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Friday, November 14

Wednesday, February 13

  1. page space.menu edited ... External Sites ENG 236 Course Site **Calypsis: A Rivertown Novel** Hypertext Fiction** …
    ...
    External Sites
    ENG 236 Course Site
    **Calypsis: A Rivertown Novel**
    Hypertext Fiction**
    (view changes)
    7:25 pm

Friday, August 12

  1. msg Two Meetings message posted Two Meetings Hey there. Sorry it took me so long to get around to this. I like the scenario and how this stor…
    Two Meetings
    Hey there. Sorry it took me so long to get around to this.

    I like the scenario and how this story begins and ends with different meetings. I also like how you integrated this into the world and Hobson's larger narrative via the links. I see this as a moment where Hobson might be able to have a stronger realization about himself and his situation, but it doesn't quite come through. The emphasis is placed more on Johann when, as a reader of Hobson's stories, I'm more interested in him. Of course, I'll push you to try and cram more into the space.

    So, how to earn that space? Too much dialogue works as filler here, too much back-and-forth that doesn't forward the story. One line in particular jumped out at me:

    "Johann rambled on for a while about this item; when he finally got to the point, I learned that it was a statue."

    Here I detect what's sometimes called 'A Signal from Fred:'

    Signal from Fred
    The author's subconscious makes unwitting critical comments: "This doesn't make sense." "This is really boring." "This sounds like a bad movie." (Attr. Damon Knight)


    If Johann is rambling and only eventually getting to the point, I suspect it's because you as the writer didn't know how to integrate this element into the story so you shoehorned it in with some unnecessary dialogue. It also doesn't seem very likely that a man with a gun would open up to his hostage about what the statue meant to him. I think it would more like be "Seen this statue? No? Okay, forget it."

    All this dialogue takes away from Hobson's internal mental state, or what he's thinking and feeling. The structure should be reversed, with 80% mental contemplation and 20% dialogue. That way I get a deeper understanding of Hobson rather than just watching what he experiences.

    Also, the motivations are a little muddy for me. It's clear that Hobson is fleeing the botched breakout job, but why wouldn't Johann just steal the rocket launcher and be done with him, maybe even kill him? That goes doubly after Hobson can't help with the statue. I don't think that the man holding him at gunpoint would want his opinion on how to handle the Brothers. Why would he?

    Having said that, I like their appearance, but maybe try keeping the focus on Hobson. For example, maybe the Brothers have been following Hobson all this while. Now he's gotten his rock(et)s off, Alex thinks it's time for a second offer. It's at this very moment that Johann tries sticking him up. So then the question becomes: does Hobson give up the rocket launcher, which he has invested so emotion, or does he fight to keep it even though it's worthless and it might be his last chance to do something meaningful with his life?

    So here's what I would advise, both here and for short fiction writing projects about the future: when you're writing, just write, and don't worry about anything except getting the story out. But THEN go back and do the following:

    - cut back on dialogue and try to convey communication through just a few small gestures or facial expressions

    - reread every line and ask yourself how it is either a) revealing more about the character to the reader, or b) necessary to the plot.

    These vignettes are definitely hard to write because you're trying to do a lot of things simultaneously but I think it's a good exercise for when you move to writing longer works. It helps keep things tight and focused.

    Thanks for the read and let me know if you have any questions or want me to look at a revision.
    7:52 am

Friday, August 5

  1. tag_add xz tagged npc
    10:01 pm
  2. tag_add xz tagged character
    10:01 pm

Tuesday, July 26

  1. page So Far Away edited ... “I don’t quite get what you mean.” “You don’t have to.” ... I didn’t car. care. The onl…
    ...
    “I don’t quite get what you mean.”
    “You don’t have to.”
    ...
    I didn’t car.care. The only
    “I can’t explain it, but I just need to have it. It means something to me.”
    I realized he was more like me than I thought. “I understand. This is all I have,” as I pointed to my identity.”
    ...
    “Fair enough.” Johann handed the gun to Alex, who immediately threw it to the side. I was right in assuming they wouldn’t use it against him. They were decent people.
    In a split-second, everything shifted; too quickly, I think. As Alex tossed the gun, Johann made a move at him with his spear, or blade, as he called it.
    ...
    moment, shot JohanJohann in the
    The other members approached quickly, but Alex waived them off.
    “I suppose I owe you something, Hobson.”
    (view changes)
    9:55 am

Friday, July 22

  1. msg Critiques message posted Critiques Hey Trent, here is my short that you gave me a prompt for (That could've been worded much better, I…
    Critiques
    Hey Trent, here is my short that you gave me a prompt for (That could've been worded much better, I know)

    http://rivertown.wikispaces.com/So+Far+Away
    10:37 am
  2. page So Far Away edited **Hobson** I was still running. I did not have the slightest idea when it would be safe to stop, …
    **Hobson**
    I was still running. I did not have the slightest idea when it would be safe to stop, so I kept on. I frequently looked over my shoulder, which if I recall correctly, is sort of a cardinal sin of running away. You never look back; they’ll catch you that way. My emptiness was intact, and over my shoulder. Even three empty shells can keep a man down, or at least me. But, I couldn’t leave it behind. It had to make the journey with me, for better or worse. My gut feeling was it was going to get worse long before it got better, but I figured I still had the threat of this weapon. The only problem is my face, my body; they do not reflect the power and intimidation this weapon once displayed. They reflect the emptiness of the shells, and I never had a good poker face.
    I started to slow my pace; I thought I had heard something in front of me, and I was certain it was larger than an animal. Then, out of the light came a dark figure, gun in hand. They had found me, I thought. This journey, unsatisfying as it was, was over. But, the man didn’t shoot. Until he got to my face, he didn’t say a word.
    “Stop where you are. What’s that over your shoulder?”
    “Just an empty shell,” I mumbled back.
    “I’m afraid I don’t follow…”
    “Then how’d you find me?”
    “Scavenging. The name’s Johann.”
    “Hobson. Well, I’ll be going now…”
    “Yes, you will; on a walk with me.”
    We proceeded to walk for a few blocks, and yet, Johann hardly said a word. We approached a building that looked fairly old-fashioned and from the outside, uninhabited. We were alone; we had been alone the entire time, and Johann had done nothing to me. I did not know what he was planning to do, or if he was planning anything.
    “Hobson, right? Hey, would you happen to know anything about this?”
    He pulled out a crumpled piece of paper of a terrible drawing of a man. I almost laughed, but I don’t think I had the energy to. I took a deep breath, trying to make out what it was he wanted.
    “I can’t say I do know anything about this.”
    “And why is that?”
    “Because I don’t.”
    “Are you aware that I could have killed you this entire time?”
    “Indeed. On the other hand, are you aware that killing me does nothing for you; maybe even less for me.”
    “I don’t quite get what you mean.”
    “You don’t have to.”
    Johann rambled on for a while about this item; when he finally got to the point, I learned that it was a statue. Still, I didn’t car. The only statue I remember owning was the one that broke a few days ago in that odd faux-Frenchman’s bait shop. I started listening to him, again, but only near the end. Maybe because I figured he was almost done talking.
    “I can’t explain it, but I just need to have it. It means something to me.”
    I realized he was more like me than I thought. “I understand. This is all I have,” as I pointed to my identity.”
    “What is it?”
    “Empty.”
    Just then, he pulled out another weapon; it was a blade of some sort. I was taken by surprise, and once again, fear set in. Once again, I assumed this was the end. I was wrong, again.”
    “Do you know anything about this blade, Hobson?”
    “Looks more like a spear to me.”
    “Whichever; do you know anything about it?”
    “What’s there to know?”
    “Well, Hobson, answer this: why would the people over there want it?”
    Johann pointed over to a couple of men who were starting to emerge from the confines of the old building. I recognized them instantly; “The Bandits of the Hood…” I mumbled under my breath.
    “You’ve met them?”
    “Once.”
    “Never mind them; why do they want this?”
    “They don’t just want that, Johann. They want you, too; they want you to join them.”
    “How would you know that?”
    “Because you can scavenge, because you are valuable; like I could, like I was.”
    “Why didn’t you join them?”
    “They wanted me to give up this weapon; I couldn’t. I need this, even in all its emptiness. I’m sure they asked you to part with something. And I’m sure they recruited you because you found that spear…”
    “Just my handgun; it doesn’t mean that much to me. And how might you know that?”
    “I found a bomb where none of them could. Look, they won’t use your handgun against you; I can assure you of that.”
    “Why is that?”
    “They do not like technology; they have good weaponry, good men; I’ve seen them. Does the handgun hold any significant personal value to you?”
    “No, not at all; I thought I already told you that. There’s only one item in particular that holds value to me
    “Well, I don’t see the problem, then.”
    “That’s because there is no problem to see…” spoke a third voice.
    “Alex.”
    “Hobson; it is nice to see you again.”
    “I suppose it is.”
    I took a seat, while Alex and Johann had a conversation similar to the one I had with Alex a few days ago. There was a slight difference, though, that I could detect. He wasn’t as interested in Johann as he was in me. At least, that’s what I was sensing. They talked for several minutes while I just sat and contemplated the opportunity of joining up with Alex and the rest of them; or, if he would even offer me that opportunity again.
    I rose to my feet, and Johann started to become less responsive. I could sense a bit of anger in him; I didn’t know why, though.
    “Johann, just hand over the gun, and join us,” Alex said.
    “Fair enough.” Johann handed the gun to Alex, who immediately threw it to the side. I was right in assuming they wouldn’t use it against him. They were decent people.
    In a split-second, everything shifted; too quickly, I think. As Alex tossed the gun, Johann made a move at him with his spear, or blade, as he called it.
    Alex side-stepped the attack, and I picked up the pistol, and without even realizing it in that moment, shot Johan in the side of the head. He was motionless; as was I.
    The other members approached quickly, but Alex waived them off.
    “I suppose I owe you something, Hobson.”
    “I suppose you do.”
    “Walk with me.”

    (view changes)
    10:36 am
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