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The Writing Thread

posted by DAISHI on - last edited - Viewed by 1.4K users

Herein lies the Writing Thread! Usually I just post something brief and then allow the participants to engage one another, unshackled by rules like a meeting of Tea Partiers in a debate with Muslims.

However! I propose the following rules to the writing thread, and what this thread should be about.

1.) This thread should obviously be about your own writing.

Your post should be about one of the following things.
2.) A pitch. A story you're thinking about writing, ideas you're tossing around to solicit for feedback.

3.) Brief poetry can be posted in full. Just don't make your poetry a full length story.

4.) A short story you've written that you would like to post, in part. Since a short story can run 2000 to 5000 words, do not post in full. You may post sensible length excerpts, preceded by synopsis of that portion of the story for context.

5.) A long story or novel you've written that you'd like to post, in part. Since a novel can run from 80000 words to 120000 words or more, do not post in full. You may post a sensible length excerpt, preceded by synopsis of that portion of the story for context.

Things to avoid.
Don't get in a hissy fit about criticism. It's the only way to grow as a writer.

Don't just criticize to criticize. In other words, don't be a Debby Downer. List what you think a writer did well, in addition to criticism. Tone means a lot. Don't be overly negative in the tone of your criticism.

178 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @Vainamoinen said: PITCH

    I'm thinking about a new kind of narrative genre. One that is half graphic novel, half prose (verse even), without actually being an "illustrated novel". The key to the distinction would be the interdependency of pictures and words. What the pictures tell, the text shouldn't, and what the text says, the picture shouldn't show yet again. Not sure if it can be done without serious hiccups.

    I even have an idea about a first 'short story' that hopefully sees life this year. The encounter of a troubled young man on a rather short autobahn trip, who meets some kind of a cop so peculiar in moral and deed that he scrapes the fantastic of the inspired benefactor as well as the autistic of the civil servant.



    I'm having trouble understanding how this would form a cohesive narrative. Or is it not supposed to?

  • @Noname215 said: We stand alone
    In the blurry white
    We take our places
    On a cold winter’s night
    Beyond frosted windows
    Upon a floured lawn
    We stand and wait
    For the break of dawn
    As the sun grows high
    Nothing can be felt
    As we begin to die
    As we begin to melt
    With spring comes the rain
    With summer comes the heat
    With autumn comes the fall
    All the while, we’re incomplete
    But when the icicles form
    On a winter’s morn
    From a ball of snow
    We will again be born



    Which poets would you count among your favorite?

  • @DAISHI said:
    I'm not sure how to respond to this, lol. It's dark yet whimsical in its own way. You definitely seem like you enjoyed writing the character. I was confused at the start but sort of found the context for what I was reading as the story progressed. Definitely interesting for a character piece, I wonder how you'd act this out in a DnD, lol.



    Glad you liked it. I'd probably go and act it out pretty close to how I wrote it. There's more to the character, of course, but I just wanted to give a snapshot of a single event without going into too much detail. I might write more of him later if I can think of an actual plot to go with him.

    Also, I've got another character portrait, a good deal different than the above, as I feature an all out evil character this time, though I'd say I tend to stick with the same style. Introducing Nephista Kenduis, sadistic drow and part-time gardener.

    *******

    “Listen, I’m pretty sure we had a bargain here. As I already told you, I can’t let you out of there until you cooperate with me and tell me the troop movements and numbers of your little hamlet... what was it called? Springdale?”

    There was no response from the iron casket.

    “Hellooooo?” Nephista called, “Anybody in there?”

    She rapped sharply on lid, aiming precisely for the spot near the hinges that would drive the spikes further into the surfacer inside. To her satisfaction, the jostling was met with a strangled scream.

    “Oh good,” she replied jovially, “For a moment there, I thought you’d gone and died on me. Which would be mildly irritating as I’ve only got five of you buggers left after the whole security snafu with the rat poison. You’ll just have to accept that I thought I was doing you lot a favor by letting you have a bit from my plate before I ate it and really, you’re only hurting yourself by not cooperating. Literally.”

    “I don’t know anything...” whimpered the box, “I’m just a baker... a simple baker... they don’t tell me about soldiers...”

    “If you don’t want to talk, that’s all right. How ‘bout I come back in a few hours, then? My garden hedge needs trimming. And just so you don’t forget me...”

    With a vicious twist, she cranked in the spikes a few centimeters, a small smile crossing her features as the screaming intensified in both volume and frequency. She could only leave him in there for thirty minutes or so, of course, but she enjoyed imagining how panicked the surfacer must be inside that painful little box.

    But that was enough of that. She gave a cursory look around the small dungeon, letting her eyes linger on random prisoners just to watch them squirm in their restraints, before heading up the stairs into the main house, the last few shrill screams suddenly cutting out as the soundproof door closed behind her with a heavy thud.

    Ah, that was nicer. While the screaming did have a nice melody to it, after awhile she did tend to get a headache. With a contented sigh, she plucked up her gardening shears from where she’d left them on her coffee table and strolled out her front door.

    Nephista hadn’t always had a front hedge. A hundred years ago, when she’d still been living with her mother, she hadn’t even known that such a thing could possibly exist. It was only on her first raiding party that she’d seen one and even though they’d burned down the house that it belonged to, she’d asked the party leader if they could leave the hedge so that she could study it. She’d agreed, and after several nighttime trips to get exact measurements, she'd taken a small sample of the hedge to try to plant in her underground garden. It died within a week. It had taken her years and hundreds of small shrubs to figure out what the surface world had that she did not. She’d tested the soil, observed them in every kind of weather in the attempt to replicate it, even gone so far as to take a few slaves to get some barrels of water from the stream that ran closest to the original hedge. Nothing had worked.

    Of course, she knew now that the ingredient she’d been missing was light. There wasn’t a suitable substitute for that down here in the Darklands... so she’d just substituted a different sort of hedge.

    She smacked the tendril that had been investigating her arm with the shears.

    “What did I tell you about eating me?” she demanded sharply.

    The tendril quickly retreated back into the hedge.

    “That’s more like it. Try that again and I will shape you into a teddy bear. Don’t think I won’t. Now, I notice that you’ve been growing beyond the limits we discussed. You know what that means...”

    The hedge trembled, possibly in fear.

    She strode slowly towards it, casually snipping the shears as she did so. With great deliberation, she grabbed a particularly disorderly twig and prepared to cut.

    She was interrupted by a gurgling scream. A scream that seemed to come from the other side of the hedge.

    With a sigh, she let go of the offending twig and walked around to see a cloaked figure wrestling with several of the vines. On closer inspection, she could see that he was a surfacer. A male surfacer.

    “So,” she smirked, “found my tendriculos did you? Struggling makes it worse, you know. Helps it tighten its grip on you so it can devour you faster. It also alerts the others to your presence, so you might end up getting ripped apart instead.”

    “Others?” the man whimpered.

    “It’s a hedge,” replied simply, “Of course there’s others, a hedge isn’t made up of one plant, you know. What I’m trying to say is that you should talk quickly. Who are you and why are you here?”

    “Right, right,” the man gulped, trying to compose himself as the vines tightened around him, scrabbling for his pocket, “You’re Nehpista Kenduis, correct?”

    Nephista nodded, moderately bemused.

    “I’m Kevin Cartwright, a messenger. My master sent me with a letter for you,” he pulled out a small, crumpled envelope with a blood red seal and held it out to her.

    With only the barest glance at the seal, she snatched up the envelope and ripped it open. Inside, the letter read only:

    Want to take over the world? Meet up surface-side at noon.

    Hmm... noon. From her rough idea of the time, that would be scarcely an hour from now, just barely enough to get to the surface if she left right now. Her hedge wouldn’t get trimmed for one thing... and then there was the matter of the prisoners in the basement. She hadn’t fed them today and if she were gone for a week or two, the mess would probably be pretty disgusting when she got back. Not to mention the man in the iron maiden.

    But then again, even if this was an exaggeration, her mother had always told her to take advantage of opportunities for power, and this certainly qualified. Eh, she could borrow some slaves to clean up the prisoners if they didn’t survive. And the hedge would probably be happy it was let off the pruning list. And besides...

    “It’s not as if I’ve got anything better to do,” she muttered.

    “Um...” said the messenger, looking exceedingly uncomfortable as a vine began sliding down his pants, “Not to interrupt or anything, but could you possibly call off your hedge? I really need to report back to my master...”

    She waved him off, “Don’t worry about a thing, Kevin Cartwright. I will make your report personally. Besides, my hedges won’t be getting fed for the next few weeks and it would be a shame to deny them a free meal...”

    She walked off to the messenger’s pleading as she mentally calculated the things she’d need for the trip. Just the bare necessities, really...

  • User Avatar Image
    Jennifer Moderator

    Here's a snippet of the book I'm working on now:

    It was another sunny day without a cloud in the sky. Julie Harper found it to be the perfect chance to head downtown to do some early Christmas shopping. There were shoppers all along the sidewalk, but nary a car in the street. No one could have foreseen the truck that would come barreling through the crosswalk.

    Pam was asleep on the seat next to her daughter's bed. It had been a tough week. When Julie first came in, the doctors weren't even sure that she would survive the night. She'd made it through, but no one was sure how long she would be comatose. It was tough looking down at her daughter's bruised face, unsure if she would ever see her beautiful smile again.

    "I'll take over from here, Pam. You look like you could go for some breakfast."

    Pam looked back at her husband, whose handsome features were overshadowed after days of very little sleep and countless hours of crying.

    "Is it morning already?" Pam got up and stretched. She made a weak smile as her husband came over to sit in her seat by her daughter's bed.

    "I should go over to my parents. I know they'd want to know how she's doing. It's probably harder for them then it is for us. Julie is their first grand daughter. She's their entire world."

    She could barely get the last words out as she choked up with tears. Her husband squeezed her hand gently.

    "It's okay honey. I'm sure Julie will be alright. I can go get your parents if you'd rather."

    Pam wiped her tears and looked into her husband's eyes. "No, it's OK. I could use the fresh air anyway."

    Julie looked around. She was in an orange room with swirling white and blue lights all around her. She felt strange, almost like she was floating. With an unsteadiness, she brought her hand up to her face. It appeared orange just like the rest of what she saw.

    "OK, this is weird. It's probably a result of the accident. I wonder why no one else is around."

    She began walking forward and ended up in the back seat of a car. She could see the hazy white figures of three people in the car with her, but she could not tell who they were. She tried to focus her eyes, but no matter how hard she tried she couldn't get her eyes to focus. As she started to talk, her vision seemed to split into two images, with one side a shade of white and the other a shade of blue. Thinking she was having double vision, she tried to focus again.

    Suddenly, the blue image changed. The driver slumped down into their seat and the car veered into the oncoming lane. Without warning, a tractor trailer slammed into the car and all three figures were mangled by the crash. The white image drove by the tractor trailer and pulled off onto the side of the road.

    The blue and white images began to blur, and then merge before finally Julie's view became normal again. She found herself in the back seat of the car again. Even though the images were still fuzzy, this time she could tell who the three images were. They were her mother and her grandparents! She became increasingly nervous knowing the fate that the car would soon have. Suddenly she found herself floating up to the front seat. She seemed to be inside the fuzzy image of her mother.

    With her adrenaline levels soaring, Julie was able to take control of the steering wheel just as her mother slumped in her seat. The car missed the tractor trailer, and Julie brought the car to the side of the road and to a complete stop.

    With that, Julie's view changed to black once more.

  • @anglia said: A bellowing roar ended the brief exchange with a sound of such force that each person aboard the boat was suddenly forced to take a knee, the echoing vibrations driving into their bones and weakening their muscles. Max hit the deck with such an impact that he was forced to brace himself with both hands, barely saving his face from an intimate meeting with the deck. All around him, each man and woman was in a similar position, enduring as the final resounding sound of the call echoed away. Ringing filled his ears for a moment so that it was nearly impossible to hear, but Garrix’s nervous chattering quickly filled the silence, even as the shouts of the crew began to rise up all across the deck. Men were quickly leaping back to their feet, fingers pointing upward to the skies, forcing Max to follower their fingers.



    Go away, spambot.

  • I have come to realise that I have a dark mind. Here are some of my very short stories (one five-worder, two twenty-worders):

    The Earth goes “boom”. Oops.

    I wake up tied up in a cold, damp basement. The man says he loves me. I have my doubts.

    I make things happen with my mind. Nobody knows. Nobody believes me. People die in my sleep. Please kill me.

  • @Jennifer said: Here's a snippet of the book I'm working on now:

    It was another sunny day without a cloud in the sky. Julie Harper found it to be the perfect chance to head downtown to do some early Christmas shopping. There were shoppers all along the sidewalk, but nary a car in the street. No one could have foreseen the truck that would come barreling through the crosswalk.

    Pam was asleep on the seat next to her daughter's bed. It had been a tough week. When Julie first came in, the doctors weren't even sure that she would survive the night. She'd made it through, but no one was sure how long she would be comatose. It was tough looking down at her daughter's bruised face, unsure if she would ever see her beautiful smile again.

    "I'll take over from here, Pam. You look like you could go for some breakfast."

    Pam looked back at her husband, whose handsome features were overshadowed after days of very little sleep and countless hours of crying.

    "Is it morning already?" Pam got up and stretched. She made a weak smile as her husband came over to sit in her seat by her daughter's bed.

    "I should go over to my parents. I know they'd want to know how she's doing. It's probably harder for them then it is for us. Julie is their first grand daughter. She's their entire world."

    She could barely get the last words out as she choked up with tears. Her husband squeezed her hand gently.

    "It's okay honey. I'm sure Julie will be alright. I can go get your parents if you'd rather."

    Pam wiped her tears and looked into her husband's eyes. "No, it's OK. I could use the fresh air anyway."

    Julie looked around. She was in an orange room with swirling white and blue lights all around her. She felt strange, almost like she was floating. With an unsteadiness, she brought her hand up to her face. It appeared orange just like the rest of what she saw.

    "OK, this is weird. It's probably a result of the accident. I wonder why no one else is around."

    She began walking forward and ended up in the back seat of a car. She could see the hazy white figures of three people in the car with her, but she could not tell who they were. She tried to focus her eyes, but no matter how hard she tried she couldn't get her eyes to focus. As she started to talk, her vision seemed to split into two images, with one side a shade of white and the other a shade of blue. Thinking she was having double vision, she tried to focus again.

    Suddenly, the blue image changed. The driver slumped down into their seat and the car veered into the oncoming lane. Without warning, a tractor trailer slammed into the car and all three figures were mangled by the crash. The white image drove by the tractor trailer and pulled off onto the side of the road.

    The blue and white images began to blur, and then merge before finally Julie's view became normal again. She found herself in the back seat of the car again. Even though the images were still fuzzy, this time she could tell who the three images were. They were her mother and her grandparents! She became increasingly nervous knowing the fate that the car would soon have. Suddenly she found herself floating up to the front seat. She seemed to be inside the fuzzy image of her mother.

    With her adrenaline levels soaring, Julie was able to take control of the steering wheel just as her mother slumped in her seat. The car missed the tractor trailer, and Julie brought the car to the side of the road and to a complete stop.

    With that, Julie's view changed to black once more.



    What's it about, exactly? I'm confused on what's going on though I guess that's half the point of this piece :P

  • User Avatar Image
    Jennifer Moderator

    @DAISHI said: What's it about, exactly? I'm confused on what's going on though I guess that's half the point of this piece :P


    It's about a girl who gains godlike powers after suffering brain trauma after an accident. I wanted to make her actions early on seem as alien to the reader as they were to the character herself, so it looks like I succeeded. :)

  • I have to say, DAISHI, I'm a bit confused. You made a big deal about not posting stories that are too long, but then you quote the whole thing even though it's on the same page. I don't really care I guess, but it seems quoting the first and last sentence or something would be enough for people to know which story you're quoting.

    This is a cool thread, I'm glad that so many people have stuff to contribute, and most important of all, it's inspiring me to work more on my stories :)

  • User Avatar Image
    Vainamoinen Moderator

    @DAISHI said: I'm having trouble understanding how this would form a cohesive narrative. Or is it not supposed to?



    It is. Movies mostly work with the same premise, with the difference that 'text' is mostly 'dialogue'. Interdependency of text and pictures is well known in comics/ graphic novels (and described by Scott McCloud in "Making Comics"). If it still works with quite a different balance remains to be seen.

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