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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Eye

   
Author Topic: The Eye
imperialcancer
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I have been away from here for several years. I kind of stopped writing fiction because I was in grad school completing a history MA. Now that I have more time and still love to write I thought I would post some stuff on here to see how people react. I have been writing a lot and mostly bursts of short fiction, since I don't have the time I used to. Plus, I have been having fun doing it. So Tell me what you think.

Below is almost all of the story. All of the stories I have been writing have been inspired by music. I hit random on the playlist and see what comes out of my imagination. Enjoy!

The Eye stood staring back out from the wall, glowing red. It seemed to know everything about my being. It saw right through my clothing. It saw me naked physically and emotionally. I was laid bare. I must find what it wanted me to do. I am compelled to do it's bidding and it can never have enough from me. I must bow below as creatures scream beneath the grate. I think there might be cogs down there, crushing souls... I must wait here prostrate before the glowing eye...

I am moved. The eye moved me. It is my god.

I am now floating in black goop. Hanging suspended, alone. With no one around me. I am living only for the eye now.

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wetwilly
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On a linguistic level, this reads smoothly. The imagery is interesting, and I THINK the potential for an interesting dramatic situation is here. I say I think because it's not really clear what the dramatic situation is. This needs a lot of fleshing out before it works as a story. Who is this guy? Where is he? What is this eye? What does it want him to do? Why? Does he want to do it? Answer those questions and I think you'll have a good story started.

On a side note, "goop" did not work for me. It didn't fit the dark, violent vibe of the rest of it. Goop sounds kind of childish to me.

There is a lot to like here, though. I just need a plot to like it as a story.

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extrinsic
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This opening implies an antagonizing problem for and wanting satisfaction by the viewpoint character, in a less developed setting. Time enough for more setting development later. Antagonizing event, viewpoint character, and setting development--that's the basics of narrative structure.

The viewpoint character is in a misfortunate circumstance that implies efforts will be made to physically or emotionally satisfy the circumstance for a better fortune ouctome, escape or come to a satisfying accommodation with the circumstance. That's structure.

At the next major turn, the end of the exposition act (introduction), an incitement crisis must take place that signals the efforts by the viewpoint character to satisfy the dramatic complication and in so doing portrays whether escape or accomodation is the wanted outcome.

The next major turn, or dramatic pivot, is a realization crisis, a full realization of the dramatic complication circumstances that makes satisfaction possible. This can be a straightfoward realization of the rising action that leads up to the realization crisis, or a twist, an abrupt change in circumstances or an abrupt, new discovery due to the rising action act events.

The climax act begins with the realization crisis and is the greatest effort to satisfy the dramatic complication. The climax act's first half is buildup to act proactively to satisfy the want realized by the realization crisis, after which the action is implemented from the climax crisis, at which is the point of no return. The second half of the climax act is the immediate conseguences of the decision to commit.

The climax act ends with a tragic crisis, in which all hopes of a successful outcome are dashed, so that the outcome remains open to doubt.

The falling action act is efforts to come to an accommodation with failure that lead into the denouement crisis, or outcome crisis, the final crisis of the suspense. It too is a major turn, dramatic pivot. Like all dramatic crises, it too can be a twist or a straightforward turn. A denoument crisis difference, though, is it sets up the outcome of the dramatic complication.

The denouement act then is the outcome of the dramatic complication.

This is plot, dramatic structure, only the one plot on these terms; that is, organization.

I feel like the above opening fragment is barely part of the exposition act. If the fragment is almost all of the narrative, then I feel the narrative is a sketch, a vignette, an ancedote, or more than one, but not a fully-realized narrative.

Some microfocus: How does an eye "stood staring"? Staring maybe, but stood? "Staring" is itself problematic. It is a summary explanation of a visual sensation. Sensations of any type are as a best practice described in their more "telling details."

"Glowing red" is an example of a sensory description from the viewpoint characters's perspective, in an artful direction. It's on the underdeveloped side though. And it is an -ing ring rhyme problem. -ing ring rhymes call undue attention to tense inconsistency and "ring" in readers minds like droll doggerel poetry. "Glowing" in that use is as a gerund adjective, but overuse of gerund and present particple -ing words can be problematic from not using strong and clear--finite verbs. Which are artful for moving a narrative forward, if not a plot. The verb's action is done finitely and not required to be kept open as ongong action that needs to be finalized later.

//The eye glowed red// is finite simple past tense, though ongoing. "Glowing red", on the other hand is progressive present tense, ongoing, consistent tense with "staring." However, the tense then shifts to past: "seemed," saw," and "saw." And yet more unnecessay tense shifts to present perfect, future conditional, past perfect, and so on.

Though broken stream grammar has useful quailities for stream-of-consciousness techniques, which artfully close narrative distance, they can be bumpy and disruptive when they are cluttered, confused, and weakly signaled and possibly mere grammar vices instead of signaled as rhetorical virtues.

At this point in the narrative, apparently most of it, the viewpoint character is figuratively stuck in a bathtub contempating his navel with no end in sight, no plot movement. He could be stuck there until the end of time and not change. Transformation is a crucial plot feature of narrative drama. I don't see a meaningful transformation implied or pendent in this fragment. And, frankly, I don't care about this character's stuck circumstance or have any curiosty about his navel contemplations. No tension's emotional caring and curiosity, in other words.

The one strength for me worth note is that the narrative distance leans toward close. First person by deafult is close, but the aesthetic distance is wide open from excessive, to me, character self-involvement in a drama-less circumstance.

[ March 23, 2014, 05:00 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Brooke18
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I agree with wetwilly about the goop thing but otherwise, it was very mysterious. Just out of curiosity, is the eye just an eye or is it supposed to be attached to some kind of being? Like maybe, is the eye the only thing there or is it the only thing the character sees? I'm not sure if you can understand my mucked up thought process, but if not that's okay. I don't always understand what runs through my mind!
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Kent_A_Jones
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I am confused by the first sentence. ‘…stood staring back out from the wall,’ is my main concern. I don’t understand ‘stood,’ because it conveys to me something free standing which, if the eye is on or in the wall, it is not. I understand that ‘staring back’ implies that the narrator was staring at the eye in the first place, but since the narrator sees the eye staring, I wonder why the word ‘back’ has been added. ‘…out’ implies that the eye is in something, but there is no indication that there is anything on the wall from which the eye is staring (a portrait, for instance), and no indication that there is a defect in the wall within which the eye ‘stands.’ I have no clear picture of the glowing, red eye. My first impression was one of amusement, as it is my predilection to see a red eye in a pressed ham.

In the second sentence, ‘seeming’ jumps out at me as not belonging. It severely weakens the later ideas in which the eye can compel and is taken as a god. If it does know everything about the narrator, then later nakedness and emotion, etc. is implied by this and becomes redundant.

‘I must find…’ is a sentence that is negated by the one after it: ‘I am compelled…’

‘I am compelled…’ is followed by the actions of bowing and waiting, floating and hanging. After bowing, I don’t think these are actions that are in need of any particular coercion.

The piece misses being nightmarish for me since it lacks concrete imagery and the emotions that the narrator is feeling. It is missing elements that would make me want to read further.
Kent

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