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Author Topic: Young, and Psycho
Stanley Igboanugo
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It was in mid-march, one of those days when VOTE ME posters shed themselves to the rain that she, Arima, became life.
She grew quickly, twisting, pushing among the wall of intestines, sniffing and sniffing undigested abortion capsules.
Once two vomits and a chemist’s discretion had confirmed her disturbing existence, the woman, her Mother, wasted no time dashing from Quack to Quack- bespectacled men who bore titles of Chemist and Doctor with a heavenly magnificence-, requesting abortion pills on credit.

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Stanley Igboanugo
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It would really mean a lot if I know what you think about the writing style, and whether the story gripped you or not.
Sorry about not including this in the topic or message. New and still naive.

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babooher
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Is this story taking place in Maine?

Why are there undigested abortion capsules present before the mother goes to the chemist or doctor? It seems odd chronologically. It is also odd spatially. From outdoors, to in the womb, to out of the womb. The writing is all over.

Add all of that to a rough topic, and I'm out. Sorry.

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extrinsic
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As pertains to style, language, and exposition, inquired about in this and the other short work fragment post, first, let's be clear about what those terms mean for creative writing.

"Style" is about mechanical format customs: layout, grammar to a degree, punctuation, cites included, or dialogue marks that signal verbatim speech, how other discourse content is set apart -- narrative, indirect paraphrase, and direct or indirect thought.

"Language" includes the gamut of expression arts and sciences, to include, of course, regional and situational variants. For example, written English is generally thought of as one standard convention, though of multiple regional variants: U.S., British Commonwealth, and International, and again, multiple regional variants. Southern U.S. dialects, Northeast, Western, etc., West End London, East End, London central, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Canadian, Australian, continental Indian, South African, and other more local and discrete regional dialects globally. The International variant came about from transnational corporations wanting a single language standard for their correspondence and advertisements and is anything but a standardized custom.

"Exposition," the term's denotative meaning is a setup or introduction of a theme or meaning -- as of a writing; the outset, start, beginning of a narrative segment, the first customary part of a narrative as well as a first part of any segment.

However, English writers use the term "exposition's" connotative meaning more so to mean detailed description or summary or explanation discourse. "Exposition dump" or "information dump" is a writer's term for long-winded, boring lecture-like expression.

Traditionally, about up through mid-nineteenth century, the former usage prevailed, the latter since that time and all but universal anymore.

The theme or meaning aspect of exposition is by far the essential substance of a narrative, what a narrative is really about moral human condition-wise. Moral human condition features for exposition and overall are vice-virtue contentions; no more, no less. Period.

Greed-charity, gluttony-temperance, pride-humility, envy-kindness, wrath-patience, sloth-diligence, lust-chastity, and combinations and permutations and subsets thereof. For instance, charity could be a vice of sloth, gluttony, and greed if overly relied on for survival; chastity, likewise a vice, if under-population pressures need added reproduction. Envy's covetousness subset is a virtue when desire motivates diligence. And so on. A strength of substance for vice-virtue contests is they're emotionally charged, though need emotional texture development for clarity and strength; not to mention, vice-vitue contention is globally shared human experiences, and apropos of drama's core antagonal, causal, and tensional, ACT, criteria.

Your style is more or less comparable to average native, dual, and second language English writers' style, a few glitches here and there.

Likewise, your language arts and sciences skills are comparable to the average.

In terms of your creative writing skills, not asked though implied, about average comparable to average challenged writers'. Publication success expects a mite stronger all the above skills. The single best suggestion about writing -- writing is a marathon, not a dash. Slow down, take time, consider every considerable aspect, and adjust accordingly.

One other note: writing workshops address shortfalls of every stripe, what doesn't work for a commentator, more so than strengths, what does work for any given commentator. Works offered for workshop comment are taken as wanting comments about how to enhance the work's publication and audience reception potential. Not to belittle a work or a writer. Nor is a workshop's function to unconditionally praise a work or a writer, rather, as formerly noted, to strengthen a work. This is workshop.

[ November 15, 2015, 06:29 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Stanley Igboanugo
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Thanks a bunch, extrinsic and babooher, for everything.
Well, to start with, I didn't sign up for this workshop to see my works praised, I have friends who do that for me all the time and its really depressing when those stories continue getting rejected.
And since my writing community over here at Nigeria did'nt seem so interested in telling my detailed stuff about my work since fantasy is not so widely read as literary fiction for us, I came here.
So thanks again.
I admit my language and style could be average, and all, especially with my story construction having hiccups here and there. But i am little confused as to what challenged writers mean.
And thanks for the slowing down advice. Really needed that too, extrensic. Never really had someone look at my story like this before.

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extrinsic
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"Challenged writers" means publication challenged -- challenged to publish and challenged by publication culture and creative expression's many options. The usual label is "aspiring writers." I care little for that label. We are writers! No aspirations about it. And "aspiring" is an -ing word, unnecessary I feel.
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wetwilly
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Agreed, Ex. I don't aspire to write. I do it, and successfully, every day, damn it.

I do, however, aspire to get others to regularly pay me money for doing so.

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Disgruntled Peony
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I'm intrigued, but also wary. I get the feeling Arima isn't human, and would be inclined to tentatively read further.

As far as style and the like goes, the first sentence grabbed my attention but the third one seemed awkward and overly long. You use a lot of commas in your writing, which isn't always a good thing (although it didn't strike me as too particularly rough thus far, it might if things continue this way).

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Stanley Igboanugo
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Well, at least poeny is intrigued. And yes, the story is fantasy. Arima is not human actually. Glad u realised that. I would really love to show you my work if you have the time, just in case you needed to see if my narration would see rough in the end.
Babooher pointed out that the narrative goes in the womb, and outside, and in... I just wanted to show the mother and the child in that narration. Didnt know it would kill your interest.
And Ex, i agree with you. Aspiring seems kind of misplaced. But how do you think I can make my narration more polished, less crude since my other language certainly interferes with my English. Could you help me with that?
Thank you

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babooher
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Stanley, I think my comment might be misunderstood. The spatial issue for me is that the writing bounces around. If you want to include the mother and child both, that's fine. Content isn't the problem; it's presentation of the content. Your presentation is jumpy instead of smooth. It's harder to digest that way. Start outdoors, go to the mother, then end in the womb. Or, start in the womb, go to the mother, and then hit outdoors (although with the content above, I think the first suggestion would work better). In the end, you can write whatever you want. If you really like the jumpiness, stick with it. All I'm suggesting is that I would not be your audience with the current style.
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Stanley Igboanugo
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Okay, babooher, I think I understand you. Not that I wanted to dispute what you pointed out, just trying to give a reason as to why I did it. But since you offered an idea on how I may go about doing it differently, why not?
And, it nearly seemed like you were angry when you pointed out that I can always write what I want in the end. Of course I can, just I dont want it to be junk. So, I understand you, and will try adjusting the story better.
gracias

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Stanley Igboanugo
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his is a re-work of the earlier one. I didn't write this according to babooher's advice, I hope to try that in the next draft.
It was in March, one of those days when VOTE ME posters shed themselves to angry rains and pillowed the heads of sweaty bus conductors already retired for the day that she, Arima, became life.
She grew quickly, twisting, pushing among the wall of intestines, sniffing and sniffing what residue was left of those who had been here before her, all of them now dead.
The womb was a slayer of fetuses. Once two vomits and a season of no blood-flow confirmed Arima’s disturbing existence, the woman, her Mother, wasted no time dashing from Quack to Quack, requesting abortion pills on credit.
"Please na, Dr. Benji", she rolled her tongue, pouted full lips, slapped the air with bubble gums in her mouth, "I will pay you anything."

[ November 16, 2015, 12:10 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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Stanley Igboanugo
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Gosh! It didn't exceed thirteen lines in Word document. Sorry for breaking that rule.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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No problem, Stanley Igboanugo.

I am hoping to get the textarea box set to the correct size so you can see all 13 lines inside it, and know what is standard for this forum.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by Stanley Igboanugo:
And Ex, i agree with you. Aspiring seems kind of misplaced. But how do you think I can make my narration more polished, less crude since my other language certainly interferes with my English. Could you help me with that?
Thank you

Frankly, I favor the consequent Nigerian-English dialect that is individual to you. Lack of local language flavor is to me a shortfall of native English writers' composition habits: trying to fit into a one-size-fits-all global standard language that is a green pea soup paste and about as appealing as oiled sawdust. Two U.S. varieties are attempts to write everyday conversational language and attempts to write sophisticated language and both mediocre and to me stale.

One consideration for why to use a personal Nigerian-English dialect -- that mannerism subtly establishes narrator identity and authentication of a narrative's reality. Exquisite! when that happens. Another is for uniqueness and freshness and distinctiveness of voice.

A challenge of an idiomatic dialect is to suit the words and subject matter each to the other and to the opportune occasion (kairos) and to the target audience. I suspect the target audience is international English readers, generally, though a best advised practice is to define a target audience of exactly one reader. That way, the specific one reader becomes a representation of a large set, universal, so to speak.

I read the two short stories by Stanley Igboanugo, if that's you, the language mannerisms seem so, at AfricanWriter.com -- "Going Home" and "Equations." Their language is on the mark of a polished Nigerian-English mannerism and at an accessible level by most English readers above, say, U.S. seventh grade -- seventh year of education, junior secondary education, second class for Nigeria's education system.

The two fragments so far here at Hatrack and your posts' language are on the awkward side from the expected struggle any writer has with drafts in progress and from the informal nature of improvisational, off-the-cuff online posts and about average for online posts' language.

My usual practice when commenting about composition language is long-winded and detailed, tends to overwhelm most anyone.

Format style is the first thought about language I have for this fragment, capitalization quirks in particular. "VOTE ME," for example, is a citation of an election poster's text I expect, as is set on the poster, in all caps. Because the text is verbatim, quote marks or other signal the text is cited verbatim are warranted. The intent of the text seems to be to signal the insistence of the poster's emotional charge. An election poster, certainly. And that the elections are long past and the poster is worn and soggy from the weather. There, the intent seems to be to show that time does not stand still and this is March of the year.

More development of the situation, I feel, is wanted and that would defuse the clunky nature of a bald, all-caps text piece. Like what is known by experienced creative writers as motif mythology development. Not a mythological account akin to a belief legend or folk tale: the object's meaning and influence upon the action -- its meaning of the moment to the narrator and characters and to the story's action flow, and the motif's agency.

Agency is one of the more essential aspects for writing craft. Agency is the antagonal, causal, tensional engines of dramatic prose's movement, including character, emotion, place, time, and plot movement. Setting details, like a weathered election poster, are motifs for emotional charge, symbolism, emblemism, and foreshadowing. Setting motifs, any motif, represent meaning and agency other than their superficial though tangible sensory appearance; they represent intangible, abstract, invisible features that represent human experience. Agency is also an emotional charge's influence.

In the case of visual sensations, like an election poster, such motifs are imagery. Imagery serves the same functions as other motifs; that is, emotional charge, meaning and agency, symbolism and emblemism, and foreshadowing. The difference between symbolism and emblemism is symbolism is fluid and flexible, subject to repetition and variation. Emblemism, while representational as well, is fixed of motif and meaning and agency when repeated.

An election poster depicted at the start of a story signals the motif has importance at the moment and later. Symbolism then will repeat the motif's theme in a variant situation later in the story, when its importance becomes more central to the action, though of a different nature. Emblemism repeats a motif's theme, though unchanged and of about equal influence later.

For example, a symbolic election poster at the start could later be substituted by a fresh and new poster about a public policy matter, about what? I don't know, say, a "Citizen Responsibility, Report Child Abuse," a public service announcement.

Or a new election poster, or other poster motif -- at the same or different place though different or same circumstances, for symbolic significance, serves symbolism's theme and motif repetition, substitution, and amplification scheme.

An emblematic motif of a worn election poster could be later further worn -- only a few scraps of the original left stuck to the wall, enough to identify it as the election poster and relevant at the moment to influence the action, of the same theme-motif circumstances.

A foreshadowing motif implies an ominous present time or future circumstance. In this case, the poster's worn and soggy condition could imply indifferent neglect and social decline, if developed clearly that that is the intent.

These above are matters of craft though informed by a style consideration; that is, justification of the all-capped text "VOTE ME." Grammar and style, craft, voice, and appeal, the four central areas of creative composition's foundations, are closely interconnected, distinguishable though indivisible each from the other.

Likewise, capital case "Mother," "Quack," "Chemist," and "Doctor," none of which contemporary customs capitalize. In those cases, though, just lower case would reduce their emphasis to background levels suited to their lower meaning than the "VOTE ME" poster, and suit their agency significance. That they come in quick succession signals all the emphasis they warrant. Capitalization signals emphasis. Like all-caps yells loud, screams even. "VOTE ME"

This lengthy "lecture" on a single style matter alone, though informed by craft and voice, etc., considerations, evinces my attention to detail, too much, perhaps. Yet successful writers do nearly as much, by design or intuition or, best, both.

The several quick-succession capped motifs to me signal a rushed development start and likely rush of the rest of the story. To me, the first motif, the election poster, warrants fuller development of its meaning, emotional charge, agency, etc. The other capital case motifs stand on their own as they are, I feel, except for the matter of capital case.

[ November 16, 2015, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Stanley Igboanugo
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Wow! Thanks for checking out my other stories on Africanwriters.com, can tell you i feel so on-top of the world right now. Seriously
And yes, I like the lengthiness that comes with your comments. The VOTE ME posters have an essence in the story, i wanted to write Dystopia, and i just wanted to show a bit of the political atmosphere before then, and how Government Officials later failed to 'serve' the masses. But its a subtle theme though.
As for the 'Mother in caps and others, I will work on that, thank you very much for pointing that out too.
This is also the first time I hear about "motifs", so i have learnt a lot from Hartrack already. I may be here a few days old, but I wouldn't give anything for this workshop- all thanks to extrensic, babooher, poeny...
That reminds me: i tried sending my story to you poeny with the email add. i saw on your profile but it was returned undelivered. Is disgruntledpoeny@gmail.com your address? I think thats what i saw there.
Thanks again.

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Disgruntled Peony
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It looks like there was a typo when you copied it over--it's peony, like the flower. No worries, it happens.
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