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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:44 pm 
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Hey, M:EM friendos!

So, last year, I felt like I was in a super funk, writing-wise, and I realized that what I needed more than anything else was some sort of regular routine that would get me off of my metaphorical duff, and into the habit of writing something -- anything! -- each week. I needed to (and I can't believe I'm saying this) punch the keys, for God's sake.

Hence, Tuesday Night Story Club! Which I actually had a ton of fun doing, while it lasted, and which I think actually produced a handful of really nice stories, too.

Anyway, flash forward a year, and, with TNSC having run its course, your faithful orc once again finds himself in a super funk, writing-wise, and, once again (oh God, here it comes...), I find myself needing to punch the keys, for God's sake.

For a hot minute, there, I thought I was going to revive Tuesday Night Story Club for myself. But I think that TNSC has earned its rest, and, anyway, it's a new year, which calls for a new music-related pun.

I think you all know where I'm going with this. Because where I'm going with this is SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALRIGHT FOR WRITING!

(Sing it with me, now: "I'll write, I'll write, I'll wriiiiiiiiiiiiiite, ooo-ooo-OOO-ooo!" :D )

My plan is to do SNA4W a bit differently from TNSC. While TNSC was completely unprompted, I'm going to give myself a set of possible prompts for SNA4W each Friday night, by pulling four random cards. Then, on Saturday, I'm going to write something -- anything! -- inspired by one or more of those cards, and I'll post it here!

I'll also share the prompts here each Friday, in case anyone else feels like playing along! It's a lot like Raven's old Flavor Of The Week game, from AF&S, except worse, because I'm running it instead of Raven, and it's a one-day challenge, instead of a leisurely week. :)

So, without further ado, here are my first set of prompts, and I'll see you all again here tomorrow night, after some key punching has taken place!

SNA4W prompts for 4/28/2018:

Dark Ritual
Benalish Honor Guard
Stealer of Secrets
Harrow

And now I'll have Elton play me out:


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:26 am 
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Sounds like fun to me. It'll be great to have you around again! ;)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:24 pm 
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Sounds like fun to me. It'll be great to have you around again! ;)

Oh my God, I'm the worst, I know. :)

* * *

Anyway, here we go! SNA4W week one -- I decided to go with Stealer of Secrets.

The story's called "Mousetrap," and I owe a great tip of the cap to the good Mr. Raven, for reasons which will become clear. :D

Mousetrap

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:31 pm 
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Before I read Orcish's story, I'm going to post mine! That's right, folks, Raven's getting aboard this train from the very first stop!

I've decided to go with... all four cards!!!

Legendary, Harrowing, Secret Rituals


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:12 pm 
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@Mousetrap


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:13 am 
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Before I read Orcish's story, I'm going to post mine! That's right, folks, Raven's getting aboard this train from the very first stop!

I've decided to go with... all four cards!!!

Legendary, Harrowing, Secret Rituals

Yaaaaaaaaaay! All abord the SNA4W train! :D

Anyway, I love this, Raven! Thanks so much for sharing!

Beyond the pure audacity of doing all four cards, for which I offer a tip o' the old cap, I particularly love the framing device of something for something versus something for nothing. That's a really cool parallel between Harrow and Dark Ritual which I never would have noticed, and, beyond that, even, I feel like it actually says a lot about black and green color identity, too. So I love the way you kind of used that right at the beginning to represent the two cards and the correspondent philosophies. I love the dueling equipment that gets worked into the mix, too.

Anyway, I hope this was fun to play around with!


* * *


I like it a lot! I have to admit that, throughout the story, I kept expecting Fisco to make an appearance and recruit Mouse, but I like the way her mouseomancy leads her to igniting her Spark. I have to say that I love when off-handed characters I create out of nowhere for the mere purpose of backstory somehow manage to mouse their way into existence. When I wrote "Now You 'Seum," I never figured Fisco's spy would someday make an appearance, but I'm glad that she has, and I think Orcish did a great job with characterizing her.

I have to admit that I'm getting a little worried that Orcish had a bad experience with nuns as a child, but that's neither here nor there.
:D

Thanks for posting, Orcish! I definitely wouldn't mind seeing more of Mouse in the future!

Thanks so much for reading, and for the very kind words! I have been hopelessly in love with the concept of mouseomancy ever since you coined that term, and I think I may even have mentioned at some point -- in a PM or a comment or something somewhere -- that I had notions about wanting to take that character (who I think, canonically, was supposed to be dead -- or at least was heavily implied to be dead, even if Fisco never produced the body, so to speak) and to maybe try to do something with her, because that one little expository glimpse we had from Fisco's description had stuck with me so clearly. But that was sort of an idea without a peg to hang it on, and I don't know if I ever would have been able to make anything out of it.

But then something about Stealer of Secrets just made me think of that character again, and I decided to just run with it, and see where it went.

If I was working in a vacuum, I don't think I would have picked Ravnica for Mouse, because, in my head canon, I guess I'd sort of pictured her as a little less worldly when Fisco came across her, and not exactly a hard-bitten denizen of a city-plane. But the prompt was the prompt, and, while cocking a snook to the source material has never really stopped me before, this time I decided to just run with the Ravnica thing. I think maybe it's because of the flavor text -- the flavor text kind of gave me the peg which I hung the rest of the piece on, so that left me with the guilds, and therefore Mouse became Ravnican.

I think that the thing I like most is her name. I really like that she's called Mouse.

Anyway, if Mouse does turn out to be The Mouse, than I assume that an encounter with Fisco would be in her near future. For this piece, anyway, the thing which sort of made me want to write it was the notion that the space between worlds was like the space between physical objects, and that this metaphor would turn out to be the key that ignited Mouse's spark. That the girl who has always been able to pass through any physical gap would of course discover that she was able to pass through the aetherial gap, too. I'm not super good at coming up with first planeswalk stories which aren't just variations on the old near-death-experience standby, so discovering a fresh angle of attack (even if it does still involve a near-death experience, sigh...) was kind of exciting and energizing, and both of those are things I've felt a little short of as of late.

As for yet more evil orphanage nuns, yeah, I clearly have a dead horse I'm beating, here, although I swear it's not rooted in any real-world personal trauma, thank God. It's funny -- until I read your comment, I actually hadn't noticed how much this story is a pastiche of stories I've already written before -- sometimes more than once. It's not just getting picked on at the orphanage, it's not just the nefarious nuns -- it's the female protagonist with the explicitly-descriptive name, too, and even the waking up on a barren desert world after a first planeswalk. Heck, even the old Comtesse used to compare poor Elise to a mouse. So, going back and reading this piece again, it feels almost uncomfortably like the elevator music version of my greatest hits, so to speak, and it's kind of dumbfounding to me that I couldn't sense that when I was writing it. I'm hoping that's the rust getting shaken off. My suspicion is that I've been so far out of my comfort zone, that I was subconsciously reaching for ideas that I knew would work, and ended up overshooting the mark and getting dangerously close to self-parody.

But, with all that being said, I still kind of like this story, which is a relief. And it's mainly because I still like Mouse, and so I'm glad that you do, too.

Anyway, like I said, whether or not my Mouse turns out to be your Mouse, I'm hoping that we'll run into her again! And -- hopefully -- no nuns, next time. :)

Thanks again for reading, Raven! I really appreciate it!

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:14 pm 
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Yaaaaaaaaaay! All abord the SNA4W train! :D

When I was a kid, I had a little wooden whistle that made a sound like a train. Imagine that I am blowing that horn now.

:party:

Anyway, I love this, Raven! Thanks so much for sharing!

Thanks!

Beyond the pure audacity of doing all four cards, for which I offer a tip o' the old cap,

I was first drawn to Stealer of Secrets, as you were. Then I thought it would be pretty interesting if what she were stealing were a Dark Ritual. Then I realized that, in some weird ways, Dark Ritual and Harrow do similar things. Which led to my decision to do all four! It also leads us to...

I particularly love the framing device of something for something versus something for nothing. That's a really cool parallel between Harrow and Dark Ritual which I never would have noticed, and, beyond that, even, I feel like it actually says a lot about black and green color identity, too. So I love the way you kind of used that right at the beginning to represent the two cards and the correspondent philosophies.

I do love when I have the opportunity to get philosophical, especially with color philosophy. Writing this reminded my of my Dueling Couplets, which of course features a duel between a 'walker and a 'walker. I had a lot of fun with it, considering it's a relatively small portion of this relatively small story.

I love the dueling equipment that gets worked into the mix, too.

Whispersilk Cloak was in for necessity, or else our hero would be noticed. The Jousting Lance was in to justify why the Benalish Honor Guard, even with the +2/+0 for her Legendary charges, would take out the Stealer without also getting taken out.

Anyway, I hope this was fun to play around with!

It was indeed!


Thanks so much for reading, and for the very kind words! I have been hopelessly in love with the concept of mouseomancy ever since you coined that term,

Honestly, until I went back and reread that section of The War of the Wheel, I had forgotten that I called it mouseomancy. I remembered coming up with it, but for some reason, I thought you had applied that term later.

You guys let me get away with too much...

:D

and I think I may even have mentioned at some point -- in a PM or a comment or something somewhere -- that I had notions about wanting to take that character (who I think, canonically, was supposed to be dead -- or at least was heavily implied to be dead, even if Fisco never produced the body, so to speak) and to maybe try to do something with her, because that one little expository glimpse we had from Fisco's description had stuck with me so clearly.

Yeah, it's never stated what happened to her. Fisco just says, quite ominously, that "one day she broke into the wrong vault." This is not established canon or anything, but I've always sort of assumed that meant that she broke into Fisco's vault. And that, I would presume, has...consequences...

Anyway, like I said, whether or not my Mouse turns out to be your Mouse, I'm hoping that we'll run into her again! And -- hopefully -- no nuns, next time. :)

I hope so, too. And don't worry about the nuns. In fact, I think you should do a story where Mouse shows the nuns the error of their ways, and really provides them with an opportunity to increase their wisdom.

You can call in "Nuns the Wiser"...

:D

Thanks again for reading, Raven! I really appreciate it!

Thank you for posting!


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 2:52 am 
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@Mousetrap: I liked how the guilds (and with it the planar setting) enter the scene pretty lately. I too noticed the familiarity of cruel nuns; by the way, what god do they believe in, if any? I thought the Orzhov had more or less the religious monopoly in Ravnica. Is Mouse ended up in Jakkard? It makes sense that she 'walked for the first time in a plane in which access is limited by a big barrier with a small opening :D I wouldn't mind hearing more about her.

@Legendary, Harrowing, Secret Rituals: I appreciated the numerous nods to the cards: how only the legendary creatures are named, that the new forest is exactly twice as big as the old one, the matching of the instants and the creatures, the mirrored couple of artifacts... all very good stuff.

I particularly love the framing device of something for something versus something for nothing. That's a really cool parallel between Harrow and Dark Ritual which I never would have noticed, and, beyond that, even, I feel like it actually says a lot about black and green color identity, too. So I love the way you kind of used that right at the beginning to represent the two cards and the correspondent philosophies.

I do love when I have the opportunity to get philosophical, especially with color philosophy. Writing this reminded my of my Dueling Couplets, which of course features a duel between a 'walker and a 'walker. I had a lot of fun with it, considering it's a relatively small portion of this relatively small story.

If I may analyze it one step further, it's telling that Morvach thinks he's not paying anything. Because if we consider spells to be, like, mind space, Dark Ritual makes you pay in a way that's not immediately noticeable. With Harrow, you start with two cards (the spell in your hand and the land you control) and you end with two cards. With Dark Ritual, you lose that card in exchange for a very brief burst in power. So Dark Ritual is more like a bet: will the nefarious plan I'm hatching prove worthy of burning resources that are very precious in the long run? The Harrow-ing mage will have a clearer mind (two less lands in their library) and a tangible staying power, so when mental stamina runs out (both with very few cards in hand and probably forced to rely on topdeck), that power burst can cost you dearly.

Quote:
Fisco just says, quite ominously, that "one day she broke into the wrong vault." This is not established canon or anything, but I've always sort of assumed that meant that she broke into Fisco's vault. And that, I would presume, has...consequences...

That's what I assumed too, reading that part, but one could hope than Mouse merely paid with most of her hoarded secrets and wordly possessions. Or, depending on the moment in Fisco's life, she could have been turned into a useful minion, with the right guarantees.

Quote:
You can call in "Nuns the Wiser"...

*sigh*

Thank you both for sharing!

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To anybody reading this, including my future selves: have a good life!

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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 3:59 pm 
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I absolutely adore Mouse; it's amazing that she fits so well with both the card and Fisco's tale.

Somehow, I picture most charity homes on Ravnica as being run by Selesnya; this one sounds a bit more Orzhov, though, and I can imagine them running one if they could guarantee some sort of payment for their services.

"Legendary, Harrowing, Secret Rituals" is interesting for the contrasts it portrays, though the description of the dark ritual is perhaps a bit on the nose, and I have a hard time believing that a jousting lance could be overlooked. That difference in philosophy, though, is profound.

I actually did write a short piece on Saturday, but due to circumstances, it was on paper. I might get around to posting it sometime, though.


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 4:55 pm 
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I hope everyone's excited for another Saturday! Because SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALRIGHT FOR WRITING!

(For the record, Saturday morning and afternoon and evening are also just fine for writing. :D)

This week's prompts are:

Giant Growth
Scourge of Fleets
Veteran Bodyguard
Serra Angel

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 7:05 pm 
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There's something about that bodyguard that catches my attention...
Spoiler


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 10:14 pm 
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Oh my goodness, I did this and then forgot to post. Here's my gawd-awful piece for Serra Angel:

Spoiler

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 10:48 pm 
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The Fleets of Doorinar


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 10:40 am 
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I feel like I missed the part where it's poetry night this week. And... that doesn't stand up as well on its own as I'd thought. Here, have a part II:
Spoiler


@Serra's Light: I would love to see that illustrated as a children's bedtime book. Such a sweet little message, and a fun nod to the storyline.

@The Fleets of Doorinar: How much did Raiker have to do with the placement of that Kraken, I wonder? And here we see exactly what he meant about scale not truly increasing the tragedy.


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 11:30 am 
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Brentain wrote:
I feel like I missed the part where it's poetry night this week. And... that doesn't stand up as well on its own as I'd thought.

I was originally going to do a story, like last week, probably that featured multiple cards again. But the last two days have been fairly awful, if I'm being honest, and I'm kind of freaking out a bit about some personal stuff. Anyway, long story short, it got to be about a quarter after ten last night and I hadn't started, and I didn't want to jump off the train already on week 2, so I basically said "Screw it, I'll just write a poem." Then I read Orcish's piece and he had done something poetic, as well, but I figured, "that's fine. At least I got something written."

@Brentain


@Orcish


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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 1:46 am 
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@Brentain: I spotted the reference from the first part alone, but it's nice to have some elegant confirmation. Good use of the card's flavor text!

@Orcish: I'd be OK with a little less strength myself :D Another good use of flavor text, and very few can rival OL when it comes to emotional dialogue; however, it feels a bit... clumsy? I got the feeling you weren't very confident in some of your stylistic choices. Nevertheless, a good work, especially for this kind of project.

@Raven: Unfortunately poetry in foreign languages often loses its shine for my brain; that said, I quite enjoyed this one. The plans of mice an man, huh? It's always interesting to me to have a perspective of the amount of people, time and resources directly or indirectly dedicated to a project, and the juxtaposition with the immense monster creates an awesome (in the most literal sense) and terrible sense of scale.

Thank you all for sharing!

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 6:48 am 
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ACK! I forgot to post the prompts yesterday!

Anyway, this week's prompts are:

Clue Token
Forest
Charmed Pendant
Veteran's Sidearm

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 4:32 pm 
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A very belated tip-of-the-cap to last week's SNA4W stories, all of which -- with the exception of mine -- were wonderful! :)

@ Brentain -- It's a testament to how good your story is that, even though I'm thick as a brick and didn't catch the woman's identity until everyone else pointed it out, I really enjoyed both pieces! The dialog is especially good, and Lawrence gets in some lines that are so snappy they had me smiling. And, having finally cottoned on to what's going on behind the scenes (beneath the eyepatch?), I absolutely love the connection you made between the card and the M:EM. Thank you so much for sharing!

@ Raven -- I love this poem! In particular there's something very fittingly Homeric about it, for a Theros card. Something about the line about the "Academies and Schools" reminds me very much of Greek mythology, and the notion that all these young aristocrats would just get on boats and go out raiding, because that was the sort of thing you did back then if you were playing at hero. I just get a very Jason and the Agronauts vibe off of the whole thing, and the poetry, as usual, is excellent. :) Thank you so much for sharing!


However, it feels a bit... clumsy? I got the feeling you weren't very confident in some of your stylistic choices.

I mean, "clumsy" is being kind. It's just bad. :) It's 50 percent Dr. Seuss, and that's the worst possible percent Seuss you can be. 0 percent Seuss is fine. 100 percent Seuss is great! 50 percent Seuss is a train wreck.

This is one of those pieces where, if I had time, I'd either totally rework it, or just bury it in the cellar, leave quietly, and pretend like it never even happened. But the whole point of doing these challenges for me is to work within the timebox, and just write for the sake of writing, and to try to not be so self-conscious about it. So I'm determined to post what I come up with, even when I'm not happy with it. This is one of those cases, but, hey, this is how I learn and get better! :)


* * *


Anyway, here's my piece for this week! I found myself drawn to Veteran's Sidearm, and this one, thankfully, I like!

The Blade

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Last edited by OrcishLibrarian on Sat May 12, 2018 11:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 6:52 pm 
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Here's my story for the week. Enjoy!

A Clue in the Forest


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 7:07 pm 
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@Orcish: That's a beautiful moment, and ties in fabulously with the flavor text.

@Raven: I love these little backstory moments, and it's amazing to see the four cards working together without feeling forced.

For my part, hints of a couple of prompts decided to work their way into Lawrence's story:

Part III


I'm having fun with this, and I'm glad to see it's been received well no matter when the reveal hits.


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