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  1. 7 likes
    Writing Descriptions When we walk through the world, we’re surrounded by a huge range of things, but we usually don’t notice everything in intimate detail. And that’s because much of what we’re surrounded by just isn’t that important to what we’re currently doing; it’s little more than visual background noise. So when your character walks into a room, just how much of what’s in that room should you describe? In every situation, there are things that need to be described, things that shouldn’t be described, and things that don’t really matter whether you describe them or not. Some people might even cut it down to the first two I just mentioned, and suggest that you never describe anything that isn’t relevant to the story. I disagree with that. While it’s never a good idea to go waffling on describing a whole laundry list of irrelevant crap, mentioning things that might enrich the story in some way is never a bad idea. If it doesn’t enrich the story or a character in any way, though, then leave it out. So what should you describe? You need to provide enough detail to allow the reader to create a visual in their mind that follows your guidelines but is still distinctly their own. People have their own imagination, and we all visualise things differently. By trying to describe every tiny, insignificant detail, you’re attempting to ride rough-shod over their imaginations and force your own into their heads, which can annoy enough to pull them out of the story. By giving your readers the necessary descriptive tools, you allow them visualise the scene and fill in the blanks, rather than trying to do it all for them. Some writers just love to use extremely flowery language peppered with obsolete words, because they presumably think this makes their descriptions better. Personally, I find this unnecessary at best, annoying and frustrating at worst. You shouldn’t need a dictionary when reading a story. A thesaurus is handy, but make sure your new favourite word hadn’t already fallen out of fashion when Queen Victoria was still a girl. Describing rooms Here’s an example of BAD description and BETTER description. BAD: Stephen turned the door nob and gently pushed the mahogany door, which eased open without a sound. It was a smallish room, perhaps about the size of an average bedroom, or maybe a bit larger. The only light came from a shiny silver candelabra which sat on the mantel over the unlit fireplace. The three candles cast dancing shadows around the room, but there was enough light for him to make out the details. A well-worn three-seater leather couch sat in front of a low, rectangular coffee table. Strewn on the coffee table was a magazine called Country Life, an empty glass, car keys in a small silver dish and a circular metal ashtray filled to the brim with ash and cigarette buts. A wing-backed leather single seater sat near the couch, perched at an oblique angle. The walls were lined with sideboards and glass-fronted cabinets, all stuffed with glass and porcelain ornaments and knick-knacks of all shapes and sizes. What little of the walls he could see were adorned with old-fashioned wallpaper, with stylised patterns of flowers alternating in vertical rows. As Stephen stepped into the room, he felt the thick, shag-pile carpet under his feet. It was hard to tell the exact colour in the dim light, but he thought it was probably a dark red. Taking a seat on the three-seater, Stephen’s first impression was that it wasn’t quite as comfy as he thought it would be; he could feel one or two springs pressing against him. It was only now that he noticed the gentle ticking sound, and saw the mantel clock sitting at the other end of the mantle. BETTER: Stephen eased open the mahogany door without a sound and stepped inside, feeling the plush carpet under his feet. A fireplace sat cold and empty, but a lit candelabra on the mantle cast dancing shadows around the room. The warm glow revealed a busy room bordering on cluttered, but it was the leather lounge in the middle that he made his way to. Leaning back in the slightly uncomfortable chair, Stephen’s gaze fell on the coffee table, showing a small assortment of objects including a glass half full of some dark liquid, but it was the ashtray that caught his attention the most. Ash and cigarette butts filled it to overflowing, with a dusting of ash surrounding it. The ‘better’ description is certainly shorter, but that doesn’t make it worse. Does it really matter exactly how big the room is, that there’s three candles in the candelabra, the other single seater chair, the exact shape of the coffee table, the name of the magazine, the car keys in the dish, the ornaments, the wallpaper, the colour of the carpet, or the clock? I mentioned the ashtray because, in my mind, that has some relevance to the story. Also, describing the half-full glass suggests to the reader that there’s likely to be someone else in the house. If there’s nailhead trim on the leather couch, then mention that, but only if someone is going to snag their clothing on it later, or they subsequently find one of the nailheads elsewhere in the house. Perhaps there’s two empty glasses and a bottle of wine on the coffee table. Or maybe the ornaments are important. But for me, none of that other stuff was significant enough to warrant mentioning. One way you could end up describing more of that room is by having the owner enter the room, strike up a conversation with Stephen and begin talking about some of his ornaments. You’ve already described the fact that the room is cluttered, so the fact that there’s ornaments in the room won’t come as a surprise. On the other hand, if the owner starts talking about the dog in the room then the reader is going to think, ‘Hang on, what dog?’. Adding detail a bit at a time is better than doing it all in one big block of text. When you’re describing an interior, the most important thing is to convey the feel of the room. Is it sparsely furnished or cluttered? Brightly lit or dark and forbidding? Give them enough detail to provide the overall feeling you want, and leave them to furnish the rest of the room in their own minds. Remember, though, if there’s some object in that room that will have significance later in the story then you need to discuss it. The longer you hover over that object, though, the more you tip off the reader that this object is very important. Describing external scenes Describing external scenes can be a lot easier, at least as far as describing landscapes is concerned. Is it a forest dense enough to make it difficult to walk through, or an open forest? Open flat grass plains or rolling hills? You don’t need to – nor should you – attempt to describe every rock and tree. If the weather is cold or hot then you should describe the effect it’s having on the characters. Describe the ice and snow, and how he’s still shivering in spite of his warm clothes. Or how his sweat trickles down his face, and how the sun beats down on him like hammer blows. You shouldn’t need to specifically tell your reader what season it is; that’s what good description is for. If you’re not an architect then describing buildings facades can be difficult, but who wants to read that level of intimate detail? If the style is important – Gothic or Art Deco perhaps – then describe it, but remember that you’re not writing a story on architecture. Describing the condition of the building is important if it’s run-down. Talk about the peeling paint, the cracked and broken windows, the holes in the walls, the kicked in front door; that’s if it’s an abandoned building. If the place is simply run-down rather than abandoned then you’ll probably want to dial that back a bit, unless you wont people to be surprised to find someone still living in it. Describing clothing It’s usually not important what exact clothes your characters are wearing. While you’re spending a full page describing in intimate detail what Samantha is wearing, your reader is working overtime putting all this together and visualising what you’re forcing down their throat. If an item of clothing that she’s wearing will later become significant then discuss that, but only in as much detail as strictly necessary. For example, let’s say Samantha goes jogging. You could mention that she’s wearing her usual tracksuit or active wear, etc, including her old and battered, but comfy, sneakers. You mention the sneakers because later, after she’s been reported missing, these sneakers are found. A detective talking to Samantha’s best friend describes how these shoes are her favourites and was dreading the day she would need to buy new ones, so there’s no way she would simply throw them away. So you could have initially had Samantha having an internal monologue about how these are her favourite shoes, etc, but that’s usually silly and unnecessary, especially when you could have her best friend later relate this information to someone. If the character wears very weird clothing, then describe it; if they’re wearing an ugly tie, then describe it; if there’s something significant about their clothes, then describe it. If you want to convey the idea that it’s hot or cold outside, then describe it. Otherwise, don’t. Describing emotions There’s an old writer’s maxim: Show, don’t tell. You should never have a reason to say “Jeff was angry”. It should be obvious that Jeff was angry from your description. Facial expressions and body language are invaluable in showing what a person is feeling, regardless of what they’re actually saying. Does your character have a nervous tic? Do they blush even more than normal when they’re embarrassed? Or maybe they stammer a bit, or get angry? Do they always scratch an imaginary itch when they’re lying? It should also be obvious that a person is in love with someone, without you needing to type the word ‘love’. Descriptions are vital, but they can also bore readers with great speed. Try and break up your descriptions over various scenes. Bite-sized pieces of descriptions are more palatable than big blocks of them every other paragraph.
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    The Art of Foreshadowing What is it? Quite simply, foreshadowing is to hint at something, in a casual way, where it will be brought up again later on in the story in a more significant and relevant way. The ‘art’ is in exactly how you lay that little hint, without telegraphing “THIS IS IMPORTANT! REMEMBER IT!”. Why it’s important Story telling is easy. No, really, it is! The art is in how you tell the story, that’s what makes it scary, exciting, sexy, etc. Foreshadowing is a very important tool to use in many, if not most, stories. I’m sure most of us have watched movies where all of a sudden, the hero just happens to find the one thing he or she needs to save the day. “Oh that was convenient!” we shout at the screen. It’s far too convenient, and therefore, annoying, for the hero of your story to miraculously find exactly the right thing he or she needs right when they need it the most. This is the reaction you’ll get for unrealistic and unbelievable story telling. What you need to do is to leave a little hint earlier in the story, something that, at the time, didn’t seem all that relevant or important to the story, but allows the reader to later say, “Oh, so that’s why the author did that!” Foreshadowing is more important in some stories than others. Detective mysteries rely very heavily on foreshadowing. Everyone reading the story is hoping to guess who the killer is before the detective, and a well written story should provide enough hints to allow the reader to do this, if only they work out what’s important and what’s a red herring. There’s nothing worse than coming to the conclusion and realising that the detective was apparently privy to information that we, the reader, were not. This is bitterly frustrating and poor story telling. When the detective goes through the steps that allowed him or her to catch the killer, everything there should be something that the reader could also have picked up on. Nothing should be a clue that we hadn’t been exposed to in some way. As suggested above, you can also use foreshadowing to misdirect the reader, by laying a hint that you know the reader will think is important but is actually a red herring. You would then follow it up a little later with another hint – the true one, this time – but because the reader has thought the earlier hint was the real one, they might be tempted to overlook the true one. I think you’d need to be a little careful with how you do this, because it can backfire if done poorly. If done right, though, then it can be a clever way to get the reader to watch your left hand while your right pulls the card out of your sleeve. On the other hand, some stories, like detective stories, rely very heavily on leaving plenty of clues and red herrings, creating a pretty tangled web that needs to be weaved with great care. This is why a good detective story can be so difficult to write. Huge respect to Agatha Christie! How and when to foreshadow More often than not, foreshadowing should be of the fairly subtle kind. If it’s shouted from the rooftops then it can cause the reader to keep a close eye out for it, so when it happens, it’s of no surprise at all to the reader, and, frankly, spoils the story. A better way is to drop the hint in such a way as to cause the reader to either all but forget about it, or to make the reader think that your hint was just a bit of flavouring, and nothing more important than that. You can go overboard with foreshadowing though. If everything in your story is important, then the reader soon learns to understand that everything you mention is going to have something relevant to do with the climax of your story, which only helps to lessen the impact. By adding things to your story that aren’t important, it ensures the reader is never sure what’s important and what’s not. On the other hand, when you later proofread your story, you might actually see how you could turn one of these story flavour enhancers into an actual foreshadow. But as I said, these ‘story flavour enhancers’ should rarely be promoted as “THIS IS IMPORTANT” moments. Describing how the ashtray on the coffee table is overflowing with ash and cigarette butts might just be a way to simply show that the occupant is a smoker and a bit messy or lazy, or it might have important relevance later on. Who knows? Certainly not the reader, and that’s what’s most important. Remember, foreshadowing should very rarely be obvious. It should be a fairly subtle hint that the reader may or may not pick up on. Too overt a hint comes across as too obvious and too forced. It needs to flow naturally with the story, appearing as something that is nothing more than a flavour enhancer.
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    Hey all, look at the top menu and tabs. You’ll notice that the far right is titled “Babble”. This is the new chat! Registration not required to use it!
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    Creating Characters Have you ever heard of the term, “Mary-Sue”, in relation to stories? If you don’t know what that is then I’ll explain. A “Mary-Sue” story is where the hero of the story is basically you. But not exactly like you, though; a better looking, stronger, braver, more popular, richer you, with super powers! These type of stories are usually pretty obvious, and often draw a lot of flack from people. Mary-Sue’s are not popular, other than with the person that wrote it. But I’m going to go against popular opinion somewhat and say that Mary-Sue’s aren’t all bad. If you’re starting out in the big scary world of story writing then a Mary-Sue type story is almost certainly one of the first types you’re going to write. And that’s okay, it truly is! You’re still learning, and the only way to learn is to write, make mistakes, learn from them, keep writing, make mistakes, etc. So go on, write those Mary-Sue’s, but perhaps you should just keep them to yourself, or maybe only show them to select friends. But you really should be striving towards writing non Mary-Sue stories as soon as you can. But don’t let anybody tell you that published author’s never base characters on themselves, because they very much do. They always have, and they continue to do so. Most successful authors have written novels containing characters that are them to varying degrees. The lead characters in some of the most successful novels have been a carbon copy of the author. But that’s the whole point: the character is just like the author, and nobody is perfect. Every single human being has flaws. And it’s their flaws that makes a character interesting, not their perfections. When people write Mary-Sue’s, what they’re really wanting to see is them as the kind of person they wished they were, so they make them gloriously perfect. Because don’t most of us wish we were perfect? I know I do. But that makes for boring reading for everyone other than the person who wrote it. People can’t relate to perfect characters, because we’re not perfect. People can relate to flawed characters, though, because we ourselves are flawed. But that’s why we like to see the flawed hero triumph, because we can put ourselves in their shoes, and we cheer them on, wanting them to succeed against the odds! You can go overboard with the flaws, though. Unless you really want your character to be thoroughly broken then don’t forget to give them some positives. A character that is so utterly damaged can be difficult for most people to warm to, which is a potential problem if this person is going to be the hero of your story. Those kind of characters can work, though, but usually only if they find some kind of redemption at or near the climax of the story. Still, if they’re thoroughly unlikeable then the journey to that point can be a tough one for your readers. But what about your hero’s friends? What are they like? The temptation for some is to follow what we see in movies and TV series: one friend is black, one friend is gay and one friend is Asian. This sort of political correctness has no part in stories! Take a look at your own circle of friends? Is that really what they look like? Do you actually know anybody who genuinely has a circle of friends like that? Don’t get me wrong, if your character is white then I’m not saying they can’t have any black friends, gay friends or Asian friends. Sure they can! But unless a person lives in a highly multicultural and diverse neighbourhood then it’s extremely unlikely that a person will have that exact make-up of friends. Another temptation is to follow a different type of movie or TV series, which is where each friend is wildly different than the other friends. Opposites attract only in bad fiction. In reality, opposites tend to get on each other’s tits after a while. Again, think about your own friends. Do you have friends who are all totally different from each other, as in nobody has anything in common? I highly doubt it. Maybe you might have one weird friend who is quite different from you, but there’ll still be at least some things about this person that you like, otherwise they wouldn’t be a friend, now would they. Make the friends realistic, not politically correct. What about the villain of your story? Unless you’re writing a super hero or anime-based story, then your bad guy shouldn’t be a cartoon-style super villain, not if you want them to be believable. Just as you want the hero of your story to be someone the reader can warm to, the villain should have the opposite effect on the reader. You really don’t want people to be cheering on the bad guy, unless that really is the type of story you’re going for. Exactly how bad the person is really depends on what type of story and character you’re writing. Is the bad guy you’re garden variety bully and thug, or is he a psychopathic murderer? If he’s just a thug then you don’t want to go overboard and inadvertently turn him into a small town super villain. While you don’t want your audience cheering on the bad guy, you do want the readers to find the them believable. If they’re too unbelievable then the reader can start to loose connection with your story. Creating realistic, believable, relatable characters shouldn’t be so difficult. All you really need to do is to take a look at yourself and your friends. If you’re having a hard time warming to your character then so will everybody else.
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    If you’ve been carefully following Melrick’s posts you’ll have been able to work out this guide was coming for some time.
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    Hey all, Just a short note, to let you all know that I've been just a WEE little bit overwhelmed IRL. What this means for us, is that I've had no time to do much in the way of site related tasks. I do apologize to you all for this! Hopefully, work will start easing up again. Keep yer fingers crossed! DemonGoddess061
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    One thing, whenever I see “Lol, I suck at summaries just read” or similar I don’t. Because if you can’t even put that effort in to write something then it doesn’t bode well for the story. And now I must fly off mysteriously.
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    ::peeks out from the frenetic RL stuff:: Think about those little bits you read on the flyleaf of a book, or the back of a paperback, which give you a quick hook into the story. It’s a bit of who, and bit of where, and a bit of “Wait, wtf happened to them?” At least that’s how it was explained to me when I was pondering cancelling a contract with a publisher because I found out I was supposed to write my own summary. I mean, isn’t that what editors do? (Turns out they only read the summary you write, and then tell you to fix it...) But, while trying to come up with a way to make people want to read my book, it occurred to me the first person I needed to sell it to was me. Would I want to read the book based on my summary? Or would I cringe and put it back?
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    Hi everyone. so the new is good, bad, and several shades in between :P. I am doing better, much better, but I’ll be having one more surgery to replace the graft that failed. Hopefully it isn’t a disaster like last time, everyone cross their fingers Steve is doing good, really good. He’s had zero growth from his cancer and is feeling so much better, nice to see him laughing and joking agin. He has started working again but promised he wouldn’t be taking any risky jobs, believe that when I see it LOL. My hubby the adrenaline junkie :-/. Angie is teething so yay, cranky baby LOL, but she’s a little toughy and actually still pretty happy. Still not growing much but her doctor assures me she is doing fine, she’s gonna be little like her mother evidently. Kinda hoped she’s get some height from her father but oh well. everyone else is doing good so life is going on as usual, my happy little insane asylum LOL. We have started writing again and hopefully will be posting chapters soon, but summer is coming and it a busy time for us, but we’ll do our best. Hope this finds everyone doing as well as we are, and I appreciate all the well wishes and concern (thanks Rescue for poking me to find out if we’re still alive LOL). Talk to you all again soon...or when Rescue prods me to wake up again LOL.
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    Good news, got in several miles of walking under my new tire-blowout fitness plan.
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    Good reading. After I decide I’ll need a character, I typically use a random picker to give me a list of traits/hobbies/allergies/phobias, and I’ll see if any work for what I want out of the character. If it’s a marginal character, I’ll pick more freely. If there’s a specific/important reason for the character, I’ll be more selective and reselect until I get something closer. And, after I select, I will record them (I’ve got dossier files for each character) – this is perhaps the most critical, because if I work with the character later, I can keep him/her consistent. At the threat of a mild spoiler, this process helped me this week, because a character needed to eat a lot of a particular food. As I was editing his dossier to make it his favourite, I noticed that I had previously made him allergic to it. This suddenly made the character richer in his personality for deliberately eating something he’s allergic to (and suffering the consequences of it later), and strengthened the plot a bit since I no longer had to make it ill-prepared food. So, for me, my process helps me, helps me have a diversity of characters with different traits, and it helps me when writing because it can fill in those awkward moments, like, when one character gives a gift to somebody else, where the friendship is deep, then what’s the gift? My day job involves software so I have to be very rational, logical, and considering subtle nuances; this is something I carry over into my writing. So, maybe somebody else will find my process useful.
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    I don’t know... I think it could totally work as a go-to response for most online interactions. At least that’s what happened in my head when I read it not knowing what it was in response to! That was fun.
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    so should be posting soon, kinda stuck on one part, think we may just give up and leave it a bit awkward
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    It’s true! While cocks, fingers, tongues and toys in assholes are appreciated the most, assholes on their own doing what assholes do are also popular.
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    very true, but a name can help make the character memorable, for better or worse.
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    The Deus Ex Machina is typically a trope born of poor planning , tight deadlines and frustration as much as it is lazy writing. A Deus Ex Machina like any writing tool, can be used to great effect. The greatest rule I’ve heard is that. COincicdeence and Chance should never solve problems. They may change the problems but if they solve the protagonist’s problems. It invariably trivializes the struggles of the protagonist. Worse,coincidence, chance, happenstance and deus Ex machina’s occur too frequently… it jettison’s the reader out of the experience. Too see deus Ex Machina done well. I’d recommend Reading A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony. But let’s take Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Bilbo finding the ring could be seen as Deus Ex Machina right there. But note. The ring does not actually unilaterally solve Bilbo’s problems. It merely gives him a tool to assist him in figuring out solutions to his problems. By itself the RIng is as much a risk as it is a boon.. One might also see the ruscue by the eagles as Deus Ex Machina, but again it doesn’t really solve their issuesso much as deliver them from one problem to another, and initially Bilbo isn’t certain if the Eagles are helping. See how that works? One trick is to make someonthing seem like Deus Ex when actually it’s something that you’ve been subtly dropping clues about: The protagonist is told about the age of the buildings in a particular part of town. ANother chapter someone off handedly remarks that a great fire in the cuty destroyed all but a few of the oldest wooden buildings. IN another chapter, mention the unusually rainy and humid season, they;ve had the last few months. SO when the wooden roof of the old chapel collapses during the climactic chase scene, allowing our heroes to escape. An astute reader will probably remember those tidbits, or pick them up during the second read through. Of course, the Chapel must have been one of the buildings that was spared in the fire, so the wood was very old, worse still, the ususually rainy and humid conditions would promote or accelerate rot in the old wood. STill random that it chose then to collapse but it';s not like a tree branch announces that it’s going to fall on your car during the night. If you need too use a Deus Ex Machina. Use it early in the story. Let it be part of the inciting incident. If you write your characters into a situation that you need to use a deus ex machina to get them out… then you’re not playing fair with the reader. The reader’s mind will shift from, “How will they get out of this situation” to “How will the writer get them out of this situation.”
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    Well, firstly, thank you to Sweetmamajama, for the new signature picture. I think it looks great :). Secondly, new signature pic! :).
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    That makes a lot of sense, I don’t think I would have felt it needed to be that big a scene if it wasn’t the, for lack of a better term, “main piece” of its own chapter. It is actually a pretty nice sex scene, on a second read. I guess I was holding up to the standard of being the story’s climax (heh). The point of the story is made either way, and is not like I can complain about the lack of steamy scenes in this fic as whole Well, I guess I should have put my argument in terms of ἔρως (Eros, romantic love) being somewhat overrated and φιλία (Phillia, love between friends) being underrated, which is a weird argument for me to make when reading an *erotic* fanfiction, but nonetheless true. Either way, it is a great theme, specially for this series. My take on starco as a couple in cannon is that, while the jealousy triangle thing is certainly an obstacle to overcome one way or the other, they will probably keep their friendship whether or not they become an item romantically. But honestly, when “Just Friend’s” aired and based on wild speculation from the released episode summaries, my hope was that season 2 finale would have Marco (and possibly Jackie) rescue Star from Ludo/Toffee while we got a triumphant reprise of “Just Friends” for background music. There is not a thing wrong or lacking about those two being friends. Well, it is one possibility. If that theory is not true, then I guess Tom didn’t actually think of the implications of his plan if he did somehow manage to “trick” the Blood Moon into binding their souls when they were not at least compatible. It is not an unidirectional link, so Tom would also just have gotten her soul entangled for all eternity to someone who would hate him for it. I guess a forced soul-bound could be played for off the charts dark drama in the right kind of light, in a way that even rape or forced marriage don’t quite reach. Then again, the show does have a lot of elements that are super dark if you dwell to long on them, and supposedly “nicer and kinder” season 2 Tom did threaten to kill Marco just so that he wouldn’t tell Star that he was using the counsellor to spy on her... I guess “The Blood Moon binds Star and Tom” is a good potential prompt for a seriously messed up fic on this site
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    I have to remember not to let other people use my phone to send texts or emails. I’ve used it so much for porn writing that the thing keeps suggesting “fucking” as the next word.
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    Thank you! I would be happy if Star and Marco got together in the end, but I would also be happy if they ended up best friends for life.
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    I've always had mixed feelings about the notion of Star and Marco having a romantic relationship. On the one hand, they are great together, and no doubt they would be great in a long-term boy/girl relationship, too. But on the other hand, I feel like their getting together romantically would be, in a sense, a step down for them, because romantic feelings could easily get in the way of the wonderful friendship they have (which seems to be pretty much what happened in season 2). So I decided to make “Star’s Crossed Lovers” about the strength of Star and Marco's friendship and how much each of them values it. You SO get this. Thank you. That's fair. To be honest, when I wrote that scene, I was still thinking in terms of all of the material in chapters 12 and 13 being one chapter, and I didn't want to cram two prolonged sex scenes into one chapter. Also, I couldn't think of what to do differently with Marco and Jackie's second sexual encounter that would distinguish it from the first. So I was not at my most creative there. Not now, not ever. I guess that's the Star-and-Marco way of saying, "And they lived happily ever after." In the end, it's all love. Romantic love is just one flavor. That's an interesting theory. It would explain why the painting talked to Marco (something that has yet to be brought up on the show). It also casts Tom in a less asshole-ish light, because it implies that Tom might have been merely hoping that Star was destined to be his soulmate instead of trying to trick her into becoming that.
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    Well, I certainly didn't expect that, especially after the chapter before. I’d expected what I’d guess everyone who watches StarvFE expects in the end and for Marco and Star to get together. Still, I’m not complaining of course. You do good work and are the only one I know of who will even touching ideas like this. I congratulate you for yet another story well written and a job well done.
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    Author Notes (SPOILERS) The idea for “Star’s Crossed Lovers” came to me when I was writing my previous SVTFOE story, “It's Different for Boys,” in which Star volunteers to help make Marco look cool in front of Jackie, and Marco tells Star that if she ever needs a wingman with Oskar, he'll be there. The story goes in a completely different direction after that, but the idea of Star and Marco becoming each other's wingmen stayed with me. I figured, they're opposite-sex best friends who have crushes on other people, so why wouldn’t they help each other out? The other inspiration for this story was a sketch by Kyder of Star fist-bumping Marco while he's getting it on with Jackie. The one thing I thought would have made the picture even better would be if Star were doing Oskar at the same time (because I loves me some parallelism), so I decided to make that happen in story form. After having the initial idea, I had to do some research, because I didn't know what a wingman actually does to help his buddy get with someone. So I posted the question on a couple of different forums. The general consensus was that the wingman’s role is to make the other guy look good by saying things like, “Hey, I heard about that big raise, congrats!” in front of the woman the guy is trying to impress. That helped me figure out what Star and Marco would say in front of each other's respective crushes. Coming up with the title was difficult. Not satisfied with my own ideas (eg, “Flight of the Wingmen”), I posted a brief summary of the story here on the AFF forums and asked for suggestions. Fellow SVTFOE fanfic writer GrayNeko came up with the nicely witty title “Star’s Crossed Lovers.” As mentioned in the disclaimer at the start of the story, I began writing before season 2 aired, and I fully expected that at least some of the events of season 2 would contradict what happens in the story. This proved to be the case, to such a great degree that I didn't even try to reconcile the story with season 2 canon. Here are some of the points of contradiction: • In chapter 4, Star gets upset at Marco for describing Star and himself as being “just friends.” But in the episode “Mr. Candle Cares,” Star uses this phrase to describe her relationship with Marco. • In chapter 10, Janna uses the narwhal blast spell and implies that she learned it from Star’s spell book. However, in season 2, we learn that narwhal blast isn't in the book (because Star made it up herself). • Tom actually proves to be a bit sympathetic in the season 2 episodes “Mr. Candle Cares” and “Friendenemies,” whereas in “Star’s Crossed Lovers,” he's a straight-up villain. (Before season 2 began, I thought that Tom might end up being the Big Bad for the season, given the scuzziness of his trying to trick Star into binding her soul to his in “Blood Moon Ball.” But upgrading Ludo was a valid villain choice, too, IMO.) • The big one: In season 2, Star develops a crush on Marco. I'm not against that; it just wasn't the direction I wanted to go in this story. Boner is based on the skeletal guy who is chained to the wall and about to get smashed with a mace (voluntarily, it seems) in “Blood Moon Ball.” I created Boner mainly to give Tom someone to talk to as he formulates his evil plans, but he's there for comic relief, too. I imagine Boner as having the slowest, dullest voice that Tom Root (the actor who voices Tom's life coach, Greg, as well as many characters on other shows) could manage. Grandpa Rogelio was inspired by the World's Most Interesting Man from the Dos Equis commercials. The first bit of dialogue I thought of for Rogelio was his words to Marco in chapter 9 about how “the pasión, she die...Not quickly, like the slaughtered pig whose slit throat sprays blood like a lawn sprinkler...but slowly, like the pig with the chronic atherosclerosis.” His fondness for disgusting similes grew from that. The name of Tom's favorite brand of horn polish, Dr. Boggs’ Hex Wax, is a play on Mr. Zogs’ Sex Wax, which is used on surfboards. The bit in chapter 6 about Janna's parents lamenting the loss of their favorite business establishments (the goth store for her mom, the coffee shop for her dad) is meant to imply that Janna is the offspring of a goth and a grunge. That would explain her behavior and fashion sense perfectly, don't you think? I've always thought it was a little weird that Oskar has those fangs and that they have yet to be explained, or even mentioned. So I came up with the half half-demon thing to explain why Oskar has them. The idea of Janna finding Marco’s handwritten five-step plan in chapter 6 was inspired by Fairy Slayer. When he beta-read chapter 1, he commented that Marco putting the list in his pocket was surely a setup for someone to find it later. I hadn't even considered that, but then I thought about a certain girl who gets a kick out of picking Marco's pockets, and there we were. The title of chapter 7, “To the Maximus,” is sort of a double entendre, as it refers to both the Chillaximus Spa and to the gluteus maximus—the muscle of Jackie's that Marco especially wants to massage. The bit about Star and Marco cuddling up with the laser puppies for warmth at night was inspired by my cats, which I sometimes find sleeping on top of me when I wake up on a cold morning. The only laser puppy that has been named on the show to date is Sajak, who is presumably named for Pat Sajak of Wheel of Fortune. Thus, the three laser puppies that are named in chapter 9—Harvey, Barker, and Eubanks—get their names from other American game show hosts: Steve Harvey (Family Feud), Bob Barker (The Price Is Right), and Bob Eubanks (The Newlywed Game). A few ideas I toyed with and rejected: • Rogelio (and therefore Marco) is descended from a noble family that was banished from Mewni for siding with the monsters in the Great Monster Massacre. Rogelio is in the current royal family's good graces, though, and he contacts them (through a magic mirror of his own) at the end of the story to give a mysterious report about “how things are progressing” between Star and Marco—implying that they are expected to get together eventually. I rejected this idea because it implies that there will be a sequel (which I am not planning at this point) and, more importantly, because it undercuts the story's theme of friendship over passion. • Janna is not fully human but is partly some sort of spider-creature. This idea came from Janna inexplicably baring a pair of spider-like fangs in “Interdimensional Field Trip.” (Yes, they were probably plastic fangs Janna bought at the museum gift shop, but who knows?) But I didn't think this would add anything useful to the story. • We find out that Jackie has known about the five-step plan for some time (maybe because Janna blabbed), but she isn't angry about it; rather, she feels flattered that Marco would go to such lengths to become her boyfriend. But that idea seemed contrived and, ultimately, unnecessary, because Jackie could easily figure out on her own that Star was the catalyst for Marco starting to court her. I often “proofread” my work by having the Voice Aloud app on my phone read it to me, which makes it easier to notice misspellings and repeated words and such. (I got this idea from Fairy Slayer.) Amusingly, although the app has problems pronouncing certain words, like “piece” and “wash,” it pronounces “Uncle Hardegarbamar” perfectly. If this story were a movie, I would want the poster to show Star and Marco standing back to back, ready to kick some butt, with the tagline, “Not just friends. Best friends.”
  25. 2 likes
    Alright, if you say so. Personally, I agree with everything you've said about it and would probably enjoy watching it, but it's always seemed just too childish. I'm a pretty big fan of formulaic myself and I did enjoy Phineas and Ferb. It's just the way everything is written, you'd think this was Preschool not Highschool. It takes away from the other undeniable good points just too much to get through. But hey, with every other work you've given us, somehow I doubt I'll be able to make that claim about Miss Matched. Can't wait to see what you do with the place.
  26. 2 likes
    True. He pretty much got more character development in Starcrushed than in the rest of the series put together and that still puts him far behind Ferguson in terms of development. But, yeah, in Oskar’s case I meant to say that he stayed true and consistent to the character you developed him as. Whoops. Then I literally have nothing but praise for you
  27. 2 likes
    So, you're next is the last. Honestly, I can't say I'm that surprised though it saddens me to see it go. Still it has to or you'll never get around to making something new. Any idea what fandom you'll be using next? If not, might I suggest Milo Murphy. It seems right up your alley, has a ton of usable characters, and is pretty much the spiritual successor to Phineas and Ferb.
  28. 2 likes
    Thanks! My ego is now fully inflated. Whoa. Time dilation… Thank you! Although Oskar is a canonical character, he has been used so little on the show that writing him is almost like writing an OC. That has given me a lot of freedom to develop him. When I first thought of writing this scene, the awkward start -- especially the hysterical laughter when they try to kiss -- was the first thing that came to mind. I love words and wordplay, so I like coming up with ways to use it in Star’s dialogue. Being from another dimension means that she isn't necessarily familiar with all of our idioms (nor are we familiar with all of hers, like “riding the unicorn”), so there’s lots of room for language fun. Thank you! It took me quite a while to figure out how that scene was going to work. Eventually, I realized that the action needed to flow from the two characters’ personalities, and that meant their letting loose and having fun. My bad: My original plan was to end with the 12th chapter. But as I wrote it, I realized that there was too much material to fit into one chapter, so I split it into two. Now the last chapter will be 13 -- which will be posted soon, because it's already written and just needs a little cleaning up. *blushes* Actually, the omission of the quotation mark there was intentional. When a piece of dialogue continues into the next paragraph, you leave off the end quote in the first paragraph as a clue to the reader that the same character is still speaking. Thanks so much for the review! Final chapter coming soon.
  29. 2 likes
    I suppose a corollary of what y’all have been saying about hooking the target audience is that different types of stories call for different types of summaries. The summary for a funny story ought to be at least a little bit funny itself, whereas the summary for a mystery ought to be mysterious.
  30. 2 likes
    Hi, stranger :) Sounds so logical now, but never thought of it that way. Admittedly, I'm strange when it comes to books; I usually read the flyleaf after I've skimmed over the first chapter(s) (from which I make a judgement call...), so the summaries, in my case, are more an afterthought. Which is probably reflected in how my writing is… You... Hate... Writing... Summaries? <holds fingers in shape of cross...> Blasphemy! I agree. The two important/interesting elements work and would certainly blend in with what BW said. The set target audience would, consequently, be determined by those; for example, a SciFi romance would likely have the romantic elements outright listed, allowing the intended audience to know. Not only that, but, because of the main themes and elements being presented, you have, hopefully, a hook in the summary that draw people in (...which is exactly what a summary should do and what BW said already...). Obviously, something called Attack of the Killer Lizard Blob People From Planet 672 is not likely to have "Killer Lizard Blob People attack! Bob milks his cows. Joan walks the dog. It's an interesting day." (Although, I'm kind of interested, in a strange way, at why Bob and Joan are doing mundane things as Lizard people are attacking...)
  31. 2 likes
    Man I haaaate writing summaries. It was easier when I was just beginning and didn’t put any thought into it. Back when my writing was terrible but my fandom was great at stroking my budding ego anyway. Over the years I’ve tried many ‘techniques’. Mostly those techniques involved trying to read the readers’ minds, and putting in what I thought they’d want to hear (in M/M my best guess was stuff about the main pairing). Now, though, I tend to pick the two most important parts of the plot to focus on, and try to mention something specific and/or personal about the main char. Ideally, I’d mention the love interest too, since it’s still M/M, but that’s not always doable. So yeah, I’m very interested in this topic as well. Can’t wait to hear how other people tackle this beast.
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    As someone who has tried to show a rather diverse cast of characters within my writing (of which, unfortunately, only one has achieved this at this point in time; others, not posted, have done so as well, but...), I’m curious and, in all fairness, perhaps this curiosity can help someone in writing their own endeavours. Firstly, how do you attempt to drastically avoid the cliches and stereotypes of the characters who aren’t, so to speak, your background? Secondly, as writers, do you often have concerns that, who or what you’re writing about will be disrespectful to that culture? And thirdly, for aspiring writers, is it better to avoid making references to the diverse cast and allow the reader to otherwise insert their own thoughts and ideas for the cast? In my attempts, I usually do a fair amount of research, sometimes relying on friends who are there or know people who are, or, and this is the usual aspect, I do a lot of research into the culture (religion, views, thoughts on the aspects in the story, cultural history). This isn’t always perfect. (Logically, one takes the internet and, even, written word research with a grain of salt based off who is writing it (every man, woman, child, dog, cat, and parrot seems to have some opinion on some culture somewhere in the world). As for point two, I’m always worried about how it will come across when writing my characters. CR can verify that much (...surprised CR hasn’t ended up in fetal position in corner mumbling incoherently as a result of my worry...), which usually means lots of discussions... Not sure if there’s anything that can really be done there… I had asked myself quite often while writing mine and figured others might have had the same thoughts or even may be able to offer advice and tips that can help. TCR
  33. 2 likes
    Capitalisation usage. There’s a lot of rules for the use of capitalisation, but as in most cases regarding English, there are always going to be examples that seem to contradict the established rules. Also, what was once correct capitalisation usage can eventually stop being correct. But here are some rules to help you along. Firstly, though, a quick lesson that will be useful for this document. What is a noun? A noun is a word that identifies a person, place, thing or idea. You can find various examples all over the internet. What is a proper noun? While a noun identifies a person, place, thing or idea, a proper noun actually names them, and they’re always capitalised. A person’s name is a proper name. The name of a street, river, city, country, etc., are all proper nouns. Companies, institutions, churches, are also proper nouns. Rule 1a. The first word of a document and after a full stop is always capitalised. Example: Holmes was certainly not a difficult man to live with. He was quiet in his ways, and his habits were regular. Rule 1b. The first word of a quotation is also capitalised, but only if the quote is a complete sentence. Examples: Aldus Huxley once said, “Chastity – the most unnatural of all sexual perversions” (This quote is a complete sentence and so is capitalised.) The witness described the vandals as “morons”. (This quote is not a complete sentence and so is not capitalised.) If you’ve ever read stories online then you’re bound to have come across someone who insists on never using capitals. They usually do this because they want to come across as ‘individuals’ and ‘cutting edge’, etc. A more accurate description that I have come across for this is ‘pretentious and attention seeking’. I would totally agree with this. Never, ever do this! Not if you want to ever be taken seriously as a writer. Rule 2. Capitalise proper nouns and adjectives derived from proper nouns. Personal names (whether real, fictitious, or nicknames, or even substitutes for a name, animal or thing) are capitalised. Titles, whether official or religious, are capitalised, but not generic names, such as ‘uncle’ or aunt’. Examples: The Sydney Harbour Bridge A French novel (French is derived from the noun France and so is capitalised.) That’s a picture of King Henry The Great Wall of China Rule 3. In general, all large words of the title of a story, movie, etc., should be capitalised, but small words (of, a, an, the, as, if, nor, and others) are not capitalised. But this is another fairly grey area in English. Examples: The Silence of the Lambs Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone A Game of Thrones Note that words like ‘a’ and ‘the’ would not normally be capitalised, but if they’re the first or last word in the title then they are capitalised. Rule 4. Words for calendar items, such as days, weeks, months, are capitalised, but not seasons. Examples: In Australia, December is the start of summer, which means no white Christmas for us. Next year, New Year’s Day falls on a Monday. Rule 5. Capitals are used in geographical names but not the points of the compass (north, south, east and west), unless they’re a part of a distinct region. Examples: The tourists were mostly from South East Asia, but some also hailed from Europe. Jeff grew up in the state of Queensland, Australia, but moved to New Zealand. You need to follow the trail north and then turn east when you come to the intersection. (‘north’ and ‘east’ are not capitalised because they’re not part of a distinct region.) Rule 6. Capitalise titles when they come directly before a name, or when the title replaces the use of a name (But only if the title is used as a direct address) Examples: I remember watching President Obama’s inauguration speech. The president of the club is Jeff. (‘president’ isn’t capitalised.) “Hello, Doctor. I need your help.” (The title ‘Doctor’ replaces a name and so is capitalised.) The doctor arrived late at his practice. (‘doctor’ isn’t capitalised as it’s a description rather than a title replacing a name.) I’m sorry to report, Captain, that we’re taking on water. (The title ‘Captain’ replaces a name and so is capitalised.) The captain went down with the ship. (‘captain’ isn’t capitalised as it’s a description rather than a title replacing a name.) Note that occupations are not the same as titles. So you would not write: “That’s the Actor Tom Hanks”. Rule 7. In general, don’t capitalise the word ‘the’ before proper nouns. Examples: We visited the Eiffel Tower. Jeff loved playing the Grand Theft Auto games. There are exceptions, though. For example, ‘The Hague’ in the Netherlands would always have the word ‘the’ capitalised’, because this has become the historically accepted way to spell it. Rule 8a. Don’t capitalise the first word after a colon. Examples: Bring the following items with you: a donkey, lubrication, and some pain killers. Get these from the supermarket while you’re there: eggs, milk, bread. He finally got what he most the wanted: a promotion. But here’s where the English language falls over itself once again. If a complete sentence follows a colon, and it’s not a quotation (see below), then authorities are divided over whether the first word after the colon should be capitalised. Example: Remember the old adage: Be careful what you wish for. Depending on who you talk to, some would say the above is correct, others incorrect. So I’ll leave it up to individuals to decide on that one. Rule 8b. Capitalise the first word of a complete sentence quotation that follows a colon. Example: The teacher made an announcement: “You’re all staying back late.” Rule 8c. Capitalise the first word after a colon if the information following the colon requires two or more complete sentences. Example: My uncle once gave me valuable advice: Word hard. Play harder.
  34. 2 likes
    YaayI finally got my signature done! Tnx to clovey for helping out with some of the texnical shit. Love you sugar blossoms The sexy sexy man on the poster is my boy Ivanyav from The Divine Hand, although he does kinda look like 2 other similar characters too… But yeah for now its just Vanyushka
  35. 2 likes
    Okay, lot of questions here... Let's get cracked <breaks finger while cracking>. Damn, been a bit… Personally, I like the subtle hints peppered throughout. When they all come back around at the end and you can look back and go, wait a second!" When reading, that's part of the fun. As for too subtle, I think everyone has a different interpretation of subtle and how much or little is required. While I'm sure I'll have tomatoes thrown, there are some people who don't read for the hints. Personally speaking, I don't always. (Put down the pitchforks!) I know people who read mysteries just because they like the author... And others will actively try to solve it before the character does... (One where I used to work would be reading a James Patterson with a notebook next to her, taking notes...) On a personal level, again, I can only say that I prefer not knowing a clue and solving or being surprised at the end... Like you, that's part of the fun. Hints are good (although I probably wouldn't have figured things out on The Divine Hand without a little prodding... Hopefully that comes around a little more...) All that incoherent rambling aside, best advice I can give, write what you want to read. If you like having hints strewn throughout, go for it. If you do, someone else will too.
  36. 2 likes
    I usually like to give my characters a name that has a meaning. I like using google translate and giving my character a name that means something in another language. Like for example my character Bai Hu, his name is white tiger: Bai – white, Hu - tiger in Chinese (according to google translate). And I use this method for naming places too. I also just like pick the names I like, you know, I like how they sound and shit. I tend to write down names I like so when I need a name I come back to that list. Or (like ppl already pointed out) baby name websites and shit like that.
  37. 2 likes
    Eddie Forever is finished! 177 manuscript pages, 64,000 words. Whew!
  38. 2 likes
    You know, I don’t understand. Do these people think because something is hosted elsewhere, it then becomes fair game? Do they not get copy/pasting most of the story, and then starting to make changes later on, is still theft? I guess not.
  39. 2 likes
    Melrick will appreciate your volunteerism on this topic (once his computer woes are fixed).
  40. 1 like
    Re: “Make It All Better” Thank you! I love writing about Daddy and Angie, and I'm always glad to hear from those who like reading about them. Oh, yes, Daddy would like that very much. But Dad and Angela have to live with the consequences of what Daddy and Angie do, so I'm afraid that must remain a fantasy. (I have written a few actual incestuous impregnation stories, though: “Father's Love,” “Excuses,” and “Activation Day.”) Plenty more on the way! And more of “Make It All Better,” too.
  41. 1 like
    Okay, so, scenario… you've written up something you want to post (...because who doesn't want to post an incredible work of art taking people to all realms and realities?) you stare at the monitor in front of you, blank, sterile white, laughing incessantly (no, that last bit only happens to me?) as you try to think of a summary... Obviously, this isn't the same for everyone. There are probably some who write up a summary in ten seconds that sound like a summer blockbuster, sure to bring in millions of dollars… and others on the opposite spectrum, who struggle endlessly trying to get something that sounds, to them, remotely interesting (as a writer, I think I might be a little overly critical of my summaries… Regardless of what I think or how they sound…) So, how do you all go about writing your summaries? How do you “sell” your work of art? What techniques do you use and recommend to improve a summary? What do you avoid? What grabs you as a reader? What turns you off? (Why choose A over B, essentially?)...
  42. 1 like
    How did I miss this? And now I’ve spent my last fiver on dog food… roll on friday. *g*
  43. 1 like
    Seriously, the first chapter of that story is perfection. LOL
  44. 1 like
    I go with word counts because page counts are so easy to manipulate (font size, page size, font type, spacing, etc) – I remember playing with those back in school when a teacher would specify “X” pages and I’d come up otherwise short. I’ve tried 3Kwords, I’ve tried 25Kwords, and I’ve settled on a general rule of thumb for 6k-8k. However, I’ll tolerate less/more if the chapter/circumstances demand it. At 10k I’m generally looking to see if there’s a good way to divide it. Below 5k, and I’m considering whether the chapter should be condensed with another, or something should be added. Too short, and nobody gets engaged to click that “next” button, and too long, well, both makes it more daunting to me as an author and gives fewer natural “resting points” for the reader to set aside and come back later (I mean, if it’s a really long story, they need breaks).
  45. 1 like
    I was gonna ask if the multi-appendaged people jumping school girls are female multi-appendaged people, but I’m afraid we may have gotten off topic. Um, so yeah… Diversity is good. Another thing about writing a diverse cast I really like, is that research GeorgeGlass mentioned. It kinda forces you into learning about other types of people, and learn a little about things you’ve never experienced before. If you do it well, it’s an excellent lesson in empathy.
  46. 1 like
    I’d totally love to see more autistic or aspergers characters. Or aliens! Aliens are fun too. Tentacle monsters with deep, multi-faceted personalities need more representation in erotica.
  47. 1 like
    Hm… cannot see the image, but here’s what I can find as references for Skuld’s adult form: Edit: Actually, I found out where the image was from, but danbooru doesn’t allow direct linking, so it cannot be posted here like that. Still, that’s exactly the version of Skuld I had in mind for this story. Here are some screenshots from the episode where Skuld was an adult (the same episode where the gif image originated from): Those are both considered as canon, since they’re from the anime itself. So, that’s what Skuld should look like in this story. The only difference is, that here, she’s a real adult, and not just temporarily aged up (as it happened in the anime).
  48. 1 like
    As I always say, there’s no higher praise than an involuntary physiological response. Oh, I wouldn’t worry; Melanie’s going to be rather busy... Thanks for the comment!
  49. 1 like
    Thank you! My interest is piqued. Any idea when we might expect your next chapter? (Feel free to say that you have no idea; I usually don't. ) IMO, part of the fun -- and the challenge -- of writing fanfic is coming up with original characters that will work well with the canonical ones. Glad you like this one. Yeah, things went pretty far for a first date, but...yeah. Definitely some fallout coming.
  50. 1 like
    *Note: The text editor is telling me that I'm using too much quoted text, so I'm putting the quoted text in red instead of quote blocks. Disclaimer: I'm the proofreader, so all typos and such are my fault. For starters, I like the little recap of Marco's and Star's love-live situations, both to ease into the discussion and also provide enough background for those who aren't as familiar with the series. The series doesn't make it entirely clear where Star and Marco stand with their respective crushes; we don't know, for example, how Marco's conversation with Jackie on the bus went at the end of “Interdimensional Field Trip.” So I wanted to give a clear indication of where Square One is at the beginning of the story. It strikes me a little that many teenagers fret almost non-stop over how to appeal those of the other sex, yet at the same time they could pretty much write a book on what they've picked up about various types of people among their own gender. If they just used some of that observational power… Yet on the other hand, there's still a hint of the blind leading the blind as both have their confidence shaken here and there Part of the reason why I liked this story idea enough to actually write it up was the obvious advantage of having an opposite-sex best friend to give you romantic advice. But nobody is omniscient about what others of their own sex want, so yeah. However it's awesome how they both keep perking each-other up. Morale is critical to the success of Operation Wingman. So it seems to be working, and I won't complain. Setting up the plan and negotiating the number of parts was perfectly in-character and rather adorable on both kids' parts. It ran rather smoothly, thanks to the small number of entries; the last item though is great for proving that this is going to be one hell of a sexy story. Thank goodness Mewni is a bit more liberal about sex. Star's being from another dimension, whose culture and mores we don't fully know, provides a lot of helpful latitude. Also, Star's line “If you need to measure it, it’s not awesome.” still cracks me up. Talk about your soft endpoints. Then the restless night and all that deliciously sexy talk was fantastic, and it's cute that Star is not above teasing Marco a little bit as she gets him all flustered. That bit was inspired by the moment in “Freeze Day” when Star briefly pretends to be frozen just to mess with Marco. The goings-on of chapter two played out well with each accomplishing their first checklist items so well. Marco was terrific for calming Star down after she jumped ahead on the list – especially being The List Guy, but it's clear that he cares more for Star's happiness than anything else. Perhaps even getting with Jackie Lynn, if it came to that; at the same time, I wonder if Star would also care more about her best friend succeeding. This could make for some interesting complications; Hmm, perhaps. Janna too seems like she'll be sticking her face into their business and raising havoc. Niiiiice. Every game needs a wild card. The subtlety of "that face" was pretty cool, though it was good you pointed it out for people like me. And people like Marco, who might not catch such things on his own. (I was about 18 when I realized that the girl with whom I had had a summer-school romance 2 years earlier had subtly offered to let me see her naked, and that I had been completely oblivious to her innuendo at the time.) Also, giving us the pronunciation of Rogelio was clever and just a really nice thing to do. Well, the spelling isn't exactly phonetic for us speakers of inglés, so I figured it couldn't hurt. Finally though, another night with Marco and Star together in her room turned out rather nicely. She's such a carefree yet considerate young woman. I'm glad that for all of Marco's fretting he was able to fall asleep without ruminating on the situation too much. Part of the point there was to show how relaxed Marco and Star are around each other. It was a bit of self-indulgence on my part; I love that aspect of their relationship, so I wanted to highlight it for the reader. Let's just hope the puppies don't start crawling around inside his pajama bottoms. (Or maybe that's just what Star will claim happened… okay, maybe not in this story. ) Is there a tag for pseudo-bestiality? So thanks for all the fun, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how this adventure goes. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for betaing and reviewing!