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Author Topic: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___  (Read 198232 times)

Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1770 on: April 23, 2018, 02:14:37 pm »

Hello, Arx, thank you for welcoming me (I am not sure if I should respond to that, but politeness pays politeness).


...because that makes no sense at all? It's a turn of phrase I went back and forth on for a while. On the whole, I think it would be better suited as something else, but not because I think there's a risk of the average reader thinking that zombies physically carried Travis, in person, to some physical location denoting success

Apologies, I was jokingly indicating that, the way it was written, zombies physically carrying Travis was the literal interpretation, not that it was likely to be read as such (I only saw it on my second read, specifically trying to look for something like that). The point was that concrete and unambiguous writing reduces likelihood of being misunderstood (ironic that I failed at just that). I now see how stupid my sentence reads without the tone I imagined. Let that be a lesson in properly conveying meaning.

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Any chance you could elaborate on this? It's mentioned pretty early on that they're outside a mansion.

I meant that when I started reading I perceived them to be in a room based on the first few cues, and then when I read that they were in a mansion's backyard I was jarred. I did not mean to say that there was anything indicating that they were in a room, but that it was mentioned after I imagined the scene to be Timor trying to break out of a room. My point was that an "establishing shot," like in film, would orient the reader and leave the attention on what is happening, rather than where.

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Any painkiller strong enough to stop a broken arm making you crotchety would also put you out like a light, as far as I know. I personally avoid opioids before breaking and entering. :P

Good point. If I was crazy enough to be a wizard hunter I would not mind being out of my mind on opioids, though I cannot imagine sneaking into yards that way.

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I'm using "extralegal" in the sense of "not sanctioned by law". I would have thought it was fairly clear why they work quietly and only mark what they've done afterwards - easier not to attract attention until it's too late for anyone to interfere.

I must admit the idea of extralegal meaning illegal did not occur to me, especially with Timor and Sarah described as "two armed soldiers." It seemed plausible enough to me that they were a government's last-ditch effort to stop the worst abusers of magic.

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He uses them on construction sites. His back yard and bedroom are hardly more conspicuous. :P

Now I have the image of zombies at construction site sitting on a girder, trying and failing to wolf whistle at people passing by in my head.

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Written as intended. By "alright", she means that she's clear and Timur can move. "All right" would be a bit of a weird construction in context.
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I agree in principle, but it feels smoother in practice. I'll have to think about this a bit.

I suppose alright could indicate pronunciation as a single word, lessening the all, resulting in something like OL-RITE instead of AWL-RITE. As far as I am aware, there is no difference in meaning between alright and all right - other than me shedding a single tear on the roadside at the sight.
Much like the above, hyphens in elaborate constructions of of course could imply that it is being said quickly, almost as one word. As long as the way it is intended is made clear, this style could be effective at conveying a character's emotion. Just a single line of dialog noting the way a character speaks is enough to assuage the doubt in the reader's mind whether it is just the character's mode of speech or a mistake or a hitherto unknown rule of English sending the reader racing to a modern style guide.

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Hmm. It was meant to be quite a broad-strokes picture, glossing over details, but I guess I went too far in that direction. I detest exposition crammed in unnaturally, which sometimes leads to e jumping through weird hoops to try to avoid it.

The thing about the exposition of finding out Travis is that you could avoid it entirely by simply stating he was suspicious and give a vague but striking explanation like: Necromancy is dirty business, and Travis tracked mud all over the kitchen tiles. But finding his ilk is the easy part. The hard part is not joining their undead servants in unpaid overtime. In this case, the metaphor distances the reader from the specifics and the reader will fill in the blanks, and Double Edge will look more mysterious for it. It also imparts the knowledge that Timor and Sarah breaking in is the exciting part.
The trouble about writing fiction is that you feel a compulsion to explain something, out of a feeling that lacking information will cause the reader to not believe you. But the reader will believe you if you state the minimal context like someone would about an event in reality. Someone telling the story of meeting his partner will not bother to explain why either of them were at the locale, in fact it would seem suspicious. I had accepted that Timor and Sarah were going after a necromancer, as I just assumed that an organization like Double Edge would have the means to find wizards.

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Interesting. I would never have taken the meaning you did from that paragraph. I'll have to think about that.

Yeah, that is the difficult part, to understand what someone unfamiliar with the story might infer from it. Because the paragraph before focuses on Timor's aches and pains seemingly worsened by the cold I read the next paragraph to be about how it affected Sarah. I read "She didn't look much better" as being somewhat a turn of phrase about well-being in a similar sense of She isn't doing so hot. I did not expect it to be literal after the "no favours" line.

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That would be because it does.

I had the idea that the Double Edge members (at the time thinking they were government agents) were in top condition despite the scars, so I thought it strange that Timor standing up would make noise. Your explanation makes sense now that I know they are not necessarily elite agents.

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The intention was to indicate that the cause was the cold.

I sincerely apologize for my "detrimentally combines" line; I had to read that a few times just now to understand I had meant by that. It was supposed to note that the individual points of the sentence (Timor breaking in, his scars / old wounds, current pain and cold) were weakened by being put together in a single sentence and so couldn't be appreciated fully. The way I read it, it goes STIFF MUSCLES--LOCKPICKING->COLD->SCARS->PAIN->SCARS->LOCKPICKING, which is why I read the next paragraph to be about their current health.

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If the meaning is obvious, there is no problem here. I would go so far as to say the "implication" is so strong as to be nearly explicit. It's a common idiom.

Sorry, again. That was the same point as the zombie carrying.

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I'm a little confused what you're getting at here. I probably do overuse "as" and "while", but certainly not in that paragraph; and yes, "their" refers to the aches. That's also a common idiomatic construction.

This was about the combination of the different points. I actually thought the scars were hurting, like they never fully healed.

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I wouldn't say it necessarily implies that. And it's pretty explicit that it refers to the padlock, unless you're in the habit of ripping the locks out of doors to pick them up...? There's really no other lock he could be picking up, here, particularly since it's been explicitly labeled as "the padlock" in the previous sentence.

I meant that the lock referring to the padlocked door confused me because the first paragraph mentions that Timor has picks which he uses for a lock. I do not understand Timor picking the padlock up again either as I assumed his hands were holding the picks and so he never picked it up in the first place.


It's fine to disagree, better that than politely letting me ramble! But really, I wish to communicate accurately, so I thank you for pointing out my failings so that I may improve. And I am glad that you got something out of this, Arx.
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Th4DwArfY1

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1771 on: April 23, 2018, 02:20:13 pm »

I'm glad there's some activity here for once. The place had started to feel like the tomb.

Actually, would anyone be up for a resumption of the contest? I think I might enjoy it.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 02:24:07 pm by Th4DwArfY1 »
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1772 on: April 24, 2018, 01:30:05 am »

Oh, certainly. It would be good fun and a learning experience for all, I hope. I for one love writing and talking about writing, so no matter what I would enjoy it as well.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 01:35:22 am by Aylokat »
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Levity

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1773 on: May 03, 2018, 01:15:14 pm »

There came across the ruined wall a knight of endless watch, who by enchantment had stood as still as stone for numberless days and nights, as rock warmed, cooled and cracked and crumbled around him as he waited for one to step across his runic boundary, at which he would draw his black blade hissing from its sheath, and advance upon the intruder with oaths spoken through his visor blacker than all his nights alone.
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Digital Hellhound

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1774 on: May 03, 2018, 03:38:57 pm »

I dream of a day when this thread thrives and bustles and we will write like we have never written before. I think the main problem is the scarcity of commenters, though. Why bother posting anything if you won't get any comments and critique? I'm not sure how to encourage this more. Outright demanding you comment on others' works before posting your own is probably a bit too much (I've seen it elsewhere, and it tends to result in vague and forced commentary).

I guess we should lead by example, so here goes for Arx:


As for my own contribution, a start to something I've never actually managed to continue much. It's sat sad and alone in my documents for ages, so I thought I might as well share it for comments. I started writing it without any idea where it was going, which maybe shows - it's a character piece, mainly, playing with dialogue and description. Here goes, please take a crack at it!
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1775 on: May 04, 2018, 02:13:21 am »

I dream of a day when this thread thrives and bustles and we will write like we have never written before.

Yes, the lack of interaction in critique is something I have noticed over the long course of this thread. I do not post any work of my own because I want to focus on examining the work is posted. Hopefully the activity now will draw in more. I recall the contests in the past being successful in that regard.

Lead by example, indeed!:




On the topic of a renewed writing contest, a weekly and short at first to ease into it will be wise.
It could be a prompt or an exercise. For instance, writing a story without directly stating anything, say by similes and metaphors or implication or rambling and incoherent dialog. Or a mix of prompt and exercise by giving a prompt of incongruous ideas to combine.
An extended example: 1# pizzeria, 2# alien spaceship, #3 mime(s). The interesting part is that it could be interpreted many ways, like it being a mime-run pizzeria and the aliens are stopping by on route to delivering space-wood, or that the alien spaceship is a traveling pizzeria where the menu options are exclusively ordered through pretending to be food, or a pizza delivery boy who drives a salvaged Russian spaceship (there was no mention of the alien spaceship not being from Earth) to a baseball game and a baseball strikes him in the throat and he tries to explain that with gestures to the customer why he was late. In summary, sometimes rules can give artistic freedom by letting the writer imagine the many ways the set points could connect and interact.

Please, do tell me what you think, I welcome it heartily.
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Levity

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1776 on: May 04, 2018, 05:37:42 am »


EDIT: With the knight and his sudden emotional outburst, this is something that I did A LOT, in my early writings. It seems like a great idea to spur on the story with some strong emotions and a sense of conflict, but when someone else reads it on the page, it makes the characters seem a little too volatile, a little bit child-like, when they waver between such heightened emotional states so quickly. Characters are hard, and I would recommend putting plenty of thought into them. Really think to yourself: Does this read like a plausible human being?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 05:43:26 am by Levity »
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1777 on: May 04, 2018, 06:57:26 am »

Levity, your contribution to the discussion is as good as any I could have hoped for. That was nice to read. Good writing, interesting ideas.

If I may add to those points: In my experience, repeated outbursts of emotion from the characters are more a failing of build-up, not quite conveying the scene in your mind, thus seeming unjustified. When in doubt, add more steps and by extension nuance.
The vital aspect for character-building (not that inspecting what impression the characters make is something to be avoided) is an internal logic for each character, where he acts in his own interest on accord of his thoughts and feelings instead of what the story demands. As long as the logic is kept consistent, it does not matter how strange or broken it is, if presented to be entirely the reasoning of the character. I am a great fan of character-driven conflict; it amounts to moving parts comprising wholes tilting and whirling to new, rapidly changing stimuli.
Whether implausible characters are bad depends on the framework, if the cast meant as a set of rounded, reasonable people, or a set of exaggerated types simplified to eliminate unnecessary traits. Sometimes an absurd personality can draw greater success from a scene than a sensible one, as, say, a megalomaniac playing pretend knight-errant to which other, more normal characters can respond.


EDIT: I suppose this goes without saying, but I will anyway: I am looking forward to what you will write in the future, Levity.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 07:15:09 am by Aylokat »
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Th4DwArfY1

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1778 on: May 04, 2018, 03:26:15 pm »

There came across the ruined wall a knight of endless watch, who by enchantment had stood as still as stone for numberless days and nights, as rock warmed, cooled and cracked and crumbled around him as he waited for one to step across his runic boundary, at which he would draw his black blade hissing from its sheath, and advance upon the intruder with oaths spoken through his visor blacker than all his nights alone.
Decided to write something around this:


Gawain stood.

Something was drip. Drip. Dripping behind him. For how long? Fifty years, a hundred? He couldn't be sure. Indeed, years were obsolete. The drip had become his way of telling time. One thousand eight hundred and ninety nine drips. One thousand nine hundred drips. On until the sun set in front of him, burning his lidless eyes, blinding him daily. Then he would start again.

He hated that sun. Vaguely, so vaguely that it seemed like a memory made of mist, he remembered a past when that had not been so. Stretching his memory - his imagination? - he saw a pair of brown eyes, felt a pair of spectral hands on his head. He wondered at that, at who she was. Now, when the pregnant clouds rolled down from the Rim Mountains and blocked the light, he blessed them. Though the sound of the rain did interrupt his careful tabulation of time.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Gawain stood.

In the distance, his eyes saw a speck. People coming. If he could have frowned, he would; the ruins of Tol Daren had not seen visitors in.... so long that his mind rebounded at the thought. It grew larger, and larger. Three hundred thousand drips later, they were close enough for him to see the lumbering beasts, the grey-beard at the front with his walking staff. It was a caravan, tired-looking women and children strung out in a line with hard-faced men to the sides. The old man weaved erratically in front of them all. The cut of their clothes was alien to him, but fashion, as he well knew, changed. His own set of obsidian armour likely belonged in one of their museums.

The old man stopped a few paces from Gawain, and drew a long draught from the flask at his side. His eyes ranged over the ruined buildings, the symbols etched clearly into the ground despite the grinding of the years. Gawain knew what they said. Warning, they cried. Danger. Do not cross. The old man's face lit up. The caravan caught up to him, and one of the women stepped forward with a babe-in-arms.

Grey beard gestured expansively in front of him. "Behold, Veronica! I have delivered our people from the scourge of the Daidier... Dayder..."

"Derdimon," the woman said.

"Yes! The Derdimune. This is the capital of Visothie. We'll not be followed." He spat to the side. "Superstitious fools."

The others were gathering now, and one of the men pointed to the symbols cut into the ground.

"Maybe there's something to the rumours... look at those. They don't look like nothing but superstition, Prophet."

"Nonsense! Listen, when I was your age, I explored ruins for a living. They all have curses! And I'm perfectly alright."

The others shuffled their feet, and the 'Prophet' rolled his eyes in an exaggerated fashion. Gawain could smell him, now. Sour berries and travel sweat. One of the children ran forward, thin beneath his simple clothes but with a light of curiosity in his eyes.

"P...prophet? Is that a real Knight?" A shaking finger was pointed at Gawain, and the Prophet's eyes became briefly grim. He took another long pull from his flask, and when it lowered his eyes were full of optimism once more.

"No, Little One. It's a statue of the Mad Prince. It's said he slaughtered the entire city single-handedly, slaying innocents in their beds. It's said his ghost walks the haunted streets with flames in its eyes and murder in its incorporeal heart." He hiccuped, and trailed to a stop. The women in the crowd were glaring at him. It took three drips for him to realise, and when he did he scowled.

"Superstition," he said.

He stepped across the boundary.

Gawain's muscles moved, not stiff as he would have expected. Freely. Limber. Powered by ancient magic. His sword cleared its sheath with a sibilant whisper, soft as a breeze in grass. It was black obsidian. When the Prophet's head tumbled from his shoulders, it was red.

When Gawain spoke, though, his voice creaked like an old man's. They were not even his words, though they would not know that. A sorcerer, long dead, speaking in a forbidden language. Speaking again the spell which would bind Gawain, root him to the earth like a common statue. He would not have long. If any got past to the City Centre, the sorcerer would become.... less dead. He remembered long-gone spoken oaths and recited them where the sorcerer's incantation lulled.

I will defend the city.

I will seal the tomb.

My sentinel will be eternal,

The Mage will know his doom.

Sword will not break

Nor armour rust

Head will not bow

Nor turn to dust

'Til it is done

And Mage is dead.

It no longer bothered him that the words had long since lost their meaning to him. He knew what they meant in spirit. Stand and kill whoever tried to get into the city. The sorcerer could not be allowed to wake. He strained against the spell that poured from his own lips.

It was over before he realised it was, and they all lay before him dead. Two hundred people, maybe more. A village seeking refuge in all the wrong places. He barely had time to return to his place before the sorcerer's curse caught him fully in its snare once more. In front of him, the woman named Veronica stared sightlessly at the damned sun. Her eyes, he noticed, were brown.

Behind him, the drips continued. But slightly different, now.

Drip-drip. Drip-drip. Drip-drip.

His sword, clenched in his hand and freed of its sheath, dripped red onto the thirsty runes at his feet.
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1779 on: May 05, 2018, 02:35:24 am »

Slowly, the thread awakes once more. Marvelous.

Keep the dream alive:


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Levity

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1780 on: May 05, 2018, 01:18:26 pm »

That was awesome! It's really interesting to see how one idea can germinate into others, and of course, each person will have their own perspective on the original! What a mad world we live in.

Spoiler: My Thoughts on Gawain (click to show/hide)

P.S: In regards to what you were saying about the last piece, Aylo, I think these two stories perfectly show how important proper buildup is, as well as consistent story logic. I would say one lacks a lot of buildup, which subsequently makes its logic hard to grasp, while the other has trouble with its own logic which it sometimes breaks.

It would be great to hear what anyone else thinks about the pieces, and also about our critiques! I personally think it's important to never tell someone how to write, but instead suggest ways they might improve it.

P.S.S: I do have a problem with the words 'tabulation' and 'sibilant.' They seem a little too fancy for me when compared with the rest of the piece. I myself stick rigidly to the language I know. I didn't study literature at a top university, I'm not a serious academic, and the words I use in my stories reflect that. Of course, word choice is totally up to you.

He hated that sun. Vaguely, so vaguely that it seemed like a memory made of mist... Recently, I read something fantastically obvious that I had never really thought about before. It was in a book on writing by Ursula Le. Guin called Steering the Craft, and in it she says something along the lines of: the purpose of each sentence is to lead onto the other. This was like a light-bulb for me, and I would recommend you think on it, with this sentence as your subject. What are the subjects of these sentences, and how quickly do you switch between them? This is vital for maintaining coherence with your reader. It also relates to paragraph construction, which is how you build the blocks of your story.

In regards to my own writing, I am currently cramming in a whole load of research to try and get a practice chapter posted on here. I have recently decided to switch from writing purely second world fantasy, to basically writing whatever the fuck I want. It's been liberating. The story I'm currently working on is about the daughter of a Danish noble in Anglo-Saxon England, who as part of a blood-feud between families ends up seeing a whole load of shit she shouldn't. After this trauma, she discovers a strange chapel/grove/shrine/I haven't quite decided yet, and within is a strange new world the likes of which is inspired by mythology and the atmosphere of the Souls series. What she finds in this second world, and her choices within it, will have massive ramifications for the primary world. Hopefully I'll have something on here soon.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 03:00:50 pm by Levity »
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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1781 on: May 06, 2018, 03:14:52 am »

That was awesome! It's really interesting to see how one idea can germinate into others, and of course, each person will have their own perspective on the original! What a mad world we live in.

The interpersonal dance of ideas is a fine one indeed. How exciting it is to see budding ideas grow, shift, bend, and blossom into a hundred colors.

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However, I think here it becomes pretty convoluted: [. . .]

I read that paragraph quite a few times before I understood that Gawain was not petrifying himself in order to guard the ruins with the assistance of the sorcerer, who I imagined had done it as a panicked last measure, and patching up the decaying spell with his own words. I originally thought “He strained against the spell that poured from his own lips” meant that the repeated use of the spell was nearly too much for Gawain. I vaguely was under the impression that the sorcerer was trapped in a limbo, and that if he did not pass on but was disturbed he would become some corpse-puppet of a dark force—perhaps that he was evading the price of magic.

Often, I have noticed, writing becomes confusing as a result of minimizing space without thoroughly considering if a reader who does not already understand the meaning can find it without ordeal.

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I personally think it's important to never tell someone how to write, but instead suggest ways they might improve it.

There are situations where you should tell someone how not to write, but certainly freedom is critical. Two people will hold different positions on how an idea should develop. Telling someone to limit the flirting between two characters is good in order to explore the setting, but it is detrimental if the work is meant to be a romance and the setting is only in support of it.

It is essential to follow your fancy, if only occasionally, because even if you recognize it to be extremely stupid, it is an opportunity to experiment, learn, examine the idea, and put it out of your head to focus on other work better. You can figure out what about it captured your interest and use that later on—even in the middle of a less experimental work you can always try new things and cut out the silly stuff. It also is wise to affirm that you are doing your writing out of choice, not because you forced yourself on some obligation.

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'tabulation' and 'sibilant.'

When I read sibilant, I got the impression of a metal snake striking out from its den.
Tabulation seemed overly sophisticated for someone frozen in place counting droplets for decades. Gawain must really have built his skills over his time as a statue. If he cannot find work as a street performer, he can become a ready mathematician!

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the purpose of each sentence is to lead onto the other.

I figured this out based on painstakingly examining and reexamining my older writing (as a challenge) and several comments on films roughly amounting to “What is the point of this scene? What is it supposed to convey?” Anything that did not establish the characters, further the plot, explain the setting, or change the situation felt like a meaningless diversion after the fourth time it happened, no matter if it was good. The point being that information should be given when relevant, and if you want to give it at a time when it is not, devise a way to make it logical. You have the ability to control your fiction universe to benefit you as the author, so use it.

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In regards to my own writing, [. . .]

Excellent. I assume you do not have someone breathing down your neck about writing pure second-world fantasy, thus it is good to pursue any and all ideas you might have. A wide range of practice and skill serves only to improve future writing.
With a pitch like that and your displayed ability, truly it is hoped by me and doubtlessly others that your writing is finished (in due time, of course) and may be read.


(As an aside about writing a story as you go along, I have gathered from experience that it takes at least 2000 words before it starts to become coherent.)
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Levity

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1782 on: May 06, 2018, 06:13:01 pm »

Gawain could be a street performer, I’m just not sure many of his spectators would survive the ordeal. ‘Step across the runic bounday and place a coin...’

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Often, I have noticed, writing becomes confusing as a result of minimizing space without thoroughly considering if a reader who does not already understand the meaning can find it without ordeal.

This is a huge thing, the idea of space within the text and how story information is doled out. It relates to every aspect of storytelling, in my opinion. My early writings were like bullet trains: every paragraph was a plot point; every conversation my ‘characters’ engaged with was momentous. When you write like that, you end up looking back at the couple thousand words and it all seems vacuous. The characters aren’t really people, they’re just mouthpieces. The story isn’t that lovely multi-layered flowing thing that great stories are, it’s like someone tapping a nail restlessly into a wooden plank.

I still struggle with this. I really think proper research, direction, thought, and of course practice, comes into getting past it. Or, you can just write like that. I think some successful published authors do, whereas I always found it too thin, too simple, and I’m working hard to get past it.

Ultimately, stories are a very human thing, and apart from experimental stuff, which will rarely draw a wide readership; the stories need to feel human. Hell, I once read a sci-fi that was about a man transcending his earthly body and becoming a multi-dimensional, omni-present energy; and still what I remember best about the book is his earthly musings, as he observes millions upon millions of years and dozens upon dozens of planets. Though an ascended energy, the main character was still very much human, and there was space between the various ideas in the story and interplay between them. It wasn’t just the bang, bang, bang of these super simple stories. The ones most of my writings have turned out to be.
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Th4DwArfY1

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1783 on: May 06, 2018, 09:06:58 pm »

However, I think here it becomes pretty convoluted: "When Gawain spoke, though, his voice creaked like an old man's. They were not even his words, though they would not know that. A sorcerer, long dead, speaking in a forbidden language. Speaking again the spell which would bind Gawain, root him to the earth like a common statue. He would not have long. If any got past to the City Centre, the sorcerer would become.... less dead. He remembered long-gone spoken oaths and recited them where the sorcerer's incantation lulled."
   - I would say there's too much information being dumped at once, and for me this section is indicative of a problem I have with the piece as a whole. I would mirror what Aylokat says, in that the perspective whips about far too quickly, like a wasp trapped in a room with many windows. We begin intensely introspective; then we're observing something far away, which grows closer and more detailed; followed by dialogue of multiple persons involving a lot of information and a lot of different perspectives. For me at least, it was a fairly confusing read the first time round.

I also think there's some confusion with Gawain's acuity. Just how much can he remember? The drips work well for me, they convey a strange middle ground whereby Gawain is held in place by his curse, mentally dulled, yet strangely awake. Then we have a mist-like recollection of a woman, all nicely done and accordant with before. But then we have the Rim Mountains and the ruins of Tol Daren (so he knows their names?) and we have his perfect recollection of why he was cursed in the first place, and precisely what will happen if any make it past him. Overall I found Gawain to exist in a wavering state between total understanding of the situation and a dulled, accursed existence. I think we all know which better fits the piece!
Totally agree, on a reread.
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P.S.S: I do have a problem with the words 'tabulation' and 'sibilant.' They seem a little too fancy for me when compared with the rest of the piece. I myself stick rigidly to the language I know. I didn't study literature at a top university, I'm not a serious academic, and the words I use in my stories reflect that. Of course, word choice is totally up to you.
Can see where you're coming from, but don't quite agree. I am studying literature at a fairly respected (probably top?) university, so there's that.
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He hated that sun. Vaguely, so vaguely that it seemed like a memory made of mist... Recently, I read something fantastically obvious that I had never really thought about before. It was in a book on writing by Ursula Le. Guin called Steering the Craft, and in it she says something along the lines of: the purpose of each sentence is to lead onto the other. This was like a light-bulb for me, and I would recommend you think on it, with this sentence as your subject. What are the subjects of these sentences, and how quickly do you switch between them? This is vital for maintaining coherence with your reader. It also relates to paragraph construction, which is how you build the blocks of your story.
Good advice, thanks! I recommend in return you watch Brandon Sanderson's story writing videos on Youtube. They are pure gold, though I've only seen a few so far.
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In regards to my own writing, I am currently cramming in a whole load of research to try and get a practice chapter posted on here. I have recently decided to switch from writing purely second world fantasy, to basically writing whatever the fuck I want. It's been liberating. The story I'm currently working on is about the daughter of a Danish noble in Anglo-Saxon England, who as part of a blood-feud between families ends up seeing a whole load of shit she shouldn't. After this trauma, she discovers a strange chapel/grove/shrine/I haven't quite decided yet, and within is a strange new world the likes of which is inspired by mythology and the atmosphere of the Souls series. What she finds in this second world, and her choices within it, will have massive ramifications for the primary world. Hopefully I'll have something on here soon.
A note on this. Possibly already known by you, but as Anglo-Saxon times are an interest of mine I'll say it anyway. A feud in Anglo-Saxon times was primarily between men (obviously). In the Old Norse tales, a woman would provoke the pursuit of vengeance. In one tale, the woman roused the men by shaming them (a tactic women would often use to drive men to vengeance) and then tried to follow them on a horse to participate in the vengeance. Her saddle girth was cut so she fell out of the saddle - the message being clear. Women could instigate vengeance, and indeed it was their role, but they were not to participate in it. In Anglo-Saxon times, their role revolved mainly around that of the "Peaceweaver." Political glue to hold families together by marriage, but also a political tool in themselves. See Wealtheoh from Beowulf (Hrothgar's Queen) to see what I mean. She attempts to defuse tensions. Offers the cup. Makes statements on future unity, and tries to ensure her sons are properly taken care of. By Arthurian times, keep in mind that the literary figure of a Queen such as Guinevere had become one of decoration primarily. She was in "an adorned dias set" if I recall correctly, and therefore taken primarily as an ornament while battling went around her.

If you want a figure who breaks these norms, see Grendel's mother as a monstrous example. She comes to avenge her son. This is part of her monstrosity - keep in mind that your Anglo Saxon men will find any feuding women you have as at least nerve-wracking, at most terrifying.

The saintly version is St. Judith, a Biblical tale altered by an Anglo-Saxon poet. In this, Holofernes is killed by Judith to save her people from the Assyrians - her role is that of the Hero, the ender of feud. Keep in mind that she was heavily associated with the power of God, and only this stopped her manly action from being monstrous. She was also protecting her virtue, another important point. If you want a woman character to be sympathised with by the Anglo Saxon men, have her either on a mission from God or protecting her virtue.

Also, see the Law Codes of King Alfred. They give the laws on pursuing vengeance - how much money should be paid in Wergild (money paid as a way to end feud) instead of blood. One I remember in particular is that if you besiege a man in his house, he is allowed thirty days to negotiate with you before you kill him. I believe there are also laws on the treatment of women and slaves. How often these laws were actually followed is of course up for debate.

As for the shrine/grove/whatever, possibly one to Thor? They were fairly common and lasted for a long time in the British Isles. Also, on Geography: if your man is a powerful Danish noble, he'd probably be located in the Danelaw, and then in Northumbria around York, which was the seat of Viking power. Get your time right, as well. It's Anglo Saxon, but the Danes are there, so mid-to-late Anglo Saxon. There are a few types of power depending on time - shared between the Angles and the Vikings, in the hands of the Vikings (i.e. Canute, who ruled over England, Denmark, Norway, and possibly Sweden though not sure on that last), or in the hands of the Angles, notably King Alfred of Wessex who reclaims England, introduces much learning, and focuses on the vernacular. His laws, for instance, reflect this latter age - he wanted to limit blood shed and forge a more unified England.

Just a few things I've noted on reading Anglo Saxon works, in case any of it is helpful. To sum, really: Women are meant to be peaceweavers, not vengeful. They can incite the men to vengeance but not participate.

Also, I must agree with most of Aylokat's observations. I will add though that I am fond of capitalising words which are not proper nouns for the sake of emphasis, but also realise this is a bad habit to feed.

Oh, also, on the Knight-gets-passionate trope: have a Garland.

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Aylokat

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Re: ___/The Writer's Apprenticeship\___
« Reply #1784 on: May 07, 2018, 03:20:05 am »

Gawain could be a street performer, I’m just not sure many of his spectators would survive the ordeal. ‘Step across the runic bounday and place a coin...’

“Step right up, step right up! Watch me juggle not ONE, not TWO, not THREE, but EIGHT of the audience members’ heads! Hold onto your hats and pin your feet down, or this enchanting sight will blow you away and send your head spinning it is so good! ’Tis but a halfpence, heading to nearly highway robbery of me, but rattle your swords, I say, and I shall stand and deliver, you dashing rogues.”

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This is a huge thing, the idea of space within the text and how story information is doled out. [. . .]

Interesting. My early writing was the reverse: little plot, lot of character, somehow (I recall being just as bewildered when I had first written the story) multi-layered, probably on account of the many random plot lines coming from people to inanimate objects—there was at least one about horse-racer turned fashion designer catering only to horses. There was also a sub-plot about different ways of cooking ham, I recall, as a sort of ideological schism, ending with the untimely death of the proponent of flash-fried honey glaze.

My writing still has elements of the comedic timing “delaying sections” and meandering dialog, but pleasantly so (to me, that is, and as opposed the earlier writing) where it is not a spilled cup of milk but a brook down the hillside. Not quite an outright tragedy. Unfortunately, I have become so accustomed to the comedic tone that it never disappears from my writing, only growing darker and more morbid like an executioner working overtime. Though I find it remarkable how a scene can be funny even if no character is having fun, just by unusual circumstance.

The art of making your story flow smoothly is a difficult one, harder still to also have it flow toward something. The best advice I can think to give is to consider the natural responses to an action and its effects. It feels stilted if a character says something and the other addresses only the part pertaining to the plot, so rather follow a fork in the interaction that rejoins the main path after a few notable sights, it fleshes out the setting and the characters as well.
Though, of course, meandering can be a bad thing depending on the situation and sometimes you will want to construct the scene so as to justify the quick, important slashes of dialog. One way to do so is to make it the style, reducing complex feelings to a set of distinctive, character-defining actions, but this sort of style demands no failure, as every piece is a pillar holding up the arch.


Oh, also, on the Knight-gets-passionate trope: have a Garland.

Oh, thank you kindly, I will have a Garland:

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