This is topic RE: One Eternal Round, short story, generic in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by Challenge (Member # 11238) on :
In a long luminous dream, she is writing with her feet this time, inscribing light with steel blades mounted on a pair of white leather boots. The writing surface is a sheet of ice, a large rectangle of fine, clean, frozen water. The words are strokes and stops; the phrases are glides and edges; the clauses are figures and moves; and the transitions are jumps and spins. The universe of discourse is an alliance of perpetual motion set to the music of the spheres. Sylvia was born to write.
The skating strokes are runes, much as the earliest words for writing have their roots in the act of making marks on a solid plane: cutting, carving, engraving, incising, notching. The double edges of each blade etch lines on a sea of glass mingled with fire. The ice is time, and the rink is eternity.
Posted by walexander (Member # 9151) on :
I remember when I first started writing, I opened with philosophical laden sentences because I wanted my readers to understand how profound I was. That my word-craft could rival Shakespeare. Unfortunately, I didn't understand one of the first principles of writing, a promise you make to the reader about clarity and flow. There is a reason why Shakespeare isn't for everyone, or that it has to be accompanied with a physical art of enactment to understand. There is a huge difference between when a reader pauses to digest something unique or meaningful, against when they hit a wall or halt do to confusion.

Remember, clear concise flow, so the reader doesn't even realize they are reading. Don't over emphasize every special thing in every sentence. Let the words flow. Leave room for the reader to breathe. Don't suffocate them in description of how wonderful everything is. Give them one log in the rapids to cling to as they're swept along the story. let them move from log to log, not get crushed between them all at the same time.

Just a thought,

Posted by EmmaSohan (Member # 10917) on :
Hi Challenge,

I kind of had the same response, at first, as walexander. I stopped reading.

The second time, I had the same response as walexander. This is too profound; it isn't working.

Then when I forced myself to pay attention, I could like it. What you have done is create a beautiful metaphor. It's complicated with all the connections. I was impressed. That's a rare talent. I hope you keep writing.

That still left me with the start not working. I thought . . . well, that thought was wrong too. But I did not like "long" or "luminous". Or "this time". I guess I am wondering how to write this complicated metaphor and be easy to understand and not lose me at the start. In my style (sorry):

She dreamed she was writing on ice skates. The ice was a large rectangle of fine, clean, frozen water. The strokes and stops were words...
It probably also means more ruthlessly sticking to your metaphor. Saying Sylvia was born to write was your main point, but it took me out of the metaphor (and you were supposed to be using the metaphor to say that). Saying the ice is time, and the rink is eternity sounds glorious, but I doubt you want me actually thinking if that actually means something. Including that you said the rink was square.

These are just examples. What I mean to say is that you have a really elegant metaphor. Unlike the usually straightforward things in reading, That's going to be hard on the reader and you have to make it as easy as possible (without giving up any power).

[ September 29, 2019, 12:38 PM: Message edited by: EmmaSohan ]
Posted by walexander (Member # 9151) on :
The problem for 'challenge' is, as the reader i could spend the time deciphering the first thirteen but then i have to ask myself, "Am i going to have to do this with every paragraph that follows for however long the story is? Ten? Twenty? pages."

This is one of the many tests we face as writers on the way to being published. It's why we're here. Can you now rewrite that profound first draft, into something not just meant for the personal voices in your head. and then do it again on the third draft, and fourth, and onward toward infinite, until it is more than just personal gratification, but a refined piece of work that is meant to move beyond you and into the masses, to be loved, hated, or forgotten.

Posted by Jay Greenstein (Member # 10615) on :
The thing to remember is that all the writing you provide should be in service to the story. So using vivid and evocative language is great. Making the reader feel your writing is beautiful is wonderful. But embellishment for embellishment's sake? Never. Calling ice "frozen water?" Serves only to slow the narrative.

Making the author the center of attention? Kills the story.

Looking at this, it's easy to see that you love the allegory, and the way you embellish the imagery for the sake of embellishment. In other words, it's what writers call a "darling." And on that subject the advice is universally, "Kill your darlings."

In this, you, the narrator, are talking about the character. She's not actually on stage, and we only know the story movement as a generality. Only you're on stage, emoting to an audience that cannot either hear your golden voice or see your performance. But it's her story. Right? Why not let her live it as the reader's avatar? How she feels, and what matters to her in the moment she calls "now," is story. How you feel is a report.

When opening a scene the reader needs three things for full context: Where am I in time and space? What's going on? And, whose skin do I wear? But at the end of this I know her only as a name. I don't know what's going on other than skating prettily. Is it a context or her morning routine? No way to tell. And other than in a rink, I don't know where she is in time or space.

You have context and intent. I have whipped cream when I was hoping for raw meat.

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