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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Next, Please Introduce Yourself » Unicorns in the Mist

   
Author Topic: Unicorns in the Mist
Turbulent Flow
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After spending far too much time on grinding out work for the content mills, I'm finally looking upward at infinity. Ooh, I just saw a rocket flash away into the diamond-speckled night sky. It's bound for Mars or bust!

I wonder what the rocket crew will find. Witches, old-style vampires that stink of the grave, or perhaps even Edgar Allan Poe stamping his feet in rage at a clean, sterile future unsullied by Halloween and dark tales of horror? Must even galactic empires disappear into the dust of unloved memory?

As you can see, I'm a child of the Golden Age of science fiction and fantasy. At least, that's what many giants of the field called it, and I hardly feel myself qualified to rewrite their histories. If another here takes exception to the Golden Age appellation, I'll nod politely and move on to another noisy gathering at the same party.

I'm currently working on one novel and several short stories. Who knows if they'll ever be good enough to amuse and delight readers? We shall see. In the meantime, I'll mosey off in hopes of catching a glimpse of unicorns in the mist. [Wink]

P.S. Yes, I tried to wade through all of the "must-read" material first, but it's overwhelming. I'll keep returning to it, though!

P.P.S. Yes, the opening paragraphs do indeed refer to a famous story by the late, lamented Ray Bradbury and to the classic Foundation novels from dear, departed Isaac Asimov. [Razz]

[ May 07, 2017, 11:53 AM: Message edited by: Turbulent Flow ]

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extrinsic
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Are not Bradbury's works and Asimov's Foundation cycle more so Silver Age than Golden? No matter, for me, those and successor Ages' mechanical-technical conventions, rather their aesthetic conventions, like the fabulous awe and wonder aroused about the human condition.

Welcome to the Hatrack writer's community.

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Turbulent Flow
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Hmmm. You might be right, extrinsic. I never was big myself on sharply defining these divisions. Heck, one might argue that the Golden Age of science fiction arrived when Larry Niven blasted onto the scene with his tales of Known Space. [Wink]
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Meredith
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Welcome to the treehouse. Back in the day, we used to have a unicorn wandering around the place. LD claimed she was bad tempered, though. Better keep an eye out.
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Grumpy old guy
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Welcome.

Phil.

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Disgruntled Peony
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Hello and welcome. [Smile]
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Turbulent Flow
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Hello, all! I recognize Disgruntled Peony, Meredith, Grumpy Old Guy, and extrinsic from having quietly perused a few older threads. You fellows have had interesting thoughts on the art of writing. I hope to study more of these older threads as time permits. Is that okay to say?

Anyways, I'm not rightly certain how to proceed without suddenly dropping into a hidden cavern of forum expectations. Perhaps perhaps it won't hurt to slightly expand the character development of this Turbulent Flow fellow by replicating a brief nugget I recently dropped at "The Urban Spaceman." The proprietor had been kind enough to welcome me to another writers' website, so I popped by his website to blather a bit. [Wink]

Please note that I am not requesting feedback, nor will this nugget be appearing as part of a longer story. I only created it on the fly to reflect my own unfortunate weakness for onomatopoeia.

Once I better understand forum expectations, I'll probably offer a bit of polite criticism for a 13-line opening in an older thread. If nothing else, my very first fiction critique ever will serve as a warmup exercise for fuller participation.

In any case, the ad hoc nugget follows below:

[silly vignette begins]

"Bang!" The fallen angel exploded against the fiery portal of Hell. Satan cackled at the mist of ectoplasmic particles wafting on the winds of the gasping breaths of innumerable tormented souls. "That'll take a while to reform into a sorry semblance of his former self. I wonder how this doofus displeased His High and Mighty Blowhard?"

A nearby lesser presence grovelled in agreement from beside the tarry, bone-studded throne that currently supported the Lord of Hell's frightful behind. "Your magnificent evilness! You're so very right, if you'll forgive a poor lieutenant for saying so!" Satan twisted toward the annoying noise and scowled. "Snick!" he said.

The lesser presence abruptly lost its head, which sailed ....

[end of silly vignette of eternal damnation with hint of fuller story]

Regardless, I won't be returning to that other writers' website. I found it listed at multiple review sites as a very well-known critique destination but subsequently discovered some rather startling details about the social environment therein. After having left two brief introductory comments, I decided to quietly sneak away before my decidedly libertarian, free-market views attracted scary attention and relentless persecution from howling zealots. Yes, you probably do know the website I mean. No, it's a bad idea to mention it by name. We're all aware of the power of Google Alerts to summon undying entities from unknown eons.

It's a pity about missing the potential benefits, but thank you, no -- I have nil desire to tiptoe past political land mines. I stubbornly declined to participate in the incessant and pointless flame wars on the old Fidonet BBS echoes, and I flatly refused to be dragged into the inane holy wars of Usenet and later the full-fledged social-media networks of the modern web. That kind of hollering accomplishes zilch but to make goblins snicker at having sucked yet another victim into their biting, snapping, snarling games. As far back as I can remember, I've absolutely detested the mentality that enjoys fruitless argumentation for its own sake. -_-

I guess the point of all this is to make clear my giant preference for thoughtful, courteous commentary. This website could be the very place for that even though the forums seem to have sunk into torpor. It is to be hoped I've not arrived too late in the game!

Come to think of it, I wonder if a story could be plausibly constructed around the premise of a lonely unicorn being tempted by an imp of Satan. The mist swirls and flows, and the lovely song of a faraway land almost reaches the unicorn in her sadness, but the imp tries hard to mislead the unicorn into the unique form of darkness possible only for mythical creatures. In the end, of course .... ^_^

Gosh -- the words do pour forth once the keyboard starts clacking. O_o

[ May 11, 2017, 07:37 AM: Message edited by: Turbulent Flow ]

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extrinsic
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Sacred Hatrack law number one: Thirteen Lines creative content maximum. The "silly vignette" tolls at "which sailed into a".

Vignette, though a visual media form, adopted by written-word forms, entails a specific distinction for literature; that is, a dramatic setting snapshot, the emphasis on setting; event and character emphasis second fiddle. Anecdote emphasizes event; Sketch emphasizes character. They all tend toward stasis, still lifes, so to speak, and overlook drama's crux, which is meaningful transformation -- transformative emotional-moral adjustment.

Fragments post to Fragments and Feedback for Short Works or Books, respectively, for craft feedback. If, say, a fragment is to be posted for writing discussion and not per se for craft feedback, maybe for topical discussion, like characterization or other existent (event, setting; plot -- drama, what is it and does this or that have it!?) or nuanced granulation, say, of a grammar principle or composition format, or whatever writing topic, then post to Open Discussions About Writing.

Hatrack activity waxes and wanes -- new blood, especially enthusiastic writers, draw out activity floods.

And yes, I do know the site of which you speak. Ditto. Too much superficial one-sided political dissention -- toxic dysfunction -- with one true purpose: De se social promotion (of the self) at the expense of others' demotions. On the other hand, though by and large the culprits know it not, they get their self-actualization jollies from under-armed hindmind, tongue-to-tongue (sic) combat, which drives the site's activity level. The site more than anything promotes soliloquy dramatic monologue addressed to and of the self. Tel est la vie: Such is the life. This is the human condition, too, in all its sandy grits, warts, and wounds.

The one basic of Feedback here at Hatrack is will the responder read further than thirteen lines, which is the content of a first page Standard Manuscript Format. Will a reader read further and comments addressed to the point are predicated on what works and what doesn't work for said reader and what said reader projects about other readers similar sensibilities, like screeners, publishers, maybe critics, the marketplace overall -- ultimately, readers, maybe even a specific reader audience target.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Even silly vignettes count as manuscript text and are subject to out 13 line rule, no matter where they are posted.

Regarding where you might start in participating in this workshop forum: give feedback to others first.

You will learn a lot by so doing, and others will be more likely to give you feedback in return.

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Turbulent Flow
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Greetings, Kathleen Dalton Woodbury! It's a pity about the silly vignette. I hope you don't mind me adding an ellipsis and a period to that truncated sentence. It's how I normally indicate excised text.

How do I measure this 13-line limit, though? I copied and pasted the original vignette into a non-resized reply box to see what might be seen. Not counting blank lines, the text appears therein to be 27 "lines" long. Clicking the "Preview Post" button pops up a display window that makes the text appear to be 15 "lines" long, not counting blank lines.

Ah, well. The explanation must be in the introductory materials. I'll study them again and update this post once I find the answer.

In the meantime, I've already replied to a critique thread with my thoughts on an interesting bit of fiction from another member! ^_^

Update: Hmmm. When I returned to my comment to edit it slightly as mentioned, the text box showed the truncated vignette as occupying exactly 13 lines, not counting blank lines. I think I've found the answer to my question already. [Wink]

[ May 10, 2017, 07:48 PM: Message edited by: Turbulent Flow ]

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tesknota
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Hello, Turbulent Flow! I'm a bit late to the party, but I want to wish you a hearty welcome to Hatrack! =)

Edit: missing word

[ May 10, 2017, 08:01 PM: Message edited by: tesknota ]

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Turbulent Flow
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Greetings, tesknota. There's much to learn from this excellent fiction writers' website! I've been reading a lot and thinking hard. [Smile]
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H Reinhold
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Greetings, Turbulent Flow! It's always good to have new(er) members! Welcome. [Smile]
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Turbulent Flow
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Greetings, H Reinhold. I've been contemplating how to answer your long comment elsewhere. My thoughts will coalesce sooner or later into many words. One hopes those words will dance in concert instead of falling over each other like Larry, Moe, and Curly. ^_^
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