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Author Topic: Some sort of gophering I guess  (Read 6607 times)
Dios GX
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« on: January 23, 2010, 05:51:39 PM »

Just looking for opinions on this:

"Skylight: Space Dragons wage planet-destroying war in a neo-utopian future where the Earth has become a machine."

Basically, would this interest you to read, and how long do people here prefer their books to be?
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2010, 10:14:01 AM »

It sounds like pulp to me. I'd pass if off as such even if it had a theme, unless it was somehow apparent that it did have one.

And I'd say people prefer books of about 250 pages. Seems average.
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Dios GX
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2010, 02:23:34 PM »

The theme is roughly mankind is mankind's worst enemy. The premise of the story is traversing the solar system in search of a habitable moon, roughly in the year 10,000~ when the Sun has expanded to a point to give magnetospheres to newer planets, Mars being the first of the lot.

250 pages you say? If I may ask, what age group would you liken yourself to? I ask, because it is my preference to write novels––not instruction manuals for Pokémon.

It has dark tones to it, specifically that it's majority is about 6,000 remaining humans, the rest caught in the genocidal, jealous outburst of a divine entity. 3,000 humans left on a sliver of Earth, drifting into the sun with one year to escape. The other 3,000 adrift on a space colony.

My intention with this is to show what humans really are, and can do, when politics and other "poisons" are eradicated from mankind's civilizations. It's a book I want to write not just to show how quickly governmental power can damage a commonwealth's life, but also how effective that commonwealth can be, when they are called to do so.

I hear often in my life, "I have no faith in humanity." Well, I want to write a book that will leave someone walking away thinking "I have faith in humanity."

It just happens to involve giant mechanized space dragons, where colonies are eventually built onto their bodies to turn them into gundam dragon thing I don't know. Work in progress, and will be for another 2 years. There's a lot of market research to be done as well, specifically the forthcoming 3D mainstay in American theaters, which is what people seem to want.

"Amazing visuals," etc blah blah. I'm trying to get this as a manuscript for a novel, though, I'm sure it'll go the way of hollywood thanks to unfortunate connections I have being my only viable option. I'd much rather shove War Chronicles in their faces all day, as I spend over a decade on those books, but alas... one day.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 02:29:52 PM by Dios GX » Logged
Dincrest
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2010, 04:29:20 PM »

Well one thing's for sure, the artist who does the book cover art better be f'n good.  Don't get me wrong, it's never good to judge a book by its cover but when I'm in a bookstore, a sweet piece of cover art may entice me to leaf through a few pages. 

Length?  Speaking purely for myself, when looking at novels in the vein of the Coldfire trilogy and all, 500 pages is about when I start to burn out.  Of course, part of that is the writing as well.  Coldfire book 2 is very slow going (I'm about halfway through, 300 pages, and not super motivated to read it) on the other hand I've torn through some 800 page books voraciously.  Characters and interpersonal relationships are often what keeps me glued to a story. 

As for this premise: "Skylight: Space Dragons wage planet-destroying war in a neo-utopian future where the Earth has become a machine" it's obviously going to reach a specific kind of reader.  Probably someone like me who enjoys anime, RPGs, epic sci-fi, and crazy stuff.  I think Kyle's thinking is that the premise has the "zap pow" to it, but little in terms of the depth until you qualified it with the back cover description. 

And since I would want robust descriptions of everything, the appeal of said book is more to a dedicated reader than a casual "beach" reader, which is what I think you'd want anyway.

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Dios GX
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2010, 12:00:25 AM »

Character relationships were always something I enjoyed writing. To me, to best sum it up, "if I don't care about the characters, I don't care about the story."

Neil has it on the head really. I like making long stories, so my method is to spend about a year-and-a-half or so prepping lore and backstory for personal use, to ensure the story itself is coherent and isn't full of holes. Which is another important aspect, I can assure you.

*Eyes Startrek movie*

blah
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2010, 12:46:14 AM »

That description wouldn't seal the deal for me... except if I knew the author, in which case I'd read it anyway. :)  It's not terrible - just not grabbing me and giving me a "must-read" vibe.

I actually like long books.  If it's under 350 pages, I figure it's probably for teens.
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2010, 02:20:10 AM »

Good to know. I guess it would help to have some sort of visual for what this machine-based planet looks like, but that will take ages to finish since I'm still designing interior workings of floating continents. I'm also going through stages of math and perspective to understand how certain things will be viewed. Such as a straight line from the moon to Japan, from the western coast of America would have a bend in it, and appear to be expanding as it eventually disappears.

This is why I mentioned multiple years of time going into these things. I do a lot of otherwise-pedantic and near-trivial planning, such to the point I wager I spend a given 45 minutes on average per sentence in what I write.

This is slightly ironic considering I type at nearly 195 wpm.

I'll say this thought: I actually appreciate feedback on this. What little it is, I'm not the type to take criticism in a "you don't like my opinion? Well fuck you then!" In what most may stop and think "Hm, I don't wanna seem like I'm being a dick to this guy––" yada yada. Believe me, I've had my ass ripped to shreds by Hollywood already, with a few promising leads here and there. It doesn't discourage me, it helps me.

Now I need to come up with a new one-line-description for it, which for its length, is probably one of the hardest selling points to actually structure in a story. Much like a forum avatar, the space constraint allows for some level of poetry, but limits its depth substantially. This is something I have a problem with, as I'm the type to ramble on forever fuck this is too long as it is

> You find an ink blotch trailing off the page here
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 02:24:37 AM by Dios GX » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2010, 06:13:24 PM »

Dude, I think the main issue with your description is that it's convoluted. Things are usually better received when they're simplified. Arthur C. Clark and Gentry Lee, writing Rendezvous with Rama and the whole series which followed, exemplified good, detailed fiction because they didn't introduce too much at once. Everything is deliberate and explained thoroughly, usually build on concrete or at least highly believable foundations.

The same can be said of Frank Herbert, whose universe is rather complicated and ornate, but believable because he takes the time to siphon out all the excess and paces out the information well. It's cerebral, mystical, scientific, and compelling all at once, largely because Herbert understood that you can't rush things.

I've read your stuff, and while it's usually pretty good, I do find it dense and sometimes rambling in a direction which distracts from the point. Boiling things down further to render off the excess fat would really benefit your work and clean it up well.

If you look at the best science fiction writers and separate them out from the mass of badly written pulp, it really boils down to "Simplify, simplify". I'm not much of a writer, but I like to think I have a fair editorial eye. Explain things well, throw out what overcomplicates a matter, and always respect your audience. Just because you understand something a certain way, doesn't mean your audience has the personal experience to do the same. You have to render that personal experience well, and lead your audience through your message without being too obvious.

That's all really.
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Dios GX
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2010, 08:09:57 PM »

If you look at the best science fiction writers and separate them out from the mass of badly written pulp, it really boils down to "Simplify, simplify".
That's a great opinion you've got there, but it does little to promote colorful writing. Also note: author ≠ editor

My job is to be a psychotic seemingly-drug-fueled array of concepts restructured into new working mechanisms. The editor is the one who can make it flow from a reader's perspective. Also, I know how your mind works from looking at your art style. Like my brother, I know you both favor simplicity with style. I call it a left-brain right-brain scenario.

Have fun in your cubicle. You're efficient, I guess.




Also, while I said critique was welcome, I don't see how you managed to essentially write 3 paragraphs worth explaining the structure of a single sentence. This is "back of the book" material I'm talking about, not the inner core or actual text from the manuscript itself. So, while you have obviously put thought into your comments, they're pretty null and void considering what you've spoken of is in regard to something you haven't read.

I can see why you aren't a writer. Thank God for brushes.

PS: I am aware the irony the people on the left are typing and the people on the right are painting. Ignore it for the sake of me looking 100% right, as opposed to 99%.
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2010, 08:46:43 PM »

Look, I'm trying to offer helpful critique. Don't be an ass. The fact is that all the above reactions to your description have been lukewarm for a reason: It's convoluted. It's not that something needs be colourless to be succinct. It just needs to be cleaned up.

The worst authors don't edit their own work. The near-universal axiom of good fiction and good writing in general is that writing is re-writing, and that means cleaning up and refining ideas along the way. That's also the universal axiom for all creativity. Yes, you can one day make a mess. Jackson Pollock made a mess. But he also had a lot of work leading up to that mess. The mess meant something to art, and while I may not like Pollock's work, an audience must respect the fact that he got there in a very deliberate way.

You're self-assured beyond doubt, and that's extremely harmful to the creative process. Act with some humility when asking for critique, otherwise you're just showboating, which is a despicable way of advertising oneself. It's how we got nonsense like the Dada movement, which had perhaps two great geniuses and was trite, uninformed bullshit the rest of the time. That's not just a random opinion either; it's an informed one. Also, I have read your work. You have a distinct form of writing, one which has potential and lots of colour, but also shows a lot of confusion. I've given you critique before on the matter and you've appreciated it. I don't mean to cut you down or point any ill towards you; the fact is that I am genuinely trying to help.
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Dios GX
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2010, 08:56:43 PM »

Look, I'm trying to offer helpful critique. Don't be an ass. The fact is that all the above reactions to your description have been lukewarm for a reason: It's convoluted. It's not that something needs be colourless to be succinct. It just needs to be cleaned up.

textext

You're self-assured beyond doubt, and that's extremely harmful to the creative process. Act with some humility when asking for critique, otherwise you're just showboating

I'm aware of the reasons to the reaction of this topic's created and intended purpose, and if you'll notice, I responded to most people individually, while my response to you is a bit different. I'm not trying to seem like an ass, but your brazen biased attitude against me shows through like superman looking through glass.

But hey, maybe I'm biased as well. I guess I'll hazard the "showboating" which apparently I'm guilty of, and say that of all who've read my work, you are one of the rare exceptions that doesn't enjoy it. Which I am fine with, but even listening to critique to a certain extent, from one who doesn't enjoy a specific style of art, seems rather moot in the end, so I'll cut this short.

Feedback is appreciated, and now I can cross gamer mindsets off the target audience entirely. I'll probably stick to the obtuse 35-60 y/o female audience, which seems to be what I'm best at for some god-forsaken reason.

However, as for the "confusion and convoluted" part you mention, that's your opinion frankly. There's types of literature I cannot read simply because I can't enjoy it, or because I can't personally imagine what's going on. Though, based on other critique I've gotten in other demographics. I'll preface this however, with a simple thought: Why is it when a marketing decision is made to put a quote on something that says, eg; "I felt like I was there, rather than standing away and watching something occur."

In a commercial, it'd be standard fare. Though I'm sure if I personally said that, I'd get another porcupine lodged down my esophagus with gusto. So if the creator has this Satan-derived failure accompanying it, according to your standards, when can one's own work be discussed with enthusiasm without falling prey to your bullshit catch-all comments?

As a final thought, for someone who's claiming to show all the shortcomings of my work, you seem dense to understand some of the purposes associated with them. I suppose it falls once again into individual opinion, though if you'd be so kind as to cite specific examples of this "confused writing," without pulling a Michael Moore about it and use paragraph entirety rather than segments meant to deface my abilities, I say go for it.

I'm more than willing to explain why your critique in this case is near-baseless and strewn with intellectual facts that don't pertain to the topic at hand. You see, much like an Exlaxed donkey who has been force-fed paint balls, the rainbow colored array he has strewn about may look colorful and unique, but it still smells like bullshit.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 09:05:29 PM by Dios GX » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2010, 09:07:18 PM »

I hardly fit into the "gamer" mindset though, and I'm sure Kyle doesn't since he's rather well-read. That's selling your critics short, which is also not particularly well-advised in any creative field.

You can turn your nose up at something and put your head in the clouds, but that won't make your art any better. If you only listen to people who enjoy your work, how can you say you've had honest critique? I also never said I didn't enjoy what you wrote. I may not like surrealism as an art form, but I can still appreciate and objectively critique the matter. It's a matter of information and removing yourself from bias. Even if I disagree with you as an individual (as I do with Jackson Pollock), I still need to weigh your writing fairly. That much I owe to you professionally, being an artist myself.

My point is though, you can simplify and refine even the most crazed, bizarre experiences. Consider that something visually stimulating like Satoshi Kon's Paprika, or something tense and nerve-wracking like A Clockwork Orange are both within the spectrum of surrealist film. I like Paprika, and I don't like A Clockwork Orange, but I still understand and appreciate both. A Clockwork Orange has better writing; it has more deliberate and artistic direction. It is, essentially, truer to vision.

That said, Stanley Kubrick didn't just pull ideas out of his ass, throw them into a script, and call it a day. He sculpted madness, much like Satoshi Kon does. Salvadore Dali, in both film and painting, was deliberate in how he made the most bizarre, ridiculous things unfold. Or, consider, authors like Neil Gaiman and Corey Doctorow, both of whom have immense surrealistic, colourful bodies of work. Corey Doctorow in particular is fond of the non-sequiter, illogical and utterly fantastic form of writing. I do indeed enjoy his writing for that reason, because it completely alleviates sensible thought and lets you explore parts of human thinking not ordinarily observed.

But to quote Corey Doctorow himself: "For me, madness is spun around a lathe until it reveals an instrument."

That's all I'm really trying to say: Pay attention to your readership, both the ones who enjoy your work, and those who do not. You don't have to appeal to the latter, but at least listen to them so you don't end up shooting yourself in the foot.

I don't have any bias against you; I never have. I may have personal issues with you, but I'm not going to let that colour my appreciation for your work. That simply isn't how things work for me.
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2010, 11:30:26 PM »

Wow - that turned south really quick.  Gotta say, we're all offering our distinct opinions, we don't all agree on what we'd want to see in sci-fi, and my reading of Hidoshi's comments was that they were offered in a pretty respectful fashion.  No personal attacks or anything.  And it was pretty solid advice, IMHO.  It's not to say you can't have complex concepts in your fiction - just that you need to be thoughtful in how you present them, ensuring that readers of the widest possible background can appreciate what you're bringing to them.

I don't know that it's 100% applicable, but I'm reminded of something Isaac Asimov said... although my search turns up no actual quote.  Essentially, he said that people told him that there's no way to write a good sci-fi mystery, and that he disagreed.  He said that it's totally doable to write a good sci-fi mystery, and even to use crazy tech in the solving of the mystery.  You just can't make it so that the detective suddenly pulls out the magical MacGuffinatron to do so.  If you want to use the MacGuffinatron in the resolution, you have to bring it up earlier in the book and explain what it does.  Then, the reader has the chance to think ahead, solve the mystery along with the detective, and not feel cheated.

So... hopefully that's useful.
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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2010, 08:38:41 AM »

I'll put it this way, I suppose.

I find Hidoshi's comments slightly out-of-line considering what he's read of my work. Unless he's gone through my recent work, his comments are based on old work when I was still learning, and thus, most of what he says is highly presumptuous on his part. I also have to look at what he commented on what he's read, etc. It's like someone grading your ability at a skill or talent when you were a neophyte, paying no heed to current capacity.

I'm sure if Mark looked at his earlier visual arts, he'd look back with a slight of disdain and have his mind filled with thoughts of "I could've done this better, this too," etc."

I'm by no means perfect. In fact, the process of writing War Chronicles, which was a 14 year endeavor, there were completed chapters that I personally felt were so terrible, I at one point nearly committed suicide over an overpass out of disgust at my "lack of ability," I called it. Humorously, these were chapters well-received by focus groups I've held, and were some people's favorite ones based on the content within them.

I'm not trying to go around saying "I am #1," but considering I've been told that by authors themselves from Italy, Europe and America, it's difficult for me not to have some sort of enthusiasm about what I do. And to me, Hidoshi's insinuation of showboating in this regard is pretty lacking in logic from my standpoint.

I will say the "gamer" aspect is quite wrong, and I'm not sure why I actually said that. One of my writing techniques I use is actually to envision a scenario as a game itself. There are others I use, "mind filters," if you will. I'll go over a scene if it were a videogame's cutscene, or a part you can play, structuring how the mechanics would work, sometimes going as far as spending hours-upon-hours of game design documentation for the sake of fun. Then it moves onto cinematography were it real life mixed with CG, an animated feature, a lower-grade syndicated anime featurette, and the list goes on.

The best I can put this topic's entirety into a summary, at least for myself, is thus:

My forté is the ability to write a mass of story and intertwine character growth alongside it, as opposed to its absence which I see in most sci-fi. A huge inspiration of such a thing is Joss Whedon's work, which often carries a heavy emotional resonance to convey itself. I vie to do the same, and I'm one who is fully aware that a character need be solid from venues other than carrying a large sword and being an atypical "badass," so to speak. In fact, it's one of the largest parts of any story to me personally.

Also as a final mention, I'd like to point out that Mark and I are essentially polar opposites in nearly every single regard. I won't get further into it, as it would constitute no real discussion. I'll simply say that his artistic tastes and mine do not see eye-to-eye, nor do our lifestyles or essentially anything else.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 09:33:57 AM by Dios GX » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2010, 09:17:04 AM »

Yeah double-posting sorry. I'll preface this briefly:

My mind is sometimes messy in the views of others, but to me, I know where everything is. Since this "back of the book" is essentially a movie trailer, in that it "spoils" parts of it, instead of write a little snippit, I'll give you guys this and let you decide what you think. Personally, I hate to read, and I'd love to read a book like this.

If any of these concepts sound cool to you, let me know. I'd love to actually explain some of this more in-depth with someone who can visualize the same things I do. I say "cool," in the vein that whatshisface of Devil May Cry and Bayonetta has said, that he wanted his work to "be cool." Natch, this has varying meanings, but for all the poetry and depth I like to lodge into emotes of between-dialogue text, I also want the atmosphere, design, and "feel" of this fictitious world to be, in some way, "cool."

Please note that in IRC, I do not have a spellchecker, nor would I want one. IRC is a place I can go blast out some thoughts and actually get ideas solidified to some degree. Believe me, in actual text, I adhere to very strict rules in my recent work. Former work, I'll admit, I didn't even use tab key indentation or proper paragraph structuring. I had a lot to learn, and I feel confident enough to say what I've learned has created stories that have wrought tears, anger, joy, and comfort to actual people in this real life thing I'm told exists.

As I said earlier, I pride myself on character development. If I, as a single person can, in some way, cause another human being to feel emotion such to the point their minds, and perception of life is somehow enhanced, that is what makes a successful author in my eyes.

Not a money-grubbing whore like JK Rowling who is a bitch btw. anyway go

---

6:03:46 AM: Flaming_Du: a concept in which takes the majority of earth's mass and turns it into a sword
6:03:56 AM: Flaming_Du: using hawaii has a pommel
6:04:14 AM: Flaming_Du: magma and lava from the earth's core becomes cooled as it comes into contact with oceanic waters
6:04:25 AM: Flaming_Du: so it's some sword in the stone shit
6:04:34 AM: Flaming_Du: except removing the sword rips half of earth apart with it
6:04:48 AM: Flaming_Du: leaving behind a husk like ash, that shatters, breaks, and blows away in solar winds in its aftermath
6:05:04 AM: Flaming_Du: bear in mind in this story, however, the planet earth kind of resembles taht thing from Watchmen
6:05:26 AM: Flaming_Du: I had this awesome idea of giant holographic plants in geosynchronous orbit
6:05:40 AM: Flaming_Du: something like a record's needle, but thousands at a time, in the form of sattelites
6:05:55 AM: Flaming_Du: streaking by at orbital speeds of 20 full earthen rotations per minute
6:06:13 AM: Flaming_Du: that all grind up against these spinning plates that look like planetary rings
6:06:25 AM: Flaming_Du: except, people also live on these rings, used for data transmission globally
6:06:58 AM: Flaming_Du: to which the world up there would resemble something like Zeal, if everything were made of crystal and filled with multi-colored prismatic, seemingly three-dimensional abstractions at any given time
6:07:33 AM: Flaming_Du: also, homes will have to have their exteriors coated in about 2 feet of this material, so data can be transmitted without the housing projects interfering with prismatic data refraction
6:08:18 AM: Flaming_Du: the main colors of this machine-based earth, because I want to instill the victorian era into it, are cremé colored whites, tourmaline and green lights, and gold trim
6:08:27 AM: Flaming_Du: if you've ever seen a wet kush ball, imagine somethin glike that
6:08:51 AM: Flaming_Du: also, i've spent a bit of time recently studying 10 string theory, as well as perspective of celestial bodies
6:09:18 AM: Flaming_Du: and I think I know a, well, no tlogical way, but belivable way for heaven and hell to co-exist within the third dimension
6:09:38 AM: Flaming_Du: as two massive eliptical eyes that are pincering the solar system
6:10:04 AM: Flaming_Du: were you to be on one of said planets, you would have a constant of gold and whites in one wall of the universe, and bloodied reds and blacks the other
6:10:46 AM: Flaming_Du: though from an extremity away from the solar system, it will be like seeing a golden eye, and a red eye, with something of a water ripple constantly expanding outwards, and clamping down like a shell around the system
6:11:18 AM: Flaming_Du: so this will be about another year's worth of research I need to do to get this proper
6:12:08 AM: Flaming_Du: because the end of this story needs to have a gargantuan sword forged out of a black hole, transposing divine metals from heaven's streets themselves into a starlight-radiating sword that will cleave hell's entire dimension asunder
6:13:10 AM: Flaming_Du: shattering the infintum of dead black giant stars, hurling them across the universe and breaking them apart until a new universe's star constalations have been forged from the accursed souls of hell
6:13:44 AM: Flaming_Du: that every star in the end of that age will be viewed as a prison, where the sinful will be put on display for eternity, their crimes known forever, and their punishment everlasting.
6:13:52 AM: Flaming_Du: okay that is some good notes copy/paste and go bed now
6:14:02 AM: Flaming_Du: wi dunno the fuck i typed this in IRC

---

As an aside, there will be a bit of an emphasis on Norse Mythos, as it's a subject I adore, as well as Alchemy. Though it will be a different approach to the subject of Alchemy, with black holes used in the stead of glyphs. The protagonist is a sort of physically-weak individual, though with the capacity to scribe glyphs using lightwaves along the event horizon of a black hole itself. Due to the nature of a black hole, and the study I've done on it, there's really no reason the things I'll be doing with this couldn't happen. It just so happens that, as of yet, the black hole is a mystery.

Were one to break one apart like an egg and tear the transmuted contents within out, however, well, that's the fun part.

I've also gone through an arduous process of designing about 200 different types of dragons. There will be a further emphasis on using black holes to deconstruct planets, using them to forge armor and physical bodies of dragons themselves. EG; assimilating a horde of police cars, which I am trying to work into the story's beginning, will result in a black and white-centric dragon with a blue, and a red gleaming eye, rife with waxed, shimmering onyx trim and chromed-out talons and fangs.

I took the concept from that, and replaced the police cars with any number of things. Whenever I would be out in a public place, I would imagine what would happen if a black hole's Angelic Alchemy assimilation were to occur in that area. In the end, I'll only need about 4-5 dragon designs, but I'll go through probably a thousand more before I decide those.

Anyway, that's just some furthered info on story details, for the curious. I apologize, I am not good at being concise. If anything, I probably take longer to out-of-contextually explain things than actually just writing.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 09:30:38 AM by Dios GX » Logged
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