Paul's Writings and such

This is the start of a story about my character from my Qubicle thread. If you haven’t checked that out, I suggest you do. I’d love for it to be more than a back-and-forth conversation between @chimeforest and myself.
This story will poke fun at and possibly even mock “Stonehearth Logic”. A small portion of its dialogue may be edited from stuff in the game, and most of the Hearthlings [not including foreigners] will be named accurately, except when I want to develop characters, use puns, or anything else at my discretion. This is not to insult Stonehearth, but rather to show its ups, downs, and quirkiness from the viewpoint of a story, as well to make my setting more recognizable. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for a better name [but I doubt anyone will come up with an accurate title until the story develops further.] Anyways, that’s all from me. Let’s hear from Payten Loslaw, shall we?

Chapter 1 - Setting the Scene and Thatching the Roof
Chapter 2

    I woke up to the sound of roosters crowing, as I do every morning. I’ve never seen a rooster around, though. The closest must have been miles away, and surely the sound couldn’t carry that far? But I eventually accept the oddities. I button up my labcoat and clip on my bowtie, admiring my reflection in the wall lantern – it’s the only place we seem to have any glass. They say I dress eccentrically, and they may be right, but I don’t care. I’ve earned the right to live the way I do a thousand times over.
    Everyone is at the building site already, with few exceptions. Our army is vigilantly guarding the unplanted dirt from goblins who may wish to remove its nutrients. Our trapper, Nol Valen, is a nice enough guy, but he’s a bit of a recluse. Without us, however, the work has begun. You see, I’m an engineer. I visualize and tell them what to build when asked. I’m the go-to guy if there’s construction problems. Yet, they also blame me if something goes terribly wrong. I’m a misunderstood scientist, either the savior of the town or an evil villain, depending on the mood of the town. I research materials and build prototypes, but I’m not expected to actually work. It’s a blessing and a curse.
    I watch carefully as they make good time, until they stop. They swing their hands back and forth and stare at the last layer of our new watch-tower that they’re supposed to build. Well, time for me to lend my common sense. I run to my house and grab a ladder, placing it alongside the tower’s walls and climbing up. The workers stare at me in confusion [as I’ve said, they don’t expect me to work.] With a small grunt of frustration, I heave the last blocks at the roof. It’s a perfect shot, and the sound of thatch hitting plaster (which sounds more like wood hitting wood) signals a job done, and a lunch break.
    I grab my A Turnip, and sit down with my friend Selvan Mont, who prefers his Plate of Berries(s). He’s a carpenter, but he easily has the most sense of all of us. He’s a bit of an academic, equally out of place in his new world. I remember what he said to me me when I first met him.
    “Three weeks have passed since I had a decent philosophical conversation. I’m just trying not to panic, and failing.”
    We became friends shortly after that, and we almost always talk over lunch. As always, the same question comes to my mind, but today, for the first time, I ask it. “How did you get here anyways?”
    He replies, “I think the better question is, how did you get here?”

[quote]/break character
Footnote: One chapter, and it’s already longer than those writing competitions. Oh well. Let me know how you like it. And while I have a general idea for where I want to take the story, suggestions will still be appreciated.[/quote]

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I like it
Are you planning on writing more?

Hopefully I’ll be able to get one or two more chapters up over the weekend. I just need some inspiration and time.

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Great story @coasterpaul. It has series character. Sorry that it took me a few days to find this. As a writer I have taken it upon myself to read the short stories written on the discourse, giving compliments and critique on the way.

I really love that you are exploring the future of stonehearth. Your projection of “you” the engineer helps define the role of an engineer quite nicely. On that note I have to mention something you did, which I hope you did on purpose. You have created a real dynamic character. Through this story you see a portion of an eccentric genius thinking. And you did it in only one chapter. Well done.

Some examples of what I said above.

Now for some critique, i’m afraid there isn’t much for me to say. I don’t like pointing out subtle grammar mistakes, because they don’t really matter.

Definitely needs to be two sentences here. as a matter of fact I would even go as far as to take away the second half “it’s not a half-bad place to live.” Or at least move the second half somewhere else.

This sentence needs serious work. I can think of two ways to read this 1. the guards are guarding the dirt from Goblins and Valen. 2. As two separate themes, the first one talking about the goblin theft, the second describing Valen (i’m pretty sure this is what you were going for.) if so you will need to re-write this whole place. Again I would take out the part with Valen. It will make it much easier and it doesn’t add anything to this chapter. If you want him later I would introduce him later.

I failed to understand this. What did he throw? where? why? I missed it…Maybe explain it a bit better. Or at least reply with an explanation.

Honestly I couldn’t find any other major mistake to point out. Well done. Well done indeed. I hope you write more, I, personally, cannot wait.

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Sorry for the inactivity. I’ve had lots of homework, and little inspiration. And over this weekend, I’m busy with Ludum Dare 31. But that will all clear up soon.

Yeah the hardest thing about writing is finding the time.

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An Engineer’s Tale
Chapter 1
Chapter 2 - Memories, Hints, and Hiking

    "I grew up in a town by the sea to the east. Marautan, it was called. Usually bustling ports draw some… undesirable characters. Pirates, tricksters, the odd ninja or politician… But our navy’s reputation was known for thousands of nautical blocks around."
Selvan stares blankly at me. That’s right, it doesn’t rain here. At least, not since I’ve been around.
    “Do you even know what water is?” I ask.
“Of course I do. I’ve seen birdbaths.”
“Have you ever seen a real lake? A real river? Even a pond?”
“No,” he admits.
“Would you like to?”
               …
    We pass the warehouse, the barracks, and the ladder shells of my failed designs on our way to the east edge of town. Finally, the stone path is surrounded by nothing but trees and tall, silky grass. Then the trees surround a dirt path. We’ve reached the Hunting Grounds. Nol’s cabin, which I helped renovate not too long after arriving, hides behind the spiraling branches of a particularly ancient oak. “I wonder if s-… I mean, I wonder if he’s home?” I ask. Selvan doesn’t notice any slip - not that I ever slipped, of course. Nor does he know.
    A few falling leaves answer the question. Nol slips out of the pile, surprisingly gracefully for his size. “We were just talking about you,” Selvan says. Nol looks at the ground and gruffly replies, “I know. I have ears.”
“Nol. Did you know that our carpenter here has never seen a single drop of water?”
“I’ve seen birdbaths…” Selvan objects. Nol again looks at the ground.
“Those don’t count.”
    At this rate, I thought, it wouldn’t be long before they started comparing whether a carpenter’s saw or trapper’s knife was sharper, and not in a friendly way, either.
"So, well, we were headed to the next township, on the quest to see a pond. Would you like to come along?"
Nol nods. We follow him as he walks to his cabin and pulls out two tents.
“It’s already past noon. It’s a long walk even for me. You’ll take even longer.”
“Yeah, Payten. That’s what happens when you spend your days inside looking at math,” Selvan teases.
“Must I remind you that I wandered this land for ages before settling here?” I ask.
“It couldn’t have been that far.”
“It was pretty far,” confirms Nol. “-I mean, from what I’ve heard, of course.”
“How would you know?'
Nol walks away silently. We run to catch up. The next few hundred blocks of walking were as quiet as Nol himself; nothing of note happened until the sun started setting. “How far is it?” ask Selvan and Nol. I adjust my glasses, take a sighting, move twelve steps to the left, and take another. “Perhaps half-an-hour’s slow walk. Nol?”
“That’s how much sun we have left. We’ll have to set up camp.”
So we do.

/break character
Sorry, this chapter is a bit dialog heavy… as well as severely late. It’s gone through a couple rewrites, and several forgets. But I think it has to be this way - Nol Valen has to be introduced much more subtly. This is partly because of him being a bit less archetypal than the current characters, and also because of future plans. Now forget I said anything, as I’m not giving away the secret yet. Though I will keep hinting at it.
I’d just like to remind you all to remind me that this exists every so often, so that I finish the next chapter before Alpha 14 [4 alphas per chapter is really a bit too much, don’t you think?] and so that I finish this whole thing sometime before Stonehearth Beta 301 is released.

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Yay chapter 2 at last! Love the continuation as much as the first chapter.

Now for my favorite part, nitpicking.

Well put.

Had a good laugh at this. It really is a quite humorous work.

Is this foreshadowing to later event or did a miss something?

Laughed here as well.

I really like this short story/chapter full of game references and comical tidbits.The plot is a bit weak, but fortunately this is part of a serial so each particular segment doesn’t need a thick plot. And besides this is clearly a fictional biography so anything goes.

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An Engineer’s Tale
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3 - Mind like Water
  Memory I - Mer Burlyhands Smith - Coming soon!
  Memory II - Apprenticeship, continued - Coming soon!

“Selvan, do you have any wood on you?”
“A bit, I think… here.” He pulls out a log from his backpack. “I should probably chop it into smaller pieces - we don’t have the time to build a proper fire pit.” Still, we’re able to get a good campfire going. Nol returns once he’s set up the tents. He pulls out three pieces of jerky and offers one to each of us. “Dinner. Is served.” We eat without conversation for most of the meal.
“I hope it’s a quiet night tonight,” I ponder.
“How so?” asks Selvan. Nol answers for me.
“Quiet. Calm. Mostly, no undead. In your city, you’re protected. Out here…” Selvan looks slightly panicked.
“It wasn’t always like this,” I say. “The undead used to be rumored, the stuff of legend and nightmares… but never appearing. Now, though… Selvan, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.”
"Oh, no… not the invasions…"
Some nights they get really bad. Others they don’t occur at all. The schedule’s always coordinated perfectly. Both Selvan and I have done some research, and it doesn’t follow the lunar cycle, the seasons, or any apparent rules. It seems random, but it’s far too organized.
Nol breaks my thinking. "Whether it’s a calm night or not, we need some sleep. That one is my tent. The other one is for you two."
Nol was kind enough to give us the slight bigger tent, at least, but we really should have had another one. The arrangement’s slightly more comfortable than sleeping on the cold, hard ground, but not by much. Selvan starts talking to pass time. “Nol’s kind of touchy, isn’t he?”
“Well, he’s a recluse for a reason. But once you get to know him, he’s a nice guy.”
“Ah. I see why most people don’t get to know him. Is he always like this?”
“No. Eventually, he’ll start to loosen up. Even then, some days, it’s worse than others.”
“Is there any pattern to it?” he asks.
“Nol’s not the undead. Why would there be?”
"Oh. Yeah. Right."
The rest of the night is quiet; so are the undead.
               …
Even here, there are unseen roosters, and they’re quite loud. We quickly get up and knock down our tents. Nol stuffs the tents back into his backpack. Selvan takes our leftover firewood and spreads the campfire ashes. As customary, and for reasons I don’t understand, we don’t eat breakfast. So we’re able to start moving in a matter of minutes. A problem hits right after that.
“Wait. What direction were we going, again?” asks Selvan.
“Towards the blue glint on the horizon, of course!” Nol replies calmly as he leads the way. Before we know it, we’re at the water’s edge - I mean that quite literally. Perhaps I should have looked down. Regardless, I fell into the large pond or small lake. Nol and especially Selvan laugh.
I notice a flaw in the lake’s otherwise smoothly terraced surface as I sink down. It’s a tunnel! Also, somehow, it seems to have air in it. Water is weird - I’ve never fully understood it. But I take mental note of this, as well as a few sightings, before I finally swim back up.
“So, Selvan, this is water.”
“I figured it was. I expected more, but…”
“There are rivers and oceans, too, but those are pretty far away,” says Nol, “and waterfalls are too dangerous to be around.”
“I mean, this is fine. I just don’t understand why you think water is such a big deal.”
“I grew up in a town by the sea. Marautan, it was called. I have so many memories of water… water brings back so many memories,” I answer. “You know, I wanted to be a shipwright…”

/break character
I often wonder if I’m getting too meta. Not only have I mentioned water’s bugs a few times in this chapter, but also its future - somehow, I’ve started to treat distance in this story as if it’s time in development. Oh well, it allows me to run with the game for longer.
Also, I know I’m going fairly slowly, and I’m planning on speeding things up in the next chapter - so continue to let me know if the pacing’s good or not.
As seen in the table of contents, I’m going to start and alternate memory plot. Sorry. Split timelines are confusing, I know. But I feel they’re a good device for fully exploring the world I want to explore - as well as its origins, which are, of course, in the past.
Side-note: I’ve started using Google Docs to type these up instead of OpenOffice, and I’m really preferring it. Before, I had to remove every single line break and re-add every single tab as a bunch of spaces; now, most of that is done for me. Well, the tabs are reduced to one space, but, to be honest, I don’t care enough to replace them all with       to keep them four spaces anymore. Hopefully this change means I can get this story out a little faster.

2 Likes

Woohoo another great chapter. As usual I love the characterization, something you seem to be very good at. The story has not progressed very much in this chapter, but it laid important groundwork for down the road. And of course reveals our heroes origin.

I love your occasional humorous in-game jokes.

I can’t wait to read later chapters and i’m glad you pumped this one out. I have been having writers block for quite some time now…

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Good to see you pumping out material again! I quite like that this is literally based in the game. (as far as bugs and such go) It gives a refreshing take on this kind of story. Your humor is also quite nice. “Even here, there are unseen roosters, and they’re quite loud” is among a few of the examples. Your style reminds me vaguely of Douglas Adams, of Hitchhiker’s fame. Great story!

And speaking of stories, I quite miss those writing competitions! Any word on that, @SteveAdamo?

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I would love to kick off another competition, but I just haven’t found the time to put it together …

perhaps later this month… any thoughts on a theme or objective for the contest?

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Don’t have much in the way of themes, but basing stories off of prompts could be interesting.

Examples:
A miner finds something sinsister digging deep underground…
"We’ve been wandering for weeks!"
Etc.

Perhaps they could be strung together by mini prompts throughout the month or something, but I feel like this thread has been hijacked quite inappropriately. :wink: Apologies @coasterspaul!

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Nah, I don’t mind. It’s nice to have people in my thread for a change!

Well, I’ve decided to rewrite Memories I and II, as they were a bit too long for my liking. Unfortunately, I’m going off to the wilderness read: Scout camp - and complete Internet silence - for ten days. So it’ll be a while before my story gets updated. For now, take a poem!

[Wouldn’t a poem contest
be cool, @SteveAdamo?
How about haikus?]

No, not that poem. Also, I hope you read the @ sign as a syllable. Otherwise it doesn’t work. But… moving on!

Perhaps I’ve sat here too long.
My friends left; I don’t know why.
But I sit here longer yet,
Hoping new friends will come by.

But no matter where I look,
I only see more friends leave.
It’s true that they were distant,
But their loss I deeply grieve.

Oh, I would have left with them
But I don’t know where they’ve gone.
And anyway, I’m fenced in;
I no longer can move on.

But as this strange world changes
I see others down the road!
Perhaps they’ll be my new friends
That I knew would come. I knowed!

They come and take my fence down
But I want to leave no more!
I’ve waited long enough, now I
Finally get my reward!

They take blades and swing at me
And I feel my essence fray.
"Stop that, friends, you’re hurting me!"
Is what I attempt to say.

I manage a low, deep groan,
Almost more of a death moan.
As I fall, they pay no heed.
Is this why my friends did leave?

They chop me into pieces
Until I’m no longer me.
A lonely life, I tell you,
You live as an ancient tree.

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Heh I liked the poem, its almost a riddle.

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