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(Fark)   He can split an infinitive with his steely gaze. He writes limericks . . . in haiku. His Oxford Comma is revered by Cambridge. He is the most interesting writer on Fark, and this is the weekly writer's thread   ( fark.com) divider line
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183 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 20 Sep 2017 at 2:36 PM (4 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-09-20 01:49:50 PM  
Zero productivity on the writing front this week, unfortunately.  It turns out game development is the wrong career path if you want to have free time for hobbies.  Well, I did get about 500 words down on a random idea out of nowhere, but 'nowhere' is also kind of where it looks like it's going, so meh.

On the bright side, I did come up with an core idea for a project I have waiting in the wings: my first publishable novel focused on how magic might exist in the real world, and drew heavily on John Dee's Monas Heiroglyphica as an inspiration.  If you haven't read it (and there's no reason why anyone other than aspiring horror writers and eighteenth century alchemists would have) it's a treatise on (loosely) how symbols can be used to cast spells, which became the in-universe mechanic.  For this new idea, I'm planning on having the primary character have a mathematical background and become obsessed with magical effects deriving from numerology.  There's a whole universe of coincidences I can mine for effect.

The idea's been done to death, of course, but that's not the story itself; it's just the stage dressing for his descent into darkness.

Also, my efforts to split infinitives using only the power of my steely gaze have so far been failures.
 
2017-09-20 01:58:57 PM  
I posted some of these for farkers over the weekend.  Here's a representative one:

ↂ ↂ Cancer, the Crab ↂ ↂ


In the world of the Zodiac, Cancer is the rock star: Most are only popular for a short time and afterwards retire into a life of bitter seclusion... except for the ones who choke to death on their vomit early on, but that's more of a Scorpio thing...

The most appealing trait of a Cancer is compassion...way more compassion than is appropriate; in fact, so much compassion that the word "compassion" is hardly adequate. A stronger word, indicative of say a serial killer who tortures his victims to death because ordeal will insure them a place in heaven, should be created just for this level of compassion. And, more empathy than you can shake a stick at (a Cancer completely understands WHY you are shaking sticks at empathy 'cause he's "been there"). A Cancer is like the proverbial clown that is crying on the inside, except Cancers cry on the outside and never wear over-sized shoes; moreover, I've never seen a proverb with a Cancer in it... although, to be fair, there were a LOT of townspeople in "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" and odds are that at least one of them was a Cancer... Maybe the guy who saw things from the wolf's point of view...

You'd think that would make a Cancer the ideal mate and you'd be so wrong you'd break out in a rash. It isn't easy interacting with a doppleganger for the God of Hurt Feelings. Cancers also have vivid imaginations... so vivid, they convince themselves of their lies. Lie detectors are useless against them. But, this phenomenal skill at perverting the truth is USELESS in a Cancer because of that damned empathy. Instead of being a great provider as a governor or a lawyer, a Cancer retreats into jobs without much interaction with others like fire-watcher or clerk at the DMV.

Cancers are loyal. A Cancer will follow you into Hell, little realizing the ONLY reason you are going into Hell is to GET AWAY FROM HIM.

Helen Keller was a Cancer and you could hardly get a word out of her. The shy and retiring Lindsay Lohan is also a Cancer, although there has been a campaign to get her to stop. An example of a non-actor who is also a Cancer would be Michelle Rodriguez. Yes, that was cruel, but so was having to sit through all those Fast and Furious movies... Oddly enough, both Rodriquez and Lohan were in the same movie: Machete. Machete is Danny Trejo's Gone with the Wind. See it with someone you love who also doesn't mind seeing a man's intestines being yanked out of his body and used to repel down the side of a hospital...

Male Cancers include the Dalai Lama, Julius Caesar, Nelson Mandela and Vin Diesel, another member of the Fast and Furious cast. Am I saying that Julius Caesar was sensitive and imaginative? Frankly, I'll say anything to finish this section of the essay...

The constellation of Cancer is the faintest of all the zodiac constellations because it doesn't want to draw attention to itself. It consists of five stars because it is essentially a capital 'Y'. If you want to see Cancer in the night sky, ask for help from someone who gives a damn. If you don't find such a person, take the hint and do something else...

Cancer ruled by the moon, after an election marred by controversy.
 
2017-09-20 02:01:40 PM  
Well it ain't me. I split an infinitive once and my shoulder stills hurts. And that man from Nantucket, the one with the long di
 
2017-09-20 02:03:40 PM  
ck? He's still mad at me.
 
2017-09-20 02:41:22 PM  
There once was a beautiful young lass
Filled with virtue, and honor, and sass
I should write out her tale
Instead of checking email
Ah screw it, I'll just sit on my ass
 
2017-09-20 02:43:16 PM  
Beautiful Lady
Story Should Be Told By Me
I Am Quite Lazy
 
2017-09-20 02:48:44 PM  
Got my badge for the Austin film fest.  Had to cobble together some hostel reservations, but I'm officially not homeless for any part of the festivities (ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED).  Because I'm staying cheap in hostels, I'm even planning on staying an extra night so there's time to actually see a movie or two this time around.  Last time I went, my two regrets were not staying someplace cheaper and not making time in the schedule for the film part of the film fest.  Hopefully, I'll have a whole new list of regrets after this visit.

I thought about going for the cheaper Conference badge instead of Producer's badge this time, but it's only a $130 difference between the two.  It's a good chunk of change, but the producer's badge comes with entry to a few more events, complete with food & booze, so I figure if you'd add what I'd spend on that any way they might just even out, or at least get so close it's not much of a difference either way.

On the novel writing front, I killed a nun.  She deserved it.  I'd do it again.
 
2017-09-20 02:52:18 PM  
imageshack.com
 
2017-09-20 02:59:26 PM  
Novel is out with beta readers.  In the meantime, I'm doing a polish.

Sold another reprint story to Digital SF.
 
2017-09-20 03:04:26 PM  
I missed this thread last week! I haven't written anything for about two months. Losing both of my cats within six weeks was rough, and I spent a week in my ancestral homeland (Massachusetts) for probably the last time in my life.

Still can't quite finish this Harry Potter fan fiction. It's gone through two revisions but I still don't think it's done. A member of my writer's group compared it to a kidney stone that I just need to hurry up and pass. I'm not sure he has had kidney stones before. I have, and there's not much you can do to speed them along.

Enough whining. Here's a link that gives some tips on query letters.
 
2017-09-20 03:31:23 PM  
He can split an infinitive with his steely gaze. He writes limericks . . . in haiku. His Oxford Comma is revered by Cambridge. He is...

The Stig?

*looks*
Eh, close enough.

/Now someone write some Most Interesting Man In The World/The Stig crossover fic,,,
 
2017-09-20 03:41:55 PM  
img.fark.net

"Put up or shut up." That's how it started.

I'm a fan of Doctor Who. I didn't grow up with it, but I've been a pretty faithful watcher since the Ecclestone reboot. However, my interest in the franchise has waned drastically in the last three or four years. Over time, flaws in the characters and world of Doctor Who have become harder and harder for me to ignore.

I biatched constantly to my friend who (heh!) is a massive fan, always talking about what I would change. "Put up or shut up," is what he finally told me.

So here's my quick take on how I would do Doctor Who if I had my druthers.
FANFICTION.NET LINK: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12659278/1/The-Mists-of-History-An-Alter​n​ate-Timeline

His basic parameters are the same: Rebellious time lord, stolen tardis, stuck chameleon chip, fondness for Earth and human companions.

He's not called the Doctor and the Tardis isn't a police box, to keep from constantly making mental comparisons to pre-existing ones as you're reading the story. - but he's supposed to be the Doctor just the same.

My big annoyances with the existing modern-era Doctor include:
- Weird only for the sake of being weird.
- Not alien enough.
- Feared for no reason.
- Too much magic screwdriver.
- Lazy plot contrivances and Deus-ex-Tardis solutions.
- Uninteresting companions.
- Uninteresting bad guys.
- Woefully anemic worldbuilding.
- Doesn't live up to the title of Time Lord.

This isn't a heavily refined story. It's mostly a first draft with a couple of proofreading and tweaking passes. For me, it's more about hoping to spark a discussion about Doctor Who, it's world, whether changes would improve it and about my version of those changes.

Please feel free to be critical (of the work and the concepts) and share your opinions openly. I'm hoping for a fun and lively debate with opinions all over the spectrum.

Allons-y!
 
2017-09-20 03:42:29 PM  
I got some more words done on the short story I posted last week about shooting hurricanes, and I'm headed out shortly to get some fresh air and finish it.
 
2017-09-20 03:50:29 PM  
There was an old man
from Peru, whose lim'ricks all
look'd like haiku. He

Said with a laugh "I
cut them in half, the pay is
much better for two."
 
2017-09-20 04:11:11 PM  
Productivity down because power tools are bad
img.fark.net

Now I can only write short stories.
 
2017-09-20 04:34:05 PM  
Hello, writers!

In this week's accomplishments, I finally got the haughty woman who can turn into a giant eagle up on the roof in a whistling hat and a raincoat that plays 'Build Me Up, Buttercup' by The Foundations, which should actually be posted as an installment sometime next year. Also, I started in on the part where Maggie and her Daddy steal a fifteen foot tall Xmas tree from the park by making it walk home with them, which will go up some time in December. (That just happened to line up, plot-wise. It's actually March in story.) In this week's serial installment, the god who chain smokes and drinks black coffee and heals sick people has finally elected to leave the house - after hearing a rendition of 'My Melancholy Blues' from the household's resident drag performer. My God, that all sounds incoherent. I promise you, it's all one story and it makes sense if you get it in order with context, honestly.

Link direct to the New Readers page which has plot summary if you're curious.

I've got a love/hate relationship with the Oxford comma. I think it makes things look nice and neat, and you need it to prevent the "Dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand and God" problem, but other than that, I dunno. It's not necessary, most of the time, and that means that in the brutal world of the evolving English language, it gets culled.

As relates to my work on the walking Xmas tree, what do you guys do when you have a plot point you need to write that fits and must happen, but you're just not enthusiastic about doing it? I can usually find something I enjoy about everything, but getting the tree home never clicked with me. I don't want to just gloss over it, because I think readers would want to see what happens, ("They found a Christmas Tree in March! They got it home with magic!" "Well, shoot, lady, you wanna give us a little more?") and after rehashing the possibilities a few times, it still seems the best way to get from Point A to Point B, but it feels a little like I'm just going by rote.
 
2017-09-20 05:07:06 PM  
The Oxford Comma,
Separating three ideas,
Keeps confusion out.

It's amusing that the entire reason there is no comma in some stylebooks is because the AP and newspaper style in general wanted to save the space.
 
2017-09-20 05:07:32 PM  
Here's my update:
img.fark.netThis is the roughest draft 1st draft I've done in a long time. I know I have to do a lot in rewrites but I want to get the framework of the story up, so I'm focusing on that. It's the first time I've tried doing fantasy.
 
2017-09-20 05:12:46 PM  

PIP_the_TROLL: Please feel free to be critical (of the work and the concepts) and share your opinions openly. I'm hoping for a fun and lively debate with opinions all over the spectrum.


Oo, I am (or was) a New Who fan. My husband and I dropped it after Eleven killed older, alternate Amy Pond on that medical quarantine planet and everyone seemed okay with it and the plot just went on. Just couldn't seem to get back into it after that. Stuff that's happened with Twelve and Clara, The Impossible Girl seems to indicate we may've gotten out at a good time and it hasn't tempted either one of us to return. I think Dave Tennant (the ascended fanboy) will always be my favorite Doctor, even though he could get pretty messianic and they turned him into a house elf that one time.

Just from a quick perusal, here, it reads a bit purple. Which is not helpful, just an overarching thing. There's a lot of redundancy, e.g. "meaningless affectation." "Affectation" expresses that fine by itself. Also, "Crestfallen" before behavior that indicates the crestfallenness. I think if you just have the character acting dejected, people will get it. It rattles, basically. It needs tightening. I think I'd like to see a little more character description - as in , what they look like - either before or during the action. And, with the way they're introduced, it's hard for me to care about them and what they're doing. It's character driven (as I think Dr. Who should be, at its best) , so I really need to like them, or at least be interested in them, to keep reading. I mean, if I found them vile and disgusting, that would work, too, but that's not what you're going for.

Take your first episode of the New Who series. It starts in media res, but the insanity, and the contrast between Rose and the Doctor, is what makes one want to keep watching. What's happening? Who is this weird guy? Who is this ordinary girl? What are they going to do next? But WHY do you care about them? How does the show do that in such a short period of time? I can't really answer that for you, you've gotta dissect it and look at the bits and draw your own conclusions. It's not just because they're the Doctor and his new Companion, though, because the audience don't know that yet.

However, I do not see a lot of groping for creative ways to say "said," (Howled. Chortled. Sighed. Shouted.) which is great, and not a lot of adverbs. That's good mechanics. Keep doing that. Just have a look at the other stuff, too.
 
2017-09-20 05:24:54 PM  

SVenus: Productivity down because power tools are bad
[img.fark.net image 850x1133]

Now I can only write short stories.


Holy shiate! That looks horribly painful. Mad props for keeping your sense of humor, but hopefully it's somehow better than it looks.
 
2017-09-20 05:39:10 PM  
After a bout of sciatica that prevented me from focusing on much of anything for about 6 weeks I did manage to get back into the swing of things. Managed a lot of editing on (mostly) finished stuff, serendipitously met another writer on an unrelated facebook group I am on asking about sailing vessels who has given me some very good (and positive!) feedback, and received the artwork for the main character.

Excerpt from a near completed piece below...

-----

"So, you said you never really made love. Is this true, Dwovar? Only prostitutes and whores?" "Yea" I muttered into my tankard "But you never finished your story." I didn't really want to get into it. It touched far to close to that thing that had brought me the most pain over the years, and had only come to the fore once I realized my feelings for Eryn.

I almost choked on my porter when she said "Who was she?" "What do you mean?" I asked, desperately trying to avoid the subject. "Who was she?" she repeated.

"The woman who first offered you her love, and whose love you rejected."

As she said these words I was slammed back there once again. Back to a cliff overlooking the Dragon Straight, and saw her again, her tears falling as her dark hair blew behind her in the warm wind that late Midsummers afternoon, so very many years ago. This day. And as the sun began to set its long rays again made her shine like a beacon as she walked away. The sound of my tankard hitting the ground brought me back.

"I have to go. They'll need me tonight for patrol. Midsummers Night - very likely time for an attack. I should be in full gear and ready for action" I said as I stood, my hand dropping to the sword at my side that wasn't there. I could feel it, feel the anger and self-loathing building, and the mass twisting out again, tendrils that spread as if seeking something.

"Don't let it, Dwovar, don't let it consume you. It was quiet, you were at peace. Don't run away from this. Don't run away from me" came Violets voice in my mind. Then Oonas voice, as if she were next to me as I sat in that tower in Tyneham. "But Dalwann is thousands of miles away." I stood there, and as I did so the mass began to retreat as Her love flowed in, flowed from the Devotee that stood in front of me, radiant now, my Goddess - our Goddess - shining from within her.

She now came over and took my face in her gloved hands, looked me in the eyes again, and I was unable to do a thing. Our Goddess in her eyes, she whispered and I heard Violets soft voice both in the Mind and my ears. "You can never run away, Dwovar. Your past will follow wherever you go. Face it as you face the trolls and all those other awful things you seem to love to slay. It's so much easier, isn't it? So easy to focus on what's outside instead of what's inside. But, it's what's inside that matters. It's what's inside that drives us, that drives you to run into mortal danger so you don't have to deal with the pain you caused her. So you don't have to look at what you lost so long ago."

img.fark.net
 
2017-09-20 06:32:40 PM  
are you a writer? i got lots of stories in my head that would make books. i've done stuff too. you could right about me and i can pay.
 
2017-09-20 06:41:30 PM  

DoBeDoBeLurk: PIP_the_TROLL: Please feel free to be critical (of the work and the concepts) and share your opinions openly. I'm hoping for a fun and lively debate with opinions all over the spectrum.

Oo, I am (or was) a New Who fan. My husband and I dropped it after Eleven killed older, alternate Amy Pond on that medical quarantine planet and everyone seemed okay with it and the plot just went on. Just couldn't seem to get back into it after that. Stuff that's happened with Twelve and Clara, The Impossible Girl seems to indicate we may've gotten out at a good time and it hasn't tempted either one of us to return. I think Dave Tennant (the ascended fanboy) will always be my favorite Doctor, even though he could get pretty messianic and they turned him into a house elf that one time.


Ecclestone is mine, probably mostly because he was my first. But also of the modern ones he seemed the most 'otherworldly' of the modern set. He wasn't 'weird just to be weird' as I scorned above. He was weird because he was just a screwed up individual. He seemed a little crazy in a believable way. And he seemed legitimately dangerous (because he was actually a LOT crazy as it turned out).

At any rate, phenomenal critique, DoBeDoBeLurk. It's unrefined, as I said, but your points are very much on point and I appreciate them.

What did you think of the various concepts? The 'improvements' so to speak?
 
2017-09-20 07:06:58 PM  
bastar:

Art work is farkin epic, liking the piece too.
 
2017-09-20 07:10:15 PM  
SVenus:

img.fark.net
/Seriously, sorry to hear that
 
2017-09-20 07:18:29 PM  

Fox10456: bastar:

Art work is farkin epic, liking the piece too.


Thanks. They do great work for a fair price. If you feel the need to subject yourself to more from "Field Notes of a Mercenary Dwarf" let me know.
 
2017-09-20 07:19:14 PM  

PIP_the_TROLL: What did you think of the various concepts? The 'improvements' so to speak?


Hmm. I like renaming him as a jumping off place for a new universe. I think you could do a lot with why he's calling himself the Agent now, since every time in canon where he drops or is about to drop the name "Doctor" it's always a big thing. It says a lot about who he thinks he is and what he believes is his purpose - like the Master, too. I like a princess as a companion, although he doesn't seem to usually go with people so high-profile, so there could be a lot of story explaining how that came about and interesting clashing of viewpoints.

Now, I never found the Gallifrey stuff really engaging, in the series itself, so maybe I'm the wrong type of fan to be asking about things beyond that. The Master, yes, but that was a personal vendetta. I understand there was a lot more from Gallifrey and politics and Time Lords sticking their fingers in each other's messes in the original series. I'm not sure, if you're annoyed by the sonic screwdriver, that introducing a necklace is going to get you less leaning on gimicky technology. You introduce a new thing, people are gonna want to play with it - see it used, figure out all the rules. It's like when it was suddenly revealed he could store his Time-Lord-ness in the watch. "What? How does that work? Do something cool with it!" and eventually they came back to it for another plot device, but they haven't messed around with it a lot since, it's just there. (Well, I'm sure it launched a thousand fics, but they didn't do a lot with it in the series.) They do tend to come up with new things a lot for a given plot and then not necessarily integrate them into the universe (It was there once for the plot, we'll never see another plot revolve around it again, or maybe ONE more plot), so maybe that's not a "sonic screwdriver fixes everything" problem so much as a "new tech whenever the plot demands it" problem, but that's more the series itself than your attempted alteration.

I think it could be a really neat start and it has a lot of avenues for exploration. Were you intending to have the Dowager as a recurring villain, a new Master? Sort of a rogue agent they need to foil who will sometimes foil them? I think those sort of plots work very well with Who... probably better than that whole convoluted thing with The Silence and the goo people and River Song in a spacesuit and... God, that was a mess. "The Master is unhinged and he's pulling a lot of strings to screw with the Doctor and just to amuse himself" is a lot leaner and more functional. I think, anyway.
 
2017-09-20 07:45:37 PM  

bastar: Excerpt from a near completed piece below...


Hmm, it's got some formatting issues, although I'm not sure if they might be related to pasting into a tiny window. Possessive apostrophes are needed, dialog from new character goes in a new paragraph... The language is clunky - it gets across what you're trying to say, but it reads awkwardly. "As she said these words I was slammed back there once again," runs like a gas tank full of sugar. You might need a simile or a metaphor in there or something. "Her words took me back there, as if she had pushed me into a tank of ice water." Or even just "I was back there," without mentioning it was the words that did it, since it comes right after her words and we can infer cause and effect. The dialog comes off as pretty stilted, too. It can help to say things aloud and try to get into a conversation with yourself, just listen how it goes. God knows George Lucas could've learned a lot if he tried saying some of the things he put in the mouths of his characters.

It's a short excerpt, but it looked like you might be fighting the "too many words for 'said'" problem I mentioned above, and watch out for adverbs. They crop up like weeds. There are better ways to get things across than just stringing "ly" words together. "Very" can be a problem, too.

It is RPG related? I ask because, you know, character sketch and all. It runs well enough for sharing backstory with a gaming group, but if you want it to stand on its own, you may need to spend a few hours hitting it with a socket wrench.
 
2017-09-20 07:49:27 PM  

bastar: Fox10456: bastar:

Art work is farkin epic, liking the piece too.

Thanks. They do great work for a fair price. If you feel the need to subject yourself to more from "Field Notes of a Mercenary Dwarf" let me know.


Swap you for thoughts on 7609 words of a rough draft

Email is:jamesrfox.foxorchards at gmail
 
2017-09-20 07:59:40 PM  

DoBeDoBeLurk: bastar: Excerpt from a near completed piece below...

Hmm, it's got some formatting issues, although I'm not sure if they might be related to pasting into a tiny window. Possessive apostrophes are needed, dialog from new character goes in a new paragraph... The language is clunky - it gets across what you're trying to say, but it reads awkwardly. "As she said these words I was slammed back there once again," runs like a gas tank full of sugar. You might need a simile or a metaphor in there or something. "Her words took me back there, as if she had pushed me into a tank of ice water." Or even just "I was back there," without mentioning it was the words that did it, since it comes right after her words and we can infer cause and effect. The dialog comes off as pretty stilted, too. It can help to say things aloud and try to get into a conversation with yourself, just listen how it goes. God knows George Lucas could've learned a lot if he tried saying some of the things he put in the mouths of his characters.

It's a short excerpt, but it looked like you might be fighting the "too many words for 'said'" problem I mentioned above, and watch out for adverbs. They crop up like weeds. There are better ways to get things across than just stringing "ly" words together. "Very" can be a problem, too.

It is RPG related? I ask because, you know, character sketch and all. It runs well enough for sharing backstory with a gaming group, but if you want it to stand on its own, you may need to spend a few hours hitting it with a socket wrench.


This goes to the heart of what I am dealing with. I have a number of other issues as well, but clunky language is a big one. I do read it aloud, mostly to my fiancee', but she may be biased.

"Too many words for "said"" - another issue that crops up with me a lot. I cut a lot of stuff out during edits, and consolidate stuff. I have a VERY bad problem with saying the same thing three different times and ways. It's good to hear from others though, keeps me keeping an eye on it.

Yes, it is RPG related, but it's a small sample of a much larger story, FWIW...

Fox10456: bastar: Fox10456: bastar:

Art work is farkin epic, liking the piece too.

Thanks. They do great work for a fair price. If you feel the need to subject yourself to more from "Field Notes of a Mercenary Dwarf" let me know.

Swap you for thoughts on 7609 words of a rough draft

Email is:jamesrfox.foxorchards at gmail


I'll be in touch. I have to bag it and head to bed very soon, but tomorrow is another day.
 
2017-09-20 08:02:31 PM  

DoBeDoBeLurk: Hmm. I like renaming him as a jumping off place for a new universe. I think you could do a lot with why he's calling himself the Agent now, since every time in canon where he drops or is about to drop the name "Doctor" it's always a big thing. It says a lot about who he thinks he is and what he believes is his purpose - like the Master, too. I like a princess as a companion, although he doesn't seem to usually go with people so high-profile, so there could be a lot of story explaining how that came about and interesting clashing of viewpoints.


Well, one was really just supposed to sub 'Doctor' for 'Agent' upon completion. He wasn't really intended to be a new iteration of the Doctor, but more of a ground-up replacement for the mess the character is now. There's an easy enough line to draw between 'doctor' and 'fixes things' in the existing setup. As you say, Agent is more provocative. Honestly, I just picked it because it sounded cool. But while I was writing the bit with the Dowager, I had her play with why he would call himself that. I don't have a satisfactory explanation even for myself at this point. I really liked the concept behind Princess Ki, but her primary purpose was to contrast against all the modern companions who grew up within a bus or train ride's distance from each other. My driving force behind all of this was simply to prove that it's laughably easy to add distinctiveness and variety to the Doctor's universe.

DoBeDoBeLurk: I'm not sure, if you're annoyed by the sonic screwdriver, that introducing a necklace is going to get you less leaning on gimicky technology. You introduce a new thing, people are gonna want to play with it - see it used, figure out all the rules. It's like when it was suddenly revealed he could store his Time-Lord-ness in the watch. "What? How does that work? Do something cool with it!" and eventually they came back to it for another plot device, but they haven't messed around with it a lot since, it's just there.


I loathe the sonic screwdriver. They should just go ahead and call it a magic wand and be done with it. You're right about introducing gimmicks to solve plot problems is bad and precipitous thing. I think I avoided it here. The tardis-neckless is undeniably powerful, but immediately canonized as being all but unobtainable, and also dangerous to its user. The Dowager only has one because she was around when it was made and it's far beyond the Agent's access. As for the watch - right again. They introduced it and did nothing to it. I picked it up and ran with it, hopefully in the right direction. To me it was a totem. A literal and figurative representation of their existence as Time Lords. I also wanted that title to mean something so I gave him literal time powers, just a not a limitless supply of them nor the power or breadth of them as the Dowager possesses. I also introduced additional technology to avoid overuse of the screwdriver and to strengthen the idea that Time Lords are essentially technomages.

DoBeDoBeLurk: I think it could be a really neat start and it has a lot of avenues for exploration. Were you intending to have the Dowager as a recurring villain, a new Master?


Mmmmmm... yes and no. The Dowager is my Master in this storyline in general concept, but given that she's illustrated to be immeasurably more powerful than the Agent, she's really not his nemesis. She could certainly recur (though I have no intention of writing more with this character or concept), and I left it in such a way as she could. But to my mind if he encountered her again she'd probably be after the same objective, just attempting a less lethal way of achieving it. The Agent didn't beat the Dowager - like, at all. He only successfully managed to appeal to her better nature.
 
2017-09-20 08:21:37 PM  

bastar: This goes to the heart of what I am dealing with. I have a number of other issues as well, but clunky language is a big one. I do read it aloud, mostly to my fiancee', but she may be biased.

"Too many words for "said"" - another issue that crops up with me a lot. I cut a lot of stuff out during edits, and consolidate stuff. I have a VERY bad problem with saying the same thing three different times and ways. It's good to hear from others though, keeps me keeping an eye on it.

Yes, it is RPG related, but it's a small sample of a much larger story, FWIW...


Ahh, you see, I married MY ideal reader. He's articulate and very good at the writing himself, but he mostly does it for RPG.

A lot of that stuff has been plaguing writers (at least in English) for a long time. Sometimes all you need is practice, or more reading of diverse works. Other things, like "said" and adverbs, you need to keep stamping on like a whack-a-mole. I got a real problem with "immediately" and "absolutely." I went ahead and made "absolutely" one of my characters' pet phrases, so maybe I wouldn't lean on it so much with the others, and outside of dialog. It sounds like you're aware of what needs fixing, you just don't have the tools to do it with. I've recommended On Writing before, by Stephen King. He's a lot more eloquent about this stuff than I am, I do a lot of writing by feel.

I find that, when I have something that just won't frickin' work, I sometimes need to set it on fire and start over from scratch. In reading and rewriting, I can get stuck in a certain "mode." If I started to go weird and purple, I can't just go back and fix word by word, I have to start over from the beginning and re-do the feeling. Like, I have a character that tends to start thinking and acting in really childish ways with simple words and sentence structure. Sometimes that works for him, because he's emotionally stunted and there's a lot he doesn't understand, but he's not dumb. He perks right up when you give him something technical and he has a decent vocabulary and an analytical mind. So I need to back up and make sure the simplified language relates to something like "I don't want to open a Christmas present in front of people because I have to act like I like it and smile at them and I know I don't smile right," and not "The toaster doesn't work right." He might feel that way if he were really frustrated and unhappy, but it would normally be something like, "The heating element needs adjusting and it's not taking well to the new power source I provided. I need a flat head screwdriver and some drafting paper!" When I slip into childish language without meaning to, I often have to go back and rip out a lot of work.

I hope you can take what you have apart and get on top of it. I'd be interested to see what happens as it comes along.
 
2017-09-20 08:35:59 PM  

PIP_the_TROLL: The tardis-neckless is undeniably powerful, but immediately canonized as being all but unobtainable, and also dangerous to its user. The Dowager only has one because she was around when it was made and it's far beyond the Agent's access.


True, but even if there's only one of it (and will only ever be one) people will want to play with it and see what it does. Because it's so powerful, if you come back to it a lot and it's consistently written that way, it could be a universe-breaker and get you into narrative trouble. And if you don't come back to it, well, that's the same problem as the series.

PIP_the_TROLL: Mmmmmm... yes and no. The Dowager is my Master in this storyline in general concept, but given that she's illustrated to be immeasurably more powerful than the Agent, she's really not his nemesis. She could certainly recur (though I have no intention of writing more with this character or concept), and I left it in such a way as she could. But to my mind if he encountered her again she'd probably be after the same objective, just attempting a less lethal way of achieving it. The Agent didn't beat the Dowager - like, at all. He only successfully managed to appeal to her better nature.


Hmm, a little bit more like The Oracle from The Matrix, then. Powerful, but meant to be rarely used, just acting behind the scenes. (But not cryptic and benevolent.) That sort of character can be really easy to abuse, particularly in serial format. Sort of a plot-ex-machina. They don't have to muck in with the day-to-day business and they only show up to cause a fuss. It's a good thing to have, but it's tempting to lean on it. I think you could probably do with a normal-sized, similar-power-level-to-the-Doctor antagonist, but since that's not one of the things you're trying to fix, take it with a grain of salt.
 
2017-09-20 09:51:40 PM  

toraque: Zero productivity on the writing front this week, unfortunately.  It turns out game development is the wrong career path if you want to have free time for hobbies.  Well, I did get about 500 words down on a random idea out of nowhere, but 'nowhere' is also kind of where it looks like it's going, so meh.

On the bright side, I did come up with an core idea for a project I have waiting in the wings: my first publishable novel focused on how magic might exist in the real world, and drew heavily on John Dee's Monas Heiroglyphica as an inspiration.  If you haven't read it (and there's no reason why anyone other than aspiring horror writers and eighteenth century alchemists would have) it's a treatise on (loosely) how symbols can be used to cast spells, which became the in-universe mechanic.  For this new idea, I'm planning on having the primary character have a mathematical background and become obsessed with magical effects deriving from numerology.  There's a whole universe of coincidences I can mine for effect.

The idea's been done to death, of course, but that's not the story itself; it's just the stage dressing for his descent into darkness.

Also, my efforts to split infinitives using only the power of my steely gaze have so far been failures.


I bet you'd get a kick out of this book by U. Eco: https://www.amazon.com/Search-Perfect-Language-Making-Europe/dp/​063120​5101. Fantastic stuff.
 
2017-09-20 10:06:47 PM  

Fox10456: SVenus:

[img.fark.net image 290x174]
/Seriously, sorry to hear that


Thanks. It's been one hell of a month.

 Someone discussing everything that happened wondered about a time machine. Not to actually go back I time and change things, but instead to go just a little into the future - to find out when this all comes back to normal again. That way, he said, you'll know when you can relax.
 
2017-09-20 11:26:54 PM  
All of the short stories I wanted to finish are stalled after completion of first draft.  Then a germ of an idea arose while I was eating raisins smothered in a sauce of maple syrup and ground cinnamon and tahini.  Man, were they good.  I wonder if it might inspire further ideas...sadly, I forgot to buy more raisins. :(

Anyway, 841 words flowed like water.  After years of nothingburger, a finished tale.  The thing didn't need anything but minor tweaks, spell check, and obsessive proofreading.  Why can't every story be like that instead of driving me to beat my head against the wall?  Why? :(

Also: Long live the Oxford comma.

SVenus: Productivity down because power tools are bad
[img.fark.net image 850x1133]

Now I can only write short stories.


@.@

Damn.
 
2017-09-20 11:37:29 PM  

PleaseHamletDon'tHurtEm: Anyway, 841 words flowed like water.  After years of nothingburger, a finished tale.  The thing didn't need anything but minor tweaks, spell check, and obsessive proofreading.  Why can't every story be like that instead of driving me to beat my head against the wall?  Why? :(


It all depends on you. Douglas Adams, I recall, actually had to be kidnapped to write. His editor stuck him in a hotel room and glared at him and wouldn't let him out until he finished the book. Most of us don't get that quality of intervention and we have to like what we're doing enough to keep doing it despite how hard it is. It could take me years to get through a single story... until I picked up this latest project, now I'm doing pages and pages every week. I dunno what happened. I did some peyote last year, but I didn't have a transcendental experience or anything. Vomit and a feeling of betrayal and waste, was all.

What you finished sounds fairly short, like maybe you could paste it here, or could you give us a link to peruse?
 
2017-09-21 09:22:37 AM  
having fun this week; attempting science in pirate:
------------------------
So Billy; y've never been to sea before...

Har! Rac'n air in our sails; turbot pans;
Anna hardtack to silly, boys. There's game afoot.

Like Shakespeare in dialect; wondrous to behold.

Ahoy, maties.

Hornswoggling boundary effects; 'tis a curse on neuton's laws.
Such physic as god intended, but known by no man. The fluid dynamic.

Or like the lass bound in the hold again; the captn's curse. Fadism as cold as a merchant's heart, I'll be bound.

Din't the geek know marx? Only that which serves royal purposes prospers; that be why we be here. The skunk works; the garage fix; the bounty of the high seas.

Potted trickery.
--------------
HA! part two gets worse...
 
2017-09-21 10:23:31 AM  
If I blame you for what you do I will have told a lie. I can not say that you want to. I can not say you try. I only say it's time you knew that when you sashay by in tailored pants, snug, soft and blue you raise more than my eye.
 
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