Still doing this! Although looks like I need to be doing a lot more of it. Currently Jan 17, page 131.
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10015801/1/bec-noir-x-sufferer-LEMON-xD (Bec Noir, Sufferer, John)
Just because something is crack doesn’t mean it’s okay for it to be shit.
Hm. This seems like a clever idea, but this is still a really slow first chapter. The Serious Business chats are great (you have the voices down) but part of what makes them great here is that they’re terse. You spend a lot of time on your main character for the rest of the chapter and you do do a good job of writing his voice too, but it’s mostly him slowly repeating the same facts or going off on tangents that are kind of interesting, but again go on way too long. There just isn’t any need to spend page after page saying he’s not very good with modern technology, especially when it’s a cliche that readers would’ve been happy to assume all by themselves, so you really don’t need this much time spent convincing people that yes, he’s not very good with modern technology.(I know the comic opening took forever to get going but it’s also widely hated for that exact reason.)
[FF: Jill! Hello, there! I see you′ve already developed quite the knack for this game. Might I say that I love the way that you have detailed your little pixel-lady and her humble abode! It fits you perfectly! The paintings are odd, I confess, but I′m getting used to them the more I look at them.]
Yeah this does not seem like a wise choice. The most canon thing we know about FedoraFreak is how he talks online. People can have different communication styles for different places, but the Serious Business app was pretty clearly used for general discussion about what they felt was important, and it’s the one he continues to use long after the world is gone, and always in the same style. There’s also the general issue that people who are terrible with computers usually don’t write in a conversational style – the biggest thing I notice is they won’t use contractions, even at points they’re almost mandatory in spoken English. Plus you’ve said he’s not a big typer, so length messages like this should take him forever and so he has reason to avoid it.
Plus it makes Jill’s voice pretty similar – they both come through as individuals, but there’s not the sense that one is good at computers to the point she’s been handling this stuff for him and the other fears anything more complicated than a pocket calculator. (And given he’s her boss while she’s presumably quite good at typing, it’s weird she’s not using capital letters to present herself better.)
(It’s also unnecessary to try to move them over to Pesterchum when the two programs are obviously supposed to have similar functionality. There’s nothing about them that says Serious Business is a single feed for everyone using the program – if nothing else, the number of potential users should make the very idea unfeasible.)
And then later on he’s talking to her by phone so…if you wanted to do it in a more conversational style you could’ve just done that from the start.
[″Yes, it′s done. Produced a little paper airplane. Made of glass. I think Kyle would… would have… really liked it,″ he says gloomily. ″I threw it while I stood in his room. It crashed and broke into a thousand pieces on the floor. Then it disappeared. I… I sat down on Kyle′s bed… and I′m afraid I quite lost track of time after that, until I heard the hell-storm next door and went to look…″]
This doesn’t make sense. If that’s his item, he wouldn’t still be around to see the firestorm. It’s also weird his breakdown happened before realizing the world was ending and his son might be caught in it – is he just freaking out over the game making real items?
Well. I like Jill a lot – the first chapter presents her just from Brinner’s point of view in a professional context, and her private home of painted skulls, hell paintings, and scavenged lumber furniture make a nice contrast while still making perfect sense as a whole. Plus her hobbies made for a really entertaining sprite, and her entry item being pomegranate seeds is a lovely idea.
Okay, so now the events are firestorm, then running around his house, then having a breakdown, then making the glass paper airplane.
I liked the tangent about his son’s origami skills. The kid seemed kind of flat when he was mostly about videogames, and that makes him feel a lot realer. And I love Snyder and how, despite his primary trait being rule-following organization, which isn’t the most gripping of things, he’s got all sorts of secondary interests and traits as well.
[And after that, you planned on a solid hour of reading before bedtime at ten-o-clock sharp. Nonfiction, of course. You could never quite get into made-up stories. You suppose that makes you weird. But to each his own. Mostly you enjoy books about history, the nineteenth century in particular. Your current read is a thrilling book about local Native American history, presented by a pair of local Native Americans sharing what they see through their cultural lens and what must be done to resolve the institutionalized poverty and racism resulting from a tragic and horrifying history. You have occasionally pondered researching for your own similar book regarding African-American history in the southwestern States; you think it would be a valuable resource and very important discussion-starter for both present and future generations, and you think that there should definitely be more nonfiction—particularly more historical nonfiction—written by and for African-Americans. But you just can′t find time to schedule in writing among all of your other activities. Busy busy busy.]
This just has such a nice balance to it.
Hm. As reveals go, being a CEO rather than a coffee monkey is fine, but it’s at odds with the fact the game lets them each see the person’s actual surroundings. It’s entertaining how utterly unprepared he is for all of this, though.
Hm. Brinner’s feeling like the weakest of the characters – he keeps saying the same things and they’re generally predictable at that.
[You open up the server interface and survey the options offered within. Right now, all that′s available is flat white platforms and simple stairs. You kind of wish you had the option to paint the platforms so they could be seen from space—how cool would that be?]
Admittedly, much of the joke of duplicating parts of the house was visual, but having the game preloaded with generic house bits rather than modifying the original is really dull.
[You sure don′t believe the guy′s a real pharmacist, not when he stops you at the mailbox and asks if you want to buy a yellowed Ziploc baggie full of codeine pills at a discount, or informs you that he′s got a special going on syringes because he has to move them fast before his cop brother shows up for Thanksgiving dinner because the guy is a snoop and a snitch and he can′t be trusted, so he can′t just hide it in a shoebox in the closet like usual.]
Her sidenotes are probably the most entertaining of the bunch!
[ the creature tried to kill you with a pipe bomb, but you hid under the bed so you were okay when it exploded and knocked all the glowing, purple-hazy Beksinski prints off your wall, and then you crawled out while the critter was doing a weird little victory dance, and you managed to punt him out of a tall window with your bunny-eared ballet slippers.]
That’s weird. They only did it in the Alpha session because the queen was deposed. So is she out of commission here too?
[It′s not cheating, you reason; cheating implies that you′re breaking rules, but how can you break rules if those rules aren′t specifically outlined? You experiment. You test. You bend the unwritten rules. You jump through the loopholes. And sometimes, you win. Not always, but sometimes, and victory is all the sweeter because you beat the game without cheating (you will maintain this until your dying day) and without bowing to stupid and obscure and stupidly obscure rules.
That′s what you intend to do here.
You′re playing to win.]
[2B: pl advise re: current condition.
2B: am beginning to worry.
FF: Forgive me! I was momentarily preoccupied with some unsavory, unwelcome visitors.
FF: Indeed. I took cover beneath my desk until they went away.
FF: Presumably they had some matter of important monster business to attend to.
FF: A meeting on the correct way to frighten children, perhaps, or a discussion on the efficiency of poltergeist activity versus apparition.
2B: highly unlikely.
FF: Yes, I thought so, too.]
The disjoint here is really troublesome. And then it heralds them both talking conversationally, so the unique style is lost entirely.
And including the bit of canon text just reminds me of how far things have diverged from the canon FedoraFreak sticking with the Serious Business app and seemingly isolated. Trying to connect it doesn’t really work – the water lines should still be working for the same reason the phone and lights are, plus he could just ask the others for water.
[″I can certainly retrieve them! But, er, making more items might be… a touch difficult.″
″Why so?″ You frown.
″You see, the machines require a type of… fuel, if you will, in order to create these garments. You Captchalogue the items and punch the cards with the Punch Designix, yes, but that isn′t all that goes into making them! There are certain other item requirements that must be met, and we have run out of that fuel.″]
Also…it’d probably have been better to have shown him running out and wondering why, rather than ghost-him popping up right when he finished and telling him that he can’t make anything further because it’s burning through grist.
[The last thing you pile into your Wallet is the case of Sunny Delight ]
Okay, I can get him being more interested in hats than alchemizing different drinks, but if he’s still got cases of liquids, he’s smart enough to at least duplicate them rather than continue to pee through a hat and drink it. Also, he should’ve looked for drinkable fluids in the first place, before getting into urine conservation.
I really get the growing sense that the connection of your story to FedoraFreak is shoddy – you’re not interested in trying to explain how the bits we get in canon come to be but doing your own things around the general idea of another session with adults who are largely serious. But in that case it wasn’t a good idea to make the one guy we do know snippets about be front and center. It makes the disconnect irritating, even though I’m fine reading about these guys in and of themselves.
I wonder if the author used FedoraFreak/Brinner on the assumption it’s best to avoid OCs, or if they just focused on writing a sburb game and found it wasn’t syncing up?
Hm. The description of the Land is nice (and ties in to his water concerns) but wasn’t everyone in this session insisting the whole place was black and empty? And how is there a sun at all?
[The labels, while pretty, are almost entirely useless, because you can read perhaps one or two letters before it all morphs into elegantly meaningless squiggles. It has always been a prime lament of your life that you cannot read in your dreams. Everybody knows that you can′t read in a dream—it′s a battle between brain hemispheres. You wish it weren′t so. If it were up to you, you would go to sleep and immediately continue your investigations and the resulting paperwork. Alas, such abilities continue to elude you, even here in the violet tower, where you can do nearly anything.]
Oh, that’s funny.
[He says there′s a war and it′s steadily heating up, so we have to keep the Scourge and the Scribe safe on their own planets. The Queen made a law and everything, and he′s here to enforce it, come hell or high water.]
Hm. So, murder attempt by CD on a dreamer, but Queen’s still around and the two Derse dreamers are officially protected. Unless he’s still enforcing a law by a now-dead queen.
Another pretty Land description. I guess the quest would be to fix the rust and brokenness so the machine works again.
Aw, gila monster consorts! And a Land lacking rain. But it’s really hard to feel sympathy when he was too dumb to duplicate the drink he had with him.
Actually, this setup probably would’ve been more reasonable if he hadn’t had any water issues, so it didn’t occur to him to do anything much about it before leaving and finding himself in a desert, at which point it’s urine or nothing.
Hm. Narnia-Land seems the least connected to them so far – I guess she’s generally an artistic dreamer, but she seems into more colors and in-your-face stuff.
[Then your normal thought processes return, and you note that, if you were so inclined, you could make a nice golf course out of this area.]
I’m torn between amusement and thinking this seems like the view of a really skilled golf player rather than someone having a lot of difficulty at it. But then, that might fit with his focus on improving his game… I guess if that’s the case, the connection would’ve been a lot stronger if, instead of it being Peat and Marsh, it was Greens and Marsh or something, with actual golf-course chunks between water and marsh reeds and all that. Just being regular swamp is pretty underwhelming as far as Lands go.
And so it ends. I think the author had a much clearer idea what they were doing in the start, since the chapters start getting sparse when dealing with the Lands, or maybe they were just running out of steam.
Also really highlights the need to have a clear idea of what you’re doing – the concept of serious business adults doing Sburb is a good one, but the tone is compromised by having two chat apps where the characters talk differently, a really wordy main character who’s the oppose of the Serious Business style of chatting and by having their main character mostly be a pleasant family man. In practice only one of their OCs was properly a serious business character, with actual straightlacedness while still being a well-rounded and decent person. Maybe a two-person session with him and scavenged furniture skull art lady would’ve been better.
They glossed over a lot of the mechanics too (like the chance to have the boss-masquerading as a lowly worker not enter until much later, so the reveal was delayed, also by having the other characters have any opinion on this when it was revealed) but giving the story seems to have run out of steam, having that stuff may have just made the problem worse.
[would have your punishment ready before the action was even dealt or completed. ]
This is worded very oddly – “action was dealt” isn’t right, and it seems like you’re going for a distinction between doing something and finishing it, in which case if Doc Scratch is ready before she’s started doing something, it’s redundant to say that he’d also be ready before she completed doing it.
[you put on the silver kennel]
Kettle. This all seems like you really need a beta reader.
Plotwise, it doesn’t seem right either.
Your Damara seems really lackluster – she isn’t making even a token resistance at any point in this story, which is particularly odd because his own statements of events are that he’s going to abuse her endlessly until she’s willing to do what Lord English wants, so a story set well prior to that point should have her still fighting him. And she generally doesn’t seem nearly that beaten down – she seems to have given up far more easily than her canon counterpart, and then seems to still have plenty of free will left by the time she’s sent out to manipulate the rest of them but is just too scared to act on it. It’s completely reasonable for a given person to have been beaten into reasonable compliance like this, but it’s not what we see from Damara.
Scratch similarly seems wrong – like someone who doesn’t want to be doing this but sees it as necessary, and who’s mildly regretful, to the point he encourages her and claims to sort of love her. He’s a much worse person than that.
Bec Noir, Sufferer, John