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Life Is A Blank Review

Review Life is a Blank

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#1 Offline Steelsheen

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Posted Oct 26 2011 - 02:49 PM

[font="didot;"][color=#0080BF;]Here's where to tell me what you think of my story! Any suggestions with regards to clarity or grammar are especially welcome.-HHChapter Index:Stave 1 Stave 11 Stave 21Stave 2 Stave 12 Stave 22Stave 3 Stave 13 Stave 23Stave 4 Stave 14 Stave 24Stave 5 Stave 15 Stave 25Stave 6 Stave 16 Stave 26Stave 7 Stave 17 Stave 27Stave 8 Stave 18 Stave 28Stave 9 Stave 19 Stave 29Stave 10 Stave 20[/color][/font]

Edited by Hahli Historian, Jan 23 2013 - 10:40 PM.

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#2 Offline AZBlue

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Posted Oct 27 2011 - 02:51 PM

That was an awesome first two chapters. I really like how that second chapter was written, the trick Hewkii pulled on the Vahki was very much something that he would do. I will be waiting for the next chapter.
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#3 Offline Leg O'Brick

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Posted Oct 28 2011 - 07:29 PM

Nicely done! I know I'm biased, but it seriously is very well done. I'll be following closely for the next chapter!
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#4 Offline Steelsheen

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Posted Nov 18 2011 - 11:27 PM

That was an awesome first two chapters. I really like how that second chapter was written, the trick Hewkii pulled on the Vahki was very much something that he would do. I will be waiting for the next chapter.

Thanks! Hewkii is fun to write, somewhat because I base a little of him on my brother (yes, that's you, Leg), and some just because he's so insanely practical. You'll be seeing a good deal more of him in upcoming chapters.

Nicely done! I know I'm biased, but it seriously is very well done. I'll be following closely for the next chapter!

Biased you may be, but the good word of a friend (or relative) is worth more because they know all your flaws so well! ;) Thanks for the vote of confidence! And thank you to everyone for 200+ views! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.-HH

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#5 Offline Cederak

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Posted Nov 24 2011 - 09:27 AM

Life is a Blank. That's an interesting title, but I can't seem to understand how it plays into your epic just yet. Maybe I'll understand when its truly finished.Looking at your story though, this is a rarity. Giving such human qualities (blood, hair, reproduction, etc.) to regularly biomechanical life forms is seldom seen around here, and much less often done well. And then of course, you're overlooking the specific gender given to each Matoran element, giving us male Ga-Matoran and female Le-Matoran and such. And so despite how unorthodox this "Blank New World" seems to be, I can appreciate certain aspects of it.From what I could gather, we have a Great Spirit who is less than he claims to be, a legion of Toa that serve him, a legion of Matoran that serve those Toa, and a rebellion that operates outside the law. Like most premises, this is nothing new, but how you go about displaying it to the reader can be far more important.Regrettably, your presentation comes across as vague at times. Chapters will open with a "him" or a "her" going about their work, finally addressed by a comrade or familiar and we learn their name. This can become a tad confusing now and again. Not to mention some of the characters lacking in development. Obviously, characters from the official storyline need no introduction. They deserve the same attention, but readers will generally have an idea of their attitude and disposition. It's those homegrown entities (Gyet, Leyana, Kendral, etc.) that really need to have their time in the spotlight, so the reader can get a better sense of who the name belongs to.That sums up any shortcomings I ran across in this epic. While a lot of the story is mental thought and dialogue, the events play out nicely. It isn't often I get nine chapters into a story without running into a fight scene, but you're doing fine without them.I must admit, I like the note on cause and effect that Stave 9 ends on. It's a thoughtful moment in an otherwise straightforward story thus far. Not that being direct is bad, I think I just have a soft spot for pensive philosophy.Overall, this is a solid effort for what appears to be your first epic here. The story has a level flow to it, and manages to hold interest from one chapter to the next. I'm sure the remainder of this work will not disappoint.-Ced
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#6 Offline Steelsheen

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Posted Nov 24 2011 - 08:31 PM

Life is a Blank. That's an interesting title, but I can't seem to understand how it plays into your epic just yet. Maybe I'll understand when its truly finished.

Yes and no. It's something that emerges later - not too much later - but it's also a reference to one of my favorite satire novels.

Looking at your story though, this is a rarity. Giving such human qualities (blood, hair, reproduction, etc.) to regularly biomechanical life forms is seldom seen around here, and much less often done well. And then of course, you're overlooking the specific gender given to each Matoran element, giving us male Ga-Matoran and female Le-Matoran and such. And so despite how unorthodox this "Blank New World" seems to be, I can appreciate certain aspects of it.

Why, thank you! I didn't realize such ideas were rare. I enjoyed giving elemental stereotypes a different angle by bringing in the other gender, because it allows me to see some of the understated qualities of each element without getting into "feminist" territory. I'm glad you think it works.

From what I could gather, we have a Great Spirit who is less than he claims to be, a legion of Toa that serve him, a legion of Matoran that serve those Toa, and a rebellion that operates outside the law. Like most premises, this is nothing new, but how you go about displaying it to the reader can be far more important.Regrettably, your presentation comes across as vague at times. Chapters will open with a "him" or a "her" going about their work, finally addressed by a comrade or familiar and we learn their name. This can become a tad confusing now and again. Not to mention some of the characters lacking in development. Obviously, characters from the official storyline need no introduction. They deserve the same attention, but readers will generally have an idea of their attitude and disposition. It's those homegrown entities (Gyet, Leyana, Kendral, etc.) that really need to have their time in the spotlight, so the reader can get a better sense of who the name belongs to.

I was using the vague writing on purpose, but you're right - it gets overdone very quickly. I'll be sure to be more specific in the future.As for your assesment of the situation on Metru-Nui, as far as an "oppressor and rebels" plot goes, no, it's not original by any means. I didn't really want it to be, in that sense, although it does have quite a few twists coming up. The battle between light and dark, the noble and the selfish, the weak and the strong, in a way, is the subject of every story, because it is also the subject of our lives, our experiance. But on a less metaphysical note, "it's got a standard plot" is exactly what I want you to think. I just love surprises...The non-canon characters will be seen quite a bit as the tale grows, but I can reveal that
Spoiler
But that's all I'm willing to give away for now. ;)

That sums up any shortcomings I ran across in this epic. While a lot of the story is mental thought and dialogue, the events play out nicely. It isn't often I get nine chapters into a story without running into a fight scene, but you're doing fine without them.I must admit, I like the note on cause and effect that Stave 9 ends on. It's a thoughtful moment in an otherwise straightforward story thus far. Not that being direct is bad, I think I just have a soft spot for pensive philosophy.Overall, this is a solid effort for what appears to be your first epic here. The story has a level flow to it, and manages to hold interest from one chapter to the next. I'm sure the remainder of this work will not disappoint.

Again, thank you. Fight scenes are not my forté, and thus, I reserve them for pivotal moments, much like exclamation marks. I find if I use them too often, not only do they become lacking in realism, but they drag the plot down. I also have a philosophical corner of my mind, and I choose Hewkii to represent that at times. Not because he's so obviously a thinker, but because he seems to so obviously not be. There's a lot more in him than just an athlete. It won't happen too often, though.It's not my first story, but it is the first I have dared to actually show someone. I hope I can keep improving it as I go. Thanks for all your notes.-HH

Edited by Hahli Historian, Nov 28 2011 - 09:14 PM.

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#7 Offline Steelsheen

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Posted Dec 27 2011 - 08:50 PM

ultraviolence,Thanks for your catches on those grammar errors; I always seem to insert "it's" where "its" should be, for some reason. ;) I also did change the "red liquid" to blood, but I still feel it's a bit redundant. That's just me. Oh, and that sentence describing Hewkii has been clarified in the story - the actual thought is that Hewkii needed no pain.I'm glad you like it so far. Macku and Matoro are seen quite a bit, a few staves down from where you paused your reading, and as Macku/Hewkii are the main romantic element of the story, you'll be seeing them frequently. Also, it's nice to know someone else appreciates treespeak.In your response to Stave 1, you said:

That nitpick aside, I really like the direction it seems to be going. I hope Telet and his friends appear more, because I'm already finding him really interesting, and in the time he appeared I already formed a liking to him. And then there's what appears to be the villain of the story, although I might be wrong. Also seems to be either a.) Makuta posing as Mata Nui or b.) an actual evil incarnation of Mata Nui, either of which would be pretty cool.

-emphasis addedI guess I didn't make it clear enough; Telet is dead. Very much so. His friend Gyet (also known as number Nine, in case I didn't make that clear enough either) does have a major role in the story, but Telet has been terminated. Sorry to have misled you. As for your other points, you're obviously correct in that the Great Spirit isn't the Great Spirit. But your theories... Well, you'll have to wait and see. No, not because I like to hold it over your head and tease you... It's because telling you would take all the fun away. And I like holding it over your head and teasing you.-HH

Edited by Hahli Historian, Jan 03 2012 - 12:23 AM.

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#8 Offline Leg O'Brick

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Posted Jan 02 2012 - 01:23 PM

AAAGH!! Hurry up with this, will you? The story feels like it moves slower than it does because it comes in serials. I liked that touch from stave 14 where the disk launcher zaps Takua when he picks it up (obviously a nod to mask of light). My only criticism is that you aren't releasing chapters fast enough!
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#9 Offline Steelsheen

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Posted Jan 03 2012 - 12:19 AM

Ah right, I'd assumed Telet was dead but I hoped to see him mentioned, in flashbacks, etc.Gonna continue reading tonight :)

Ah, I see. Yes, Telet probably will appear in a flashback at some point, or more likely, one of Gyet's dreams.

AAAGH!! Hurry up with this, will you? The story feels like it moves slower than it does because it comes in serials. I liked that touch from stave 14 where the disk launcher zaps Takua when he picks it up (obviously a nod to mask of light). My only criticism is that you aren't releasing chapters fast enough!

I think you mean Stave 15? Wow, I didn't realize I had waited so long over the holiday week to post! :) Don't worry; I'll post more regularly now that my work is back to a normal schedule. And yes, it was a nod to MoL. I just couldn't resist.-HH

Edited by Hahli Historian, Jan 03 2012 - 12:24 AM.

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#10 Offline Cederak

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Posted Mar 07 2012 - 12:51 AM

I've been meaning to continue this epic for a while, and deciding to jump back in around Stave 12, I realized I'd forgotten nearly everything. So I spent the last 1.5 hours reading 1-22 in their entirety, and I'm glad I took the time to do so. This epic diverges into a few separate storylines, all of which become equally captivating. Stave 17 finally gave an outright reference to "Life is a Blank," and that was interesting to run across. Probably the one line that really stood out though was the elderly Onu-Matoran telling Matoro that "Metru-Nui shut it's gates just before the Great Cataclysm." Since 2004, I had never taken a moment to consider how the Toa Mangai going about sealing off Metru Nui's gates must've looked to the rest of the Matoran Universe. It's a haunting line, and really resonates with this story's tone. By the look of it, you're coming up on a month since your latest chapter was posted, and I hope you'll continue things soon. This has been an amazing epic thus far. :)-Ced
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#11 Offline Aderia

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Posted May 29 2012 - 05:37 PM

Hey, I got a great big present for you! It's your ECC review!!First off, I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't read this before the ECC assigned it to me. I am very impressed, like I predicted ;)So, as per usual, nitpicks first. (I'm sitting here with an awesome packet of 15 pages, printed back to back in 6 point font with the smallest spacing possible, which is your epic in Memorial Day road-trip format :smeag: )

As always, he somehow felt that he missed his calling in life by being assigned to be a tool-crafter. The mask makers were where he belonged.

From Stave 5, that last sentence reads kinda awkwardly outloud.

Knowing first hand how cold and ruthless the city was, Hahli had taken the two in and raised them as her siblings.

From the middle of Stave 7. Well, I don't have a problem with "first hand", but my Microsoft Word program does, and after I googled it (hardcore reviewing!), I was informed that Merriam-Webster spells it as one word, apparently.

With a sudden cry of surprise or pain, the creature wriggled its way put of the tube.

I think this was the one of the only actual typoes I found, "Put" to "out", I'm guessing.

Kualas nodded. "We six met in the Archives, under Onu-metru, to form a plan.

Kualas nodded. "And is very likely the one thing now ruling the city."

"When exactly the thought entered his mind, no one can tell." Kualas said softly.

Kualas smiled. "Ah! That is what we would like to know. All Toa carry a small remnant of Mata Nui's own power inside them; it's what gives them elemental energies.

"Kualas" to "Kualus", in Staves 18 twice, and Stave 23 twice.Okay, so I'm not sure if you're familiar with the member Zarayna, I think he's got "The Quiet Light" slapped on to his display name at the moment, but he always used to yell at me for ending my lines of dialog with "." instead of "," ("period" instead of "comma").Example:

"That's your problem, not mine." the tall dark figure replied [...]

Should read instead -

"That's your problem, not mine," The tall dark figure replied [...]

Does that make sense? It took me like halfway through the story to pick up on those, though. Very clever, disguising them XPAnd then some points in the story I had questions/comments on:

The matoran quickly got up and headed to their transports. The sooner they got back to their homes, the less suspicion it would arouse. The four Toa - Hewkii, Macku, a Toa of Ice called Matoro and a Toa of Air he didn't know - made their way towards the Ta-matoran known as number nine.

- Stave 3Does that refer to the fact that he doesn't know who the Toa of Air is, like at all, or that he just doesn't know the Toa's real name like he does the other Toa?

Risking hanging on with only one hand, she reached her left hand back to the disc launcher strapped to her back. The disc already loaded in the barrel read 135*. She smiled. Perfect.

-Stave 10Nothin' wrong with this here, I just really love the fact that you used Kanoka coding in your story. It show's you did your research, and it really takes me back to the good old days in the City of Legends. Its awesome.

The two Vahki screeched and tried to dig their staffs into the wall to stop their descent. Hahli looked down, the sickening realization of failure setting in. The ground was closer than she had reckoned on; at this rate, she wasn't going to be able to fire another disc or a grappling hook to stop her fall.

-Stave 10Okay, I'm not sure where Hahli's grappling hook came from, and I'm also wondering how she has one, if the Matoran live under such a strict rule and all.And I think that's all I've got for nitpicks.So, onto the story. :biggrin: Like I said earlier, I'm impressed, which is good, because, while I'm not as hard to impress as some, it's no small feat either, if I may say. I'm a sucker for Metru Nui, the Toa Metru and the whole city atmosphere, I really love. Anyways, at first your little Author's Note at the beginning made me nervous, because that's not how I picture MU inhabitants exactly, and I was worried that the effect of the universe you've created would be lost on me. But it wasn't, fortunately. As the story progressed, the little details filled me in, and I really like the picture you've painted so far. Another thing that I'm finding that I like in epics is the liberty authors take to mix in canon characters and OC's to give their stories their own unique twist. It just gives the overall tale a sort of depth that I really admire. Other epics that I follow like that are "The Best Kept Secrets" by The Wretched Automaton (Grimoire Albastru?), which I'm not sure you're familiar with, and "Second Chance" by Grant Sud and Zo'Tomana, which I think you are familiar with. And yes, being compared to those three is pretty cool, by my standards.Also, do you have an idea about how long this epic is going to be? When I saw it posted in the ECC, I thought it had been finished, but apparently I was mistaken, which is a good thing this time. All the subplots you've woven in are captivating, and I especially want to see Hahli and Jaller a bit more ;) Which brings me to another point I wanted to make. Your character development, of both OC's and CC's is A+ work. They're believable, and individual. The toughened-up feel you've given the Matoran in this Neo-Metru-Nui is excellent, it really helps to set the tone for the story. And since we're seeing more canon characters, I'm giving them a special thumbs up. The creative initiative you've taken to make them your own is great, especially Hahli's character. Anyways, I really don't have anything to criticize at this point. You have good transitions between scenes, vivid descriptions of things/places/people (nouns?) XP, and it's all balanced out nicely with flowing dialogue, and also good character development. If I ever update my sig to add "Story Recommendations", this story would feature, definitely. I'll be creeping on your story topic, just so you know. Thanks for the good read, and keep up the great work!

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#12 Offline Steelsheen

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Posted May 29 2012 - 07:24 PM

Zosia,First off, thanks for your nice, long review. You pointed out all the things I was looking for and needed another pair of eyes for. After a while of editing my own epic, I just need someone to say, "hey! Glaring error here!". ;)

Hey, I got a great big present for you! It's your ECC review!!First off, I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't read this before the ECC assigned it to me. I am very impressed, like I predicted ;)So, as per usual, nitpicks first. (I'm sitting here with an awesome packet of 15 pages, printed back to back in 6 point font with the smallest spacing possible, which is your epic in Memorial Day road-trip format :smeag: )

As always, he somehow felt that he missed his calling in life by being assigned to be a tool-crafter. The mask makers were where he belonged.

From Stave 5, that last sentence reads kinda awkwardly outloud.

Oooh, ouch. Yes, it does read awkwardly. *goes to fix it*

Knowing first hand how cold and ruthless the city was, Hahli had taken the two in and raised them as her siblings.

From the middle of Stave 7. Well, I don't have a problem with "first hand", but my Microsoft Word program does, and after I googled it (hardcore reviewing!), I was informed that Merriam-Webster spells it as one word, apparently.

Oops. I guess my Pages program didn't catch that.

With a sudden cry of surprise or pain, the creature wriggled its way put of the tube.

I think this was the one of the only actual typoes I found, "Put" to "out", I'm guessing.

Yep, that's what I meant.

"Kualas" to "Kualus", in Staves 18 twice, and Stave 23 twice.

Yikes! I guess I have to appologize to Kualus for spelling his name incorrectly all this time!

Okay, so I'm not sure if you're familiar with the member Zarayna, I think he's got "The Quiet Light" slapped on to his display name at the moment, but he always used to yell at me for ending my lines of dialog with "." instead of "," ("period" instead of "comma").Example:"That's your problem, not mine." the tall dark figure replied [...] Should read instead -"That's your problem, not mine," The tall dark figure replied [...]Does that make sense? It took me like halfway through the story to pick up on those, though. Very clever, disguising them XP

Yes, yes it does make sense. I'll have to go through and fix all those.

And then some points in the story I had questions/comments on:

The matoran quickly got up and headed to their transports. The sooner they got back to their homes, the less suspicion it would arouse. The four Toa - Hewkii, Macku, a Toa of Ice called Matoro and a Toa of Air he didn't know - made their way towards the Ta-matoran known as number nine.

- Stave 3Does that refer to the fact that he doesn't know who the Toa of Air is, like at all, or that he just doesn't know the Toa's real name like he does the other Toa?

It refers to the fact that Hewkii doesn't know the Toa's name. I think I can fix it to be more clear.

Risking hanging on with only one hand, she reached her left hand back to the disc launcher strapped to her back. The disc already loaded in the barrel read 135*. She smiled. Perfect.

-Stave 10Nothin' wrong with this here, I just really love the fact that you used Kanoka coding in your story. It show's you did your research, and it really takes me back to the good old days in the City of Legends. Its awesome.

:) Oh, yeah. I loved Metru-Nui, and I try to do my research. Except with Rahaga names, apparently.

The two Vahki screeched and tried to dig their staffs into the wall to stop their descent. Hahli looked down, the sickening realization of failure setting in. The ground was closer than she had reckoned on; at this rate, she wasn't going to be able to fire another disc or a grappling hook to stop her fall.

-Stave 10Okay, I'm not sure where Hahli's grappling hook came from, and I'm also wondering how she has one, if the Matoran live under such a strict rule and all.

I guess this is something I could've explained earlier, but I meant to leave it until a new twist in the story. Hahli has a lot of "illegal" equipment, because she is Toa Jaller's assistant. In addition to her protosteel switchblade and grappling hook, (which are built into her left and right arms, respectively) she also has a specialized disc launcher, a small holocomputer map of the city and a set of false district identification chips. She also has the training of a Toa without the powers of one, which is how she detects the water inside living things.

And I think that's all I've got for nitpicks.So, onto the story. :biggrin: Like I said earlier, I'm impressed, which is good, because, while I'm not as hard to impress as some, it's no small feat either, if I may say.I'm a sucker for Metru Nui, the Toa Metru and the whole city atmosphere, I really love. Anyways, at first your little Author's Note at the beginning made me nervous, because that's not how I picture MU inhabitants exactly, and I was worried that the effect of the universe you've created would be lost on me. But it wasn't, fortunately. As the story progressed, the little details filled me in, and I really like the picture you've painted so far.Another thing that I'm finding that I like in epics is the liberty authors take to mix in canon characters and OC's to give their stories their own unique twist. It just gives the overall tale a sort of depth that I really admire. Other epics that I follow like that are "The Best Kept Secrets" by The Wretched Automaton (Grimoire Albastru?), which I'm not sure you're familiar with, and "Second Chance" by Grant Sud and Zo'Tomana, which I think you are familiar with. And yes, being compared to those three is pretty cool, by my standards.

I know my style isn't really canon, but I'm glad you like it anyway. I follow Second Chance and consider it an honor to remotely resemble Grant and Zo'Tomana. I'll have to check out The Best Kept Secrets; thanks for the head's up.

Also, do you have an idea about how long this epic is going to be? When I saw it posted in the ECC, I thought it had been finished, but apparently I was mistaken, which is a good thing this time. All the subplots you've woven in are captivating, and I especially want to see Hahli and Jaller a bit more ;)Which brings me to another point I wanted to make. Your character development, of both OC's and CC's is A+ work. They're believable, and individual. The toughened-up feel you've given the Matoran in this Neo-Metru-Nui is excellent, it really helps to set the tone for the story. And since we're seeing more canon characters, I'm giving them a special thumbs up. The creative initiative you've taken to make them your own is great, especially Hahli's character.Anyways, I really don't have anything to criticize at this point. You have good transitions between scenes, vivid descriptions of things/places/people (nouns?) XP, and it's all balanced out nicely with flowing dialogue, and also good character development. If I ever update my sig to add "Story Recommendations", this story would feature, definitely. I'll be creeping on your story topic, just so you know.Thanks for the good read, and keep up the great work!

How long? Um, I hadn't really settled it, but looking at the speed I've been going... Probably 20 more chapters, lol. I don't tend to do outlines beforehand, as they make me feel too confined, and I prefer to just let the story flow where it may. (not the best choice, but it works for me) I was a little worried I had too many subplots, but I'm glad you don't think so. Yep, this "Neo-Metru-Nui" is a pretty harsh place, so I had to give canon characters a make-over. Character development is one of the most important things to me, so I'm very happy you give 'em a good grade. And Hahli is my favorite Bio character, so I think I subconsciously make her important, lol.Zosia, it's been an honor. Thanks for everything.-HH

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#13 Offline Ixius Uberius Maximus

Ixius Uberius Maximus
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  • 25-November 12
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Posted Nov 26 2012 - 08:28 PM

i recently joined BZP, this is the first Fan Fic i read here, i really like it!while i (think) i am only halfway through the story, its very awesome!
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