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PhycoKrusk (fi'ko-krüs'k) n. that jerk whose user page you accidentally wandered into



Jacoby Flynn- Jake to his friends- is a griffon of many talents, chief among them the griffon magic of runecasting, invention, and a love of science and experimentation. He’s also “on-call” when certain matters in and around his hometown of Griffondorf need to be investigated and dealt with discretely, creatively, or both.

But with the recent upheavals in Equestria brought about by the arrival of Skitch-Sketch, an alien being from another world once known as “Jake” herself, accompanying events in the North Griffon Confederation will intertwine both their destinies at the dawning of a new era.

A companion story to GreyGuardPony’s Of Kingdoms and Cutie-Marks, set in the Skitchverse. Reading isn’t required, but boy howdy, will it ever give you context.

Chapters (5)
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Comments ( 21 )

This was a good beginning, but I can't help but feel that the story was rather rushed. There wasn't enough time given to these events and characters, so they flew by too quickly to keep track of. Still, the setup was decent.

I really like Alexis. Great dialogue and interplay, but it took three tries to get through the opening description of Jake's wishbone vest. Thank the author that there was good humor beyond it.

On to the critque!

I'd hesitate to describe this as a rushed effort. There's entirely too much information in the descriptions for this to be anything but purposeful. We're given distance from desk to wall, placement of plants, the relative cleanliness of a liquor cabnet, and of course, the fashion of the day. My concern is one of utility and contribution to the narrative.
The details lend to a world thick with description, sensation, information. They don't seem to do much with it, though. From a storytelling perspective, descriptions are still information, and information serves to move the plot forward, establish the actors, set a scene, etc. I don't know that you do that.
The moment where Jake takes a second to observe the Duchess' waiting room, for instance. The sheer amount of detail should tell me something; that the room is harsh and intentionally rough, that it feels that way to Jake, that he expects that from the Duchess, that he is an observant individual. Except we know he can be distracted from the donut thing, and you tell us how the Duchess treats her callers. So... I dunno that it helps. It sets a tempo and tone of... slow. Methodolical. Somewhat meloncholic.
Compare that to her hello. "Herr Flynn. Never wonderful to see you."
I want to marry that line. I want to work 80 hours a week in a cubical dungeon so that I can save up and get that line a nice vacation and get our little hybrid sound/meat children a college fund. It immediately informs character, tone, expression. It evokes posture, history, facial features. In those eight words, you give me a scene that immediately envokes film Noire, to the point where I can't help but hear the music. Magnificent.
The narrator to me seems another character; Dry of wit and clinical in observation. Very much the british guy who does the voice-overs for Hitchhiker's guide. The others are rich enough that they have their own voices, and there's just enough dissonance between them that you have a harmony.
Also, it's funny when it wants to be, which is a bloody good thing. Thanks for writing, plz snd moar.

That may have been the nicest thing someone has ever said about something I wrote. A thousand, thousand thank yous.

As for most of the rest, I admit its a problem I've always had, where it sometimes takes me a bit to really nail down a character's, well, character (as evidenced by the Jacoby we see here having diverged noticeably from the notes I had written initially). Historically, I struggle with humor too, so I'm happy to hear that seems to be working out.

Yes I went there. :-P

Whoo, been a bit.

Quick thoughts; dialogue remains tight, and the best flow for this piece is certainly when Jacob and Alexios are out exploring the phenomina. It's fun, sharply paced, and accurately portrays the magic not as something hostile but rather as something weird. Excellent use of accents and politics; Count Hansel was particularly fun. I'm a bit iffy about the Frog, though. The worst for me is a paragraph near the begining that we'll be performing surgery on below.

"The space in between the two, where the main deck was located, was opened to the air, giving it an appearance more similar to a sailing ship than an airship."

Ah, for a grammar natzi emoticon...
The issue here is clarity. If this line is read, it comes across like a classroom reading; the narrator sounds breathless, distracted, and uncertain of what comes next. What seems to be the intent is an aside; "The space between the two (where the main deck was located) was opened to the air, giving it an appearance more similiar to a sailing ship than an airship."
But it still is clunky. I dislike sentences that just describe instead of doing things. This is a skyship, clouds passing by as sea spray, birds flying up over the bow like flying fish. Both describe, but actions evokes while beings fossilize. Well, they tend to, anyway.
Mechanically, the subject is... the boat? The space between the envelope and the gondola? 'It' from the last quarter is clearly referring to the vessel itself, but the thing that was open to the air is to be the deck, not the ship as a whole. Also, referring to the two from the paragraph before is kind of a faux paus; it's close enough that the reader should know, but a paragraph means this is a seperate idea. It should be talking about a different thing.
And then there's the commas. Commas are there for lists and to indicate brief pauses. Generally, you don't have a whole lot in a sentence unless something has gone wrong. This is an example of the latter.
All of this removes clarity from the piece. It disrupts narrative flow, and at least for this reader, almost immediately ejects me from the story.

"There we even a fore- and mainmast that extended upward, serving as locations beyond the lengths of steel cable where the gondola was anchored to the envelope."

I never thought that taking up MLP fanfiction would increase my vocabulary so much.

"And at the stern stood an enclosed cabin, pentagonal in shape to allow the wind to flow around it as it drove forward, that housed a large panel of navigational instruments, a long, narrow table over which several maps were spread and clamped down flat, the helm and associated controls, and at that particular moment in time, Jacoby Flynn as he guided Die Trauer Stern through the sky towards Adlerheim, pushed through the air by two whirling propellers aft of the cabin."
:derpyderp1: What?
:twilightoops: What?
:raritycry: WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN-!?

Hokay. After taking this one apart, I'm pretty sure that the simple, blunt, and artless skeleton of this is actually four ideas, and thereby four sentences. "There is a cabin at the front of the ship. It has maps and buttons. Jacob pilots the ship from there. Propellers on the cabin push the ship forward."

Now, you can certainly string those ideas together in a sentence, but the question that has to arise is if one should. The more ideas are strung together, the more the sentence turns from concise and clear to rambling and stumbling. That tends to work greate as dialogue; kids sound like this a LOT; but for the otherwise refined, dry wit narrator? It sounds rather like his nephew got the mic and ran off with it for a minute.

Once again, though; this is a good chapter. The paragraph gave me fits, but it was well worth wading through.

1) Where the hell have you been?

2) I had issues with the parts you mentioned myself (except the frog), even though I liked the chapter as a whole.

3) "And at the stern stood an enclosed cabin, pentagonal in shape to allow the wind to flow around it as it drove forward, that housed a large panel of navigational instruments, a long, narrow table over which several maps were spread and clamped down flat, the helm and associated controls, and at that particular moment in time, Jacoby Flynn as he guided Die Trauer Stern through the sky towards Adlerheim, pushed through the air by two whirling propellers aft of the cabin.”

… I have no idea how this could have happened. The last time I saw that many commas in a row, they were followed by a stack overflow.

Well, if I had to estimate; I'd put it at least a week since the last chapter. Perhaps two. I'll have to confess I didn't think much on it; tis more relevent to know that time has passed than how much has gone.

Okay, to review; I'm begining to suspect the introductions are going to be the rough part. I spotted a few typos, another confused sentence, general frustrations and all that at the begining. It was distracting; and as you saw in the last one, I'm something of a grammar natzi; ze english must be PURE! n' all dat.

But then, they started talking again and BOOM: Magic's back! Perhaps it's simply Hansel's charm and wit, or Jacob's earnest ingenuity and potential mad scientist-ness. Regardless, I couldn't keep away the Sherlock theme by the end.

There was one line that made me weep for the lost oppertunity. Hansel notes Jacob's belief that half a cup of absinthe would induce visions, then the half empty bottle. The repetition seems a solid setup for a joke, or even a witty observation, something like 'One would have to wonder if Jacob believed half a bottle could solve a mystery,' or even use such a punchline to introduce the half empty bottle itself.

Alas, I shall have to content myself with an interesting mystery and enjoyable banter.

1) Oh, real life stuff. I'm gonna get through the rest of this and start up on your next piece by the end of the week, though... maybe Sunday.

2-3) Best thing I've ever seen for maintaining tone and timbre in a piece is just reading through it aloud. The ear picks up a lot the eyes don't.
If you need a proofer, let me know; I tend to be a bit slow, but you've already seen what I tend to do. :twistnerd:

So, a solid characterization of the nation itself, spelling out the conflict writ large for those of us too obtuse (myself in this case) to see.
Dialogue, as always, is smooth, effective, and lends characterization. I can hear them in the text, Micheal Dorn's timbre for Alexios, Harrison Ford with a solid German accent doing his best action Einstein for Jacoby. Given the precarious economic structure, the quick clamoring for war, I can't help but wonder if we're looking at a fantasy Wiemar republic, and a gryphon with a subpar painter's eye is currently penning his solution in a debtor's prison somewhere. Hm. Does that make the Elks Russia?

The intro is kind of abrupt, a very sharp cut from the last scene. Not bad, but the German names don't stick with me as well, so it took a second to click. Perhaps include a translation from Deutsche to English in the author's notes?

The actions are clear, not overwrought, nor overly simple. I'm still not entirely sure I get what Jacoby has managed to do (anti-magic, maybe?) but that's less important than the fact that it works, and that I as a reader have every reason to expect it to. You're hinting at a system instead of spelling it out, and a mystery of science in magic is a damn fine mystery.

Regarding the politics... looking back on the last chapter, when Jacoby and Alexios were traveling across the nation, it seems like that would've been a great time to hint at the conflict. Have one of the extras blame the misfortunes on Celestia, or include a naturalized pony who is facing blame for the oddities. Something small to prepare this scene. It still works, but could work a bit better.

I like the setup, and the characters are solid. Thank you for writing, and I'll get the epilogue next.

Yeah, I said I'd read this one tomorrow. I was wrong.
Okay... after having read through the pieces, I'm struck by the structure more than the content. By plot and characterization, it's a mystery piece. Not one with a clear villain or wrong-doer, but a conflict between economic and environmental woes, and the genius of life to overcome. One life in particular, but Jacob is the protagonist, so he gets to justify a lot of existence.

The mechanisms used to explore the world and frame the story, though...
There's clearly something big happening between each chapter. The shift from four to five, for instance, has Jake create... something, fire it at the uber-storm (I think?) and lose track of it. We don't know what it is, although we can suspect it's related to the problems his people are facing, and the disruption runes he wrought.
From 3 to 4, there was the creation of the sphere itself, improving on the disruption runes, testing and experimenting.
From 2 to 3? Jake's deductive process, involving a lot of chemicals, little food, and much work.
1 to 2? Gathering the airship, the information needed, and setting sail.
Now, of the 4 steps here, 3 are vital to the plot, but unimportant to the narrative. We don't need to know that he prepared his airship or gathered the info; we need to know he's traveling to fix things. But the lack of transitional phrases makes everything a smash cut. That works for most of the chapters, but here... here we need to unpack a lot and think about it to nail down what happened here. Since the whole thing is a reaction to prior events... that's risky.

The problem is one of needed information. Again, the dialogue and characterization carries the day, but without details, the reader is left to fill in the blanks. And this is an audience that loves 'em some headcanon.

Since you are working in prose, you don't need a lot. And from your own notes, it looks like this was an attempt to show rather than tell. Transitional phrases are all about telling; they're just more advanced variants on 'and time passes' after all.

Ultimately, I am left with the impression that the epilogue takes away a bit from the story. It leaves a muddled taste in my mind's eye, instead of setting up the subsequent adventures, I'm left with awareness of a hole in this one. I know logically that it will be filled as time passes, but you still wanna go for the feels, since that keeps us exploring.

Still like it though.

And just in time to get started on the next chapter in the Skitchverse saga, Rockets & Rainbooms.

Michigan J. Frog cameo!!! :pinkiehappy: That is all.
In all seriousness, very good story thus far.

This was marred somewhat by the critical sentence failure in the first paragraph — “there found be found a town” (What on earth happened there?) — which is usually a red flag. There was also a head‐scratcher — “Jacoby snapped his beak shut, grinding his teeth together” (Since when did gryphons have teeth?) — that I didn’t notice until I actively went looking for problems.

Those two quibbles aside, this was a great chapter, managing to seamlessly blend comedic and more serious elements without any semblance of jarring tone‐shifts. I’m looking forward to the rest.

"Found be found —" whoa. Oh, that is so fixed.

As for the issue of griffons having teeth: Griffons in FiM have always had teeth.

*before reading story*
Context? Who needs context? Context is for the normies that can't handle a little... fun.

*after reading story*
See? I'm just fine. It was an excellent story, and I look forward to reading the next one... tomorrow.

The departing airship itself measured a not-totally-insignificant seventy feet in length, and while certainly much smaller than larger airships measuring nearly a quart-mile in length, this one had been lovingly built one component at a time. The gondola hung suspended beneath the envelope, the former nearly as long and wide as the latter, made from wooden planks nailed to a frame and reinforced with thin bands of riveted steel, each one adorned along its length with runes of Old Griffon. The envelope itself was covered in dark, powdered metal and lacquered to protect it from the elements.


The final piece of this bizarre puzzle to catch Hänsel’s attention, however, was a bottle of green liquid, a small jar of sugar, and a recently used glass on a small table by the door. Even taking just a moment to examine the label on the bottle, written in Equestrian rather than Griffish, revealed the concoction to be absinthe, a brew of alcohol, herbs and extracts of Equestrian origin that he would continue to maintain was among the foulest tasting beverages he’d ever tried. It was said to expand the mind and induce visions, although it was almost certain those visions were creations of a mind that had been effective to what was essentially a mild poison. Hänsel was not quite certain he believed all the rumors regarding the supposed hallucinogenic properties of ‘the green faerie’ (as Equestrians allegedly called it), but Jacoby swore that half of a glass of absinthe would help him see the connections when there was some puzzle or equation he couldn’t quite solve.

IMO, you probably mean "affected by".

Both affected and effected are verb forms and their usage can get confusing. Effected means executed, produced, or brought about. To effect is to bring about or cause something to happen. For example, The dictatorial regime quickly effected changes to the constitution that restricted the freedom of the people.

On the other hand, affected means made an impact on. It is the past tense of the verb form of affect, which means to impact. For example, Carbon di-oxide emissions affected the environment.

So we can say that "The dictatorial regime quickly effected changes to the constitution the freedom of the people."

“All zat from a few visits to towns und villages? Jacoby, I know .....I....... say zis about you perhaps too frequently, but zat’s amazing. How did you even know ze ley lines vere to blame?”

You know how Queen used to stamp “No synthesizers” on their albums?

My stories are all stamped “No editing.”

The Other Jake

Is he from State Farm?

*tempted to remove story from read later*

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