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> A Short Story., Need some help on this one, folks.
PsychWardMike
post Jul 9 2004, 02:20 AM
Post #1


I'm attracted by the potential for reckless abuse of power.
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Yeah, I know I've been a jerk an dthe only thing I ever posted was way too long, but here's something I've been working on. What do you think? It's not flowing well... something isn't working. I know it feels trite, so oddly enough I'm coming in for a little help. Pull no punches.



The sky was clear, save a few cotton clouds that drifted lazily in the distance. The air was light; a happy breeze played with my hair and brushed against my face. I crossed the gentle field slowly, taking in the warm greens and yellows of the tall, waving grass and the brilliant blues of the overlooking ceiling. The soil was warm and firm beneath me and I could feel its paternal support despite the thickness of the dead grass that covered the floor.

I drifted around aimlessly for as much time as I needed, some minutes, maybe some hours, simply contented to breathe in the sweet air and marvel at the brilliance of the sun. I walked and wandered, pausing to lie in the grass and rest peacefully from time to time until I found the edge of a forest. It was a rather odd place to find a forest – it just abruptly sprang up. The trees were great and tall, with lush green leaves, towering over my head and reaching apathetically for the sky. I followed the line of trees until I reached a clearly beaten path.

It was a strangely smooth dusty dirt path tread by many feet before me. I was intrigued. I strained to see an end and, but it descended far into the distance. I shrugged inwardly and, having nothing better to do, began to walk the path. Brilliantly colored rocks lined the sides – a lush layer of green rocks provided a base as cool aquamarine, brilliant pink, bleeding red, and sunny yellow splashed atop them liberally. I picked up one of the rocks – it was strange to the touch, like solid water, but far from ice. I carefully put the rock back in its place.

I continued my ambling, ingesting the light that made its way into the forest, and unconsciously took note of the rocks. As I descended the path, they became softer and their rigid lines blurred as I continued further until they were finally no longer rocks, but flowers. A squirrel darted beneath and between my legs, rustling the newly formed flowers as it made its way into the trees.

I stopped at the base of a tree for a little while to rest, not of weariness, but of simple yearning. The tree itself was as mighty as all the others. Its soft but hardy bark provided a great backrest and its thick leaves provided a cooling shade that titillated my skin and cooled the thin layer of sweat on my brow. It was a great and mighty tree, but it was no different than any other – no better or worse, but this was the tree that I loved. Other, no matter how great, could replace it. I slept in its bosom for a few minutes, but ultimately, the path called to me and I left it with a fond farewell.

The sounds of birds singing greeted me as I stepped onto the path again. It seemed new – a completely different path than the one that I had stopped off of. A cloud passed before the sun, casting shadows across the trees and ground. I stopped for a second, but continued. After a few steps, the world was right again, and I was back on the path that I remembered. I shook off my singular note of anxiety into the renewed song of the birds. It harmonized quite nicely.

Within a few feet, I was forced to stop once more. A small penguin, clad in a monocle and top hat crossed my path, stopping in the middle. I looked at him, and he at I, and we both caught the others eye. He bowed slightly; I nodded my head. He straightened and walked, I began my tread.

However, I was stopped again as a monkey in the same attire came across my path. “Have you seen a penguin?” he asked.

“Indeed I have,” I said.

“Could I persuade you to tell me as to where he went? He and I have some rather important business to take care of.”

“Indeed I could,” I said, “he went that way.” I pointed to the left.

“Much obliged, my good sir.”

“It’s no problem, my friend.”

The monkey and I shared a hardy hand shake before he skated off to find his companion, the Penguin.

Walking a bit further, I came across a glorious river. Dotted with miniature falls and filled with gleaming water that was clear enough to allow me to for me to see the shimmering stones on the bottom, it called to me. I, suddenly aware of a rather strong thirst deep within my throat, knelt down to take a drink. However, I spied a cup just a few feet to my right. I picked it up to examine it.

The cup was nothing special – it was gray metal, spackled with rust on the outside. Inside was a rather thick layer of moss that had grown, feeding off of, and falling into the water that half filled it. The water was not that of the river – it couldn’t be. It was stagnant and putrid, festering in the cup. I put the cup down where it was, and drank from the river with my hands until I had my fill.

I walked into the river, soaking my pelvis and legs in the wonderfully cool and relaxing sensation. I waded through, ignoring the compulsion to swim in it fully and made my way to the shore, the banks on the other side of my path.

I continued my walk down the beaten path, following an abrupt turn to the right about fifteen yards away from the place where I met the monkey. I was, by this time, thoroughly convinced that mine was a safe path, so I took off my shoes and socks, leaving them behind a tree.

The dust beneath my feet was a new sensation all together for me. It was cool, almost moist to the touch, but not as rigid and unforgiving as I thought it would be. A breeze blew through my hair once more; I breathed deeply and sighed.

As I continued down my path, I found a bit of a desire to meet the penguin again swelling in my chest. Perhaps I would eventually, but presently my mind was torn from the penguin to a gleam in the bed of flowers to my left. A single sun ray rested on a key, covered in soil, but obviously gold. I backtracked to the sparkling river which seemed now larger, and bathed the key in the water. When I pulled it out, it gleamed cunningly in the rays of the sun; the key was indeed important. Perhaps it was to a file cabinet? A safe? A treasure chest? I slipped the key into my pocket. It was strangely heavy.

I continued along the path until finally reaching a clearing. There was a perfectly round carpet of emerald grass with a tower leaning to the right in the center. The tower was white – obviously old enough to be from a most ancient antiquity. The once brilliant white was dulled and cracked, now gray. Ivy grew from the top and fell down along the tower.

I cocked my head to see the tower more clearly, and then saw it for what it was – a edifice with the visage in it. The mouth that was the door was carved into a wide and extremely happy grin showing the statue’s great teeth and the windows that were the eyes were perpetually laughing. I stared at it, it stared at me, and it winked mischievously.

Slowly, with a sense of apprehension but ultimately a greater sense of curiosity, I approached the statue and pushed on its toothy door. Nothing happened. I withdrew the key from my pocket; the key didn’t fit anywhere, but it did open it. I stepped inside.

The room was dark and sparse, but gave off a sense of extreme peace and happiness that I hadn’t felt in a good deal of time. I walked around the tilted base of the first floor, and, upon finding nothing of significance, I made my way to the stairs.

I climbed the lopsided stairs with little difficulty and found myself inside the eyes of the statue. I looked back at the path that I had tread and turned around to leave. The stairs were gone now, and a new window had appeared on the opposite side of the room. I looked out and up into the sky to an orgy of brilliant oranges, fiery pinks, and deepening purples surrounding a partially risen full white moon. My eyes drifted downwards to a mountain range that stood majestically in the distance, shrouded by a mist that reflected both the purple of the mountain and fire of the sky.

Below even further were the trees of the forest, now all orange rather than green so that I could not tell if the leaves themselves were changing or if the sun’s light was assisting. Under one of the trees, a small penguin waddled out, looked at me, bowed, and waved. I waved back, smiled, and waited for the moon to rise.


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I'm just a Viewtiful Girl living in a Viewtiful World.
Henshin a-go-go, baby.

I swear to God, the above post was not intended to incite flame wars or to offend you.
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gothictheysay
post Jul 9 2004, 03:45 AM
Post #2


living in your basement, eating your candy hearts
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You asked for it - take none of this personally. I love to viciously edit. evil.gif

[quote]The sky was clear[/quote]
[quote]The air was light[/quote]

*twitch* The fact that you used those in the first two sentences as openers is just a peeve with me. It's been overdone - I half expected the next sentence to start with "the grass was green" becuase that style keeps reoccuring.

[quote]the brilliant blues[/quote]
[quote]brilliance of the sun.[/quote]

I wouldn't multiply adjectives so close to each other.

[quote]It was a strangely smooth dusty dirt path tread by many feet before me.[/quote]

I suggest:

"It was a strangely smooth, dusty dirt path; tread by many feet before me."
"It was a strangely smooth, dusty dirt path, tread by many feet before me."

But if it's grammatically correct the way it is you can leave it.

[quote]I strained to see an end and, but it descended far into the distance[/quote]

I'm assuming that "and" was put there by mistake.

[quote]Brilliantly colored [/quote]

*smacks forehead*

[quote]brilliant pink[/quote]

Anything but brilliant. Please.

[quote]as it made its way into the trees.[/quote]

If there are still trees at this point, I suggest saying "behind me" after that one.

[quote]cooling shade that titillated my skin and cooled the thin layer of sweat on my brow[/quote]

I'd use a different verb instead of cooled, since it *was* a cooling shade.

[quote]It was a great and mighty tree, but it was no different than any other – no better or worse, but this was the tree that I loved. Other, no matter how great, could replace it. I slept in its bosom for a few minutes, but ultimately, the path called to me and I left it with a fond farewell.[/quote]

It's okay, except I don't especially like that middle sentence. And it seems a little bit cheesy.

[quote]others[/quote]
other's

I have to leave my computer now, but I'll edit the rest in a little bit.


--------------------
Being corrupted by candice since 2004
teal and orange is the way forward
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acid_rain_child
post Jul 9 2004, 01:20 PM
Post #3


Vive y Deja Vivir
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Damn gothic!

QUOTE
QUOTE
Brilliantly colored


*smacks forehead*


QUOTE
brilliant pink




Anything but brilliant. Please.


laugh.gif It may only be 8:47 in the morning, and I may not have had my coffee yet, but I laughted a good deal.

Um, okay, Mike, you already know my OVERALL view of the story tongue.gif , so let's get to the writing.

Gothic is right (bless her little Red Grammar heart) about underdeveloped sentence structure. Also about the reptition in adjectives. That made me twitch the whole way too. I think I know what's the matter with people and cliches, though. When you say things like

QUOTE
The sky was clear, save a few cotton clouds that drifted lazily in the distance. The air was light; a happy breeze played with my hair and brushed against my face.


(I swear I've read 20 times in my life) it doesn't do anything for the reader. What I think we're apt to do when we write is think of a setting, and then think of the most simplistic way to describe it. You wanted to describe a perfect little afternoon, with clear skies and a faint cool/warm breeze. So, your brain automatically takes that idea, and translates it into cliched sentences that people have read a dozen times, but that also you have read a dozen times. In a way, it's subconscious to write like that. You gotta fight the urge, man.

Now, I'm not doggin' your writing style, because I have no place to do so, but like you said in the beginning, your transitions need a little work. Sometimes I even think you start a new paragraph when you don't need to.

My main problem was the everlasting cliches. Your entire story made me feel that you didn't even thought of what was really happening to the character, that you were just pulling out lines that you'd read before because they sounded good.

QUOTE
with lush green leaves

QUOTE
A breeze blew through my hair once more; I breathed deeply and sighed.

(why would he sigh about the breeze? Is he startled, is he happy, is he serene and the breeze is more calming?)

QUOTE
filled with gleaming water that was clear enough to allow me to for me to see the shimmering stones on the bottom


I dunno, I think observations like that could be more personalized. I mean, if I could describe the clear water of a river, I would surely use gleaming or glimmering, if not out of habit. But your character seems enthralled and mesmerized by the beauty of the forest.Way more so than to just call it gleaming and shimmering.


--------------------
"As life gets longer, awful feels softer,
Well it feels pretty soft to me.
And if it takes sh*t to make bliss,
Well I feel pretty blissfully."
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Greeneyes
post Jul 9 2004, 02:31 PM
Post #4


The Key of Joy is disobedience.
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You said that something 'wasn't working' with it. I think that this may be because you are writing the story in the first person, and so when you write it, you think of yourself. Since there are talking penguins and suchlike, it may seem strange to you, as you are being uncharactaristic of yourself in the story. If you write it in the third person, it may 'flow' better. Not that I'm any good at writing stories, but that's my suggestion.

And since you mentioned your last story, something occured to me about that too. Novels usually flick around between characters. You'd get a section on bobby A, then it would tell you about bobby B. I think maybe because the story focussed on one person all the time that it got a little tedious. It did have mystery and stuff to it, but I think maybe the reader needs to hear about what other characters are doing as well, before Malcolm (i think it was malcolm) meets them.


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gothictheysay
post Jul 9 2004, 07:48 PM
Post #5


living in your basement, eating your candy hearts
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Cheerfulness from my English teacher :shudder: (if she were grading your paper, no matter how well you wrote it...) "Said is dead!"

QUOTE
gleaming water that was clear enough to allow me to for me to see the shimmering stones on the bottom,


Deja vu...I think I have seen that phrasing before. I recommend not using most phrasings over again, unless they're integral to make a point.

Also, maybe you could add a little to the plot. I think a little more support could make it better. smile.gif


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Being corrupted by candice since 2004
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PsychWardMike
post Jul 9 2004, 10:03 PM
Post #6


I'm attracted by the potential for reckless abuse of power.
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To adress some things:

Brilliant was intended was a motife.

Simple sentence structure in the beginning was intentional.

The sighing thing was because I really enjoy breezes.

Anywho, for those that are wondering: The story is really a kind of prophecy (I guess that's the best word) for what I think my life is going to be like. I wrote this as a big metaphor... starting out, I tried to be simple as he's waiting to go into the woods which represents life which is why the sentence structure was short, blunt, and everything was rather ill-defined.

The path itself is the oh so tried and true "path of life" the penguin and the monkey represent marriage to soem degree, the building is the after life (see the sunset? woo hoo.) Anyway, you can read into it as you please, as most of the true meaning as I intend it is probably lost on you people, not knowing me in depth.

Cheers, and thanks for reading.


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I'm just a Viewtiful Girl living in a Viewtiful World.
Henshin a-go-go, baby.

I swear to God, the above post was not intended to incite flame wars or to offend you.
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PsychWardMike
post Jul 9 2004, 10:09 PM
Post #7


I'm attracted by the potential for reckless abuse of power.
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Oh yeah. I forgot to ask for overall opinions. Criticize as you may, but I would so like some feed back as to how you (didn't) like it in general.


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I'm just a Viewtiful Girl living in a Viewtiful World.
Henshin a-go-go, baby.

I swear to God, the above post was not intended to incite flame wars or to offend you.
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artist.unknown
post Jul 15 2004, 04:23 AM
Post #8


sesquipedalian
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It reminds me a little bit like what would happen if you gave Lewis Carroll and HD Thoreau a hemp bag and told them to write. Or the kind of dreams I get whilst camping and possibly not eating enough and breathing in too much deet.

But if you think of it it as you are terms of, for example, Blake's songs of innocence (frollicking in the field) and experience (the woods), the symbolism is good. But obscure. I think the problem lies in the fact that some of your intent isn't very clear, or is hidden behind distracting phrases (already named): the monkey and penguin are the most puzzling, bordering on trippy. This still has the feeling of a work in progress, somehow. Some of the paragraphs and details need to be fleshed out a bit more. Smoother transitions would help with that.

I have to give it to you, it is unusual. I like the sensory details. The cheerfullness of it overall is a bit strange for you, but it never hurts to try new things. ^^ I'd like to read any changes you make to this, if you do.
cheers and cheese.


--------------------
-Grammar Nazi-quotes of the yesterday
It is only in his work that an artist can find reality and satisfaction, for the actual world is less intense than the world of his invention and consequently his life, without recourse to violent disorder, does not seem very substantial. -Tennessee Williams
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PsychWardMike
post Jul 30 2004, 06:24 PM
Post #9


I'm attracted by the potential for reckless abuse of power.
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Okay... I'm working on some of the phrasing. I believe the problem with story comprehension is the lack of really knowing me, which is no one's fault but my own.

Anywho, this story was actually inspired to be written by some personality test thing I found online... I'll try to find the exact questions that lead up to the story and perhaps others can then write their own stories like this... it is most fun.


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I'm just a Viewtiful Girl living in a Viewtiful World.
Henshin a-go-go, baby.

I swear to God, the above post was not intended to incite flame wars or to offend you.
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pgrmdave
post Oct 13 2005, 10:00 PM
Post #10


^random image of the day
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Umm...I know you Mike, and I thought that story was simply, absurd in many ways. You wrote it for you, and ignored the fact that the people reading it wouldn't necessarily be in your mindset when they read it.


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Astarael
post Oct 14 2005, 02:21 AM
Post #11


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The cliches (my accents refuse to work) are killing my brain. They were invented because they flowed off the tongue and they're used in every other trite fantasy I bother to read. Try to think of new metaphors.
What does the cup have to do with anything at all? It seems to be unnecessary flowery description. An ancient white tower covered with vines is a very overused image. This could just be my nitpicking, but make it a different color at least or change it into an entirely different way to get high enough to see the scenery. Flying, a rope climbing into the sky, stairs going up forever, a tower made from a starry sky, even a sparkly blue tower if you so desire. But not the white tower covered with vines.
Break free of elemental convention if you like, but the earth is traditionally one of the female elements, so it would be maternal near the beginning if you're going with a cover of traditional fantasy.
"Slept within its bosom" is overly dramatic and flowery. "Rested by its roots" might fit better,
If you're trying to break free of convention, you've succeeded. Very interesting indeed, but it doesn't seem too easy to understand. Go easy on the adjectives. You don't need lots of them in every sentence.


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Sometimes we can choose the path we follow. Sometimes our choices are made for us. And sometimes we have no choice at all. ~Morpheus, King of Dreams
I am a leaf on the wind. See me soar.
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PsychWardMike
post Oct 14 2005, 02:36 AM
Post #12


I'm attracted by the potential for reckless abuse of power.
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This was written at a bad time of day (early morning)

The tower wasn't supposed to be a tower in the sense of something like Tolkein's Two Towers, but more of a giant Tiki head.


--------------------
I'm just a Viewtiful Girl living in a Viewtiful World.
Henshin a-go-go, baby.

I swear to God, the above post was not intended to incite flame wars or to offend you.
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Astarael
post Oct 16 2005, 01:26 AM
Post #13


Browncoat
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QUOTE (PsychWardMike @ Oct 13 2005, 10:36 PM)
This was written at a bad time of day (early morning)

The tower wasn't supposed to be a tower in the sense of something like Tolkein's Two Towers, but more of a giant Tiki head.
*

Then describe the shape and emphasize that it is a giant head rather than a tower with a head carved onto it.


--------------------
Sometimes we can choose the path we follow. Sometimes our choices are made for us. And sometimes we have no choice at all. ~Morpheus, King of Dreams
I am a leaf on the wind. See me soar.
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