Young Writers Society



Sunny and the Syntax Errors of Doom: Chapter 5.1

by Spearmint


Soon enough, Sunny, Robert, and Eniac were gathered around a small table inside Eniac's house. Sunny held a glass of water that displayed the label "glassOfWater" along with a number: 5.61, which Eniac had said was the number of ounces of water left in the glass. As she sipped, the number decreased.

"So." Eniac gestured towards the book that was laid open in front of him. "This was one of the books I wrote about incompatible types errors. I remember that it was a masterpiece! I included everything: information about the errors, their causes, and how to fix them. And I used pictures of my beloved variapets for examples." He looked sadly at the page, which was blank except for a few lonely words scattered here and there. "But now it's all gone. Even the pictures!"

Sunny hummed in sympathy. "I'm sincerely sorry for your loss, Eniac." She took another sip of water, then pulled out her notebook and pencil.

Robert grunted something that sounded like agreement. "That is unfortunate. But we already knew that all the information on errors is disappearing, didn't we?"

"Right." Sunny drew a two-column chart in her notebook, with the left column titled "Clues" and the right one column titled "Questions." She wrote down "error info disappearing" under "Clues."

"And the information's flying to Spaghetti Code Mountain, right?" Sunny scribbled that down too. "Do we have any clues on who or what's behind it all? Or is text flying around a common occurrence here?"

"No, not common at all. My best guess is someone used a spell to attract the error information." Eniac frowned at the table thoughtfully.

"A spell?"

"Like the ones I used on my variapets for the show. Speaking code with the right intent can help you inflict your will on your surroundings. For example, I used spells to set the variables' values."

"Oh! So that's why you were saying ‘semicolon' and ‘equal sign'? Do you have to say ‘semicolon' every time you cast a spell" Sunny couldn't help but feel that having to say "semicolon" every time one cast a spell was rather cumbersome, but oh well. Rule #5 was to never pass up an opportunity to learn about magic, and she would master the magic of this world, no matter what it took– even learning code.

"Exactly. Semicolons offer an effective way of signifying the end of the spell, although curly braces are used in some cases. Like conditionals. You need to travel along the Conditional River to get to Spaghetti Code Mountain, correct?"

Sunny nodded.

"Here's to hoping it's not polluted with extraneous code again," Robert muttered.

"Oh, come on, Robert. You know Method City has gotten a lot better with its waste management system. Anyhow, Sunny, I have a map here somewhere that shows you how to get from Variable Village to the Loop Factories. From there, it should be a straightforward trip on the Array Train to the mountain." Eniac started rummaging around on the nearby counters. "Not this… Oh, another precious work lost… At least this one still has my variapet photos… Aha!" Eniac turned back to Sunny and Robert, clutching a crinkled and folded piece of paper.

Sunny's eyes lit up. "Is it a map?"

"No, but it is a guide." Eniac spread the paper out on the table.

[Text:

if (temperature > 0 °C) {

Choose the left branch;

Continue until the next fork;

if (the right branch is very polluted) {

Choose the left branch;

} else if (the right branch is a little polluted) {

Choose the right branch;

Be careful not to touch the water;

} else {

Choose the right branch;

}

} else {

Choose the right branch; // The left branch is shallower and freezes faster!

]

The dots were drawn over folds of paper. Sunny opened one fold to see even more text. "How am I supposed to read this?" she asked, feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer length of the paper.

"Well, check the first conditional, a.k.a. if statement." Eniac pointed at the first line, "if (temperature > 0 °C) {." "That means that if the temperature is greater than zero degrees Celsius, do whatever is between the curly braces. In this case, you would choose the left branch." He moved his finger to the appropriate line.

"But if it is, in fact, freezing–" Eniac pointed at the "} else {" further down the page– "take the right branch instead."

Sunny stared at the paper, nodding slowly. "Okay, that makes sense. So I just go through the paper, line by line, and follow the if statements?"

"You got it! Make sure to be careful you don't get mixed up between the nested conditionals. You can check which curly braces have the same indentations to keep things clear." Eniac turned to the robot. "Take good care of Sunny, okay, Roger?"

Robert looked like he was about to protest, but eventually he just sighed and said, "Sure, Egbert. When can we leave?"

"Wait!" Sunny cried. "I have one more question. Professor Polly mentioned something about someone from Earth coming here before."

Eniac paused from where he was clearing the glasses from the table. "Ah. That's right. There was a great war between the various lands before… Pythonia, the Republic of C++, Javalandia, the Legacy Islands, and the new upstart nations all got involved."

"Oh? So the quest was to end the war?" That sounded like a classic conflict to Sunny. Why couldn't she have gotten a glorious mission like bringing peace to a fractured land? Although if the villain in this case turned out to be some kind of epic evil spellcaster, that might make up for the lack of glory in tracking down missing information…

"Indeed. Suffice it to say that the conflict was resolved, and we all live in relative peace today."

Sunny nodded thoughtfully. "I assume the hero was able to go back home and have a happily ever after? Tell me, did any time pass back on Earth? Because I don't know how I'll explain disappearing for a week to everyone."

Eniac coughed. "I… do not have the answer to that question."

"Wait, which question?"

The error guardian was firmly looking down at the counter.

Sunny glanced at Robert, her heart sinking. "Robert, did… did the Earthling make it back home?"

The robot buzzed reluctantly. "I mean, he didn't die in battle, if that's what you're concerned about. Presumably he made it home."

Sunny unwittingly crumpled the paper in her hand. "I could be stuck here?" In the fantasy stories she'd read, the protagonists always made it home. Either that, or they didn't have a family back home, so staying in the other land was actually a happier ending… But she had a life back home. She couldn't stay in Javalandia forever.

Robert shrugged uncomfortably. "We can worry about that later. And don't worry, getting you home is in my best interests too– I don't want to be stuck being your personal ambassador/sidekick forever."

Sunny cracked a half smile at that. "Right. Anyways, I suppose the quest should come first." She pushed her worries to the side, distracting herself by wondering if now was the right time to pull a hero pose, perhaps one with a determined "I-will-conquer-despite-any-obstacles" look into the middle distance.

But before she could do anything, Eniac clapped his hands. "Wonderful! Now that that's settled, I can provide you with a sleeping bag, Sunny. The Conditional River flows toward here instead of away, so you'll have to follow it instead of floating down it. Getting to the Loop Factories should take about two to three days."

"Got it, thank you!" Sunny opened her hand and smoothed out the poor guide paper that she'd crumpled, then tucked it into her backpack. She put her notebook and pencil back into her pocket, trying to focus on the upcoming travel down Conditional River instead of the possibility of being stuck in Javalandia.


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Sun Jan 29, 2023 1:18 am
Snoink wrote a review...



Hi! I'm back! :)

"So." Eniac gestured towards the book that was laid open in front of him. "This was one of the books I wrote about incompatible types errors. I remember that it was a masterpiece! I included everything: information about the errors, their causes, and how to fix them. And I used pictures of my beloved variapets for examples." He looked sadly at the page, which was blank except for a few lonely words scattered here and there. "But now it's all gone. Even the pictures!"


But like... is it gone forever??? ;.;

Do you have to say ‘semicolon' every time you cast a spell"


You forgot a question mark here.

"Here's to hoping it's not polluted with extraneous code again," Robert muttered.

"Oh, come on, Robert. You know Method City has gotten a lot better with its waste management system.


I have... so many questions right now. Also, if all the code is going to Spaghetti Mountain, then would it be very polluted? Or maybe this river is sourced in Spaghetti Mountain and so it's even more cluttered? Or maybe Method City polluted the river?? I hope we find out. :)

...also. I liked the guide. It is cool. Though, I understood it enough to kind of skim over the instructions, alas. Still, I am excited that we'll be going near this interesting river!

Robert looked like he was about to protest, but eventually he just sighed and said, "Sure, Egbert. When can we leave?"


See, this is what we love about Robert. He can dish it even better than he can take it. Egbert? I love it.

I would like to see Eniac's response to this jibe though... it's so subtle I almost missed it, but having Eniac respond to it would make your cleverness jump out more.

Oh? So the quest was to end the war?" That sounded like a classic conflict to Sunny. Why couldn't she have gotten a glorious mission like bringing peace to a fractured land? Although if the villain in this case turned out to be some kind of epic evil spellcaster, that might make up for the lack of glory in tracking down missing information…


Wait! Is Sunny not so... sunny? I sorry of wish you drew this conflict out more just because it brings out a part of Sunny that we don't really see much...

Sunny unwittingly crumpled the paper in her hand. "I could be stuck here?" In the fantasy stories she'd read, the protagonists always made it home. Either that, or they didn't have a family back home, so staying in the other land was actually a happier ending… But she had a life back home. She couldn't stay in Javalandia forever.


THE STAKES ARE GETTING HIGHER.

I would probably draw this out more because also... interior drama! It gives us more of an idea of who you're protagonist is, which is always good.

Getting to the Loop Factories should take about two to three days."


Have I mentioned that I don't like loops? XD

Anyway, we're off to the conditional river, I suppose!!!!




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Tue Dec 06, 2022 5:53 am
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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Okayy so we didn't learn nearly as much about this problem as I thought we would but we did get some directions that will take us closer to the end goal here, so we do love to see that. I can't wait to see what ends up coming from that and what Sunny might do with the little bits of information especially with that magic system.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Soon enough, Sunny, Robert, and Eniac were gathered around a small table inside Eniac's house. Sunny held a glass of water that displayed the label "glassOfWater" along with a number: 5.61, which Eniac had said was the number of ounces of water left in the glass. As she sipped, the number decreased.

"So." Eniac gestured towards the book that was laid open in front of him. "This was one of the books I wrote about incompatible types errors. I remember that it was a masterpiece! I included everything: information about the errors, their causes, and how to fix them. And I used pictures of my beloved variapets for examples." He looked sadly at the page, which was blank except for a few lonely words scattered here and there. "But now it's all gone. Even the
pictures!"


Oooh we're starting off with the errors right away it seems. It looks like we're about to be introduced to the details surrounding the situation now and I can't wait to see what little mysteries are going to end up slipping into this.

Sunny hummed in sympathy. "I'm sincerely sorry for your loss, Eniac." She took another sip of water, then pulled out her notebook and pencil.

Robert grunted something that sounded like agreement. "That is unfortunate. But we already knew that all the information on errors is disappearing, didn't we?"

"Right." Sunny drew a two-column chart in her notebook, with the left column titled "Clues" and the right one column titled "Questions." She wrote down "error info disappearing" under "Clues."


Ooooh gotta love someone who likes to organize their notes when in the middle of a quest. Saves you so much time later on when you're trying to do random convoluted things. Well let's see how those notes there end up filling up here.

"A spell?"

"Like the ones I used on my variapets for the show. Speaking code with the right intent can help you inflict your will on your surroundings. For example, I used spells to set the variables' values."

"Oh! So that's why you were saying ‘semicolon' and ‘equal sign'? Do you have to say ‘semicolon' every time you cast a spell" Sunny couldn't help but feel that having to say "semicolon" every time one cast a spell was rather cumbersome, but oh well. Rule #5 was to never pass up an opportunity to learn about magic, and she would master the magic of this world, no matter what it took– even learning code.


Ahhh I really shouldn't gush any more about these rules here but I do absolutely adore those. You've really put a lot of thought into those and every single time its both hilarious and also incredibly useful for Sunny to be effective at her job.

"Here's to hoping it's not polluted with extraneous code again," Robert muttered.

"Oh, come on, Robert. You know Method City has gotten a lot better with its waste management system. Anyhow, Sunny, I have a map here somewhere that shows you how to get from Variable Village to the Loop Factories. From there, it should be a straightforward trip on the Array Train to the mountain." Eniac started rummaging around on the nearby counters. "Not this… Oh, another precious work lost… At least this one still has my variapet photos… Aha!" Eniac turned back to Sunny and Robert, clutching a crinkled and folded piece of paper.


Ahhh I really do love seeing these little details sneaking in here. You've somehow managed to connect the way this world is built to the way coding is built and I just love every little extra detail that then slips through as a result. Its almost like a double layer of building a world with extra details and adding extra details with code into the mix and it just really comes through in making this place feel so much more real.

The dots were drawn over folds of paper. Sunny opened one fold to see even more text. "How am I supposed to read this?" she asked, feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer length of the paper.

"Well, check the first conditional, a.k.a. if statement." Eniac pointed at the first line, "if (temperature > 0 °C) {." "That means that if the temperature is greater than zero degrees Celsius, do whatever is between the curly braces. In this case, you would choose the left branch." He moved his finger to the appropriate line.

"But if it is, in fact, freezing–" Eniac pointed at the "} else {" further down the page– "take the right branch instead."


Ahh this bit of code seems like a lovely way to write a map honestly. I don't think I would have ever thought of this before, but it definitely seems very effective as far as making sure they all know where they're going no matter the situation is concerned.

Sunny stared at the paper, nodding slowly. "Okay, that makes sense. So I just go through the paper, line by line, and follow the if statements?"

"You got it! Make sure to be careful you don't get mixed up between the nested conditionals. You can check which curly braces have the same indentations to keep things clear." Eniac turned to the robot. "Take good care of Sunny, okay, Roger?"

Robert looked like he was about to protest, but eventually he just sighed and said, "Sure, Egbert. When can we leave?"


Ahhh the banter is just as good as I imagined it would be. Also love Robert just absolutely giving up on the naming thing and instead deciding to just go ahead with calling Eniac something else. I almost wish Eniac could join them now although that's probably not going to happen.

"Wait!" Sunny cried. "I have one more question. Professor Polly mentioned something about someone from Earth coming here before."

Eniac paused from where he was clearing the glasses from the table. "Ah. That's right. There was a great war between the various lands before… Pythonia, the Republic of C++, Javalandia, the Legacy Islands, and the new upstart nations all got involved."

"Oh? So the quest was to end the war?" That sounded like a classic conflict to Sunny. Why couldn't she have gotten a glorious mission like bringing peace to a fractured land? Although if the villain in this case turned out to be some kind of epic evil spellcaster, that might make up for the lack of glory in tracking down missing information…

"Indeed. Suffice it to say that the conflict was resolved, and we all live in relative peace today."


Ahh I love this little mention of history here. I promise I'll stop gushing about the worldbuilding at some point in time, although it is unlikely when you've got such clever little details being tossed in.

Sunny nodded thoughtfully. "I assume the hero was able to go back home and have a happily ever after? Tell me, did any time pass back on Earth? Because I don't know how I'll explain disappearing for a week to everyone."

Eniac coughed. "I… do not have the answer to that question."

"Wait, which question?"

The error guardian was firmly looking down at the counter.

Sunny glanced at Robert, her heart sinking. "Robert, did… did the Earthling make it back home?"

The robot buzzed reluctantly. "I mean, he didn't die in battle, if that's what you're concerned about. Presumably he made it home."


OOoooh well now that adds some very interesting stakes into the mix. I didn't think at all about what could happen after the quest. Well, well that's possibly the first indication of real danger to Sunny we're seeing here at any rate.

Sunny unwittingly crumpled the paper in her hand. "I could be stuck here?" In the fantasy stories she'd read, the protagonists always made it home. Either that, or they didn't have a family back home, so staying in the other land was actually a happier ending… But she had a life back home. She couldn't stay in Javalandia forever.

Robert shrugged uncomfortably. "We can worry about that later. And don't worry, getting you home is in my best interests too– I don't want to be stuck being your personal ambassador/sidekick forever."


Ahhh Robert that's harsh there. But hmm it is good that they do at least seem to have in mind that poor Sunny needs to return to her normal life. I do love you choosing to include this though because I know that I for one won't be able to stop reading now until we make sure Sunny gets back to her family safely and that's just going to live in the back of my mind now.

Sunny cracked a half smile at that. "Right. Anyways, I suppose the quest should come first." She pushed her worries to the side, distracting herself by wondering if now was the right time to pull a hero pose, perhaps one with a determined "I-will-conquer-despite-any-obstacles" look into the middle distance.


Sunny, it is always the right time to pull a hero pose especially when you're right about to start a new chapter of your quest and you've been presented with a new obstacle to try and overcome.

But before she could do anything, Eniac clapped his hands. "Wonderful! Now that that's settled, I can provide you with a sleeping bag, Sunny. The Conditional River flows toward here instead of away, so you'll have to follow it instead of floating down it. Getting to the Loop Factories should take about two to three days."

"Got it, thank you!" Sunny opened her hand and smoothed out the poor guide paper that she'd crumpled, then tucked it into her backpack. She put her notebook and pencil back into her pocket, trying to focus on the upcoming travel down Conditional River instead of the possibility of being stuck in Javalandia.


That's usually a good way to go about things there Sunny. Get the current quest finished before you have to worry about what comes after or they both might end up not happening as they should have.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think this is a lovely little setup for what's to come here. You've done a pretty solid job as far as getting the next stage of this quest all ready to go is concerned and is customary we have just one more thing lingering in the back of our minds to worry about although this one is arguably the worst one yet to worry about.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




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Mon Nov 28, 2022 2:10 pm
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hey mint! Lim again with a review.

First Impressions

Oh the story seems to be taking a slightly darker turn! I love that you’re introducing a new complication here.

Sunny unwittingly crumpled the paper in her hand. "I could be stuck here?"
This one was what I believe the kids call a WHAM line. It’s admirable how Sunny tries to stay focused on the mission, though! It shows she has the makings of a true hero, despite being quite young. I definitely find myself feeling her fear at the end of the chapter. Stories where the main character could be trapped in an unfamiliar land *forever* always get to me.

Characters

"Oh? So the quest was to end the war?" That sounded like a classic conflict to Sunny. Why couldn't she have gotten a glorious mission like bringing peace to a fractured land?

I like how she has this thought just before it’s revealed that she could be lost in Javalandia forever. It contrasts the naïve Sunny from before to the Sunny after she’s confronted with a real danger and so makes this moment more memorable as a character development point.
She pushed her worries to the side, distracting herself by wondering if now was the right time to pull a hero pose, perhaps one with a determined "I-will-conquer-despite-any-obstacles" look into the middle distance.

I also like this line. It takes something that’s usually a fun little running gag where Sunny tries to imitate her heroes and makes it a little sad, because she doesn’t end up being all gung-ho and striking the pose in the end.
Robert looked like he was about to protest, but eventually he just sighed and said, "Sure, Egbert. When can we leave?"

Wait – was Robert trying to pull off the same joke on Eniac that Eniac has been doing to him the past chapter or so? Did Eniac notice? :0

Descriptions

Something I think could be added to this chapter is the descriptions of what the characters are doing and where they are. We know that they are at “a small table inside Eniac’s house”, which is good and sets up the fact that they’re going to be talking for much of the chapter. It would be nice to have a bit of a more dynamic element towards the middle of the chapter. For example:
Sunny stared at the paper, nodding slowly. "Okay, that makes sense. So I just go through the paper, line by line, and follow the if statements?"

I like that we’re getting some descriptions of gestures like at the beginning of this line, but I think it would be interesting to mix it up now and then: what about tones and voice quality? What do the characters sound like when saying certain things? Another idea to make the description side more vivid would maybe be to swap the glassOfWater with something that people in Javalandia drink but people on Earth don’t and then describe the taste + Sunny’s reaction – that’s just an idea, though!

Plot

I like the pacing of these recent chapters, as they seem to be picking up on the action. Sunny’s stops at different locations don’t feel like they drag out for too long but still have some worldbuilding and characterisation moments like the variapets performance.
I thought this part ended at a good place, bringing together the main elements from the scene which is that Sunny has to travel to the Loop Factories and that they’re not sure if the last Earthling who came to Javalandia ever got out.

Overall

I’m excited to see Sunny’s next stop on her way to Spaghetti Code Mountain! I’m curious if more hints about this war and the initial Earth traveller will come up, and I’m also eager to see who exactly is behind all the error descriptions flying away, and what they’re potentially using the descriptions for. Also, I appreciate the text versions of the code being included as well!

Hope this review helps and let me know if you want more feedback!
-Lim




Spearmint says...


Thanks for the fantastic review, Lim!! ^-^
This one was what I believe the kids call a WHAM line. It%u2019s admirable how Sunny tries to stay focused on the mission, though! It shows she has the makings of a true hero, despite being quite young.

XD Sunny would be very pleased to hear you say that!
Wait %u2013 was Robert trying to pull off the same joke on Eniac that Eniac has been doing to him the past chapter or so? Did Eniac notice? :0

Yep! And >.> perhaps I'll add Eniac's reaction later xD A simple raised eyebrow, maybe??
Something I think could be added to this chapter is the descriptions of what the characters are doing and where they are. ... It would be nice to have a bit of a more dynamic element towards the middle of the chapter.

Ooh, thanks for the feedback! That makes sense; this chapter is mostly dialogue right now, lol.
what about tones and voice quality? What do the characters sound like when saying certain things?

Right! It's hard to remember these things while writing, ahaha. Thanks for bringing them up-- I'll include them in revisions hopefully in future chapters! ^^

Thanks again, and I hope you have an amazing day/night! <3



Liminality says...


I'm glad the review is helpful!

Yep! And >.> perhaps I'll add Eniac's reaction later xD A simple raised eyebrow, maybe??

Ooh I like that idea!




History repeats itself. First as tragedy, second as farce.
— Karl Marx