View Full Version : April 2004 Workshop: McSweeney's 20 Minute Stories
4th Apr 04, 10:49 AM
I thought it was high time I got back into my monthly writers workshop thing. I'm starting this month with something that's pretty simple and enjoyable to write, pinched from Dave Eggers' wonderful literary journal McSweeney's (http://www.mcsweeneys.com) (If you don't read it, you should)
A N I N T R O D U C T I O N T O
T W E N T Y - M I N U T E
S T O R I E S .
BY DAVID DALEY
- - - -
Say what you will about the luxury of having time to write, but give me a deadline. Deadlines take some of the fear out of writing. Sure, give all those monkeys laptops and a Starbucks card and they'll eventually come up with the works of Shakespeare. But what if you give them twenty minutes and then see what they've got? That was the idea behind the section of twenty-minute stories included in Issue 12 of McSweeney's.
So I asked almost 100 writers to do exactly that—to write three twenty-minute stories. An hour of writing. Think about it first, if you must, but then go. At first, people recoiled in terror. Who could write a story in twenty minutes? But many of them gave it a try, exploring all sorts of crazy ideas and voices and approaches, and they wrote them in shopping malls and on subways, and anywhere they happened to be. The stories, as you'll tell by the dates, were solicited more than a year ago. There wasn't room in McSweeney's for as many of them as they would have liked to print (even considering all the writers who wrote over the last year asking us to burn their contributions), so they are creating an archive here of some of the many twenty-minute stories we all loved and wanted to share.
I took away some lessons, of course: that constraints can spur creativity, that art flowers under the strangest circumstances, that even in twenty minutes you can immediately recognize and feel the voice of a great writer. I still don't really like Speed Scrabble. Sure, it is nice to get the game moving, but usually when you take a second look at the board, you see a better word, the right word. But when isn't that the case? I still find nothing scarier than a blank screen and no deadline; I like having written, as Gertrude Stein or Snoopy once said, more than writing. Is this some sort of new middle ground? Who knows. I'm just happy to share the stories, and hope you like them.
December 4, 2003
Right, so I'm not going to ask everyone to post three stories, but try if you like, I'm going to do three, just not consecutively, the first one in the post immediately following this.
Remember, this is a chance to be wilfully creative without worrying about grammar or niggly details, explore ways of writing you haven't before. As the man, said play with voices and styles you've flirted with but never really gone for.
Also importantly, it'll give you something thats finished and complete. And it should be a nice gentle introduction to a more regular series of workshops. If you have any ideas for May's workshop, email me, or PM me and I might run with it for next month.
For now, let the stories commence!
4th Apr 04, 10:50 AM
The girl, for she can’t be older than nineteen, has one of those studs on her tongue and pours my coffee from the pot with an air of nonchalance. She keeps rolling her tongue around her mouth absent mindedly, clicking the little blob of metal against her teeth. Getting a feel for the taste. I thank her and add cream and sugar, thinking not enough places offer you cream anymore. I’m here killing time before the place I have to go. Half of avoidance is fear, I think, as I look out the window and wonder what the weather feels like if this glass wasn’t here. It’s sunny, but the wind is picking up leaves and scarves and I can’t tell if I were to be outside, whether it would be hot or cold.
I have a meeting. When did I start having meetings? But I watch the girl across the floor, she clears plates and discarded newspapers and cigarette packets, the companions for one person.
When I was twenty, after I finished university, I used to fall in love with girls like that. Like most things, I didn’t so much fall but plummet, after a long time of hitting your head on the concrete you begin to approach things with caution. The girl, she sits and drifts, as I push the ashtray across the table and unroll my newspaper. I have little to do, but no time to start anything, not anymore. My head hurts, and I can’t focus on the articles long enough so I turn to the crossword and take solace in the cryptic clues. Jumbles of meaning and language and words that I’ve grown to accept I rarely solve. It’s more fun this way, a miniature triumph if I can get one at all.
The girl, her uniform doesn’t quite fit. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t suit. If I was twenty, like I said, things would be different. She sighs as she cleans her reflection in the coffee machine. It hisses with a burst of steam. I’m happy with this, this is isn’t one of those things where one laments some passing of time, but, you know, I’m trying not to stare.
Five minutes until I’m supposed to be there. Looking back down and the solution to one of the crossword clues pops into my head like a silver bullet. I write it in blue biro and am immediately sceptical. Is this a bad sign? My infrequency of success with these puzzles has let each success to feel more like a warning.
Home seems a long way, here with this coffee and this puzzle and this girl. I have a few minutes and it seems longer than an ocean, a trip to the airport and a newly cut set of keys. The wind’s picking up and I think, probably, it’s colder outside. I wonder what it’s like back home, distance trivialises and why I left seems a long time ago and a long way away. I finish the coffee, there’s small undisolved granules of sugar in the bottom of the cup, half caramelised. I probably should be going as I look up, the girl stares out the window, leaning on her counter. The click of her metal stud cuts the silence as she tries to get a feel for it, checks the taste of it in her mouth.
18:38PM – 18:58PM
5th Apr 04, 7:32 PM
Lucas squinted, trying to think hard. Of course, the squinting itself wasn't doing a thing to help; it merely made Lucas feel like he was getting somewhere. Which he wasn't. He sighed in that recognizably frustrated way and looked straight up into the ceiling. Another one of his 'tricks'.
Actually, the room Lucas was in didn't really have a ceiling. It was more of a sphere-shape than anything, the usual shape for Fleet research facilities. Helped dampen dangerous explosions, or something. Sighing again, Lucas started to aimlessly wander in his mind. The clean institutional-white color of the lab gleamed back at him, almost as if it was winking at him and assuring him that the answer would come. He would just have to wait a bit.
“Hey, genius. Got anything yet?” The figure of a middle-aged man floated above by Lucas, gently moving through his field of vision for a short trip. Eli.
“Well... no. I'm kinda stuck at maintaining the engine manifold complex. It's kinda... difficult...”
“No shit, Sherlock. Not just anyone can figure out how to keep a ship afloat in the midst of Tunneling, and that is why you're here. Now comeon, hurry up. I'm no good at this motivational crap, and the Fleet needs your hocus pocus finished before everyone at McCook Base dies of old age. Besides, I found something you could use.”
Lucas perked up. Eli was usually pretty good at finding 'useful stuff'. “Yeah?”
Turning around to stay in Lucas' field of vision, Eli pulled out a data pad. “Yessir. The job stack you gave me finished, and apparently your test manifold should stay intact when Tunneling at Xe12, give or take a few levels.”
“Xe12? That's awful. Fleet wants something like Xe30, right?”
“Xe32. Don't worry, that's next. After you finish strengthening the mag couplings somehow, stupid. So hurry up.”
“Fine, fine. I'll just scoop some of the batter into the tub and that
should rectify the giraffe within a few zolons, here.”
Eli raised his eyebrows. “What was that? And what the hell's a zolon?”
“Unit of measuring love, of course.”
“MEMORY WRITE ERROR AT x054355ADFF. SWITCHING TO DEBUG
“Lucas, you feeling okay? Need a hotpatch, or something?”
Lucas didn't have time to answer, however, as the debug mode kicked in and he started blabbering on about tracing his callback stack. Eli wasn't sure what to do. Call in a programmer? Were there even programmers on the base? There must be, or else the Fleet wouldn't be wasting time with hologram projectors...
“Um, Programmer? Hello?”
Nothing, merely more gleaming of the serenely quite lab returned his calls. What was going on?
“Any programmers around? I need help! Lucas is having...
Poor Lucas was now kneeling on the floor, being forced to recount the details of a memory core dump. It wasn't pretty.
“Hello? I need-”
Something snapped inside Eli. Uh oh. “MEMORY WRITE ERROR AT-”
The scout ship was receiving somehing funny, and Ensign Fieldman couldn't figure it out. A distress signal from Englandi Base? But that place had been abandoned! A one man research station like that tended to make it's inhabitants crazy, and the idea had long been dropped after the last programmer there had commited suicide...
It isn't that imaginative, but I haven't written in a while, so I'm sorry :|
Scabs stared out the window. 20 minutes until they arrived. It gave him one last chance to ponder recent events, his own fortunes and misfortunes, before the hard labor deprived him of both the energy and idle thoughts to do so again. He sighed. True he had earned his fate... but what of the rest of the world he once knew? He had not especially enjoyed it all the time, but yet it WAS the only world he knew... the only way of life he knew.
20 years ago as a rebellious teenager on Kharak, he had been caught for the first time. Hacking into the schools database of grades seemed like a good idea at the time, especially with his failing grades. The police didn't think so. He met a good family man in prison, who not only taught him how to thrive, but kept his butt out of the wrong things while. ...or... rather... kept the wrong things out of hits butt.
Gabhrialed Gaalsien. One of the last remaining members of the ancient Kiith of dissidents, still plaugeing society with rebellions and terrorist activities, even under the unity of purpose that all of Kharak supposedly shared in building the Mothership. Who the fleb cared, he had thought at the time. There was no concrete evidence, but yet the vast majority of the Kushan people were going nuts about a possibility, a tiny SHRED of a possibility of some distant lushious green homeworld they had come from 4000 years earlier.
Rubbish. Well... at the time. After he got out of lockup, he went through all the standard rehabilitation and reassociation courses. Then he looked up the other "family" men that the Gaalsien in prison had told him about. It was more than he was prepared for. Kiith Gaalsien was by no means dead or dying, but alive and well, and entrenched in a vast underground network that had its fingers into nearly every aspect of Kushan life. He was accepted, at the mere mention of Gabhrailed's name, and soon after pegged for "training" in data flow systems, to ensure him a position aboard the Mothership, or at least in cryo sleep. Turned out he had trained more of them than they had him. There was so much they knew, though... so much more than the other poor blinded bastards out there in the rest of Kushan society...
Then the firestorm, then the Exodus, then the landfall... and with everything else being rebuilt for a new life for the Kushan race on Hiigara, so was the underground of Kiith Gaalsien. Scaviotti Manaan... became Scaviotti Gaalsien, or "Scabs" as he was usually called. He led the network construction and hacking efforts that would secure their position of underground power. The banks, the insurance companies, the New Diamiid, even the new military bases... even a couple Sobani ones.
...and then he had been caught for the last time. In the great purge of the Gaalsien underground on Hiigara, once and for all, he had also led the pleabargaining effort. He cared far more about his own life than those other religous zealot crazy bastards. He would spend the rest of his life working in a salvage fleet, which hearing of the conditions there, wouldn't be too terribly long. The Kushan couldn't bear to waste anything, especially potential free labor.
Scabs snorted at the memories. The guard grabbed him roughly by the arm and began moving him forward towards the air lock. His last free 20 minutes had passed. The frigate jolted as it docked, followed by the hissing of repressurizing air. The air lock opened. Stagnant air, laced with mechanical synthetic lubricants and body odor filled his lungs, as the guard pushed him forward on the first steps of the rest of his life...
11th Apr 04, 7:08 PM
I admit, this took me half an hour, not 20 minutes. It has been some time since I was able to smear words across a page at any speed, and I don't regret losing the ability, for my writing has undoubtedly improved since then.
My Dearest Helen
I have only a few minutes to write this, yet so much I want to say. It is the furthest wish from my mind to cause grief to you, but I fear that is now inevitable. I can only ask that you be strong as you read what I must now write.
In a few moments, I will have to put down this pen, and join my many brave comrades as we march to a battle I know we cannot win. You have probably heard that the war is not going well for our beloved country, and I will not lie to you. Defeat lies within a week's reach, and soon all that we hoped to defend will no longer be ours. Our numbers dwindle, and my company is one of but a handful that have not been scattered before the steel of our enemy.
Even though hope has abandoned us, I know you will understand why we choose to yet march into battle. I know you will forgive me for making the choice to leave this world on a cold field far from the warmth of our home and our love, broken by the steel of a man I do not know. I know you will understand that as this land of ours slips from our grasp, I can do no less than offer my blood to its soil, for it has given so much for me. But I must beg of you to forgive me for what the enemy is yet to do, which I will not be here to prevent; and I must beg of you to forgive me for failing to defend that which I know is good. I pray that in the times that are coming, fortune will grace you better than it did I.
Now, I must put down this pen, and take up my arms. By the time these words fall under your gaze, the man who penned them will no longer draw breath in this world. Take solace knowing that he fought, above all, for love, and that his last breath on the battlefield had your name on it.
20th Apr 04, 7:16 PM
no one else? :( April's nearly over... but dividing 10 days up into blocks of 20 minutes, that leaves at least 720 great little stories ;)`
20th Apr 04, 8:35 PM
10:34 PM, Central Time
So it's raining outside - pouring, actually, the kind of rain that comes down in solid sheets - and the storm clouds have cut off all light save the bolts of lightning, and a fierce wind is shaking every building in sight. If you took a casual look outside you'd almost think it's a hurricaine pounding away out there, but this is no hurricaine country. This is, in fact, the middle of the North American continent, where no hurricaine ever reaches or can reach. What's outside is not hurricaine but tornado weather, which is almost worse, because although a hurricaine does a lot of damage over a large area, a tornado packs all that force into a concentrated whirling column. A hurricaine usually goes predictably where the currents go, and it can be tracked days in advance by all kinds of technology; a tornado goes wherever it damn well pleases, and does so too quickly for even someone watching to keep a solid fix on it.
Which is what Lucas is trying to do with the one raging down the street.
There's a TV on in a corner somewhere, casting its pale luminescent glow through the room, and the voice of a weatherman can be heard vaguely over the hissing wind. It doesn't really matter what he's saying, though - most of it is just warnings that this county and such are now under "severe tornado warning", and when you can look out the front window of your rented house and see one pacing about like a deadly animal that can't decide which prey to go for first, a county becomes a bit too general, almost comical in a way. You'd think they'd be able to narrow it down a little.
The thing is twsiting in so many ways that it makes his eyes hurt. It spins dizzily in the column that makes it what it is, made visible if somewhat shifty by the dust the vortex of dizzy wind has picked up. And then the whole thing is going about slowly in a small circle (small in this case being about the width of the road that Lucas' house looks out upon) in an irregular, uncaring pace.
Lucas knows he should get under a table or go downstairs or something, but there's a sort of weird fascination here, like going to a zoo and staring at the tigers for hours on end. It's dangerous, yes, but it almost doesn't seem real, and it's been going on in that circle for about three minutes now so it'll probably die before it really gets anywhere.
And as though it'd read his thoughts, the tornado blasts over the side of the road a few houses down in the manner characteristic of a process, not a physical thing that has to obey the laws of inertia; it was just at the point where he could see it by leaning against the glass and feeling it shake and looking over to the right down the roadway before, and it's just shot onto his side of the road so now it's completely gone from his view.
He relaxes a little; it's probably long gone by now, it was headed that way so damn fast, made up its mind and took off like a bullet train -
And then as though such a train had hit it, Lucas' house explodes around him - the roof is ripped off in an instant, the walls bow in, most everything not securely fastened (which in this case it just about anything) is whipped about by the wind of the tornado which had heard him and come looping around to wreak its fury. The glass pane that Lucas has been leaning on shatters from the wall it's housed in's massive bending, he finds himself with nothing to lean on, and begins a stately fall twenty feet to his rented lawn which is broken only by the tornado, which suddenly picks him up.
All he can think of is The Wizard of Oz; it's just like that only darker and wetter but somehow there's dust and it's in his eyes and he's being whipped about and just when he's tumbled end over end and feels as though his head's going to pop off the tornado deposits him neatly on the lawn, on his feet even, and he almost yells in joy from the painful, exhilarating flight and the painful, exhilarating fact that he's alive, alive, when a chunk of brick from the remains of his shattered house is picked up and slammed into the back of his skull with enough force to reduce it to rubble like the remains it issued from.
He collapses where he lies; the tornado dissipates; the storm lets him be.
When the neighbors come round after the storm lets up, they find him, facedown on his lawn, and though the back of his skull is a shattered mess the front of him is fully intact and smiling broadly, like the sun that's just begun to dry off the whole scene.
OK, so it's a 22-minute story, but it's as close as I could come and still have it feel right and complete.
It was not about vengance. It was not about hate. It was not about a promise. It was not about some grand plan. No, those were things that occupied mortal minds. It was not about 'doing what needed to be done'. It was not about the greater good. These were things for heros and the like.
It was about wanting to do it for no other reason then because it hadn't been done before. Not becaues it was fun, which it was not. In fact, it was rather painful doing it. He almost thought his eyes were bleeding it was so painful, but then he realised he was crying. More new experiences, maybe he would do this again if he lived and see what else woud happen, the next time he would concentrate on how everything reacted to him doing this.
He closed his eyes for a second, just a quick release from the pain.
Three days later the army let the first scientists through. No clean-up crews would go in till everything had been documented. What had happened in the city had never happened before. Everyone was dead. Every building was gone. Not broken down, just gone. The bodies of people three stories up just hung in mid air. Some hovered just a foot of the ground and caused may scientists to stub their toes. A short while later found every living person inside the army quarantine walking around like blind people. Sticks held out before them and taking uneasy small steps. It was going to take a long time before they could actualy find the one responsible for this, assuming they ever did.
Scientists found themselves stumbling onto roads that were no longer there, a long trench that connected to many more and they could not reach the bottom of it, only a foot away. Others inside buildings found themselves looking out windows that were not there. A few fell from high rooftops that came to sudden ends that were not seen.
Seventeen years later saw the start of the invisable war. A war based on something that was not possible untill something came to our world. Something that should not have existed. Something that over took tech. Magic was from childrens books and nothing could change that, yet it was used in every day life. No longer could jets and tanks win the war. Now a war could be won by one person. The five sides never won that war. Because nobody answered the first question. Who had made Invis City invisable?
22nd Apr 04, 2:42 PM
The rain fell. Standing in the park, above him the clouds swirled and billowed in a graceful, lumbering dance. The wind had a moist smell to it, and the sweet hint of grass freshly cut. The light was becoming dimmer and the shadows of the hot days retired sun had long fled. As the first drops reached the earth the gentle incessant tapping coalesced into the most complex melody.
As the drops became heavier the leaves of the Great Oak flopped and quivered like landed fish as the watery packets tumbled through their reach. The rain started to saturate a silent mans as he stood and reveled in the focused reality of it all. A dog barked and stood beneath a tree and the birds fell silent and sought shelter.
From the horizon came the muffled report of thunder and the cowering dog whimpered and barked again. Time seemed to slow as the down pour increased further, a break in the clouds illuminating the droplets with silvery luminescence. The Great Oak swayed in a slight breeze and a thousand glimmering diamonds shattered among the grass below.
Water was beginning to gather in puddles, soil caked dry by the summers heat became med again. In the tiny lake, ripples raced to and fro as the surface spat the ever falling rain back out in tiny bursts of water. The watching man was now soaked, water trickling to his fringe, only to trace an intricate path down is face gathering under his nose and dripping from his lip.
His saturated collar dripped silently down his neck and still time held its breath. At last the falling pearls slowed and another fresh breeze parted the clouds and lit the scene.
Under the Oak, the dog paused nervously and then, sniffing first, slowly eased his way out into the field. The birds emerged and a chatter of song slowly filled the air. The heat of the fiery orb caused the ground to steam, and the man stood, wreathed in fine mists with a small satisfied smile curving his mouth. As the heat rose, he resumed his pace, the dog following at his heels.
The bird song continued.
Short, descriptive piece, never been an imagery genious. Left out too much colour. 21 mins.
22nd Apr 04, 2:50 PM
Le Panthére D'Argent Rouge
The task was simple - meet up with Bryant at 1800, pockets lined with cash and enough ammo to make him grimace every time he missed his step on the ancient metal stairs leading down to the docks.
Charred trees clutched at a stretch of open sky, burnt deep orange by the city's exhalations. The distant mewling of a cat; a dog barking, and police sirens. These were the sounds of the city in its dark, nocturnal hours - and he loathed them. Drawing his coat more tightly around himself, he carried on descending the rusting steps, terrified by the thought that every step could lead to a plunge into the oily grunge they called the river.
He saw Bryant's cigar before he saw Bryant, a glowing red ember in the sulky black shadow of the dock warehouses. Small trawlers moored in their berths rocked to the dance of the water; some way down the river, dazzling lights shone outwards - a party.
'You got it, Faulkner?' Bryant drawls, more of a statement than a question, really.
He nods. 'Yeah,' he says. 'I have it.'
'Let me see.' Bryant points to an empty oil drum, and Faulkner opens his coat, begins to lay the cash on the cold metal. The cellophane it's wrapped in crinkles and squeaks [spg?]. Bryant catches the lines of ammo strapped around the man's waist, casings glowing even in the dull illumination of the lit cigar and the distant party. 'Well get out of it,' he says, his face turning to a concerned frown. 'You came down here to take me out, Faulkner? Is that why you agreed so fast?'
'No,' Faulkner tells him. 'You know why I'm here. I wouldn't waste these little guys on you, Bryant. You're already dead.'
Bryant sucks on the cigar, smoothly hisses smoke towards the graceful slopping of the river. 'What,' he says, in a monotone, 'the hell is that supposed to mean?'
'You know what I'm talking about, Bryant. The PD have a pile of guts draped out on their washing lines. All they have to do now is find the guy who's missing some.' Faulkner smiles, a cold smile that is calculated to remind Bryant of the amount of debt this transaction will give him. 'Only a fool trusts a dead man, Bryant.'
Biting down on the cigar, he snarls and grabs the money from the lid of the oil drum. 'Thanks a lot,' he says. 'I'll see you around. Sometime.'
'I don't think so, Bryant. Your sharking days are over.'
Bryant snarls again, but says nothing, turning his back on Faulkner and begins to walk away. Against the backdrop of the wailing city - of sirens, car horns, crying babies and shrieking women - Bryant somehow manages to hear the click of the cocking pistol.
'I said only a fool trusts a dead man, Bryant.' Faulkner's voice is steady, articulate. His calm and confidence resonate out over the river, contorting its shapes into ripples of light and shade. 'But only dead men can be trusted.'
He waits, because Bryant still has not heard. He stands stock still. Faulkner sees him drop the lit snub of his cigar, trample it under his foot as though this were the high street, and he was only a man in a crowd of men, a momentarily stationary figure in the oscillating beat of the shifting city.
Slowly, he turns about. His features show not fear, not panic, not even anger. They show only grimness, the sort that suggests he has accepted what is about to happen. His eyes burn like two distinct coals, buried in the hearths of dry skin.
Like two adversaries, they stare at each other, until Faulkner pulls the trigger, sending projectile nemeses to the horizontal ghoul, a macintoshed human standing motionless in drizzle; until gravity takes command, overruling life in this one instant, and gripping Bryant's already dead body in its warm caress.
Blowing the smoke from the tip of his revolver, Faulkner whispers, 'I told you Bryant. Only a fool trusts a dead man. A dead man.'
He turns, ascending the rickety metal stairway, and the city crawls across paving stones and cobbles to meet him.
This workshop has really worked for me. I haven't written very much for several months now, and this has kick-started a nice idea. I'm pleased with what I've written, here.
As a side note, but one which I think should be mentioned, the BBC has a compo on for all UK residents - all you have to do is download a copy of one of eight stories and finish them. That's it. 1200 words. Not bad, eh? If you're interested, go to www.bbc.co.uk/endofstory
23rd Apr 04, 3:22 AM
On January 21st, 2313, Kelvin Turner performed his last mission.
He worked for an extremist group called the Black Tigers. Real psychopaths, too. They didn't want too much out of life, except possibly to end it for everyone. They started off in some old Asian country, Bangladesh or something like that. By 2313, they had people everywhere. Every government on Earth had double agents planted, from the smallest Institute to the largest bureaucracies that had ever existed.
Turner was one of them. A small man, only 5'2", but incredibly dangerous. When he'd trained with the Black Tigers in their camp in Myanmar, they'd given him the name "Death and Madness", because he killed quickly, and drove foreign governments insane. He'd set off wars between rivalling nations, hack into security databases with the finesse of a Rennaissance painter, and during his three years in the secret organisation, at least according to the records, he'd been responsible for over 100 million deaths. Mere childs play for a man of his lethality.
So when he learnt of the Relativity Matrix being built in a secret facility in France, he leapt at the opportunity. It, to him, seemed to be the Holy Grail of his ambitions. Killing millions was good, but denying them from ever existing was even better. If he used it properly, he could wipe out the human race right there and then.
Surprisingly, the time device was hidden in a very public place. Right beneath the Eiffel Tower, as a matter of fact. Stupid French, he thought as he found the entrance, hidden beneath one of the tower's massive steel pylons. Couldn't hide the sun if they wanted to! The security was surprisingly lax within the facility. He only had to shoot six people.
And there it was. A glittering white sphere inside a thick metal frame. It looked almost like a round diamond. Still, Turner wasn't there to admire the view. He walked up to the device, and switched it on. There was a low rumble.
Turner began to worry that something had gone wrong. He had made a mess of things, and the Tigers would be coming to kill him. Still, he could always run. There was a nice deserted island in Russia's Laptev Sea, and...
As he left the facility, he noticed something. Everyone in the area was looking to the sky. The lighting seemed wrong, like a strobe effect. He stared up as well, and gasped. The sun was flicking across the sky so fast, it almost seemed to go backwards. Occasionally, he saw a slice of moon, nothing but a snapshot. Turner stared back at the facility door, and realised with a shock what had happened. What he had done.
The sky turned a pale red, and Turner looked up to see the accelerated sun, huge and red, balloon outwards towards him. He only felt the heat for a split second...
23rd Apr 04, 5:12 AM
He found it in a dark alleyway. Just sitting there, like it was waiting for him. Like it wanted to be found. He'd thrust it into his pocket and run home, though he didn't know why.
The time was 3:20 AM.
Harry Hamilton sat at the bench, and looked over the thing. It was more than half an inch across, and perfectly round. A small tube extended from its centre, and the whole thing was covered in what looked like blue glass. It looked like a conical leadglass eyepiece. Harry liked to tinker. His apartment was filled with gadgets he had made. Yet nothing of his design could even come close to the thing's beauty.
The time was 3:21 AM.
The tube glowed a bright blue, and he wanted to take a closer look at the thing. He went to pick it up, and his hand froze. A feeling of dread washed over him, and he withdrew his hand as though the thing were a venemous snake. Don't be stupid, man. It's a trinket, not a bomb.
The time was 3:22 AM.
He went to pick it up again, but again his hand reacted instinctively, swinging back so hard it smacked him hard in the chest, and he fell. His chest was hurting something terrible. With his left arm, which he seemed to still have control over, he prodded his chest, and winced. Sternum. Damn it. I'll have to drive over to the hospital to get it looked at. Or maybe I'll do it in the morning. Just as soon as I take a look at this...
The time was 3:24 AM.
He suddenly stood and backed away from the thing. He didn't even realise it; his legs were moving without his help. He finally stopped at the wall, and stared at the thing.
The time was 3:25 AM.
He decided that he was just tired. His mind was playing tricks on him. Yes, playing tricks. It didn't want him to look at the thing. But Harry desperately wanted to. He wanted to see how it worked; if he could make one, if it did anything. Forcing his legs to work, he inched himself over to the bench, and picked up the thing.
The time was 3:30 AM.
Summoning up all his strength, he reached for the thing and picked it up. It was incredibly light, like it was made of air and dust.
The time was 3:31 AM.
Harry collapsed to the floor, and with one last burst of energy, he looked into the thing...
24th Apr 04, 6:43 AM
Jan stared out over the ocean, the cell phone in her hand. She'd just finished talking with her husband, Rupert.
He was going to be home on time.
Rupert Guiterrez was almost habitually late, and had been for the last six months. He worked at the Temporal Research Institute in Mar del Plata. Not a large city, but it had a power grid large enough for their needs. Most of the experiments they performed there were classified; when Rupert did come home for dinner, he never mentioned work.
When he got home, Jan hugged him, avoiding his long beard. He smiled and hugged back.
'Where's Beck?' he asked. She nodded towards the crib in the lounge room. A tiny pink arm was hanging out; Rebecca always ended up like that when she slept. He grabbed a light beer from the fridge and sat at the table.
'You already ate?' he asked.
'That's okay. I ate before I left. I tell you, the latest project's going really well. We're almost at a breakthrough.'
She blinked. This wasn't like him at all.
'I've got six hours until I have to go back. Spend them with me?'
She smiled, and they walked upstairs.
At the Institute, the project Rupert had been working on had been completed. The senior lab technician, Jose Bolas, walked up to it, and flicked the switch. The machine ceased to exist. So did Bolas. And anyone who had worked on the device was erased from existence. They never happened.
Jan stared out over the ocean. It was Frank that had persuaded her to leave Argentina, and she didn't regret it for a second. They had a nice house in Casablanca, and hopefully a child or two on the way. She smiled as he stood next to her. Life doesn't get much better than this...
I'm going to see if I can get these things published.
25th Apr 04, 2:43 PM
Not to put a damper on your ambition, but at the moment I don't think you really have anything worth taking to a publisher. Your first story doesn't go anywhere, and your second one is both cliched and utterly unfulfilled. Obviously they were only written in 20 minutes, so that's to be expected, but if you want them published you'll need to expand on them very significantly, and improve your writing style a fair bit too.
25th Apr 04, 3:23 PM
The question is, are they meant to go anywhere, or are they simply just there? They're meant to be abstract and nonsensical. And what's so cliched about the second one?
25th Apr 04, 4:07 PM
A story has to go somewhere.
Even if it's nowhere.
(See. I can spew writerly bollocks like the best of them)
25th Apr 04, 6:27 PM
Abstract and nonsensical stories don't mean anything. What exactly is the point of a story which means nothing, Hand? It may seem clever to a 15 year old who is just starting to learn how to write and is trying to come up with "exciting" and "new" ideas, but frankly it's just stupid.
If you don't know what is cliched about your second story, I'd strongly recommend you read like a single sci fi book about time travel.
25th Apr 04, 7:04 PM
Granted, there may be some artistic merit in an abstract, nonsensical, pointless piece of prose - maybe - but try convincing a publisher of that. No, at the moment these stories are way too incomplete (I mean, they were written in 20 minutes, yeah?) for publication.
Also: if they're meant to be abstract and nonsensical, why have you put plots in them?
25th Apr 04, 7:43 PM
There's nothing about time travel in the second story.
26th Apr 04, 5:36 PM
I'm sorry, I'll rephrase. Time manipulation.
26th Apr 04, 7:00 PM
Granted, there may be some artistic merit in an abstract, nonsensical, pointless piece of prose - maybe - but try convincing a publisher of that. No, at the moment these stories are way too incomplete (I mean, they were written in 20 minutes, yeah?) for publication.
Also: if they're meant to be abstract and nonsensical, why have you put plots in them?
I agree with the whole nonsensical thing. Most of the stuff coming from my mouth is just that!
The world was young and life was new, even then it was strong. There was no power greater then life and all who had it knew it. The great grew proud in their power and ruled over all with a sense of eternity. Time passed by, barely touching life, and so it grew stronger still. But while time moved on, another power grew.
It came from the vacuum left by times passing, and wedged it's self into the cracks of memory. In those cracks it rooted and grew, and slowly, it seeped through into dreams. And so the nameless power spread through the world. Soon the great, the mighty, those proud leaders that had used lifes power to rule, soon they too felt the nameless power. And fear gripped their hearts, and they trembled. For they knew that if not stopped, this nameless terror would grow more powerful then life. And in their fear they searched, they searched for a way to stop it. But none was found.
After much time, those using the power of life, came to understand that by searching for a way to stop the rising nightmare, they themselves were feeding it. So they took council and gathered together all those strongest in life, and they named their bane. They chose to stop searching for a way to stop it, and named it instead. The name given to the new great power was Death. And after they had named it, Death reached forth with it's power, and took those gathered at the council. For Death was not yet ready to be known. So it stretched forth it's hand, and grasped them, and brought them back, back to where it's roots were, back to where it started. And it flung them apart and tore into their minds, and it pulled and twisted them. And when Death was done with them, they were it's servants.
But at the time that Death reached for them to pull them back, at the time that they were in deaths grasp, something slipped through it's fingers, and lay on the floor of the council chamber. And a messenger came apon it while bringing a message to the council. Someone could not make it, and so had escaped Death's hold. And when the messenger entered the council chamber, the little sliver bound it's self to her, and compelled her. And so, the messenger, being weak of mind, went from the council chamber and fled back to her master.
Heh I enjoyed writing that up. I think if I can find the time, I might continue it later, but first I must finish the other two I've got going. If I do continue it I'll throw it into a thread of it's own with this as it's start.
27th Apr 04, 4:47 AM
I think people are getting caught up in too much seriousness here. This is just a workshop, afterall - we're all for criticism, I know, but the line,
What exactly is the point of a story which means nothing, Hand? It may seem clever to a 15 year old who is just starting to learn how to write ... but frankly it's just stupid.
...smacks of confidence blowing. If Hand wants to take his work to a publisher, let him. Why not? What's the worst that can happen, after all?
27th Apr 04, 2:05 PM
I can't help it if I think he's a shit writer \;
27th Apr 04, 2:18 PM
27th Apr 04, 8:11 PM
I need to find a gif of a shark bitting some ones head off just for bnonn's extra "bitting" comments. (Don't hurt me,really I didn't mean it, ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!)
Now for my short story, is was in a wierd mood and created one giant metaphor so...
Cole sat silently as he meandered through the streams of life flowing about him. They gurgled together in some places, a thrashing in confusion, stopping and going in seemingly random intervals; in other areas they split, gently ebbing off into cascading sheets of blackness. The gentle babble of the brook was a symphony of harmonies and melodies, each its own richly complex rhythm, interwoven in the great tapestry of the masterpiece that was the human experience. He gave the gold and silver puddles of light and the fish that gathered there a wide berth, slipping wordlessly by in the great pools of dark gathered about the stream. While staring up at a gentle red haze he pondered for a moment, considered himself and the residence of this street, and realized that he in some remote way envied them and there privileged few who rested, no hid, in the great fragile towers of there own devise.
He paused for a moment, gazing deep into one of the puddles examining the faces of it occupants and felt his senses tingle; there was a bear about. His paw had swept into the river in one majestic sweep and grabbed up a tasty morsel of a young fish. He decided that yes, it was time for the hunter to become hunted; he pondered for a moment more, wondering or perhaps hoping that this would be the one who had killed his lifea and then dismissed the notion, it was not like he could return to the stream, he had grown feet and walked and now he could not swim.
28th Apr 04, 9:41 AM
Get rid of 'ditty'.
29th Apr 04, 3:39 AM
You know, you're right. I won't get them done as short stories.
Although I'm writing a screenplay for the second one to be turned into a short film. Stick that in your ion exhaust ports! :D:jk:
29th Apr 04, 1:46 PM
Er...wow...I am...like...so bummed, man. Or something...
29th Apr 04, 2:40 PM
Hand, have you ever written a screenplay before? If not, it's harder than you think... if so, send it over, I'd like to take a look at it.
29th Apr 04, 3:11 PM
It'll take a while; I'm pretty busy at the moment, but I'll send it to you.
29th Apr 04, 4:14 PM
I honestly don't see why Hand's works are so awful. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they need some more oomph, but making the perfect piece of fiction can be a wild goose chase at times. Hand's stuff is hardly "shit", bnonn.
29th Apr 04, 9:03 PM
Perhaps I just have higher standards than you. I mean, my piece above is also shit, just less smelly than Hand's, because while it's shockingly derivative, lacking in the slightest trace of originality, and too short, it is at least well written.
29th Apr 04, 10:13 PM
Can I get some "contructive criticism" on mine bnonn?
30th Apr 04, 8:31 AM
I was planning to write 3 but one kinda took over and I worked the entire hour on it. Derivative I know, but I've been reading alot of Delilo and Franzen lately and their cynicism is infectious.
When she was preparing a meal she gave nothing away. She was more than mirthful, even manic her kids would say—she had always been for the sake of her children.
Yet since they were all gone from her table, her house, and her life, she had lost any reason to be except she was doing as she had always done, in her married life, in her whole life really, now that she thought about it. What happened before didn’t seem so relevant now.
Still, she exuded waves of it, this exaggerated and nervous cheerfulness. She was the epicenter, churning whatever sediment of mildly cheerful family memories into white crested tsunamis.
And it all but broke upon the solid, treacherous reef of her silent dining companion, anchored at the breakfast table—where they now ate all of their meals—guarded by the day’s edition of The Mavis Constitution and the cone of white noise the TV projected from behind him.
They had tried. They really had, after their youngest left for Vassar. Romanced by the idea that they would finally have time for each other, they could finally look into each other’s eyes, hold hands again, and breathe deep as if for the first time. She brushed up on her cooking, oh how she could cook before macaroni and cheese and meat loaf and hot dogs. He began looking for specimens to repopulate the wine rack—reds, whites, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Madeira.
They went about this happily enough it seemed, but really fear penetrated everything they did. They feared that at the end of their long and deep breath, they would look into each other’s eyes and see no fire, find each other’s hands cold and unsupportive.
--note: stuff should go here :o---
Soon, inevitably, their dinners together grew silent and she turned her ire inward upon itself.
The pings of silver on China were all that carried a dinner set for two people who could no longer stand to make eye contact throughout their only shared meal. Meeting eyes led to discomfort, silences more awkward than usual, and the expectation that clumsy and aggravating conversation was necessary—they had run out of things to say to each other so long ago, during the time their children still occupied dinner with their antics.
They found that they ate more. Food disappeared faster when two people, with the posture of scholars over dinner plates, instead of volumes, were so dedicated. They got second and third helpings for themselves until they decided that an adequate amount of time had been given to the dining ritual; they ate what time they otherwise would have spent making small talk or trading jokes with their children or trying to trick them into eating the green leafy that had been rationed out to each of their plates.
It only got hot after they were finished eating.
She was puzzled and, quite frankly, also a bit awed (or maybe empowered) at how quickly her rage could surface. It stayed dormant throughout her solitary, daytime activities as a housewife, but it was all released in the course of forty minutes, all of that simmering intensity fired into washing dishes.
Her tension started to ooze as soon her dining companion grunted to indicate he was satisfied and released his belt--which already had three more notches in it than it came with--and beat a quick retreat to the study.
She waited until the solid, double doors slammed behind him before she started trembling in place, releasing all of the pressure held down by the heavy air that pervaded when they were both in the same room together.
The storm that formed in this sudden low-pressure system generated a purposeful clamor; the clanks and pings of the dinner set taking the barrage of utensils she fired into the sink; the noisome manhandling of the washed dishes into the washing machine that had not been used for washing dishes since her children left; the cacophony of pans being stacked, banged and scraped in a manner loud enough to be heard in the study, which she subconciously hoped was successfully spreading her obscured wrath like a grease film on the surface of murky dishwater.
And though she was fuming, she was still utterly adept at getting everything spotless, even the delicate, thin-stemmed wine glasses that he insisted on using. And this is what he did. He set traps of provocation for her, because, secret to her and to himself, he was yearning for an explosion. And the relief that release would suerly bring.
“Let’s use these. A classy Bordeaux deserves to be sipped from a nice glass,” he said with a look in his eyes as if he dared her to break one, leave just even a tiny chip or crack, and see what would happen then.
But no hot words were ever exchanged between them, though they re-infected each other with rage as if through the principle of induction- the loud closing of drawers, the harried setting of the table, the curt pouring of fine wine and of course the noisome nightly dishwashing - the nearly imperceptible electromagnetic field inducing enough heat in the pot to boil the water in it.
But, it never boiled over.
They never found the relief they both obliquely sought. Though it sounded like the end of the world every night for the twenty five years after her youngest left for school and before her husband died, in all that time not one piece of tortured glass or porcelain or ceramic ended it's miserable life in the care of her ever skillful hands.
© y.g. yen 2004
zbobet2012: Ummm I'll have a go at commenting on your work.
First off, you use "For a moment" to often. Use it once, it's a moment that stands out, otherwise don't bother if it's every moment. Drop it after the first use. I'll give an example coz I'm so nice ...
"He paused for a moment, gazing deep into one of the puddles ..." <--- second time you used "for a moment". It's not the important moment, or it's just as important as the last one. Use it only once and only for "the" moment. Any more it just becomes silly. You used it again after this. How is another way you can write it (And there are many more ways) ...
"He paused, gazing deep into one of the puddles ..." <-- not much, just took it out ... it doesn't repeat "for a moment" because it doesn't need to be there. If it needed to be there it wouldn't need to be where the first one is. Only one is needed. Otherwise the significance of the moment gets lost in all the other moments. A story/life is all about moments, the term "For a moment" is focusing on something out of the norm in all those moments. If there are many special moments, then they are all essentualy the same in their differences. The term "Different, just like everyone else" comes to mind.
Second, (And there won't be more then this as the piece is short) one sentance struck me as really odd and it could have easily been done better.
"He gave the gold and silver puddles of light and the fish that gathered there a wide berth, slipping wordlessly by in the great pools of dark gathered about the stream."
Simple is better. Try it something like this (And again, my way may not be the best way, but there are better ways then the way you went)
"He gave the gathering fish in the gold and silver lit puddles a wide birth ..." Although that might change the meaning, was he avoiding the puddles because they were gold and silver or was it the fish he was avoiding? Or both? I just don't like your sentance because it has too many ands in it. A sentance with too many of them in gets cluttered. And cluttered sentances are evil.
That's about it.
30th Apr 04, 6:46 PM
I was in the lead of the column as we fled up the hill. It was difficult for our foe to follow, as they are on horse back they cannot navigate this forest as we can. My fellow archers fought well in the plain below, before we were forced to retreat. But the enemy cavalry broke the swordsmen, or rather killed I should say, for I didn't see any left standing. If it were not for the pikemen I am sure I would already be dead, but they held the line and forced the enemy back long enough for us to begin the retreat, they followed as our foe regrouped. It seems like only a few weeks ago we faced an illequiped foe with little morale. How is it that they have procured such heavy cavalry and driven us back to the sea?
When we got to the top we began to cut down trees. Our axes were made to cut flesh not bark and wood, especially this moist wood. I took a break and looked to the sea just beyond our hill. I had hoped to see red sails on the horizon yet I saw nothing but clouds. The clouds have been our friend so far. They have let enough water to slow our foes for another hour or two in mud. The king is pleased as we will have a good defense by then, but it will matter naught if the messenger does not procure transport from our small island across the sea.
It has bee two hours since the king told us our defenses were enough. My archers are becoming antsy as they stand behind the quickly erected palisade. The pikemen will stand against the wall as our foe charges up the hill, and we will fire over their heads. Hopefully we can hold out long enough for our transports to arrive.
I can hear the clomping of hooves on the forest floor. The attack will come soon. A horn blows from a tree at the center of our defensive circle. The foe has been spotted. From my position under the tree I can see the first pieces of enemy armor. I give the order to load bows as I pull an arrow from the bundle on my back, and notch it to my bow. More cavalry are plainly in sight. I order my archers to take aim as I point my own bow upwards. The cavalry has entered our clearing and are trying to charge up the hill but the mud slows them. Finally I give the order to fire as I release my bows taut string. I do not see what it hits as i notch another arrow to my bow and fire it. The battle has become a free for all now.
I notch another arrow to my bow, fire, notch another arrow, fire. The rain is coming, yet our foe is so tightly packed that aim is unimportant. Suddenly a cry comes from the look out on the tree, "Red sails! Red sails." The king orders the pikemen to hold as we archers flee out the back of our fort. The run to the beach is not as hard as going up the hill, but on my way down I trip on something. Everything went black but now all I can see is red. I feel a sharp pain in my head. "Ugh" I cry out as I feel a blade slice my neck then nothing.
30th Apr 04, 7:15 PM
So tell me, Bnonn, why's it so much better than Hand's? It's about a fucking love letter. It has nice imagery, but that's about the gist of it. Hand's imagery isn't the best, but it's more origional than yours. Both of them have tradeoffs, and I'm still not seeing how yours is so much better than his.
30th Apr 04, 7:52 PM
The Ultimate Weapon.
How many Ultimate Weapons have there been? Hundreds, thousands probably. First we created a fission bomb, declaring it the epitome of destruction, only to swiftly follw with Tritium fusion bombs. Those were soon replaced by the Fusion Bomb-pumped Xasers, scoring the surface of Luna from Earth's surface. Antimatter warheads, EMRepulse cannons, chaos generators, nanites, firestorm manifolds, hive pathos, force alterers, singularity cannon, no matter what humanity made to destroy itself, it could always come up with something better.
However, lets look at what they are trying to make. The Ultimate Weapon. By definition, the final weapon, the last. Even if a weapon design was made that could not be improved, it would still not be the ultimate. More of it would be made. As stars fall, galaxies grow dark, and the so-called inevitable future of the universe becomes changed, still humanity wars.
However, we believe the ultimate weapon has been made.
A lonely sphere, far away, as much as distance means these days, may be its source. It is a weapon unlike any, as far back as cavemen using rocks, and as close as Obliteration devices, it is a weapon with a unique property. It does not kill. It does not injure. Instead, it does what is truly needed in an ultimate weapon. To ensure no other weapons are needed again.
No wars will be fought over it, none can. Governments, Corporations, Fleets, Admiralties, nothing can possess it. When unleashed, it will bring about peace, as that is all it can.
That sphere, the source I mentioned earlier...
What? Impossible! Our de|
- Irein Sav, Lecture on Humanity, University of 492-236-235-2235-2353-643-2342-5365-644-7875-121-5466-Oxford.
- Just before the destruction of Dimension 2235.
9:56 PM - 10:16 PM
After reading it over, it looks like crap, but I did promise myself I'd post regardless....
Chimera: It's a ncie story, I just don't like the tense. I've never really liked anything written in the present. I find that to me sentances get botched and mashed when in present. For talking it's fine, but think of how you tell a story. It's a story, which means that it has "happened" either you are telling it or someone else is telling it about you or someone else. With the present tense stories are more like commentaries. Something you would hear on the radio.
While this is all very good (Nothing wrong with radio) I just can't connect with a char while he is telling the story of what is happening to him while it's happening.
Magus: It's not bad, but it kind of leaves thigns hanging a bit ... short yes, story ... so so ... history? yes. And a good one. It's well written, I just think it needs more ... but then again ... you only had 20 mins ... It's definatly better then my 20 min one.
Heh look at me mouthing off like I know anything about writing ...
1st May 04, 7:46 AM
This will be the worst of all the stories posted here, worse even than Bnonn's ;) but I figure I have an excuse, I never write.
This took me 30 minutes, I'm not sure if I'll write another 2 as I have no idea what this one is either, it doesn't end, flow or have a good start *shrug* I'm going to sleep now, here it is:
Megan leaned forward in her chair "It ends tonight" she was smiling and there was the look of a predator in her eye
"What ends tonight?" he asked
"The dry patch, Tim's getting home, it has been two weeks since I last had sex"
He snorts "Two weeks you have it lucky, try 6 months, even John here has had sex more reciently than that"
John looked up, his brow slightly furrowed "Sex?"
Megan laughed "Something had to get your attention, yeah, Dave was just saying that he last got laid 6 months ago and you've been done more reciently than that, when were you going to tell me"
John looked slightly confused "Where did you hear that Dave? I haven't had sex, ever and I don't see it happening at this rate either"
Daves jovial look faded a little "Some of the guys at school said you were with a girl at James's party, they said you were in the guest room for a long time and had the door close, they thought..."
"God, I was feeling depressed as usual so I was sitting in the room off the lounge and she came in and closed the door, she was upset when she came in so I talked to her a bit, we were just talking Dave" John thumped the table lightly but in a way which suggested he was holding back more force "Who have you told?"
Dave looked down at the table and started fiddling with his coffee mug "Just a few guys you know..."
John got up harshly forcing his chair back and looking at Dave something feirce "I've got to sort this out, what a great fucking day"
Megan held out her hand "John...why was she upset?"
"She found out her boyfriend of 3 years had cheated on her, I've got to go"
John walked out of the cafe, his look changing from one of anger at Dave to worry.
What will she think of me, we just talked, I like her but...
John hurried down the street his shoulders slumping and his body taking on the look of one defeated.
Not bad Greymist. It's better then the last one from you I read. Really rather good.
Just one problem that I see. With your use of phrases, the two that stood out didn't sound quite right.
... she was smiling and there was the look of a predator in her eye. Try something like ...
... she was smiling and there was a predatory look in her eye.
... she was smiling, her eyes held the look of a predator.
Now near the end you said John walked out of the cafe, his look changing from one of anger at Dave to worry. That sentance can "flow" a whole lot better if you leave out the "at Dave". It's not needed, we know he is angry with Dave so when you later mention it, it's most lightly going to be the same anger. If the anger changes (He gets angry for another reason or something) then you mention it again, but not if it's the same anger for the same reason. (Do you understand what I'm saying here? I hope I explained it well enough)
The second one was this one ... John hurried down the street his shoulders slumping and his body taking on the look of one defeated.
Try it like ..
... his shoulders slumping, he looked defeated.
I can't think of another way to put it ... But I'm sure there are others.
There should be a better word then "flow" to discribe a piece of writing. *sigh*
2nd May 04, 8:11 AM
she was smiling, her eyes held the look of a predator.
Sorry LoCo, but wouldn't "she was smiling, the look of a predator in her eyes" be a more elegant way of putting it?
Even "she was smiling, the look of a predator" on it's own.
2nd May 04, 8:37 AM
Aye, there are definitely things I'd change about it, I saw them when I posted it but I didn't want to spend another 10 minutes editing it as I would have then taken double the time suggested to write the 20 minute story in.
2nd May 04, 8:50 AM
Thanks loco, and yes your right I do use "for a moment" to much. As for slipping around the puddles of light and the fish, he is avoding both the humans and the revealing light, though directly the fish, the light is also a slight metaphor.
Chimera, You need to watch your tenses. The first one was in past, the next one in present.
Sorry LoCo, but wouldn't "she was smiling, the look of a predator in her eyes" be a more elegant way of putting it?
Even "she was smiling, the look of a predator" on it's own.
Exactly right! There are better ways of doing it then my own as I'll be the first one to tell you. However :D (At least it's not a "but") I do like my other example of how to do it better. ie: she was smiling and there was a predatory look in her eye.
You could even take out the "and" in there and swap it for a comma and it would be better. But that's my point, there are always better ways of writing a single phrase, you just need to find them.
PS: Is there going to be another workshop? I liked this one.
2nd May 04, 3:40 PM
Yeah, I'm working on a may one as we speak, anyone have any good ideas send them to me.
It does seem to have worked quite well, hopefully the more we do it the more two-way the process shall become, with more critiques and suggestions to make it, well, more like a workshop really.
Glad you liked it.
Goddamnit Greymist you horny bastard.
Heh look at me mouthing off like I know anything about writing ...
Don't put yourself down; clearly people here value your input. I personally think your thoughts on people's work, and on writing techniques in general, are often quite insightful.
2nd May 04, 7:37 PM
How about a 40 minute story that must have a specific starting line?
2nd May 04, 11:08 PM
Goddamnit Greymist you horny bastard.Hey, the inspiration (if it can be called that) for the story was from what some - to remain unnamed - people in #homeworld were saying :o
3rd May 04, 2:27 AM
Blu, we did a writing excercise in my English Language AS class the other day, Your given three sentences. One is the first sentence of your story, the second is the last, and the third is a sentence that must be included but at a point of your chosing. It sounds like just an extended variation of a 'Turn this sentence into a story' but knowing the last line tends to warp our inspiration and ideas slightly, and more often than not I find myself getting to that last line with a most haphazard plot.
For comical results, pick lines out of films.
3rd May 04, 3:39 AM
I tried this one today. It's pretty interesting, actually.
Basically, you have fifteen minutes to write a piece of fiction. The interesting bit; your monitor is switched off as you type. It's pretty interesting to see what you come up with after that time, believe you me.
3rd May 04, 8:35 AM
How about this. Take an event that affected alot of people (Spanish train attack, 911, firebombing of Higaraa) and have everyone write a vignette about somebody affected by it (directly, indirectly, by anything that else that happens because of the event). The event can be completely fictional (to avoid any "real" politics though it could be an allegory), of course, and the thread starter can take it as an exercise/challenge to write up the details about it.
5th May 04, 6:15 PM
We could (I know this was tried before but didn't get a ton of responses) do a workshop which focuses on dialogue. Essentially, one would write a dialogue-driven piece, like a play or screenplay almost only in prose form with very limited narrative description. I notice that very few of these pieces contain much dialogue at all - perhaps writing realistic dialogue more fluidly would be a good goal for May's workshop.
Has anyone messaged bluevorlon with these ideas? Or are they just being posted here?
8th Apr 05, 10:05 PM
Bump. What's going on?
9th Apr 05, 7:58 AM
That's one hell of a bump.
I was thinking something like a fifty-word story.
9th Apr 05, 8:09 AM
Discuss new workshop ideas in the Studio, please. I've changed the permissions of this forum to disallow posting.
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