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Ytlaya
Nov 13, 2005

0.000% of Communism has been built. Evil child-murdering billionaires still rule the world with a shit-eating grin.

Omi no Kami posted:

I think my primary gripe with the concept is that it's far too sweeping in scope, and used in an incredibly clumsy manner. Like, I'm not a weirdo rationalist person arguing that every story should be a fair-play whodunnit, but PGtE has pulled the narrative reality warping card so many times, and established so few rules for it, that it's impossible for readers to make even broad educated guesses about where the story is going. In most stories, cause and effect are a thing: if a guy with a gun bursts into a room, you're safe thinking "Oh no, someone might get shot." But under PGtE's ruleset, and based on how the author has used it in the past, I feel like the only important thing is what happened offscreen: if the guy lost a fight with the office's occupant years ago and tied him in an arm-wrestling contest, the gun has a good chance of going off, unless the guy being shot at is secretly the lost son of the gunman, unless secretly his did was actually his mom all along, unless one of a hundred different things.

My point being, nothing the audience is shown matters: the narrative thingie essentially gives the author complete, arbitrary fiat, something they've exercised liberally throughout the story. That in turn makes me feel like my time would be better spent reading one-sentence summaries of each twist, because astonishingly little connective tissue between those twists actually contributes to the outcome we get to see onscreen.

What are some examples? I can't think of anything that has felt overly contrived.

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Plorkyeran
Mar 21, 2007

To Escape The Shackles Of The Old Forums, We Must Reject The Tribal Negativity He Endorsed


My complaint about PGtE is that it leans very heavily on the PoV character carefully not thinking about a subject so that it can be a surprise when it actually happens. It's a story that really wants to be third person.

GrandmaParty
Jan 31, 2003

My LPth are Hot Garbage

Biscuit Hider

Any recommendations similar to Dungeon Crawler Carl? He's just having so much drat fun with it.

Omi no Kami
Feb 19, 2014




Ytlaya posted:

What are some examples? I can't think of anything that has felt overly contrived.

My PGtE lore is quite dusty since I fell off around the... fourth arc, I think? I basically got to Akua's dumbass flying fortress plan being defeated, said to myself "Wow, that feels like a really good and natural ending point for this story," and when the subsequent thing started dragging I shifted from regularly reading to skimming every so often when I got bored. Also, I'll totally own that this might be me being weird, and not bother anyone else. But in general, this is the sort of thing that triggers the irritation I was describing-

Everything to do with the rule of three. It would've been fine if it'd only happened in the first arc to establish how stuff works, but it grew into this horrible behemoth where nobody ever wants to win and then tie, because that locks you into a loss no matter what you actually do.

Cool werewolf mom (Captain, I think?) fighting an inexperienced hero, dominating the battle decisively, only to lose at the last minute because they'd secretly been sneaking virgins in among the military units she raided, and "werewolf eats virgins" means that the werewolf loses.

Katherine's entire plan to create the grand alliance- I can't remember how it worked, I just recall that after a tremendous amount of time spent hanging out with heroes and politicians who openly disliked her and had no intention of joining, she got a one-chapter thing from Akua's perspective that basically went "And then Katherine pulled out a bunch of story threads from behind the curtain that nobody had known were there, and everyone had to do what she said or lose, because story."

Omi no Kami fucked around with this message at 04:21 on Apr 8, 2021

Sailor Dave
Sep 19, 2013


Plorkyeran posted:

My complaint about PGtE is that it leans very heavily on the PoV character carefully not thinking about a subject so that it can be a surprise when it actually happens. It's a story that really wants to be third person.

The whole "character has a secret plan that they donít reveal in their first-person narration" type of thing is really annoying and I see it pretty much everywhere, but I kind of get why it exists. If the readers know the whole plan beforehand, it isn't as surprising and exciting when they follow through (supposedly.) Doesn't really make it less irritating to me, but I guess it's a necessary evil.

Omi no Kami
Feb 19, 2014




Sailor Dave posted:

The whole "character has a secret plan that they donít reveal in their first-person narration" type of thing is really annoying and I see it pretty much everywhere, but I kind of get why it exists. If the readers know the whole plan beforehand, it isn't as surprising and exciting when they follow through (supposedly.) Doesn't really make it less irritating to me, but I guess it's a necessary evil.

Ignoring PGtE for a moment and looking at the unspoken plan guarantee as a general writing thing I think the trope itself is not necessarily a problem, but if you notice it, it's a big problem. Movies generally do this the best, since they're so tightly edited and cut for time: if a plan is going to happen offscreen without a hitch, just go "Let's do that thing we did in the Riveria last year, that always works," then cut to them walking out of the casino with the diamond or whatever. If it's happening onscreen, then yeah- either leave the details vague so we can enjoy watching the plan unfold in front of us, or tell us what's supposed to happen so we understand the context and stakes when it goes wrong.

Where PGtE makes a misstep is that it constantly hides information from the reader that its viewpoint protagonists have, but it also frequently refuses to actually show us the plan unfolding. As a result you get Katherine spending 20+ chapters going "Luckily, I knew something that they did not, and a certain something, somewhere, would happen sometime, and it would change everything," then in a single chapter saying "Yeah, so remember how I said there was a plan? There was, and it happened, so I win." That's not how you set up and pay off a plan, that's just lazy writing.

Squinty
Aug 12, 2007


Ytlaya posted:

What are some examples? I can't think of anything that has felt overly contrived.

For me the tipping point was Cat getting stabbed in the neck. I feel like there should have been at least a moment of doubt or tension or something, but there just wasn't. It's starting to feel like most of the rules in PGtE boil down to "I'm losing, therefore I win", the Kung Pao theory of combat. It was lots of fun when Cat was being clever and punching above her weight class against Akua and the Fae, but now that the conflict's come down to a bunch of puppetmasters puppeteering each other to death, it just makes everything really tedious to me. But I haven't started book 7, so maybe things are getting better.

tithin
Nov 14, 2003

[Grandmaster Tactician]



It isn't.

Won't spoil anything for you, but it definitely hasn't improved as of the most recent chapter

blastron
Dec 11, 2007

Don't doodle on it!



I enjoy this kind of story and the author does a fair amount of work dropping hints about things that are in motion off-screen so itís never really bothered me. Until this most recent chapter. God drat was that egregious. Not even the tiniest part of the chapter had any tension to it.

shirunei
Sep 7, 2018

I tried to run away. To take the easy way out. I'll live through the suffering. When I die, I want to feel like I did my best.

blastron posted:

I enjoy this kind of story and the author does a fair amount of work dropping hints about things that are in motion off-screen so itís never really bothered me. Until this most recent chapter. God drat was that egregious. Not even the tiniest part of the chapter had any tension to it.

It wasn't supposed to? she knocked out archer specifically because she knew they wouldn't touch her

blastron
Dec 11, 2007

Don't doodle on it!



shirunei posted:

It wasn't supposed to? she knocked out archer specifically because she knew they wouldn't touch her

It was literally an entire chapter of Catherine repeatedly saying ďI am going to winĒ while events unfolded offscreen. It followed a cliffhanger that ended on the Woe realizing that they had been very precisely manipulated into a very tightly-crafted trap, but instead of that trap having any sort of consequences we just get a few thousand words of Catherine being undiplomatic and then she wins. Sure, this makes sense in-universe, but it was intensely unsatisfying. Itís the exact problem as Squinty was bringing up, done extremely egregiously.

This whole bookís been pretty lackluster so far, to be honest. Weíre 10 chapters in and it still feels like weíre in the prologue. Everything either goes according to plan or the losses either arenít meaningful or are just numbers. Are we going to see any stakes soon?

GreyjoyBastard
Mar 28, 2010


I've made a huge mistake.



on a brighter note, while I had been poking around the edges of the revelation we got this pracguide chapter, it's still very cool and cooler than my theories

blastron
Dec 11, 2007

Don't doodle on it!



GreyjoyBastard posted:

on a brighter note, while I had been poking around the edges of the revelation we got this pracguide chapter, it's still very cool and cooler than my theories

Oh! Stakes!

Lone Goat
Apr 16, 2003

When life gives you lemons, suplex those lemons.






Curious if you people got the really mad at the end of The Usual Suspects

Brain Candy
May 18, 2006



Lone Goat posted:

Curious if you people got the really mad at the end of The Usual Suspects

Yeah, I do not understand the disappointment at all.

avoraciopoctules
Oct 22, 2012

What is this kid's DEAL?!



Omi no Kami posted:

Where PGtE makes a misstep is that it constantly hides information from the reader that its viewpoint protagonists have, but it also frequently refuses to actually show us the plan unfolding. As a result you get Katherine spending 20+ chapters going "Luckily, I knew something that they did not, and a certain something, somewhere, would happen sometime, and it would change everything," then in a single chapter saying "Yeah, so remember how I said there was a plan? There was, and it happened, so I win." That's not how you set up and pay off a plan, that's just lazy writing.

I've also found that it makes the protagonist come off as kind of obnoxious. I'm rooting for her to fail more often than not. It's kind of a shame that the bonus chapters are delayed-access now, because I always appreciated a break from Cat's bullshit. Generally, other characters are more enjoyable to read about.

Ytlaya
Nov 13, 2005

0.000% of Communism has been built. Evil child-murdering billionaires still rule the world with a shit-eating grin.

Catherine being smug doesn't bother me because earlier in the series she got owned constantly (the entire Fey arc was her being manipulated by the Winter king and the entire drow arc ended in her completely failing at the goal she was working up to until that point and just earnestly pleading with Sve Noc). And the previous book ended in the dead king completely defeating her and her getting bailed out by the Pilgrim's sacrifice.

The only arc where Catherine pretty consistently out-smarts everyone is the one immediately following the drow arc.

edit: There's also the whole completely failed "let's visit the Dead King" arc. Catherine's history is pretty much full of "won the battle but lost the war" situations.

Ytlaya fucked around with this message at 07:13 on Apr 10, 2021

avoraciopoctules
Oct 22, 2012

What is this kid's DEAL?!



Ytlaya posted:

Catherine's history is pretty much full of "won the battle but lost the war" situations.

That's a pretty good point... which makes it kind of annoying that she's in charge now. I mean, I've heard of failing upwards, but this is getting kind of absurd.

I wouldn't say that PGtE has a universally unpleasant lead, and there's certainly high points. However, I think the bonus chapters being way more fun to read says some unfortunate things about the protagonist.

Megazver
Jan 13, 2006


Being the lead is hard. You have to present during and carry the entire story, including all the bits in between the really fun stuff. Side-characters have the luxury of only showing up when it'd be awesome for them to do so.

Ytlaya
Nov 13, 2005

0.000% of Communism has been built. Evil child-murdering billionaires still rule the world with a shit-eating grin.

avoraciopoctules posted:

That's a pretty good point... which makes it kind of annoying that she's in charge now. I mean, I've heard of failing upwards, but this is getting kind of absurd.

I wouldn't say that PGtE has a universally unpleasant lead, and there's certainly high points. However, I think the bonus chapters being way more fun to read says some unfortunate things about the protagonist.

There's not exactly some literary requirement that only fair/good things happen in stories, though. Catherine being a hypocrite about wanting to stay in power despite repeatedly saying that she wants to pass it to someone else at the first opportunity is explicitly part of her characterization.

Though in the case of the Dead King war there aren't really any better options, since she's essentially necessary to bring villainous Named into the fight (and she is generally far more mature now than she was earlier in the series).

Peachfart
Jan 21, 2017



The biggest problem with PGfE is that the whole Good/Evil thing that was interesting and most of the draw has been left out to focus on big bad dude that is super powerful and blah blah. I don't care about the big bad dude, he isn't that interesting because literally every boring web serial eventually goes the route of the big bad dude.

lurksion
Mar 21, 2013


Going to drop this here rather than Web Novel.

English language isekei wuxia (xianxia?) just starting out, set in the traditional eastern settings. It's taking things slowly, e.g. 5 chapter prologue pre-isekei, but very well written and very evocative imagery. It's tacking in a very different direction (philosophical/meditation) than the stages of powerups that gets translated (and then mimicked).

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/41852/the-last-ship-in-suzhou

Think it'll be quite good going forward.

Ytlaya
Nov 13, 2005

0.000% of Communism has been built. Evil child-murdering billionaires still rule the world with a shit-eating grin.

lurksion posted:

Going to drop this here rather than Web Novel.

English language isekei wuxia (xianxia?) just starting out, set in the traditional eastern settings. It's taking things slowly, e.g. 5 chapter prologue pre-isekei, but very well written and very evocative imagery. It's tacking in a very different direction (philosophical/meditation) than the stages of powerups that gets translated (and then mimicked).

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/41852/the-last-ship-in-suzhou

Think it'll be quite good going forward.

This is very interesting, thanks. Much better written than most WNs.

Lone Goat
Apr 16, 2003

When life gives you lemons, suplex those lemons.






Ytlaya posted:

This is very interesting, thanks. Much better written than most WNs.

Started losing interest when the author spent three paragraphs describing what a library was, checked out completely in chapter three. The descriptions of everything are long winded and laborious, get to the point dude, I do not need to know the process of how a roof is assembled.

Jazerus
May 24, 2011



Lone Goat posted:

Started losing interest when the author spent three paragraphs describing what a library was, checked out completely in chapter three. The descriptions of everything are long winded and laborious, get to the point dude, I do not need to know the process of how a roof is assembled.

how will you rise to be a profound disciple of the pure realm without knowing how to assemble a roof

smdh here

Piell
Sep 3, 2006

Grey Worm's Ken doll-like groin throbbed with the anticipatory pleasure that only a slightly warm and moist piece of lemoncake could offer



Young Orc

Jazerus posted:

how will you rise to be a profound disciple of the pure realm without knowing how to assemble a roof

smdh here

You're certainly going to need to know how to disassemble one, how else are you going to take away all the valuable roof tiles

Megazver
Jan 13, 2006


https://twitter.com/Merryweatherey/status/1382104388697743366

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



What kind of a texan rides public transport

DACK FAYDEN
Feb 25, 2013

Bear Witness

Given the sound effects, I assume he's from like 1920 or something.

Affi
Dec 18, 2005

Break bread wit the enemy

X GON GIVE IT TO YA


So TWI

What did Teriarch forget? The story made a big deal of it at the end?

A big flaming stink
Apr 26, 2010


Affi posted:

So TWI

What did Teriarch forget? The story made a big deal of it at the end?

He forgot he was a dragon

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006



What a dork.

Also now apparently it's good and cool what the goblins are doing but the gnolls aren't allowed? Pirate's pets can do no wrong. rags <3

Peachfart
Jan 21, 2017



90s Cringe Rock posted:

What a dork.

Also now apparently it's good and cool what the goblins are doing but the gnolls aren't allowed? Pirate's pets can do no wrong. rags <3

What? Can you clarify maybe a bit?

Chillyrabbit
Oct 24, 2012

The only sword wielding rabbit on the internet




Ultra Carp

Peachfart posted:

What? Can you clarify maybe a bit?

Rag's goblins are raiding Drake Hectval caravans, which is hampering the war effort against Liscor shown as a plus. The Woven Bladegrass Gnoll tribe sacked a Drake city trying to provoke a war and assumedly increase Gnoll's power/land shown as a negative

2 different reason's but it shows that one is favored as having a "correct" reason and seen a positive, while the other is seen negatively.

berenzen
Jan 23, 2012





Chillyrabbit posted:

Rag's goblins are raiding Drake Hectval caravans, which is hampering the war effort against Liscor shown as a plus. The Woven Bladegrass Gnoll tribe sacked a Drake city trying to provoke a war and assumedly increase Gnoll's power/land shown as a negative

2 different reason's but it shows that one is favored as having a "correct" reason and seen a positive, while the other is seen negatively.

It turns out that the reasoning why you commit violence happens to be perceived differently, yes. There is a difference between (Patreon spoiler) contributing to an ongoing war and committing unprovoked violence and how that is perceived by people.

Peachfart
Jan 21, 2017



Chillyrabbit posted:

Rag's goblins are raiding Drake Hectval caravans, which is hampering the war effort against Liscor shown as a plus. The Woven Bladegrass Gnoll tribe sacked a Drake city trying to provoke a war and assumedly increase Gnoll's power/land shown as a negative

2 different reason's but it shows that one is favored as having a "correct" reason and seen a positive, while the other is seen negatively.

Those two things aren't really comparable, as noted in the previous post. The reason you do things matters.

Argue
Sep 29, 2005

I represent the Philippines

Not to mention that it's noted right there, by the narrator, that what Rags is doing isn't justice but is merely good enough for the people involved--people who participated in and lost their own members to the war against Hectval.

Anias
Jun 3, 2010

It really is a lovely hat


Goblins!!! is a great reason to stop reading TWI.

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006



Goblins own.

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Neurophage
Oct 11, 2012


I started reading The Wandering Inn recently and I'm now about halfway through volume 1.

a)I don't have very high standards for web novel prose but this:

quote:

The darkness hides many imperfections. The nether shade conceals those who find the sun taxing and bright light an anathema. The faint light that is not truest blackness but dark shade, where only faint outlines are visible conjures nightmares for humans and those related to their kind.

is terrible. And the dialogue is so full of pointless padding:

quote:

“I’m quite well, Miss Solstice. Or—may I call you Erin?”

“Please. I’m getting sick of being called Miss Solstice. I feel like my mom.”

“Apologies.”

Klbkch bowed his head which made Erin feel guilty. She changed the subject fast.

“Are you two enjoying your meal? Anything I can get you?”

“Another glass of the blue juice perhaps?”

Olesm raised his glass and Erin topped it off. He smiled at her.

“It is quite tasty.”

“Thanks.”


b)It's hard to say anything about the story itself, because very little has happened after about 100k words. Wildbow feels tightly edited compared to this.

c)Rape goblins

Does it get any better, or should I stop now?


Unrelated to the Wandering Inn, I recently finished Book 1 of Into the Mire, which was very good and the length of a normal novel. Are there any more web novels like it?

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