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Posted: May 11 2017, 01:01 PM
"ashita wa ashita no kaze ga fuku"
Rank Applying For: Beginner
Link to character workshop topic: Refer to the second post here
At least two of your recent role play topics:
even beautiful lies burn in the truth - Tori Deveaux-Carroll: As the title suggests, there’s going to be some lies involved! The thread begins with Thanatos getting pushed off the stairs and injuring his wand arm. Not seeing the point in wallowing in pain, he goes to the Hospital Wing. (He's being sensible.) Unfortunately, he meets a member of the Deveaux family. The Helstrom and Deveaux don’t exactly see eye to eye on certain matters, like blood purity. After the tragic incident with Elias Deveaux’s father, who married a pureblood witch from a family of dark wizards, the Deveaux patriarch (Tori’s grandfather) is very wary of letting their children mingle with people like Thanatos Helstrom.
standing besides you in the dark of the night - Aki Sei: In this thread, Thanatos is lighting a lantern for his potentially dead parents. In Japanese culture, lantern festivals are held in which lanterns are lit to lead the dead to the afterlife. He meets Aki Sei, who he first mistakens as the ghost of his mother. The two are both from Japan, so I feel like there’s a lot of potential here to develop an interesting relationship.
Commentary: (Why you feel you should move up, any specific concerns you want to address or that you’d like the reviewers to pay special attention to, any special points you’d like to bring to reviewers’ attention)
I revised his profile and removed things I no longer felt were relevant or have since changed since I RPed with Thanatos. I feel like I have a good handle of Thanatos. In addition, I have a lot of potential plots for him in the future, so I’d like to rank him up sooner rather than later : ).
|♥ Aleksander Daskalov||
Posted: May 11 2017, 01:08 PM
"The bloodbath of Bulgaria, the bastard of Ballycastle."
Thank you for participating in the Ranking System! Your application has been added to the review queue. You can expect your reviews sometime within the next two weeks.
Posted: May 19 2017, 02:20 PM
"4AM knows all my secrets"
Hello Jynx! I'm Charlie and you know me! I'm here to be your first reviewer, so welcome back to the Review system!
It looks like everything is in order, so let's get started.
I'm going to be talking mostly about your characterisation of Thanatos and the plots you're working toward in the future!
First things first I think you do a fantastic job of introducing Thanatos as his own unique self. He feels very distinct from Elias, and even though they're swimming in the same pools. As we make more characters it can be difficult to make sure they have their own voices, especially when they share similarities with each other, but you do a very good job of bringing out the distinctions in Thanatos. I'm a huge fan of how you toss in Japanese words into your posts, weaving them into the narrative that you've written rather than just tossing a translation down at the bottom of the post. This isn't an easy thing to do, and it all reads very seamlessly.
The inclusion of Japanese terms helps place us in Thanatos' head, and makes him feel very different from your other characters. You weave details of Japan and his past into your posts, and I really encourage you to do more of this. Doing so really helps frame his perspective for the reader, and is something you do really well. Don't be afraid of straying away from these Japanese terms though. Sprinkling them into the narrative here and there is definitely enough to set the mood of posts. Doing so a little too much starts to read as repetitive. It's something I noticed in particular in the thread with Tori, particularly:
I think in this sentence, it's completely okay for you to use the term sensei once, but you can start shifting to other pronouns that don't necessarily have to be Japanese -- of course, they can be if you want them to. Depending on his sensei's age and appearance you could move into other descriptive terms if you prefer, but don't be afraid of using teacher and sensei interchangeably in this context! Of course, there are some instances where repetition isn't bad to drive a point home or to set a particular tone for specific characters, but there are definitely some tricks to keep in mind while you're doing this! For example:
This is another instance that starts to read as repetitive, but this might just be Thanatos' style of thought. While I think this particular example could benefit from something a little bit more colourful to describe the growth of his pain (adjectives, metaphors, etc) if you want to you can illustrate that this is just Thanatos' style by drawing attention away from the repetition and toward the descriptive instead. What I mean is something like:
It's a simple trick, but putting the emphasis elsewhere will help you imply that this is intentional, and helps break up the sentence so it isn't read in a monotone voice.
In terms of your dialogue for Thanatos, be careful that you don't go too far and leave your reader behind! The exchange with Aki is wonderful and gives us some real insight into who he is, but including some sort of translation so that the reader understands what's going on is important. You don't have to post a literal translation for every sentence following what he says, but I noticed there wasn't as much context for what they were saying.
Most of the time you made sure to keep what was happening pretty clear, but occasionally there wasn't as much context. Using the dolls was brilliant, and something I think you should definitely keep up, but keep in mind the alternatives! Whether it's a thought to reflect what Thanatos or Aki has just said, or a memory from his past which gives us context for the future, you can use plenty of tools to get your meaning across and give Thanatos more characterisation. Hold the reader's hand through the importance of a phrase like kochira koso yoroshiku onegaishimasu. Consider giving us a flashback to the first or last time he said this phrase -- maybe to his sensei, or to the Helstroms when he first met them.
We know Thanatos remembers clearly what to do next in this exchange, but the reader doesn't necessarily understand everything without just a liiiittle bit more context, especially if we don't have an understanding of what prompts his responses. For example when Aki praises him, we know he's being praised, but we only have a vague understanding that it has something to do with the sword. You can get around this road block by giving us Thanatos' personal thoughts on the praise, a translation of what she's said, or a comparison to his sensei's words on the subject, or Thanatos imagining what his sensei would say if he could see him now. Fixating on it just a tad longer will help get across the things you want to get across and provide us with even more context for Thanatos' personal thoughts and experiences.
On the subject of context, it might be helpful overall to explain who the dolls are to Thanatos. Vader is easy enough to recognise but I had no idea who Viktor was, so the significance of these choices for his dolls were a little bit lost on me. It's something I think you should definitely go into in your workshop, because understanding why he connected to and chose these dolls to become his voices will give us a better understanding of who Thanatos is. Especially considering these are two very muggle characters that have been chosen by a boy from a very pureblood family. We know he doesn't personally hold the same feelings toward muggleborns or muggles that his family does, but this is a moment where you can go further and explain his interest in muggle things, or at least these characters in particular.
Once you flesh out the why, you can explore how his family feels about these dolls, if they know about them or recognise their status as fictional figures in muggle entertainment. I also think there is a much more elegant way to include what they are and what they look like in your profile. Don't be afraid to flash us back to the past when Thanatos first discovered who Viktor and Vader were -- why he formed this bond with the characters and decided they should help him find his voice. You can even cut to a flashback of him enchanting them and speaking to him for the first time. A workshop doesn't just have to be a package of information and facts that you just drop on us, you can take us into the moment! Given Thanatos' preoccupation with his history, dropping us into the past in both your workshop and your posts is a great way to communicate information to the reader.
WHEW. I've spent a lot of time on characterisation so I'm going to wrap this up by talking about your plots. I am veeery curious about where you are taking Thanatos, and I think you're making some good ground here. I would love to see more of Thanatos interacting with the other Japanese students. You gave us a really beautiful thread with Aki, and I am hungry for more. Continue developing their relationship, because you're off to a really interesting start!
I'm also looking forward to seeing what happens with Tori, because it looks like you're building up a wonderful dynamic between them, perhaps one where he even finds himself at odds with his family because he has chosen to interact with a Deveaux against their wishes. Don't be afraid of exploring the dark and nitty gritty consequences of simple interactions like this! Thanatos seems extremely at odds with his family. He is the one who doesn't belong, and finding ways to bring this out in your plots is something I definitely encourage. One little sidenote on this - I noticed you used 'stepparents' and 'stepsiblings' to describe Thanatos' family, and I'm not sure this is the term you're looking for. 'Stepparent' is a term that implies that someone has married his actual parent, while stepsiblings are the children of the stepparent. Unless Thanatos has a legal guardian who has remarried to give him stepsiblings and a stepparent, the term you might be looking for is adoptive!
Having an antisocial character can be a bit difficult to overcome, but I think you've given yourself a great dynamic with these enchanted dolls. I'd also be curious to see what Thanatos goes through when he loses this crutch. That might be something to explore, just to see what happens. I would also love to see more examples of the cold, calculating, logical Thanatos, so I think your next step is to play around with various circumstances to see what happens. Find ways to bring out the crime aspect of his family, and the ways this legacy might colour his interactions with others (other students, teachers, etc!) I think you're already doing a great job, and I really look forward to what you do next.
SO because it's time to wrap this up, I happily APPROVE you and Thanatos Helstrom for BEGINNER. CONGRATULATIONS! You've given us a really wonderful and distinct product here, and I'm sure you will find a very interesting direction to take him in. If you have any questions about my review, feel free to give me a poke! Good luck with your next review!
Posted: May 26 2017, 11:10 AM
"saltier than the dead sea"
Hey there Jynx! I’m Annie and I’ll be your second reviewer! Charlie went over the requirements for Beginner already, so we can jump right in ^^
I’m going to be looking at structure and content today! We’ve got quite a bit to dig through! Since Beginner focuses largely on content, that will be the main focus of this review, but I’m going to start with a couple of nitpicky structure things, just to get that out of the way.
Just as a general rule of thumb, before you post anything, I suggest you let it sit for a little while. Even five minutes is fine. Then come back and read it out loud, because what might have sounded good to you in the moment might need some tweaking later! Also if you find yourself repeating words, there’s always ways you can restructure the sentence to make it sound less repetitive. An example of this is from your starter post in Standing Besides You:
As you can see, in this little part the phrase “his parents” is repeated three times, and if that is read out loud it can sound kind of clunky. Now, if you like how it sounds and it suits Thanatos’s thought process, that’s fine! Writing style is something that is meant to be played with and writing rules can get tossed out the window. I do want to pose a restructuring to you though, which could sound like this:
Thanatos had wondered if his parents were alive for a long time, but he wasn’t sure if this was what he wanted. If they were alive, he would have to deal with the fact that they may have abandoned him; if they were dead, he would never get to meet them.
Like I said before, if you like your style, you don’t have to change it. However, you may find that if you catch yourself repeating phrases or names that aren’t necessary to repeat, it might sound nice if you play with your sentence structure! Plus it makes your sentences more concise and to the point, therefore making it easier for your readers to follow.
Another example of this repeating business can be seen in Burn in the Truth, again in your starter post:
Which can be rewritten as:
It would be difficult to pinpoint the culprit, as Thanatos’s reflexes were not quick enough to both soften his fall and locate them.
Those two examples were ones that jumped out at me right away when I was reading your threads. Sentence structure is something to look out for in both profile and posts, so don’t forget to proofread!
MOVING ON to the fun part. Content!
At beginner level, the content that we look for in posts is pretty basic. You seem to have a good grasp on Thanatos, and I really like how you neatly weave in his puppets into your posts! He makes for a really fun read and I want to see you continuing down this path with him! As for other post content, I would love to see more environment being tied into your posts. This can be anything from goosebumps on his arms because the wind is chilly to his stomach growling because something smells good. Little snippets of his surroundings as well as his reactions to them, even unconscious reactions, make for a more dynamic character and pulls the reader into the story you are trying to tell. Aside from that, I think you’re on a good track with him! He certainly comes off as Thanatos in your posts, and I really like to see that.
As for your profile, you have certainly expanded, which I love to see! However. This is Beginner. Which means you’re gonna expand a looooot more and discover things about him that you never thought you would know!
I can see you have expanded here, but I want more! How tall is Thanatos? How is he built? Is he lean and lanky or is he more stockily built? Does he have broad shoulders? A six pack? Does he have long limbs? Small hands? How does he carry himself? Does he slump his shoulders when he walks so as not to draw attention to himself? Or does he stand up straight? Is he graceful? Does he move like each movement is deliberate? These big picture details help to give your readers (and reviewers) a broader picture of Thanatos, and they really help when trying to picture him in your mind. Additionally, they help in posts, because if you can picture Thanatos walking, you will have an easier time explaining why he does what he does (i.e. tripping over air). There’s something else I noticed, too - “no visible piercings.” Does this mean that he has piercings where no one can see?
As for his face, while I think you’ve got a good start here, there’s always more you can add. Since no person has one default emotion setting and that’s it, I want to know what Thanatos looks like in all emotions! What does his face do when he smiles? Does he have dimples? Is he the type to default to a close mouthed smile or does he smile with teeth? Also what about his cheeks? Does he still have residual baby fat or have they thinned? Also moving on to skin while we’re at his face, does he have a skincare routine? Is he naturally clear skinned or does he have acne and/or acne scars? Is he the sort to get dark circles under his eyes? What about his hair? What color is it? What texture? Is it curly and he uses gel to keep it in place? Or is it pin straight and thick?
When it comes to clothes, I have to wonder if you could get more specific with how he dresses. Does he tend to wear holes in his pants or is he careful with his clothes? He wears designer brands, yes, but does this mean he wears a button up with slacks in public or does he dress more casually? What about his shoes? Does he have a favorite shoe? Does he wear sneakers or loafers? Does he tend to keep his clothes nice and neat or does he walk around like he just rolled out of bed? What about when he is lounging around? Does he have a go to relaxing outfit that he likes more than others?
For your appearance, as with the rest of his profile, I want you to think about the whys. Why does he wear his hair short? Why does he not wear t-shirts in public? Why does he walk around with his shoulders hunched? Knowing the whys of why your character looks the way he does and dresses the way he does can help when it comes to tying your profile together, because we like to see the personality, appearance, and history connect. Is there a memory from his childhood that makes him smile? Did an event happen to influence why he is always grouchy? Things like this make your character more well rounded, because if you have reasons to back up his traits it makes him more consistent.
You have expanded a LOT here I see, but again, I’m greedy and want more. I would really love to see how his history has contributed to his personality. Is his charisma natural or has it been cultivated by his family? How do his personality traits affect his relationship with other people his age? What about people older or younger than him? Also as for his dolls, has he ever had a time when he was without them? What happened? Is he able to fend for himself without them or does he feel lost and confused? How vital are they in his interactions with other human beings?
I would love to see more expansion in his relationship with food since it is, after all, a part of his future goals. Are there certain foods that he really wants to try? Are there foods that he associates with certain memories, such as watermelon bringing back a memory of a family picnic? I would also love to see more expansion in the section about his indecisiveness. Has this ever seriously hindered him, such as in class? Does his indecisiveness make him anxious because he can’t make decisions quickly? How has this influenced other parts of his life? With personality, I like to pick a few traits, and then EXPAND on each of them. A lot of times, at least for me, this has led to connections with history and appearance that I didn’t expect, and that’s really good when looking forward to your next profile revision at Intermediate!
First and foremost with the history, I want to see you dig deeper. What was Thanatos’s childhood like? Can you give us more details about his life at the dojo? What about his friendship with his sensei’s son? That’s an important friendship, especially considering that he doesn’t know who his family is, so I’d love to know more about it! I would also really like to see more about the time in between when he left Japan and when he arrived England. How did he get there? How old was he when he left and when he arrived? If he was young, how did he manage to travel without anyone asking where his parents were or if he was lost?
I would also like to know more about the events leading to Thanatos being adopted by the Helstrom family. What happened in between arriving in England and robbing Erebus? And also, while on the subject of the Helstrom family, how did he manage to evade their attempts at scamming him out of his inheritance? Can you give me more details about what his life was like while living with Erebus? Also how did he end up at Hogwarts? How long has he been there? What has he been up to while at Hogwarts? Does he have favorite classes? Friends? You’ve had him for a little while now, long enough to plot with people, who does he hang out with? Where does he like to go in Hogwarts? Was he pleased when he was sorted into Ravenclaw? Surprised? With history, when you think you’ve added in enough detail, go back and add more. There’s no such thing as too much information in the profile!
Structurally, the history could stand to be reworked. You jump from Thanatos being adopted, to his childhood in the dojo, and back to when he met Erebus. While this can work, it can get confusing, and I had to read through it quite a few times because I kept getting lost. It might be easier on your readers if you rework the history so that it reads chronologically, and therefore you can take your readers through the story with you instead of losing them somewhere along the way. Just something to think about!
All of that being said, I think you are in a really good place with Thanatos, and so I will happily APPROVE you for Beginner! I would love to see some interactions with other houses, boys, older or younger students, or professors for Novice! If you have any questions, feel free to poke me through PM or Skype. Congratulations and I can’t wait to see where you take him next!
The Notorious Nundu
#07 - ALEXANDER KINGSLEY
Posted: Jun 26 2017, 09:37 AM
"ashita wa ashita no kaze ga fuku"
Rank Applying For: Novice
At least three of your recent role play topics:
It was bound to happen sooner or later, but where else to have an ill-fated encounter than at a hospital? Thanatos meets Tori at the Hospital Wing after a nasty fall down the Grand Staircase. Like Tori, Thanatos also carries a lot of preconceptions about the Deveaux that are sometimes...wrong. The Tori is his mind is gifted in dueling and fencing. She’s also the life of the party. Instead, he meets an awkward girl who stumbles out of surprise because she hadn’t expected any company in the infirmary. He’s caught off-guard because she’s so different from the initial image he had of her. Unfortunately, the Helstroms want him to get closer to Tori in order for them to be able to manipulate her. It’s bad way to start off any relationship, but hey, at least they met!
The Debutante Ball -- with Renée de Rose D’Argent
Thanatos is mostly an observer here (and my way of controlling the Deveauxs now because Elias isn’t there), but it shows his preference of sticking to corners during huge events such as the Deveaux ball. He isn’t the most talkative, but he’ll converse with others if he thinks there’s good reason. He also sees Tori from his little hiding spot, but he doesn’t say hi.
I can taste the rain on your lips -- with Tori Deveaux-Carroll
This thread takes place right after the debutante ball. After Thanatos realizes he’s left his books, he runs back to grab them. On his way there, he sees Tori. Unexpectedly (at least for Thanatos, who almost never says hi to anyone), he takes the initiative and greets her now that there’s no one watching him.
As We Come To A Stop, What Is Left? -- with Shiori Seija
Thanatos is on his way back home and is taking the Hogwarts Express, like most of the other students. He’s happily reading a book (and ignoring the other person in his compartment) when the train pulls to a complete stop. That’s when everything goes to hell.
a clash of poetry and myth -- with Madeline Poe
Thanatos receives an angry letter from his mother. To his relief, the anger isn’t directed at him, but he’s worried for his mother. He also meets Madeline Poe, who he finds to be less...intimidating than he expected.
Where will this ability apply? Both
When did your character become infected? And by who? This will be RPed out so it has yet to occur. Thanatos will be bitten by an NPC in an attempt to save someone.
By your previous answer, what is your character classified as? Vampire
Are there any known relatives with this ability? Who? No
Is there anyone guiding your character through this change (if recent), or has there been anyone guiding them? No one
How will this ability benefit your character? Or how do you plan to use this ability for development?
Okay, after my long essay for Elias’ special request, I’ll try to keep things concise this time (and therefore shorter).
Solidifies his theme of a wandering swordsman: In his earlier threads, I referred to Thanatos as “the wind.” He’s someone who is constantly moving from place to place, meeting people and saying good-bye shortly afterwards. It builds a lonely image of a person who doesn’t really have a home because he never stays at one place for too long. Even after moving to England and attending Hogwarts he never feels as if he’s immersed into the British world. Turning him into a vampire will amplify that fact because (1) he’ll be even more different and (2) as the years slow to a crawl, he’ll have to say goodbye to even more people. This time, it won’t be out of choice, but because of circumstances. It’ll force him into a pit of despair or it might just make him treasure the people around him this time more, so that when the time comes, it won’t be because he chose to abandon them this time. It makes for a warm story, I think :3. (Or who knows, maybe he’ll run away anyway and fail to learn anything!)
Further development with Tori: The Helstroms are seen as devious. They’re a bunch of villains to most of the Deveaux, including Elias. All of this paints Thanatos as a horribly evil person. He’s only barely managed to change Tori’s perception of him. Unfortunately, turning into a vampire might hinder those plans for the worse… Plus, it’ll kind of make things awkward between the two when he ends up saving her from being bitten...in a bad way because the guilt incurred would definitely put a strain on any relationship. Their relationship has always been delicate from the start with all the tension stemming from their families. The guilt is something that’s going to be difficult to deal with because it won’t go away. After all, the transformation will be permanent.
Grumpy! Thanatos: I, for one, think it would be pretty amusing to torture Thanatos by having him wake up in the middle of the night because a couple of his housemates from down the hall decided to gossip. Considering he’ll have heightened senses, I’ll be able to have him do more eavesdroppy things that aren’t necessarily on purpose. He’ll also have to get used to his new powers and possibly make a fool out of himself [s]who am I kidding? He will make a fool out of himself xD[/i]. That is already a lot of plot potential because it allows for many types of interactions between Vampire!Thanatos and regular humans. He’ll have to suffer through some prejudices, but for the most part, I don’t think that would affect him too much. He’s been bullied for years, so it’d just be another reason why people don’t like him. I’d be more interested in the “hey, look, it’s a vampire, cool!” aspect, but I do know the stigma associated with vampires in the Harry Potter world and will plan accordingly. (Surely, there must be characters that think vampys are cool though :3)
Forces a change in his behavior: Right now, Thanatos is reserved and keeps to himself. I plan on using this special request to push him towards interacting with people on his own accord. By changing into a vampire, he might initially shy away from people even more because he’s unfamiliar with...being a vampire. However, as he starts to come to terms with his transformation, I plan to have him become more outgoing. It’ll mostly be due to frustration that he was changed so suddenly before he got a chance to do the things he wanted. I think near-death experiences are a good way to change someone’s perspective on life. >>
Family Shenanigans: He’s the adopted heir of his grandfather, so the rest of his family are constantly trying to kick him out. They’ve failed so far, but if he becomes a vampire, it might just be enough to tip the scale. The Helstroms are purists, so they won’t look kindly on vampires.
Anything Else? As some of you might know, I originally planned to have Elias become a vampire, but he’s already so grumpy. Instead of having a vampire complain about their non-human existence, I wanted something more upbeat. Thanatos won’t necessarily be happy to be bitten, but he wouldn’t freak out as much over it as Elias.
Commentary: For me, Thanatos has always had a strong voice from the get-go. However, it was only recently that I fleshed out the finer details of his history, such as the real reason why he started carrying his dolls in the first place (it’s not explained in the listed threads above, but it was because he was unfamiliar with the English language and had an accent for a couple of years so he used his dolls to hide that). With those details set in stone, I think he’s a more concrete character and because of that, I’d like to bring him up to the next level.
Charlie wondered what would happen once Thanatos was not able to rely on his dolls. I think this is answered partially with his threads with Tori, where he (very conveniently) is unable to use his dolls and Madeline, who takes one of his dolls “hostage.” In the case of Tori’s thread, he’s uncomfortable, but he manages. In Madeline’s thread, he cheats because he has one doll left, HAH! I know it isn’t exactly the same as permanently losing his dolls, but I plan to do that at a later point. Though...it might not be as drastic as people think. I imagine he’d be upset for a week or two, but then he’d just make new dolls *points the the wandering swordsman theme*.
|♥ Aleksander Daskalov||
Posted: Jun 26 2017, 09:45 AM
"The bloodbath of Bulgaria, the bastard of Ballycastle."
Thank you for participating in the Ranking System! Your application has been added to the review queue. You can expect your reviews sometime within the next two weeks.
Posted: Jul 5 2017, 01:07 PM
"tell me, what makes you think that you're invincible"
Hey Jynx!!!! Oisin and Jinx here to review you again c: This time we'll be your first reviewers for novice. You meet the requirements listed below so after taking a look at them we shall jump right in!
For this review, I'm going to focus on more writing style and content as opposed to plot development and characterization.
For your first thread, I'll discuss sentence structure. Honestly, my feelings about the posts for Thanatos at the Deveaux Estate are a little mixed. This is because, initially, I think you could have a little more sentence structure. In my head, it sort of felt like I was reading in time with a metronome; there was a very steady, unchanging beat. I'm not sure if it's because many of the sentences start out with the noun action verb ("Peach blossoms fluttered", "The Helstrom Boy removed", "Thanatos Helstrom half-expected", etc.), but it might also have been because the sentences could have had a little more variation in length as well. However, in your second post, you begin to change it up by adding description phrases at the beginning ("At first", "From what the Helstroms told him, "Leaning back"). But then your last post's got a completely different feel to it. There is far greater variation in your sentence lengths as well as the individual structure of those sentences. Because of this, the post also reads more smoothly. In the previous posts, there is something very... stiff about the writing, like each sentence was an individual brick in a wall, as opposed to those sentences being connected in the way pieces of a puzzle might. I don't know if it's because you had to use Thanatos as a tool to describe the events of the party while Elias was away or because you just put in a conscious effort to shake things up, but regardless, I like the result. In short, I think the sentence structure in your third post at the Deveaux Ball is wonderful and adds that certain oomph the posts prior to it were missing. Consequently, I definitely would like to see you maintain that in all your posts. If you need more specific help on sentence variation, you know where to find me! For now, however, I believe that that since you had it in you to do it towards the end, you definitely still have it in you to do it again!
In your second thread, let's talk about content! In general with Thanatos, I think you do a great job of incorporating surroundings and sensory details. "His voice cut the falling of rain", "barbs of wool dug into his arms", "the lights of the Deveaux estate reflected brightly against the wet cement". These bits are very pretty, make the scene so much more realistic, and also help the reader imagine them more clearly. My only issue with these details is that they could flow into the paragraph a little better as they sometimes sort of jump out of nowhere. For example, here is where the bit about barbs of wool occur in bigger context:
It's a little abrupt, and so I would suggest connecting those ideas somehow or placing those sensory details in a new or different paragraph. Like maybe for that part specifically, I might have moved the heavy raincoat bit to right after you talk about how Thanatos's voice "mingled with the pitter patter of rain". You have a sensory detail there already about the rain, and so since it's in that same vein of thought--bam! Then, because he's uncomfortable, he shuffles his feet and the rest of the paragraph continues on from there.
Next on content, I just wanted to say that the abundance of contextual information in your first post can be a wee bit distracting. This doesn't happen with your posts in general but, while it's good to provide a context for a thread, I don't think it hurts to cut it down to the information that's relevant to what's going on now. For me personally, this means I would focus on including context that explains why Thanatos feels the way he does currently or why Thanatos is where he's at. Rather than talk about all the events with Elias, the flowers, etc., I think it would have sufficed to leave it at (and this is obviously the very, bare bones of it all) "Following the disaster that was the Deveaux Ball, Thanatos found himself alone. His family had left along with the other guests after the rain had started, but he remained to retrieve his book."
And then, here's a paragraph on characterization. With Tori, to me at least, Thanatos feels a little inconsistent in his reactions. It's discussed explicitly in your posts that Thanatos feels disconnected with the people and places around him, so he compensates with dolls. It's strikes me as off that Tori mentions dancing, Thanatos has an internal thought process on how their ideas of dancing are completely different, but then offers to dance anyways. In another post Thanatos believes he has no reason to hide his feelings, and yet right before then, its mentioned that he wants to lock away some of his feelings in Pandora's box and wouldn't share them. Before, you've expressed to me that you prefer posts over profile because you want readers to be able to gleam your characters' personalities through your writing of their actions, choices, etc., which I admire! So I thought I'd mention this here because right now it's a little difficult for me to guess how Thanatos will act next (bear in mind that I haven't looked at his profile!) and gauge his personality since his thoughts and actions contradict one another. Contradictions in themselves aren't a bad thing; people contradict themselves all the time. However, reading this it doesn't seem like the contradictions are intentional, so I thought I would mention it so you can take a look just in case.
I'll comment mostly on general things with your third and fourth threads. This is something I've noticed, but throughout all your threads, at times you'll write "was" followed by an action verb or phrase ("was finally able" or "was dusted off") which isn't grammatically incorrect, but it's just a bit extra! In those places you could easily switch the nouns and verbs around so that "was" isn't necessary. For example, "The object was dusted off" to "He dusted off the object". Of course, this doesn't mean don't ever use was, or it's away better not to! Sometimes you can't avoid is, are, or was, and that's just the way it is -wiggles brows- so don't fret too much over it.
I really enjoy the dichotomy between Thanatos's previous life and the one he currently lives. It's fun that you mention it and obvious that he's having a very hard time balancing between them, and I like that it shows in your writing through those memory triggers you do so well. Style wise, your writing with Thanatos comes off as very proper to the point of awkward as well as analytical, which fits his personality so yay! <33
And sooo we've reached the end! I APPROVE @Thanatos Helstrom for Novice. I gave you a lot to work with and mentioned a lot, but in general, I feel like you have a good grip on him as a character despite the inconsistencies. For later ranks, I would like to see the contradictions solidified in some way, be it through your writing style or some sort of brief, contextual explanation, but as it stands I think Thanatos is in a good place. I also APPROVE your special request. I like that it fits in with your themes, but I also like that it will create new plots that will encourage change within Thanatos. Congratulations! Good luck with your next review.
evan, lyx, and coco are magical
Posted: Jul 10 2017, 06:23 PM
"i wish i could run to you"
Hi, Jynx! It’s Becca and I’m going to be your second and final reviewer for this rank. We already know each other and I’m sure you’re anxiously awaiting this decision, so let’s move right along. Lucky for us, Jinx with an i already posted up the requirements and I can get right into the meat of things.
Since it looks like Jinx has a great handle on your content, I’m actually going to focus mostly on character development and plots. I’ll be taking into account what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and where you’re going in the future. That being said, it looks like you worked really hard on the advice that you were given at your beginner rank and I saw a lot of their tips worked into your posts in this app, which is always really awesome. That means you’re using the ranking system to grow! And it makes me feel good about being here. ;) Anyway, I had a really good time reading your posts. You have a great style and voice, which I knew already from seeing you around the site but what I really enjoyed about Thanatos, in particular, was his feel for his environment, which Jinx already mentioned to you. I think it’s something I’ve commented on about your writing in a past review before, but with Thanatos, it’s especially strong!
Before I start going through your posts, there are a few tiny things I wanted to throw up just to get them out of the way.
This is from the debutante ball, in your first post. You don’t need to hyphenate half expected. Hyphens are tricky little things but this is a really good guide. Hyphens are mostly used to combine adjectives (but not adverbs) and to help writers clear up any confusion with ambiguous terms or descriptors. They’re also used to make up words, but you can read more of that without me.
This should just read “the busiest seasons”. You always either add the suffix or use more/most, but never both. The rule of thumb for which to use actually has to do with syllables. Words that have one or two syllables (friendly) will take on the suffix (friendliest). But words that have three or more (mischievous) will take the additional word (most mischievous). I’m not sure if you really needed that information because this wasn’t a common mistake, but I just wanted to be thorough.
This one is a little trickier to explain. The issue is with the word “naturally”. You should be using the adjective form and not the adverb form because you’re describing “it” and not “felt”. So you’re describing the feeling and not the act of feeling, which is weird and confusing, I know. But, to maybe help, if you had said, “He felt naturally that…” then the word is describing the verb.
Anyway, these three things are the only mistakes I was able to find in your posts. I just wanted to knock these out of the park so that we don’t have to revisit grammar later on because I’m eager to talk about Thanatos. If you have any questions about these, let me know!
Moving swiftly on. I’m going to briefly address your growth. So, the way that I did this review was that I actually printed out the posts, so I wasn’t sure when I was reading (because I didn’t have time stamps) if I was reading in the order that you wrote these, though there was a pretty high chance that I was. But I noticed that your writing has definitely improved not just from your beginner app to now but throughout the posts that you put up for this thread, and I think that that’s amazing. Thanatos himself is obviously developing as you go along, but so are you. Keep that up! I love it. I also noticed that you threw Thanatos into a variety of thread styles, which is awesome, but you could definitely stand to diversify the people he interacts with. I’d suggest more boys, for sure, and some people who have no idea who the Deveauxs are. Muggleborns in particular. I would also love to see you seek out characters who are in similar situations to him (students who were adopted, transferred schools, made dramatic moves, etc.) because I think that seeing him interact with them would help you unveil some things about his character.
In particular, I want to talk about the Deveaux family. You’re very good at world-building. I, in particular, enjoyed this:
It was beautiful. And there’s actually quite a bit of this going on at the debutante ball that makes me feel like I really got to know Thanatos’s background and family very well. What I think you should work on, though, is stepping away from this setting. The Deveaux family, in particular, is something you seem very comfortable and familiar with and that’s awesome. But I want to see Thanatos growing outside of that world. It concerns me a little, too, because you mentioned that you originally planned to use this special request with Elias but defaulted it to Thanatos instead. That makes me feel like he’s kind of just a collection of hand-me-downs. He exists in the context of Elias’s family and even has his old ability. I know from your execution of these things that Thanatos is very much his own character, but it’s something I’d like to see you expand on and move forward from in the future.
Speaking of family, I have some questions about his. There are times when he appears to fully embrace his new culture even though he doesn’t actively try to be a part of it. There are other times when he just misses home and feels like a complete outsider. There are a lot of conflicting emotions that I’m getting from him, especially in an environment like the ball. I think it’s realistic that he would feel certain ways at different times, but I lose a lot of clarity of his position because I’m not seeing it explained. I left that thread with a lot of questions. Is the debutante ball the first ball he’s ever been to? If so, why? Does he enjoy these events? How does his family feel about his behavior at them? Why hasn’t he adapted? He seems to resent being different but makes no moves to assimilate to the high society culture; why? What is making him uncomfortable if he’s been a part of this family since he was seven? Where do the walls come from? I just bring this up because I’d love to see you develop this part of his personality some more in the future and I’m really eager to see what happens with it.
Let’s look at his interaction with Tori.
This kind of slammed into me like a train, because your app and your previous posts lead me to believe that this kind of interaction was VERY uncharacteristic of him. And it isn’t the first time that it happens. I was also caught completely off guard at the ball when he confronted Rose. Both times, his reasoning for acting out of character are really super unclear. They might be clear to you because you worked out the plots and you understand him, but as a reader, these were both really jarring incidents. Now, I might be about to make a wild assumption but I’m saying this based on my own experiences. It’s really hard to push plots through with characters that are reserved, don’t talk much, or don’t really like to interact with people. (-stares at Starling-) I don’t want you to ever feel like you have to compromise Thanatos for a plot. People sometimes really do, just on a whim, do things that they don’t expect themselves to do. The only problem is that I’m not seeing any indication of why he suddenly has the nerve to talk to either of these girls. And I’m not seeing his reaction to it. Through all of your posts, Thanatos really just seems to experience the world through his snap judgments and assumptions of the way he thinks the people around him are experiencing it, instead of on his own. There is, though, one place in particular when I feel really connected to his thoughts.
This was beautiful and one of the first times I felt like I was reading Thanatos’s story and not that of his family and peers.
I also have a question about his judgment of others. He seems to make really strong assumptions, which is actually a pretty fair defense mechanism for someone in his position to have developed. However, he’s incredibly open to having those judgments changed. Why is that? I’m really just curious, aha!
Anyway, I really love Thanatos. I love most of all that I can see you working hard to develop him and, at the same time, your writing and style. I think that he has a lot of potential for growth and his voice might be one of my favorites on you. There are a lot of questions you need to consider as you develop his character further, but I’m confident that you’ll unfold all of his layers and build someone even more amazing.
This brings me to the special request! Whew. We’re almost done. Just a few more thoughts.
First of all, there’s no one that’s going to be helping Thanatos. I’m just pointing this out because I’m really super eager to see how that affects his development. I know from what you wrote that his loneliness is going to be a huge part of the transition, so I just really really want to see you take into account the fact that he’s utterly alone. He has to learn to live this totally new life all by himself. And you have plans to have him learn from this how to value people more, but I honestly vote to see him struggle with it for a long time. Loneliness is one of the fastest roads to resentment and brooding mysterious vamps are my favorite kind.
Additionally, this is just something I found interesting. Vampires are not just a myth. They’re also a literary device. Traditionally, in literature, a vampire character is one who drains the life and energy out of those around them (basically). So the fact that his vampirism is actually pushing him closer to his friends and family is just about the total opposite of that, which I find really cool and is something I want to see you play with.
Next, under “forces a change in his behavior”, it seems like you know that you want him to change but you’re not sure how you want him to change. I really really want you to think about this point because it can be incredibly strong in his plot points in the future. I really want to see you develop this part and go somewhere incredible with it.
Finally, I’m really glad to see you experimenting with his dolls even though you haven’t completely gotten rid of them. It shows me that you’re willing to put him in difficult situations and explore who he is. It also shows me that you have a strong attachment to him.
Thanatos is a wonderful character. His development and your writing skills are definitely on par with where I’d expect anyone to be at novice. That said, I’m going to go ahead and APPROVE you and @Thanatos Helstrom for NOVICE. As far as his vampire ability goes, I think that you have a lot of really strong ideas. You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into it and I’m more than confident that you’re going to do extraordinary things with it, so I will also APPROVE your special request. Congratulations! It’s finally over! You know where to find me if you have any questions about the review.