InBrightestDay

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Another review from @GeorgeGlass, this time for WitS chapters 4-6!

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The fight scene in chapter 4 is really well described. There are a lot of details that help bring it to life, like the sounds the SUV makes as it's being thrown, caught, and thrown again. (if an angel destroys your car, will your insurance company call it an act of God?)

The Charnel Spider in chapter 5 is appropriately horrific and well named. I never would have guessed that it represented envy, though. 

The interaction between Luzuriel and Aparlegna in chapter 6 really captures the spirit of the original story, but everything else that happens in the chapter adds so much to it.

One does wonder about the insurance claim there…  Kind of reminds me of that bit from Big Trouble in Little China where Jack Burton is trying to figure out what to do concerning the loss of his truck due to supernatural forces.  “...And I don’t want to hear ‘Act of God’.”

The Charnel Spider does seem to be something of a fan favorite.  Because none of this would have happened without JayDee giving me permission to write it, they got an advance copy of every chapter before posting, and I remember being really excited to show them the Charnel Spider, due to the...well, I guess it really being kind of fucked up horror imagery. :lol:

I wasn’t really sure how to portray an Envy-based monster.  The problem there was that the obvious solution, shapeshifting to be what it wants to be, was something that, if I recall correctly, Fullmetal Alchemist had already done with the homunculus Envy.  The idea of, instead of copying what you want, taking it from someone else, was sufficiently creepy to me (“I wish I had skin like that...so I’ll just take yours.”) that I went with that.

I’m glad the confrontation was reminiscent of WoH, as this was probably the part of the story where I was most dedicated to evoking some of the feel of JayDee’s first story.

Thanks again for the review!

Edited by InBrightestDay

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Ok, so I was away from home for a while, but we have some more reviews for WitS from @GeorgeGlass!

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My random thoughts on chapters 7-9 (SPOILERS):

I was a little surprised that Luzurial, having followed the rule about celibacy for literally billions of years, was so quick to abandon it when Kevin suggested that it might not have been interpreted properly. In fact, I wondered for a bit if the whole thing was some kind of cruel illusion being perpetrated by Eparlegna (especially when I got to Luzurial’s flashback).

This is definitely an area where the compressed timeframe of the story affected how fast it moved.  This whole thing takes place over about a week, and I had a hard time believing Eparlegna would wait too long to make his move.  Given that, I definitely ended up having Luzurial come to her decision faster than if the story had taken place over, say, a month.  I was definitely aware of what you’re talking about, which was why I stretched the timeline out by one more day, so that Luzurial had around an entire day to think about what she was going to do, rather than, say, a few hours.

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I loved the scene of the agents escaping the expanding rupture. The comparison with Vesuvius and the pyroclastic cloud made it especially vivid.

Thank you!  That kind of came from JayDee.  In Whore of Heaven, the barrier is described as looking vaguely like smoke, so I figured there might be a sense of that as it expanded, and with the agents driving away from it I was kind of reminded of the pyroclastic flow scene from Dante’s Peak.

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I'm guessing that the paralyzing slug in chapter 8 represented sloth, and that the giant tick mentioned in chapter 9 was gluttony.

Correct.  I didn’t think I’d be able to create a Sloth monster that was actually threatening, but figured out I could make it work if it sapped the energy from people around it.  The Gluttony creature you only hear about, from the elevator shaft, actually has a little bit of extra story behind it.  I remember talking in the review thread for one of @InvidiaRed’s stories about insect mouthparts and the proboscis, and posting by way of example a wheelbug up close to show it.  Invidia was like “Well THAT’s terrifying.”  I couldn’t resist having a creature design with a similar organ and have someone else take Invidia’s “Well SCREW that!” attitude toward it.

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That fractal spike trap was incredibly original and a perfect sadistic element for the purposes of this story. 

Thank you again!  I was rather fond of that one.

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I only just now realized that "Eparlegna" is "angel rape" spelled backwards. That's what I get for having my phone read me stories instead of using my eyeballs.

*shakes fist at the sky* JAAAAAYDEEEEEE! ;)

Edited by InBrightestDay

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12 hours ago, InBrightestDay said:

  I remember talking in the review thread for one of @InvidiaRed’s stories about insect mouthparts and the proboscis, and posting by way of example a wheelbug up close to show it.  Invidia was like “Well THAT’s terrifying.”  I couldn’t resist having a creature design with a similar organ and have someone else take Invidia’s “Well SCREW that!” attitude toward it.

:ph34r: I still stand by that

We got biological syringes walking around.

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Alright!  The last review from @GeorgeGlass

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Comments on chapters 9-12, and some general ones, too (SPOILERS):

I love how you combine the use of magic with scifi elements, like the matter prism, and aliens in Hell.

I won’t go into this too deeply, as a future story may have a scene addressing the topic again, but this is definitely an overriding philosophy on display here: science and philosophy (religion included) are two ways of looking at the world, and if both religion and science are equally valid, as is the case in this story, then at the points where the two touch, they should overlap without conflicting.  I personally like the effect when you combine the two.  This comes up in Chapter 3 with Luzurial’s happiest memory being 13.6 billion years ago, fusion igniting inside the first star, when Luzurial explains that lower-ranking angels look like the mortals of whatever planet they’re assigned to and so on.  It’s something I really enjoyed doing with the story.

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Luzurial wresting her sword back from Eparlegna was deeply gratifying.

I had so much fun with that.  Credit must also be given to @JayDee, because way back in the day, I was actually just going to have Luzurial get a new sword when she regained her wings.  However, during conversation with JayDee, they mentioned that the sword is actually a part of Luzurial, like a shard of her soul, so at that point she had to get it back, and the idea of using the flaming whip like that was way too good to pass up!

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One thing I wondered: If holy water is so devastating to demons, why aren't more people using it as a weapon?

I thought about that, and I admit this has to do with the mental image that resulted.  Holy water is water that’s been blessed by a priest, and when I considered it being standard use against beings like this, I had the image of a bunch of priests on like an assembly line, blessing holy water in huge quantities...and I started chuckling at the image.  So yeah, holy water is made in relatively small quantities, but it’s for a very personal reason.

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I had mixed feelings about the author notes. I liked all the behind-the-scenes stuff, like when you talked about the Van Dijk character being taken from JayDee's story "Mike Rapes a Dyke." But I didn't like the explanations of things that really should have been explained in the story itself, like when you wrote that "What happens to Kevin gives Luzurial a final push to ask for her wings back, but she's been earning them back this whole time." That would have been much better presented in the denouement than in an author's note.

So...I am very sorry about that.  I wish there were some manner of explanation I could give you, but the simple fact was that I didn’t think of it.  I can’t begin to explain why I never thought to have her say it in the denouement.  Doesn’t make me look particularly intelligent, does it?  Again, I’m sorry.

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Speaking of the author's notes, your final one expresses a lot of doubt about the ending, but I found the ending quite satisfying, mainly for 2 reasons. First, I had really been hoping to see what punishment Lucifer might have in store for Eparlegna upon his return to Hell, and you showed me that in as much detail as I could have hoped for. Second, Luzurial being able to spend one day a year with Kevin was the perfect compromise between the heartbreak of their never seeing each other again and the cheesiness of some miracle that enables them to be together for all eternity.

Thank you again!  The Hell scene wasn’t something I’d planned from the beginning but evolved out of the storytelling.  It all started with that bit in Chapter 4 where I was sort of summing Eparlegna’s character up through dialogue, and then later with his dialogue with Kevin in Chapter 6 he kept insulting Lucifer and I started to have thoughts...

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So, well done, and thanks for a great read!

Thank you for the reviews, and I’m really happy you enjoyed it. :)

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On 10/3/2021 at 10:31 PM, Sinfulwolf said:

awww. No replies for me. Pouty face. 

:huh: Wait, I...*looks*…

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!

So I thought I’d replied to that, BUT IT WOULD SEEM I NEVER DID!  Expect one later tonight after I get back from work!

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I got two more reviews for WitS, though, which I can respond to before work.
 

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Anon

NiBeHh iekodivsqfuj,

Well, Cthulhu fhtagn.
 

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Anon

uKpJbk ndbvfeppdwmq,

Note that these aren’t the entirety of the reviews, but the rest are links to...somewhere (I didn’t follow them).  As this is rather obviously spam, I’m deleting these.

Edited by InBrightestDay

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Ok, so I looked back to see where I’d last responded to @Sinfulwolf’s reviews, and it turns out I’d somehow neglected to do so since her review of Chapter 9.  So I have several reviews to respond to, not just one.  First, Chapter 10.

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A bit late, I know, and I apologize.

I have included this sentence of the review purely for the sake of irony. :lol:

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But, damn you do the action scenes well in here. Nice and clear where folks are and what's happening, with some good omph for the impacts of blows, shots, and stabs of weaponry.

Thank you!  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this elsewhere in this thread, but I got my start writing Gundam fanfiction, and writing the action scenes has always been fun.  I should probably write another space battle one of these days.  Not to spoil anything I’ve started reading recently, but you write some pretty intense action scenes yourself, so that’s a serious compliment.
:)

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I think the only thing I really feel to critique here is... something I've also praised. Your action scenes are very clear, but there are some moments that seem to drag out juuuust a bit. There was a line about Luzurial's training right as she was snapping an arm out, and it made the moment seem not as snappy as it could have been. This wasn't a common thing, so overall the action was still quite good.

I definitely see what you’re getting at.  It is a tricky sort of balancing act, and I’m not sure I’ll ever entirely master the “detail versus flow” thing, but I will try!

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The conversation between Eparlenga and Kevin was well done. A demon toying with the emotions of a young man who just thought he was doing what he had to. And also a good lampshade on tropes we often see with female action heroes. I'm glad you took my comments and ran with them to make the tale better, cause it fits very well here.

Thanks again!  Your comments did make me really think about why I was writing this the way I was, and made me realize that while it’s somehow socially acceptable for a male protagonist to have a love interest who’s a noncombatant, it doesn’t seem to be done the other way around.  I guess we’ve gotten to the point where a large segment of the population will accept women as action heroes, but at the same time there are boundaries on masculinity we’re reluctant to push.  The Non-Action Guy, as TV Tropes puts it, is often played for comedy rather than just accepted as viable.
 

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You are also very, very creative when it comes to your traps. There's some really neat things in here that just aren't commonly seen in fiction, and more certainly seem like something that just isn't physically possible, driving home the otherworldliness of Hell and the Rupture all over again. Perhaps as much as the ID constructs.

You are handling the emotion and thoughts of the special team well, and honestly... I quite liked that bit with Michael at the end. It doesn't even seem too OoC for Luzurial to do such a thing to such a despicable man.

The traps are another example of me trying to follow stuff @JayDee set up in WoH, expanding on a quick line and working to figure out what “the traps of Hell” might be like.  While I like the matter prism from Chapters 11 and 12 is cool in a very “high magic” sort of way, there is something about the aesthetic of the fractal impalement trap that I think works on a visceral level; I may have mentioned The Evil Within as an inspiration before, but that trap is something I can sort of imagine being in the first game, crawling through a maze while spikes grow toward you with metal rasping noise.

And once again I am really glad at how popular Luzurial’s “Fine, I’ll let you talk to my boss” moment is.  Because, as I said when I read (some of) MRaD, fuck that guy.

Edited by InBrightestDay

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On 10/4/2021 at 8:12 AM, GeorgeGlass said:

Not to hijack IBD’s thread, but I left a short review of “Slut in the Library” last month...

So ye did… missed the email as I’ve not been home. I’ll get a reply short. 

and comment to IBD shortly as well.

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On 10/7/2021 at 2:57 AM, InBrightestDay said:

Ok, so I looked back to see where I’d last responded to @Sinfulwolf’s reviews, and it turns out I’d somehow neglected to do so since her review of Chapter 9.  So I have several reviews to respond to, not just one.  First, Chapter 10.

I have included this sentence of the review purely for the sake of irony. :lol:

Thank you!  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this elsewhere in this thread, but I got my start writing Gundam fanfiction, and writing the action scenes has always been fun.  I should probably write another space battle one of these days.  Not to spoil anything I’ve started reading recently, but you write some pretty intense action scenes yourself, so that’s a serious compliment.
:)

I’d love to see you tackle some space battles in the future. But getting yer start with Gundam, it does show, and yes! Action scenes are always fun to write (least to me). And thank ye as well, I do pride myself in my action scenes.

 

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I definitely see what you’re getting at.  It is a tricky sort of balancing act, and I’m not sure I’ll ever entirely master the “detail versus flow” thing, but I will try!

It’s tricky aye. Sometimes it helps to have those little details pushed in elsewhere, so you can concentrate on the flow of stuff in the moment.

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Thanks again!  Your comments did make me really think about why I was writing this the way I was, and made me realize that while it’s somehow socially acceptable for a male protagonist to have a love interest who’s a noncombatant, it doesn’t seem to be done the other way around.  I guess we’ve gotten to the point where a large segment of the population will accept women as action heroes, but at the same time there are boundaries on masculinity we’re reluctant to push.  The Non-Action Guy, as TV Tropes puts it, is often played for comedy rather than just accepted as viable.

Certainly! I’m glad you did lamp shade it in the end, and it certainly allowed for a bit more depth to things. Made it read better to me at least. It’s nice to see more of the Non-Action guy that’s not just comic relief.

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The traps are another example of me trying to follow stuff @JayDee set up in WoH, expanding on a quick line and working to figure out what “the traps of Hell” might be like.  While I like the matter prism from Chapters 11 and 12 is cool in a very “high magic” sort of way, there is something about the aesthetic of the fractal impalement trap that I think works on a visceral level; I may have mentioned The Evil Within as an inspiration before, but that trap is something I can sort of imagine being in the first game, crawling through a maze while spikes grow toward you with metal rasping noise.

And once again I am really glad at how popular Luzurial’s “Fine, I’ll let you talk to my boss” moment is.  Because, as I said when I read (some of) MRaD, fuck that guy.

I’ve not played enough of Evil Within, but I can see the influence and aesthetic, while still being very much your own thing. It was very very cool, and as you said, visceral. Very visceral.

And yes. Fuck that guy. :P

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