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Author Topic: OWW Critiques & Discussion ***
Richard Dey
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RB:

Whichever, of course. All publisher would need from you is a synopsis and a 1st chapter -- and, yes .... Lots of writers have no idea where the story or the characters are going; submitting full MSs is the price that those who follow their noses must pay for their art [Eek!] .

On a personal note (and I almost never voice them, as you know) I tend to prefer writers who follow their noses, but I only know that from rare autos and a few biographies. Some writers, I've been told, were thoroughly ashamed that they didn't work their stories out in advance -- and more yet embarrassed that they were compulsive writers (rather than readers, perhaps [Wink] ).

You did get my 'bimbo' suggestion, I hope. Give it at least a consideration. I'm a bit mixed up on the chronology, but calling her a Messalina might work; she certainly was one! I think her name was actually Valeria Messalina; Clausius' 2nd wife? But then, you'd like Agrippina, wouldn't you ...; she was no bimbo!

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Richard Dey
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Tenses.

Nothing I have more trouble with than tenses -- and very much for the same reason all great writers like ourselves [Smile] have trouble with them. We try to get inside the brains of the characters we're delineating, only to discover that they're sense of time is like Lucille Ball trying to get cakes from an assembly line into boxes, trying to make plans for the future now in the present using things that happened in the past.

Now, you remember in Canadian's taut text how we were thrown into 'the simple life' of 'the simple folk' by 'the simple tactic' of using 'the simple sentence'. I was catapulted into the simple world of the half-ton truck, the red-plaid hunting jacket, and the trailer camp; for me, this is as exotic as Shangri-La, and I am always a sucker for low life and Hammet. Honestly, I think Canadian did a better job with his short lines than Golding did in *Lord of the Flies (which I still think was a bad book that went worse).

Your situation is MUCH more complicated because the situation itself is playing a leading role.

I think I mentioned the issue of vanity. On this pivot, there is no equality between the sexes; it really isn't allowed. When an actress is vain, we adore it; when an actor is vain, we find it a disgusting joke. Pornography is a fascinating example of this inequality in the sexes and why the inequality is not only accepted but ENFORCED.

If I suggested -- like some right-wing Christian -- that vanity in women is disgusting, RB would jump up and declare me a misogynist! If I were to suggest that Mr Trump's vanity is legitimate and, perhaps, underplayed, OPL would LOL at me! It's a very touchy subject

-- and here you've decided to sit on the knife-edge of a critical human failing: the very Massada of sexual equality: the aesthetic. To equalize the feminine and masculine aesthetic, classical Greeks had to ban women from the theatre, the stadium, and almost everything of importance to western civilization!

Here you have the chance to equalize female vanity and male self-indulgence -- and you've got this guy with (1) a willing wife and (2) an affordable prostitute, beginning to prefer a 3rd choice of sexual satisfaction which is, frankly, a virtually untested vehicle. The Christian right wing -- and Orthodox rabbis who stick their little things into holes in a sheet to have sex, may well consider this dangerous thinking and potentially blasphemous.

You know full well that my major charity is research into multiple orgasms for males. It's the only serious effort for world peace that I contribute to, actually.

I am not saying, KL, that you don't have a right to use all the tenses in a single sentence** -- if you think that will further the text; I'm just wondering how the movie version is going to act it out. As a director, I'd be completely confused -- and reach for the pinwheels.

My assumption here is that the hero is seeking absolutely lucidity by experiencing absolute bliss, i.e., a high level of orgasmic intensity unassailed by competition, pain, hunger, fear, dread (and all those fun things). Why else was it made so brief?

** "I shot him, and then had second thoughts because now I know that tomorrow I will be having regrets in the electric chair -- if, of course, I don't get a miracle call from Albany." One MIGHT consider that that furthers the story, but I'm still saying that in the degeneration of your character the tenses should be used intentionally -- ESPECIALLY if they can be used at the end of the story to reconstruct him.

Of your choices, BTW, whether his onanism (1) leads to a lightyear in hell with hair on his palms, (3) whether he's cured of it by his wife and the gynobot having a lesbian affair, or (3) whether his onanism leads him to solipsistic autogenesis and supreme genius, I have no clue yet. That's another reason I need an outline or synopsis. An editor needs to know, in 2nd reading, if the tenses, vocabulary, characterization, et al., are playing their respective roles in the purpose of the text. Red herrings are derigueur but in the final edit they need to be seen as such.

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kenmeer livermaile
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I think that for me the tenses will be most practically worked out by rewriting the thing in small single clause sentences, then reconstructing from there.

Whereas before I was so enraptured, by the fact that I could pull compelling images and situations forth from my brain, that I could scarcely change a jot or tittle and instead would pile more and more and... now I think I'm finally confident that my muse (that dumb broad) really does love me. Thus I'm willing to tear a thing apart without it tearing my heart apart.

In so doing, I should be able to make more effective linkages between temporal points of view.

Either way, I had GREAT fun inventing the crankonanic pecker peepers... my fave touch in the whole thing is him being surprised in his dream by the object of his dream and standing there with his little knobby-horse dangling by it's bridle...

Regarding tenses: the opening sentences betray this discomfort:

"Alone after hours at the office, Jack had dreamed
himself to sleep at his computer. Hand on his hard-on, head in his hard drive, he’d ejaculated into a handkerchief and promptly fallen asleep. The movie, fellatio porn, continued on for several minutes until its scenes deflated."

It occurs to me that the only reason I wrote "had dreamed' rather than 'dreamed' is because I was seeing it from the perspective of the dream. I already saw him asleep and waking up to a winking succubus. I betray MY sense of temporal perspective as a writer than the actual temporality of the tale?

So:

"Alone after hours at the office, Jack dreamed
himself to sleep at his computer. Hand on his hard-on, head in his hard drive, he ejaculated into a handkerchief and promptly fell asleep. The movie, fellatio porn, continued on for several minutes until its scenes deflated."

Works just as well, eh?

Thanks, RD, I think I learned something here. I think tenses will work much better from here on. I owe you. I'll share MOna with you, OK? She's really sweet;)

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Richard Dey
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KE:

Re: management

I agree a couple a week are about as many as the busiest of us can handle, ergo that would be a good limit. Likewise, 2nd submissions and all that should be ltd so that 1st-timers have a chance to submit.

It doesn't take time to critique something with a line like "This crap sux" or "Fabulous! Send to Knopf ASAP!" Any piece worth anything takes a little time to think about, to cf to others, etc. Therefore, I would prefer, if I would not request, that we did only 1 'finished' draft a week and, perhaps, 1 'unfinished' draft a week.

I don't comment on incomplete (as opposed to unfinished) work; I think it's unfair to the author, and I certainly know it is unfair to the work.

I knew an author who erstwhile received rave reviews from several houses on the 1st three chapters of a novel that he never finished -- nor ever finished another. People don't pay $29.95 for unfinished work anymore; only libraries do.

SR = 'ought to read', 'should read', 'you meant: ...?', 'whaddayouz talkin', huh, huh ...?'

MR = 'might (better) read' (sometimes MBR), 'must read' (i.e., xerox MR Xerox).

FU = Fugg you! [Wink] [delicately puts monogrammed pink-linen napkin to corner of mouth, and farts voluminously].

[High-piched voice:] Only the peasants hold that correctionism has gone too far, Millicent. You'll agree with me, won't you, that it's not gone nearly far enough ...!

[Low-pitched voice, spattering succotash all over her Limoges charger:] My deah! Especially in words. I'm beginning to believe that most all words should be banned! They're so misleading, don't you know ....

[High-pitch voice, low-pitched fart:] Quite so ..., quite so .... We have a chocolate stuffed Head of John the Baptist for dessert, darlings ..., so do save some room!

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cperry
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Well, I'm slow, but I finally sent some responses to KE. I'll start working on another one today.
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Richard Dey
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KL: Yes, yes, and yes! (And use the perfect tenses perfectly -- so the reader can comprehend what state of undress, duress, and success he's in [Wink] .
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Richard Dey
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KE:

How about setting up a shipping and receiving department?

Reception will receive 1 of each genre per week, say 1 short story, 1 poem, 1 1-act screenplay, 1 essay, 1 whatever. (Or any other number that is handable).

Shipping will send out X number of reviews to the writer, some fewer number to the thread as the writer allows. That might cut down a little on what I perceive could expand to a great deal of traffic.

The basic principle might remain the same:-- that 'pre-publication' appearance be allowed here while the writer retains all subsequent submission and publication rights which will require (inevitably) removal from this site. I think the savvier publishers will find that rather a boon -- since they're obtaining free readings of submissions and, frankly, a few guaranteed sales.

I certainly am not going to pass by seeing somebody I correspond with in print without picking up the book! What a conversation piece for my coffee table [Wink] .

"Oh yes, I. M. Ornery! Marvelous writer. Have you read him? I know him, actually. Yes, yes, we've even discussed his work together. I know lots and lots of famous people, my dear .... Another Madeira, Medea ...?"

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KnightEnder
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Rich,

To be honest I don't know how to do what you ask, and I would be concerned that due to my financial sitution and failure to as yet send in any of my writings that I couldn't handle the job. Would you consider taking on that resonsibility for the group? Or is there anybody else that feels they would be right for this task?

KE

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KnightEnder
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***ATTENTION: GROUP NOTICE ***

It has been brought to my attention that some submissions might be found offensive to some members and I ask that if you think anything in your submission might be the least bit offensive to even the most prudish member, please preface your story, poetry, etc. with a warning. I don't read everything before I send it out, and I would hate to be the one that decides what might be offensive. So, I think it is best if we police ourselves on this matter. I apologize I didn't even think of this aspect, luckily someone else did.

For example I should have prefaced mine with the following warning.

ATTENTION: My story contains religious content and discussion of religion.

Simple, no?

Thanks everybody, keep up the good work.

KE

[ March 31, 2005, 02:26 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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RickyB
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I have no problem with disclaimers. Even porn story sites have them. However, in an ideal world it would be only fair to have disclaimers attached to whoever might be offended by stuff. I put far greater stock in people who aren't offended easily :-)

Seriously, though, in adult fiction sites they have a pretty effecient system of shorthand for various motifs and subjects that people may look for or look to avoid. Perhaps we should develop one here?

Ob - obsecneties and vulgar language

GS - graphic sexual content

Rgn - discussion of religion

P.P. - highly partisan politics (stories that have a high element of political pamphletering)


Anything else?

As for publishing and such - I wouldn't mind the option but that's not what I seek in this group and would rather anyone recieving my stuff and the stuff of others here dedicate their time and energy to critique, so we can improve as writers. Still, if others want to do that kind of stuff more power to them, and I may one day be thankful for it.

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RickyB
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KL, just finished your story (well, about 85% of one, to pick a nit) last night. Sorry it took a while.

I loved what there is, but I'll beg to be excused of addressing the notes, at this point anyway. I have no doubt you shop at the finest groceries and butchers, and use only the freshest produce. Show me dinner and I'll comment on it at length. [Big Grin]

Reminded me of a story written by this woman I know, called "Loretta, Whore of the Revolution". If she ever finds the english version and allows me, I'll send it to you.

It's long, so I'll have to skim it again for mistakes and stuff. Didn't really notice any glaring ones the first time over, though. I love the fact that you use Morrison (that's the unreconstructed counter-culturenick in me). However, your choice of quotes, and your context, is sophisticated enough to enjoy without feeling it's guilty pleasure, the way you might enjoy something very dated or cheesy. Then again, I always did take JM seriously as a poet (Hell, I seriously contend the Bob Dylan is the most important English language poet of the 20th century, but the truth is that I'm not really into most poetry. I appreciate poetry the most when it's woven into proze or set to music).

Anyway, very good stuff. Very interesting thoughts. Gimme more.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"I love the fact that you use Morrison (that's the unreconstructed counter-culturenick in me). However, your choice of quotes, and your context, is sophisticated enough to enjoy without feeling it's guilty pleasure, the way you might enjoy something very dated or cheesy. Then again, I always did take JM seriously as a poet"

I was pleasantly saurprised to dicover how fine a poet Jim was, since The Doors were, in my opinion, rather pedestrian (with a few outstanding accomplishments, to be sure).

I used his quotes as brain pitons to point the way up a sheer cliff of ploit whose summit still remains out of sight.

I've got to settle down and critique yours and candian's efforts tonight. I've been having too much fun swinging on Ornery's monkey bars. Time to get serious. (sound of chimpanzee howling and smashing typewriter onto floor repeatedly...)

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Richard Dey
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Just to back off on an issue: I did not mean to suggest that OOW become either a publisher or an agent. That's a very serious step, so serious that it might be discussed [Wink] . My concern was with traffic central, i.e., at this point only KE -- who could easily get swamped.

OTOH, I suspect that I would generally oppose the idea of an on-line OOW journal. I edit 3 journals but I would never consider submitting to them. It's not immoral or anything, but it is taking advantage of one's position as independent 3rd party, judge, and jury. Journal editors get paid, one way or another.

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kenmeer livermaile
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“I slowly became aware of the camp smell”

What’s a camp smell? Oh, sleeping bag… but I don’t get any meaning from it. Anyway…

Your story is very good. I’m impressed and would be envious if long ago I hadn’t realized that some ways of looking at life were beyond me.

That said, it needs a lot of work. This is a compliment. Beethoven’s 7th (my personal fave) probably needed a lot of work. Really good things usually need a lot of work.

Methinks you have the opposite flaw of mine: your prose is so brief it cuts itself off at every other pass. Even so, it breathes big spaces: blue mountain air, angry human faces, heat, dust, windshields hot in the sun…

Whereas my prose suffocates itself from overly luxuriant foliage, yours is all bloom and stalk. So many flowers one can’t see them all – and they’re all necessary because they tell the story.

For example:

“A stew of cells. Giant, white cottony cells that eat your disease. Red retro beanbag chairs hauling oxygen till they give up the ghost. Hemoglobin and iron. Red. You could spend all day describing that red. Platelets. Their job is to keep it all in. Secret. Don't waste it! Don't spill! “

Just as I try to put too much into a sentence, you try to put too much into a paragraph. Ease it out. If you want to avoid a growing word count, which I think is wise considering the market’s preferences for shorties, then edit some imagery. Like the retro bean bag chairs. (One of the worst tropes of the piece, in my opinion, and it is a piece FULL of EXCELLENT tropes.)

“Spill enough and you're dead. “

Do you want to reveal that this is a life and death tale so soon? If you buried this sentence rather than singled it out, I think you’d provoke sufficient reader interest. But perhaps you want to commence the dread right away? Like said, some aspects of story-telling are beyond me.

“He'd been fishing. Missed lunch. I'd forgotten to make a head count. Stupid of me. Ryan, it's all right, there's still some left. No luck with the fish? Well, maybe this evening, hey?

He's upset. I see him wipe his eyes as he goes over to the pot.

Hey, Phil...

I don't want to confront him. He resents me being smarter than him.”

This is vague. It took a reread or three for me to figure out what was happening.

Other times, you abruptly switch gears, like here:

“It takes me a few moments to register. I was listening to his radio. A woman was dispatching cars. She sounded panicked. Okay.

Phil had strapped on his knife. The sheath was a deep brown leather. Nice. I guess the knife was about five inches long. He was always sharpening it. “

Without a hitch, as they say. One instantly realizes we’re ‘back at the camp’. I recommend you study the difference between this transition and the ‘vague’ one above and see how the second one works so well without openly telling you you’ve switched scenes, while the other one -- about Ryan and comfort and not wanting to make Phil feel bad – stays in the same setting but gets lost.

I bet you’ll learn something.

I noticed you have a feel for the resonance of recurrent motifs, like:

“I thought it looked like a gill. but his eyes actually glazed. Like a fish. Ryan’s eyes glazed like a fish” He’d been fishing. (Also, this clause:
“I thought maybe that only happened in books,” is perfect for the use of “maybe”. It places the teller and the reader in the same ambiguous state.)

Wherever you see a lot of single words, or 2-3 word phrases, in one paragraph or a close series of paragraphs, Kenmeer says: don’t place so many fences (periods) between these words. Give them room. Your story is, to me, the rare exception. It doesn’t need to be whittled down; it needs to be stretched out. (Even then, of course, paring is called for. Editing is surgical. Even organ transplants require the carving out of the old.)

Also, try making some room by cutting paragraphs in half, like this one:

“I don't blame him too much, he's always been the also ran. When he got back from two years abroad, his parents didn't even show up at the airport. He took a cab home. Found them having a family picnic. Oh, you were coming back today? Every failure he ever had was magnified until he felt he could do nothing right. It twisted him. He thought marriage would fix it. When it didn't, he tried being a father. Nothing filled that empty hole. The one that sucked in all the light and spilled out hate and insecurity. “

becomes

‘I don't blame him too much, he's always been the also ran. When he got back from two years abroad, his parents didn't even show up at the airport. He took a cab home. Found them having a family picnic. Oh, you were coming back today? Every failure he ever had was magnified until he felt he could do nothing right. It twisted him.’

‘He thought marriage would fix it. When it didn't, he tried being a father. Nothing filled that empty hole. The one that sucked in all the light and spilled out hate and insecurity.’

You’ve packed SO much info into so few words that, just as I tend toward run on sentences, you tend toward run on paragraphs. Feels good to take a breather after “It twisted him” before experiencing the condensed pain of his marriage, fatherhood, black soul hole.

All in all, a magnificent piece. I learned a LOT reading it. Don’t know what I learned from it, not yet, but I can feel it.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Ricky B:

I read the first installment of your novel project.

I'm not a good person for constructive criticism because I just plain don't like historical novels, with or without touches of fantasy.

That said, I could feel you getting inside the skins of your charceters and their period in time. I could also feel you thinking as you write, which shows in your sentence structure.

For example:

"Of all the abrupt mood swings that ensued, none was more profound than that of a short, handsome, bright eyed man by the name of Hordus Agrippas, who up until that moment stood in the midst of an circle of listeners, an easy smile on his face, eliciting the kind of laughter that comes not of flattery, but of true delight in wit."

is to me more of a writer's thought encapsulating how something went rather than prose that guides the reader along those events' passage. Well, THIS reader at least.

I've written a LOT of such sentences. I'm learning to break them down into their narrative components. My point here is NOT the typical 'short concise sentence' approach, for I LOVE long rich sentences. My point is that, long or short, your sentences should lead the reader's mind in a narrative sequence, not a container for the writer's thoughts. Isolatenthyeir poerative elements and relate them in natural sequence, except when entering a subject's stream-of-consciousness or, as Hollywood simplifies it, having a flashback or fade-into-dream...

Man, do I LEARN a lot talking to y'all like I think I know what I'm saying.

This is good.

g'nite,

kenmeer, who notes this thread's total absence of miscommunicating contention. Who are we to argue with another's assessment that w are not communicating to their preferences? Their preferences are theirs. We are only to learn what we can from the perspective added by their description of their preferences.

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KnightEnder
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I mailed it!

KE

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cperry
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Woooweeee! This calls for celebration!
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KnightEnder
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OSC would be proud. I couldn't have done it without y'all. At the very least I'll be the first OWW member to get a rejection slip since we've been together.


KE

[ April 05, 2005, 04:14 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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Where to?
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KnightEnder
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Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. Their manuscript guidelines say the following that I think sound more like my story than say Analog does.

quote:
Story Content In general, we're looking for "character oriented" stories, those in which the characters, rather than the science, provide the main focus for the reader's interest. Serious, thoughtful, yet accessible fiction will constitute the majority of our purchases, but there's always room for the humorous as well. Borderline fantasy is fine, but no Sword & Sorcery, please. Neither are we interested in explicit sex or violence. A good overview would be to consider that all fiction is written to examine or illuminate some aspect of human existence, but that in science fiction the backdrop you work against is the size of the Universe.
KE
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kenmeer livermaile
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"A good overview would be to consider that all fiction is written to examine or illuminate some aspect of human existence, but that in science fiction the backdrop you work against is the size of the Universe."

I doubt they meant it to be, but this is incredibly arrogant. It implies that you and I don't exist against the backdrop of our vast universe. I look at the satrs on clear nights, don't you?

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KnightEnder
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KL

I took it to mean that other "fiction" is set against the backdrop of real life here on Earth. But in Science Fiction it can be set against the backdrop of the entire Universe. Unless I'm just not seeing what you are seeing?

Does Speculative Fiction mean the same thing as Science Fiction, because OSC seems to use them interchangeably?

KE

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Adam Lassek
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I think people use the term "Speculative Fiction" to get away from the stigma of what much of Sci-fi has become, kind of going back to the roots of science fiction.
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Daruma28
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OK KL - very interesting story. My only critique is that this reads like a XXX version of a Readers Digest story that constantly intersects facts and social commentary with the story...but in your case, it makes it a little bit hard to get a good grasp of the narrative - almost like you cannot make up your mind on whether you want to tell a story or give us a Psych 101 lecture on pornography and it's effects on a person's sexual pshyche and marital relations.

Very compelling portrayal, but a tad bit confusing. I realize you are using this kind of approach to employ a non-conventional device for telling your story...but IMHO, it tends to distract and detract instead of move the narrative along.

However, I do like your mini-dissertation...the paragraph that starts with: "Pornography is the secret sharer. There are persons who view pornography together, but they are the
minority. Pornography is for the individual, alone in a sexual shell."

That whole sequence just seems to be the lecture part I referred to earlier, crammed into the middle of a narrative of your fiction. Maybe you could try and incorporate it into the storyline, rather than have it "interrupt" the story.

Perhaps your character visits a psychologist or researches porn addiction online or something?

BTW - I now see why JL had to send out a warning about some submissions being offensive...I wasn't, but I can certainly see why some may be.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"almost like you cannot make up your mind on whether you want to tell a story or give us a Psych 101 lecture on pornography and it's effects on a person's sexual pshyche and marital relations. "

Not "almost" but EXACTLY. In fact, my favorite reading crosses boundaries IN THE SAME TEXT, going from non-fiction and back. Borges is the classic template for this, and I don't know if anyone's bested him at this yet.

I LIKE disrupted dreams. Not saying it's a good approach to story-telling, but it's kind of how I am. A cross I have to carry. I'll get there.

A standard method of getting around this is to place the 'out of place' part in quotes and ascribe it to an imaginary lecturer. Sci-fi revels in this technqiue. It doesn't seem to disrupt the narrative nearly so much, for there's an understanding about sci-fi that it isn't REALLY supposed to be real. It's a story about a world that doesn't exist, while mainstream fiction is about a world that DOES exist, or did at the time of the writing.

Historical fiction does this sometimes too.

What's interesting is that in sci-fi, the lecturer is usually a fictional character from the same imaginary world (although sometimes a real lecturer is used as a prophetic voice of the past).

In historical fiction the historian can be contemporary but is usually some ancient cat like Plutarch.

"Perhaps your character visits a psychologist or researches porn addiction online or something?"

Ah, I see. At first I thought you were suggesting ways of continuing the plot; but you're suggesting ways of inserting the 'lecture'? Excellent. I'd probably have to adjust the 'lecturer's voice to distinguish it from 'my', the author's, voice. Oh, that always hurts so much. I'm sure you've noticed that I love the sound of my own voice. I've worked so hard on it, after all. Not that vanity isn't its own reward...

"Does Speculative Fiction mean the same thing as Science Fiction, because OSC seems to use them interchangeably?"

I first heard the term 'spec fiction' used by Harlan Ellison, who is the only true live sci-fi author I've ever seen in the flesh. Lecture at a Michigan State University.

Of course, ALL fiction is speculative.

The honest term would be 'paranormal' or 'magical' fiction. The reason sci-fi and fantasy are so incestuous is that they both want to change the behavior of some aspect of physics. Sci-fi explains the aberration by mad scientists and secret corporate research; fantasy goes straight for the magical jugular.

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canadian
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I'm going to read your story in the next couple days, KL. I started it yesterday but was rudely interrupted by a huge apartment fire two blocks up the road.

From what I've read so far, I do get a nice Harlan Ellison vibe...and definitely some Philip Jose Farmer ("Riders of the Purple Wage" comes to mind).

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kenmeer livermaile
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"("Riders of the Purple Wage" comes to mind)."

HA! For all that I come across as a big sci-fi fan, I've really lost touch with it since the late 70s. But I DID read Purple Wage way back in junior high, and it DID make an impression on me. In a sense, Farmer first introduced me to moder highbrow lit via that story's allusions.

If anything, I see myself picking up the style that Thomas Disch exemplified before he quit the biz.

But aside from Gibson (whose style IS exquisite but also insular), I wish I could write like the lady known as James Triptree, Jr. most of all. (When it comes to dealing with sci-fi memes, anyway.)

If one wished to see the kind of short story I most rever and slavishly imitate underneath it all, Nabokov's 'Signs and Symbols' or 'Lance' or 'Time and Ebb'. The first deals with madness from an excruciatingly tender perspective yet takes a very satisfying delight in depicting the madness, with memorable tropes like:

"Some of the spies are detached observers, such as glass surfaces and still ponds; others, such as coats in store windows, are prejudiced witnesses, lynchers at heart..."

The latter two treat (with both gentleness and wry contempt) themes that are generally labeled 'science fictional'.

I like stories that intrude the fantastic in ways that both delight in their own fantasticality (the aesthetics of the beautifully grotesque) and create, in the end, something like a happy ending.

I think the most perfect example of the boundaries of reality I wish to probe is the movie K-Pax, which nicely suspends ourt disbelief in both alien messiah figures and Terran [sychotic tragic figures, and weaves healing miracles from both.

The Fisher King is an equally apt example.

Harlan? On a good day, he's amazing. On a bad day, he's an overblown hack. Gotta love him though. (For an example o a writer's AWFUL beginnings, dig up an early 60s book he wrote about 'teen gangs', one he researched by jpoining the gang itself. Apparently, he looked very younf for his age.)

Farmer's most famous work, the Riverworld series, showed how a talkented writer could take a magnificent concept and terrific novel and disintegrate it in the space of a few sequels. Couldn't bring myself to finish it. I should dig up a critique I made of Gibson wat back wehn -- IF I can find it.

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Daruma28
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I emailed OM and asked him about making OWW a new forum here on OA....I think that to continue this workshop would turn this into a 40 page thread, or a whole host of threads.

He said he'd talk to the webmaster and look into it...

We just might get an OWW forum to make things a LOT easier to post, critique and edit!

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Richard Dey
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Yup. It could grow into a monster to control, and it is obviously going to be a very popular venue.
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kenmeer livermaile
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"Yup. It could grow into a monster to control, and it is obviously going to be a very popular venue."

I suppose it could turn into an OSC Quarterly/Annual Writer's Pick sort of thing.

(Winner of the OSC Writer's Prize/Honorable mention SPing '05. I'm SURE OSC doesn't have anything better to do;)

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canadian
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what a great idea!

(ascribe whichever point you wish to my generic praise)

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kenmeer livermaile
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"what a great idea!"

Hey, if it weren't for KE, there'd be nothing about which to have such an idea.

Daruma, I LOVE that phrase: 'talk to the webmaster'... deep demonic laughter from the bowels of the oven vents...

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Daruma28
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heh.

Even though I myself am a "webmaster" of a few commercial sites, I too get a weird feeling using that title...too pretentious. I prefer "Website Admin." [Smile]

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KnightEnder
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Daruma, I hope you got my email about your idea. I really like it and I appreciate the help. Whatever the Mod decides is fine with me. Just let us all know. Thanks Daruma.

Thank you, too, KL. But we have all been responsible for making OWW so succesful. I really am glad that everyone has so taken to the idea, and that we can help each other. It is also a good place to come to to get away from the sometimes turmoil of regular OA. Kind of an Oasis or Switzerland. [Smile]

KE

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OrneryMod
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Ok ask and you shall receive.

This thread is duplicated on the new forum so I am going to lock this one.

OrneryMod

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Daruma28
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Now we can make a seperate thread for each submission....Maybe each one prefaced with author's screen name (put in Anonymous if they wish) followed by a - with the title of the submission.
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LoverOfBen
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KE - I read your story. I am posting my critique here because a thread hasn't been started for it and may not be because I am a little... *clears throat* late. Nevertheless, I thought you'd be interested even though you've sent out your story. Best of luck to you on that.

Really good character development by keeping it real for all involved. Though, I could not relate to the religious fanaticism you demonstrated in the President and the Reverend--> must be a southern baptist thing. But it didn't affect the read. As far as second coming events, I differ from your interpretation (as all doctrine differs depending on the religion). Therefore, I read the story on a fairly neutral ground.

From your description and others critiques, I was interested in seeing how you contrasted the interpretations of prophesied second coming events and the resulting consequences. Overall, I liked it, mostly for philosophical reasons. Though, I think the concept very creative and original. I have often thought of how the second coming will be.

Philosophically? What a great way to demonstrate faith! You'd probably add, "and lack thereof" but in my view, everyone is interpreting events according to their knowledge and acting upon that previous experience/knowledge in the face of the unknown and supernatural. Faith is a principle of progression. Will you indulge me by letting me define it more that I may illustrate what I like most about this story? Here is the best definition I know of, from Lectures on Faith:

quote:

It is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action in [individuals]; that without it, both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental.

Was it not the hope which you had, in consequence of your belief in the existence of unseen things, which stimulated you to action and exertion, in order to obtain them?

Or may we not ask, what have you, or what do you possess, which you have not obtained by reason of your faith? Your food, your raiment, your lodgings, are they not all by reason of your faith?

To have faith it does not have to be religiously based. Faith is ACTION. I have faith when I set my alarm clock hoping that it will go off in the morning. Previous knowledge says it probably will so I act accordingly. If it didn't go off for several consecutive times I would throw it out. No more faith in that!

In your story, I saw the chairman having faith by acting on previous knowledge of military understanding. He never would have shot the president before and even couldn't believe he was doing it, but there he was, taking action according to what he hoped of the unknown. And who knows! In your story, it definately could have been an alien, a "false prophet". That's what I love about it. It illustrated to me that they were both acting on faith according to their understanding.

Also, all action is based on an object. And the object of his action was fear of the unknown. He was not fooled by a superior technology, even at the end. His FAITH in the rational led him to act, interpret, and believe the events in front of him. No wonder the Lord cannot convince people with miracles (nanobots - ingenius)! It's amazing to me how you demonstrated this.

Likewise, consider the president's object of his action: love-- essentially based on his feelings while on his knees, right? He never questioned that the phenomenon was anything but the Lord and acted according to the love he felt for him while on his knees. I _lean_ towards the president's reasoning more because it seems he received revelation from the Lord in prayer. Though, he is pretty radical to me as many cult leaders have been.

(About love. Seems wishy washy and all but in effect, ALL relationships function and progress on the principle of faith. Love is the object on which it rests. I'd have never loved my husband without hoping he would return that love. I acted. He acted. We have to show love in order to receive it---FAITH!)

In BOTH cases, they could be considered blinded by faith, no? And I don't even know if it was really an alien or not, which is the best part about the story! It leaves both men vunerable. You see what I am saying? Do you see why I wanted to define faith?

So, no... this wasn't offensive to me as a Christian but stimulating because I never saw either party, the apparent believer or non-believer, appeased. It was a neutral story, augmenting reflectiong on the principle of faith and how we act according to what we know and hope. Plus, it was enjoyable and got me thinking how non-believers may react at His coming. I believe that all the nations of the earth will be joined together fighting against Israel. I've never thought of it before, but with this image in my mind, I can see a possible political situation that may cause ALL the world joined together (it'd take something HUGE) if they believe Israel is harboring alien superpowers. Very interesting. Very creative.

(I hope this was appropriate to post, my reflections on the artful nature of your story. You wanted a "believers" perception of it, no?)

[ April 07, 2005, 09:08 PM: Message edited by: LoverOfBen ]

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KnightEnder
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"but in my view, everyone is interpreting events according to their knowledge and acting upon that previous experience/knowledge in the face of the unknown and supernatural. "

That is exactly the point of the story I set out to write. And yes I want as many different perspectives as I can get. Thanks for the critique.

KE

[ April 07, 2005, 09:24 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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KnightEnder
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Funny how sometimes the story I set out to write doesn't end up being the story I write. Sometimes they seem to take on a life of their own.

KE

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KnightEnder
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I have one new submission that I will be sending out Friday so that everybody will have the weekend to read it.

KE

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