Improving our 75 Word Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Discussion in 'Writing Challenges' started by The Judge, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Shyrka

    Shyrka Friend of Ulysses

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2016
    Messages:
    393
    I'd echo The Judge's remarks about the ending really. I liked the setup and the evocative language but as a whole it lacked the punch that I look for when I'm reading (and writing) the 75-worders. Re-reading more closely for specifics, I felt this line could be a little smoother:

    For me, it's just a little over-complicated. Stripping out the 'in and' from 'in and around' makes the line flow more smoothly and helps to push the attention onto the hole in her:

    I toyed with removing the 'viscous' too - it improves the clarity and maybe makes things more stark at the cost of some of the flavour. Less is often more but your mileage may vary on that one.
     
  2. Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    5,961
    Location:
    Iowa
    @sinister42 --- I just didn't get it. This whole tale made me go who? what? Is that the end?

    As I've earlier in this thread I don't have great Fantasy chops, and this one was Fantasy (In fact it made me wonder if it qualified as "weird."). I did however enjoy the line "sodium shadows outlined ...". That was a picture I could get, but when the being (angel?) unfurled wings that had already been unfurled I was totally lost. I loved your use use of unusual verbage.."memetic," "butterflied," "Sodium shadows,"
     
    Phyrebrat likes this.
  3. sinister42

    sinister42 The sinister resister.

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2013
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Good notes, all. Thanks!
     
  4. hopewrites

    hopewrites Believe in your youness

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Messages:
    3,268
    Location:
    Home
    The imagery I got out of it was of a memory card/angel in a Tron-esk setting, saving a file.
    I went on to wonder if the file was corrupted, and if so, what that would do to the angle. Would he have the proper protection so that the corrupted file would be remembered correctly, mercy perhaps, to uncorrupt it and remember her in her best self.

    Where Parson saw it as fantasy, I read hard-sf. The dis-clarity as to the angel's shape I read as deliberate clueing in that he was an angel. The memetic wings, electric alleyways and later sodium shadows gave the setting a cyberspace feel.

    Could easily have been an excerpt from something like Nuromancer imo.
     
    sinister42 likes this.
  5. sinister42

    sinister42 The sinister resister.

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2013
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    That is a really neat interpretation - thanks!
     
  6. hopewrites

    hopewrites Believe in your youness

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Messages:
    3,268
    Location:
    Home
    Ok! The moment I've been waiting for since entering this mo. Voting has closed and I can ask about this one. :) I couldn't say anything non-slap worthy about it, so I was grateful that the reviews it got were kind and supportive (as all reviews are) and it got no mentions.

    I liked the seed of the idea I had, I just don't think I bloomed it properly.

    The day after posting I questioned the tense change, wether it would read as sloppy writing or as the fact that even when everything and everyone involved in the story is past (and therefore past tense) that the echoes are still reverberating across space. Probably the former, and if so should I have written it in present (since I don't want to give up my mental image of eternal echoes) and what would that do to my wamified? If the later, is there something I could have done to emphasize that a bit better so I don't have to worry about coming across as the former?

    I don't think I got much of the theme in. There's no setting for where this unreliable narrator finds this transceiver. Only that it belongs to a race of beings called Garblathons (I probably should have developed them more. Globular quadraped with sticky-mumble-ish language skills.) with a tendency to noise makeing when picked up (I do love the word wamified in all honesty I wrote the thing just to use it.) and a smoke detector to go off after they are blasted by the offended aliens.

    Should I have used my extra words to expand the setting? Get more stage in, as there's not much fright? Should I have shown the confrontation between offended Garblathon and narrator, working more fright in?
    In my imagination they teleport in, blast away Bowler style, reclaim their transceiver, and pop back out in a matter of seconds. So quick in fact that the transceiver is still on and sending transmissions when the smoke detector goes off.

    Granted Douglass Adams did this better than I, is there some way I could have made the last line pay off a bit better? I feel like I may have been in too much of a hurry to get there to do it justice...

    Any and all suggestions on how I could have expanded into the allotted word count to improve this telling will be greatly appreciated!

    ---

    First and last contact.

    The Garblathon's tranciver wamified as I picked it up.

    "Hello? Is this thing on?"

    ---

    The smoke detector yowls in feedback loops across space and time.

    How was I to know in their native tongue it was the gravest insult imaginable...
     
  7. The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    8,060
    Location:
    nearly the New Forest
    To be honest, hope, I didn't fully understand what was happening here, and I couldn't see the theme of stage fright in it at all -- neither the stage nor the fright. So yes, to my mind you needed to make more of both of those aspects.

    I also think it would have helped if you'd developed the story more, explaining what the Garblathon had done, since you had plenty of words left -- 35 by my count! I couldn't work out where a smoke detector came into it, which was confusing, to say the least.

    The spelling of "tranciver" stopped me, while I wondered if you meant "transceiver" or it was some other device, so it does pay to check spellings before you post. And the "wamified" completely threw me, as I hadn't the faintest idea what it meant. On coming back to it on a re-read I actually thought the "m" was "rn" ie r+n and it was "waRNified" ie giving her a warning not to pick it up. I'm fairly tolerant of made-up words, but I do need to be able to understand them from context, and this one -- undoubtedly because it's to do with electronics or the like, about which I'm ignorant -- was too much for me.

    The tense change didn't worry me, since I saw the story as being written in the present with the narrator confirming what she'd done picking it up, but with the yowling going on and on now -- I assumed through the transceiver, which I thought she still possessed. The last line was fine, and did have an Adamsesque feel -- and Garblathon itself had a humorous Adams feel -- but without any hint of the consequences the insult brought, it was left hanging a little.

    It was a quirky little piece, but didn't hang together enough for me. Sorry.
     
    hopewrites likes this.
  8. hopewrites

    hopewrites Believe in your youness

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Messages:
    3,268
    Location:
    Home
    Wamified is a made up word, and I can see how the eye would want warnified given the (not so apparently) deadly consequences of picking the thing up.
    The reaction all holders of microphones have when feedback squeals reach their ears gives me the impression that the microphone itself has some forcefield protection, repelling entities from it while giving an auditory warning of the proximity violation.

    If one were to develop a microphone-amp whose "speakers" are in space, one would need to install some kind of forcefield to take the place of the feedback sound. Wam- a sound and/or force... wamified, the action of said sound-force.

    :)
     
  9. Mr Orange

    Mr Orange Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb...

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    1,127
    Location:
    Guernsey
    hope, i really liked wamified as a word and figured that it was a version of radio squelch. i also (only on the second read mind you) got that the narrator insulted the Garblathons (again, great word) and got vaporised for their troubles. but, i could not see the theme anywhere and so discounted your little tale straight away.

    if i could have found enough of the theme it would have made my shortlist but wouldn't have won, as there just wasn't enough development of the story. especially considering you had words left over. also, i think you could have used something other than "Hello? Is this thing on?". something that could with a double meaning, that even in english could be considered an insult. and finally, the fact the narrator keeps narrating after they have been obliterated was an irk for me. to my mind the second line of the second part should have kept the detached tone of the first line.
     
    hopewrites likes this.
  10. TheDustyZebra

    TheDustyZebra Dogged Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    6,659
    Location:
    Colorado
    I loved your "warmified", especially with "Garblathon". I was put off a bit by the spelling of "tranciver/tranceiver" in the middle.

    Should you have used your extra words? Always! :D But then, I'm one who has *always* hit exactly 75 -- I don't believe in leaving anything on the table that I could have used.
     
    hopewrites likes this.
  11. Wruter

    Wruter Aquarius

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Messages:
    354
    @hopewrites - I thought it might have made a good entry for the anonymous challenge with the 'mistakes' theme instead.
     
    hopewrites likes this.
  12. Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    5,961
    Location:
    Iowa
    @hopewrites .... I'm sorry Hope this entry left me shaking my head. The made up words I thought I understood, and knowing how creative you are I thought that's exactly what they were (and I learn that is what they were.) There just wasn't enough story there. I understood it was a first contact sort of thing, and that some grave insult was given, but what? and why was it an insult? And most damaging I didn't see stage fright at all.

    I briefly considered that you had been sipping some pre-chroniversary mean. :p:D
     
    hopewrites likes this.
  13. hopewrites

    hopewrites Believe in your youness

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Messages:
    3,268
    Location:
    Home
    Lol, no it was meadless writing. And I sat on it for nearly a week trying to figure out how to give it more muchness (to borrow a Tim Burtinizem).

    The insult is the quoted bit, I went for the most commonly innocuous phrase humans utter when faced with a strange microohonic device. Which I then stole straight up from Douglas Adams the line 'in their native tongue was the gravest insult imaginable' or something to that effect... re: 'I wouldn't want to go anywhere without my wonderful towel'

    It's perfectly fine with me that people had a hard time seeing the theme in it. I wrote it and I think it's a bit of a stretch for the trepidatious "is this on" to be called stage fright (especially as I didn't say it was uttered with anything like trepidation) just because the person dies (and not clearly dies at that) for saying it.

    The Garblathons are clearly a hotheaded species, blasting people for picking up transceivers, probably a byproduct of their mass miscommunication.

    Good to know that I knew most of what was wrong with this one. Wish I could think of how to apply what we all agree needs fixing to it to get it fixed :)
     
  14. TheDustyZebra

    TheDustyZebra Dogged Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    6,659
    Location:
    Colorado
    I should perhaps add that I didn't realize the Garblathon was an alien race. I thought it was the device with the transceiver.
     
    Jo Zebedee and hopewrites like this.
  15. Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    18,824
    Location:
    England
    If it's any consolation, Hope, I knew what the story was about. :)
     
    hopewrites likes this.
  16. Coast

    Coast Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Messages:
    219
    Hey Folks, I thought I'd throw up this months entry, and see what people have to say about it. I think I see a couple of things now, but I'll let you have at it first.


    The South Ridge

    It’s all just beeps and buzzes to me.

    Don't say inlet.

    “G15 Fault. Blocked condensor inlet,” the droid translates.

    I contemplate head-butting the chiller bar or kicking the droid, but I haven’t got the energy for either. I’ve checked the inlet three times now.

    I need to fix this thing. I can't afford to spend credits on new vaporators. Although, I could sell that scrappy old T-16 the previous owners left behind…
     
  17. Hex

    Hex Write, monkey, write

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Messages:
    6,127
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    I loved the writing, loved the bit where your character contemplates head-butting the chiller bar, but there were clearly science fiction references going on that I didn't get (sorry!) which meant I didn't really understand it. What's a T-16?
     
    Coast likes this.
  18. Coast

    Coast Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2016
    Messages:
    219
    Thanks Hex!
    Drats, I thought I was fanboy-ing just the right amount. It's a Star Wars thing, when they're planning to attack the Death Star Luke mentions hitting Womp Rats in his T-16 at home. (So its mini space fighter/plane) I admit it's a little obscure, but I thought if I bled in droids and vaporators it might jog memories.
     
  19. mosaix

    mosaix Shropshire, U.K.

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Messages:
    5,996
    Location:
    Shropshire, U.K.
    Much the same as Hex for me, Coast. I felt there was something there that I should know about but it eluded me. And, was it a story?
     
    Coast likes this.
  20. mosaix

    mosaix Shropshire, U.K.

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Messages:
    5,996
    Location:
    Shropshire, U.K.
    As for mine, it got plenty of mentions but clearly fell a little short with a single vote.

    Two things:

    1) In my mind the story was about aliens that may or may not have managed to migrate to Earth from Mars - or any other planet in the solar system. Maybe changing 'arm' to 'tentacle' (as I have below) would have made this more obvious?

    2) Planets don't 'twinkle'. I knew this but it was too late to edit once I realised what I had posted.


    A Lesson From History?

    “So, ladies and gentlemen, unless we address global warming our planet will become a dusty, waterless world.”

    Laughter and hoots of derision. “Bloody scientists! What do they know?”

    ****

    “They didn't believe you, professor.”

    “No.”

    “So that's it. We're finished.”

    “Probably. But there may be a chance, a small chance, for a lucky few.”

    “How?”

    The professor raised his tentacle toward the night sky and pointed at a blue, twinkling planet. The third from the Sun.
     
Loading...

Share This Page