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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » His Allness and the Vile Spint

   
Author Topic: His Allness and the Vile Spint
extrinsic
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  Light of the risen sun flashed across prisoners' faces. They flinched from the sudden glare, bellowed for One God Vatta's mercy. Enemies of Himself's true Mammack people; outlaws, dissenters, rebels -- breed humans and Mammack -- wardens lined them up down range, shackled them to ship girders bedded into the parade grounds for the occasion.
  Eight pitiful victims, His Allness Annonomi thought. Should execute dozens more; quench His overhot blood. Courtiers of the KinSect court, skulkers on the stands, could join the traitors. They came for a grisly spectacle, wished Himself killed. Petty squabblers, pustules upon His reign. Nobles came witness to His Allness test the natural-human weapon: a spint humans labeled the malignant device, insult to Vatta's will.

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besimirch
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Hi extrinsic,

This read a little dense to me. I'm always a big believer in a nice easy opening to lure a prospective reader nice and easily into the story. To me, this made me work too hard and might put me off reading the rest of the story.

Minor nits:

* I couldn't help wanting a "the" before "prisoners'" in that first sentence. Of course, it reads fine without it, merely personal preference.

* That third sentence is long and convoluted. I wasn't sure who or what "Mammack" was or what "breed humans" where.

*I wasn't sure why the crowd wanted "Himself" killed. I'd have thought they were all on the same team and watching the enemies killed to appease their god?

*I found the last sentence very hard to follow with natural-human weapons and spint humans.

I think when I read a short story, I always look for something to connect to in the opening, whether it's a character or a central question I want an answer to. This, I think, made me work very hard, and I never really felt connected to anything, or saw a "hook" there. Here, we have some faceless prisoners about to be executed by a character who doesn't gain our sympathy or interest because he seems a pretty violent and aggressive dude.

I'd read on a little further to see if the prose smoothed out and the world became easier to understand or if a character we could care about or become interested in came to the fore.

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wetwilly
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Hey extrinsic:

I think this does a good job grounding me in physical reality right off the bat. "Light of the risen sun flashed across prisoners' faces." A nice strong image to give me a picture to hang the rest of the scene on in my head. Although, I might make the minor nit that "risen" is unnecessary here, since a non-risen sun could hardly flash.

The setting and implied conflict are interesting to me. An executioner/priest of some sort (I'm inferring...this may be totally wrong, and I am prepared to re-imagine that as I read on and you clarify the characters and situation) executing a group of heretics, and turning his blood lust on the spectators. Interesting stuff, there.

I agree with besimirch that this is pretty dense reading, too dense in my opinion. This suffers from something that I think a lot of speculative stories suffer from: too much unfamiliar information too fast. I'm still trying to figure out what "One God Vatta" means when I quickly get hit with the capitalized "Himself" and "Mammack people" simultaneously. Mentally, I'm sort of reeling from trying to figure out what all that means without many context clues, and "breed humans" hits me. It's not that I can't figure it out, but it all takes a solid effort. In my estimation, this would work a lot better if you nursed me through one new concept at a time instead of frontloading it all.

I like when you then take me inside Annonomi's head. A lot of strong personality being made very clear. I especially like, "pustules upon his reign." It's got a sort of delicious, villainous feel to it.

In the context, I have no clue what "spint" means.

How long is it? If it's not super long, I'd be happy to read for you. (I only add the qualifier because I once offered to read for a fellow hatracker, not realizing it was a novel excerpt, and had to reneg on my offer due to time constraints.)

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TaleSpinner
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Good to see you here, extrinsic.

I guess this is high fantasy, not my genre, maybe it has conventions of which I am unaware - so please do bear that in mind.

I'm intrigued by the "natural humans", "breed humans" and the spint, and I like some of the names - Annonomi, Vatta, the Mammack.

But there are too many new names for me to take them all in. And I'm not sure if His Allness and Vatta are one person or two - two I think, so I suppose we're joining a war between believers in different gods, but with all the tags and my small head I can't figure out some piece or another enough to get engaged.

For me it feels a bit remote, we're not close enough for me to care about anyone. I ought to care about those about to be victims of the experiment, but I can't see them except as generics, like extras in a movie, nobody to care about.

Well, mostly remote, except that in the second para we get into close 3rd with His Allness, so a remote feeling for the narrator might make sense, he seems to be that sort of person. It seems to me as though the POV is flipping between 3rd (or omniscient?) and close 3rd, with the more distant narrator feeding in what we need to know. Nothing wrong with different POVs in one story, but for me some sort of transition between them helps me keep up.

I guess His Allness is thinking "should execute more," but what does "quench His overhot blood" mean? His bloodthirstiness, I wondered?

"Wished Himself killed" - this confused me, for I thought they came to see others killed. If they did, but really wanted His Allness dead too, for me this needs a bit more clarity.

(I like "Annonomi" because it seems to be derived from Latin, so, some foreign heritage; "Allness" I get, but for me it sounds derived from modern English and pulls me a out of immersion in an otherwise foreign-sounding culture. "KinSect" did the same thing, but less so.)

"Petty squabblers, pustules upon His reign." - this works for me, we see how he thinks, and that he is in an exalted position - so you may not need "Allness" to hint at his power, just as Vatta doesn't - well, not to me, anyhow.

The hook for me is the last sentence. Until now the scene is somewhat remote, many new words but a weak sense of who's who. But the concept of a "natural-human" weapon brings me in, for it indicates there are other kinds of human too.

Hope this helps,
Pat

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Lamberguesa
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Hey extrinsic, it's great seeing you contribute!

I'll offer my (unprofessional) critique, hope it helps!

This fragment does a great job establishing the setting and mood of the story. I have at least a basic idea of what is going on. Your descriptions are vivid and graphic. They effectively draw me in to the scene.

Some issues I have:
Something about the sentence structure throws me off. This is your style I realize, but for me (and maybe just me) it feels stilted and choppy. I think a big part of the problem is that you cut out connecting words like pronouns articles and conjunctions. Perhaps for brevity's sake?

A few examples:
-"Light of the risen sun" instead of "The light of the risen sun"
-"flinched from the sudden glare, bellowed" or
"flinched from the sudden glare and bellowed"
-"Enemies of Himself's true..." or "They were enemies of Himself's true..."
-"Should execute dozens more" or "He should execute dozens more"

What you've done may be grammatically correct, but to me it makes the sentence seem like a lot of fragments stuck together. I think the missing words would give it more flow. I don't think such additions weigh it down any more, instead they help connect the thoughts. When "they" and "he" are missing, I lose track of who we are talking about. It's fine to cut a few unnecessary words here and there, but I think some of them are too important to remove.

Also " lined them up down range" comes off a little funky with two opposite words (up and down) right next to each other.

Lastly, I get caught up on the word "spint" since I don't know what it means and a casual search turned up nothing. Understandable if it is a word you made up, but if so, it should be obvious that is the case in the reading. Presently, I feel as if it is something of which I should already be aware. Clearly the spint is important since it's in the title.

It's a good start though, certainly has my interest piqued.

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extrinsic
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Too fast, too much, too little, too close, too soon, too late, generally, about what I expected for an audience test of the fragment after I posted it. This fragment attempts a danger-close distance, closer, more intimate than narratives generally develop distance, especially for starts. I see organization shortfalls, now, that, if adjusted, could come closer to the intent.

Besides personal issues that bogged me down recently, need adjustments and thought organization, a recurrent epiphany struck from this fragment and responses to it; that is, again, intuitive uses arise first; next, awareness of a method, principle, strategy, whatever, arises; then comes practice, followed by application and eventually, hopefully, mastery. That lag process--that's the epiphany

From this fragment in particular, the close distance, narrative distance of the second paragraph, is an effective appeal. The organization is too jumbled. The paragraphs, if swapped and adjusted for the switch, would probably stronger and clearer satisfy the close distance intent.

The term "spint" has mixed results: some degree of close intellectual distance appeal satisfied, some degree of over-distanced intellectual alienation, though appeal and alienation are at odds with each other. Spint mythology development ought best develop sooner or delay implementation of the motif. Likewise "Vatta" and "Mammack," and perhaps focus first on events that develop Annonomi's character mythology. Too much, generally name exposition and too little timely, judicious mythology development.

Too much rhetorical figures--stream-of-consciousness methods, too little smooth grammar flow: a vice of decorum rather than a style virtue. Perhaps reorganization, as noted above, would adjust for stronger decorum appeal: suit words and subject matter to each other, to the occasion, and to the audience.

The interruption event of the scene is too inaccesible from its static, pendent nature, underdeveloped prior routine, and event mythology.

Setting development is, from all apparent comments, proportionately well-introduced. Further setting mythology could wait for later; however, more setting mythology development earlier could adjust for some of the concerns.

Character-wise, Annonomi's basic nature and behavior is perhaps a secondmost strength, though confusion arises as to his actual role as a leader, corrupt leader. His religious role is clear. "Allness" doesn't by itself express adequately he is a government, religion, and military leader. Another name exposition concern--more timely and judicious character mythology development is warranted, perhaps along with enhanced event and setting development.

Idea, though not clear and ought best be clear and strong, currently is lackluster, underdeveloped. Most of all, of late and for some time, idea development has been my Achilles' heel and wish for guidance when testing audience responses and appeals--focus group: writers. That too is a recurrent epiphany, regular reminders that an idea is underdeveloped as a primary shortfall of my writing.

Emotional equilbrium upset? From responses so far, generally, a degree of satisfaction in that regard from indications responders might read further, probably mostly due to curiosity and maybe a degree of non-empathy, non-sympathy emotional interest from an unclear and weak character mythology development whether Annonomi is a villain or anti-hero focal viewpoint agonist.

Is he a devil readers might want to see receive just poetic justice--his due comeuppance for his wickedness. Is he a Faustian villain or otherwise noble misguided, maladjusted anti-hero who will experience personal transformation. Again, further mythology development warranted.

On balance, a few shortfalls outweigh a few strengths. Further adjustments are warranted.

Thanks for the comments, besimirch, wetwilly, Talespinner, and Lamberguesa. They've given me food for thought and strategies for revision.

At this time, I conclude the narrative is unready for prime time, full disclosure.

[ November 07, 2014, 05:40 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Lamberguesa
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That seems a good analysis.

I think what I miss most in the fragment is a better understanding of Annonomi (great name! Sidenote: methinks you've got a knack for naming). But I'm hit with so much at once I have trouble determining who he really is. I don't know yet whether I should hate him or not. My tendency is to think that I should but I don't have a clear enough idea why. The great things going on get lost in the noise. Still, don't think it would be terribly hard to fix either.

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extrinsic
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Donald Maass, literary agent, asserts that characterization of viewpoint agonists, especially first-person narration, is an appreciable shortfall of fiction lately and for some time. The concern is a valid one. Its opposite, though, is underdeveloped viewpoint agonist for broader audience appeal purposes.

The more specifically an agonist is characterized the more limited an audience and the audience's ready rapport and identification and association with the viewpoint agonist potentially is.

For me, and I expect for writers generally, characterization falls short of an ideal. A challenge is to proportion characterization appeal and depth. No one formula spans the gamut of possible character development, more and less characterization suit each narrative to a matter of, probably, uniqueness and familiarity in proportion of exotic characters, archetype characters, stock characters, and stereotype characters. The latter ones, less characterization needed; the former unique one, more development, though potentially greater appeals from enhanced exoticness. Developed familiarity is no less essential though. A catch-22, a degree of exoticness aligned with a degree of familiarity.

One writing principle serves as a possible guidance; that is, the so-called "telling details" that are essential basics. I spent many wee dark early hours drilling down into what "telling details" means. Responses to fragments and meditations and study of effective characters gave me as full a satisfying answer as I sought. Telling details: judicious, timely, specific personal perceptions, emotions, attitudes, thoughts, and reactions to received antagonal stimuli.

For example, Annonomi's attitude toward the prisoners, the KinSect court, and the spint. Too much underdeveloped telling details all at once, none's mythology adequately developed for their occasions and, hence, Annonomi's character underdeveloped as needed for the occasion.

Alas, I too suffer from rushed openings' issues. Pick one telling detail motif and expand it, linger in the now moment awhile longer, slow down, etc., for thirteen lines, though no less emphasis on an opening's essential emotional contexture and dramatic complication development. Pick one telling detail that encompasses all essential start features: idea, event, setting, character, voice, plot; leave others for soon and later.

[ November 07, 2014, 08:44 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Sean Grigsby
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I got to meet Don Maass in May.

Anyway, my thoughts:

I thought it started fine, but I got tripped up around the third sentence and fell down every proceeding word like a clumsy geriatric down a long flight of stairs.

I don't know if I would call the prose "purple" but it was a bit wordy for my taste. I wanted to know more of what was happening to these prisoners.

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History
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Thank you for contributing your prose, extrinsic.
Much appreciated.

I agree with all that's been said here and can add little.

I was intrigued by the concentrated world-building, but put-off by your choice of sentence structure (i.e. the lack of definite articles and conjunctions where expected).

At first I thought you were establishing a unique, perhaps alien, voice for Annononi, something jarringly poetical like an extended haiku. If so, it simply did not work for me. I also, as others have said, wish to be drawn in rather than pushed away from the story.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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extrinsic
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Thanks for the comments, Sean Grigsby and History.

History, the possibilities of a haiku voice, so to speak, are intriguing. The fragment's voice attempts a broken English sense, though too broken for attitude development's texture. If the emotional situation were introduced earlier, the broken English would work as an emotional reaction.

The broken English attempts an English Second Language grammar: skipped articles, absent subject pronouns, halting thought, and speech, others not used in the fragment. A challenge is to place the ESL's situational and emotional context and texture. Reorganization and adjustments with those challenges in mind could make the flow smoother and the broken English's intents and appeals more accessible.

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Lamberguesa
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I do like the idea of broken English, haiku style. I think it could provide a very unique voice to a story. The hang-up, as had been pointed out, is that it is competing with so much else over a limited space. The reader is trying to adapt to an unfamiliar sentence structure while also interpreting scene, emotion, characters, races and new words. It's a difficult context in which to learn what is essentially a new language.

I'd suggest either simplify the opening dramatically (maybe half the content that is currently presented) to allow the new language to shine or abandon that structure entirely for one more commonly used to allow the other elements to take center stage. Currently too many chefs in the narrative kitchen.

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Denevius
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It reminds me of academic fiction writing written for academic fiction readers. Readability isn't the goal, trying to sound like something is.

For the niche audience this is intended for, it's fine. As long as writers who go this route realize that only a small percentage of readers are going to be engaged in dense narratives like this, there really is no problem with the opening itself.

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InarticulateBabbler
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This read stilted for me. It has an interesting concept and I gleaned some characterization from it. But the language was so stilted, it kept stopping me.

quote:
Light of the risen sun flashed across prisoners' faces. They flinched from the sudden glare, bellowed for [One God Vatta's<--I know you are characterizing with this, but it reads weird, talking about himself in the third person, yet like a child or someone who naturally speaks in a different language.] mercy. Enemies of [Himself's<--This reads more uneducated to me, rather than either talking about himself in the third person or second-language speak] true Mammack people; [outlaws<--Wouldn't this go without saying?], dissenters, rebels [aren't dissenters rebels?] -- breed humans and Mammack -- [This seems like a separate thought/sentence-->wardens lined them up down range, shackled them to ship girders [bedded<--Not imbedded?] into the parade grounds for the occasion.
  [Eight<--That's it? 8? from the last sentence's description, I thought it would've been a lot more.] pitiful victims, [His Allness Annonomi<-- So, he's not One God Vatta?] thought. Should execute dozens more; quench [His<--His, not Himself's? Either this is inconsistent or I missed something.] overhot blood. Courtiers of the KinSect court, skulkers on the stands, [could<--Does he want this? If so, maybe: should?] join the traitors. They came for a grisly spectacle, wished Himself killed. Petty squabblers, pustules upon His reign. Nobles came witness to His Allness test the natural-human weapon: a [spint<--I don't know this word. If it's made up, why did they call it that? It has no fear-inducing quality.] humans labeled the malignant device, insult to Vatta's will.

These are more knee-jerk reactions, but there is some question as to consistency and whether Annonomi and Vatta are the same or not. I think in your quest to find the antagonist's voice, you've mottled it a little. I hope this helps.
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Grumpy old guy
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extrinsic, I'm sorry I missed this when it was 'hot'; having a wandering in the wilderness of my mind moment.

I'd close the cover after the first sentence, no, wait, the fourth word. Risen sun? Can you get light from a set sun? Apart from that I think this is a perfect opportunity to use the definite article word: the.

Yes, too much, too soon, too many. His Allness, doesn't want to be there and thinks his fawning associates should swell the number of the soon to be executed. I get that, but your opening lacks poetry, tempo and lyricism. And yes, as you said yourself, the narrative distance is awfully close for a second paragraph. Too eager?

I have no idea of the length or the intended audience, what I do know is that this is a hurried jump from the sun-warmed air into a half-frozen pool.

Phil.

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extrinsic
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Thank you for your efforts and responses, InarticulateBabbler and Grumpy old guy. I guess I managed to emulate most, if not the most often shortfall of fragments: rushed.
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InarticulateBabbler
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I think you have an interesting idea here, by the way, although I failed to express it. It's a great idea for a writing challenge, too: opening with an antagonist's PoV and original voice. Great character-crafting exercise. Interesting to set the story question, plot, maybe even the inciting incident from the antagonist's PoV. Or make the Hero that antagonist from the villain's PoV.
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extrinsic
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The intent of this piece is a villain protagonist. I consider every agonist an antagonist. Muriatic acid mixed with bicarbonate is an antagonistic reaction of two substances, both unequivocally and irrevocably transformed from their interaction. Corrosive muriatic acid is more widely reactive than often inert bicarbonate. Otherwise, bicarbonate is a tame antagonist. Salt water, carbon dioxide, and heat outcomes. No heroes here.
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Grumpy old guy
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In the piece, as written, I was ambivalent concerning the nature of the POV 'agonist. I didn't immediately assume one way or the other into which camp he fell; pro or ant.

But extrinsic's point is valid, for too often writers choose a bland 'agonist character rather than a larger-than-life flawed character. It's just easier that way, I presume. I try and make all my characters their own worst enemy in a manner of speaking. Not only do they need to overcome their nemesis, but they have to get over themselves as well.

Phil.

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Denevius
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quote:
But extrinsic's point is valid, for too often writers choose a bland 'agonist character rather than a larger-than-life flawed character.
Yes, but this makes Extrinsic's defense of SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE all the more baffling.

The problem with this opening, in my opinion, rests solely on the fact that I seriously doubt Extrinsic did anything else with it. I could be wrong, but it doesn't feel like something that was ever meant to go anywhere.

Having a larger than life narrator is a challenge to genre readers. You see it in literary fiction more often, but most genre fiction is just trying to tell an engaging story. Genre fiction is geared more to escapism. This isn't a bad word, or a bad thing, but to deny that people who read genre fiction are looking to get away from the complications of their daily life, not to become engaged in even more complicated fictional lives of others, is wrong-headed.

This is why you find adults more likely to read Harry Potter or Twilight than "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao". For them, their larger than life 'agnoist is their boss, or their spouse, or their kids.

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extrinsic
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This discussion works for me for interpretation of the difficulty I have with aesthetic nuances. Too many unusual motifs introduced at once is an unsettled action, too. A lingered start on one motif's mythology development is a stronger beginning. Theme-complication-wise, that motif is a best practice item which foreshadows accessibly the action to come: at once emotional upset, routine pendent and signal interruption, and dramatic complication introduction.

To do so, an object motif was my first instinct -- the spint. Instead, contentious agonists' interaction looks more promising. The other party is a breed human who is a captive of Annonomi's. The human is a court jester-like creature who honor demands be treated respectfully, though Annonomi uses him as a whipping post to relieve stress. The human is a physically abused, crippled traitor who wanted to shorten the war between humans and Mammack by giving secrets to Annonomi. They squabble like an old and frustrated married couple. They want each other dead because each reminds the other of their gross vices. The outcome . . .
----
I suppose part of my appreciation for Slaughterhouse Five is because I'd read all of Kurt Vonneguts' prior works priorly and was attuned to Billy Pilgrim and Kilgore Trout. Vonnegut's writer-growth progression toward a Postmodern aesthetic is apparent through the sequence, culminated by Breakfast of Champions. Of course, "Harrison Bergeron" is a signal favorite for its departure from Vonnegut's usual Postmodern aesthetic, no less Postmodern, though.

Yes, I'm part of the Postmodern generation, partly assimilated and clued in toward the movement by reading Vonnegut. We questioned and challenged presupposed notions of social propriety. We got no satisfaction. We matured, those of us who survived our trials. Rest in Grace, Philip K. Dick. Breakfast of Champions culminates with, not yet more questions and challenges, unsatisfactory satisfactions: think for yourself, otherwise, others will, to your detriment and theirs. Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance" entails a similar theme. "[T]he need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow his or her own instincts and ideas." ("Self-Reliance" Wikipedia)

A life lived and influenced from study of others' thoughts on its superficial surface is not thinking for one's self, admittedly. However, a widely read and close read of the omnibus of expression has much ripe and fertile fodder from which to cherry-pick and self-select and build upon for a personal aesthetic theme. Mine: to each their own and to mine be true. My larger-than-life agonist is me.

[ January 23, 2015, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Grumpy old guy
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Oh, Denevius.

Why do people read stories? They want to escape the mundane exigencies of their real lives and submerge themselves in another world. They can only do this through reading about engaging, enchanting characters. A writer can do all the fantastical world building they want to do but scenery wonít transport a reader into another world, only characters will.

quote:
Having a larger than life narrator is a challenge to genre readers.
Perhaps a larger than life narrator might be a bit of a struggle, but I doubt it. However, His Allness isnít the narrator, he is simply a character in motion written in a very close, intimate POV.

quote:
Genre fiction is geared more to escapism. This isn't a bad word, or a bad thing, but to deny that people who read genre fiction are looking to get away from the complications of their daily life, not to become engaged in even more complicated fictional lives of others, is wrong-headed.
All storytelling is geared to escapism and isnít peculiar to genre readers. However, scenery and vast vistas alone, no matter how engagingly written, wonít transport a reader into another world, which is why we read fiction stories in the first place. The only way to leave this world and enter another is to read about characters we can identify with who are dealing with something we can understand and relate to: some aspect of the human condition.

Who wants to read about someone just like us? We want characters that are better than we are, or worse. We want characters who, when we read about them we wish we were they. We wish we had their courage, we wish we loved and lived the way they did, we wish we lived in their world and we can imagine ourselves being transported there. Heroes must be heroic and villains villenous; everyone needs to be larger-than-life, characters must be more than we are and what we wish we were.

Regardless of the medium, in all of the most popular stories around the world the major characters are larger than life. Indiana Jones, Captain Kirk, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Fox Mulder, Jason Bourne, Aeon Flux, Lazarus Long, Captín Jack Sparrow, James Bond, are all larger than life. Even Bilbo Baggins, the smallest of them all, is a larger than life character.

And here you are mistaken:

quote:
not to become engaged in even more complicated fictional lives of others
What better way to forget about your own troubles?

Phil.

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extrinsic
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Not solely read for escape neither, for recreational sustenance. For sustenance perhaps emotional, perhaps intellectual, perhaps spiritual, perhaps financial, certainly social and other than friendly socializing, perhaps, like, antipathic socializing.
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Denevius
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Here you say:

quote:
the major characters are larger than life.
But what I was responding to was:

quote:
a larger-than-life flawed character.
Admittedly, I didn't add flawed in my comment:
quote:
Having a larger than life narrator is a challenge to genre readers.
So I can see the confusion. But that list you named:

quote:
Indiana Jones, Captain Kirk, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Fox Mulder, Jason Bourne, Aeon Flux, Lazarus Long, Captín Jack Sparrow, James Bond, are all larger than life.
These are not larger than life *flawed* characters, though they are larger than life. These POVs have external problems they must overcome, and more or less non-crippling achilles-heels. Though most of them don't even have that. Indiana Jones, Captain Kirk, Luke Skywalker are all inherently perfect men faced with obstacles. They do grow a little at the end of the story, but it's relatively benign growth.

Kirk may be seen as a womanizer, which audiences can handle (and secretly admire). What would be difficult for audiences to handle would be Kirk still taking grand risks to do mostly the right, selfless thing, but then on the side he gets women really wasted on some space drug and has his way with them. This makes the audience faced with a difficult choice: does saving entire populations of worlds excuse the fact that he's a sleaze ball?

Writers of genre fiction don't tend to write larger than life flawed characters, but I agree that they do write larger than life characters that are usually quite easy for readers to slide into the role of. Captain Jack Sparrow is supposed to be a rogue, but I don't recall him ever doing one genuinely bad thing in any movie. You never actually even see him doing any pirating, though he's a pirate.

Perhaps those characters aren't even larger than life, so much as they're caricatures of our ideal self: noble, self-sacrificing, and yet powerful and just plain cool.

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Grumpy old guy
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Not flawed? Sorry, they're all flawed characters to a greater or lesser degree. You don't need to be evil, misogynist, or sociopathic to be flawed; you can be narcissistic, selfish, self-absorbed, a rogue, or any other of a number of non-psychotic personalities.

They are larger than life and flawed cos they are certainly greater characters than I, but perhaps not greater than you, tho. I couldn't tell. And, isn't out ideal self greater than ourselves, something we aspire to be, something larger than ourselves?

Phil.

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Denevius
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quote:
you can be narcissistic, selfish, self-absorbed, a rogue, or any other of a number of non-psychotic personalities.
But this is safe characterization because those are traits we all share as humans. Everyone is selfish, to a degree; self-absorbed, to a degree; narcissistic, to a degree.

And rogue, well, this isn't a word generally used with negative connotations.

But yeah, if the characters you listed are genuinely your idea of flawed POVs, I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree. Luke Skywalker, in my opinion, is as bland as you can be, a goody goody farm boy with dreams of being a hero. He has no agency, and is always taking the most morale action in every situation he's faced with.

Not exactly my idea of a flawed character.

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Grumpy old guy
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Macquarie dictionary definition of rogue:

Noun. 1. dishonest person. 2. a playfully mischievous person: rascal; scamp. 3. a vagrant or vagabond.

I take it that you only see rogues as described in item 2 of the definition. Well, I've met all three types.

Luke Skywalker is an almost fatally flawed character; he doesn't see reality, only his daydream version of reality. It can get him and a lot of others killed if it isn't tempered by wiser heads: Obi Wan Kenobi for instance. Also, he hardly ever faces a moral dilemma, he fights on the side of good against evil, it's that simple for him. Another flaw.

Phil.

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Denevius
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quote:
Luke Skywalker is an almost fatally flawed character;
Again, we'll have to agree to disagree. Though if Luke Skywalker is a fatally flawed character, I am left wondering who isn't?
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Grumpy old guy
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Luke is a character in an episodic tale. In the first installment, he is wide eyed and innocent; a fatal flaw if ever there was one. In the second, he is more worldly wise yet it isn't until he learns who his father is that the last veneer of innocence is torn from him; his naivety laid bare. In the final episode, he comes into his own and the realisation of the world as it is; not as he wishes it to be.

Don't be so quick to dismiss what appears on the surface to be pulp-fiction nonsense. If you look deeper, you'll appreciate the nuance that is there for those who are willing to see; whether consciously intended or not.

Phil.

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