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Author Topic: Transubstantiation
Denevius
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1st Version: Thick fog held court several kilometers from Jeju harbor, to welcome or ward off the two brothers, neither Cain or Abel knew. The three hour ferry ride from Fukoka to Jeju harbor had gone smoothly. But now the captain had shut off the engines, and the boat drifted, dead, on high waves suddenly turned hostile. Cain, the oldest, had for several minutes after the stall watched a couple in the aisle next to theirs vomit in paper white bags when the boat dropped from high swells, then cling to each other when the water rose them to an unconcerned starry sky.
After the third round of regurgitation, Cain tapped his younger brother seated beside him and asked, once again, for clarification, to annoy Abel, or just out of genuine disbelief.
“So we have to eat our father? Like, all of him?”

2nd Version: Thick fog held court over the dark waves of the Korean Strait surrounding Jeju Island. Abel gazed past his brother, Cain, out the Seastar Cruise windows and saw his father’s hand in the weather’s sudden downturn. The four and a half hour ferry ride from Mokpo to Jeju had gone smoothly, but now the boat drifted into Seogwipo harbor on high waves turned hostile. In the seats across from the two brothers, a young couple vomited into white paper bags when high swells became abrupt dips. The two had complained of nausea the moment the trip began, but with the cruise slowly pulling into port still several kilometers away, the couple had gone through two baggies that now sat plump with regurgitated food beside their feet.

[ February 23, 2016, 10:25 PM: Message edited by: Denevius ]

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Denevius
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Second of five 6000 word world building short stories. Just began it, and should be finished with it by the first week of March.

As always, thanks for all comments!

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babooher
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I was recently reading Orwell's Politics and the English Language. It's a quick read that I would recommend to anyone.

The first line starts off with a cliche bordering on an idiom that then gets twisted in the personification that comes after the comma. I think the second comma should not be there. The syntax is strained enough.

I'm not sure if it needs to be mentioned that Cain and Abel are brothers, but we do need to know the names of the protagonists. In any event, I think the last line would clarify to anyone who doesn't know who Cain and Abel are, that they are brothers. Personally, I think the names carry a lot of baggage.

I might have something by March, if you'd like to trade.

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Disgruntled Peony
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The pacing of this intro seemed a bit off to me--the large number of 'had's is what did it, I think. Hopping back and forth in time right at the beginning of the story seemed a touch odd.

On the other hand, the general description of the storm was interesting and that last line definitely caught my attention.

Rather than pick apart individual bits and bobs, it seemed easier for me to tweak things the way I would if I were editing one of my own works. I did my best to keep original phrasings as much as possible, and all of these changes are simply suggestions. It was just the easiest way for my brain to approach it today.

quote:
Suggested alterations:
Thick fog held court several kilometers from Jeju harbor -- to welcome or ward off the two brothers, neither Cain or Abel knew. The three hour ferry ride from Fukoka to Jeju harbor went smoothly until the captain shut off the engines. The boat drifted, dead, on high waves suddenly turned hostile. Cain, the oldest, watched a couple in the aisle next to theirs for several minutes after the stall. They vomited in white paper bags when the boat dropped from high swells, then clung to each other when the water rose them to an unconcerned starry sky.
After the third round of regurgitation, Cain tapped his younger brother seated beside him. He had to ask again, for clarification, to annoy Abel, perhaps out of genuine disbelief.
“So we have to eat our father? Like, all of him?”


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T. Griffin
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I agree with Peony. The frequent use of the past perfect "had" lessens the immediacy of the writing and pulls me out of the story. I would consider going with a simple past tense. At the beginning of your story I don't want to feel like I'm already playing catch up on events that just occurred.

I don't know if "the thick fog held court" is a cliche or not, but I think it works, as it suggests the fog dictates and those within it are forced to accommodate it.

The names Cain and Abel carry a lot of baggage for me as well. Paired together in that first sentence, they made me think immediately that this story was biblical in milieu. Pretty sure they didn't have on-board motors for their boats back then, however, so I figured it out eventually. [Wink]

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walexander
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Den, one nit,

You can't(sorry should have said -- not suggested.) say drift and dead in the same nautical sentence.

Adrift: At the mercy of the wind and water, until engine restarted or you regain control of your movement.

Dead in the water. Means your screw'd and praying for a miracle. Especially on high seas or becalmed.

Becalmed. Adrift, no wind.

Stalled. Wind and/or water pushing you backward. A really bad situation on high seas/heavy wind. There are other meanings but this is the main one.

To sailors, any use of the term "dead" should be avoided unless you are facing death.

The captain turned off the engine so you are "Adrift" Unless he did it because the engine was about to blow, and there is no hope of restarting it, and now, "You are dead in the water."

There are a dozen other terms depending on the time in which you are boating/sailing and the situation, but these a few of the basics to avoid criticism.

I write a lot of pirate tales.

W.

Oh, and you can be drifting, this usually means you have momentum forward and are still in control of your steering. As soon as the momentum ends, you are adrift.

[ February 02, 2016, 05:32 PM: Message edited by: walexander ]

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Denevius
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Thanks for the comments! A lot of great suggestions. I'll see what I can incorporate into the opening as I write the story.

Thanks again!

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wetwilly
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Most of what I have to say is just adding a voice of agreement. I agree that the prose is clunky for reasons already pointed out by others. However, the structure of the passage is great. Slow build, some setting and navel gazing contemplation, and then BLAM! That killer line of dialogue comes out of nowhere, grabs me by the eyelids, and commands my attention. Beautiful.

I'm skeptical of naming the characters Cain and Abel. I'm sure you have a reason, but my first impression is, "Oh jeez, here we go: some ****ty biblical symbolism."

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Denevius
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Babooher:
quote:
I might have something by March, if you'd like to trade.
Sorry, didn't respond to this earlier. Yeah, no problem. I'm about 12 days off from finishing the first draft, and probably 7 to 10 days off from typing that draft up. So maybe 22 days from now?

I'm aiming for the story to be 6000 words, so something around the same length, give or take a couple thousand words.

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Denevius
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Hey wetwilly, just saw your comments. Thanks!

quote:
I'm skeptical of naming the characters Cain and Abel. I'm sure you have a reason, but my first impression is, "Oh jeez, here we go: some ****ty biblical symbolism."
The reaction is interesting since the naming has been mentioned by several others. Honesty, it didn't cross my mind that those names might draw this kind of attention. But I was having problems starting this story until those names popped into my head as the central characters. Then pieces began to click, and a plot was born.

This story is more difficult to write than GWI'SHIN, that's for sure, though it seems like I'm going to finish it faster because of the mild flu I had last week, significantly limiting my external distractions, and Chinese New Years this week, closing much of Seoul during the vacation.

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wetwilly
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And it's fully possible that those names are the right ones for the story. That was my just my first reaction based on 13 lines. You're going to have to convince me that this is not some heavy-handed symbolism that's going to make me roll my eyes at how clever/deep this author thinks he's being. I've read some of your stories and know you can tell a hell of a tale; those names just sent up a red flag for me.
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Denevius
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quote:
You're going to have to convince me that this is not some heavy-handed symbolism that's going to make me roll my eyes at how clever/deep this author thinks he's being.
Haha, no promises.

Either way, edited above.

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Denevius
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Babooher, how's that story you're writing coming along? I'm about a week off from finishing the first typed draft of this story. Let me know if you still want to swap.
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babooher
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I might be ready by then. Just shoot me an email.
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Denevius
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Rounding the final bend of the first rewrite of this story. Seems like the pace of these 6000 word stories is one finished every month and a half.
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Denevius
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Finished at 6600 words.
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