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Sunny and the Syntax Errors of Doom: Chapter 1.2

by Spearmint


When Sunny stepped out of the portal, she found herself on a small hill overlooking a town. There were suburban houses with curved roofs standing alongside neat roads, and Sunny saw a few people walking around. "Hm, this must be the starting point for my quest," she said to herself. "I wonder if one of the townspeople will come up to me and ask for help with something? Or will it be a more dramatic prophecy of the Chosen One kind of thing? Or-"

A slightly monotonic voice interrupted her. "Oh, great. You’re a hero wannabe. Am I supposed to be your sidekick, then?"

Sunny gasped and swiveled around, looking for the speaker. But there was no one there except for a strange, floating rock, about half Sunny's size. She frowned at its smooth, white surface. "Okay, first off, I feel like I've just been insulted. Second, who or what are you?"

The rock floated silently for a moment, then opened its eyes. Wait. What?

Sunny stepped back as the sides of the rock separated from its body, forming arm-like appendages. A mouth formed on the front of the rock, and the rock’s eyes blinked as it completed its transformation.

"I'm Robert. Who are you?"

Sunny stared at the talking rock in shock. Then she remembered Rule #7 in her questing notebook: "Don't be surprised if anything odd, extraordinary, or impossible happens. Being surprised does nothing but waste time you could be using for important questing things." So Sunny shook herself, forced herself to accept the fact that rocks could talk in this world, and glanced down at the scrap of notebook paper still in her hand.

Apparently, this was the mysterious Robert who'd help her communicate… "But how?" Sunny blurted out. "Where am I supposed to use this code?" She looked back at her hand and frowned. "And didn't a small white rock come with this note?"

Robert bobbed up and down in the air. "That rock was my disguise in the human world. Here, I'm a robot. Top of the line assistant bot, here to help you in any way I can! Robert the Ambassador at your service." The robot arranged its face into an enthusiastic smile.

Oh, so Robert’s a robot. Perhaps rocks can’t talk in this world, then. Sunny nodded slowly. "How exactly can you help me?"

Robert made a sound that seemed awfully like a scoff and adopted a neutral expression again. "What I said about being at your service is just what Marketing tells us to say. Really, all of us robots were granted free will after the Great Protest at Spaghetti Code Mountain." Robert shrugged. "But assuming I decide to help you, you can type code into the IDE– that’s an integrated development environment– installed in me, and I can run your code."

Robert popped open the top of his head, revealing a glowing blue keyboard and a computer screen.

Sunny stifled another gasp, keeping Rule #7 in mind.

Robert continued talking, unfazed. "See? This is my interface. There's a keyboard and a screen and everything. Think of it as a laptop."

Sunny stared at the keyboard and screen for a moment. The screen had a few lines of code already, as well as a few buttons at the top.

"Unfortunately, I don't have any games installed." Robert floated silently for a second, then added, "No internet browsers either. Really, it's just a place to code. Any questions?"

Sunny swallowed and nodded, then held up the note. "Do you mind if I try this code out?"

Robert squinted at the paper. "Alright, that should be easy enough."

With a deep breath, Sunny stepped closer to the robot and placed her hands on the keyboard. So, the note says to use System.out.println("[your message]"); to say stuff. I don't want to interfere with the code that's already there, so I'll just type on a new line…

Once Sunny had finished typing, she said, "Okay, Robert. I'm assuming the green button runs the code?"

"That's correct."

Sunny nodded and clicked the button.

"Great. There's an error." Sunny frowned at the red text. "Okay, well, how do I fix it?"

"Oh, you should code inside the main method. See that space on line 3? Your code goes there." Robert made a humming sound. "Apologies, we've been having problems with our errors lately… they should be more descriptive."

Sunny suddenly perked up. "Problems, you say? Anything a potential hero could help you with?"

Robert made a surprisingly good imitation of a snort. "Perhaps, but not before you run your first program. Right, and there's one more thing. I forgot to tell you that it's typical to print, 'Hello, World!' in your first program. Doesn’t matter to me, but I figured you'd be one for tradition." The robot shrugged.

"You figured right!" Sunny edited her code. "But…" She clicked the green button again.

"...I also like to add my own flair to things." Sunny winked. "Alright, time to try the next bit of code!"

"Oh, the cursor's blinking. I guess I'll type something for input?"

"It just repeated what I typed." Sunny glanced down at Robert.

"That's right. The denizens of Javaland speak a completely different language, and the best way we've figured out to communicate with you Earthlings is through text. So the people here can plug in one of their multipurpose devices right here, and the device will translate what they say and input it into your program." Robert slid open a panel on the side of his head, revealing a rectangular port.

"Ookay, but you speak English just fine. Talking seems like a better way than typing." Sunny raised an eyebrow.

"That's because I was made to be an ambassador between Earth and Javaland. Most people here don't bother learning other languages because it's rather rare to see otherworldly strangers here. Also, I refuse to act as a translator for you. Free will for robots!"

"Fine then." Sunny sighed. "Anyways, I've run some code, so can you tell me about those problems with the errors now?"

"Right, I suppose you have." Robert hesitated for a moment, then said, "Actually, it might be better to show you. Because the thing is, we've lost their descriptions."


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Mon Sep 26, 2022 4:29 am
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HarryHardy 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: OKay...well this is an interesting to our first chapter here. I think it builds off the energy you created on the first part of this chapter quite well although towards the end it does hit a little bit of a lull in the flow of things so you might want to look into that a little bit more carefully.

Anyway let's get right to it,

When Sunny stepped out of the portal, she found herself on a small hill overlooking a town. There were suburban houses with curved roofs standing alongside neat roads, and Sunny saw a few people walking around. "Hm, this must be the starting point for my quest," she said to herself. "I wonder if one of the townspeople will come up to me and ask for help with something? Or will it be a more dramatic prophecy of the Chosen One kind of thing? Or-"

A slightly monotonic voice interrupted her. "Oh, great. You’re a hero wannabe. Am I supposed to be your sidekick, then?"

Sunny gasped and swiveled around, looking for the speaker. But there was no one there except for a strange, floating rock, about half Sunny's size. She frowned at its smooth, white surface. "Okay, first off, I feel like I've just been insulted. Second, who or what are you?"


Well this is off to an interesting start. Not quite what I was expecting to see and yet given the start of this piece, this is also somehow simultaneously exactly what I was expecting to see. Well either way, we're off to an intriguing start. Let's see where this goes.

The rock floated silently for a moment, then opened its eyes. Wait. What?

Sunny stepped back as the sides of the rock separated from its body, forming arm-like appendages. A mouth formed on the front of the rock, and the rock’s eyes blinked as it completed its transformation.

"I'm Robert. Who are you?"

Sunny stared at the talking rock in shock. Then she remembered Rule #7 in her questing notebook: "Don't be surprised if anything odd, extraordinary, or impossible happens. Being surprised does nothing but waste time you could be using for important questing things." So Sunny shook herself, forced herself to accept the fact that rocks could talk in this world, and glanced down at the scrap of notebook paper still in her hand.


Well that sounds like a great rule for getting things done, and to be completely honest that is probably not the strangest thing that could have happened with that particularly rock, although I do have to say this does now open a whole myriad of potential questions about what exactly is the reason this rock happens to be talking.

Apparently, this was the mysterious Robert who'd help her communicate… "But how?" Sunny blurted out. "Where am I supposed to use this code?" She looked back at her hand and frowned. "And didn't a small white rock come with this note?"

Robert bobbed up and down in the air. "That rock was my disguise in the human world. Here, I'm a robot. Top of the line assistant bot, here to help you in any way I can! Robert the Ambassador at your service." The robot arranged its face into an enthusiastic smile.

Oh, so Robert’s a robot. Perhaps rocks can’t talk in this world, then. Sunny nodded slowly. "How exactly can you help me?"


Well... that's actually a surprisingly interesting idea there. Rock assistants, and the disguise of a rock, that actually makes a lot of surprising sense. Well well, this world already has a mythology that I'm very intrigued and of course the story is also getting stronger with each line here.

Robert made a sound that seemed awfully like a scoff and adopted a neutral expression again. "What I said about being at your service is just what Marketing tells us to say. Really, all of us robots were granted free will after the Great Protest at Spaghetti Code Mountain." Robert shrugged. "But assuming I decide to help you, you can type code into the IDE– that’s an integrated development environment– installed in me, and I can run your code."

Robert popped open the top of his head, revealing a glowing blue keyboard and a computer screen.

Sunny stifled another gasp, keeping Rule #7 in mind.

Robert continued talking, unfazed. "See? This is my interface. There's a keyboard and a screen and everything. Think of it as a laptop."

Sunny stared at the keyboard and screen for a moment. The screen had a few lines of code already, as well as a few buttons at the top.


Well this is very intriguing...also (horrifying flashbacks to IDLE, don't mind me) and well... I like the sound of where this is going. This is so far one of those stories where its a little bit slower in terms of actually getting us hooked on the story, but there's enough hints here and there and the world is crazy enough that as reader's we're being pulled in by a whole host of other reasons to keep going until the story itself takes hold a bit stronger.

"Unfortunately, I don't have any games installed." Robert floated silently for a second, then added, "No internet browsers either. Really, it's just a place to code. Any questions?"

Sunny swallowed and nodded, then held up the note. "Do you mind if I try this code out?"

Robert squinted at the paper. "Alright, that should be easy enough."

With a deep breath, Sunny stepped closer to the robot and placed her hands on the keyboard. So, the note says to use System.out.println("[your message]"); to say stuff. I don't want to interfere with the code that's already there, so I'll just type on a new line…


Well that does seem like a pretty terrible computer all things considered but I'm going to assume you do not want to spend the majority of a quest playing a computer game so perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. Also hmm while this is a very acceptable line of code to start on I feel like this is missing out a little because "Hello World" is just that universally accepted first line of code you always type in any programming language.

"Great. There's an error." Sunny frowned at the red text. "Okay, well, how do I fix it?"

"Oh, you should code inside the main method. See that space on line 3? Your code goes there." Robert made a humming sound. "Apologies, we've been having problems with our errors lately… they should be more descriptive."

Sunny suddenly perked up. "Problems, you say? Anything a potential hero could help you with?"


Oh boy, well its not coding if you don't run into a couple of errors. If you ever write a program and run into zero errors its one of the most surreal feelings that you can experience really.

Robert made a surprisingly good imitation of a snort. "Perhaps, but not before you run your first program. Right, and there's one more thing. I forgot to tell you that it's typical to print, 'Hello, World!' in your first program. Doesn’t matter to me, but I figured you'd be one for tradition." The robot shrugged.

"You figured right!" Sunny edited her code. "But…" She clicked the green button again.


Oh this robot knows what it's doing xD. I do like this little nod at least, even if we didn't get to see it in the earlier part of things. Well let's see where this goes. For now this is becoming a tiny bit stagnant because we are running back on forth on the code situation for quite some time now, which if this was a reader who perhaps wasn't fully familiar with coding might end up being a little bit of a lull in the flow of things.

"That's right. The denizens of Javaland speak a completely different language, and the best way we've figured out to communicate with you Earthlings is through text. So the people here can plug in one of their multipurpose devices right here, and the device will translate what they say and input it into your program." Robert slid open a panel on the side of his head, revealing a rectangular port.

"Ookay, but you speak English just fine. Talking seems like a better way than typing." Sunny raised an eyebrow.

"That's because I was made to be an ambassador between Earth and Javaland. Most people here don't bother learning other languages because it's rather rare to see otherworldly strangers here. Also, I refuse to act as a translator for you. Free will for robots!"


Well that sounds like a very justified thing to say. Definitely adds another fun little oddity to this whole quest as opposed to the sort of quest that you normally run into. At any rate it seems like Sunny's adventures here are not going to be the easiest in terms of her actually getting her way in any of these things.

"Fine then." Sunny sighed. "Anyways, I've run some code, so can you tell me about those problems with the errors now?"

"Right, I suppose you have." Robert hesitated for a moment, then said, "Actually, it might be better to show you. Because the thing is, we've lost their descriptions."


Well that's one way to get a cliffhanger going there. I think it makes for a wonderful ending to this first chapter here. It does certainly get you a little curious here and just maybe somewhere along this Sunny is finally going to get somewhere in terms of an actual quest.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, its a solid start. The pacing is a tad on the slower side, but the intrigue is there, and with this cliffhanger and really just how unique this worldbuilding is does more than enough of a job to get us to keep reading and I definitely do find myself wanting to pop over to chapter two here.

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

Stay Safe
Harry




Spearmint says...


Hey Harry, thanks so much for the review!! ^-^
I think it builds off the energy you created on the first part of this chapter quite well although towards the end it does hit a little bit of a lull in the flow of things so you might want to look into that a little bit more carefully.

Ah thanks for the feedback! I'll make sure to take a look at that when revising. :]

Well that does seem like a pretty terrible computer all things considered but I'm going to assume you do not want to spend the majority of a quest playing a computer game so perhaps this is a blessing in disguise.

LOL, yes on both those counts. xD

Oh boy, well its not coding if you don't run into a couple of errors. If you ever write a program and run into zero errors its one of the most surreal feelings that you can experience really.

Yep, pure truth right there :') XD

Thanks again for the review!! <3



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Sat Sep 24, 2022 8:52 am
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi mint!

First Impressions
The thing that stood out to me the most this chapter was the code! I quite like how the dialogue blends in with the code pictures – it feels very fluid. At the same time I wonder if the code being in an image might make it difficult for someone who is reading this with a text-to-voice reader, for example, though that might be something to think about during editing rather than drafting. That being said, using the code to tell part of the story and also as a way for Sunny to interact with others is really creative! It almost reminded me of being in a video game tutorial, the way Robert was instructing Sunny how to input the code. Losing descriptions of syntax errors is also an interesting problem for Sunny to help solve.

Characters
It looks like Sunny is going to have to learn to code if she wants to be a hero! I like that set-up: it’s lighthearted enough for comedy but still involves challenges for the protagonist.

With a deep breath, Sunny stepped closer to the robot and placed her hands on the keyboard. So, the note says to use System.out.println("[your message]"); to say stuff. I don't want to interfere with the code that's already there, so I'll just type on a new line…

I feel like I’ve done a similar mistake with a different programming language at some point, so points for realism! Also, I feel like I’m learning code through this story, which is fun.

I like Robert’s introduction as well. I can tell he’s sarcastic and sassy, though that doesn’t stop him from helping with the things he wants to help with (he doesn’t just leave Sunny alone after he gets out of his disguise, for instance). I wonder if the robot revolution he talks about will come into play later, or if it's a backstory thing for the history of Javaland.

Plot
Sunny stepped back as the sides of the rock separated from its body, forming arm-like appendages. A mouth formed on the front of the rock, and the rock’s eyes blinked as it completed its transformation.

I do like Robert’s transformation sequence here! It’s kind of cool how in the first chapter the rock was described as being unusually smooth and round and here it’s revealed that it’s because it was never a rock in the first place. :D That’s a good bit of continuity. (And reminds me of a literary technique called Chekov’s Gun, if you’ve heard of it!)
Robert’s comment that the people of Javaland don’t usually see people from Earth is interesting. I wonder who ‘summoned’ Sunny to Javaland then? My guess is that Robert might tell her in the next chapter, or they’re going to meet that person sometime soon for Sunny to ‘officially’ receive her quest to deal with the lost descriptions.

Overall
It’s nice to see the style and format of the story come into itself more. The way I’d describe this chapter is fun and curiosity-inducing. I would say this one is less character-focused than the previous one, which makes sense since the main thing is introducing the tech that is going to be important to the story from now on and also start showing the plot. I think you did a particularly good job in making the ‘exposition’ part of the story really engaging. I didn’t feel that I was being fed information when looking through the code segments especially, as it felt more like following Sunny’s thought processes, which is what we’ve been doing as readers since the beginning.

Hope some of this helps, and feel free to ask for more feedback!
-Lim




Spearmint says...


Hi Lim, thanks for the thoughtful review!! ^-^

At the same time I wonder if the code being in an image might make it difficult for someone who is reading this with a text-to-voice reader, for example, though that might be something to think about during editing rather than drafting.

Ooh good point... I didn't even think of that, so thanks for bringing it up! I might add the text part to future works in case the images don't load on some devices or something as well. ^^

I wonder if the robot revolution he talks about will come into play later, or if it's a backstory thing for the history of Javaland.

I meant for it to be more of a backstory kind of thing, but I do think meeting some other robots/seeing the effects of the revolution would be interesting too... >.>

I didn%u2019t feel that I was being fed information when looking through the code segments especially, as it felt more like following Sunny%u2019s thought processes

Ah awesome! I'm very glad this doesn't feel like a textbook xDD
Thanks again for the review!! <3



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Mon Sep 19, 2022 2:10 am
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Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review!

You know, I'm not sure I've ever reviewed any of your work before, which just blows my mind because you're such a talented writer and I've also reviewed quite a lot of stuff, and it is crazy to me that none of it was by you! So let's remedy that!

I will preface this by saying that I am so not a computer person, but the way you explain coding in this is so fun and accessible! I just love the educational flair you've put into this already adorable story. Overall, your concept is delightful and original. I've read a few other books that taught kids how to code in fun ways, but none as good as this one. You use your visuals really nicely, too— I love the embedded images! They add even more resources to help your reader base who might not understand computers (me) understand what's going on in the story.

One thing I adored about this was your main character! She is very aptly named, I will say. I love her optimism and her interactions with Robert (their relationship seems like it's shaping up to be quite the humorous one!) Her spunk is part of what makes her so appealing. I also love the fact that she's kinda been waiting for this moment her entire life, because she's always been a fan of fantasy things—that's such a unique characteristic for a main character to have, and I love it!

I'm also looking forward to exploring Javaland alongside Sunny! Given that absolutely stellar line about the Great Protest at Spaghetti Code Mountain, I have high hopes for this world you've created. It seems rife with originality and I am so curious to discover more about it!

I am curious to know what the big conflict will be—so far, we've got pretty much only coding, and no signs of any Big Bad Villain approaching. I'm wondering if you're going to follow that path, or if your conflict is going to be more abstract than that.

I also think just overall your passion for both writing and coding comes through beautifully. You're telling a story about two things you evidently both love so much, and it is lovely to read. Your engagement and investment in this story is a big part of what makes it so fun, light, and absolutely lovely.

Overall: phenomenal job. I look forward to keeping up with Sunny as she begins her journey through Javaland! Until next time!!




Spearmint says...


Aaa Plume I am literally smiling so hard right now :'D This is such a kind review ahh thank you!! <3
The reason you haven't reviewed anything by me before is probably because I haven't posted much on YWS XD but LMS is helping with that~

I will preface this by saying that I am so not a computer person, but the way you explain coding in this is so fun and accessible!

Yay, that's awesome! ^^ That was exactly my goal in this, so I'm glad you found the coding parts fun and non-intimidating! xD

I am curious to know what the big conflict will be%u2014so far, we've got pretty much only coding, and no signs of any Big Bad Villain approaching. I'm wondering if you're going to follow that path, or if your conflict is going to be more abstract than that.

Okay, so, I was planning on having a Big Bad when I started writing this last week, but... I have had more ideas, so now I'm trying to figure things out again, lol. xD

Overall: phenomenal job. I look forward to keeping up with Sunny as she begins her journey through Javaland! Until next time!!

Plumeee you have no idea how happy this review made me haha! =DD Literally made my whole month. XD Your compliments have given me new motivation to keep going~ :3

Thanks again for the sweet & inspiring review, and I hope you have a fabulous day/night!! <333




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