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My slow writing

 
 
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 06:05 pm
I have asked a couple of questions here; which have basically been a request for more information on a novel I am attemting to (very slowly) write.

The general synopsis is the following: It is post apocalyptic but the reader does not know that. Written from God-eye view. Very briefly, because this can be dull, there is a settlement, a newcomer is apparent in their midst. Meanwhile the Professor using a telescope salvaged from 'The Ark' spots a craft in orbit after all satellites should have fallen back to earth. Stranger proves to be a relic of the pre-apocalypse era, genetically engineered to survive. Goes off in search of the communications arrays to talk to the orbitting craft and meets the Scavengers amongst others on her way. The Scavengers attack settlement for food or whatever, genetically engineered stranger returns in time and saves them (having previously become quite attached to individuals), lands the craft in orbit, and learns with the reader that at the time of the Apocalypse we had sent people out to Goldilocks systems and she had missed the flight. And that the Apocalypse was due to unknown megliomaniac aggressors.

That is the very very brief synopsis, so brief it might make little sense, but opinions or ideas would be appreciated.
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Type: Question • Score: 0 • Views: 1,345 • Replies: 21
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Chinspinner
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 06:48 pm
@Chinspinner,
A response, however banal or rude, would be nice to read.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 06:49 pm
@Chinspinner,
I find it hard to connect with a synopsis. If we could see some of the actual prose, it might be helpful.
Chinspinner
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 06:55 pm
@edgarblythe,
Noted. I am about 35k into it, which is a small part of a 120k+ novel. Pasting chunks of text does not appeal. But thoughts on overall story archs or secondary plots would be much appreciated.
0 Replies
 
Chinspinner
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 07:04 pm
@edgarblythe,
Jimmy responded wisely: 'Maybe he’s just looking for a place to sleep and a few scraps of food to eat. He might just be a vagrant or one of the Nomads, or one of those scavengers from the city whose decided that he’d try his luck with us country folk. Perhaps he thought that we'd be more accommodating to his kind.'
George took up this idea instantly and with palpable excitement, and pulled together what little information he had dredged regarding the people of the ruins.
'I heard they eat rats and pigeons', he said, 'rat pie and pigeon kebabs and soup made from the weeds that grow there. If they get lucky they sometimes manage to kill a feral dog or a cat and they roast it on a spit over an open fire, and they gather around and sing songs while it cooks. Sometimes they gather into tribes and when they’re really hungry they cannibalise the loners and they put them on a spit next to the dogs and cats and eat them up with people gravy.'
Jimmy smiled at this fantasy but could not resist but to join in, and elaborated, 'whatever he’s doing here, he’s got to be up to no good. Maybe he is one of those cannibals. Maybe he’s come here to catch a kid to eat. Maybe he doesn’t move during the day so that we all think that he’s harmless, but at night he drags those rags aside and he crawls out by moonlight. Maybe he sneaks into children’s rooms and steals them from their beds and cooks them in the woods beneath the trees and the stars.'
Jimmy and George shared a glance and an ill-disguised grin that bordered upon laughter, but only Mute was in their eye-line and also caught its meaning.
Richard, who had sat in silence through this latest exchange, picking absently at blades of grass and collecting them into a miniature posy in his balled hand, now raised his head with sudden bravado. 'I’ve seen him', he boasted, 'I was walking through the market, and I found a stick, so I went up by the back of the tavern and I poked him with it. He stunk worse than the dung heap but I poked him right where his guts should have been and the rags fell aside. He had a face the like of which you’ve never seen; it was full of malice with eyes as red as the mornin’ sun. He looked at me like he wanted to see me dead, like there is nothing else he wanted more in all the world.'
George gave breath to an exaggerated gasp and said portentously, 'your name is marked. I bet he remembers your face. He’s probably got it imprinted on the inside of his eyelids and it’s the last thing he sees when he closes his eyes to sleep and the first thing he sees when he opens them to wake. He’ll come sneakin’ into the dormitory, and the Master will come in in the mornin’ and find only an empty bed and a trail of bloody footprints leadin’ to the open window. He’ll skewer you on the same stick you poked him with and barbecue you in the woods.'
Richards’s scrawny chest swelled to unimpressive size and he announced, 'let him come. I’m not scared of him', but his voice wavered and his eyes had grown larger and rounder.
Jimmy sighed. He was currently scratching at the ground between his legs with a twig, crudely sketching simple nothings in the moist dirt. Without raising his eyes he shook his head sadly and said 'I would be if I knew he was after me. But luckily I’m not stupid enough to go stirring up his hatred. You’d better sleep with one eye open from now on.'
Chinspinner
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 07:13 pm
@Chinspinner,
a snippet of kids discussing the stranger, any thoughts?
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 07:46 pm
@Chinspinner,
I don't often comment on the original writing threads, but, I have read this over, once. I will sleep on it, read it over and give you an opinion tomorrow.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 08:03 pm

Also I don't know why you put these ' for these " when the characters speak.
Chinspinner
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 08:12 pm
@edgarblythe,
cheers, not sure either, easiest key to hit when typing I guess :/ And thanks Edgar btw, I know its only a chunk but good of you to spend time looking at it.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 09:48 pm
one of those scavengers from the city whose decided that he’d try his luck

Isn't it who's ?
Chinspinner
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 09:49 pm
@edgarblythe,
haha, stop being spell check, is first draft Wink
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 09:57 pm
I think the story you are telling is probably a good one. To me there are too many awkward sentences, like the following:
George gave breath to an exaggerated gasp and said portentously

But you have not said you were finished with the rewrite and edit phase. Still, when it is put out there for public viewing, it's all we have to go on.

edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 09:58 pm
I see you have answered me.
0 Replies
 
Chinspinner
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 10:04 pm
@edgarblythe,
I haven't so, over emphasising? Hmm, maybe a bit too flambouyant
Chinspinner
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 10:07 pm
@Chinspinner,
always new I over wrote
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2011 11:48 pm
@Chinspinner,
I have to say that your synopsis is not very clear and so it's tough to form an opinion on your story other than it's a bit incoherent.

How do you plan on keeping the reader in the dark about the setting being post-apocalyptic, and why do you want to?

A professor using a telescope salvaged from anything called "The Ark" to follow an orbiting craft, when he knows the skies should be clear of all satellites sort of tips the reader off that something catastrophic has happened to the world. Throw in a post apocalyptic cliché like a marauding band of Scavengers attacking a lone settlement and I'm not sure your subterfuge is going to be successful.

Keep the reader in the dark as to what caused the apocalypse has been done before but if you can pull off hiding the fact the world has gone through an apocalypse it could be very interesting. It won't be easy though and based on your synopsis it doesn't appear that you'll be able to do it.

It appears that you plan to have the orbiting craft play a central role in the plot, but here doesn't seem to be much a payoff when it lands. Is this how the characters learn that there was a civilization before their time? Again, if the professor has been following it and knows it can't be a satellite because they've all run down and fallen from the skies, it implies he already knows or at least should know what's happened. Is he keeping the knowledge from the other characters? If so why?

What is The Ark and how does it factor in the story? Must be more than a source for a telescope.

Are you saying the Stranger doesn't learn she missed the flight (and her role in whatever mission was involved) until after the craft lands? Amnesia?

Are the megalomaniacal aggressor terrestrial or aliens?

Needs a lot of work on the plot or you need to share greater detail with us.

I like post-apocalyptic fiction but there's nothing here that grabs my interest except your stated goal of keeping the reader in the dark.

Who are the other characters?

The dialogue in your snippet is more promising, but most of your tags are forced. Sometimes it’s the hardest part of writing dialogue and poorly done it will break the rhythm you can establish. Suggest you select a few books that you really like and focus on dialogue and specifically the tags the author uses. I prefer it when they are kept rather simple. Every section doesn't require an accompanying action and all of the tags don't require adverbs, especially if they are all trying for drama.

How does one shake one's head sadly? When you read that someone did, does it immediately conjure a specific gesture or is it being used to tell you the character is sad. If the dialogue is well written you won't need the author to tell you the guy is sad, and if it's not, the "sad shake of a head" will be jarring. "The guy is supposed to be sad?" you may think.

I don't know what the story is that you want to tell and am wondering if you do either, but stick with it and continue to share if any of this is of value to you.

Did you write a story outline before you began writing? If not, you may want to give it a try. It doesn't have to be all that detailed, just something to serve as a framework.

Good luck
Chinspinner
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Sep, 2011 12:12 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Cheers for taking your time, and I am quite glad I can answer most, but know where you are coming from, from the snippet, the 'hardcore you know the score' genetically engineered bird is increasingly important, would like to let you know more. I think I have basis covered, pretty much. But if you have the time or inclination would appreciate your input.
Chinspinner
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Sep, 2011 12:13 am
@Chinspinner,
And yes the Ark etc is important, they know that their was civilization before theirs, we don't immediately. They know'ish about the scavangers, they don't anticipate Sigma (the hardcore you know the score relic from time pasts) who puts them down. The craft in orbit is a warning that the original cause of the decimation of the human race has returned and comes from a goldilocks planet, we leave it there. The crescendo of this episode is Sigma kicking the crap out of the scavangers, the craft landing, and her listening to the comp on the sly.
Chinspinner
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Sep, 2011 12:28 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
by the way, you a teacher or proof reader? Also I did read all you had to say and imagine it would continue throughout my twaddle. I am working on the **** ups, genuinely do you work in this business?
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Sep, 2011 10:35 am
@Chinspinner,
Sure

You can leave the discussion here, take it the PM mode or e-mail me at [email protected]. Your choice.

If you choose e-mail, let me know since I don't normally check the yahoo mailbox on a regular basis.
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