posts (which is strange due to the fact that she's usually cast as a kind of damsel when placed in relation to him) during her period of resenting TLTE the character. She was determined, strong and sure of her decision not to leap back into his arms; which was all the more powerful as we were well aware, as readers, that she probably wanted to. I think we really need to stop treating her as a one-trick-pony and make her more believeable, there's no reason why she can't be seen as uncertain and looking to others for advice or help but at the same time she doesn't have to be a meek little flower either. I do not want to simply give her lines for the sake of her just being the main character, as a writer that's just not enough. In all honesty, though I finding the lovey-dovey relationship between TLTE and Losien to be boring I believe that she is the most well written during this period.

    The second aspect that was holding her back from being the dominant central character was her brother and former main character; Gebohq. Reading the NeS since the point that Losien is the main character, it's clear that she's the main character in name only. Gebohq essentially made her decisions for her and characters still revolved around him as opposed to Losien. I removed Gebohq from the main cast specifically for this reason, which should allow Losien more room to loosen up and take more lines and leadership roles. Now when she needs help as the main character she can get it from her teammates, instead of the 'main character by proxy'. She does have the good quality of being able to rely on her team more than I'd say Gebohq ever did (although this isn't quite right, he did but I don't think he asks for the help often, instead it was just given out of story convention rules or duty or role.). By getting her support from the other characters instead of Gebohq she is better placed to be the lead role and develop relationships with the other characters.

    Her relationships need to be formed more rigid yet; really you could argue that the only characters she has a solid connection with is Amal, who is so much of a blank character that it doesn't matter, and Rachel. The rivalry with Rachel is one of the most exciting aspects to the current cast. Some of the most fun parts of the NeS were the infights between MaybeChild, Antestarr and The Otter. From reading the NeS, Al Ciao so far seems to have been a supporter of Losien since the Story Arcs Past season and that's something I feel I continued with in some way; though that could be argued that there are simply natural 'sides' developing (more on this later). There are thankfully characters that will challenge her too, which comes under this 'sides' aspect that seems to have popped up.

    The Sides;

    Generally 'sides' seem to have cropped up. I wouldn't say that they're real sides, in that they'll all fight one another, but I'd say more like... cliques within the bigger NeS Hero group.

    Rachel was, in a way, one of my two 'avatar' characters; that is to say, the characters I focused upon the most. Rachel was my dedicated 'central character' for a lot of my earliest posts and Soriel provided backup for her. Because they were travelling together, away from the rest of the cast, they have a friendship there, albeit a strange one. In this respect, Soriel and Rachel are likely to be 'on the same wavelength' frequently and Soriel is likely to put a good word in for Rachel in her tiff with Losien. That doesn't mean he doesn't like or won't support Losien, but doubled with the fact that he's a character that values strength he's likely to be critical of her.

    Likewise Maeve was saved from forgottenhood by Soriel and thus owes him. She also recognises his use and, in a way that I'd just now realised, she treats him as a kind of guard dog. To the point that it could be, in a less sinister fashion, a similar situation to "Unleashed" the movie. Essentially this has given Soriel a specific function within the group. And so Soriel, Rachel and Maeve are more likely to recognise each other's arguments over the others'.

    Likewise Amal would probably support Losien to the death as she's almost a mother figure to him, or at least an older sister, due to his relationship with TLTE and hers with TLTE. As stated Al Ciao also seems to have been particularly supportive of her and thus he generally takes her side, however he also has a rivalry of his own with Rachel (due to her anti-Powerplaying methos and constantly smacking him with a pan) and is, thusly, likely to more often oppose her ideas. The Otter remains largely apart from both groups simply because I feel he likely doesn't care enough to be involved in such affairs, whilst Thand would probably consider himself above such things. However if push came to shove I have bets on Thand taking with Losien. I've already given him a bit of a mentor approach to Losien and I've given both Rachel and Maeve an anti-Thand stance. Rachel already displayed dislike and distrust of Thand by other authors and I added TLTE's distrust to Maeve and even a bit to The Otter. Losien, ever trustful, does trust him and, oddly, I believe Soriel would trust him as Soriel himself is still learning about the NeS and wishes to learn more about how he can manipulate it to serve his own ends.

    Amal:

    Amal has long been a massive problem for the NeS. He always brings down the story because he's so bland and uninteresting. It's all well and good to have the 'blank character' approach but only for a main character who is an 'avatar' for a writer, then he'll never be forgotten and has at least one writer interested in developing him. As it stands Amal has no personality at all and can be incredibly dull. His only function was to be TLTE's charge, his Achilles heel, and is nothing more than a plot device. Which means, if he's important enough to be stuck with the main cast, he needs work. Removing TLTE was both an aid for Losien (again to force her to interact with characters outside of her usual circle) and for Amal. Amal now has room to grow without being the 'cling-on' for TLTE. I removed Young from the main cast mostly because of Amal. Though Losien conrtibutes to the requiring development aspect of writing posts at the moment, Amal is the big one and it would be too difficult to develop more than two characters so extensively during the same period. If Young returns to the main cast I hope it will be when Amal is finally made into a 'real boy'. Then we can work on giving her a real character too.

    Thand:

    I'm not yet up to the most recent of NeS history in my reading but Thand's presence with the main cast is irksome. He's not easy to write for and is best approached with the 'I'm mysterious and I give a lot of exposition because I'm super wise', but this only really works when he shows up in small doses. As a main character he's a pain because there's no real learning with him and next to nothing to develop. I really like him as a character for the NeS but he's much better off out of the central cast.

    Story Arc:

    It seems I always show up during the more restrictive story arcs. First it was the Story Arcade and now it's the Memory Lane. I've yet to experience that true freedom of posting wherever and whatever I bloody well please . One thing it does allow, which is fortunate considering the situation with Losien and Amal, is plenty of character development either through interacting with each other or as a result of the past events that they observe.

    Soriel:

    My personal approach to the NeS is not to be the centre of attention or be the one to produce the next big story arc. I prefer to use the wealth of material around me to advance the characters and expand upon the world as it is. And example is the new found history behind Soriel, his Jupiter heritage. I figured it would be an interesting, if angsty, bbackground plot for Soriel, especially with The Otter (the one responsible for destroying Jupiter) in the main cast.

    Anyway, there's more I could write and other characters to comment on but I'm done for now. Maybe I'll ramble more at a later date.

  35. #1435
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBritt View Post
    It seems I always show up during the more restrictive story arcs. First it was the Story Arcade and now it's the Memory Lane. I've yet to experience that true freedom of posting wherever and whatever I bloody well please .
    Obviously, you're missing the point of NeS. You DO have the freedom of posting wherever and whatever you please! I'd say probably more story arcs have been "derailed" (so to speak) than those that have stayed the course. So full steam ahead, Britt!

  36. #1436
    Hooray! I love these sort of workshop posts.
    Story Arc:

    It seems I always show up during the more restrictive story arcs. First it was the Story Arcade and now it's the Memory Lane. I've yet to experience that true freedom of posting wherever and whatever I bloody well please . One thing it does allow, which is fortunate considering the situation with Losien and Amal, is plenty of character development either through interacting with each other or as a result of the past events that they observe.
    As Al already said, the NeS always has the option to go wherever. If something isn't working, and we work with each other, we derail and barrel off the track in another direction. It's not a train that will fail without rails.

    And I also understand where you're coming from. As part of the desire to want to collaborate and improvise, you want to work with what's given, and what was given (primarily by me) for this story-arc is more restrictive than, for example, the previous story-arc, which was more akin to "do whatever." I blame myself in part since I had anticipated the current situation to primarily have just myself posting with the support of Al Ciao and perhaps the random one from Lib or CM, and had set up things accordingly to accommodate my goals (namely, supporting the need to make NeS Notes, and tying up some loose ends).

    Remember that, while more restrictive than other story-arcs, Memory Lane isn't meant to be much different in style from the College Years story-arc, which is also heavier on character development. Options include direct copy-and-pastes, 'remaking' an old post as you see fit, and making up entirely new past events, as well as the occasional confrontation with Knowsoul (at least at the end), not to mention new posts outside that framework (as Al just did with TLTE). Also, while we have a framework as far as progression (starting on page 1, ending on current events), it shouldn't hold a death grip on the story -- jump around if the moment feels the need to. The progression is simply there as a guideline and goal to reach, and we may decide to alter that guideline or goal as the story calls for it and the other writers can get behind.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBritt View Post
    Losien:

    The new "Main Character" of the NeS is instantly at massive disadvantages and is liable to flounder. If left without some serious focus not only does the very character of Losien become likely to flop, so does the very role of 'main character'. Essentially she's weak, that's her defining quality, and whilst the main character should always have development and struggle with their inabilities or concerns and *eventually* become a true leader, she is, as far as I'm concerned, too weak. It's been her defining trait. If ever a joke came up that required someeone weak-willed, she was the candidate.
    I would argue that Losien was never defined as "weak[-willed]" but rather "lacking self-confidence." It may not seem much a distinction, and for some, they may not see a distinction at all in this context. Losien, however, has always shown an ability to hold her own ground and to act competently and willingly when it relates to others -- she would simply self-deprecate as she did things, doubting that she was, in fact, doing things as well as others. And, as I know you've already noticed, she is far more confident in relation with TLTE. Plenty of characters have had their one-trick pony jokes -- Gebohq as a coward, for instance. I would argue that Losien is to lacking self-image as Gebohq is to lacking bravery; they are both defined by that trait as well as the moments where they overcome it.

    I do agree that, as she stands, she will flounder as a main character, and that, as Gebohq has been shown to be two-dimensionally cowardly for worse, so has Losien with her lack of self-image. However, I believe what she needs more are 1) personal goals and 2) stronger relationships with more characters. These are things I believe Gebohq has that Losien currently lacks too much for someone who is to be a main character.
    However she has demonstrated a more forceful, and overall more believable, nature from time-to-time. Strangely I'd say this came through in TLTE's posts (which is strange due to the fact that she's usually cast as a kind of damsel when placed in relation to him) during her period of resenting TLTE the character. She was determined, strong and sure of her decision not to leap back into his arms; which was all the more powerful as we were well aware, as readers, that she probably wanted to. I think we really need to stop treating her as a one-trick-pony and make her more believeable, there's no reason why she can't be seen as uncertain and looking to others for advice or help but at the same time she doesn't have to be a meek little flower either. I do not want to simply give her lines for the sake of her just being the main character, as a writer that's just not enough. In all honesty, though I finding the lovey-dovey relationship between TLTE and Losien to be boring I believe that she is the most well written during this period.
    I agree with your insight about Losien's relation to TLTE (even if, in reality, that development was more the writer having perceived Losien as a completely different character from the start, if memory serves me right). I also agree that she shouldn't be given lines for the sake of being given lines, and at the same time, I believe that, at least for now, giving her more lines than we might normally will help us discover some more quirks, insights into her drives and relations with others.

    As for the romance between TLTE and Losien, it has been rather boring at times, and it also has a deep-seated potential for things not normally seen in fictional romances. Losien, while far more confident around TLTE, is almost certainly still feeling that she's been considered "good enough" for TLTE, unless we discover some concrete reason why she actually feels truly equal or even above TLTE. Whatever the case, she has a relationship with him at this point that she doesn't have with anyone else, and she's likely to ultimately want to latch onto it regardless of how TLTE acts. TLTE, on his side, mostly latches onto Losien as he does for Amal - as anchors for him to remain good when he's inherently an evil person - and doesn't want to lose her in a reciprocal fashion. It's a relationship of dependency, of selfish need, which to me touches on a much more dramatic take on romance than 'true love' does. Then again, I'm a cynical ******* when it comes to romances, so...
    The second aspect that was holding her back from being the dominant central character was her brother and former main character; Gebohq. Reading the NeS since the point that Losien is the main character, it's clear that she's the main character in name only. Gebohq essentially made her decisions for her and characters still revolved around him as opposed to Losien. I removed Gebohq from the main cast specifically for this reason, which should allow Losien more room to loosen up and take more lines and leadership roles. Now when she needs help as the main character she can get it from her teammates, instead of the 'main character by proxy'. She does have the good quality of being able to rely on her team more than I'd say Gebohq ever did (although this isn't quite right, he did but I don't think he asks for the help often, instead it was just given out of story convention rules or duty or role.). By getting her support from the other characters instead of Gebohq she is better placed to be the lead role and develop relationships with the other characters.
    I definitely agree, and my only 'concern' (not a real concern at all) is that Gebohq made a devil's bet that, without him there, will be very difficult to complete. Of course, that's actually a good thing regardless of the outcome, so long as we address it and don't say "eh, don't care." This will help Losien form stronger relations with characters besides the ones she already has the strongest (Gebohq and TLTE).
    Her relationships need to be formed more rigid yet; really you could argue that the only characters she has a solid connection with is Amal, who is so much of a blank character that it doesn't matter, and Rachel. The rivalry with Rachel is one of the most exciting aspects to the current cast. Some of the most fun parts of the NeS were the infights between MaybeChild, Antestarr and The Otter. From reading the NeS, Al Ciao so far seems to have been a supporter of Losien since the Story Arcs Past season and that's something I feel I continued with in some way; though that could be argued that there are simply natural 'sides' developing (more on this later). There are thankfully characters that will challenge her too, which comes under this 'sides' aspect that seems to have popped up.
    Without TLTE there, I think we can have some really interesting scenes of Losien and Amal attempting to establish a relationship with each other while fully aware that their only current bond is via TLTE, who isn't there. Maybe Losien will discover that she sees a part of TLTE in Amal she doesn't like, or Amal will see a 'threat' to TLTE's attention to him through Losien... who knows? I do like that she's got a relation with Rachel that's definitely developing far more antagonistically than Rachel's relationship with Gebohq. As for the others, I believe Maeve and Losien actually fought each other on page 50 (would have to double-check), she did briefly like the Otter when she first met him (which probably drives her current negative feelings as self-disgust "How could I have ever liked him? It's because he showed interest in me, and there are qualities that--UGH!")... which I really should be noting for "the Sides" below.

    The Sides;
    Generally 'sides' seem to have cropped up. I wouldn't say that they're real sides, in that they'll all fight one another, but I'd say more like... cliques within the bigger NeS Hero group.

    Rachel was, in a way, one of my two 'avatar' characters; that is to say, the characters I focused upon the most. Rachel was my dedicated 'central character' for a lot of my earliest posts and Soriel provided backup for her. Because they were travelling together, away from the rest of the cast, they have a friendship there, albeit a strange one. In this respect, Soriel and Rachel are likely to be 'on the same wavelength' frequently and Soriel is likely to put a good word in for Rachel in her tiff with Losien. That doesn't mean he doesn't like or won't support Losien, but doubled with the fact that he's a character that values strength he's likely to be critical of her.

    Likewise Maeve was saved from forgottenhood by Soriel and thus owes him. She also recognises his use and, in a way that I'd just now realised, she treats him as a kind of guard dog. To the point that it could be, in a less sinister fashion, a similar situation to "Unleashed" the movie. Essentially this has given Soriel a specific function within the group. And so Soriel, Rachel and Maeve are more likely to recognise each other's arguments over the others'.
    +1. Don't have anything to add to any of this other than what I already said.
    Likewise Amal would probably support Losien to the death as she's almost a mother figure to him, or at least an older sister, due to his relationship with TLTE and hers with TLTE. As stated Al Ciao also seems to have been particularly supportive of her and thus he generally takes her side, however he also has a rivalry of his own with Rachel (due to her anti-Powerplaying methos and constantly smacking him with a pan) and is, thusly, likely to more often oppose her ideas. The Otter remains largely apart from both groups simply because I feel he likely doesn't care enough to be involved in such affairs, whilst Thand would probably consider himself above such things. However if push came to shove I have bets on Thand taking with Losien. I've already given him a bit of a mentor approach to Losien and I've given both Rachel and Maeve an anti-Thand stance. Rachel already displayed dislike and distrust of Thand by other authors and I added TLTE's distrust to Maeve and even a bit to The Otter. Losien, ever trustful, does trust him and, oddly, I believe Soriel would trust him as Soriel himself is still learning about the NeS and wishes to learn more about how he can manipulate it to serve his own ends.
    I would actually suggest that, as it stands right now, all Amal really has bonding with Losien is her relation with TLTE -- I don't think he's yet to show any personal relationship with her apart form that. It isn't to say he wouldn't still be on her side more than against, and part of developing the relationship may be Losien trying to get past Amal's "I must like you because TLTE does!" drive -- a drive for him I think he's overcoming himself (to have his own drive, rather). Al and Rachel have a very interesting dynamic as not only is there the animosity of sorts between the two, there's also a kinship in that Rachel respects Al's non-powerplaying side, if in a "I'm still very dominant over you, Al" sort of way. Otter, surprisingly, has his own motivations to swing either way, since he's had more of a history with Losien, though he's likely to be more spurned on a physical level by her at this point too, and while perceptive enough to realize Rachel is more dessert than meat and potatoes, would go for that dessert. This is only if push came to shove, though, as he's more willing to just enjoy eye candy of both. I agree that Thand would ultimately side with Losien, though "side" is a strong word, especially since he was the 'cause' of Rachel's existence in the first place in a significant way, and while Rachel distrusts Thand in many ways, Rachel is also very indebted to him. I don't recall TLTE having anything against Maeve and Otter, and the others seem on the mark too.

    Amal:
    Amal has long been a massive problem for the NeS. He always brings down the story because he's so bland and uninteresting. It's all well and good to have the 'blank character' approach but only for a main character who is an 'avatar' for a writer, then he'll never be forgotten and has at least one writer interested in developing him. As it stands Amal has no personality at all and can be incredibly dull. His only function was to be TLTE's charge, his Achilles heel, and is nothing more than a plot device. Which means, if he's important enough to be stuck with the main cast, he needs work. Removing TLTE was both an aid for Losien (again to force her to interact with characters outside of her usual circle) and for Amal. Amal now has room to grow without being the 'cling-on' for TLTE. I removed Young from the main cast mostly because of Amal. Though Losien conrtibutes to the requiring development aspect of writing posts at the moment, Amal is the big one and it would be too difficult to develop more than two characters so extensively during the same period. If Young returns to the main cast I hope it will be when Amal is finally made into a 'real boy'. Then we can work on giving her a real character too.
    I agree completely with everything you said, and I'm hoping we'll discover something with Amal in this story-arc, else I'm thinking we'll just have to dive straight into "Amal becomes a bland wellspring of evil" and get that part over with one way or the other.

    Thand:
    I'm not yet up to the most recent of NeS history in my reading but Thand's presence with the main cast is irksome. He's not easy to write for and is best approached with the 'I'm mysterious and I give a lot of exposition because I'm super wise', but this only really works when he shows up in small doses. As a main character he's a pain because there's no real learning with him and next to nothing to develop. I really like him as a character for the NeS but he's much better off out of the central cast.
    Thand is a very tricky character to write for, and is best left more in the background. I keep drawing him forward because, unfortunately, if we don't, he's going to become forgotten and weaken from inaction. All I can say is to try and draw from other similar stereotypes: the wise kung-fu master Mr. Miyagi or Kill Bill mentor type who speaks in riddles, old Obi-Wan Kenobi who carries an insight that he keeps hidden from Luke... I can't think of good "bad guy" equivalents right now, but keep in mind he's an antagonist as well (or more accurately, he's the protagonist when the NeS heroes are the antagonists). Unlike the other characters, he takes strength in acting mostly passive, observing, and speaking only when it's most poignant. Don't feel the need to have him spew exposition all the time for the sake of giving him a role - it'll have him come off as a tour guide instead of someone with authority. Again, he's very difficult to write for, so any attempt is very appreciated.
    Soriel:

    My personal approach to the NeS is not to be the centre of attention or be the one to produce the next big story arc. I prefer to use the wealth of material around me to advance the characters and expand upon the world as it is. And example is the new found history behind Soriel, his Jupiter heritage. I figured it would be an interesting, if angsty, bbackground plot for Soriel, especially with The Otter (the one responsible for destroying Jupiter) in the main cast.
    I'm interested in seeing how Soriel works his way again into the cast.
    Featured ISB thread: Hero Force One

  37. #1437
    The following may help with this current story-arc, since it's likely to be more character-heavy. It will also likely become out of date as the story progresses.

    The current cast of major active characters:
    Knowsoul
    Losien
    Rachel
    Thand
    Amal
    Al Ciao
    Soriel
    Maeve
    The Otter
    TLTE
    Michael McLongname

    Characters not included:
    Gebohq
    Young
    MZZT
    Antestarr
    The Illusionist
    Krig
    Various other minor characters

    From the Lens of Character Function:
    Knowsoul: Antagonist (traditional to all). Particularly antagonistic towards Losien (as main character), and Thand (as strongest threat).
    Losien: Protagonist (traditional to all). Particularly protagonistic in relation to Knowsoul (primary threat) and maybe Michael. Potential tutor to Amal.
    Rachel: Foil/Antagonist (to Losien), Supporting Cast/Antagonist (as called for)
    Thand: Tutor/Antagonist (as called for - technically 'protagonist' in that he's established to be more a 'good guy' than the rest)
    Amal: New Guy (while not as much, still a 'hero in training'), Supporting Cast (primarily towards Losien)
    Al Ciao: Supporting Cast (to Losien and Thand), foil (to TLTE and Rachel)
    Soriel: Supporting Cast (to Rachel), New Guy (somewhat out of the loop).
    Maeve: Supporting Cast (to Rachel, unsupportive of Losien), New Guy (also somewhat out of the loop).
    The Otter: Supporting Cast/Tutor (as "veteran").
    TLTE: Foil (to Al, Gebohq, Losien in various ways), possible antagonist at least to Michael.
    Michael McLongname: Antagonist (at least to Losien and TLTE), Supporting Cast (servant of Knowsoul)
    From the Lens of the Interpersonal Circumplex:
    (just Losien)


    Key: Minor means closer to center, major means farther from center, center being Losien (herself), so for example, TLTE as "average/minor" below means she is somewhat dominant towards him and very friendly. Note that she would be hostile/dominant to 'herself' though she's working towards the center, and that is not taken into account in relation to others.

    Dominant/Friendly: TLTE (average/major), Al Ciao (average/average), Amal (major/minor)
    Dominant/Hostile: Knowsoul (major/major), Rachel (minor/average*), Otter (average/minor*), Maeve (minor/minor-average*)
    Submissive/Friendly: Thand (average/minor*)
    Submissive/Hostile: Michael McLongname (minor/average-major)
    Center-ish: Soriel
    *These are relative to their current roles, so Losien could ultimately act 'friendly' to even Rachel for the greater interest of taking down Knowsoul and act 'hostile' towards Thand if he seems to go rogue, so to speak.

    From the Lens of the Character Web:

    Knowsoul
    • Knowsoul: Ranges from selfish to neglecting any thought of himself to convinced his purpose is to consume souls, particularly of the forgotten.
    • Losien: Instinctively dislikes due to her status as main character (making her potentially a large threat) and relation to Gebohq.
    • Rachel: Dislikes so long as she opposes him (considers her a medium threat), otherwise indifferent.
    • Thand: Fears his power to stop him though is aware that his own power acts as a foil to Thand (who depends on characters of the past that Knowsoul consumes)
    • Amal: Dislikes, but considers him too inexperienced to be much a theat.
    • Al Ciao: Considers a minor nuisance at best unless he were to turn into Highemperor, in which case he considers him a wild card which may or may not be useful to his advantage.
    • Soriel: Indifferent, though likely annoyed at likely past attempts to be consumed only to escape.
    • Maeve: Indifferent, likely doesn’t show up on his radar.
    • The Otter: Indifferent, puzzled that such a nuisance continues un-Forgotten.
    • TLTE: Would consider him a ‘comrade in evil’ and disappointed in TLTE’s “good” side.
    • Michael McLongname: Serves well as a second-in-command for his purposes.


    Losien
    • Knowsoul: Apart from considering Knowsoul a vile monster, Losien doesn’t think much about Knowsoul and is one of the few characters Losien does not think well of, similar to her brother’s viewpoint.
    • Losien: While not quite giving up her self-loathing, Losien is beginning to discover that she is worth liking, in part from the support of Gebohq, TLTE, and others, and in part because she feels she must if she is to be “worth” taking up Geb’s mantle as main character. In this process, she begins to judge the negative things she sees in others instead of assuming everyone is super-awesome despite their faults (a mentality she took in relation to her self-loathing and to emulate Gebohq’s outlook).
    • Rachel: Does not get along with her as Rachel’s claims to antagonize her out of the betterment of the story don’t seem to ring true to her. She also thinks Rachel is not good enough for Gebohq (or rather, that she is good enough and that upsets her). Losien puts up with her out of necessity more than anything else.
    • Thand: Mixed feelings. On one hand, she was subject to being sent to Hell by him and is aware of his antagonistic reputation towards the NeS heroes in the past, particularly towards TLTE. On the other hand, she can’t help thinking he’s in the right (particularly strange to her since she is good at spotting weaknesses, which Thand seems to have none of), knows that Gebohq supports him, and currently has been given some aid by Thand. Her current friendliness towards him is, as she sees it, almost out of her hands.
    • Amal: A promising young boy that she may yet be able to raise as a surrogate son TLTE would be proud of. Currently, she is likely to treat him as any one of her young students, as she has little personal connection to him at this point. Given his raising by TLTE and Thand, she will likely discover that she is unsettled by the parts of TLTE and Thand in him she can’t help but admire and frightened by the parts of TLTE and Thand in him that are ominous.
    • Al Ciao: Thinks well of him, in part because of his relation to TLTE and Geb, and does what she can to support him, perhaps also in part because of his alter-ego. While she consciously knows better, she can’t help but admire his alter-ego as well.
    • Soriel: Out of everyone who likely criticizes her, she probably respects Soriel’s opinion the most due to his objective honesty, if frustrated at his observations and his bloodlust. She is a bit disturbed at his conversations with his sword.
    • Maeve: Has had previous conflict with her (somewhat out of her control) on page 50, thinks that Maeve is around simply to help Rachel knock Losien down a peg.
    • The Otter: She thought well of Otter when she first met him, even somewhat falling for him, and is now upset at herself that she thought that way, given Otter’s character. She is only hostile at his more crass side, and would think much more well of him if he acted more like a gentleman.
    • TLTE: Is in love with him (as they’re engaged), but perhaps because of that love, is often strangely uncharacteristically dominant (or at least appears to be) around him at times. She is frustrated that she has a prior quest to accomplish before rescuing TLTE. She may see him as the “bad boy” she has reformed.
    • Michael McLongname: Once in love with him, she had been kidnapped by him when he was first Forgotten. She would consider him a ghost that haunts her.


    Rachel
    • Knowsoul: Is a considerable threat to the continued conflict (and ultimate safety) of the NeS. While she is obligated to stand aside unless absolutely necessary, even appearing to aid Knowsoul if necessary, Rachel is more likely to lose patience and take action against him, particularly since Knowsoul is close enough to a ‘powerplayer’ in her book. Otherwise, doesn’t really care much about him one way or the other and considers how she would act towards him as “business, nothing personal.”
    • Losien: While she is in part antagonistic towards Losien to ensure she develops as a strong main characters, Rachel is personally jealous at Losien’s success, feeling that Losien has wrongly supplanted Gebohq and that she has to compete with Losien for Gebohq’s attention. She only puts up with Losien out of duty and upon Gebohq’s request.
    • Rachel: Thinks mostly well of herself, though is sometimes stricken with an emptiness, as if she has no “weight” of her own and existing only as a prankster, a tool for the story, and for Gebohq (which she can’t help in the “overcome with love” fashion typical of true love stories).
    • Thand: Grateful towards Thand for giving her the opportunity to be close to Gebohq, now feels used and cheated on by him, deciding to treat him as purely an antagonist whom she must either protect or fight against. She is quite aware that he isn’t to be underestimated and is more optimistic than she should be that she could stop him if need be.
    • Amal: Briefly “teamed up” with him against Al Ciao/Highemperor, and like most, considers the kid promising hero material.
    • Al Ciao: As Al Ciao, Rachel is actually mostly fond of him, especially since he helped a little in ultimately saving Gebohq, though still rather dominant over him. Whenever he indulges as Highemperor, however, Rachel rather dislikes him and feels the need to smack him with her frying pan.
    • Soriel: Considers him a valuable ally, especially as he was one of the people who helped in her quest to ultimately save Gebohq. She probably wishes he was less serious, though she knows a good straight man material when she sees it.
    • Maeve: Currently indifferent towards Maeve. Rachel recognizes Maeve’s support and similar penchant for levity, but otherwise doesn’t think much about her.
    • The Otter: Drunks are always fun to mess around with…
    • TLTE: She enjoys ruffling his feathers as well as being adversarial towards him when he’s acting more villainous.
    • Michael McLongname: She’s never really dealt personally with him and thus doesn’t have any opinion of him yet.


    Thand
    • Knowsoul: Considers Knowsoul a significant threat to himself and to the NeS, which is why he’s taking a personal role in ensuring this quest succeeds. However, Thand is fairly confident that Knowsoul can be thwarted by the others, and is content to simply observe and study the situation first-hand, continuing his own plans of good and questionable nature as he sees fit.
    • Losien: While he doesn’t have the same affinity towards her as he does towards Gebohq, he recognizes the importance of her relation to both him and TLTE as well as her current role and sees her as a key tool to ensure things proceed as they should.
    • Rachel: Having been the one to make Rachel’s dream of existing as a major character and loving Gebohq a reality, Thand sees Rachel as little more than a tool for his own purposes, which included developing Gebohq’s character.
    • Thand: Thousands of years with himself as one of the few constants has turned him to rely solely on himself. Without any self-conceit, he considers himself the wisest human in existence, and is also aware of his own past and potential failings as a human. He has a very healthy relationship with himself.
    • Amal: Having initially ‘raised’ him for plans of his own, Thand is upset that TLTE stole him away. With TLTE currently separated from Amal, Thand will almost certainly take this opportunity to try and “reteach” Amal as he had intended from the start. Thand currently thinks little of Amal other than that his great potential had been perverted and needs reworking.
    • Al Ciao: Knew him as Al’s alter-ego back in the days of Atlantis. Likely thinks little of Al or his hopes of redemption from his alter-ego, and would likely think little of using Al for his own purposes.
    • Soriel: Indifferent towards him at this point, likely considers Soriel more a minor character not worth of thought.
    • Maeve: Indifferent towards her at this point, likely considers Maeve more a minor character not worth of thought.
    • The Otter: While he recognizes the Otter as a major character, Thand has no particular thoughts or apparent plans concerning him.
    • TLTE: Sees TLTE as the keystone character to the downfall of the NeS, and doesn’t care for TLTE’s “abduction” of Amal from him. There may be more than his apparently understandable dislike, though, as he has kept others from plans to kill TLTE (this isn’t to imply that Thand actually likes him though, more likely that he feels TLTE must play some role alive).
    • Michael McLongname: Likely pities him.


    Amal
    • Knowsoul: A great evil which must be thwarted. The wisdom he has ‘inherited’ from Thand tells him that Knowsoul’s purpose is not without an understandable purpose as a “trimmer” of the NeS, as a villain for the NeS, and as a check against Thand. The wisdom also tells him though that Knowsoul’s actions are neither to be excused or unchecked.
    • Losien: Considers her something of a mother figure, mostly as she relates to TLTE. Currently, however, he’s likely uncertain what she has to offer to be worth his attention and respect.
    • Rachel: Is aware that TLTE dislikes her, and that Thand thinks little of her. He briefly “teamed up” with Rachel against Al Ciao/Highemperor once before. Amal likely cautiously respects her, or at least her roles in the story.
    • Thand: Despite having been more or less imprisoned by his “uncle” in the past, Amal holds no ill-will towards him, and would likely take up study from him once again. Amal may suffer something of Stockholm’s Syndrome in relation to Thand.
    • Amal: A lifetime of others treating him as having the potential for greatness has given Amal a certain unavoidable belief that he is, in fact, destined to be the hope of the NeS. He finds himself gravitating towards those with great character in his personal quest to achieve this expectation. He finds his own character a puzzle he has to put together.
    • Al Ciao: Holds a level of respect towards him, if only via proxy for TLTE’s relationship with him. Amal, however, has and will stand up against Al whenever he threatens those Amal cares about.
    • Soriel: Knows little about Soriel and has yet to form any real opinion of him.
    • Maeve: Knows little about Maeve and has yet to form any real opinion of her.
    • The Otter: Knows little about the Otter, and is somewhat curious about his history and apparent roles in the story.
    • TLTE: Sees him as a father figure who brought him out of his imprisonment. He highly respects and feels magnetized towards him. Like Losien, Amal is likely frustrated that he must remain on his current quest instead of rescuing TLTE, though he has the objectivity to realize that his frustrations are relatively trivial.
    • Michael McLongname: Knows little about Michael and has yet to form any real opinion of him. If TLTE told Amal anything of him, Amal will likely think the same of Michael as TLTE does.


    Al Ciao
    • Knowsoul: The villain of the century of the week that needs to be thwarted, even if doing so may cause complications.
    • Losien: Recognizes her mostly in relation to Gebohq as Gebohq's sister that he cares for greatly as well as in relation to TLTE as TLTE's love interest. He's unlikely to think of her first before either Gebohq or TLTE. As the main character, though, he wishes to help her, is grateful for the kindness she offers, and likely considers using his Highemperor alter-ego to win her over though restrains himself.
    • Rachel: Sees her mostly in relation to Gebohq as Geb's source of potential eternal happiness. Al is even more wary of turning to his alter-ego around her, since her nature seems to be something of an Achilles' heel to him.
    • Thand: Knows Thand as more wizard than ancient scholar, having known him as Theos from the days of Atlantis back when Al's alter-ego was there. Surprisingly less insightful on Thand than many, perhaps because his alter-ego took so little notice of a man with no apparent power (especially since Thand's claim to fame as all-wise was likely less cemented than currently). Currently continues to underestimate Thand's dangerous potential, having turned to Thand in secret for aid in the past.
    • Amal: May see him mostly in relation to TLTE as TLTE's source of potential eternal happiness, and/or may see himself (or rather the best of his alter-ego) in Amal. Al knows that Amal is not afraid to stand up against him out of loyalty to TLTE, which he doesn’t hold against him. Like many, al sees Amal has having a great potential as a hero.
    • Al Ciao: Considers himself damned in more ways than one, and regards his purpose now only to support his friends.
    • Soriel: Has little thought regarding him.
    • Maeve: Has little thought regarding her.
    • The Otter: A fellow NeS veteran, al might empathize with him to some degree.
    • TLTE: As with Gebohq, the reasons behind his inexplicable bond with TLTE are unknown, though it is likely influenced in great part from TLTE's pseudo-alter-ego helping him separate himself from his alter-ego.
    • Michael McLongname: May be disappointed at the road Michael went down.


    Soriel
    • Knowsoul: A formidable opponent worth his attention in battle, Knowsoul also touches on a part of his villainous side that makes him more uncomfortable.
    • Losien: While Soriel feels Losien is considerably lacking in strength, Soriel seems more sympathetic than the others to her plight for an as-yet unknown reason. His sympathy is likely helped that Losien shares his curse in hearing his sword and cape.
    • Rachel: Having accompanied her on one of his first NeS adventures, Soriel shares a stronger bond with her than most, respecting Rachel's more aggressive side (whether heroic or antagonistic).
    • Thand: Soriel seems unaware of Thand's authority, or else opts to ignore it, and generally acts in either ignoring or challenging Thand's authority.
    • Amal: While Soriel has yet to form any specific relation with Amal, he would likely see Amal as a promising warrior.
    • Al Ciao: Soriel does not seem to think much of Al, though he likely gravitates towards him if for no other reason than familiarity from his first adventure.
    • Soriel: Takes himself relatively serious, tempering his bloodlust knowing that he'll have a better chance at survival (and greater battles to fight) if he does.
    • Maeve: Sees her as a fellow Forgotten.
    • The Otter: Soriel likely would rather not think about The Otter if he can help it.
    • TLTE: Would consider him a worthy opponent, though hasn't spent much time around him to form any real opinion.
    • Michael McLongname: Has yet to meet or really hear about him.


    Maeve
    • Knowsoul: A rather creepy guy who should really stop mucking around with the whole villain-stick.
    • Losien: Holds little respect for her, having gone so far once as to fight her at the end of page 50.
    • Rachel: Admires her far more for her strength in comparison to Losien, thinks Rachel knows how to have fun too.
    • Thand: A strange old man.
    • Amal: An odd young man, not unlike Thand in some ways.
    • Al Ciao: Something of a loser.
    • Soriel: A good bodyguard, if something of a stick in the mud at times and holds questionable ethics.
    • Maeve: She knows she has her faults, and she's just trying to get by life, really.
    • The Otter: Identifies with him as a fellow Brit and lover of alcohol, though would prefer to keep distant from him.
    • TLTE: Doesn't really know him.
    • Michael McLongname: Doesn't know him.


    The Otter
    • Knowsoul: Your standard stock NeS villain, giving little thought to him.
    • Losien: He's actually rather attached to her, though he wouldn't admit it, instead opting to display his usual womanizing self.
    • Rachel: He is perceptive enough to know that Rachel has no real interest in him, and he's willing to ignore it for any attention she gives him.
    • Thand: Strange old guy, though unlike Maeve, the Otter is perceptive enough to know there's more to him than meets the eye. He tries not to think about the implications too much, as they might frighten him.
    • Amal: Doesn't think much of Amal at this point, considering him to not have much to offer at this point.
    • Al Ciao: Considers him something of a fellow NeS veteran, though beyond that, the Otter doesn't have much of an opinion of him.
    • Soriel: Thinks he could likely use a stiff drink or ten.
    • Maeve: Relates to her as a fellow Brit and alcohol lover, though he isn't sure what to think of her beyond that.
    • The Otter: Generally tries to drown his own ability to perceive the world around him, and of the women who don't like him, with his alcohol.
    • TLTE: Considers him a fellow NeS veteran, though beyond that, doesn't have much of an opinion about him.
    • Michael McLongname: Is vaguely aware that Michael could be considered an NeS veteran, and he doesn't really understand his status as Forgotten.


    TLTE
    • Knowsoul: An old villain TLTE would not admit to feeling some strange kindred spirit with in shared evilness and causing of loss. TLTE would rather believe that Knowsoul is simply another villain that will fall thanks to his reformed goodness.
    • Losien: Loves her romantically, and has in large part turned him away from villainy, following even her wish. As with seemingly all his attempts at love in any form, though, it seems to only stir larger issues of his true evil...
    • Rachel: Has a natural antagonism (annoyance) with her due to her magic-like trickster abilities and her own antagonism (not taking things seriously) towards him.
    • Thand: Very adversarial, especially since Thand has claimed him in particular to be the eventual downfall of the NeS and threatens to take Amal away from him.
    • Amal: Loves him like he were his own so, seeing Amal as literally his hope for redemption before passing on for good. Whether his love will bear good or bad fruit is questionable, as it is with TLTE's attempt to do good and love as a whole.
    • Al Ciao: Strangely closely bonded in friendship, despite Al's alter-ego and his own pseudo-alter-ego from NeShattered. Perhaps it is Al's attempt to shed himself from his alter-ego that has drawn TLTE close, or the fact that Al has also been a former villain.
    • Soriel: Likely would respect his discipline and love for battle as well as his villainous tendency.
    • Maeve: Likely doesn’t have much thought on her.
    • The Otter: A fellow NeS veteran, TLTE likely considers Otter simply a wacky drinking buddy type.
    • TLTE: Continually struggles with his desire to fufill his name in True Evil, knowing that it’s not some outside force trying to make him evil but rather his own want to choose evil to be true to himself. He has thusfar been successful in throwing all his efforts into latching onto primarily Losien and Amal as his anchors to redeem himself.
    • Michael McLongname: Once a dear friend, and in some ways, still is, which pains him when he has to deal with Michael, like a ghost that haunts him.


    Michael McLongname
    • Knowsoul: Considers Knowsoul an effective means to an ends, supportive of his goals which he sees as his own and that Knowsoul is more capable than he is at achieving those goals. Knowsoul is his boss by relation as a Forgotten.
    • Losien: Once his serious girlfriend, Michael is conflicted by his continued romantic feelings for her and his hatred at feeling 'betrayed' and left Forgotten.
    • Rachel: Doesn't really know her.
    • Thand: Doesn't really know him.
    • Amal: Doesn't really know him.
    • Al Ciao: Would consider something of an old acquaintance, but beyond that, has no real attachment to him.
    • Soriel: Doesn't really know him.
    • Maeve: Doesn't really know her.
    • The Otter: Would consider something of an old acquaintance, but beyond that, has no real attachment to him.
    • TLTE: Once his close friend, Michael is conflicted by his continued good relations with him and his hatred at feeling 'betrayed' and left Forgotten.
    • Michael McLongname: As a shade of his former self, Michael doesn't even have any real thoughts about himself, driven only by memory rather than actual character.




    From the Lens of Status:

    Knowsoul
    Relative Status: Compared to the other major characters, about average. Some relate to him with low status, potentially underestimating his power, some relate to him with high status, potentially giving him more credit than he's yet earned. Knowsoul, in all cases, acts with high (or indifferent) status.
    Appropriate Status Behaviors to Show: Almost always high status behaviors, regardless of the situation.
    Conflicts of Status: Thand is the only character who can legitimately challenge his status, though others might just due to underestimating his power.
    Changes of Status: Knowsoul probably should not change his status, even when he should. He's more a statue and personification of death and a literary device at this point than a character.
    Opportunities to Express Status: Anytime, particularly when other characters try to challenge his status.

    Losien
    Relative Status: She has historically been lower than most, though uncharacteristically high oftentimes around The Last True Evil, and characteristically high around children (of which Amal is currently included). Currently, she is rising significantly in status, and may find herself dropping around TLTE and Amal.
    Appropriate Status Behaviors to Show: Again, historically, her character is built around exploiting lower-status behaviors at nearly any time, though higher status behaviors are likely appropriate around TLTE and Amal. This is reversed now, at least in beginning to exploit higher-status behaviors.
    Conflicts of Status: Historically unlikely to engage in a conflict of status, though since becoming the main character, has and will do so with those like Rachel.
    Changes of Status: She is building to a higher status since she has succeeded in supplanting Gebohq, and will continue to do so.
    Opportunities to Express Status: Besides that which has already been mentioned, none that I can think of right now.

    Rachel
    Relative Status: Holds a generally average-to-high status among the current cast, fluctuating higher when she is more active as a trickster or Protector of the Plotfractal and lower in any other context.
    Appropriate Status Behaviors to Show: Any high-status behaviors are appropriate when she is actively antagonistic either as a trickster and/or Protector of the Plotfractal, though she may fake lower-status behaviors if need be, and no particular-to-lower status behaviors when inactive. She may also genuinely exhibit lower-status behaviors in certain situations around Gebohq dealing with her love for him.
    Conflicts of Status: Anytime she exhibits higher-status behaviors, she's likely intending to cause conflict of status, in that she defines herself by her roles in large part. She will also likely conflict in status with Losien and possibly Thand.
    Changes of Status: Whenever she switches between active and inactive in her roles, whenever she's particularly smitten with Gebohq, and whenever the situation switches between heavy and light-hearted.
    Opportunities to Express Status: Anytime conflict is dropping, and anytime it suits the story in relation to Gebohq. Serving the roles of both the Fool/trickster and a Protector of the Plotfractal allows for some great freedom to express any range of status.

    Thand
    Relative Status: Easily holds the highest status among the characters present, perhaps even among all characters.
    Appropriate Status Behaviors to Show: Any high status behaviors pretty much at any point. Low status behaviors are only appropriate when he is 1) faking it or 2) genuinely showing his human side. The latter is difficult to pull off well as will be explained later.
    Conflicts of Status: Usually only engages in conflict of status in a reactionary manner, though he will likely have some conflict with Knowsoul.
    Changes of Status: The only time Thand's status has appeared to change has been in regards to the following: Tsolo (more literary device than character who can strip the past that Thand draws much of his power in knowledge from as hinted here – now having become Knowsoul), Evil Geb (who holds influence over the NeS similar to Geb but with a far higher status and control of power as hinted at here), Young (as born a Blank Character with some of the best of other characters in her, has poked through Thand's status once), and Krig the Viking (who unwittingly foiled Thand's plan at this end of this post) -- TLTE may have challenged this status in the same post as well. He is otherwise almost always in a superior position of status, and even the previous examples may be nothing more than feigning for a larger plan.
    Opportunities to Express Status: It can be very difficult to express status for Thand as anything other than unquestioning superiority, which is problematic for a character who should be a significant antagonist, even if the protagonists are meant to ultimately lose to him. To do his character justice, though, seems to mean never allowing him to falter, status or otherwise. Showing snippets of his past, where his status was not so cemented, may be a solution, but this even would have to be done very carefully and would only act as a partial solution. Another, more likely practical solution, is simply to keep his interactions to a necessary minimum, having him act primarily as an observer. I would personally suggest continuing to use this lens, and perhaps others, specifically on Thand in the future.

    Amal
    Relative Status: Despite having great power over the elements of story, Amal has relatively low status among just about anyone, as he is still relatively young in heart. His status, however, is rising significantly quick, already at about average within the group.
    Appropriate Status Behaviors to Show: Mostly displays higher-status behaviors only now, possibly reverting to lower ones around TLTE.
    Conflicts of Status: It should be awkward whenever he drops in status around TLTE, particularly if he’s forced into a “TLTE is the bad guy” situation. He will likely begin challenging the status of those like Losien and Thand with probably some success.
    Changes of Status: Has yet to have much of a change of status either, except perhaps paradoxically around TLTE.
    Opportunities to Express Status: Besides what has already been mentioned, I can think of no others.

    Al Ciao
    Relative Status: Despite behaviors that would be shown, as Al Ciao, his status is likely no lower than average (though often close to average often), whereas when he is his alter-ego, Highemperor, his status is likely no higher than average (though close to average by sheer power-playing).
    Appropriate Status Behaviors to Show: As the "normal guy" Al Ciao, lower-status behaviors are generally appropriate, especially when he wishes to call upon his alter-ego (fidgeting, tense, etc.) though this may be exempt when he is using his "power of melodrama" at times. As his alter-ego, Highemperor, higher-status behaviors are more appropriate (when played up to shamefully-self-indulgent extremes, though lack of these extremes may have their place as well).
    Conflicts of Status: Anytime he wishes to help his friends and feels he can't, or feels the need to asset his ambitions, such that he succumbs to his alter-ego. As Al, he would likely not actively engage conflict of status with anybody, and if he did, would simply succumb to his alter-ego, who would engage conflict of status with everybody even when secure in higher status simply to assert his position.
    Changes of Status: His change of status is heavily tied between himself and his alter-ego rather than in any particular context.
    Opportunities to Express Status: While there are no other opportunities other than what has already been stated, it should be noted that the line between Al and his alter-ego aren't necessarily clean-cut: characteristics of his alter-ego may seep into Al and visa-versa (especially if the story calls for it), and his status should be expressed with that in mind.

    Soriel
    Relative Status: As a relatively new guy and not a "real major" character, Soriel is generally treated with lower status, despite acting with at least average status.
    Appropriate Status Behaviors to Show: Certainly higher status behaviors while in combat, perhaps lower ones as he tries to blend in more with the hero-types.
    Conflicts of Status: Anyone who challenges his status as a capable fighter.
    Changes of Status: Soriel might noticeably drop in status when around Rachel.
    Opportunities to Express Status: Anytime combat enters the picture.

    Maeve
    Relative Status: Relatively average.
    Appropriate Status Behaviors to Show: Unknown.
    Conflicts of Status: Anytime she's in conflict with Losien, and likely fluctuates.
    Changes of Status: Unknown.
    Opportunities to Express Status: Unknown.

    The Otter
    Relative Status: Treated with surprisingly average status, though drops considerably in regards to his womanizing. He himself is average most all the time, perhaps higher with his drunken state.
    Appropriate Status Behaviors to Show: Unknown.
    Conflicts of Status: Unknown.
    Changes of Status: Unknown.
    Opportunities to Express Status: Unknown.

    TLTE
    Relative Status: Having had intensive training as a Soviet spy, among other worldly experiences, gives TLTE a relatively high status among the other present characters, only defering/conflicting with Thand, Losien/Amal (to some degree), and perhaps Rachel.
    Appropriate Status Behaviors to Show: Anytime he is in physical combat, he can be shown to have high status behaviors, though suppressed low status behaviors just peeking out would likely show whenever he's in a non-physical conflict (spy-related conflicts excluded). The more seriously challenging the context of his conflict is, the more he's likely to show high-status behaviors as well and visa-versa.
    Conflicts of Status: Thand presents himself as a target for TLTE to actively fight for status (and likely fail), and may challenge Rachel's status as well depending on the situation.
    Changes of Status: Not likely to change status much except perhaps around Thand, Losien/Amal and Rachel.
    Opportunities to Express Status: Besides what has already been mentioned, TLTE's inner conflict between hero and villain can express various status characteristics when the situation calls for it, both in the traditional hero = high status/villain = low status and in the Christian hero = low status (meek)/villain = high status (pride).

    Michael McLongname
    Relative Status: As a Forgotten, he's actually got "no" status among most others, though when he does interact, he's treated with at least average status, if not higher, and he acts accordingly.
    Appropriate Status Behaviors to Show: Michael is a very calm and distant person, so he would only show lower status behaviors in relation to Knowsoul and, at times, Losien and TLTE.
    Conflicts of Status: With Losien and TLTE.
    Changes of Status: Unknown - as a shade of his former self, likely isn't changing.
    Opportunities to Express Status: Any time he is in a situation to emphasis his Forgotten role.
    From the Lens of Character Transformation:
    (just Losien)


    How does Losien change throughout the story-arc?
    The primary goal in Losien's transformation in this story-arc is to move her from a one-trick pony of self-loathing to someone more confident. So far, she has changed primarily by accepting her role as main character, beginning to stand up for herself against accusations from those like Rachel, and facing herself via the memories.

    How am I communicating those changes to the reader? Can I communicate them more clearly, or more strongly?
    As for the changes that are in progress, I believe they are communicated clearly enough. I believe they can be made stronger by focusing on answering a) her relationship with the others are more concretely and b) establishing her own personal goals more concretely.

    Is there enough change?
    It's debatable. On one side, she is still relatively self-loathing of herself. On the other side, this may be all the change she's currently capable of while retaining believable.

    Are the changes surprising and interesting?
    Surprising? Probably not at this point, though I imagine that could be obtained by exploring her relationships more with other characters such as Amal. Her changes might not be interesting enough either, and again, I think that could be corrected by exploring her personal goals more.

    Are the changes believable?
    At this point, I believe so. It will be a challenge to continue remaining believable, as it'll be very easy to force her to be more 'fitting' of a main character if we let that happen. Again, exploring her relationships with others as well as her personal goals I feel should allow us to remain believable.
    Last edited by Gebohq; 05-20-2012 at 02:04 AM.

  38. #1438

    MEGA-POSTAGE ON WORLD-BUILDING

    As Britt and I both love to sink our teeth into world-building, epicness-forging, and Gordian knots of subplots, I figured I'd roll out some of my thoughts on the NeSiverse. None of this is necessarily canon; some of it is just extrapolations, others are my ideas, still others are merely lists of already established elements.

    Britt, let your fertile imagination run wild! Geb, be ye converted to the Way of the Al-Britt-ishness! All others, abandon hope-- er, or something.


    POWER CENTERS OF THE NeSIVERSE

    Magium
    : Center of magical power and study on Earth (possibly in the entire NeSiverse), built upon a powerful ley nexus in France. Also hosts the Arcane Academy, a satellite campus of which was Semievil's alma mater at NeSU. Loosely run by the Master Council (Hermes Trismegistus, Cool Matty, Mustang, Taliesin, Faust, and Dr. R. Deep).

    Mount Olympus
    : Home of all the gods (at least, Earth-based gods), from pretty much every pantheon. Notable deities include Ares, Nick (son of Ares and Aphrodite), Hermes Trismegistus, and the Monkey King (with suspicious resemblances to Jet Li and Goku).

    Eternal Pantheon: The pantheon of deities relating to the literary and metafictional aspects of the NeS, as well as two others who were likewise introduced with the other members in NeShattered. Based in the Phortress of Phractal, a strangled-alliteration of a fantastic fortress floating the far reaches of outer space.

    Atlantis: Although Atlantis is long gone, and I have only touched upon some of its history in a few backstory posts, it still intrigues me, as well as having its effects felt in the modern day era. Ares, Master Thand, High Imp, and Highemp were all members of the Champions. Stafford, CEO of the Damned Corporation, was once the Philosopher-King of Atlantis and is the first Forgotten character in history. NeSferatu were created here, and Nyneve was the second. The plan for the NeS was the Ancient One's brainchild. Geb and Losien are descendants of the Illuminohi (specifically, Lord Simon), from whom all bloodink descended. Magistarr, greatest wizard of Atlantis, was briefly revealed to be the Plot Hole Wizard a few pages back (yes, that was by me, to no one's great surprise).

    Hero Force One: The premier superhero team of the NeSiverse (at least on Earth, but given how comic book super teams tend to have adventures all over space and time...). Current members include Citizen Rex/Al Ciao, Seraphim, Judge, Acidspitter, Magick Snowflakes, Dr. R. Deep, and Qhobeg (yet another clone of Geb). The Patriot is an inactive member still locked into a plothole with Magistarr the Plot Hole Wizard via TLTE's trickery. Based in the Hovercarrier, currently floating above London; has also been seen in an orbital station. There are also Hero Forces Two through Twelve, consisting of gradually decreasing power and efficiency levels.

    Heaven & Hell: i.e. the divine/spiritual realms. NB: heaven is never directly seen. High Imp was formerly High Angel of heaven; his successor to the position is Serapharch of the Eternal Pantheon. Helebon, Darkside (and Darkside 3000, and half of Knowsoul), and Jim Seven are/were rulers/agents of Hell. Seraphim is a mighty angel attached to Hero Force One, whereas her lover Acidspitter was recently made an incubus. Al Ciao is currently the highly ineffective Mr. Eight, ruler of Canada/Hell.

     

    DANGLING PLOT ELEMENTS

    These have been introduced at various points, admittedly usually by me, hehehehehehehe, and subsequently usually forgotten.

    NeSorcerer: Cool Matty is destined to become the NeSorcerer, successor to Merlin's mantle. The exact role of the NeSorcerer is somewhat vague, although he obviously has great sorcerous powers into addition to plotwielding authority. Magistarr was the first NeSorcerer, back in Atlantis; Nyneve is the current NeSorcerer, have learnt her magicks from Merlin before trapping his spirit beneath Stonehenge; Future Magick Snowflakes is the future NeSorcerer after Cool Matty

    NeSummoner: This was basically intended by me as a title/destiny for Geb, to officially and tangibly cement his place as the central character and hinge of the NeSiverse. It essentially just means being some kind of ultimate Chosen One, with unmatched storywielding powers; as well as, apparently, the ability to summon the kirbies (the unseen stagehands of NeS). Perhaps now that Geb has forsaken main charactership, this destiny shall pass to someone else - Losien, perhaps, or even Young?

    Talismanic weapon forging: This is actually related to the NeSorcerer above. "For every story, a sword" - Merlin was the one who forged the NeSword which the WriterGod bequeathed to Geb at the end of NeS1999. Cool Matty (destined to be Merlin's successor) was told by Master Thand to forge Krig a new axe after his old one broke; either this never happened, or it happened offscreen, and that is the axe Krig is wielding now.

    The forgotten protector of the plotfractal. Stafford was stated to be this (p)AGES ago. That is, he was the sixth protector of the original 5 (Jim, Ares, Cthulhu, Morris, RobX), but was Forgotten.


     
    HIGHEMPEROR AND POWERPLAYING

    Highemp, of course, is a sort of Author Avatar, my struggle between melodrama and zaniness writ large on the canvas of the NeS (complete with purple prose, as you can see). As a great deal of the epic world-building of NeS derives from my ideas (at the very least, in my own mind), I postulate (and have said specifically, in that monster backstory post of Highemp and High Angel/Imp) that Highemp has meta-creatively powerplayed the powers of the NeSiverse into a cosmic architecture, so that:

    1. he may have a suitable backdrop to highlight his epicness.

    2. he may direct himself into the head of the hierarchy.

    3. he may still be contributing to the story, as the only way powerplayers can be tolerated is by advancing the story with said powerplaying.

    Conceivably, Highemp is the mightiest being in the NeSiverse, given that a talented powerplayer can do anything; that is the whole point and threat behind a powerplayer. What makes Highemp especially dangerous is that, as said above (as well as in the story before, by myself), his powerplaying advances the story (at least to a minimum degree of acceptability) so that he is tolerated by the other Writers.

    Of course, when Al Ciao the Writer (aka me) is quescient regarding epicness (at least mostly), Highemp becomes relatively harmless, or at least, far less dangerous or effective. This, of course, is the in-story danger behind Britt and Al the Writers teaming up, as (in real life), Britt's predilection for world-building, subplots, and epicness has always brought out the same spirit in me (as far back as when Britt and I first started writing together). Hence my posts suggesting that Al and Britt the Writers are the only ones the other NeSiversal powers fear -> they can awaken Highemp's powerplaying in particular, and wreak epic havoc on the NeS in general.


    ON ATLANTIS

    I created the backstory of Atlantis for two reasons: one, my general love of epicness; and two, the fact that it, being far removed from the present day, can be as epic as I like without screwing with the main NeS. Given the latter, it has mutated into pretty much the Uber version of everything else in the NeSiverse, as follows.

    The source of bloodink. Bloodink (as established by me and, surprise surprise, meta-creatively powerplayed into existence and significance by Highemp) is the source of Geb/Losien's centrality/importance/destiny, and first originated in Atlantis with the Illuminohqi. Geb and Losien are the descendants of Erro Simon II, who was the only survivor of the Desmond's purge of all 12 Illuminohi families. In Atlantis, however, you had all twelve Illuminohqi, of which Lord Simon (Geb and Losien's ancestor) was not the most prominent.

    The high sorcerers of Atlantis. The Magium consists of mighty mages, but Atlantis invented high sorcery and were never surpassed. Magistarr and his circle of 40 mages summoned the Ancient One (aka AncientWriter) into NeS. This magical supremacy is primarily an informed attribute, however.

    Atlantis' pantheon. This has not yet been touched on by me in the story, being only an idea floating loosely in my head. If Mount Olympus is the center of deific power in the modern day, surely there would have been an even more uber Ur Pantheon in Atlantis, despite the fact that the WriterGod is the city's supreme patron.

    Heaven & hell. The greatest powers of the divine hierarchy (both celestial and infernal) were prominent during Atlantis' time. For example, you had Helebon at the height of his power during this time (both personal power and political/military authority in the divine hierarchy); back then, Helebon surpassed any power Darkside and Jim Seven would ever have. You also had High Angel, supreme archangel of the WriterGod and avatar of the Lightside matrix (counterpart to Darkside); the present-day successor to High Angel, Serapharch, is not as powerful as High Angel was.

    Champions of Atlantis. Even Hero Force One pales before this superhero team. Highemp? Check. High Angel? Seraphim, eat your heart out. Magistarr? Pfft, Dr. R. Deep can suck it. Ares? Do you see a war god in the NeS heroes or Hero Force One? Adai Theos? That's freaking Master Thand - back when he was super strong as well as super smart/wise.

    NeSorcerer. Magistarr was the original NeSorcerer, and possibly the greatest. At the very least, he and Merlin were roughly equal. This position, as mentioned earlier, combines the most powerful magicks with the most quintessential plotwielding.


     
    NeS1999

    Britt, in case you didn't know, NeS1999 refers to the last few posts of NeS page 50, regarding that uber showdown. So called, as the last post was #1999.

    NeS1999 is fascinating; it basically involved everything in NeS to that point, wrapped it in cookie batter, and was baked into an uber-epic cake frosted with flashy showdowns. (Mixed metaphors? I have no idea what you're talking about >.>)

    Here's the other reason I'm fascinated by NeS1999. What's the biggest problem in comic books, or indeed, any ongoing story? Topping oneself. If there's an Ultimate Battle of All Time every week, then nothing has any meaning. (This is of course lampshaded in NeS with the term Ultimate Fight of the Century of the Week.)

    BUT-- what if we continue to build on NeS1999, instead of trying to top it in an infinite progression of meaninglessly more epic epicnesses? For example, in my monster backstory post with High Angel/Imp and Highemp, I expanded on their conflict in NeS1999; both the actual duel between them, as well as the pathos of it AND the significance of it to Highemp's plan (inheriting the mantle of bloodink, which conferred supremacy on him in the opening/rebirth of NeSquared, which led directly into NeShattered).

    Antestarr (the actual writer) first came up with the Ancient One as a being from another universe who thought the NeS into existence; he mentioned that he died at the end of NeS page 50, as the NeS became self-sustaining with NeSquared. I expanded on that - equating the Ancient One with AncientWriter the Writer (first mentioned briefly by MZZT in NeSo) in Atlantis, and then mentioning that he moved to Deitopos in the dreamstate after Atlantis sank, dying there during NeS page 50.

    So NeS1999 could be further expanded; other people's viewpoints in the conflict can be referenced. What was Hero Force One doing as the world disintegrated? Or the Magium? Or Master Thand? Or Nyneve, or Mustang, or Morthrandur? Etc.

    In the last post of page 50, the WriterGod's voice could be heard, saying that his bequeathal of the NeSword to Geb was his one intervention in the NeS. Wow! That is a really significant moment! Imagine how this could be extrapolated on - both in the current period, where the NeSword is still around, or in NeS1999 itself. I created a lot of backstory (mostly involving Atlantis) that highlighted some of that showdown's significance; more could be made regarding the NeSword. What made the WriterGod intervene? Wasn't Merlin the one who actually created the NeSword, presumably with the WriterGod's blessing (albeit this was something I later added, before Krig had finished writing NeS1999)?

    Something else to consider here is this: if anyone is familiar with comic book events like Crisis on Infinite Earths (DC Comics, 1985) or Zero Hour (DC Comics, 1994), you may remember that all time and space began merging into one meta-dimensional point (dinosaurs and space pilots amok in New York, alternative versions of people co-existing, etc). Now how this can happen in multiple different crises is a little murky to me. And if ALL time and space are merging... how come they're not dealing with this basically all the time, even with the crisis is over? At least with some kind of deja vu, maybe.

    So, perhaps NeS1999 could be a form of temporal zero hour, as well, so that instead of merely expanding on it as backstory, it can directly affect the present story (or any further points on down the line). We've been creating backstory with newly revealed memories on Memory Lane that directly tie in to contemporary events in NeS... the same kind of thinking could hold true for NeS1999.

     

    FAME OF NeS HEROES

    Geb's stance has always been that the NeS heroes are little known to the world at large. Britt's creation of Hero Force One reinforced that, establishing the latter team as the premier global hero celebrities. However, at least in my thinking (as reflected in some of my posts), some of the NeS heroes are individually famous, without reference to the team itself.

    Losien Simon. Famous for her charity work, her sexiness, and her epic romance with the exotic Russian spy TLTE, despite her camera-shyness. The movie From Russia with Love, starring Liam Neeson and Rachel McAdams, details her love affair with TLTE up to his (first) death on page 30 or 40 ish in NeSo.

    TLTE. Famous mostly by being Losien's lover, although being a former Russian superspy doesn't hurt his image.

    Al Ciao. Not famous as himself. As Mr. Eight, ineffective ruler of Canada/Hell, he is indirectly known by world leaders and global populaces as such, although the fact of his true identity is not known beyond the Great Granite Fortress. Is also famous as Citizen Rex, paragon idol of Hero Force One.

    Krig the Viking. Beloved, if scandalous, ruler of Switzerland.

    Every team member. Are notorious to local authorities for being incorrigible double parkers. ^-^

    If I missed any, lemme know!


     
    POWER RANKINGS

    Only a true comic book nerd like me would love power rankings, haha. These are rough approximations, and primarily based on my opinions. I suppose my opinions might carry a little weight, as I'm pretty much the one who invented all these entities =O (Perhaps I should take a hint, haha)

    Top Prime Tier: Powerplayers.
    ---Highemperor (cf. Al Ciao and Britt the Writers, who are behind him), as expounded on above
    ---High Imp (powerplayed to be the one true rival, in terms of power and pathos, to Highemp; in addition to having pacts of power with basically every major NeSiversal entity)
    ---Stronghold of Powerplayers, currently led its most powerful members, the 6-member Pantheon of the High Throne

    Top Secundus Tier: WriterGod.
    ---Why is he here? A, he tends to let others have free will. B, it generally tends to be powerplayers that give him any kind of prominence in the story, just to highlight how awesome they are.
    ---His one intervention, the NeSword (as expounded on above)

    ALL LESSER TIERS ARE SUBJECT TO POWERPLAYING AND/OR WRITERGOD(and as such, fear Al Ciao and Britt the Writers)

    1. Serapharch (second to the Nameless/WriterGod, now that High Angel is fallen). Mainly an informed attribute from NeShattered

    2. Eternius the Omnarrator (at least, on his business cards; was implied to be supreme among the Eternal Pantheon in Neshattered), Phractal (supposedly the third in power, behind Serapharch's 2nd)

    3. Helebon (as of Atlantis), Hermes Trismegistus (greatest high sorcerer + mega speed + Ares' power), Ohgmorkoth (you gotta be something to be the greatest alien, non-Earth deity in the universe), NeSorcerer(s) (high sorcery AND plotwielding; cf. Merlin, Magistarr, Cool Matty, Nyneve, Future Magick)

    4. Eternal Pantheon over the primal NeSiversal elements.

    5. Editor (of the NeT, or Neverending Tower, deceased as of NeS1999), Writers, Storywielders (characters with the power of Writers), uber deities (ala the Monkey King and potentially Nick) and high sorcerers (masters of the Magium)
    --cf. the Characters(TM), who are the NeS heroes, all the power from AncientWriter the Writer to ArmageddonWriter the Writer funnelled into them (informed attribute, from NeSo page 42, when EeP was first introduced)

    6. deities of Mount Olympus

    Wild Cards: Morthrandur ("agent of Forever", as powerful as he needs to be, ala the Phantom Stranger); Michael McLongname the Twice-Forgotten One; Writers (theoretically subject to Editors and EditorGods, and the like; yet can pretty much do what they want)


     
    FURTHER NOTE ON POWERPLAYING AND EPICNESS

    Mostly a reminder to myself. If I want to write the most uber epic story ever, I'll go continue my story The Twelve Labors of Mychael Strangefate. I do not have to make everything I touch the Ultimate Saga of All Anti-Existentessence of the Week. The primary draw of epicness here (for me) should be to use Al Ciao and/or Highemp to explore my conflicting motivations and desires. Britt, stop corrupting me! ^-^

    And of course, I say that, because the NeS is ALL ABOUT ME.

    So in practice, I'll probably write epic-ness stuff, shuffling back and forth over the line between uber epic sagas lololololol and zaniness. Epicness is an addiction, I tell you! I'm a sick man! Pity me! ...Anyone know where the local chapter of Powerplayers Anonymous is? ^-^


     
    NeS: THE NEXT GENERATION

    Hmm, I seem to have made this another uber epic team, on par with (or greater than) the Champions of Atlantis. To wit:

    Future Iriana Emp. She seems to have done an about face and embraced her father's powerplaying nature. Plus, since she's actually female, she gets bonus points as a Mary Sue.

    Future Magick Snowflakes. She seems to have leapfrogged past Cool Matty as uber chosen NeSorcerer, plus gotten Hermes Trismegistus' magickal might, in addition to becoming a NeSferatu. Whew! What a mouthful.

    Future Amal. Well, he's bulked up physically, and is supposedly the uber greatest Storywielder of all time lololololol. Or something. Although shortly after Amal was originally introduced in the NeS, he was stated to have been empowered directly by the WriterGod (although that may be the case with all Storywielders, who knows).

    Future Nick. Son of Ares, bursting with power. Check. Son of Aphrodite, full of sex appeal, charm, and likely mind-influencing effects. Check. Speed and magical might of Hermes Trismegistus. Check.


     
    LOOSE IDEAS O' MINE

    Various HQ's for the NeS heroes. This has been suggested at one point in the story, and I rather like it. That is, that while the HHoH can be the primary base, they should have several safehouses. Britt, to my delight, is already working on this with MZZT renovating Big Ben. We can also rebuild the Chikin Shack of Heroes, or maybe the Big Ben base can expand into the Chikin Chateau. I believe MZZT personally had an Antarctic base at one point; while it was destroyed, who says it can't be rebuilt? My personal preference would be to have safehouses be already-established locations for the heroes in the story, rather than new ones. Like Otter's old Crow's Nest.

    Merlin. The guy's still languishing in Doughnutdelf. Perhaps there should be some resolution between him and Nyneve; and he could impart some wisdom to Cool Matty. Speaking of which, Doughnutdelf, beneath Stonehenge, was built by the Druids (who also built Stonehenge). In fact, according to one RL legend, Merlin had a hand in making Stonehenge. This could tie together very nicely. Particularly since the Druids (and their leader, Undramondignonhafabigmajicthing - you can thank Krig for that moniker) showed up on page 6-ish of NeSo.

    New team colors! For Hero Force One, that is. I recently noticed the following: Acidspitter's mohawk is purple. Dr. R. Deep's energy katanas are purple. Judge's telekinetic aura is purple. The whole team should adopt purple colors! Haha. This is a minor thing, but who knows what exciting subplots we could make with this.

    Acidspitter & Seraphim. High Angel got kicked out of heaven for forbidden love; what about Seraphim? Especially since she's dating an incubus from Canada! Given that these two celestially polar opposites are in love (and are my favorite NeS couple), it'd be interesting to deal with the consequences of their relationship.

    Al Ciao's subplots. His three kids: Iriana; the demigod alien/xenomorph queen who was born out of his stomach (Alien: Resurrection-style) way back in NeSo; and Mia's unborn child; and now Apple's unborn child! I'd love to follow these up. His hair-pullingly frustrating rule of Hell. It'd be interesting to see what he does to try to reduce soul inflation, haha.

    The Never War. What was the NeSiverse like meta-temporally "before" Michael twice-forgot big chunks of it? What about the war that was never fought (being twice-forgotten) to stop it? How are the NeS characters involved? This could also tie back to NeS1999 - what was that showdown like before Michael's intervention? Was this also the site and time of the ultimative conclusion of the Never War?

  39. #1439
    First, to rain on your parade, I remind you once again that you should do your best to restrain your epic world-building with a billion plots. Why?

    • Because focus is lost. It's far more difficult to keep track of things when reading and writing, regardless of if the quality is kept high.
    • Because quality will likely suffer. All the time you spend expanding other ideas is taken away from time deepening understanding of characters and situations we already care about.
    • Because it should never drown the main story. Think about Return of the Jedi. Sure, there's some parallel stories going on, but they all work harmoniously. If they went away from Luke fighting Vader for an hour to show a budding romance between Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors as they explored Nar Shadda, you'd probably be pretty mad as a reader, and as a writer, want to write back into the fight between Luke and Vader!

    Remember, any world building should only be there as a resource for if and when it helps strengthen a story. Personally, I feel both of you two (Al and Britt) are getting carried away with your natural inclinations, which is understandable considering you're mostly working off just each other. I propose the two of you, if you will, to challenge each other to focus more on the primary characters, or at the very least, try to tie the other stories more with the primary characters so as to build a sort of narrative pyramid. Parallelism can only go so far.

    With that said, I'm going to poke at all the world building ideas you posted, Al. Despite what some may think, I too enjoy world-building the NeS, though I'm fairly sure in a far different way than you do.

    Power Centers of the NeS Universe

    I like that there's generally "one place" for things like where magic users go, where the gods can be found, and so forth, and I prefer to emphasis mundane reasons and qualities for these sort of things. There's already only one place for the gods because it seems they're more or less evicted from their other homes and it's the only place they can 'afford' when so many people don't 'believe' in them anymore. Hero Force One (which, by the way, I actually came up with) could have become the only 'real' superhero group because they buy out all the other upstart ones, The Magium could be the 'best' place for magic because that just happened to be the place most powerful magic users lived... who knows.

    In any case, as you mention later, I prefer to have the main characters not be considered worth attention because if you build up something as the strongest/best/etc., it's always easy to say "hey, there's something better" and if there isn't, well, that's just boring. I find it much more interesting that, for example, Geb as a professional hero is a chump compared to the likes of The Patriot, who could punch Cthulu in the face and perform 12 impossible Herculean labors before breakfast -- it makes it so that when Geb has to deal with something like Plot Incarnate, his struggle means something, and the reader understands when he fails (which he ultimately did at the end of page 50). Having these "power centers" only concerns me in that it informs me of the kind of world the characters I care about live in - nothing more.

    Dangling Plot Elements

    I'd like to say that, if you didn't spend so much time trying to build the NeS into something more epic and adding a thousand subplots, that you'd probably have to worry less about dangling plot elements, since you'd be more likely to pay attention to them.

    NeSorcerer: Yup, can't say I ever cared about this one. Perhaps if the reason for this role is ever established, and we see how the characters care and are affected by this role, I'll start caring too.

    NeSummoner: I'd like to point out that, once again, the role means little to me. More importantly, though, it was established at the end of Page 50 that Geb was /not/ some "chosen one" and even if he was, he failed to live up to it. If you feel the role must continue, I would suggest that it's discovered that Losien or Amal are the true NeSummoner.

    Weapon Forging, yawn.

    Protector of the Plotfractal: Admittedly, I don't think it was ever said outright "the former Protectors were disbanded" -- however, it has been implied heavily at least once by Jim Seven since he has said he is no longer a Protector. The idea was that, after page 50, the former Protectors had failed at their jobs and had lost their authorities in the matter, and that's why the NeS had to appoint new ones, such as Stafford, Rachel, and (at one point), Evil Geb. Were I the type to "retcon" things in NeS, I would eliminate things like the Hands of the NeS and the like so that it's clear that there are only these certain characters given a specific role to serve the NeS in keeping it alive through adding conflict for either good or evil.

    Highemperor and Powerplaying

    I should make this clear now: I would have very much preferred that Highemperor's "tale" to have ended with the first page of NeShattered, and have been done with it there. Al Ciao could have then been a character of his own, and you could have expended your efforts into truly trying to avoid powerplaying. As it is now, I feel having the Highemperor alter-ego has become an excuse to allow yourself to still powerplay, and even when you focus on Al Ciao, that he powerplays in spirit, since so much of the story still often revolves around him (ex. Losien and Rachel fighting over him, people trying to find him because he carries the Highemperor mantle, etc.) I don't believe your awareness of your own powerplaying gets you off the hook. This is the NeS, though, and we don't negate things in the story just because we don't like them.

    I also have to debate whether Highemperor is really "contributing" to the story at this point. All that's really being contributed are other subplots that push HIS story forward, not others. He was only tolerated before when his story pushed OTHER characters' stories forward, which I don't think he's done enough to warrant the toleration at this point.

    On Atlantis

    The idea of Atlantis as the 'peak' of things in NeS is pretty fitting, as I see it, since in at least a story-world, the state of the world was ALWAYS better in the past, and due to necessary conflict, things got worse: evil got its way more, people of all kinds are weaker, the "beginning" is always the source we generally care about, and so on. It would make sense that it'd have to 'sink' from a plot-hole too.

    The only thing I have to add is that Master Thand is still human. At this point in NeS history, while he is both strong as a legend and a wise man, he should NOT be considered as wise or even as "strong" as he is now. He appears unassuming now, yes, and it's been shown that his 'strength' is at a point where challenging him is, with no exaggeration, suicidal. It's cool to see him make mountains, yes, and that should only imply how scary he could be now if he wished to be (which, unlike a powerplayer, he has no desire to show off).

    NeS 1999(end of page 50)

    I would vote against turning that event in NeS history into some sort of temporal zero-hour whatever it is you described. I would vote FOR keeping that event a pivotal, important part of NeS history -- one that, as has been implied in NeSquared, is destined to repeat over and over every 50 pages. You can certainly have similar events from the first "endgame" post of the original thread come up again at the end of NeSquared, but anything more than that I think is WAY too needlessly complicated. As you said, it was a way to culminate everything in the original thread -- and it did so fairly naturally. It should be the same way for the end of NeSquared as well, and forcing the story to fold back on the end of page 50 will detract from the things in NeSquared. Keep the end of the original thread important history, and trust that letting the future of NeSquared unfold as it may will bring an even more fitting climax.

    Fame of the NeS Heroes

    Whether I like it or not, the fame of some of the individual characters has been established (though I'd like to point out they were mostly established by you, Al). Again, if everyone is famous, then no one is famous. If everyone is special, then no one is. Think of what makes a good story and not what makes for better wish fulfillment.

    Power Rankings

    I actually rather like finding these things out in, say the Marvel universe, and it's mostly because I'd like to know that if, say, Loki is considered potentially one of the most powerful beings ever, and that maybe Black Widow is considered little more than a normal human, how much of a fight COULD Black Widow put up before she lost? Or how would she be creative (tricking the trickster)? Could the two get along despite one clearly being out of the other's league with wildly different agendas? It's just an adolescent indulgence if you just want two characters to figuratively arm wrestle each other -- if they're going to arm wrestle, there should at least be an interesting reason behind it!

    As for your actual ranking... can't say I really care. As far as I'm concerned, there's more or less minor characters, there's normal humans, and there's god-like beings. Everything else fluctuates as the story calls for it.

    Further Notes on Powerplaying and Epicness

    SMACK WITH THE FRYING PAN!

    Seriously, please keep the reminder you gave yourself here in mind. This is the NeS - allow yourself to stretch your writing skills, to go in directions you normally wouldn't, to just do wacky things with characters instead of feeling the need to build a huge house of cards.

    NeS: The Next Generation

    Again, I'd like to go on record in saying I really don't care about these characters, and I feel they just distract from other things as they have little relevance to anything else going on.

    Loose Ideas

    Various HQs -- I don't have any real problem with it, though I always felt that even them having one at a place like Big Ben was suspicious. Had I my way, they would have realized it was terrible real estate because they always are interrupted by the deafening rings. How these heroes, who seem to have no money, manage to do as much as they do baffles me, and it's why I like the stories where they have to go off finding other ways to pay the bills.

    Merlin -- As with any other character we ourselves haven't created (especially if they're not under public domain), I prefer to keep these characters as minor things tossed into a scene briefly for a joke or just to establish that, yes, the NeS is a story world. If they become too involved, the NeS starts becoming fan fiction, which I find to be just (say it with me) adolescent wish fulfillment.

    New Team Colors -- Purple? That doesn't sound very American! Hero Force One is generally an American-minded superhero team, like the Justice League of America. As is common with so many modern stories, America is the self-appointed best of the best alpha-dog, and anything that says otherwise is suspect to being a terrorist.

    Acidspitter and Seraphim -- Ugh. They. Are. So. Bor-ing. Yes, please, show me some consequences! So me with Seraphim wondering if her love was really worth getting kicked out of Heaven! Show me how she wishes Acidspitter would change and not be a Hell minion. Show me how she subtly disrespects him because she's way out of his league. If they really love each other, show me them resolving a bitter fight through hard work and compromise!

    Al Ciao's subplots -- I have to admit, I really liked seeing the side of Al that showed him being a dead-beat (though still attempting to care) father to Iriana. THAT'S a special development of a character trait I find fascinating! And while I did enjoy Al trying to deal with the hell that is Hell (har), I feel like you and the rest of us sort of ran our ideas dry with that one, and feel it'd probably be best to (naturally!) try and resolve that situation somehow. Right now, it's becoming a forgotten trait of his, and I still wonder how he's going to resolve the deal he made with Geb (I don't see it turning out very well, which is exciting!)

    The Never War -- Zzzzz.... This reminds me of the Temporal Cold War they tried to do in Enterprise, and the series did better when it dumped it and focused on elements of the Star Trek series that were already established, like the upcoming Romulan War, the Mirror Universe, and the like. Again, you bring up questions which are unanswered right now and thus I find difficult to care about. I'd also like to point out that Michael is not the only major character to have been "Twice Forgotten" -- Semievil has at least fallen into that role as well, and I'm sure more others too. And before you run off involving Semievil into the story, remember what I said about losing focus on the main story!

    Geb's Kinds Words

    I didn't want to leave off feeling like I hate everything going on, so here's my attempt at some positive feedback.

    First, I appreciate Al that you're generally continuing to give good "introductory" descriptions of old characters that get reintroduced, such as when you did so with Antestarr. I feel you've continued to improve significantly in helping keep the potential reader up to date on who these characters are, and you were the one who got the much needed "summary and cast" blurbs going on the top of pages, which I think helps immensely.

    To both Al and Britt, when you've been zany and such, which is often, I do often find it funny and entertaining. I do not think that's an easy thing to do. When the two of you do write about the main cast even in a more 'dramatic' way, I find you two do a generally good job of developing character and such too. And, of course, you two have been writing like mad, so regardless of the criticisms I make, I am FAR happier that I can make these sort of criticisms instead of finding myself without any story posts.

    A Reminder to All of Us

    We shouldn't be writing just for ourselves. We should be writing with the hopes of gaining new readers and writers. Ask if we can get new people involved by showing them the last page of our story. Will they be able to follow enough, or will it leave them so lost as to frustrate them? Will they find the characters and scenarios engaging, or will they find them boring? I am not suggesting that we need to be able to appeal to everybody. I am suggesting that we need to be able to appeal to people other than ourselves.

  40. #1440

    Post

    Okay, since I've been referenced a few times and spoken directly to in these workshop posts I suppose I ought to make one.

    Sub-Plots vs Main Plot

    Firstly I want to completely disagree with Gebohq on the current scenario of sub-plots. I don't think there are too many of them at all and they can all be tied to the main cast in some fashion or another. If we had directly competing plots that seemed to both be very important then I would agree but as it stands all of the sub-plots are clearly being over-shadowed by the main plot. A lot of them are tidbits I brought back to simply clear up or because they seemed to fit into whatever I was writing at the time.

    The only sub-plot I feel has the potential to become a problem to the main plot is the time-hole but I deliberately did it so that it can be linked in with the current plot at a later stage of the main plot's development. The time-hole is also another plot started long, long ago and has continued on through 'til now, I just brought it back to be wrapped up; which is the majority of the plots I've done so far. If you are speaking of possible readers, who presumably read all of the NeS, then they too will still feel these gaping sub-plots and be constantly wondering when they'll finish up. My personal quest is to do so. And in all honesty some plots to be left in the wings is great, I enjoyed the war on Disney coming in and out of the storyline and the Forgotten Army has been a constant one for a long time that pops in and out (though I'd like to resolve it later too).

    I also specifically make plots character-focused. I enjoy epicness but my epicness is usually on a much more characterised basis. As far as I'm concerned the story is much more interesting when there's drama. I personally find Memory Lane interesting because we can visit old memories and expand upon them and add in further characterisation. What I fine uninteresting about the main plot is actually the plot; the reason they're there. The whole Tsolo Darkside amalgamation felt very plot devicey and, to be frank, the majority of plot in the NeS is just that. Darkside has merged with more people than I can think of off the top of my head and he's become a device to simply make someone else even more powerful. Currently I find Michael McFarlane far more interesting than KnowSoul. I guess the power potential for McFarlane is greater than KnowSoul's but on the base of it KnowSoul is the big bad with much more power than anyone else and yet that is so boring by comparison. McFarlane has much more drive and character than KnowSoul and it's this kind of thing I'm both good at and I enjoy doing. The majority of my sub-plots have been me developing characters in different ways and they will all either tie to the main plot eventually or come to a conclusion and that character will be more developed because of it. I'll talk specifically about them all later in this post.

    The best examples of this working would be the likes of the Battlestar Galactica remake, which had so, so many sub-plots (or maybe I should use the term character-plots) allowing us to connect with all of the characters and develop them all, whilst the main plot was the journey to find Earth. A more recent example is Game of Thrones, where you'll find a minimum of five sub-plots happening all at once in a single episode (with around five main arenas to boot; ie Winterfell, Iron Islands, Qarth, King's Landing and North of the Wall). Now some you can see how it would effect the others during the same time frame, others seem to be completely unrelated, but you know that they will resolve and either come to be part of the main storyline or will develop specific characters that will come into the main story in the end. Something like Game of Thrones has much, much more scope than I have done with any of my plot-points and could be argued that they are all competing major plot-lines rather than how I have allowed characterisation plots to develop and not compete with the central plot.


    Power-Centres of the Universe

    Generally speaking I don't care much for any of them very much. I did enjoy Al Ciao's post about them all coming together and sending representatives and it really did make the NeSiverse feel very big and grandiose with plenty in there. But, like Gebohq, I'm not really a fan of massive powerhouse characters because them ultimately grow tiresome and uninteresting. Mostly this is because they feature non-NeS characters and even "real"-world characters. I do not like to use them often because, as I think Gebohq said, it becomes fan-fiction. I usually use non-Nes Characters as one-three-post characters that show up as a joke or a convenient device. (Like The Doctor with Krig). But I'll look at each one specifically;

    Magium

    I have very little vested interest in this group at all. It only really became something I bothered to think about when Cool Matty joined its ranks as a full-time member, otherwise it really wasn't a group I cared for. This is mostly because it features non-NeS characters that nobody cares about. Taliesin, Faust and Hermes are "real"-world characters that I have no interest in beyond making another joke about a stupid name I cannot be bothered to type out (Thermy-Gurmy). I actually feel that there have been other magickal NeSians that could probably have been put in here instead, or at least piss-take characters (like maybe Wombledore, he's a Womble that uses magic... actually I like this idea ) that could have remained as minor background characters to fill up the Magium ranks and would have been, at least, entertaining.

    Mount Olympus

    It actually wasn't me that first made Mount Olympus and argued that all the gods were there (although maybe it was me? I actually forget now) but granted I did the most with it. Mythological beings I find much more tolerable as they're often so ingrained into our culture that it's easy to accept anything said by them (which is why I haven't had a problem with Merlin references either) so long as they are used within their context and it's entertaining. Gods are super powerful and yet they an unorganised, bunch of selfish gods that keeps them all in check and makes them very entertaining to write and read about. They are almost a necessity for the NeS as one of the oldest villains has always been Ares, God of War, and the question has always hung in the air; where's the rest of them. Writing references to ancient greek or roman god-stories from a modern perspective is also incredibly entertaining (as with all the women Ares has bedded, including sisters and cousins and whatever else). However I always kept use of Mount Olympus limited to periods when it was relevant to Ares (mostly because he had become an almost sympathetic character during that story arc) and later to Nick. When neither of those characters are involved I would probably never directly use Mount Olympus save maybe for a quick gag.

    Eternal Pantheon

    Although the Eternal Pantheon has all "Characters" that are NeS-specific I've found the idea generally unappealing beyond them being used for, say, the joke of 'epicness with the writers'. They are much more akin to the real-world ideas of gods than our NeS Gods, in that they're all well beyond human understanding and are metaphysical beings that could each destroy the world with a wet fart. I will probably never use any of them... save for the HorseGod because that's just plain funny.

    Atlantis

    The interesting part about Atlantis for me has been the tying of threads, bringing together to uber ancient characters like Jim Seven and Master Thand into some older storyline together. It adds drama. I must confess that I have no interest in learning about their specific adventures as The Champions but it is interesting to know that they were in The Champions, if you follow me? Atlantis makes for a good background story to much of the NeS (though I honestly wouldn't try making it 'the root of all things' but rather it was one place that much of our current NeS heritage might have begun). Other than that, however, I think its time is over and only references to it would be through characters that were there, who are few and almost always minor characters. The only way Atlantis would become an aspect to pay attention to would be if it was somehow risen from the depths as the core of the next plot or plot after, otherwise Atlantis is fine as a background story.

    Hero Force One


    Firstly, Gebohq is right, I didn't actually create the original crew. They must have been made, as he states, by Gebohq and appeared for a single post before disappearing in the pages of the NeS. It was then actually Benjamin Mahir that brought them back to the story and then I kind of adopted them and characterised them. Gebohq's the Biological Father, I'm the Adoptive Father . Now, it's funny you put them under here as a "Powerhouse" because I have never considered them to be anything of the kind.

    Certainly by comparison to the majority of the NeS Heroes they much more powerful, however I have only ever placed them in estimates as being yet another super-hero team that would possibly prove on par with a group like the X-Men. They have their strengths and their weaknesses like comic-book heroes. I basically viewed them as the rival team to the NeS Heroes, a rival team who are much more competent and successful at being heroes. They were meant to be a reflection of the NeS Heroes to clearly outline how useless most of our actual heroes are. Their fame and celebrity status was just an extension of how good at their jobs they're meant to be. I had hoped that the NeS Heroes would often feel jealous of HFO's success, more selfish heroes would value HFO's power or fame whilst someone like Gebohq might value their ability to be true heroes instead of useless ones (though he'd probably make an outward gag about wanting their money for doughnuts or something). But again I go back to the fact that all of HFO characters are NeS-specific, making it much more appealing and interesting than the Magium.

    Heaven & Hell

    Hell/Canada has long been an entertaining staple of the NeS and in all honesty there's not much to say on it as it's pretty much a given and has been constantly used and referenced (mostly thanks to Jim 7 the Writer). Heaven has been pretty wishy-washy and maybe it would be interesting to develop it a little more in the future. I do, however, find the constant ability of characters to return from the dead, usually using Heaven and Hell as convenient processors for this, to be dull and annoying. Sometimes it's been fine but that's only when it's been entertaining. When it's been melodramatic it's been boring.

    DANGLING PLOT-ELEMENTS

    I'm certain there are much more important plot elements than the one's you've listed;

    NeSorcerer, NeSummoner, Weapon Forging

    Sorry but this time I agree with Gebohq completely. None of these elements seem interesting or useful. If they are titles of some kind of leader it wouldn't be so bad but I hate "chosen one" mentality and having one singular person who is supposedly the best or the most powerful. It's a very outdated method of plot mannerism. I believe that Gebohq, and now Losien, had plenty of "chosen one-ness" already by dint of having "main character" powers. Weapon forging, is it important? Does a character like Krig really need an axe that does anything but chop stuff?

    Protectors of the Plotfractal


    When the Hands of the NeS were first introduced I absolutely hated them. But, to be completely fair, as time has gone on they've become more and more tolerable and even likeable. Mostly this was during the period when Bhac was travelling with Hawthorne and Thatchett as he had opportunity to be a character. The original Protectors was interesting as they all showed up for page 50 and it was pretty epic but I still asked myself "what's the point? Couldn't they have just shown up because they wanted to keep the NeS alive?" So far as I understand it the protectors keep the balance between good and evil, presumably to keep them both from toppling the other and finishing the storyline. But really that sounds like you should have one 'sort of good' and one 'sort of bad' guys to keep the balance, like Evil Geb and Rachel during the previous story arc.

    The Hands however, their purpose is to maintain conflict in the NeS? Honestly? Is that even necessary? We have plenty of conflict all of the time and I seriously feel that these roles are utterly pointless if that their only true function. In fact when we get the 'we're prolonging conflict' posts I tend to find them boring. I would like to see something done about all of these guys and probably have the roles removed from the NeS story completely.

    The Forgotten Army

    Now this is a major dangling plot of importance. I have enjoyed that its been such a constant feature for a long time in the NeS but I do feel it may need to be wrapped up eventually and possibly be given some kind of satisfied ending; even if it boils down to them becoming police-officers or something so we still have somewhere nice for our forgotten to go. But really we still have Twin Suns. If I remember correctly he has the mind of Kern within his head too, who was once in Sarn Cadrill. Now Kern has some kind of rivalry with Tsolo to boot, which means he could be used in the current plot somehow if we wanted to, though I'd prefer to leave the bulk of the Forgotten Army plot 'til later or even next main plot.

    Time Travellers

    Now I began to bring this back into the storyline a little (albeit it became a lot with Al Ciao's additional input) but really this was looming over everything for a long time. Toasters, Magick Snowflakes and I'm pretty sure Ahnuld was from the future too, along with (we think) Twisted Spasm. It's a plot line I'm not in a rush to finish just yet mind as it's the kind of plot I think will overshadow the main story. But it's there.

    HIGHEMPEROR AND POWERPLAYING

    I both agree and disagree on aspects of this with Gebohq. Although I have no problem with Highemperor, or Al Ciao, being in the current storyline I do feel it would have been cooler for him to have died way back when and for you to have completely moved on from this bad habit. Ask yourself this, what's more epic than an awesome death/sacrifice scene? But I do think it's fine to make reference to the Highemperor mantle, but again it would have been more awesome to still be making references to him and he was dead. Can't be helped he's still here now.

    But onto powergaming. You've actually been managing to powergame plenty without my help, Al Ciao . Al Ciao might not be the powergamer he once was but you've been powergaming by extension. High Imp, and all of these other uber powerful characters you've made, are there to fill the void left in you by Highemperor. You even brought Highemperor back from the past story arcs world and then made Al Ciao ruler of Hell (albeit neutered, but still a powerful and important position). Generally I find stupidly powerful characters to be very boring and not fun to write and I usually only like to see villains as "super-dooper awesomez" (and even then I'd take an interesting character over a powerful one). I particularly don't like that Highemperor would be the most powerful being in all of the NeSiverse for quite a few reasons already stated and more. For starters no matter how powerful he is, he's still just a character and thus most of the Eternal Pantheon have nothing to fear directly from him (rather they only have to fear real world writers). I also like the saying "there's always someone stronger" and prefer to think that Highemperor is just powerful for the immediate NeS (and in all honesty I've been around in my RP times and Highemperor would actually be considered sub-par compared to some powergamers out there; most of them were on the NCD) and that there are more powerful beings than him out there. If he truly is to be the most powerful in the whole NeSiverse then he'd better be cast as a bad guy and we'll all team up and beat the crap out of him. Having your good guy hero as the most powerful being in the whole cosmos leads to a very boring story; he's never going to fail.

    One of the most awesome and epic moments I feel so far was when I had Antestarr turned into NeSferatu. This is a character that we've all written for so many times, he's been a major character for so, so long. He was on the verge of death, we developed some backstory for him between all three of us using Nyneve and suddenly that's all culminated into being being reborn as undead; his writer isn't even active! That is far more interesting, dynamic and awesome than if Highemp or High Imp go off and snuff out some random star in the cosmos that nobody's heard of, no matter how incredible the power is. That's not to say blowing up a star couldn't be epic, but it would need to have reason behind it to make it impressive else it's just someone trying to show-off. It honestly feels good to have your character struggle against the odds; think of The Doctor. So many fear him and he is one of the oldest things around, and yet he has no weapons, no real powers (at least none like, say, Highemperor). He uses his wits, resources and friends to get him through the day and save everyone in some of the most epic TV scenes ever. He's always struggling his way through things and we're never sure if he's truly going to come out unscathed. If we completely removed every power from Highemperor he would still be interesting and a perfect tragic hero. Powers are there to aid a character, make them remarkable and other-worldly; they aren't there as an end-all solution.

    Having said all that I felt the Rachel-Losien moment was just fine and quite funny. The reasoning behind it was regardless; the other other choices for men are currently Soriel (b4stard), Thand (super old and kind of evil), Otter (extreme pervert) and Amal (young and TLTE's "brother") which basically leaves Al Ciao. I have been fine with Al Ciao in his current state and generally feel we've managed him quite well. I think, if anything, we should consider eradicating Highemperor completely as he now seems completely redundant with Al Ciao managing perfectly well without him. And yet I'm also fine with plot elements still involving the idea of Highemperor, but it would have been much cooler if it were a Highemperor legacy.

    NeS 1999

    As I think I told Al Ciao already on MSN if we do explore other avenues of events around 1999 we should keep it within Memory Lane and keep doing it as we have been doing it with other memories where we look at new material set in the past.

    Fame

    I think I also prefer the NeS Heroes to mostly be unknowns. At best they'd be talked about in elite circles but as most of them are incompetent perhaps not so much. Some of them are probably famous as you've mentioned. I brought up Mimiru as a possibility as she's super rich with two mansions and now, apparently, MZZT as he's selling Hero Watches by the dozen so it seems. But really HFO were meant to have all of the fame and glory, not our lowly heroes.

    Power Rankings

    I'd find it interesting but rather than who's the 'most powerful', mostly crammed with characters nobody cares about or writes for, I'd prefer thoughts on actual characters, ie our main heroes. And it probably mostly be idle consideration. You would also want two categories 'power/ability' and 'potential'. For example currently Soriel, Al Ciao (assuming he's Highemp) and Thand are the most powerful by outright ability but Losien and Amal are easily the most potentially powerful due to their story-wielding, if they were able to use it completely.

    NeS: The Next Generation

    On this I do disagree with Gebohq and, mostly, agree with Highemperor. Though this is, again, an example of unnecessary powerplaying, you know? It would have been just as epic and awesome if they were massively under-powered. But regardless of that fact, I enjoyed seeing them all together; the youth of the NeS as a team. It's something they often like to do in comics and for me it was enjoyable to see so many various offspring of our current heroes and how they might have turned out.

    OTHER IDEAS

    HQs

    No problem with other HQs, it's something I hinted at with MZZT as he was saying there are now others so if someone randomly feels like making one they can. I would say we could probably make some in cool iconic places across the globe, just like Big Ben. But I wouldn't want to go making a whole horde of locations for the sake of it. Better to make them as they seem appropriate.

    Merlin

    I don't especially mind Merlin involved as a character as, like gods, he's more mythological and ingrained into our cultural heritage (especially mine) but ultimately I'd say Gebohq's right. If you want to resolve his issue it might be appropriate for you, Al Ciao, to do so in a single post of some kind when the time is right?

    Team Colours

    As much as I love purple, I think Gebohq's right. They were meant as more cheesy all American heroes. That's partly the joke behind Judge being British and wearing a big, blatant flag on her coat and underwear. But as of late HFO does seem to have evolved beyond just America and now seems more like SHIELD than JLA, so it'd be fine with it.

    Acidspitter & Seraphim

    When you first made Acidspitter I thought he was an entertaining one-off character. But then you brought him back. And back. And yes to be honest I do agree with Gebohq. In all honesty I'm not certain but I don't think Seraphim was originally meant to be an actual angel but that was her moniker. I mean, she goes round wearing next-to-nothing skimpy see-through clothes, not very angelic. But either way I do agree with Gebohq that it's a bit boring and uninteresting a relationship. I don't know anything about Acidspitter and he's not inspired me to want to write for him at all.

    Al Ciao's Kids

    He's going to have to pay a lot of child support.

    Never War

    I like the sound of it and it sounds very cool (but then again this 'temporal cold war' in Star Trek sounds cool too, whatever it is.) but I do dislike writing towards a specific goal, which really is what you've done with this Never War. It hasn't happened yet and depending on when it does happen, we'll have to consider it when writing really. I know we can ignore it, this is the NeS, but I prefer not to. But otherwise I do like the sound of it and if I see opportunity to write it in I will.

    Current Plots

    Memory Lane


    This is clearly the main plot of the story and no other plots have matched it for scale of importance. It's the biggest collection of heroes in one place and we are all well aware that they are the main cast as it features the main character and they are opposed to the current super-villain. It was getting frustrating with Gebohq coming in and out (he really needs to be stay gone!) because he instantly pulls the story to him as we all know him as our hero since the beginning of the NeS. With him out of the way, we can focus on Losien as our central figure. I do feel I've managed to develop her quite a bit and make her more accessible without changing her too much. Giving her some things of Soriel's has really helped because, especially Fred, they talk and they are therefore akin to familiars in DnD; having a familiar, especially a new one, is a great way to draw attention to the character and develop them through interaction with said familiars.

    Otherwise I'm enjoying doing Memory Lane for the most part and including both additional memories and forgotten memories. My only thing about the forgotten memories is try to remember that they've been deliberately forgotten; there's a reason behind it. I talked to Al Ciao already about this but I cannot think of a reason for Mia-meeting-Highemperor to have been completely forgotten by all characters. As far as I understand it Arkng Thand has been removed from older memories, which is great and means we can always do forgotten memories involving him.

    It does sometimes make it difficult to develop the characters in the main cast under present circumstances as reactions to past events aren't as strong as engaging in events. I have mostly added in Soriel moments simply because I feel he needs more backstory and I'm always leaving him out of things (it's a habit to undermine my own characters, I guess I'm the antithesis to Powergamers .) but I mostly enjoy adding into scenes directly as I did with the Lt Randy Screen-wipe.

    Citizen Rex

    Hero Force One need their charismatic hero back. I'll write that they need him back or else the company will be dissolved as they need that 'American Hero' (which might tie in nicely with it being dissolved in Next Generation future period). Mostly I brought this in because I genuinely thought it was intended for Citizen Rex to die because of his name, not realising it was just a coincidence; oops. But it was the best time to do it as its fits with the main story arc which revolves around memories, which is also the aim of the Citizen Kane movie. Hawthorne should provide the opportunity to better develop some of the minor characters. And yes they're only minor characters but we should still be able to like our minor characters and to do that we need to know them. This obviously ties in with both the idea of the main arc and directly with Al Ciao as Hawthorne will probably wind up eventually coming to the HHH looking for him.

    Rosebud

    Okay this is a more personal one and the first time I've ever kind of had a plan for something. Rosebud is actually the surname of Apple (Verity Rosebud) and she's based upon Apple as a character I use on The Imperium. I want to have the word mentioned at various points in the story between now and whenever I, or someone concludes it. Basically she's her own mother; a story I nicked straight from Red Dwarf and Rosebud is the only clue she was ever left with. We'll just see how it goes and where it goes. I kind of want it to be weird and we'll see what happens; please don't feel like you have to stick to this idea at all (I deliberately didn't mention that I had a plan because I don't mind where it goes). This obviously ties in, again, with Al Ciao as he is possibly Apple's father and the father of her current child who is herself. Yay!

    The HHH

    In the triple H is what I basically consider the secondary story. Several different sub-plots have no been largely tied up and converged on this point. Krig's little side-quest to see his father, Antestarr's illness, and that brief passage from Al Ciao about Subaru. They've come together for the birth of Young's baby, along with the rather silly character-plot of Rachel's parents. I honestly believe this side-story could stand on its own, but it does link to the main cast through Rachel. The Illusionist should probably also be resolved as she is a minor villain character that's now out of the loop and likely to return later with someone boss villain or another.

    Michael McFarlane

    The interesting villain of the day. I have no idea if he's actually working with KnowSoul or not but it seems to have been implied somewhere. I put a clause on his awesome powers in that he generally needs a contract to fulfill the removal of a memory, as he did with Losien over TLTE. He also sort of made a verbal agreement with Totally Evil (though it strikes me that she had no idea what she was letting herself in for to allow herself to be completely removed like that). Although the main quest is more about KnowSoul, McFarlane is still a major part of the main character's trials as we, the writers, reveal aspects of memories forgotten thanks to McFarlane.

    Chikin Chateau

    I'm not so invested in the events in this scene to be honest. In fact I outright dislike this new Blackthorne (or whatever his name is) character; I'm afraid he's an example of your, Al Ciao, powerplaying by extension. I threw Magick and Nick in there in the hopes it might get more interesting else all we're really left with is Seraphim, and even she is a long-standing minor character. Nobody cares about this Acidspitter bloke and Iriana is so green she ought to have chlorophyll so there's not much to say about her. I suppose, again, this must tie to the main cast through Al Ciao.

    I think that's them all at present. You could consider Young's baby and Rachel's parents as two separate plots but really they've melded together rather nicely.

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