InBrightestDay

InBrightestDay's (Originals) Review Reply & Discussion Thread

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I’m aware that I have received two absolutely wonderful reviews for the latest chapter of WitS, and have yet to respond to them.  I am currently working on the final chapter, which is why I haven’t responded.  I promise that within the next day or two I will respond to both JayDee and InvidiaRed.  Many thanks to both of you! :)

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On 10/16/2020 at 1:40 PM, JayDee said:

Good Luck. We’re all counting on you.

Surely you can’t be serious.

Alright, well, two reviews for The Woman in the Statue Chapter 10!  First one comes from the always awesome @JayDee!

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Had to read it through again after that preview! One thing I didn't say before, I think it really benefits from being extended again from the original story length. Allowing the extra detail and words really emphasises that they're not just having an easy trip up the building and also gives more insight into both bad and good guys!

Thank you!  What you mentioned there is, in fact, one reason this finale got so much longer.  Originally, we’d get to the bottom of the tower where the Gungnir shootout took place, and then we would cut to Luzurial arriving at the top floor.  And then I was like “in how many D&D games do you just skip all the way to the top of the bad guy’s tower?  No no, that is not how this is done!  As such, the heroes working their way up the tower became a story element all its own.

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surely it is now canon that in the K-Team earth Michael Van Dijk is much the same except he’s a not a dude, but instead called Karen Van Dijk. Still way evil though

:blink: Has Karen Van Dijk appeared in any of the stories?  I can’t remember.

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Cassie definitely shifting into too dumb to live territory. I mean, Eparlegna’s track record with women in uniform isn’t great at the best of time. I did like her explanation that she’s not much of one for faith. Gotta love Eparlegna’s Darth Vader line.

I don’t know if I’d planned how Cassie was going to die all the way back when she first appeared in Chapter 3, but by the time we hit Chapter 4, I knew it was going to be that her doubts just pushed Eparlegna a little too far.  In anticipation of that, I kept bringing up that she’s the one with the most misgivings.  Not that she has moral objections to what they’re doing, just that she doesn’t trust that Eparlegna is as in control as he thinks he is.  In that sense, she’s both right and wrong.  He is underestimating the heroes, but he also does have a plan.

I’ll get into this in InvidiaRed’s review response, but the Darth Vader line is definitely a result of trying to keep him in line with your portrayal. :D

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So, down to the unfinished floor – The prism trap is a pretty cool idea. I’d be like “Just gonna test it some more” and throw in like Neapolitan ice cream to see if it split that properly.

:lol: When I was coming up with traps, I had the idea for the fractal impalement trap, which was the sort of visceral horror, but I wanted something else too, something a little more magical and out there, and the matter prism seemed like a good idea.

Leary catching the use of the wrong term for Chloe was part of my drive to give every character something cool to do.  Unfortunately I ended up cutting Cole’s moment, as it was tied to a plot point that I realized was redundant, but hopefully I can give him one in a future story.

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Great badass moment of Luzurial just tearing the door out an using it as a shield. That’d be an “Oh crap” moment on the other side. Abdul so shocked by the door rescue he doesn’t even have a joke to make!

I had way more fun with that little scene than I thought I was going to.  I had planned for it to be a simple shootout, but then I realized they would need cover as they entered the room, and realized that even in her weakened strength, Luzurial can just rip the door out of the wall.  Abdul’s “There’s something you don’t see every day.” definitely made me chuckle a little.

I’m glad you liked the line I gave Eparlegna.  It can be a challenge to write his dialogue, so it’s always a relief when I hear that I got it right.  Kevin’s line is just me realizing that he has to say something after watching a woman burn alive from the inside out, and in this case he may be so stunned that he doesn’t consider whether or not it would be wise to say anything, and just vocalizes the first thing to come to his mind, which is something vaguely snarky.

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That needle in the arm made me shudder. I guess it’s something to fuck Kevin over with when Luzurial arrives rather than just to hurt him?

Oh, that needle’s coming back next chapter, believe you me.

I appreciate the support for Luzurial’s actions there.  As I said, I threw the idea out there because I found it funny, I remember you liked it, and then I got worried about whether or not it was a good idea in the first place.  Thank you again!

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This whole section of text where Luzurial compares evil acts to good ‘blasphemies’ is just awesome. It’s like the whole moral background of the universe here. Religion doesn’t even get a look in, it’s being a decent person that matters. Which is why even demons can be redeemed. Well, maybe not Eparlegna.

Saw the little call backs to Mike Rapes a Dyke (my worst ever story title!) and Pandemic Head there! Cadence probably wishing she could see her hated cousin fall from her box under the bed. Some of the shit she did before she was a head probably wouldn’t impress Luzurial too much either, even being decades before, but I guess she can sympathise with someone trapped for decades by a right bastard.

Thank you for that as well!  The theology of WitS has always been sort of based on The Last Battle.  Essentially, you don’t have to be religious to do good things, and it’s how you live your life and how you affect other people that matters.

I don’t know that MRaD has the worst title of any of your...stories...well, ok, I can’t come up with a challenger at the moment, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one!  The stuff Cadence did is probably why Luzurial left her there under the bed.  She’ll be fine, as fine as a head in a box can be, anyway, and after all the stuff she’s done or tried to do, making her wait longer is perhaps a light sentence.
 

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“Very well,” she said.  “I will grant your request.  There will be a slight delay…” she focused her gaze through the windows behind him, looking down toward the street, “…approximately eight seconds, before you will be introduced to my superiors.”

Loved this especially. That was pretty funny but also kind of badass. At least one of her superiors can be on fire enough that he’d think he’d got to hell early.

Heh.  That is indeed true concerning her superiors.  The “slight delay” idea is one that also made me grin, just thinking that she would know exactly how long it would take, and encouraging him, like “You’ve got less than ten seconds to live.  Maaaybe think about some of the stuff you’ve done.  Regretting any of that yet?”

Thank you for the review, and I’ll see you again...ok, fair warning, the final chapter may come out Tuesday instead of Monday.  At any rate, see you later!

Edited by InBrightestDay

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2 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

Surely you can’t be serious.

I am serious. And you can call me Shirley if you want.

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Thank you!  What you mentioned there is, in fact, one reason this finale got so much longer.  Originally, we’d get to the bottom of the tower where the Gungnir shootout took place, and then we would cut to Luzurial arriving at the top floor.  And then I was like “in how many D&D games do you just skip all the way to the top of the bad guy’s tower?  No no, that is not how this is done!  As such, the heroes working their way up the tower became a story element all its own.
 

Luzurial: “75 years ago I rolled a lot of nat 1s.”

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:blink: Has Karen Van Dijk appeared in any of the stories?  I can’t remember.

She’d be an amoral attorney down in California. Probably mostly defending Janet.

“This allegation that my client unleashed a tentacle monster on the school swim meet after some of the athletes bullied her son is preposterous. They were probably just using drugs!”

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Leary catching the use of the wrong term for Chloe was part of my drive to give every character something cool to do.  Unfortunately I ended up cutting Cole’s moment, as it was tied to a plot point that I realized was redundant, but hopefully I can give him one in a future story

 

Let him crossdress for a christmas story. Cole in stockings isn’t always a bad thing. Just me then…

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Oh, that needle’s coming back next chapter, believe you me.

Chekov’s needle!

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I appreciate the support for Luzurial’s actions there.  As I said, I threw the idea out there because I found it funny, I remember you liked it, and then I got worried about whether or not it was a good idea in the first place.  Thank you again!

If Great vengeance and furious anger isn’t in the job description then it ought to be.

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Thank you for that as well!  The theology of WitS has always been sort of based on The Last Battle.  Essentially, you don’t have to be religious to do good things, and it’s how you live your life and how you affect other people that matters.

CS Lewis: “Except Susan, though. ‘cos fuck her.”

No, I see it, you have that pretty much all the way through.

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Thank you for the review, and I’ll see you again...ok, fair warning, the final chapter may come out Tuesday instead of Monday.  At any rate, see you later!

Not long now… I’m sure it’ll be great! I wish I had your ability to finish stories people want to read!

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17 hours ago, JayDee said:

Let him crossdress for a christmas story. Cole in stockings isn’t always a bad thing. Just me then… 

JAAAYDEEEEE!!!

*sigh* You know I’m going to have to try and work that into the PRD story, right?  Abdul will probably start the joke about stockings full of-

Cole: “Don’t do it, man!  Just don’t do it.”

And for the second review, from @InvidiaRed

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You have no idea how excited I am when you upload.

Thank you!

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Of course, Eparlegna would rip off Darth Vader. But that's to be expected a vainglorious bully can't be expected to understand villanous flaire. Kinda see why he's always been the bridesmaid and never the bride.

So this is what I was talking about in my reply to JayDee’s review.  Something I’ve noticed about Eparlegna’s dialogue is that it’s a mix of more archaic, almost formal speech, like what one would expect out of an angel or demon, and modern vernacular.  The pattern was established by one of his first lines in Whore of Heaven, actually, when Luzurial orders him to leave Earth.

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“Pure one, these humans have an expression: Not in a million fucking years, bitch.”

It established that, for all that he views humanity as inferior and will torture and kill them just to amuse himself, Eparlegna nonetheless likes elements of our culture and uses them to spice up his vocabulary.  It made perfect sense to me that he’d quote a good Darth Vader line.

Of course, as you said, the fact that he’s doing that doesn’t actually reflect terribly well on him.

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Cassie blatantly telling him to his face he's going to lose again. Oh that was delightfully satisfying.

You know, for all that it directly provokes him into killing her, I can’t help but feel that a not-insignificant part of why he kills her is that Cassie just struck a nerve, similar to Kevin’s Sick BurnTM in the lecture hall.  And yeah, finally having someone outright say “You’re going to lose” is always kind of awesome. :D
 

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Every simple act of kindness, every altruistic decision, every child taught to love and every life made a little brighter were all credits to humanity.  They were all displays of what sapient life was meant to be.

And every single home broken, every family destroyed, every trust betrayed and every life ruined in the simple, willful pursuit of selfish desire, all of them were evil.  They were blasphemies against the Creator. This bit was so incredibly inspired

"you are everything Lucifer wishes your species to become.” That hit so hard, I shivered.

Thank you so much!  As I mentioned in the author’s note, I was concerned that, while I found “archangel pushes serial rapist out of a building” to be amusing, it might feel a bit...off.  I tried to compensate for that by trying to show Luzurial’s thought process leading up to it, and how disgusted and utterly incensed she is by this guy, and just how vile all of his rapes and abuse are, even when measured against the horror outside.  JayDee actually really helped here by writing Pandemic Head.  Having Michael still doing horrific things, like keeping his cousin’s severed head alive and prisoner indicates that he’s still a threat, and that it’s likely that his “at least one rape a year” pattern has likely slowed with old age, but probably hasn’t stopped.
 

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I strongly disagree, Luzurial commiting defenestration is one of the most angelic things I've ever read. Precisely, because it showcases in great detail her angelic nature. Clearly, She's a servant to a higher power and Van Dijk did in fact directly ask her to.

That's peak Luzurial.

:lol: Much like JayDee’s reaction, it seems.  Evidently what she does here is coming across as some level of righteous fury, an evil man coming up against something far more dangerous than he could imagine.

Thank you so much for the review, and I’ll see you again soon!

Edited by InBrightestDay

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Alright, so I was holding off on these until I got the final chapter (which then became final chapters) done, but there are two more reviews for WitS Chapter 10!  First up is @Thundercloud!

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I think it was a great idea to split the ending into more chapters. There are far too many minions of the bad one that deserve a fitting ending to jump directly to the final battle.

That really is why I kept pulling these things apart.  There were a lot of elements set up earlier in the story, and they all had to be paid off.

Also, in general, I just want to say dang it, Thundercloud!  You come up with all these cool suggestions, and by the time I read them I was too deep into writing the finale to use them!  I know this obviously isn’t your fault but curse you!  CURSE YOOOU!!!

:mellow: *Ahem*

Of course, there is one thing I can address…

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Speaking of the trap for this chapter I found it nasty...but it suffers from a problem often seen in roleplaying games. Traps that could result in total party kill removes some parts of the fun because it quickly becomes obvious that they must not go off because they are too leathal.

:devil: Oh, the matter prism is definitely coming into play, just not the way it looked like it was.  I’ll let you find out about that in Chapter 11…

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The encounter between the Luzurial and Michael was funny and totally fitting. I like that she as angel does not have any problem with dealing violence when situation calls for it.

I’m really glad that went over as well as it did.  I was, as you might have noticed in the Author’s Note, rather worried about that.  It helps that by way of Pandemic Head, JayDee actually provided even more reasons for him to get pushed through a window.  I think this might also offer some long-delayed justice for the ending of Mike Rapes a Dyke, as there you mentioned…

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I would have preferred a open ending with the person woving to revenge what the dyke suffered

Well, Lily didn’t get revenge personally, but as JayDee said of Mike at the end of MRaD: “Eventually his luck ran out, but that’s another story.”

Turns out that’s the story of the day he antagonized the wrong rape survivor.

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Second is a review by Symbalistic!

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I've really enjoyed this story. I think I've mentioned in another review, but I think you do an excellent job of describing scenes, so much so that I get a vibrant picture in my head of what you are detailing. I love stories that can make me see that. I was worried for a while that you weren't going to finish, but I'm glad its almost complete now. Can't wait for the ending!

Thank you so much! :)  Honestly it was quite an effort to finally get the thing done.  I knew what I wanted to happen, but as I got closer and closer to the end, I kept getting more and more nervous about disappointing everyone, as the ending is a place where a story can easily faceplant (and I won’t name any stories here, but I’ve seen it happen multiple times).  That made it harder for me to just sit down and write, a far cry from how easy and exciting it was when I started the story, but at long last I got it done!

As for being able to “see” things, I think that comes from the fact that I’m naturally a very visual person, so when I do descriptions sight is usually the first sense I think about.  I’m glad to hear it works for you. ^_^

Thank you so much for reading this far, and I hope you enjoy the ending!

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On 11/2/2020 at 6:55 AM, InBrightestDay said:

I’m really glad that went over as well as it did.  I was, as you might have noticed in the Author’s Note, rather worried about that.  It helps that by way of Pandemic Head, JayDee actually provided even more reasons for him to get pushed through a window.  I think this might also offer some long-delayed justice for the ending of Mike Rapes a Dyke, as there you mentioned…

I remember how you read just enough of Mike’s debut to decide you really hated that fucker, and then finding out he went on to have a scale model of Luzurial’s suffering in his bedroom, well… yeah. Dropping him was right!

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Well, Lily didn’t get revenge personally, but as JayDee said of Mike at the end of MRaD: “Eventually his luck ran out, but that’s another story.”

Turns out that’s the story of the day he antagonized the wrong rape survivor.

Heh, I’m going to go add a link at the end there, something like “to see his luck run out check out The Woman in the Statue!

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On 11/2/2020 at 7:55 AM, InBrightestDay said:

Alright, so I was holding off on these until I got the final chapter (which then became final chapters) done, but there are two more reviews for WitS Chapter 10!  First up is @Thundercloud!

Having a backlog with reviews must feel good. :mellow:

On 11/2/2020 at 7:55 AM, InBrightestDay said:

Also, in general, I just want to say dang it, Thundercloud!  You come up with all these cool suggestions, and by the time I read them I was too deep into writing the finale to use them!  I know this obviously isn’t your fault but curse you!  CURSE YOOOU!!!

A fellow author need to do what an fellow author need to do to hint at the possibility of cooperation...

On 11/2/2020 at 7:55 AM, InBrightestDay said:

:mellow: *Ahem*

Of course, there is one thing I can address…

:devil: Oh, the matter prism is definitely coming into play, just not the way it looked like it was.  I’ll let you find out about that in Chapter 11…

I look forward to it.

On 11/2/2020 at 7:55 AM, InBrightestDay said:

I’m really glad that went over as well as it did.  I was, as you might have noticed in the Author’s Note, rather worried about that.  It helps that by way of Pandemic Head, JayDee actually provided even more reasons for him to get pushed through a window.  I think this might also offer some long-delayed justice for the ending of Mike Rapes a Dyke, as there you mentioned…

Well, Lily didn’t get revenge personally, but as JayDee said of Mike at the end of MRaD: “Eventually his luck ran out, but that’s another story.”

Turns out that’s the story of the day he antagonized the wrong rape survivor.

Lol, so very true.

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Ok!  We have four reviews for The Woman in the Statue to reply to before I put the final chapter up on Monday.  Since one of those is freaking huge, I’ll do three of them tonight, including the giant one.

First up, one by @InvidiaRed.

This was such a heavy hitting chapter. *cracks knuckles* in order

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5.“and I doubt Lucifer will take this well when you two meet again.” Oh there's no way he's not listening at this point. Eons of planning and one demon is fucking it up singlehandly.

:DI hope you enjoy the scene in the next chapter.  Eparlegna should really be careful about shit-talking Lucifer…

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4.“Because,” Luzurial said, “you dropped something.”

3. “Enjoy Hell.”

2.“My name,” she said, iron in her voice, “is Luzurial.”

I had three lines in this chapter all competing for the title of my favorite badass line, and you mentioned all of them!  I legitimately can’t tell which of them is my favorite, I was...extremely happy when I came up with Chloe’s (and it is one of my favorite badass moments for her) but man, both of Luzurial’s are really dear to me, due to their significance.

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1.

The Creator hears all prayers.

Sometimes the answer is simply “no.”

Sometimes.

But not always.

The Creator's response is so multifacted.

I read it as the creator simply consenting to their relationship.2 A giant middle finger to Eparlegna. (Which in retrospect might actually be the most impressive thing this demon has ever acheived) 3. That fatherly affection of not saying anything but grinning in approval 4. That fatherly expression of watching your littel girl do something impressive all on her own and 5. That little nudge that a parent does to uncertain child that gives them the confidence to achieve.

This is a moment I’ve had in my head for so long, and it felt so good to finally write it down.  All of your takes are valid interpretations, but I think I came the closest to having 5 in mind when I was writing it.  A sort of “I’ve always been proud of you.” moment.  It was a pretty emotional thing to write.

Thank you for the review!

Edited by InBrightestDay

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Next up is our jumbo-sized review from @JayDee!

So, first, for those who may be a little puzzled by some of what’s in this review, like this:

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I didn’t find it dragging at all! If you did want to split it into a couple of chapters for the length, help some of the readers with a bit less time, or just to spread it out a little more I’d say you could do it pretty solidly by ending the chapter after the section ending ending with

I sent JayDee a copy of the finale when it was just one chapter, so this is partly their reaction to both parts.  I actually took their recommendation to break things up, for a reason I’ll get to when I reach Thundercloud’s review.

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I also just liked the more subtle inhumanity of the line of Eparlegna’s teeth sharpening to fangs as he smiled. It’s just a body he’s wearing, but he can mold it like a succubus shifts her chest…

Thanks!  I had him transform more fully later in the fight, so I put in that little piece earlier, indicating a sort of partial transformation, a sort of visual representation for the thin veil of humanity that he wears, and how the veneer tends to crack and reveal the monster he really is.

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“I kept imagining what it would be like not just to kill someone, but to utterly destroy her like that; to punch a ‘strong’ woman to the ground, to let her feel the difference in power, and then every time she tried to rise, to hit her harder, over and over and over again.  It was…unspeakably thrilling.”

“Congratulations, Hobbs,” Chloe said.  She was getting very close now; just a little further.  “You have a fucking extreme fetish.  I’m sure there are other people like that, but they keep that shit in their heads.  It stays a God damned fantasy.”

Hobbs: Snuff/Guro fanfic writer avatar vs Chloe, InBrightestDay avatar right here.

:lol: So, that’s partly your standard motive explanation by Hobbs, but it’s also written the way it is partly to ensure that anyone who is into snuff/guro/rape understands that I’m not saying they’re serial killers or anything, hence distinguishing between those who remember that this stuff is fantasy and those who actually do it.

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And he’s breaking her bones and taking her guns and forcing her to just have her mind to use against him. It’s a big mistake. Scott Evil somewhere shouting “why don’t you just shoot her?” but it isn’t bond villain stupidity, because killing her isn’t as important as hurting her. t’s him engaging in his fantasy that he’s laid out, he wants her fully broken, screaming and begging. It makes total sense.

Yeah, the one thing I was never 100% able to get around was the fact that the connection between an apotheosis and Eparlegna allows the apotheosis some of his power, and that extends to his telepathy in WoH, as the two corrupted cops can sense Luzurial’s emotions.  What I tried to imply was that Hobbs is a little distracted by his fantasy, and as a result he’s not using the telepathy to see exactly what Chloe’s thinking and doing.  I mean, she’s just crawling aimlessly, a base animal response to pain and fear...right?

The stuff for the violence here is, as I said in the author’s note, something I went back and forth on somewhat.  It is toned down from its original form, but as this is a sequel to Whore of Heaven, some level of cringe-inducing brutality from the villains seemed appropriate.

As for some specific moves...while I did come up with Hobbs punching Chloe so hard she vomits, the hip-breaking crotch punch was stolen from Deathstalker, though it was done by one of your characters.  He’s had Gogedheh do that...I think twice (once with a knee to the crotch and once with a punch to the crotch), hitting a woman hard enough to shatter her pelvis.  It was such a display of brutal masculine dominance (the rapist reminding a “strong, independent woman” exactly how weak she really is), that it really felt appropriate for these guys, who act and think pretty much the same way.

Ooooof course, I kind of hate the stories I was drawing inspiration from (not the author’s fault!  Just a fetish that upsets me), and as such this one is all leading up to my favorite Chloe moment of the entire story.

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What’s great about this is that Hobbs is seeing her for her body, he never even considers her mind, and she outsmarts him and fucks him right up with that well foreshadowed and subtly reminded prism trap explosion.

And that’s why I left those explosives in the ceiling last chapter! :D  When I was designing Hell magic traps, I knew at some point I wanted a cultist to get pushed or dropped into one, and when I was thinking through the Chloe vs. Hobbs fight, I started chuckling, because I suddenly knew how to do that exact thing.  The capstone of the whole thing was “Any last words?” a reversal I love seeing in fiction, as it’s a great setup for a badass one-liner when the hero (or heroine, in this case) does something clever.

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Most of the next bit is super super badass! She fights through the intrusive memories of her darkest hours, (ie, calling back to what some asshole put her through ‘Whore of Heaven’ Uh. Oh crap. Hope she isn’t baring a grudge.)

:lol:

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and climbs. The. Fucking. Flaming. Whip. I think you need the brutal detail in there to show just what she is forcing herself through to get close enough to deliver that bitching ‘my name’ line and go inner-light on his ass. Then, bam! That great echoed dropped this line. Fucking love that!

The flashback was actually kind of a late addition, but because this chapter is the part most closely tied to WoH, I decided to bring back Luzurial’s PTSD and have her experience a flashback to WoH during the fight, with the whip strikes as the trigger.  What Luzurial does to bring herself out of it, dragging her hands along the granite, is actually based on an technique called “grounding”, which is a way to cope with flashbacks.  The idea is to use sensory stimulation to remind you of where and when you really are, with Luzurial using touch in this case.

I remember when you and I were talking at one point about how Luzurial gets her sword back, and you jokingly mentioned one of the students lifting it off him while it was a pen.  I didn’t say anything at the time, but I just remember thinking “No, it’s going to be so much more metal than that.  She is going to catch that thing with her bare fucking hand and refuse to let go.”

Also, fun fact:  I often have music on while I write.  I’ve never played League of Legends, but a friend of mine does, and courtesy of him, I’ve been introduced to a number of videos related to the game.  I had this one playing in the background while writing that scene, with Senna’s theme kicking in at the moment Luzurial catches the whip.

Luzurial’s “Because...you dropped something,” was the first of the three badass lines I mentioned that I came up with for the chapter.  I wrote in Eparlegna destroying the machete specifically to set up Luzurial’s line after he drops her sword.

As for the next bit with the explanation of the chains, in previous review responses I’ve mentioned that Cole had a moment that was unfortunately lost.  This was where it was going to go, and Luzurial wouldn’t have caught what was going on with the chains (well, she would have, but off-page), but we would have cut downstairs where Callista, looking outside and up, would realize the pattern of the chains and recognize the design as a magnifying glyph, realizing that the entire building was a weapon.  I’ll talk more about that in the response to Thundercloud’s review.

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An void needle! Oblivion! That shit is brutal. I like the ‘as far as she knew’ modifier, something similar had happened to a mortal but she was still the creepy fucking statue at the time!

I remember we brainstormed this via PM a year ago or something, talking about Luzurial’s motivation for the moment she gets her wings back, and how it had to be something bigger than just Kevin.  I don’t think either one of us came up with what’s here in its entirety, but the idea ended up being a larger scale application of the thing Eparlegna does at the end of WoH, weaponized as the life force siphon.  I knew there had to be a physical piece that was used to trigger the device, and then when you wrote Jude’s Tale, it took shape in the form of the Void Blade.

Shared universes can be serious fun. ^_^

As for the moment Luzurial gets her wings back, I had an outline of this finale, with each segment or moment listed off, and this one was literally just titled “Sometimes the Answer Is Yes”.  I knew this was coming quite a ways back (not quite from the start, but some time after I wrote Part 3), and so took the “sometimes the answer is no” thing Luzurial says in Part 3 and repeated it one more time in Part 8, so that when it showed up for a third time here, I could reverse it.
 

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Then perhaps I need to break you again,” he said, smoky shadows gathering around his body.  Luzurial stretched out a hand, her sword leaping from the ground and returning to her hand.  She stepped between Kevin and Eparlegna and gripped the weapon with both hands.

 

“Go ahead,” she said, searing flame erupting along the length of the blade.  “Try it.”

 

FUCK YEAH! BAD ASS!

I kind of love that bit too. :D

Just one more thing.

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And this time when Eparlegna goes into one of his threatening rants she cuts him off on pregnant. She is so tired of the sound of his voice and she is herself again and fuck,dude, it’s so good.

Thank you again!  So this is a follow-up on a suggestion that Thundercloud made back in his review of Part 6, saying that Eparlegna could threaten to use a body born of Luzurial’s womb to impregnate her again.  It was originally going to be a full-on rant, but when I was writing on it, I actually wondered why Luzurial was letting him talk.  I mean...no.  Fuck this guy and fuck his villain speech.

As always, thank you for the review, and I’ll see you again for the last chapter!

Edited by InBrightestDay

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Finally before I go to bed, a short but sweet one by Symbalistic.

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Dang, when she got her light and wings back, that actually made me tear up! Great job!

Thank you so much for the review! :)

This was one of the moments in the story that I’d been building up to for a long time, and it was a very emotional one for me too.  I’m really glad it’s been going over so well with readers!

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5 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

Next up is our jumbo-sized review from @JayDee!

So, first, for those who may be a little puzzled by some of what’s in this review, like this:

I sent JayDee a copy of the finale when it was just one chapter, so this is partly their reaction to both parts.  I actually took their recommendation to break things up, for a reason I’ll get to when I reach Thundercloud’s review.

Ack, poop. My Bad! When I repurposed the commentary for the review I thought I’d snipped out the all the stuff about the second half and where it could be split, must have missed some. Sorry ‘bout that!

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Thanks!  I had him transform more fully later in the fight, so I put in that little piece earlier, indicating a sort of partial transformation, a sort of visual representation for the thin veil of humanity that he wears, and how the veneer tends to crack and reveal the monster he really is.

“He’s some kind of monster in disguise...”

Eparlegna: *Slides on MAGA hat*

“I knew it!”

...what? They’re both fuckin’ terrible losers.

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:lol: So, that’s partly your standard motive explanation by Hobbs, but it’s also written the way it is partly to ensure that anyone who is into snuff/guro/rape understands that I’m not saying they’re serial killers or anything, hence distinguishing between those who remember that this stuff is fantasy and those who actually do it.

Over on the Deathstalker forum: *Eyes narrow* “This guy’s all right…”

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Yeah, the one thing I was never 100% able to get around was the fact that the connection between an apotheosis and Eparlegna allows the apotheosis some of his power, and that extends to his telepathy in WoH, as the two corrupted cops can sense Luzurial’s emotions.  What I tried to imply was that Hobbs is a little distracted by his fantasy, and as a result he’s not using the telepathy to see exactly what Chloe’s thinking and doing.  I mean, she’s just crawling aimlessly, a base animal response to pain and fear...right?

The stuff for the violence here is, as I said in the author’s note, something I went back and forth on somewhat.  It is toned down from its original form, but as this is a sequel to Whore of Heaven, some level of cringe-inducing brutality from the villains seemed appropriate.

As for some specific moves...while I did come up with Hobbs punching Chloe so hard she vomits, the hip-breaking crotch punch was stolen from Deathstalker, though it was done by one of your characters.  He’s had Gogedheh do that...I think twice (once with a knee to the crotch and once with a punch to the crotch), hitting a woman hard enough to shatter her pelvis.  It was such a display of brutal masculine dominance (the rapist reminding a “strong, independent woman” exactly how weak she really is), that it really felt appropriate for these guys, who act and think pretty much the same way.

Ooooof course, I kind of hate the stories I was drawing inspiration from (not the author’s fault!  Just a fetish that upsets me), and as such this one is all leading up to my favorite Chloe moment of the entire story.

It all works. I think that pelvis breaking crotch punch has been around for a long old time – there’s some where guys get pelvis breaking crotch kicks too. Just get their balls knocked up into their stomaches. Turned right into hobbling eunuchs.

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The flashback was actually kind of a late addition, but because this chapter is the part most closely tied to WoH, I decided to bring back Luzurial’s PTSD and have her experience a flashback to WoH during the fight, with the whip strikes as the trigger.  What Luzurial does to bring herself out of it, dragging her hands along the granite, is actually based on an technique called “grounding”, which is a way to cope with flashbacks.  The idea is to use sensory stimulation to remind you of where and when you really are, with Luzurial using touch in this case.

I remember when you and I were talking at one point about how Luzurial gets her sword back, and you jokingly mentioned one of the students lifting it off him while it was a pen.  I didn’t say anything at the time, but I just remember thinking “No, it’s going to be so much more metal than that.  She is going to catch that thing with her bare fucking hand and refuse to let go.”
 

I’ll do the alternate scenes anthology! Kevin ignores the statue at the start! Kevin goes to the dark side at the lecture theatre! Abdul can’t think of a funny line! Calistia meets Cadence! Student steals pen, sells it on ebay!

But, yeah, me being me aside, the way ya did it was awesome. Amazing. Just fucking great.

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I remember we brainstormed this via PM a year ago or something, talking about Luzurial’s motivation for the moment she gets her wings back, and how it had to be something bigger than just Kevin.  I don’t think either one of us came up with what’s here in its entirety, but the idea ended up being a larger scale application of the thing Eparlegna does at the end of WoH, weaponized as the life force siphon.  I knew there had to be a physical piece that was used to trigger the device, and then when you wrote Jude’s Tale, it took shape in the form of the Void Blade.

Shared universes can be serious fun. ^_^

You build on the discussed ideas and find the best way to do ‘em! Now that’s creative talent. Also, so glad at this point I didn’t keep the original Jude’s Tale title.

I really did enjoy how you gave his “just being a dick” move at the end of WoH an actual power-move purpose.

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Thank you again!  So this is a follow-up on a suggestion that Thundercloud made back in his review of Part 6, saying that Eparlegna could threaten to use a body born of Luzurial’s womb to impregnate her again.  It was originally going to be a full-on rant, but when I was writing on it, I actually wondered why Luzurial was letting him talk.  I mean...no.  Fuck this guy and fuck his villain speech.

Coulda been worse. At least it wasn’t a villain song!

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As always, thank you for the review, and I’ll see you again for the last chapter!

Thanks! I am looking forward to reading it again in it’s final form :)

Edited by JayDee

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Ok, one last review for WitS Part Eleven, this time from @Thundercloud.

So, remember how I said I’d explain why I took JayDee’s recommendation to break things up when I got to Thundercloud’s review?  Well…

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This is surely a combat heavy chapter and at the start of it was kind of worried.

That right there is pretty much it.  There is so much action in this finale that I was afraid that people would get numb to it if they read it all at once.  Thus, I broke off the archangel vs. dragon proper section and put that in the final chapter along with the denouement, while the “on foot” combat took place here.

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Luzurial going into combat with the demon instead of letting the humans take the lead is pretty close to what she did last time. Taking too much personal risk because she did not want to blast the innocents the demon was using a shield.

The smart thing would IMHO be to go in together with the humans and provide distraction so the humans could get their killing shots. Problem is just that this is not who Luzurial is and she rushes in to save Keving while her human allies are left fighting the apotheoses below.

There is an element of this that’s going to come up in the finale when you get to it.  It was already there, but I actually added some of what you said here to the final chapter.  I didn’t add an entire scene or anything, but there’s a little bit during the fight where Luzurial reflects on what, in hindsight, would have made things easier, but she didn’t do that, and you are precisely right about ultimately what’s going on.

This is just who she is.

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Switching back and forward between the two battles is done in good fashion. I like how the advantage shifts between the two agent groups, both trying to take advantage that they know how the others are trained. (btw I think you had one case here when you say Leary's is sending shots when I think you might mean the apotheoses).

>< Yep!  I rewrote that moment a little and, unfortunately, accidentally left a piece of the first version in there.  Thank you for pointing that out, and it has been fixed.

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The interplay with the demon and Luzurial as she must keep her weapon protected since it is manmade is great and when the balance of the battle shifts to the demon's advantage you know things is going to get rough and messy. The "You dropped something" line is a killer moment narrative wise and I really enjoyed how you repeated that scene.

I’ve mentioned this in some of the other review responses, but “You dropped something” is one of three lines in this finale that I absolutely loved, the others being “My name is Luzurial” and “Enjoy Hell.”

“You dropped something” in particular is probably the first one I came up with, and I liked setting it up as just a cruel taunt from Eparlegna that Luzurial then gets to throw back at him.

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The demon's gambit with the needle he used on Kevin seem very fitting and on it self a smart way to drain Luzurial's reserves...but it is obviously quite a large mistake. I really enjoyed the moment when she regained her wings. As for the argument about why she gets her wings back I argree with the argument given. The first time she went into combat assuming that she could not lose despite her acting against the instructions and her walking into an obvious trap. The second time at the lecture hall she did not have needed resolve and was not ready for prime time battle while still assuming it should be her fighting. This time around she goes into combat because it is needed, but without assumptions about that it will be easy to win or that she can save Kevin. When she fails to save him she turns to faith and that shows that she has learned from her mistakes.

Luzurial’s recovery, as I outlined it when writing this, essentially comes in three steps.  Step one is the moment where she completely throws off the “My name is Whore” thing from WoH and reclaims her sword, and step two is what you just pointed out, where she gets her wings back.  She’s most of the way there, but there's a little tiny bit left to go, which happens in the next chapter.  You are correct, though, in that this is what puts her most of the way there.

Thank you again for the review, and I hope you enjoy the last chapter! :)

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It’s been a long road...gettin’ from there to here…

The Woman in the Statue is finally complete and posted in its entirety, so let’s get to the reviews for Part Twelve.  First up is one from @InvidiaRed.

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There are times where I'm like you're defintely a published author. The end cements it.

^_^ It would be nice to be published some day.  For now, thank you so much for the compliment!
 

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You delivered an eldritch horror quite brillantly and the power scale is what really sinks it in. Even if mine is in the same weight class at least while he dwells in the underworld.

" You have been a more effective tool of the Creator than any I can remember, so I think it fair that none in my dominion shall suffer so much as you.” I shivered like daaaamn.

Yeah, we took different approaches to portraying Lucifer in these stories.  Yours was intended, from my read, to be somewhat comedic, and generally not as smart as he thought he was.  I went with “intimidating”, or at least sought to.  Setting him in contrast to Eparlegna, Lucifer was meant not to be in any way a better person, but rather the more dangerously intelligent villain, and one who has, by now, become deeply irritated by this particular demon’s antics.

I went back and forth a bit about what kind of angel Lucifer had been before the Fall.  The book of Ezekiel describes what might be Lucifer’s fall, and uses the word cherub, and since I was rolling with the imagery used in the Bible being literal instead of symbolic (technically the images of angels we have show up in visions, which tend to be laden with symbolism, so there aren’t any “this is what an angel looks like” literal descriptions in the Bible; just descriptions of how people react to an angel in its natural form), the cherub imagery is pretty insane (four wings, four different heads, skin like metal and eyes all over the place), and a demonic creature based on a cherub would have looked really horrifying.  However, other sources seem to have Lucifer as either an archangel (what you went with, I believe) or a seraph, and the seraph sounded really striking as well.  The tie-breaker came from Islam, wherein as far as I can tell Iblis is a fallen jinn, which in the Quran are elemental fire creatures, hence the portrayal of Lucifer here as a fallen seraph.

As for the quote, yeah, never piss off your boss when your boss is the scariest thing in a place full of scary things.

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"In an imbecilic way, it’s almost an achievement.Not as much as that almost literal middle finger from God from last chapter. That was easily Eparlegna's magnum opus by a long shot

:lol:

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There's something oddly hilarious about the Creator having to confirm something that should have been obvious and you can't tell me the Creator didn't sigh the moment he realized what the powers did.

:D Yeah, this is sort of the result of the world building I did to explain why angels think they have to be celibate.  Going all the way back to Part Three, where I brought in the hierarchy and explained that only the Seraphim speak directly to the Creator, so if a mistake happens (and no one thinks to ask for clarification), it can potentially stick...for like billions of years.

Thank you for the review, and thank you for following me all the way to the end here!

Edited by InBrightestDay

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Skipping a little in the order, as JayDee’s reviews are huge and I have a limited amount of time here so I’ll get to theirs after work, we have the final review from Symbalistic.

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I think this may be one of the few, possibly one of the only times if I can recall, where I wasn't disappointed by the ending of a story, fanfiction or otherwise. The major players all felt wrapped up rather nicely, the relationship between Luz and Kevin didn't feel rushed or too sappy, I don't think. Their emotions came off as realistic and genuine.

Thank you so much!  That was the main thing I worried about, and hearing that you enjoyed it is a huge relief.

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That final battle was great, had all the hallmarks of a big anime battle; over the top attacks and the " believe in myself to overcome' trope that I love so much about anime.

:D There was definitely some anime influence here, and that moment you actually mentioned definitely brought to mind a certain piece of anime music you’ve no doubt heard.  The actual moment with Luzurial remembering things, regaining the last of her self-confidence and releasing a massive attack would be from 2:05-2:55 or so.

Yes, “You Say Run” really does go with everything. B-)

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Overall, I loved this story, from start to finish. Excellent read.

Thanks for coming on this trip with me, and I’m glad I could give you a fun read. ^_^

Edited by InBrightestDay

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9 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

It’s been a long road...gettin’ from there to here…

The Woman in the Statue is finally complete and posted in its entirety, so let’s get to the reviews for Part Twelve.  First up is one from @InvidiaRed.

^_^ It would be nice to be published some day.  For now, thank you so much for the compliment!
 

Yeah, we took different approaches to portraying Lucifer in these stories.  Yours was intended, from my read, to be somewhat comedic, and generally not as smart as he thought he was.  I went with “intimidating”, or at least sought to.  Setting him in contrast to Eparlegna, Lucifer was meant not to be in any way a better person, but rather the more dangerously intelligent villain, and one who has, by now, become deeply irritated by this particular demon’s antics.

Yes, Definitely which is why I think the contrast means so much to me. Hahah. Luci is in over his head for sure, Despite impersonating a god he personally murdered, he’s found true friends something he never had before.The majority already knew what he was and still played poker with him anyway. and despite being an jerkass (at least to mortals) Through cultural osmosis he’s among the angels who are closest to humanity. he’s heading towards a crossroads and choices he never thought he’d have to make

As for the quote, yeah, never piss off your boss when your boss is the scariest thing in a place full of scary things. Yeah, Luci and pals just encountered one of the hazards of the underworld and got off comparably lightly. There are worse things yet in the deep wilds of the underworld for sure.

:lol:

Thank you for the review, and thank you for following me all the way to the end here! <3 of course :mademyday:

 

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On 11/10/2020 at 10:37 PM, InBrightestDay said:

Ok, one last review for WitS Part Eleven, this time from @Thundercloud.

That sounded very depressing...I hope you will get more reviews after all your hard work.

On 11/10/2020 at 10:37 PM, InBrightestDay said:

That right there is pretty much it.  There is so much action in this finale that I was afraid that people would get numb to it if they read it all at once.  Thus, I broke off the archangel vs. dragon proper section and put that in the final chapter along with the denouement, while the “on foot” combat took place here.

There is a reason the final battle of stories usually include quite much fighting. ^_^

As for the matter of action...I actually think you peaked there in chapter 10. The Woman in Statue is bound to end with an epic duel given the groundwork of JayDee, but the real action IMHO happens on the way up in the actual “dungeon”.

On 11/10/2020 at 10:37 PM, InBrightestDay said:

There is an element of this that’s going to come up in the finale when you get to it.  It was already there, but I actually added some of what you said here to the final chapter.  I didn’t add an entire scene or anything, but there’s a little bit during the fight where Luzurial reflects on what, in hindsight, would have made things easier, but she didn’t do that, and you are precisely right about ultimately what’s going on.

I think you did a good job with this. Her reflection there increase the tension of the final battle.

On 11/10/2020 at 10:37 PM, InBrightestDay said:

I’ve mentioned this in some of the other review responses, but “You dropped something” is one of three lines in this finale that I absolutely loved, the others being “My name is Luzurial” and “Enjoy Hell.”

“You dropped something” in particular is probably the first one I came up with, and I liked setting it up as just a cruel taunt from Eparlegna that Luzurial then gets to throw back at him.

It is very much the best line. The others are not even close...”My name is” for instance suffers from interference with far too many songs and movies.

On 11/10/2020 at 10:37 PM, InBrightestDay said:

Thank you again for the review, and I hope you enjoy the last chapter! :)

I have done my review for the final chapter so now you know the answer. I look forward at hearing your thoughts about my stuff...I think I am ahead of you in the number of reviews by quite a few now.

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On 11/12/2020 at 2:33 PM, Thundercloud said:

That sounded very depressing...I hope you will get more reviews after all your hard work. 

Oh no that’s not what I meant!  I appreciate that you think i deserve more reviews, but that was more of a “satisfied completion of task” thing than a “bemoaning too few reviews” thing.  I know I’ve got reviews coming from at least one more person (maybe two), and after that it’ll be about sticking around, posting more stories and hoping people click on my “Stories Written” section

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I have done my review for the final chapter so now you know the answer. I look forward at hearing your thoughts about my stuff...I think I am ahead of you in the number of reviews by quite a few now.

Possibly.  We might be tied.  WitS has twelve chapters and you’ve reviewed all of them, while G.S.P. has thirteen chapters and I’ve reviewed twelve of them, though I will get that last one read (to avoid spoilers, I’ll just say I’m more than 1/3 but less than halfway through).  Admittedly, if you’re tallying reviews for every story each of us has written, this gets more complicated...wait, why are we doing this as a competition? :lol:  At any rate, I will get there.

But first, time to respond to more reviews for the WitS finale! :)  This one comes to us from @JayDee!

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Fuckin' abomination there's only been 3000 readers.

It’s less than that, i guarantee it.  I’m certain several hundred of those are me going in to have a chapter open as a reference when posting the next one (so I get everything formatted the same, make sure the disclaimer’s in the right place, etc.), checking to make sure the Author’s Note is right or just re-reading chapters to see if they’ve gotten worse since the last time I looked.

Still, 2,800 or so ain’t bad. :)

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If only you'd gone with a "Cole gets male pregnant" subplot it'd be the most viewed story on AFF.

:lol: I’ll take your word for it.

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I kind of expected him to try and go help Kevin anyway, but that point about the traps made a lot of sense so can see why the agents managed to convince him to hold off.

That’s yet another example of me catching something during the writing process.  Originally, they were going to realize that Kevin was unguarded up there, and then just go up and get him, but then I realized that while there weren’t any traps on those floors, none of the PPD folks could know that, so it was much safer for them to stay where they were and for Kevin to be brought down after the battle was over.

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The property damage hotting up here too – I liked that line about hoping there would be a city left. When godlike beings war it can be the smallfolk who get the shitty end… Just noticing again their reaction to realising something with wings was facing Eparlegna, the laugh, the smile. It’s kinda sweet. Also the pretty badass description of the flying razor.

The property damage was sort of the inevitable follow-up to what was established way back in Whore of Heaven, where the reason the host can’t intervene because of the casualties that would result from a full-scale engagement.  So I figured the armies of Heaven and Hell fighting all-out would pretty much destroy the Earth, similar to a nuclear war.  So what’s the smaller version of that look like?  I couldn’t allow it to go on too long (for reasons I’ll get to in the response to Thundercloud’s review), but I had to show at how much damage just one angel and demon were doing by themselves.

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Eparlegna losing it with his ‘a god am I ranting’. Just thrilling to read and, you know, keeping the established characters consistent. I liked how Luzurial is no longer bothered about that ranting shit.

I spent a while trying to come up with solid comebacks from Luzurial, but then in the end I realized it might be better if she didn’t even give it a response, and the more I thought about that, the more I liked it.

The idea of the humans seeing her helping them, and them stepping up to help her, was all meant to build to the final moment, the “nuclear option” as you called it.  See, this all goes back to something you said at one point when discussing the character and what happened 75 years prior.  As you’ve explained, Kizzy would never have been trapped (well, not as completely as Luzurial), as she would have nuked the area and sacrificed Eparlegna’s prisoners for the greater good.  it was only their bodies that would have been destroyed, after all  But Luzurial, as you said, was just too nice.  I spent quite a while thinking about that, wondering if there was a way for her to outgrow this weakness.  Unfortunately, every time I came back to the same idea: that Luzurial would have to allow someone to die.

And then it occurred to me that maybe this could be about realizing that some weaknesses shouldn’t be outgrown.  Yes, the level of care Luzurial has for the mortals can be a weakness, but maybe it’s also a strength, and that was what I tried to show at the end, the moment of realization and acceptance that allows her all the way back to full power, where she can use Divine Fire.  I picked moments where her treatment of humans was paid back, essentially, and in this chapter I showed how a mortal champion (Sister Milyn) and then National guard forces all rallied around her, epitomized by their brief bit of fighting together (Luzurial puts up a barrier to protect them, and then the moment she drops it everyone opens fire).
 

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Luzurial looked back up, and when she opened her eyes, they glowed like stellar cores.

AWESOME.

 

SERIOSLY F

Thank you so much!  I loved your description of her glowing eyes in WoH (“the suddenly glowing maelstrom of her eyes”), and I wanted something that was at least a little like that, so the idea of the core of a star came up, and that was about the best I could do.

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.,.and then we cut to hell. And the smirking bird head. Ready for a good listen. I love how Lucifer is portrayed, really getting in the alien mind-fuck utterly-removed nature of the seraphim order of beings. Something of the affability he had no doubt at the start, when he slowly corrupted so many of the host from the easy-to-tempt angel that became Eparlegna, to the likes of Chastia (readers: who that?).The way he burns the fucking leg out to make Eparlegna kneel was great

So, fun fact, the line Lucifer has there  is taken from something Loki says in The Avengers, where he orders the people of Stuttgart to kneel.  They hesitate, and he kind of loses it a bit: “I said...KNEEEL!!!”  His loss of control there is, I think, indicative of his status as the bad guy of the story, but ultimately not the overarching villain, as even back then, Thanos was being hinted at as the man behind Loki.  Here, Lucifer is in his element and remains in control, and we get just a hint of his shifting emotions with the weird effect on his voice.

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Then, the final part. Back where it began a year later. This was another little teary bit, when he can’t quite believe it, but it’s her. She’s back. Fucking soppy me, but I did like their kissing, and the mentions of her wings. Bionic Kevin there with his 2080s prosthetics – I kind of expected her to inner-light him back to health, but it’ll be something to work with in any future scenes.

I mean, I might have come up with a gag for Kevin and his handily expendable leg…  And yeah, I loved the kissing too, as well as the way she’s basically excited for Kevin to see her wings for the first time. :)

Luzurial’s explanation of why she wants to continue her relationship with Kevin are a continuation of the beat from Part Ten, and sort of my thoughts on action heroes and heroines and their significant others.  It does seem to be important to the drama that the love interest not be completely removed from the central conflict of the story, but at the same time I feel like it really ought to be ok for a combat-capable character to have a non-combatant love interest.  It makes writing the story a bit trickier, but I do think it should be seen as something permissible.

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…and what a sweet ending. Sitting together, watching the sun rise. After she gets him dry. And possibly after he got her wet.

:D So, JayDee knows this, but for those who don’t, there were two endings for this story.  The first one, which I thought of as the Patience ending, was where Luzurial could come back to see Kevin again, but only to spend a little time with him, and to let him know that he would have to wait; to live a good life and do the work he needed to do here, and then, when the time finally came, she would be waiting for him at the gate.  I love stories about people who are willing to wait a lifetime for each other, but it was definitely a bittersweet ending.

The second ending, which I called the Sunrise ending, was the one you see here, where Luzurial is granted the right to visit Earth every year and spend a day with Kevin.  This was less bittersweet, and it also left the door open for possible future stories, where Luzurial is visiting Kevin, something preternatural happens and she gets drawn into it.  JayDee and I were talking via email, and they said something about kind of not wanting to see Luzurial and Kevin broken up, and that, along with the possibility of future stories, was what nudged me toward settling on the Sunrise ending.
 

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I guess that’s me final thoughts. I hope they’re ok. Worth it! I hope the confidence from doing this gets you even more confident to do more stories. And if the readers just arne’t biting like I wish they would for you on original stories maybe draw some in with some fanfic? Samus! Who loves her? :P I  dunno. I look forward to your holiday story!

 

 I hope everyone else reads and likes this as much as I have. Thank you again for writing it all. S’wonderful!

I don’t know exactly how much free time I’ll have to write everything, but I will absolutely continue writing, and thank you again for everything. :wub:

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1 hour ago, InBrightestDay said:

Oh no that’s not what I meant!  I appreciate that you think i deserve more reviews, but that was more of a “satisfied completion of task” thing than a “bemoaning too few reviews” thing.  I know I’ve got reviews coming from at least one more person (maybe two), and after that it’ll be about sticking around, posting more stories and hoping people click on my “Stories Written” section

Don’t worry. It did not sound like any bemoaning, but just served as good place for me to place the “your story is good enough to get more reviews” comment.

1 hour ago, InBrightestDay said:

Possibly.  We might be tied.  WitS has twelve chapters and you’ve reviewed all of them, while G.S.P. has thirteen chapters and I’ve reviewed twelve of them, though I will get that last one read (to avoid spoilers, I’ll just say I’m more than 1/3 but less than halfway through).  Admittedly, if you’re tallying reviews for every story each of us has written, this gets more complicated...wait, why are we doing this as a competition? :lol:  At any rate, I will get there.

I don’t go around tallying reviews for authors that I enjoy reading...but I have been waiting for you checking chapter 13 of G.S.P.  for quite a few months now.

If we are speaking about other stuff I have written I would be interested to know what you think about The Tale About the Laughter of Azbezil (revised). Perhaps not a perfect fit for you since there are some non consensual scenes but the bad-stuff-happening-to-people count is way lower than for the G.S.P. story and the overall story is quite InBrighteestDay compatbile.

1 hour ago, InBrightestDay said:

It’s less than that, i guarantee it.  I’m certain several hundred of those are me going in to have a chapter open as a reference when posting the next one (so I get everything formatted the same, make sure the disclaimer’s in the right place, etc.), checking to make sure the Author’s Note is right or just re-reading chapters to see if they’ve gotten worse since the last time I looked.

Still, 2,800 or so ain’t bad. :)

I admit that I have read that I each chapter more than once...

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7 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

That’s yet another example of me catching something during the writing process.  Originally, they were going to realize that Kevin was unguarded up there, and then just go up and get him, but then I realized that while there weren’t any traps on those floors, none of the PPD folks could know that, so it was much safer for them to stay where they were and for Kevin to be brought down after the battle was over.

 

“How’s Abdul?”

“He went after you and he’s in pieces.”

“Ah, my wounds don’t look that bad do they? Luzurial healed me?”

“No, he walked into the Lego Trap. He’s literally in pieces.”

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The idea of the humans seeing her helping them, and them stepping up to help her, was all meant to build to the final moment, the “nuclear option” as you called it.  See, this all goes back to something you said at one point when discussing the character and what happened 75 years prior.  As you’ve explained, Kizzy would never have been trapped (well, not as completely as Luzurial), as she would have nuked the area and sacrificed Eparlegna’s prisoners for the greater good.  it was only their bodies that would have been destroyed, after all  But Luzurial, as you said, was just too nice.  I spent quite a while thinking about that, wondering if there was a way for her to outgrow this weakness.  Unfortunately, every time I came back to the same idea: that Luzurial would have to allow someone to die.

And then it occurred to me that maybe this could be about realizing that some weaknesses shouldn’t be outgrown.  Yes, the level of care Luzurial has for the mortals can be a weakness, but maybe it’s also a strength, and that was what I tried to show at the end, the moment of realization and acceptance that allows her all the way back to full power, where she can use Divine Fire.  I picked moments where her treatment of humans was paid back, essentially, and in this chapter I showed how a mortal champion (Sister Milyn) and then National guard forces all rallied around her, epitomized by their brief bit of fighting together (Luzurial puts up a barrier to protect them, and then the moment she drops it everyone opens fire).
 

Makes a lot of sense! I do wonder if Kizzy after spending time amongst mortals would be less fast to sacrifice them. I mean,  except Drew.

Working with the mortals there was great, I think everyone’ll like the champion and there’s always a nice action moment when the tank kicks in!

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Thank you so much!  I loved your description of her glowing eyes in WoH (“the suddenly glowing maelstrom of her eyes”), and I wanted something that was at least a little like that, so the idea of the core of a star came up, and that was about the best I could do.

We had a discussion about this as I recall.

You: Just remembered this. What’s that about?

Me: *Looking baffled and slightly scared, poking Whore of Heaven with a stick* I… don’t know.

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I mean, I might have come up with a gag for Kevin and his handily expendable leg… 

The possibilities are endless!

Lupa: “Who the fuck brought a one-legged man to an ass kicking contest?”

*Sees Luzurial glare*

Lupa: “...is what I heard those cabrons over there say.”

Kevin: “I’m going put my foot right up your ass! And leave it there, to give my sump a break!”

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:D So, JayDee knows this, but for those who don’t, there were two endings for this story.  The first one, which I thought of as the Patience ending, was where Luzurial could come back to see Kevin again, but only to spend a little time with him, and to let him know that he would have to wait; to live a good life and do the work he needed to do here, and then, when the time finally came, she would be waiting for him at the gate.  I love stories about people who are willing to wait a lifetime for each other, but it was definitely a bittersweet ending.
The second ending, which I called the Sunrise ending, was the one you see here, where Luzurial is granted the right to visit Earth every year and spend a day with Kevin.  This was less bittersweet, and it also left the door open for possible future stories, where Luzurial is visiting Kevin, something preternatural happens and she gets drawn into it.  JayDee and I were talking via email, and they said something about kind of not wanting to see Luzurial and Kevin broken up, and that, along with the possibility of future stories, was what nudged me toward settling on the Sunrise ending.

Definitely think you made the right choice. Hell, you could probably even fit in some stories during the year where she has caused to do her job around Kevin. Especially if he found himself in suipernatural hijinks – gonna be some Eparegna fans out looking for revenge etc etc!

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I don’t know exactly how much free time I’ll have to write everything, but I will absolutely continue writing, and thank you again for everything. :wub:

Whoohoo!

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Alright, I have a review for another story to write today, but I must leave soon, and I’m not entirely sure what the internet situation will be like.  The review I can do on my phone, though it’ll take quite a while, but this will be easier to do here now, so with that in mind, reviewing another story being a thing done later today or tonight, for now let me finally  address @Thundercloud’s review for the final chapter of The Woman in the Statue.

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The begining of the chapter with Chloe's situation and how they plan the next step is well excuted and work as good setup for the fight between Luzurial and Eparlegna. The actual battle that follows is cinematic, but IMHO not as exciting as it could have been since both have so much power to spare that you don't get the feeling they are spending finite resources to gain any lasting advantage.  This changes when Luzurial puts herself at risk to defend the civlilians and reader is suddenly thrust in a very different situation.

About the action scene, believe it or not, I kind of figured that would be what happened, at least to some extent.  If I do any future stories with Luzurial, I can go into more detail with how her powers work and hopefully establish more of an idea of just how much energy any given attack consumes, but with this setup (the fact that she’s in a weakened state for most of the story and can barely use any of her powers), the only one we knew about was divine fire, which uses 100% of Luzurial’s power, and then it very sklowly comes back.  Aside from that, I couldn’t think of a good way to establish how the system worked without slowing down the action.  I’m not saying there wasn’t a good way, mind you; I just didn’t think of it. :lol:

I also knew right off the bat that I needed to keep this phase of the fighting shorter than the others...because it’s just fighting.  It’s one of the things you get away with far more easily on film than you do in prose.  In a movie or other visual medium, Eparlegna and Luzurial duking it out at full power is something I could show on screen in ten or fifteen seconds, but those seconds take a lot of descriptive text (the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is very true when you’re trying to describe something visually), and the longer that text went on the more it would start to drag.  To that end, I did my best to cut it down, just having a few flashy attacks from Eparlegna (the tentacles and the red lightning) and then move into the character-based part of the fight with Luzurial’s interaction with the mortals, as you noted.

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The interaction with the character born in Belgrade was a pure joy ot read, especially about the bit about finding champions.

Thank you!  Milyn is sort of from someone else’s story (I’ve updated the Author’s Note to point that out, because I stupidly forgot about it at the time of posting :ffs:).  TimeWise has shown up on this thread before for reviews, and the whole reason for that was my asking if I could create my own version of the character.  Since Conversion, her story of origin, is a fantasy story set in a completely different world, so I had to find a real-world religion she would fit into.  I looked at her name, and one source indicated that it might be based on the Slavic element milu, meaning “gracious” or “dear”, and built on that, thinking she might be Eastern Orthodox, and finally went with Serbian Orthodox and settled on Belgrade as the city where she was born.  Her personality in her original story fit perfectly with what I wanted to do here, as she has a low opinion of herself but is clearly a rather unreliable narrator due to low self-esteem, and that fit with the idea that people have caught on that champions exist, but still haven’t quite figured out who they are. :)

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I was smiling a lot when Eparlegna took a beating and begun to plan for the nuclear option. The interplay here when Luzurial finds out about her weakness is greatly done and works great to further showing her character growth.

Thank you!  JayDee had made a point during Whore of Heaven that God had fully trusted humanity to deal with Eparlegna on their own.  Now, due to the focus on Luzurial as a character and her recovery from her trauma, I couldn’t not have her do that, but I really wanted to show that after 75 years of prep, humans are dangerous now, even to Eparlegna.  It’s also a bit of character illustration for Eparlegna.  He’s very calm and composed when things are going his way, as they are during WoH, but when things don’t go his way, he’s a very sore loser, and he will destroy the game before he will accept losing it.

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The follow up after the battle when Eparlegna comes to hell to get his reward for his achievements on earth was my favorite part of the chapter. A great way to wrap up the theodicy problem and you manage to get Lucifer to be scary as hell. Especially the nature of this tail was a wonderful detail.

:D That scene was one I wrote even before I had finished the rest of the story, so JayDee had an advance preview.  At the time I was just calling it “The Punishment of Eparlegna”, after the interlude in The Slumber Party of Evil Doom.  I’ve always loved scenes where we get introduced to a really serious villain, and they’re more calm and quiet and all the more menacing for it.

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The ending with the events that happens in 2083 was very good and fitting. I really liked the explanation why Kevin is visiting Chandler Memorial Park again. Good throwbacks to small details from the previous chapter that we noted in the reviews and fantastic way to end the narrative journey.

Thank you for sharing this story with us, I so look forward to further stories that you write.

:wub: Thank you for following me all the way to the end here.  I do indeed have more stories planned, and I hope you’ll enjoy them as well!

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6 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

About the action scene, believe it or not, I kind of figured that would be what happened, at least to some extent.  If I do any future stories with Luzurial, I can go into more detail with how her powers work and hopefully establish more of an idea of just how much energy any given attack consumes, but with this setup (the fact that she’s in a weakened state for most of the story and can barely use any of her powers), the only one we knew about was divine fire, which uses 100% of Luzurial’s power, and then it very slowly comes back.

I think a pretty big factor is if it is the final battle of the story or some earlier encounter. No matter what kind of energy-balance system you put in place you typically end in the situation that the participants of the final battle have enough power available to make it more interesting than they-traded-six-blows-before-fight-ended-because-characters-energy-was-up. There is a reason people watch play-throughs of games but is not interested read a transcript of the button mashing during the fight.

6 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

Aside from that, I couldn’t think of a good way to establish how the system worked without slowing down the action.  I’m not saying there wasn’t a good way, mind you; I just didn’t think of it. :lol:

I think the big takeaway you should take from my review is that the later part of the story when the others arrive and they are not just slugging attacks at each other. In fact I would be ready to argue that the peril when she starts to put herself at risk would not have worked from narrative perspective if we had not been shown their previous fight.

6 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

I also knew right off the bat that I needed to keep this phase of the fighting shorter than the others...because it’s just fighting.  It’s one of the things you get away with far more easily on film than you do in prose.  In a movie or other visual medium, Eparlegna and Luzurial duking it out at full power is something I could show on screen in ten or fifteen seconds, but those seconds take a lot of descriptive text (the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is very true when you’re trying to describe something visually), and the longer that text went on the more it would start to drag.  To that end, I did my best to cut it down, just having a few flashy attacks from Eparlegna (the tentacles and the red lightning) and then move into the character-based part of the fight with Luzurial’s interaction with the mortals, as you noted.

I totally agree that you did very fine.

6 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

Thank you!  Milyn is sort of from someone else’s story (I’ve updated the Author’s Note to point that out, because I stupidly forgot about it at the time of posting :ffs:).  TimeWise has shown up on this thread before for reviews, and the whole reason for that was my asking if I could create my own version of the character.  Since Conversion, her story of origin, is a fantasy story set in a completely different world, so I had to find a real-world religion she would fit into.  I looked at her name, and one source indicated that it might be based on the Slavic element milu, meaning “gracious” or “dear”, and built on that, thinking she might be Eastern Orthodox, and finally went with Serbian Orthodox and settled on Belgrade as the city where she was born.  Her personality in her original story fit perfectly with what I wanted to do here, as she has a low opinion of herself but is clearly a rather unreliable narrator due to low self-esteem, and that fit with the idea that people have caught on that champions exist, but still haven’t quite figured out who they are. :)

Not familiar with that story or the author. So much to read and review...

6 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

Thank you!  JayDee had made a point during Whore of Heaven that God had fully trusted humanity to deal with Eparlegna on their own.  Now, due to the focus on Luzurial as a character and her recovery from her trauma, I couldn’t not have her do that, but I really wanted to show that after 75 years of prep, humans are dangerous now, even to Eparlegna.  It’s also a bit of character illustration for Eparlegna.  He’s very calm and composed when things are going his way, as they are during WoH, but when things don’t go his way, he’s a very sore loser, and he will destroy the game before he will accept losing it.

A very classic villain if you ask me, but you have also done marvels at explaining so much of what happened in Whore of Heaven. JayDees story has a heavy focus on style and less about explaining the plot but you are really great at finding the motivations for why Eparlegna does so much weird shit.

6 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

:D That scene was one I wrote even before I had finished the rest of the story, so JayDee had an advance preview.  At the time I was just calling it “The Punishment of Eparlegna”, after the interlude in The Slumber Party of Evil Doom.  I’ve always loved scenes where we get introduced to a really serious villain, and they’re more calm and quiet and all the more menacing for it.

It is really obvious you have spent quite a lot of time working on the concepts of this scene. The effort clearly pays off.

6 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

:wub: Thank you for following me all the way to the end here.  I do indeed have more stories planned, and I hope you’ll enjoy them as well!

I look forward to it.

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