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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » 13 lines of old foolery

   
Author Topic: 13 lines of old foolery
Void
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I wrote this years ago. There's about 4-5 pages of this nonsense and I always meant, you know, to finish it. But here, let's see what you think of it. (And, yes, I know you are not supposed to start out with a quotation.)

Okay I made some changes. I'm still working on getting the rest of what I have typed into the computer. I haven't removed the adjectives and the adverbs yet, the jury (in my mind) is still out on that.

Princess Ilidia stood helpless, chained to the offering pillar, looking straight into the dragon’s huge eyes she asked,” What is it in particular about virgins that you require?”. The massive monster halted his fiery advance abruptly and stared at the maiden in surprise.
“Uh,huh? You spoke! How delightful!” the dragon boomed. “Most of them faint at the sight of me.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt you in, well, whatever it is you do at this point in the sacrifice, but I really have always wanted to know why virgins, as opposed to non-virgins, are required to be offered to you?”
“Well, I don’t know really. I suppose it’s merely tradition.”
“Oh,” she said disappointedly, “I thought it was something quite important, something vital to the acceptance of the offering.”
“Not that I know of,” he replied looking thoughtful and then apologetic, “I am sorry I couldn’t give you a better answer.”
“It’s not your fault. It’s just that this whole sacrifice business is so stupid, I would like to think that at least my being a virgin served a good purpose, but apparently not.” She sighed. “Very well, you may fry me and eat me now.”
“My dear girl, I wouldn’t think of it! You are much too interesting to talk to and besides, I’ve already had dinner.”
“Oh, dear!”
“What’s wrong? I should think that would make you happy.”


[This message has been edited by Void (edited May 14, 2005).]

[This message has been edited by Void (edited May 14, 2005).]


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MaryRobinette
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This has a nice comic tone. I'd actually think about flipping the first line about so the dialogue comes at the end--not so much because of the usual "I don't feel grounded" hoopla, but because it puts the punchline in the right place. While I don't normally advocate using cinematic tricks in writing, this is a place where imagining it as a film might be helpful. If this were Monty Python, say, which would be funnier. A closeup on the virgin's face as she speaks. The camera pulls back and then you see a dragon. OR, you see a helpless virgin chained in front of a dragon, and the camera zooms in for her line. I think, personally, the dialogue is the funny part.
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scm288
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Very good, very good! The only problem I can see is, as the above post pointed out, that the first line should be swapped about a bit. Put up the setting (where is the virgin, Oh no, the dragon is approaching). Put it into a serious tone first, and then surprise the reader by launching into your satiric dialogue.
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Stephen Wolfe
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I have a strange feeling that I've seen this conversation in a movie before, or some sort of story. Like Monty Python of something like that.

But if it is completely original:
I like it, if you have more, I'd like to read it.

My only problem is that I hate reading dashes in a conversation, the same goes for the "..."'s (what are they called again?).


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djvdakota
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The voice of the dragon sounds similar to the voice of the dragon in The Reluctant Dragon, but it doesn't ring any bells aside from that.

I very much liked the humor here and would like to read some more if you're looking for readers???


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Void
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Ah, okay, thank you. So you think it would be best to present a "picture" of the scene then go into the dialogue.

I have a weakness for the dashes and ellipses in my writing. I tend to use multiple punctuation for the end of a sentence as well. But, after all, why can't I use a question mark with an exclaimation point?!

I don't have any more of this (unfinished) story typed in to my computer, having only found it again after several years, but I'll enter it into Word. If some of you would be kind enough to read more and give your opinions, I'd be grateful. I'm sure you realize you'll need a high threshold for silliness, though.


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cklabyrinth
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I'm into it. One complaint though: take out all the adjectives and adverbs and I think you have a tighter, better story.

Especially massive, disappointedly, and whatever else I forgot..


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Survivor
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Yes, starting this with the named heroine looking over the situation and composing herself before delivering her line would work very well on a number of levels.

It's very droll. The dialogue is strong and the concept appears to be going somewhere. But dialogue alone does not a story make, nor even a good script (not when one of the speakers is a dragon, at any rate).

Hang around a bit, see if you get ideas for improving your text and perhaps writing the whole thing.


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jeduthun
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I'd be happy to read a second draft, after you've made revisions as suggested by the feedback here.


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Void
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Just bumping this up. I made some minor changes and added a little more to make it a full 13 lines.
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Survivor
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The first paragraph is a little bumpy right now. It also doesn't really give us enough time to get the "virgin being offered to the dragon" image firmly fixed in mind. Since the initial humor of the scene depends on the betrayal of all the associated expectations, I think it best to get the expectations in place.

Consider having more than one expectation violated. For instance, when she reiterates her query about virgins, let the dragon say something like, "what's this you're saying about virgins?" Or you could go with something horrid like "Wait, the sacrifices are all virgins? I'd been wondering why there were never any nice, plump sacrifices."

I like the new information, though of course now you have to work in a justification for it. Princesses are quite valuable, particularly virgins old enough to be sacrificed to a dragon. I believe the going rate was something like "half a kingdom", however much that was.


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Void
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Thanks, Survivor. Indeed there is justification for the sacrifice of a princess in this story. It is the basis for the plot, in fact. If I can ever get the rest of it typed into the computer, I can email what I've got written so far. I actually need some help on the plot as it is vague and sketchy at this point.
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