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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Door in the Desert

   
Author Topic: The Door in the Desert
HSO
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I suspect there are billion stories like this, though I'm unaware of any. If so, I would hope I've at least brought a fresh perspective to it.

Anyway... 2100 words / 9 pages manuscript format. No idea of genre... fantasy maybe? Spec. fiction? Who knows. If someone could advise which genre after reading, I would grateful.

Readers and critiquers welcomed.

*** ***

No one knew what was on the other side of the door. Those few that were brave enough to enter had never returned to tell of their experience. The daring and courageous were swallowed up, one by one, until there were none with enough mettle to cross the threshold. The door in the desert would not give up its secret to those on this side so easily. To discover its mystery, one must walk through it, and may the gods of both worlds be with those foolhardy souls when they did.

For many long years, it went unnoticed: a solitary monolith made of dark, stained wood and polished brass-colored metal, its top edge forming an arch, and erected upon the ever-changing sea of sand, far away from any village, town, or city.

[This message has been edited by HSO (edited January 24, 2005).]


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Christine
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My first reaction to this is that I should be feeling some sense of dread about this door but I am not. I feel as if the language needs to be much darker, more ominous. Without writing it myself, I'm afraid I can't be more specific than that, but I hope the impression helps.

Anyway, if you want to send the rest along to me I'll give it a look.


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JBSkaggs
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Stephen King had a floating door in the Dark Tower series. It is also a very popular theme in modern art.


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Netstorm2k
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GOOD GOD!

How hard would it be to just open the door with a stick, stand back, and look through it?


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Netstorm2k
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But I'm game too. Send it my way.
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ArCHeR
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I think it would be much better to start out with the discover of the door and let the actions do the storytelling and not you.

I've had some trouble with this, but with this story it would give much more suspense if you showed us the mystery instead of telling us it's a mystery.

[This message has been edited by ArCHeR (edited January 24, 2005).]


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Beth
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I agree with archer.
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HSO
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Right. Well, okay, this might ruin it for some, but the story is about the door, not what's on the other side of it. That's not to say there isn't interaction with it, but I'm going for a different tack.

Yes, I'm intentionally misleading the reader at the start to believe it's one thing, and hopefully they won't care it's another by the end of the story -- if (big if) I've done it correctly.

What's behind the door is another story for another day -- and I do know exactly what's behind it.

It's not supposed to be dark or ominous, either.

[This message has been edited by HSO (edited January 24, 2005).]


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Christine
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"It's not supposed to be dark or ominous, either."

This does not change my opinion or my gut reaction. I felt as if it should have been dark or ominous but fell short. This is a problem whether you were going for dark and ominous or not, at least for me.


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Survivor
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Is there a character other than the door?

Because if there isn't, and this is a metaphysical journey of the existantial angst of an unused door in the middle of the desert, I'm torn between the desire to avoid reading anything like this ever again and writing one myself to inflict on you.

And if there is, I have a three letter acronym for you to guess


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MaryRobinette
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While I disagree with Archer about starting with the discovery of the door and seeing all those people get swallowed, I do agree with the general sentiment of others that opening needs to be pumped up a bit.

I mean, I think you're basically looking at a two paragraph prologue here, right? Is there a reason you need to summarize its history before you get to the story, or can this be woven into the story itself? Can you put this backstory into the mind or dialogue of a character so that it's more dynamic? Obviously, without knowing the rest of the story I could be offering useless ideas here. There might be a reason that you need a narrator or OMNI POV, which this would establish.

I'd be happy to read it and offer my thoughts but I won't be able to give you any feedback till next Saturday. I seem to only have time to crit things when I'm on a plane.


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HSO
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quote:
Is there a character other than the door?

Yes.

The door is not unused. But if you feel the need to inflict anything on me, don't let me hold you back.

***

This story is written in an OMNI POV, Mary. It was required, given the fact that we're talking about a door. Although it does dip into the door's POV as necessary. Perfectly legitimate in this case. And only part of the second paragraph is shown due to that being the end of 13 lines.

***

Anyway, speculate all you'd like as to what you think the story is about... or... I dunno... read it, and then tell me it's crap, while moaning that I've wasted your time and you want your ten minutes back.


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Shi Magadan
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Ah, what the heck, doors are people too, send it over.
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JBSkaggs
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There was a story about a door. Actually it was a car that turned out to be a door. From a Buick 8 By Stephen King. We never learned what was on the other side besides some mere glimspes only how the people dealt with it on this side.
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Kolona
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What about following one of those brave few as he finds, tries and disappears through the door, and then slide into the general? You've got me curious, so if you still want readers....
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W. Rought
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Heck I'll willing to waste 10 mins of my time. Then I can waste ten mins of yours with some realy long senseless feedback! Send it my way!!!!
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NewsBys
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If you need another reader, send it to me.
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Netstorm2k
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G'huh?
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HSO
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did you not get the story, netstorm? I'm sure I sent it out...
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Daniel Thurot
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I'd also like to read this, if you could use another critique.
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mikemunsil
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quote:
No one knew what was on the other side of the door. Those few that were brave enough to enter had never returned to tell of their experience. The daring and courageous were swallowed up, one by one, until there were none with enough mettle to cross the threshold. The door in the desert would not give up its secret to those on this side so easily. To discover its mystery, one must walk through it, and may the gods of both worlds be with those foolhardy souls when they did.

It might be stronger to start with, if you cut it to something like this:

No one knew what was on the other side of the door. To discover its mystery, one must walk through it. Few did. Fewer returned.

But I'm not sure that would fit your intent.

mm


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Netstorm2k
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No, I got it.
The writing was good. The door's POV was a bit weird, also where it cursed at the old man, but my G'huh was for the end. I was expecting something, and there was just a thud from the door falling over.(paraphrased concept)
You had something going there, though it seemed a bit tedious at points, like when the population of people coming to the door sped up, slowed down, stopped, picked up, topped out, slowed down, stopped.
But the story itself drew me in, simply to see what happened with the door. But it was a let down when the door just up and decided to croak. It was like, why did you tell me all of that? It's like watching Marvin the robot for a million years in the swamp, but ommitting the Cricket robots taking his leg.

But the prose was good.


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HSO
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You forgot the mattress... Marvin meets the mattress in the swamps, too -- that's sort of the best part.

Thanks for your comments, net.

***

Daniel, with Netstorm's verdict in, I've received 4 out 7 crits, more than half and better than expected. So, I'm all set for readers -- any more would just add confusion at this point. It's time to tackle the rewrite. Thanks anyway...


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Netstorm2k
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Falumph!
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Rocklover
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Forgive me HSO but I know your door.
It exists in reality.
It is the door to my kids' bathroom.
Sorry. Devil made me say it.
Looks like you have readers galore and a fun idea to boot. Life is good, eh?

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theokaluza
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The only major problem I can see here is that it reminds me strongly of Stephen King's The Dark Tower.

But I'm sure that the idea of free-standing interdimensional doors has been around for a long time.


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HSO
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I read the first three books of the Dark Tower years ago... I mean, when they first came out. I don't recall a door off hand. I sort of remember some kind of portal, though... was it door?

Anyway, I learned that most everyone who read this and responded wanted to know what was behind the door more than anything else. So... in a way I succeeded, and I failed too. I think that first paragraph will be cut... replaced with something different during the rewrite.


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