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Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things!
Topic Started: Dec 23 2013, 12:28 AM (8,043 Views)
Shangela
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Glitter, Whiskey, and a hefty dose of Harlotry
[ *  * ]
I really like how you conduct your critiques, Doctor StrangeloveBalance.

Since your queue is starting to shrink a bit in numbers, I was wondering if I could ask your advice on my character, Brianna Battaglia. I've been kind of lost with character direction with her, and you offer some pretty solid advice on how to build upon the groundwork.

Everything you'll need for this mission, should you chose to accept it, can be found in my signature. I appreciate your consideration~
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-Credit goes to the lovely and talented Payouni of DeviantArt
Take another drag, turn me to ashes
Ready for another lie?
Says he's gonna teach me just what fast is,
Says it's gonna be alright

NOTE:I'm always looking for helpful critique on my roleplaying. If you see something you like (or don't like) feel free to PM me. I'll only get better with the more advice you all give me~

V5

V6
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Emprexx Plush
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Paige/EP/Plush, they/them pronouns pls thanks :3
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The last five requests have all been updated into the OP!

Also, the queue is now open to handlers who received a critique in the last queue again.
SotF Characters

the highest honor i'll ever achieve


Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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VysePresident
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Long-winded, meticulous, & thoughtful. Mostly long-winded though.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Well, could I possibly get you to give Chase Rodriguez a look over, too? I feel he's been my weaker character so far by a painfully large margin, and getting your thoughts on how to correct that would be awesome.

Thanks so very much for the time you've spent doing these!

Oh, and if this suddenly fills up again, I'm more than willing to defer the spot to anyone who hasn't been critiqued yet.
Constructive criticism is always welcome! Feel free to send me a PM if you have any pointers or feedback you'd like to share!

Character #1: Boy #37 Ian Williams - Now with 55% less self-insert.
Designated Weapon: Polaroid Instant Camera With Film (Enough for 8 photographs)

Past - | 1 | 2 | (Current thread - Birds of a Feather)
Pregame - None
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | (Final Thread - Glass
)
Character #2: Boy #66 Chase Rodriguez - Adopted from Pippin.
Designated Weapon: Silver Pill Box Containing Three Cyanide Capsules

Past - None
Pregame - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (Last seen in - Diversions)
Island - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | (Final Thread - Drawing to an End)



(Relationships Planning Thread #Pi)
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Emprexx Plush
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Paige/EP/Plush, they/them pronouns pls thanks :3
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Sure thing! If it gets too full, Chase will have a reserved spot in the next queue instead of just being kicked out. Sound like a fair deal? :)
SotF Characters

the highest honor i'll ever achieve


Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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NotAFlyingToy
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the bass and the tweeters make the speakers go to war
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Hansel, please! I'd love you more than I do now.
A list of the dying, a list of the damned.

V6
V5
Future
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Un-Persona
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Mains Shaggy Verde
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
You're a speedy guy who does speedy things, so I'll ask you to give a speedy read to Venice. Links in the sig as always, pre-game and memories are actually pretty valuable this time around in my opinion.

Similar to Vyse, I'll stand back out if non-critiqued peeps want in.
V7 relationship thread! Say hi to my kids!
Super Spoiler God Super Spoiler
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swirlythingy
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Oh no!
[ *  * ]
Eh, fuck it. I was going to wait until I could actually develop him some more, but since he's been rolled I might as well take my last chance to improve him while I can...

Could you look over Edgar Tolstoff? His first thread (written by aristeia) is here and my writing starts here. For my part, I'm not totally happy with how I've been writing him (especially WRT consistent characterisation) so a second opinion and advice for things to focus on would be really helpful.
...in my pants.

B065 Edgar Tolstoff (adopted from aristeia) - Syrup of Ipecac - Lost a debate with a chainsaw (Storage Yard)

All your favourite heinous acts of terrorism and murder, now available in handy infographic form!
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SansaSaver
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Player
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It’s been awhile since the last requests, SO I SHALL LEAP UPON THE EMPTY SPACES.

Un critique de Maynard, s’il vous plaît!
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson


Past Characters:
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Emprexx Plush
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Paige/EP/Plush, they/them pronouns pls thanks :3
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The second queue is now closed!

Fair warning, these will take a bit longer since I'm working and doing school again now. I'm going to try and get on them as quickly as I can, though.
SotF Characters

the highest honor i'll ever achieve


Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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Emprexx Plush
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Paige/EP/Plush, they/them pronouns pls thanks :3
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Echoing the sentiments of the late, great poet Sinistar with CRITIQUE: ALICE GILMAN

THE COMPELLING

What I like most about Alice revolves around her early threads. In these threads, Alice displays a sort of clinical, targeted analysis that is both cutting and impersonal, while not being emotionless. It has this weird duality of being both self-centered and impartial that really captures the way that a focused, analytical human mind works, and I appreciated her for that. This sort of helps draw the group she's in together: Alice is the Brains, Casey is the Conscience, Carlos is the Practicality. I really like this sort of dynamic and the potential it represents. The three play relatively nicely off of each other, and there's a lot to be said for a strong, early team dynamic.

Ironically, even though she's an introvert, Alice sort of glues the team together. Part of this comes from Casey being one of her known, close friends, but a big chunk of it can be attributed to the fact that Alice helps give them real purpose by paring down their options early on and trying to find the best solution to keep them alive and moving. This was a real strong position for her to be in with lots of implications later on, and I really wish it had been kept up, because I think that position would have been a great make-or-break characteristic for Alice to play with.


THE DRAGGING

Inconsistency is an albatross around Alice's neck that has become a bigger and bigger problem as she goes on. There is a level of frustration here for me, because it's not that Alice is inconsistent from scene to scene, though there is a level of that, as it is that there is a distinct point in her story where it feels like she's become a completely different character, and that transition ended up feeling poorly handled and explained.

About half-way through her story, Alice turns from an analysis-driven decision maker to an emotional, distracted mess. While the bridge between these two exists, it just sort of snaps into place out of nowhere. There isn't a singular, traumatic event that Alice doesn't handle well that brings her to this point, she just sort of gets there. We begin to see it cropping up in A Safe Rest, but it really shines hard in this post from Waking Up To Ash and Dust. This quote, in particular, is very problematic for me:
Quote:
 
Alice had always enjoyed solving problems. Being able to look closely at a difficult situation, work out all the variables, and end up with the most efficient way of doing things was always very satisfying, however much it irritated the other players at her DnD sessions. It was part of the reason she loved science so much, after all. Even here, on the island, she'd always had time to consider her group's next move, to weigh their next action.

Now, though, time was limited, and Alice found herself completely at a loss. "We're screwed." She said simply, sinking against the wall.

This is what I call a "how-but-why?" emotional read. I understand how Alice feels, but I don't know why she feels that way. Why is she suddenly more screwed than she was from the onset? What has changed in her circumstances? Previously, everything had been unfolding pretty much as she'd expected, and nothing major happens in this thread. There is a huge disconnect between what occurs here and her earlier inner narrative, to the point to where if you put that post and her opener side by side and changed all of the names, I'd have a hard time nailing them down as the same character. This dissonance made it really hard for me to get into Alice as a character, even though both halves are pretty well written, just because of how confusing it was. I think if Alice is to continue in this direction, really re-clarifying how she got in this state should be a high priority.


THE NITPICKY

There's another big problem with Alice that applies to her group as a whole that I feel is, as somewhat par for the course with this section, endemic of SotF as a whole that has to deal with character interactions. See, the Alice/Carlos/Casey group has a really good dynamic, and that's neat, but it also leads them to become very self-contained. Even in the scenes where other people are involved, the group remains tight and most of their actions revolve around each other. This becomes a bigger issue when the group really doesn't find itself involved in any high-profile issues. They don't interact with big killers, they're not together for any death scenes, they don't become killers themselves, and they don't deal with any major victims or heroes. At times, groups like this feel like they're operating in an entirely different game, with only passing references to the overall story included, and I think that's a shame, because a lot could be done with them to enrich not only their stories, but the stories of the characters around them.

I think Alice does have potential as a character. Sadly, I think it's too late for her to ever get back to the analytical vision that I loved so much in her early game, but there's still a large canvas to work with, and I look forward to watching her move on.

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE: Swirlythingy has been inactive for over a month at the time of this critique. In the interest of fairness to active handlers, I'm opening up the queue for one more spot to replace him. Swirly may PM me at any time during this queue prior to that critique to regain his position, and anyone who fills his spot in the interim will gain priority one status for the next queue as compensation.
SotF Characters

the highest honor i'll ever achieve


Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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Riki
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Winner
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Hi! Could you please take a look at the lovely Aileen Abdallah for me? Sansa can gladly come before me, though
Fiyori Senay
 


Version 7
Version 6
Version 5


ChatShit

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Emprexx Plush
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Paige/EP/Plush, they/them pronouns pls thanks :3
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Disposing of the DNA evidence with CRITIQUE: CLAIRE MONAGHAN

THE COMPELLING

Claire as a character has two really strong moments that I enjoyed reading. The first of these comes in her opening post. Now, I am not a fan of camera rants in Main, but I can see the appeal of this one. I like the cinematographer angle that Claire takes with it and her consciousness of the underpinnings of the show. It shows a sort of unique brand of intellect that I haven't seen much of, and I would really like to see more of going forward. That sort of eye and understanding sets her apart, though it slips into some problematic elements that I'm going to talk about later.

Claire also has a really fascinating, out of nowhere moment of stream of consciousness that gives us more insight into her character than basically anything else in her story. The full moment is here:
Quote:
 
Eight dead students, Eight of one hundred fifty something, One hundred fifty, One hundred fifty Pokemon, Generation One, Several sequel games, Sequels, Good sequels: Empire, Dark Knight, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Lot of tears shed in Toy Story 3, lots of tears shed here, Lotta tears shed back home, Who would be crying now? Mom, Dad, Emma, Mason, Jessica, Dear god, we never finished writing the screenplay for Corral, Can Jessica possibly finish something like that? Would she even finish something like that? Someone finishing a dead person's project, The Song for the Unification of Europe from Three Colors: Blue composed by Zbigniew Preisner, Patrice's version and Julie's version, Who was really composing? Who is really in charge?

I really, really liked this. The spider-webbing drew in a lot of her influences while tying in personal moments and touches to her over-all situation, and it was a very neat way to present that information. I think more moments like this from Claire could be really illuminating and help draw her out of the samey funk she tends to find herself in, and capitalizing on that would be a great direction to explore.

THE DRAGGING

My biggest gripe with Claire is that neither of those really interesting moments are ever expanded upon or revisited. We really don't see more of that cinematic eye, or that spider-webbing consciousness. In fact, her thoughts 99% of the time vary from abruptly direct to strangely esoteric. There are some good examples of what I mean in her opening thread, but this is my favorite for the first point:
Quote:
 
Hmm, a kevlar vest. I think I read somewhere that those don't work too well and can cause serious bruising and possibly break your ribs if you are shot too close. Well, at least I know he can't hurt me. With an object. I guess he could strangle me.

The amount of detail and technicality here really throws me. This seems like a description out of a book, not a natural thought. It also doesn't seem like something that Claire would know to that level of detail. Remembering that sometimes Kevlar vests don't completely protect you? Believable, if surprising. Remembering exactly how they fail and the damage they can do? That's awkward to me, and it drew me out. These moments aren't limited to her thoughts, either. This statement to Kyle struck me especially hard:
Quote:
 
"Our journey will be tough and full of many perils, but I think we can survive this. Now, let's begin."

People don't really talk that way. Claire doesn't really talk that way, anywhere else in her story. This comes completely out of left-field and left me scratching my head. Claire has a lot of these unnatural, stilted moments strewn throughout her story, which was a shame to me, because there are a lot of strong natural things for her to work with.

On the other end of the spectrum, some of Claire's references could fit but come from very odd source material with little to no context at all. Her contextualizing the killing that occurred on Day One produces one of the biggest moments for this:
Quote:
 
Amon Goeth has his rifle in position, and we have to make sure we're not in his sights. Not me, not Kyle, not Alex, nor Kyran, Jack, R.J, or anyone else.

The context for this quote takes some digging. I really don't see anything that would suggest that Claire is a big World War 2 buff, but I can see her as having scene and committed to memory scenes from Schindler's list, which is what I'm guessing Laurels is referencing in this quote. It comes off very awkwardly, though, that Claire would have so much to say about injuries from Kevlar vests and so little to say about what might be a very big influence on her cinematic sensibilities. The duality here is unsettling from a thematic perspective and it's something I'd like to see cleaned up.

THE NITPICKY

This section has never been nitpickier, but I find that some of Claire's references miss the mark for reasons other than being poorly explained, either by absence or indulgence. Some of them simply end up coming off completely wrong in context, to a degree that probably shouldn't bother me but really digs into my read. The biggest offender here comes in her most recent post:
Quote:
 
Claire dashed past the other guy and away from the harbor. Like Orpheus, she refused to look back. She relied on her good cardio to get her as far away as possible. She couldn't have a repeat of the encounter with Hansel, so she needed to make sure they couldn't follow her.

The entire point of the Orpheus myth is that he does look back. The reference, in a way, grinds against the implicit purpose of the post in a way that I found quite distracting, and this occurs in other places as well. I think if references like this are to be woven in, they need to be chosen and researched carefully. I also realize that this is the pettiest, nerdiest of gripes and there can be no fault given for completely ignoring it because I'm being a pedantic twat, but pedantic twattery is why this section exists in the first place :)

Claire's got legs. I think she's probably my favorite of Laurel's V5 stable, and I want to see her improve. I want to see things become clearer and draw more of her unique perspective in, and I think that can be done.
SotF Characters

the highest honor i'll ever achieve


Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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Emprexx Plush
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Paige/EP/Plush, they/them pronouns pls thanks :3
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Taking a leap of faith with CRITIQUE: GWEN O'CONNOR

THE GOOD

Gwen is a character who shines most in interaction. Her stint with Group Nap Time is her most prominent and enjoyable read, and it leads into some great moments of emotional conveyance. The stand out for me is her discovery of Ray's recently mutilated body within the Hospital. Not only does this trigger a cool moment for Virgil to play a slightly more comforting role than he's been able to play with Michelle, but it also segues into this breakdown:
Quote:
 
"I don't wanna die..." Gwen whispered through her tears. "I don't want this to be me, I can't...if it works, and they blow all the collars, this'll be all that's left." She wiped snot from her nose and tears from her eyes. "But if it doesn't, it might be anyways, someone like Theo or Hansel or, or even now Rosemary and Maddie, they'll kill us."

This makes a nice moment of insight for both Gwen and the group, and really bolsters her appeal. It's got a nice genuineness to it that can be somewhat lacking in her early threads, and I'm really glad to see it develop here.

Even better than reacting to Ray, though, is her one-shot reacting to Michelle's death, and the subsequent thread with Kam. The raw emotion coming from both of them that interlocks and evolves in some slightly unexpected ways is energizing. In fact, I'd say that this is probably Gwen's strongest thread by far, and I really would have liked to see more of the two of them.

THE BAD

Gwen's major character flaw is that her decisions don't make sense a large percentage of the time. She provides little, if any, justification for them, even to the point of arguing against them at points, such as here when she first hooks up with the Group Nap Time crew:
Quote:
 
Gwen nodded, but she wasn't sure what she wanted to do. Of course it was important for Vergil to get his stuff back, but this didn't seem like a problem Gwen should get involved in, more of a personal matter.

Still, might as well help out while she could. Only so much time left, after all.

This doesn't really mesh with Gwen's stated motivations up to this point. She has people she wants to find, she's just had an emotional reaction to a friend's death, and the last thing she wants to do is run towards a gun shot. But she goes with the group anyway, for reasons. This really needed more expansion. I'm going to get into part of how that might have been achieved when I dig into the nitpicks section, but right now I want to dive into what is probably Gwen's most problematic element: Her death.

I'm going to be blunt: Gwen's death is an interesting idea wrapped up in poor timing, poor execution, and the wrong character style. I think the poetry theme gels with Gwen's concept, but in practice Gwen is a reactive character, and she's an emotional character. She writes and reads best when there are other people around for her to play off of, and we need that clear connection to her internal feelings to stay invested. The detached, isolated style of the poem strips both of those factors out, and that really weakens its impact. Thematically, it also comes at a very strange time for Gwen. She's re-pepped herself repeatedly, and she's shocked by Dave's death a few days ago in the same manner, finding it somewhat unfathomable. To have her die so suddenly by suicide is surreal and leaves me somewhat confused about her motivations, confusion that is exacerbated by the above stylistic choices in the poetry theme.

This could all be somewhat forgiven, but the poem itself comes off as a little rushed. The structure is very basic and mostly repackages information we already know into a style that's less engaging than it was the first time we were introduced to it. I get the feeling that this was a long standing idea for Gwen given the fact that Espi did not want any death ideas, and that may be part of the problem. Gwen's story at one point supported this, but by now she's evolved and her style has become set. Having someone actually kill her would have been much, much stronger and made a lot more sense with her arc. Speaking from experience, OOC, inflexible commitments can be a toxin for a character, and they should be avoided whenever possible.

THE NITPICKY

I've talked about this issue a few other times throughout these critiques, but Gwen touches on it in an interesting way, by still being readable and understandable despite it. The issue I'm referencing is Profile-Play disconnect, specifically in the Interests section and its application in-game. Gwen has three major listed interests in her profile: Nature, Anarchy, and Poetry. We see precisely one reference to any of these, and that comes in the structure of her death post. Now, Gwen is a readable character, but I think her interests could have been used to both vastly expand upon her decisions and thought process, and to generate new content in her posts that otherwise would have been untouched. They might have even drastically altered her decisions. How would her view of anarchy influenced her place in the Group Nap Time plan? Would it have bolstered it? Undermined it? What does she know, biologically, about the predator-prey relationship that she hints at between the killers and the killed? How does that change how she views both parties, and where she puts herself? These are just a few possible avenues to explore with her interests, and there are reams more.

This is not an issue limited to Gwen, as a review of these critiques will show, but I think Gwen illustrates why it is so prominent: It's entirely possible to write a serviceable, moderately engaging character without any connection to their bulk interests. But you can write a much, much better character if you bring them in. It's something I think all of us can do better on, and I hope reflection on that is useful for Espional going forward with future characters!
SotF Characters

the highest honor i'll ever achieve


Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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Shangela
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Glitter, Whiskey, and a hefty dose of Harlotry
[ *  * ]
I know I'm cutting it kind of close with this question, but I was wondering if you'd review my handling of Benjamin Ward instead of Brianna Battaglia. I'd like to think that I grew a lot from my first character, so I'd like to see what your opinion on my second attempt. If you've already put an exhaustive effort into reading Brianna, then I'll be happy with her review instead.
Posted Image
-Credit goes to the lovely and talented Payouni of DeviantArt
Take another drag, turn me to ashes
Ready for another lie?
Says he's gonna teach me just what fast is,
Says it's gonna be alright

NOTE:I'm always looking for helpful critique on my roleplaying. If you see something you like (or don't like) feel free to PM me. I'll only get better with the more advice you all give me~

V5

V6
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Emprexx Plush
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Paige/EP/Plush, they/them pronouns pls thanks :3
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Not a problem, I'll swap the names!
SotF Characters

the highest honor i'll ever achieve


Plush Wants To Read Your Dead Things and your Living Things! As of 8/14/2017, the Living Queue is Closed, and the Dead Queue is Open!
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