As long as this is, I want more. The perspective of the goddess was sometimes distracting, but at other times, sublime. I found both characters of Gorn and Kiijan interesting, and while the pace was slow, I think that is what made it dwarven. Well done. Go to Comment
This exactly the kind of feed back you hope to get, when you post something on the Citadel you hope to get 5 readers in five years, maybe….so I am really honored and excited to have three people read this, and thanks for taking the time to suggest improvements.
The main focus of this story was to be an information dump about dwarves society without just listing facts, but by placing those facts in the context of personal interactions. It is esoteric piece of work, but I enjoyed writing. I also found that writing a story like this went much faster than writing "fact" posts.
The precocious Kiijanavyre character may have been out of my depth as a writer. I needed and wanted a character that was both a child and an adult, that possessed great talents and an intuitive intelligence, but at the same time lacked a great deal of self knowledge and certainty. The type of character/person that can be playful one minute and sophisticated the next because they lack a pretense or sense of self-awareness that would require them to maintain a persona. This is meant to be indirect contrast with the dwarves who very much keep a persona, and are very much worried about presentation. As she interacts with Gorn at the beach she becomes a little self-conscious, starts to pick her words, and eventually in a larger sense no longer pursues her sincere wants but takes a path of duty. I thought it would be banal to make these contrasts any more stark than I did, but I can certainly go in say these things. Yet I would love to know if you saw those things in the story, because what I wanted to put in the story is irrelevant until I put it in the story. I will try to go through say these things more explicitly.
I could make her older if that makes more palatable, I pretty much pulled 15 out of a hat, cause that is likely an adult in a stone age society. If make her 19, will she still seem as vulnerable, will her uncertainty regarding a course of action be understandable? The language thing is cultural, and I only meant her to speak two language fluently, clearly defining the events as they happen in different languages has always been a problem with this setting.
I will add a few lines to the first section to really emphasize her wunderkin status. That also might make the goddess's preoccupation with her specifically more understandable. But I do feel that wunderkin characters are basically annoying and I was trying to strike a balance. The characterization of Kiijanavyre may also be stunted by the lack other interactions with other characters. We can't know if she is a typical 15 year old girls if she never talks to any other humans, we also don't get much a sense for her in her element. Tell me what you think about the addition of scene, in the forest in which
1) she either talks with the druid some about what is coming and what she can expect
2) In beginning when she show the dwarves around, her lecturing Gorn might make a nice arc.
3) Her talking with the Mitirangu priest who gave her bread.
Okay the chronology, I like starting and ending with Kiijanavyre getting in the boat. But you nailed the other jumps directly, I wanted to keep the beach from being an information dump. But I also want to distinguish Gorn on the road from Gorn at the beach, the contrast in behaviors was deliberate, but maybe I am trying to do too much. I wrote this in a linear fashion and then cut it up when posting. So there are not even designed transitions between the scenes. Go to Comment
Update: reworked the chronology some, the beach events are now in order. I also added more details regarding Kiijanavyre's inner dialog and another Kiijanavyre conversation in order to try address some of Dossta's comments. Go to Comment
First I glad you got and liked the thing about owning her soul as being a positive. I ran this whole Parna campaign for years and the whole world was based on two phrases from one my friends, "What if were like outlaws, and the campaign was more Robinhood than Conan." Anyway, as the campaign went on the PCs became more and more pro-establishment. They always seemed really comfortable with the God's owning their souls and using them as betting tokens. I glad somebody finally got what I was trying to say and thought it was interesting.
As for the human truisms, this one was meant to be an information dump, it was attempt to experiment with different ways of presenting information about RPG worlds aside from listing facts in the GM voice.
But I feel you about tone pulling out of the story, as re-read this so many things seem misplaced, I never liked the rythem of the dialog between the two, and the tone seems uneven (was shooting for the bitter sweetness of leaving home and growing up).
Dossta was right the Kii character needs more a stream to her.
But when you talk about the difference between the spoken and written word, are you talking about the Goddess's pontification about Holy Books or are you taking about the characters' dialog? Go to Comment
I'm like 1/3 of the way there and the presentation of what makes dwarves different from humans- the fact that their sense of orientation rely on contact w. earth is really starting to pull me in. Will report back once fully finished. Go to Comment
Okay, finally finished. The glimpse into Parna dwarven society in this sub is awesome and while reflection of human truisms is less compared with that Priest story (that's a personal taste thing really), this sub also has a little of that in it as well. The thing about the diff b/w written and spoke word I can empathise with but the wording used has a slight effect of throwing me in modern day. I also noted the same thing about the Goddess' voice as Scras. Overall, though, I still think this is high quality fiction. Really like the ending exchange b/w Gorn and Kii and how Kii now having possession of her own soul rather than any of the Parnan deities. Go to Comment
Yep, understood what you were trying to do, just mentioning my own particular reader taste wrt the human truism aspects, not necessarily saying there should be more or less of them for this piece. On the diff. b/w spoken and written word, I'm referring to the characters' dialog, how this idea was expressed by Gorn.
I agree Kii's characterisation needs more work, still not quite sure why the Goddess thinks her soul so valuable even after the Goddess explained explicitly. For me, Kii comes out mostly as curious until the exchange at the very end with Gorn where she really hit the nail on the head. Dialogue, well, not an aspect that I really value in a fiction piece. I love beautiful prose and I love deep and meaningful life philosophies but I've as yet to come across dialogue in published novels that I love. Humorous dialogue I appreciate but loving is another matter entirely. Possibly one reason why I'm always inside Bortai's head and want to chop up conversation. Go to Comment
First let me lead off my saying that there is a LOT of really solid information in this piece. The society that you describe is well-ordered, consistent, flavorful and vibrant. I love the distinction between the different classes of dwarf -- clan- (noble, warrior or mountain), guild- and free-dwarves all have their own quirks and customs. The little things you used to draw those lines, like the beard dying or the ability to carry weapons, really tied the whole thing together. In whole, the culture is beautifully realized.
Some of my favorite parts: everything about eating; the inclusion of rocks in dwarven food to wear down their teeth, the fact that dwarves only need to eat once a day and that they prefer to take their meals alone. The beard dying (both natural and false colors). I was also fascinated with Droven's Compulsion -- that one detail was enough to fill an entire submission on its own!
You obviously spent a lot of time on this piece, and I really respect it. However, there are still some rough patches which keep its full potential from being realized. If you want this to stand as a story and not a purely informative work, they may need to be addressed.
The two biggest issues I had were the ordering of events and Kiijanavyre's character. You skip around in the timeline a LOT, and it got very confusing even with the headers. I would either rework it so that it stays chronological, and have some of the questions be asked on the wagon rather than on the beach to avoid the huge info-dump at the end -OR- I would find some way of better marking those passages. The beach scenes aren't really flashbacks (more like "future"backs? what the hell do you call them?), but there's a reason why flashbacks and scenes that break up the main timeline are used sparingly in literature. They are just too damn jarring most of the time.
Second, Kiijanavyre. A 15-year-old girl who can speak 3 languages and some dwarven on the side, can debate philosophy and has the confidence and poise to negotiate safe passage out of an ambush with a culture that she is only passingly familiar with. You keep trying to emphasize her girlish or naive nature, but then make her speak like a university graduate in her conversations with Gorn on the beach. Gorn has similar problems (in that he didn't speak much on the journey and was supposed to be pretty stingy with his words, but then waxes philosophical and disgorges whole paragraphs of dialogue at once), but he's not quite as bad. I don't care if she speaks formally or not, just make it consistent from the beginning of the story and try to explain it a little with her background. Perhaps she was so sheltered by her parents and her goddess that she never interacted with other children, and thus has a highly formal way of speaking?
Anyway, I'll shut up now before this gets too long. Thank you for writing this; I really enjoyed it. Go to Comment