Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » They Got Her(Working title)-Modern Fantasy-8,000 words (Page 1)

  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: They Got Her(Working title)-Modern Fantasy-8,000 words
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So, recent conversations have inspired me to do something with a dynamic beginning and more action overall, as well as to try writing a piece with little planning or outlining beforehand-all things I haven't done for a while.
As always, comments on the opening are good, offers to read the whole thing when finished even better, crit exchanges welcome.
Edit: So I'm taking a significantly different approach to this story, same basic plotline but from a different point of view and with a different starting point. So here is the first attempt at a first 13 starting them out at their gig, rather than after getting home.


Ryan smiled over at Emrys as he picked up his guitar and launched them into his favorite part of every gig—covering “All the Young Dudes” for their encore. After the song was over, amid the yells and applause of the crowd, Emrys turned to Kyle, their bassist, and kissed him passionately. Then he strode to Ryan’s side of the stage and repeated the process, dipping him so deeply his feet left the ground.

Suddenly, Ryan went from enjoying the liplock to yelling in pain as his lead singer/boyfriend/magic teacher dropped him in mid kiss.

“Emrys, what the hell?” Ryan cried. He looked up and saw his beloved gazing into the crowd, where an old man in medieval looking garb was frantically trying to get his attention.


Version two


Ryan smiled over at Emrys as he picked up his guitar and launched them into his favorite part of every gig—covering “All the Young Dudes” for their encore. After the song was over, amid the yells and applause of the crowd, Emrys turned to Kyle, their bassist, and kissed him passionately. Then he strode to Ryan’s side of the stage and repeated the process, dipping him so deeply his feet left the ground.

Suddenly, Ryan went from enjoying the liplock to yelling in pain as his magic teacher unromantically dropped him in mid kiss.

“Emrys, what the hell?” Ryan cried. He looked up, turning his head to follow Emrys’s gaze into the crowd, where an old man in medieval looking garb was frantically trying to get Emrys's attention.


Version Three


With a few guitar chords, Ryan launched them into his favorite part of every gig—covering “All the Young Dudes” for their encore. He wiggled his eyebrows wantonly at Emrys and the mage grinned and rolled his eyes. After the song was over, Emrys turned to Kyle, their bassist, and kissed him passionately. Anticipating his turn, Ryan swung his guitar back, opened his arms and found himself being dipped so deeply his feet left the ground. The crowd went wild.

Suddenly, Ryan went from enjoying the liplock to yelling in pain as his lead singer unromantically dropped him in mid kiss.

“Emrys, what the hell?” Ryan cried. He looked up and saw his beloved gazing into the crowd, where an old man who actually looked like a wizard was frantically trying to get Emrys’s attention.

[ January 09, 2019, 05:25 PM: Message edited by: MerlionEmrys ]

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
EmmaSohan
Member
Member # 10917

 - posted      Profile for EmmaSohan   Email EmmaSohan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is a first draft? You've read it 20 times? That's an honest question, I don't know how to evaluate.

Yes, you again have a good hook. A mysterious visitor. An important message, sending into motion the events of the story. You do that well.

Does anyone throw open a door to an unexpected visitor? I don't think so. Add in 3 AM and it's jarring. (And, um, wearing just a towel?)

Put yourself in Emry's life. You have just heard that someone has your sister. Would you say "Who has which of my sisters?" That's a grammatical construct that no one uses; when people are in a hurry or stressed, they don't use complex grammar.

Otherwise normal, but you can do better. Things like: I'm not sure how all three men fit in the shower. (I decided you meant one-by-one.) I don't know how Emry knew someone was here or why he used the vague "here", which could mean in the house. Commenced? Why not simplify the whole thing and start with a loud knocking?

Posts: 121 | Registered: Apr 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ahh, Emma. I knew there was a reason I liked you. Great comments.


quote:
This is a first draft? You've read it 20 times? That's an honest question, I don't know how to evaluate.
I wrote it, tweaked it once I believe, then posted it. I think you do a fine job of evaluating.


quote:
Does anyone throw open a door to an unexpected visitor? I don't think so. Add in 3 AM and it's jarring. (And, um, wearing just a towel?)
Point taken. However, Em isn't quite like most people-there is literally nothing in that world he has any reason to be afraid of. He also has weirdly inconsistent feelings about modesty and such. However, at least in your case I haven't quite conveyed that properly, so something to think about...more on that later...


quote:
Put yourself in Emry's life. You have just heard that someone has your sister. Would you say "Who has which of my sisters?" That's a grammatical construct that no one uses; when people are in a hurry or stressed, they don't use complex grammar.
Again this is a slightly odd character, however you're right that it is a little weird. Probably do need to play with it a bit (though if it makes the sentences longer part of it will go beyond 13 lines.)


quote:
Things like: I'm not sure how all three men fit in the shower. (I decided you meant one-by-one.)
Nope, most definitely all three of them [Wink] I realize it is a bit ambiguous. That was more or less intentional. Knowing the intent, do you feel it should be clarified?


quote:
I don't know how Emry knew someone was here or why he used the vague "here", which could mean in the house.
He felt the guy teleport in. This relates to your earlier comment about just opening the door-Em is an extremely powerful mage, but reading your comments I realize that while this fragment pretty much has the stuff I was trying to focus on putting in it, it lacks a clear "genre tag." I had thought that his sudden looking up and knowing someone had arrived might do the trick, but I've just realized it really isn't much. Your thoughts on that issue?


quote:
Commenced? Why not simplify the whole thing and start with a loud knocking?
Are you referring just to that sentence, or suggesting starting the whole fragment with the knocking?
Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
EmmaSohan
Member
Member # 10917

 - posted      Profile for EmmaSohan   Email EmmaSohan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You might be bumping up against the word limit?

Take the shower.

Emrys, Ryan and Kyle were about to jump in the shower,

That would be clear if it was obvious how three guys got in the same shower or that they would want to. Just adding "together" makes that clear. Are they just trying to get clean from the gig? Or do you want sexual overtones. "Emrys, Ryan and Kyle were about to enjoy a quick shower together," adds a lot of setting with one more word.

I think Emrys would say, "Someone just teleported in." That adds a lot of setting in dialogue (the best place for it).

Does he know where? Their first worry is that it's in the house? Then they hear the knocking?

Okay to "throwing open the door" being a show of character. It would help, though, if Emrys "casually" wrapped a towel around himself.

Or, Ryan and Kyle have disappeared from the story. That's okay, I know they might be coming back, but it still seems a little odd. And I know you might not have room for their apparently boring reactions to what is happening. But if they aren't important, you could start "Emrys and his friends Ryan and Kyle.."

If you read Ender's Game, every piece is thought through in that detail. And the result is magical. IMO.

Posts: 121 | Registered: Apr 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You are a certifiable genius. I've added a new version reflecting your suggestions (most of which I should have come up with on my own, but I got a little excited and hurried.)
Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Either version -- an individual and individuals and an abduction.

Motivation development, problem, that is. Want, problem, and both due to those co-attend and are more often companions than separated. Problem foremost here. No stakes risked developed, though. Nor tone developed, except one of trivialism.

The fragment goes from zero to Nero and all Rome burns in short succession, rushes, forces. The Jerome Stern shape is danger at the door, broadly, routine interrupted. Routine interrupted's conventions entail a tension setup and tension relief delay sequence prior to a reveal's tension relief. No tension setup or relief delay in the fragment before the all too untimely and injudicious reveal.

This is patent melodrama: dramatic events portrayed solely to incite and advance, force, rush dramatic movement and an absence of complication-conflict, theme, setting, and character developments. Albeit the sole development of a forced, rushed problem complication motivation attends the fragment.

Also, cliché expressions that trivialize the whole and each's instance. Cliché instances: "were about to _jump_", "were about to enjoy", trivial, were or weren't, did or didn't, "jump into" a shower especially trivial and cliché; "just got home", trivial intensifier "just" and trivial expression; "looked up suddenly," trivial and empty adverb and action event; "_an expression of_ surprise and concern", trivial wordiness and overwrought trivia, empty description; "Someone just teleported", another trivial "just", trivial description "teleported"; "he said, wrapping a towel around himself and _heading_ for the front door." trivial tense shifts and trite description, especially cliché idiom to head; "Halfway," always a trivial and cliché description; "wild-eyed, disheveled old man stood", trivial stereotype, trivial description, and trivial action.

Trivial routine stalls or reverses dramatic movement backward -- trvializes a viewpoint persona and characterization thereof, the abduction, and the two forced deesis figures: "thank the Goddess" and "what in Wonder." Deesis: witness testimony cited for support of an assertion or exclaimed invocation call of a deity, demon, personage, etc., to bear witness, to praise or grace a Providential circumstance, to support, to curse, etc. Portentous routine advances movement, sets up delayed revelation, and builds tension forward to timely, judicious interruption.

Several grammar glitches throughout, unnecessary and trivial tense shifts and gerunds most, one article error.

I could not read further as an engaged reader.

[ November 25, 2018, 07:25 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
This is patent melodrama: dramatic events portrayed solely to incite and advance, force, rush dramatic movement and an absence of complication-conflict, theme, setting, and character developments. Albeit the sole development of a forced, rushed problem complication motivation attends the fragment.
The thing is, that's what the feedback seems to be telling me to do on most of what I post. It also pretty much describes how I feel about most folk's concept of a "hook"-forced action/immediate conflict/threat/danger shoved right into the very beginning of the story, regardless of what kind of story it is, to try and "hook" as many people as possible.
All that stuff is fine for an action/adventure story or whatever (and what I say in this thread is true-I haven't done one of those in a while, so I'm about due) it doesn't fit every story, and nobody is going to be "hooked" by anything other than what fits their personal tastes anyway, hence my stance that it's better to focus on what works for the story as a whole and let those who are interested be interested and those who are not be not.

Indeed, maybe I'm weird, but I find the first few lines of many, many stories-that I like an enjoy very much-to be deeply uninteresting and usually like say if I get an anthology or magazine issue or something, decide which ones to read first by looking a few pages in in order to see what the story is actually about which is the main thing that matters to me as a reader.
And in first-few-lines that I am interested in, I'm as likely to be "hooked" by the voice, by an interesting setting quirk or a nifty image as by any of the stuff I'm often told are "requirements" for a good opening.


All I seek is to get opinions on my stuff based on making it a better version of what it is, rather than trying to change it into something else.

Edit: For the record, I'm not sure if any of that even actually applies to you, extrinsic, in terms of intent, because I can rarely tell if your posts are expressing your opinions or are just a laundry list of technical minutiae (which can be useful sometimes) or if a thing you say is a criticism or a compliment or what. That isn't a criticism, just a statement of what I see/feel

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Descriptive comments are my preferred critique aesthetic. Anymore, I have little, if any, use for proscriptive comments, given, received, and assayed, and little much for prescriptive, either. Plus, respectful effort to avoid ownership usurpation of another's creative vision; mindful, occasion arises for observation a writer's smart subconscious plants and their influences might be unrealized and want revelation. As well, if I do demonstrate by examples, those are far off topic and kilter, so to speak, though representative, such that those do not impose upon another's creative vision potentials.

From my studies, two criteria areas matter most for starts, and parcels and wholes, for best reader effect throughout; one, a complication-conflict introduction (motivations and stakes risked), which entrains energetic dramatic movement; and two, tone's many splendored attitude potentials about an overall topic or subject theme about a human condition, and subject to transformative movement, also. Both complication-conflict and tone movement together is especially of appeal.

A "voice" attitude and conflicted emotional cluster state expressed about a theme topic might be the appeal of a start and movement of a whole, sans other dramatic movement impetuses at first. Near infinite or infinite dramatic movement entrainment potentials emerge from within those two broad areas.

L. Rust Hills observes three categories of prose: energetic, lyric, and philosophic. Overt complication-conflict action events are the energetic type's emphasis, though, for strongest appeal, entails minor chords, subtext of the other two. Lyric, of course, is language emphasis suited to a subject theme attitude (energetic and philosophic subtext), an occasion (kairos), an audience, and each to the others. Philosophic asserts a moral law emphasis; energetic and lyric minor subtext chords attend.

Hills' view is somewhat similar to our host Orson Scott Card's MICE quotient, in that milieu, idea, character, or event emphasis stands out most and the others attend as subtext of some depth level. Moral law assertion or, for best practice and appeal, moral truth discovery unfolds are part of idea; milieu, character, and event attach -- irrespective of emphasis degree.

Hills also observes that a segment sequence movement, pieces, parts, parcels, and whole, as well impels dramatic movement, his labels: preparation, suspension, and resolution. Mine: tension setup, tension relief delay, and tension relief, partial throughout or complete at an outcome end.

A synthesis of Hills and Card, and many others' observations, plus my distinct observations, is the source of my descriptive commentary, unstated though intimated, of what works for me and what doesn't.

You once asked what narrative facet most distinguishes mediocre expression from standout narratives, ancient through present-day emergent classics, as it were. I expended much effort since then developing an answer from all that I've read and studied, that satisfies my sensibilities and sentiments, and as well sought "proof" among the writing wisdom of the ages, and might or not benefit other writers. How a story manages the mischiefs of social-moral expression and persuasion is that answer. All worthwhile expression is satire, which portrays human folly and vice's personal-private social life influences.

Trivial expression is among the top of what doesn't work for me, though allowed, if an essential facet of a story's true design, or, say, characterization movement, or another facet, like social-moral commentary about vacuous expression, then exquisite. Can -- does work for me if intended, not offhanded, and patent enough for access and pertinent inference.

[ November 28, 2018, 07:19 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
walexander
Member
Member # 9151

 - posted      Profile for walexander   Email walexander         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Your first line is your hook line. Not a throw away. If your action starts on the teleport so should your hook. If the shower is the action then what follows needs to reflect that. You're trying to draw the reader in with one set of coherent thirteen lines that they fly through in a heartbeat and get enveloped in the story.

You can't have surprise and concern at the same time but surprise then concern is possible.

If it's three in the morning isn't light needed to see who is at the door? Wouldn't they be more careful about an unknown? Isn't answering a door in the middle of the night in just a towel to an unknown person a b-movie horror trope? Not really something people do. They must not have any enemies or dangers lurking? You should of had them grab pillows on the way to the door. Then I would have laughed and been hooked. Let the pillow fight ensue.

just some thoughts,

W.

Posts: 616 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
walexander, thank you for reading.

I have a question and it is an honest one, not meant to be flip


quote:
You can't have surprise and concern at the same time
Why not?


quote:
Isn't answering a door in the middle of the night in just a towel to an unknown person a b-movie horror trope? Not really something people do. They must not have any enemies or dangers lurking?
I understand how it might seem this way-Emma and I discussed this also-but Em can turn mountains inside out so no, he isn't worried. Also, now I think about it, he may actually already know who is there...the reason I added the word teleport to the earlier part was to try and convey genre-and a bit of Emrys's knowledge-earlier so this would be less jarring.
This is actually a very normal reaction for this character.


quote:
you should of had them grab pillows on the way to the door. Then I would have laughed and been hooked. Let the pillow fight ensue.
Not a bad idea, actually. I might use that for the next one with these characters
Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Extrinsic: very nice post. I think I actually understood most of it and it helps me understand where you're coming from better, which will both make your input more helpful to me and reduce the chances of me making a fool of myself when I reply.

Just for the record and I'm sure you've figured this out already, but the only thing that bothers me is people stating their opinions as absolutes or trying to totally recreate my work-I don't have a problem with you, say, posting an alternative wording or inserting an addition or anything like that. As long as a person's intent is to help me tell my story, I'm good.


quote:
You once asked what narrative facet most distinguishes mediocre expression from standout narratives, ancient through present-day emergent classics, as it were.
This was back in the day, I assume? I seem to remember something like that...what were we talking about at the time? What was the context? (I'm sure I said it, I just had so many long epic speeches I can't keep them all organized in my mind.)
I'm actually somewhat flattered you remembered and acted upon anything I said. You know, I'm pretty sure you and I are the longest-term remaining Hatrackians (you've got more years present because of my unfortunate extended absence,) with Meredith coming in second. In terms of people who actually post I mean.


You're using the word trivial in a way I'm not sure I'm familiar with-would you mind clarifying for me please?

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Back when several "literary genre" discussions merged, the topic of worthwhile prose arose. I'd prospected for a few years beforehand, due to a college writer's literature course about literary award culture. What do all literary awards share in common; highest appreciation of fully realized and rounded narratives, includes a moral subtext movement dimension. Nobel, Pulitzer, Mann, MacArthur, Pushcart, Golden Pen, Campbell, Gernsbeck, Christie, Howard, Dick, etc. Annual literary equivalents to athletic medals, Olympics tournaments of the glorious pen.

Trivial: ordinary, commonplace, everyday, insignificant, unimportant, lackluster, jejune, vacuous, insipid, vapid, banal, inane -- yada.

[ November 27, 2018, 07:57 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Okay, so do me a favor. When you have time, I would sincerely love for you to rework this fragment for me, in a way where it is as close as possible to what I have but (from your perspective) "de trivialized."
I'm completely in earnest here, I think it would really give me some useful stylistic perspective.
Plus I'm curious what it will look like.

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Some diction and syntax adjustments might enhance language liveliness, though do little for detail vividness shortfalls. Syntax adjustments relocate foreground dramatic matters up front and place pertinent incidentals into attendant support roles, a scheme figure of catacosmesis: "Ordering words [and clauses, sentences, events, etc.] from greatest to least in dignity [or an inverse of prose's conventional amplification and emphasis force movement], or in correct order of time." (Gideon Burton, Silva Rhetoricae, rhetoric.byu.edu). Opposite of climax, auxesis, though a forward subtext climax movement accompanies, too.

Premonition of an incipient psychokinetic event, for example, is a -- or the -- foreground facet of the fragment, the routine interruption of substance as well as the visitation facet and tension setup incitement of the messenger scene that follows. That way, a minor problem foreshadows larger problem entrainment and evokes curiosity. No need to jump immediately to the largest problem at the outset, nor untimely telegraph or relieve the tension entrainment of it.

How that incipient event manifests for Emrys, either outside looks in or inside looks outward and inward, might be a transient ischemic episode, an overt somatic sensation of disturbed homeostasis -- momentary lightheaded or brain pain due to a neural-physical-psychic pathway compression, a psychic bow shock, so to speak, inflicted on Emrys from the inbound psychokinetic Alaric's wild panic. What, how, and why to whom, where, and when and about a theme, say, an individual and reckless panic: imprudent fools rush in where gods fear to tread.

Lightheaded or a pain sensation due to a psychokinetic event need not be overwrought descriptive or biophysical detail, stronger if not, only the visible, a noticeable sensation at least, effect on Emrys and his then interactions about it with Ryan and Kyle. That they shower once home from a performance gig becomes incidental to the transient event unless likewise portentous, likewise, unless the gig portentous and sexual self-identity portentous, incidental yet attendant support, too.

More leisure-lavished yet robust introduction developments occasioned then and nonetheless event, setting, character, complication-conflict, tone, theme, title pertinence, message, moral, and fantastic motif detail introductions apt for thirteen lines.

[Edit: though written word, data altogether, transmits and receives linearly, prose entails a multidimensional every-which-a-way synthesis of pieces and parcels that lossless transmits compressed -- expansive compressed, actually -- content for conspicuous, conscious, subconscious, inconspicuous, and nonconscious human decompression and reception.]

[ November 28, 2018, 07:14 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's great, but I really wanna see exactly how you would word this opening. It's the wording bit that I'm really keenly interested in.

You know, I really haven't thought about exactly how he (or my other mages) experience their "magic sense." I'm not even sure I want to get into it, but it's worth thinking about even if I don't.

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sorry I’m late to the party, I’ve been busy. For the last week or so I’ve been testing recipes and adjusting flavour profiles to suit my particular tastes. And, in that vein, let me give you my thoughts about this latest submission (both versions). Quite frankly, I would close the cover and return the ‘book’ to it’s place on the shelf; making a mental note never to pick up a book by this particular author again.

Just keep in mind that what follows is my own personal opinion and you may take from it all, some, or none of the observations I make. I’m sorry, but it isn’t good.

I’m afraid I find both fragments to be perfect examples of the worst vices of melodrama. The scene has no other purpose than to create an atmosphere of threat (both implied and immediate), panic, suspense, high emotion and a certainty within the mind of a reader that it’s all fluff and nonsense signifying nothing. Doc Brown is in a panic, and Marty is confused.

I see no point to the scene. It develops nothing for me.

I also have a strong opinion on two things you’ve said, well one you’ve included in the story and the other you’ve stated as a preference: sharing a shower with three people, and you not being interested in developing the magic system of your ‘fantasy world’.

To the first; I have shared a shower with a number of people at various times, some small, some not so. That’s two of us. If I were to share a shower with my jousting and fencing partner, we’re both about 76Kg, (she has a higher fat content in some areas I don’t) we’d take up most of a standard sized shower. Add another ‘body’ and someone’s derrière is going to be hanging out in the wind. The visual that accompanies your description isn’t likely to occur in reality; and most people will know it. Unless, of course, you have a large shower specifically to accommodate three people. In that case, the reader needs to know that before you mention that group shower. Melodrama is notorious for ignoring the process of cause preceding effect.

Second; When I was looking at incorporating a ‘magic system’ in one of my stories, I consulted widely with a number of world class writers. The consensus is this: to make the use of magic a risky proposition, it must have a cost, and a high one. The cost can be physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual, but it must never be free. This gets the reader more deeply involved and invested in that magic system.

Sorry I can’t be more positive. It is what it is.

Phil.

PS: There’s no point I badgering extrinsic. He will point out the flaws in your work as he sees them, but like any good teacher, he will leave you to develop your own solution.

Posts: 1750 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Just keep in mind that what follows is my own personal opinion and you may take from it all, some, or none of the observations I make. I’m sorry, but it isn’t good.
Because it is your personal opinion it isn't good or bad-it just is. And because you have the courtesy to clearly label it as such, I'm not going to be mad at you for it regardless-I will, however, discuss it with you. That's where a lot of my best progress has come from over the years.


quote:
I’m afraid I find both fragments to be perfect examples of the worst vices of melodrama. The scene has no other purpose than to create an atmosphere of threat (both implied and immediate), panic, suspense, high emotion and a certainty within the mind of a reader that it’s all fluff and nonsense signifying nothing. Doc Brown is in a panic, and Marty is confused.

I can't gainsay you on that. However, the interesting thing to me is, most of what you just said is, from my experience, pretty much what almost everyone was telling me to do with my other fragments (pretty much all of which weren't even conceived of as fast-paced or action oriented) and yet now when I decided to do an action-oriented piece and include the things I'm usually told any opening should (or even must) have, most are criticizing it for being that(or so it seems from my point of view.) I'm not mad about that or saying it's bad, I'm just sort of contemplating exactly what it signifies.


All of that being said, do you have any suggestions for improvement, other than a total scrap and redo?


quote:
I see no point to the scene. It develops nothing for me.
Interesting. This makes me curious, and I'm going to try and express that curiosity in a way that I hope wont be misunderstood. I think maybe I should preface it by saying that I don't really have a particularly strong attachment to this story (I don't even know yet for sure exactly what it is about and it is largely an experiment on several levels) so I want you to try and accept that I am approaching this objectively and not just trying to "defend my baby" or anything of the sort.
I pretty much get the melodrama thing but "conveys nothing" (as opposed to "don't like how it is conveyed" or "doesn't convey enough") is hard for me to understand. Here are several things that, as near as I can tell, can't help but be conveyed by the scene (note, I'm not trying to say they are "good" things or conveyed in the best way, simply that "nothing" doesn't seem to fit.)
Several characters.
That they are in a band or something similar.
That three of them are probably in some sort of relationship
That some type of magical or psychic forces exist and at least one character has such powers.
That Emrys has a sister and she is in danger.

So my question to you is, does this not convey even one of those things to you?


quote:
To the first; I have shared a shower with a number of people at various times, some small, some not so. That’s two of us. If I were to share a shower with my jousting and fencing partner, we’re both about 76Kg, (she has a higher fat content in some areas I don’t) we’d take up most of a standard sized shower. Add another ‘body’ and someone’s derrière is going to be hanging out in the wind. The visual that accompanies your description isn’t likely to occur in reality; and most people will know it. Unless, of course, you have a large shower specifically to accommodate three people. In that case, the reader needs to know that before you mention that group shower. Melodrama is notorious for ignoring the process of cause preceding effect.

You're totally right of course. I'll either enlarge the shower, or only have two of them going in. I definitely don't want cause not proceeding effect unless there is a good supernatural reason for it.


quote:
Second; When I was looking at incorporating a ‘magic system’ in one of my stories, I consulted widely with a number of world class writers. The consensus is this: to make the use of magic a risky proposition, it must have a cost, and a high one. The cost can be physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual, but it must never be free. This gets the reader more deeply involved and invested in that magic system.
I didn't say anything about not developing the magic system. I said I wasn't sure if I wanted to include a specific description of what Emrys experiences when he becomes aware of nearby magic use.

I know that it is currently the fashion, and I do enjoy some of them, but for my own work I am generally not a fan of the "magic is a risky proposition" approach. I tend to see magic as a natural side effect of having a soul, rather than a dangerous purely external force (but it depends, I've developed different systems for different stories.) My usual approach is more of a resource management deal, where a mage eventually just runs out of power-and trying to push beyond that is when things get dangerous.
Some of today's big authors (Brandon Sanderson and Brent Weeks for example) tend to favor what's more like specific magical superpowers than what I think of as a "magic system" involving spellcasting and such. I could see myself experimenting with that sort of thing but to me it sets a very different tone or set of circumstances than magic as a versatile craft.


quote:
Sorry I can’t be more positive. It is what it is.
No reason to be sorry-I'm glad to hear your input and just want to understand it and the thoughts behind it as much as possible.


quote:
PS: There’s no point I badgering extrinsic. He will point out the flaws in your work as he sees them, but like any good teacher, he will leave you to develop your own solution.

Hmm. Not so sure that is always the best mode of teaching. When I point out flaws, I tend to like to be able to suggest an alternative-both methods of course have their uses (and sometimes one may know something seems off, but not how or why.)


That aside, extrinsic and I go way back (I originally joined Hatrack in '08 and was a very active poster for many years, I've just recently returned after an unfortunate absence of several years) and share a strange sort of love hate relationship. The thing is, due to the extremely specific and highly esoteric language he uses I only fully understand about half of what he says and so, even if what you say about teaching is true, it can be hard if I'm not sure what it is he's saying is a flaw (or even if it is a criticism and not a compliment.) So, for it to really help me, I need to see it, so I can know for sure exactly what's going on.


Thanks again for reading.

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
From many years of study, directed, independent, and otherwise, I was taught, learned, and wholeheartedly adopted that creative vision is sacred and inviolate, magic even. Hence, hands off. Descriptive commentary only.

Like any discipline, the narrative arts and sciences entail a language, esoteric, yes, intrinsic, too. Like any social science, also, the discipline encompasses other social sciences' languages. The gamut.

Magic prose language differs from everyday language yet is of the semblance to thereof -- the language of small talk and shallow chitchat chatter, rather, prose language that is numinous and liminal, mystic, lyric, fraught with hidden power to persuade, persuade emotional response at least, if not responsibly persuade social transformation, the truest function of prose.

An awesome power and responsibility. And yet be socially subversive, subliminal, and covert, such that the language and arrangement appear otherwise innocent, harmless, comprehensible, and of an ease that speaks ethos and logos to pathos and kairos; respectively, credibility and authenticity, and logic, to emotion, and occasion. Reader language aptitude varies much, too; thus, audience definition is of a paramount consideration. Trivia readers? Not an audience or niche that I know of.

Three personas shower. A coincidental problem crisis intrudes. Mental adjustment, perhaps not what a writer intends, okay, a large shower space, perhaps luxurious, ostentatious wealth. Surrogate self-idealization? Occasion missed to use a setting and milieu feature to develop character and event movement. Those flashed through my mind like fleeting thoughts.

Similarly, the features of the rest of the fragment flashed through my mind, the trivialness of the language and the trivial motion portrait overall. Is this about trivialness? Ultimately, does the narrative develop such a theme, topic, dramatic movement, commentary, or other? If so, why don't the title and fragment cue that in enough to be beyond subliminal, to be liminal, at least, or superliminal, intended for reader effect and benefit? Again, those flashed through my mind and distracted from the actual action to where nothing substantial presented overtly or covertly. Trivial, trite, cliché. And of a cynicism that expects readers to do more heavy work than wanted.

Recently reviewed a family genealogy newsletter, staple-bound softcover book and folded-ledger, letter page format, illustrated. Oh my, what a rough and raw publication, somewhat trivial content, nonetheless of great interest to the target audience, yet the raw roughness and trivial content part of the charm, and speaks volumes about the family's culture.

Of course, my publication sciences' savvy objected, strongly, though not given to me to comment, not negatively anyway, or adjust, nor usurp ownership. Sincere approval given only, goes against my grain.

Just a minute. Except for the family audience target, the publication's trivialness will be dismissed by all and sundry. Huh!? Contrary to publication's function. No, wait, the content is private information. Oh! Safe from general malicious uses, plus that the content design avoids injudicious privacy invasion and exposure. Intentional. Cool.

By the way, a common ancestor from mid sixteenth century uncovered by the researchers. Fabulous! I am, indeed, descended from royalty and rogues. My comment to the researchers a few years before about those: Duh-huh, trivial family lines expire. Lively life is vigorous, vivid, lustrous, noble and wicked by turns and contemporaneous; else, life stagnates and perishes. Prose, too, and like Nature, abhors a vacuum.

[ November 29, 2018, 08:18 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
From many years of study, directed, independent, and otherwise, I was taught, learned, and wholeheartedly adopted that creative vision is sacred and inviolate, magic even. Hence, hands off. Descriptive commentary only.

I agree with the first part, and the fact that you have usually been one of the only other people here that takes that view besides me just makes the rest more frustrating. I don't understand, however, why that would prohibit the rewrite-as-example method or somehow make it disrespectful, but even if you think it, if someone specifically asks for it refusing isn't being respectful, it's just being difficult. But it's who you are, so I can't really fault you for it. It's just frustrating since there's now only a handful of people posting regularly.


If I didn't know any better I'd think you secretly have eight legs and collect scissors. Or maybe chessboards. Next thing I know you'll be cutting off everyone's left ears.


quote:
Similarly, the features of the rest of the fragment flashed through my mind, the trivialness of the language and the trivial motion portrait overall. Is this about trivialness? Ultimately, does the narrative develop such a theme, topic, dramatic movement, commentary or other? If so, why don't the title and fragment cue that in enough to be beyond subliminal, to be liminal, at least, or superliminal? Again, those flashed through my mind and distracted from the actual action to where nothing substantial presented overtly or covertly. Trivial, trite, cliché.

Okay, so you're just using "trivial" as a synonym for cliche? That's new to me-when I hear "trivial" to me it means either "very very easy" or "unimportant" which is why your use of it in the context of word choice was throwing me for a loop.
Although I'm still not sure how something like using the word "just" to mean "happened extremely recently" is exactly cliche. "All's well that ends well," is a cliche, but using "the" as the definite article or "water" to refer to H2O is just using words to mean the things that they mean.

Okay so to test my theory how about this. Would "Having got home from a gig a few minutes ago" be better ("less trivial") than the shorter, more direct "Having just got home from a gig?" How about "having recently returned from?"

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My foremost reservation about a rewrite demonstration, and intended to be unstated, is a shortfall of express dramatic details leaves me unable, save the one of a rushed problem incitement.

Trivial, trite, cliché, an asyndeton figure, ellided conjunctions for persuasive effect. Substitute and for commas, the mighty comma's serial list function. Or or, or both, any conjunction for all, for artful ambiguity, yet a clear subtext signaled by the stream-of-conscious expression method. Trivial and trite and cliché are hyponyms of hypernym unimaginative expression, not synonyms, per se; the figure congeries: "Piling up words of differing meaning but for a similar emotional effect." (Gideon Burton, Silva Rhetoricae, rhetoric.byu.edu)

Asked by MerlionEmrys:
"would 'Having got home from a gig a few minutes ago' be better ('less trivial') than the shorter, more direct 'Having just got home from a gig?' How about 'having recently returned from?'"

-ing words are a benchmark cue of trivial, everyday, unimaginative expression. Casual intensifier "just," also, unless dramatically substantive.

Gertrude Stein and William Gibson, though, use the present participle to express an ever-present sense of a present state of being subtext, by design static voice, static movement, allegory, that expresses little, if any, of the human condition ever, really, effectively, actually, truly, unequivocally, irrevocably changes. The -ing ring rhyme, though, soon wears thin and annoys -- annoyance emotion, too, part of the persuasive design?

See John Locke and the pure state of Nature. Each generation is born anew into the pure state of Nature and, therefore, genuine moral aptitude transformation impossible. A Naturalism pessimistic Cassandra convention.

If the gig and shower matter to the immediate movement, those are substantive and want dramatic development as such. Raises whether the start when and where are apt or not. Apt, at the gig, a portentous omen might foreshadow the incitement event to come and signal the theme, etc. Readers, regardless of aptitude, want and need setup development and time to stay abreast of movement and subtext, and crave accessible subtext. Leisure lavished on substantive dramatic details provides that processor time.

[ November 29, 2018, 09:44 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
My foremost reservation about a rewrite demonstration, and intended to be unstated, is a shortfall of express details leaves me unable.
All I want is to see how you would say the same thing in a way that isn't "trivial."

Not quite as important now that I get how you are using the word and am coming swiftly to the conclusion that this is just an episode of your allergy to common, straightforward expression and word use.
There is often much good to be got out of your posts but it takes a great deal of time and effort, for me at least, to first decipher your language (and I can never be sure I've succeeded) and then to sort out what is generally applicable from what are just facets of personal preoccupations and philosophies (of which I have a whole basketload myself, but when I crit I try to find out what the author is trying to do and help them do it-the things I may glean from the critting for my own use I generally keep to myself.)


quote:
-ing words are a benchmark cue of trivial, everyday, unimaginative expression. Gertrude Stein and William Gibson, though, use the present participle to express an ever-present sense of present state of being subtext, static voice, allegory, that expresses little, if any, of the human condition ever, really, effectively, actually, truly, unequivocally, irrevocably changes. See John Locke and the pure state of Nature. Each generation is born anew into the pure state of Nature.
Sigh. Okay. But before you'd talked about "just" being "trivial", so what I was getting at is, which of those examples I gave of ways to phrase it without using the word "just", putting all other things aside would you find preferable?

What I'm getting at is, "just" is as near as I can tell a perfectly acceptable and non-word intensive way of saying "happened very recently". but you're saying it's not good. So, what would be better, without simultaneously committing some other infraction, such as being overly wordy etc? And the same applies to pretty much everything else you described that way.

I'm trying to peel away the layers here, but you're making it like an an onion within an orange within an apple wrapped up in a coconut.


quote:
If the gig and shower matter to the immediate movement, those are substantive and want dramatic development as such. Raises whether the start when and where are apt or not. Apt, at the gig, a portentous omen might foreshadow the incitement event to come and signal the theme, etc. Readers, regardless of aptitude, want and need setup development and time to stay abreast of movement and subtext, and crave accessible subtext. Leisure lavished on substantive dramatic details provides that processor time.
As I see it, in a basic narrative you are going to have bits of things, usually description or small minor events, that are not themselves important but serve to set the scene or are the enablers of more important actions or events. Like Grumpy was saying, cause generally needs to proceed effect and I'd add to that that things don't happen in a vacuum. Neither the gig or the shower are important, but they put the characters in a place and provide a context for the important events, and secondarily often serve to give other bits of not necessarily crucial but nice to have info...such as, in this case, the fact that the characters are in a band and that some of them are in an intimate relationship.

Even if I began this story with Em sensing the teleportation, as some have suggested, I'm pretty sure at some point, probably pretty quick, I'd need to establish where he is and what is going on at the time.


Likewise, in my experience, most narrative fiction is at least halfway made up of what you have labeled as "trivial" or "cliche" prose, especially if it's in a modern, more-or-less "real world" setting with characters who have a more or less modern real world upbringing (as is the case with this story's setting and characters, except for Alaric and Emrys, and Emrys pretty much runs the gamut of idioms and expressions because of his assorted peculiarities.) I'm not advocating totally blank, voiceless writing, but a lot of writing is done using common, basic, straightforward words and idioms.
That's why they are idioms. On the rare occasions a story is written more or less without them, it's with a very specific purpose, like "Born of Man and Woman."


This story does not emphasize style. It's a plot and action story (well, that's the idea anyway, I'm writing it seat-of-the-pants, but it definitely is more Jim Butcher than Clive Barker.)

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Even Mickey Spillane's common, everyday, trivial pulp fiction and language expresses a sublime, worthwhile human condition subtext that appeals to the target audience and close readers overall.

If given to me to recast the fragment, I'd scrap it and start from an incitement at the gig. I cannot do otherwise. At the least, that sets up leisure for the eventual true incitement, and contrasts and compares public and private existents (dramatic event, setting, and character development), preps the subtext. Which I have no clue of.

Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Interesting idea-and sooner or later I will have a story with these guys that start at a gig-but again, part of the point of this was to create an opening with a clear, obvious inciting event/threat/conflict whatever-the-bleep, since the lack of that has been the major complaint about all my other openings.

And exactly as expected, when I do that, people want me to do the opposite. [Cool] It's a funny, funny world we live in.

I don't know what the subtext is yet either, so don't feel bad.

You know when I got back I promised myself I wasn't going to engage in these little writer social experiment conversations, but I don't appear to be able to help myself.

Did you scare everybody off with random ear-severings?

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Prose requires reader engagement of whatever emotional appeal type. A melodramatic event causes a greater emotional disengagement than engagement feature, from its unnaturalness and in-authenticity. This is our host Orson Scott Card's Why should I care? Because Emrys is, what? Angry? Afraid? Worried? Delighted? About to embark from insignificant events upon a journey of personal vengeance? What?

Logically, naturally, Emrys knows beforehand he is the target of some villain's wicked intentions. One-two-three setup sequence and dramatic irony then wants that certainty developed beforehand. Or is he too stupid to save and protect his sister and live?

Who is Emrys anyway? A noble laird of all he surveys? A demagogue? A self-efficacious hero? A metro rogue of whatever social and private vices? A rustic hedge mage of uncommon distinction? The witless lackey of an ultimate power? I'm not given to care about him, first, underdog or alpha dog, nor then his sister's fate. Nor any clue what this story is actually about that emotionally engages me to read further and care what will transpire, even if it's solely for a moral law assertion message I refuse from the nuisance of another who presumes to think for me.

An apt emotional incitement introduction is all thirteen lines wants, and readers, albeit wrapped by event, setting, character, and thematic subtext developments. Feudal refusal is futile of wanted publication success outcomes, of prose's, and life's, manifold congruent and paradoxical opposites.

The emotional engagement shot group is thus far way low and left of center, and overcompensated far high and right. Where -- what, why, how, who, when -- is your and your audience's bull's-eye?

No ear severings from this derelict Van Gogh, rather, an uber sandblaster that flashes all flesh and bone to the proverbial dusts of creation.

[ November 29, 2018, 11:14 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I could make all sorts of logical rebuttals to all of that, but I know how it sounds so there is likely no point.

Ultimately, I'm just frustrated because there isn't enough traffic left here for me to get the kind of good overview of many different points of view like I used to do-or even any full story crits, which is mostly what I care about anyway. You can spend ages trying to perfect 13 lines but that doesn't make a lot of sense to me without feedback on everything else. Publishers don't buy, and readers aren't meaningfully affected by openings, but by whole pieces.


I just need to go back to taking my own advice and write according to my own tastes, knowing they are not unique and take what feedback I can get for what it's worth.

Thank you for participating. You can go back to hanging scissors from the ceiling and severing people's ears now. I don't believe you about the sandblaster. It's the ears.
The question is, if you're the Weaver, then who is the Construct Council? And who does that make me?

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am neither weaver nor construct or counsel nor council nor guard or leader. I am a solitaire writer upon the sacred Poet's Journey, who finds critique processes useful por moi. This and other Hatrack discussions have finalized my senses of the narrative arts, some always more to learn. At the least, my reading aptitudes and passions therefor have soared. And reading is writing, is reading and reading.
Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ooo ooo I just figured out who I am! I must be Judah Lowe!

Now we should do the Avengers.

You can be The Vision.

And I can be Tony Stark, cause he gets to hug Spider-Man.


Sigh. I have a feeling this story is going to frustrate me, but I suppose I should finish it anyway.

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If we're on comic superheroes, label me Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm. The only comic book icons yet fully realized, rounded, and developed in all the arts of narrative expression. Rubber intellectual, invisible woman, inflammable youth, and unbreakable everyman -- exquisite symbolism and metonymy and social commentary.

From other literary culture, best label me Larry Darrell from Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge, 1944. Unacknowledged though inspired by Transcendentalism works from Russian saint disciples of Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1821 - 1881. Moi not any way Russian, though. The Bill Murray role in the motion picture interpretation -- okay.

[ November 30, 2018, 12:37 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As a writer, one of the hardest arts to acquire is the precision use and understanding of language. I did not say the fragment “conveys nothing.”

Obviously, simply reading the fragment imparts your laundry list of ‘observations’ about who is present and what is going on. What I actually said was, “It develops nothing for me.” And this is an accurate summation of what happens. There is a shotgun-scattering of people and events yet not a single one of them is developed dramatically in any way at all.

As for ‘action openings’, action is meaningless without stakes. To have stakes, the reader MUST be invested in the well-being and future prospects of the character, and/or their associates. This means it is essential for the reader to sympathise with the main character as early as possible. There are techniques for accomplishing this seemingly impossible task in thirteen lines. It can be done, just ask Aristotle.

I would suggest you download a copy of Book 2 of Aristotle’s Rhetoric for further instruction.

Phil.

Posts: 1750 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
extrinsic: I was referring more to the Marvel Cinematic Universe than the actual comics(mostly because I want to hug Tom Holland.) That being said, I'm not sure its allowable for one person to map to four different characters, but you can definitely be Mr. Fantastic. It fits. Which would make me the Human Torch which, in the comics, would still put me in close proximity to Spider Man.


Grumpy: Oh poop, I sincerely thought I saw conveys also. A thousand apologies-that was my goof. Scratch all of that about conveying then.


quote:
To have stakes, the reader MUST be invested in the well-being and future prospects of the character, and/or their associates
I don't think it has to be a character(s), and I think "invested" might be a little strong of a word. I prefer "interested", but I get what you mean.


quote:
There are techniques for accomplishing this seemingly impossible task in thirteen lines. It can be done, just ask Aristotle.
Oh it can definitely be done, but never for all readers. And also, I think that succeeding in that is usually going to mean sacrificing one or more other things. 13 lines is still just 13 lines.

I honestly have a hard time relating to all of this, because I find it generally very easy to become interested/invested in/sympathetic toward characters, but my time here has taught me that there are quite a few who find it-from my perspective-extremely difficult. Of course that often isn't what draws me into a story anyway.


All of that aside, I do feel this story is perhaps a bit of a false start (the whole thing, not just the opening.) I think I may try and use the same plotline I was developing (in my head) but do it from the "kids" perspective instead of Emrys's.

And now that you mentioned it, extrinsic, I think I may challenge myself to start it out at the gig.

This has also been an experiment in "seat of the pants" writing, which is how I did everything in my earlier days, but I'm just not sure it works for me anymore (and the plotting difficulties inherent in the stories with these characters-and really any story with Em as a main character) don't lend themselves to it either.

Thanks for reading guys, I will probably be replacing both these versions with something very different sometime soonish.

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If a literary celebrity attracts me, I say I would marry her. An innuendo allusion of polite manners. Nell Zink, 1964 - , for instance, The Wallcreeper, 2014, a debut affectionate salutation to Jonathan Frazen; and Mislaid, 2015, L, B, G, and Q of LBGQT+ fiction; Nicotine, 2016; Private Novelist, 2016; U.S. releases, earlier Europe releases; people in places and social crisis situations, overall dysfunctional self- and sexual identities, Zink's general creative aesthetic and Franzen's. Many, I would not marry. Unmarried anyway -- dysfunctional.

[ November 30, 2018, 03:39 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have no idea what you just said. Are you making fun of my crush on Tom Holland? You wouldn't be the first.

I can't really think of any literary celebrities I'd like to marry (I kinda think China Mieville might be family and I love his work, but he's not really my type.)

Anyway, you're a writer, of course you're dysfunctional. Or perhaps just functional in a very different way. The effects are much the same, sadly.

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not fun of, a descriptive observation about a polite allusion, a euphemism.
Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That was my second guess.
Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Otherwise, an annotated bibliography of a character emphasis writer, milieu, idea, and event attend, who I would marry for a night and day or two.
Posts: 5730 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
All I know is, if I was Katniss Everdeen, I would have Taken A Third Option and chosen both of them.


And who in their right mind picks What-his-face Patterson over Taylor Lautner?

But now I'm just clogging up the site with utterly off topic posts. I'd better stop.

I dunno I think I may have come up with a decent plot for this story but...I pretty much agree with what I've seen you say a couple times about how (if I'm following you) having some sort of a moral/message/social commentary/issue addressing type of core often makes for the best stories (though I do also have a lot of favorites that are more or less all about atmosphere or mood, like literary dreams) and I'm not sure how good a one this plot I'm thinking of really has.

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Posted an "at the gig" version.
Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I find this opening an improvement. There is some initial character development and an initial development of the relationship the three of them are involved in.

Despite the improvement, I find the flaws within the fragment enough to leave me uninterested in continuing.

Let me unleash my inner pedant. Lets start with this paragraph:

quote:
Suddenly, Ryan went from enjoying the liplock to yelling in pain as his lead singer/boyfriend/magic teacher dropped him in mid kiss.
This is the dramatic inciting incident that interrupts routine and embarks Emrys on his narrative journey. It needs more punch. I find the use of the term “liplock” to be trivial and banal. There is no room, in my opinion, for anything that distracts from the drama of the moment. Second, is it necessary to include these labels, “lead/singer/boyfriend/magic teacher”? Last, I find this phrase, “dropped him in mid kiss.” falls far short of what it could be.

Let’s move on the the last paragraph.

quote:
”Emrys, what the hell?” Ryan cried. He looked up and saw his beloved gazing into the crowd, where an old man in medieval looking garb was frantically trying to get his attention.
First, if Ryan is looking up at Emrys, how can he know exactly what Emrys is looking at? He’d have to turn his head to see. Second, a man in medieval garb? Do you know how long the medieval era was? It’s also known as the Dark Ages or the Middle Ages and lasted from the 5th century to the 15th. In this case the specifics of his attire is germane.

Hope this helps.

Phil.

Posts: 1750 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ahhh, you make some very good observations and catches, and some I'm not sure how I feel about...


quote:
This is the dramatic inciting incident that interrupts routine and embarks Emrys on his narrative journey.
It's now meant to be from Ryan's POV. Did I not pull that off properly, grammatically and all I mean?


quote:
It needs more punch.
I don't necessarily disagree. The trick is, fitting anything else into 13 lines. Also...


quote:
I find the use of the term “liplock” to be trivial and banal. There is no room, in my opinion, for anything that distracts from the drama of the moment.
I get what you're saying, but these stories (and I really need to come up with some sort of blanket name for them) are meant to be somewhat lighthearted in tone (especially starting out) and also "liplock" is sort of part of Ryan's personal lexicon.
Again, though, I think that section is one that I shall try to spice up a little, it's just going to take some thought...


quote:
Second, is it necessary to include these labels, “lead/singer/boyfriend/magic teacher”?
Not absolutely, no. Really, I was mostly thinking genre tag when I wrote that. Really, I guess the other two have pretty much already been established and could really go and just leave "magic teacher" to serve the genre tag purpose.


quote:
Last, I find this phrase, “dropped him in mid kiss.” falls far short of what it could be.
I agree. Maybe add "Unceremoniously?" "Thoughtlessly?" "Distractedly?" Hmmm...have to give that some thought.


quote:
First, if Ryan is looking up at Emrys, how can he know exactly what Emrys is looking at? He’d have to turn his head to see.
Quite right. I had in fact meant to do that and then just forgot. Should be able to fix that without going over...


quote:
Do you know how long the medieval era was? It’s also known as the Dark Ages or the Middle Ages and lasted from the 5th century to the 15th. In this case the specifics of his attire is germane.

I do know, but I quite honestly don't see it as being terribly germane as the character whose POV I'm in may not have enough specific knowledge to identify it otherwise (especially since the old guy isn't actually from this world) and is really just mentioned to give the reader a sense of why he'd stand out. That being said, maybe something has occurred to you that hasn't to me as to why it might be important. What, specifically were you thinking?


quote:
Hope this helps.
It does. I'm really starting to feel like I have my writer pants on again. Or perhaps it's a hat or a scarf, but anyway it's nice.
Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
It's now meant to be from Ryan's POV. Did I not pull that off properly, grammatically and all I mean?
POV remained consistent. I'm sorry you thought I had an issue with it. It's Ryan's POV, but Emrys' journey.

" My quote: Last, I find this phrase, “dropped him in mid kiss.” falls far short of what it could be."
quote:
I agree. Maybe add "Unceremoniously?" "Thoughtlessly?" "Distractedly?" Hmmm...have to give that some thought.
Actions speak louder than words: Ryan's just been painfully dumped on his arse (or is that ass for you guy's), What's his reaction going to be, both physically and emotionally? At the risk of intruding into your narrative, thud! ow! where'd the noise go?

As for the medieval clothing: is he wearing a homespun, knee-length shift, cinched at the waist with a wide leather belt supporting a purse and sheathed dagger, and with sheepskin leggings, or is he dressed as a Venetian fop and dandy of the 1450's?

Such details do matter to readers, even if you don't think so.

Phil.

Posts: 1750 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
POV remained consistent. I'm sorry you thought I had an issue with it. It's Ryan's POV, but Emrys' journey.
Ahh good. I thought we were having a slight miscommunication there.

In this version, it is going to be more like a journey for all of them, but from Ryan's POV to make it easier. Emrys as focal character is a real pain in the butt in some ways due to his bad case of superman syndrome, which I choose to leave intact by reason of how I use it for other things in other stories.


quote:
Actions speak louder than words: Ryan's just been painfully dumped on his arse (or is that ass for you guy's), What's his reaction going to be, both physically and emotionally? At the risk of intruding into your narrative, thud! ow! where'd the noise go?
Ahh, you're one of those. I'm a little wary of onomatopoeia/spelling out sounds people make type of stuff. I have and will do it at times...but note here that he did yell in pain when it first happened-I just decided to say he did that instead of do an "Ahhhh!" or something.

And actually he was really more dumped on his back, since Em had him nearly horizontal before letting go.

Did the "unromantically" improve that bit any for you? I completely agree it needed work.


quote:
Such details do matter to readers, even if you don't think so.
Oh I know they matter to some readers, I just also know they don't matter to others-as shown by the fact that they don't usually matter to me and by the recent criticisms I received for describing what people were wearing in detail (and of course it can depend on context also.)
Here there is also the concern about keeping things within the 13 lines and the fact that I'm not sure Ryan would be able to specifically identify such garb-especially since it isn't actually Earth medieval garb (although if I wanted to use the space I could still describe it.)

I am taking the matter under consideration though.

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jay Greenstein
Member
Member # 10615

 - posted      Profile for Jay Greenstein   Email Jay Greenstein         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
In this version, it is going to be more like a journey for all of them, but from Ryan's POV to make it easier.
Except it's not. Ryan is the one the narrator talks about, and whose actions are commented on and explained. But we are not in Ryan's viewpoint. And that's pretty consistent in the various postings you've made: Someone not on the scene is talking about the protagonist, in a voice devoid of emotion. So we're getting the narrator's viewpoint, with Ryan as the focus character.

That can work when an audience can hear the emotion in your voice, and see your performance, but on the page both are lacking.

In short: you cannot use tricks of verbal storytelling in a medium that doesn't support them.

The difference between telling and showing can be expressed in one word: viewpoint. If the reader is placed into the protagonist's viewpoint their responses and perceptions have been calibrated to that of the protagonist, and they will react to events as that character. If they're not, they will react to your view of the events as they would react to any other report.

Look at every place where you, the external narrator, is explaining things to the reader and move to his viewpoint, instead. What is he focused on in the moment eh calls now? What does he think it means, and what resources can he bring to bear? What does he want to have happen—which guides his choice of what to do/say next? If it matters to him in his moment of now then it matters to the reader. If not, it's irrelevant to him and the reader

Posts: 137 | Registered: Dec 2016  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Grumpy, extrinsic, Emma, would any of you that can see this please give me your...I dunno, diagnosis, I guess, as to whether this fragment is, as I'm trying to achieve, in close third person mode with Ryan as the POV character?
Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Third person is, by definition, a story narrated by someone who isn’t directly involved in the action. They can be either reliable narrators, telling the story without bias or, in some cases an unreliable narrator with their own agenda. The other thing about third person is that the narrators understanding of what people are thinking and feeling can range anywhere from not having a clue to knowing everything everyone is thinking and feeling.

The we come to the narrative distance. Again, the range of narrative distance can be anywhere from an extreme distance (where the narrator can only see the ‘big picture’ events, sans characters) to a distance so close it is almost indistinguishable from first person immediate, direct perception.

I would call your fragment submission third person, middle distance. At the moment. Although, when Ryan is dropped, I might slide the narrative distance much closer so we experience the event exactly as Ryan feels it. I use such a close distance when doing either a high stress or close, hand-to-hand combat scene. I write a lot of those.

Phil.

Posts: 1750 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What I'm saying is, I've got somebody telling me it is not from Ryan's point of view. Period.

In every understanding I'm familiar with, it is from his point of view, in whatever degree of distance.
It presents nothing that Ryan could not know or be aware of, such as a distant event or someone else's inner monologue or thoughts or such.
And it is presenting the events as he feels them.
I haven't, I don't think, broken POV at any point-only varied in distance perhaps.

So, from what I understand, it is from his point of view-it just isn't first person. And it is definitely not flat out period not in his point of view. Or am I just crazy?

(of course my personal opinion is that all of these things seem to have not less than 3 or 4 definitions and sub-terms and sub-definitions each and so are never really objectively anything, but I'm trying to see if I'm totally nuts by consensus or not.)

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nuts by consensus? All the world is crazy except for me and thee. And I'm not that sure of thee.

Phil.

Posts: 1750 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My point, pardon the pun, is that I'm pretty darn sure point of view is never broken in this bit here.
Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grumpy old guy
Member
Member # 9922

 - posted      Profile for Grumpy old guy   Email Grumpy old guy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'd agree.

Phil.

Posts: 1750 | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MerlionEmrys
Member
Member # 11024

 - posted      Profile for MerlionEmrys   Email MerlionEmrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm aware enough of my own madness to know I sometimes need a sanity check.

Now where's my D20....

Posts: 168 | Registered: Oct 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
EmmaSohan
Member
Member # 10917

 - posted      Profile for EmmaSohan   Email EmmaSohan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi Merlion. I will comment. If it helps you write something YOU like better, good. Or it's just me and my preferences, you can see I have my own preferences on starts and I doubt I am typical, so don't try to make me happy.

I reacted to "Repeats the same process". Too mathematical? Too abstract? Doesn't fit the type of story I imagine you writing?

Suddenly, Ryan went from enjoying the liplock to yelling in pain as his lead singer/boyfriend/magic teacher dropped him in mid kiss.

Suddenly, Ryan yelled in pain as his lead singer/boyfriend/magic teacher dropped him in mid kiss.

Redescribing? Not typical in modern fiction. You would redescribe the kiss if you wanted to focus on the erotic aspects of the book. You wouldn't if it was a story about magic people who happened to be gay.

I'm not sure if I can explain why, but I was bothered by "trying" and would have preferred "waving." It has something to do with taking Ryan's perspective. Or what he sees. Or the man had already gotten Emry's attention.

Looks normal to me. I keep reading -- you have a hook and you dropped me into the middle of the action.

Posts: 121 | Registered: Apr 2018  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2