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Thread: Well... Making an attempt

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    Senior Member The Unseemly's Avatar
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    Well... Making an attempt

    I'm relatively new to this forum (post count's suggestions), and, indeed, I suppose like many are, am making an attempt to write a fantasy book. Firstly however, I'd be really glad to see what people think of Heline (note: the last e has an acute accent, can't get it on the forums...) and Tel-Anon. I'm not very good at direct explanations (C+ on essays told me this...), so, perhaps, a little passage... Anyways, don't fall asleep:

    There are perhaps may oddities that one may notice when walking through the streets of Tel-Anon. The first may be that you could notice the multiculturism, the many various ethnic groups of Representative Species which was Tel-Anon. To the observant eye, this could lead to problems with clothing retailers, because, well, something that fit the Aves did not necesserily fit the Rattus norvegicus, and lead to complications such as a goblin wearing a suit intended for a lein, which had previously been designed by a gargoyle.
    Then, the walker of Tel-Anon's streets might, like it happens in any modern city, come across the traffic, and not help but wonder what sort of ideas people had for transportation. The manticore, for example, was preferable to the horse, as not only did it gallop two times faster, but bystanders also got out of the way two times faster. Something to do with the face, they said, and the size. Or the flying carpet, for that matter, especially the living-room sized one, made a good source of income as it could be used as public conveyance around the city.
    Supposedly there was also a speed limit somewhere, however, since there was no universal method of measuring speed in Tel-Anon, because what was 100 knots per hour for a donkey was quite different from 100 knots per hour for a griffon, making that speed limit “acceptable,” which usually varied on the mood of the driver.
    There was of course the occasional biological abnormality walking through Tel-Anon's streets. The ghosts were particular ones. Their presence apparently had something to do with the brain's process' of shutting down, which, when it made some final calculations, could sometimes make a mistake and to Ressorvimo, namely the process for the brain to do the opposite of shutting down which is waking up, and leading to the complications of people attending their own funerals.
    A figure plodded through the streets, with a calm comprehension of all this. It was also muddy, and it rained. Mud, in Tel-Anon, belonged to another of the city's machinations, peculiarly enough. Many interesting things were disposed of in Tel-Anon's streets, and after moisture was added, you had genuine Tel-Anonian mud. It could have probably been used as an offensive weapon in the correct hands, especially those which went through it, then later someone else's food.
    But the rain... The rain was in fact the most interesting. It was the substance of creation after all. Someone whom our calm comprehender would consider dull would say: “Well, it’s because rain makes stuff, doesn’t it? Like, er, plants and things?”. Someone more sceptical would say, “Actually, when it has hit one of our rooves, then it's probably better of being used as rat poison; it doesn't create things.”
    The truth was actually that the rain came from the process' of water evaporating from oceans, making clouds, and as the part-time poet with a limited vocabulary might say “pisses over thee”. This is being ignorant of the fact that the rain is water, and with the appropriate inquisitive mind, the next question would sound “but where's the originate water from? Had to come from somewhere, didn't it?”.
    The plodding figure turned a corner, calmly avoided an onrushing cockatrice pulling a police carridge, and grinned to itself. The answer to the question was occult powers, or for preferance to simplify the classification, they were Demons.
    To count them in a relative manner, then there would be ninety-two of them, and they were always very much interested in why a table, The Pereodic Table of Elements, had what intelligent life thought was their ninety-two names, all sounding awfully blant – the 1st Demon of Oxygen, the 2nd Demon of Hydrogen, and so forth.
    They liked three dimensional things, as they seemed so nicely organised. So, the Demons decided, they would make some. It involved the peculiar rituals that in the most literal sense of speaking involved exchanging themselves amongst themselves, a physical impossbility, but when you are something existing in the fourth dimension, many of the other three dimensions' rules cease to exist.
    There was a breif argument about where the three dimensional things were supposed to be placed, so Demons being Demons made a few planets, and thought that they looked perfectly applicable.
    At first, these three dimensional things were much more simple, such as, rocks, which satisfied the Demons, despite their lack of lateral movement. However, one day they must have gone a bit haywire, and mixed a little too much of themselves with a little too much of the others, and this quite interesting thing was created - it was called life.
    The lateral movement was indeed quite interesting, considering the fact that you were in one place at one time, with bits of you all in the same place as of opposed to the Demon's sections being in different areas of Space at different locations in Time. However there was something in the Immaterial Demon's notebook that wasn't supposed to happen. That life changed. So for the next few million years, the Demons sat down and watched. Accordingly, the life, out of all its changes, did something very unusal for the third dimension occupant - it thought. And that was indeed very entertaining.
    This life used bits and pieces the Demons had created before to make new things, and this was interesting. For example, life would use wood, coming from trees, to make a pole, then attach a rock to the top. It made something called a tool – fascinating.
    Using this tool, life’s machinations hit other things, making something similar, but it was more arched, and rather pointy at the end of each curve. This new tool could more effectively chip out bits of rock, which when put in a furnace (to the Demons this was a most complex tool that was made of combining coal, wood and alloys) made metal, which made even better tools that could hit other things more effectively.
    The creativity of life didn’t stop there. It invented other, just as fascinating tools. A lever was an interesting one. You pulled it, and it made gears and machines (all made from even more tools) spin and turn, which worked something else. Life was using lots of little tools to create on big tool, and that big tool made other little tools work all at the same time. Absolutely incomprehensible to how it managed to do that, said the Demons.
    But not always were the tools used for physical things. The quill, recently noticed by the 8th Demon, was used to do this thing called writing. Then, someone else would look at the symbols on the page, and be able to convey a message from them. Such ingenuity and originality of idea was beyond the Demons. Or, life talked. Demons belonged to a hive mind so the concept of not knowing what the other did was alien, life, apparently, did not, and with a little creativity, a talking match could be almost an effective replacement for a hive mind, but with the added bonus that the other didn't have to know everything, making the situation much more interesting.

    (God that's long...)

    Anyhow - feedback?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jamber's Avatar
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    Hi The Unseemly,

    no sleepy eyes here, but quite a few chuckles. I feel your Tel-Anon is a tiny bit Ankh-Morporkish, but not too much, and I presume that's just the way you've written the world setout to make it more entertaining.

    It sounds like a fun and interesting place. I like some of your names and a good deal of your playfulness. I particularly liked the scientific name approach (that seemed quite fresh to me), and the various departures you've taken from standard fantasy 'races' and descriptions. I didn't always follow each bit of logic, but it doesn't sound like the kind of work where strict logic is a be-all and end-all, so all's well.

    I hope it's not rude to suggest you revisit the phrasing and spelling a wee bit — e.g. 'blant', 'carridge', 'originate water' etc. They were understandable but made me pause.

    Is this just an outline for setout purposes, or have you moved into the storytelling (via the plodding figure, which I took to be a figure you'd invented to make the outline more interesting to read)?

    cheers
    Jennie

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    Senior Member The Unseemly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamber View Post
    Hi The Unseemly,

    no sleepy eyes here, but quite a few chuckles.
    Well, I'm glad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamber View Post
    I feel your Tel-Anon is a tiny bit Ankh-Morporkish, but not too much, and I presume that's just the way you've written the world setout to make it more entertaining.
    I suppose, now that I re-read it and take a look at Terry Pratchet, I do suppose that there's always that backdrop element in there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamber View Post
    I didn't always follow each bit of logic, but it doesn't sound like the kind of work where strict logic is a be-all and end-all, so all's well.
    Just out of curiosity, what were the bits of logic that you didn't follow? I actually dislike strict logic to everything, and that's just me; it is a fantasy world after all...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamber View Post
    I hope it's not rude to suggest you revisit the phrasing and spelling a wee bit — e.g. 'blant', 'carridge', 'originate water' etc. They were understandable but made me pause.
    Heh heh... yeah. Guess why I get a C+ on my essays? And, I will admit, my spelling isn't really top notch... and spellcheck is something I don't have... And no, no offence taken at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamber View Post
    Is this just an outline for setout purposes, or have you moved into the storytelling (via the plodding figure, which I took to be a figure you'd invented to make the outline more interesting to read)?
    The above passage is actually an extract from a fantasy book I'm working on, and there's slightly more of the passage which concerns the plodding figure, however that bit I didn't add because it doesn't concern the "world building" thing.
    Last edited by The Unseemly; 2-4-13 at 4:40 AM.

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    Senior Member Jamber's Avatar
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    Hi again The Unseemly,
    remember this is just one reader's quick response, but here are some examples of bits that I didn't quite follow in terms of logic:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Unseemly View Post
    [...] there was no universal method of measuring speed in Tel-Anon, because what was 100 knots per hour for a donkey was quite different from 100 knots per hour for a griffon, making that speed limit “acceptable,” which usually varied on the mood of the driver.
    and:
    Quote Originally Posted by The Unseemly View Post
    There was of course the occasional biological abnormality walking through Tel-Anon's streets. The ghosts were particular ones. Their presence apparently had something to do with the brain's process' of shutting down, which, when it made some final calculations, could sometimes make a mistake and to Ressorvimo, namely the process for the brain to do the opposite of shutting down which is waking up, and leading to the complications of people attending their own funerals.
    A little rephrasing for clarity should fix it. But at the moment I think you're after responses to the world rather than the phrasing, so I hope you don't feel I'm raising vital issues. The main thing is the sense of place, its flow and feel--there's a lot to like here.

    best wishes
    Jennie

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    Senior Member The Unseemly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamber View Post
    A little rephrasing for clarity should fix it. But at the moment I think you're after responses to the world rather than the phrasing, so I hope you don't feel I'm raising vital issues. The main thing is the sense of place, its flow and feel--there's a lot to like here.
    Thanks for the compliments! They are, I suppose, relieving.

    Anyhow: The first bit was there mainly to make a sort of suggestion that on Tel-Anonian roads it gets quite cloggy and dangerous. Because having a donkey pull a cart is surely different that riding a cockatrice, and, as it was said there, there wasn't a universal speed measuring limit (such as kph or mph); the speed limit was "acceptable", which varied on what was being ridden and how the driver was feeling that day (the mood of the driver). Dangerous, dangerous roads.

    The second bit: The biological abnormality, the ghost, came from the Ressorvimo. The idea was that the brain, when one is dying, is supposed to shut down. However, sometimes it made a few mistakes, restarting its process', and the person now woke back up, however in a "spiritual" form. So, you could attend your own funeral (your body stayed dead) in your spiritual form.

    However, I will agree that when you pointed the things out, and I re-read them myself, I actually couldn't see the logic in there myself . 'S what you get for staying up till 1 a.m. doing these things...

    Either way: thanks again!

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    Junior Member Shaun b.'s Avatar
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    I enjoyed reading your post. From one newbie to another well done. Your world seems so full of flavour. I agree with Jamber on the observation of the world being (seemingly to myself) Ankh-Morporkish. Perhaps that's because it seems like a fun place, chaotic but with its own separate laws of logic.

    The passage about the speed limit I took as a form effort limit? It being more acceptable to and easier to travel at 100 knots per hour on a griffon that it would be on a donkey, both on the part of rider and the animal. However I digress.

    I would read more of this.

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    Senior Member The Unseemly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun b. View Post
    The passage about the speed limit I took as a form effort limit? It being more acceptable to and easier to travel at 100 knots per hour on a griffon that it would be on a donkey, both on the part of rider and the animal. However I digress.
    Well, the thing is, all I can say is you interpret it how you interpret it. That's just how it goes about in writing and reading - when you are reading, the world is just your part imagination, and its probably different from my interpretation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun b. View Post
    I would read more of this.
    Ah yes? Well, I just happened to post the first bit of the book here:
    Well... Making an attempt at The Power

    And thank's for the compliments anyhow.

    EDIT: You also might need the 5 post prerequisite to get to showcase board.
    One must understand that slaughter cannot be spelt without laughter.

    And... Do you want to know how I got these scars?

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    Moderator T.Allen.Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Unseemly View Post

    Well, the thing is, all I can say is you interpret it how you interpret it. That's just how it goes about in writing and reading - when you are reading, the world is just your part imagination, and its probably different from my interpretation.
    It shouldn't be interpreted differently. It's true that the reader does have input on story details. However, these should be mostly texture details, not differing interpretations of a concept, sentence, or paragraph. If different readers are interpreting your writing in varying ways, then you have a problem with clarity.

    For example, if I write about a businessman wearing a grey suit, different readers may conjure up different images about that grey suit. The cut may vary, the stitching, etc. If that's suit is unimportant to the story then that's fine. If I'm trying to deliver a concept or specific image, or if the sentence is vague enough to interpret in several ways, depending on the reader, then it's an issue that needs rewriting.

    The writing needs to stand on its own. You, as the author, will not be there to stand over a reader or agent's shoulder, explaining a paragraph's meaning. Clarity is king.

    My main issues with this excerpt are its lack of clarity & unnecessary wordiness. Often, it seems as if these two are walking hand in hand. It reads as if you're trying to impress with the writing by being overly verbose. That's almost always a bad idea, in my opinion for two reasons. First, wordiness & overwriting can rob from clarity. Second, if readers are noticing your writing, they're not getting lost in the story.

    "Good prose should be transparent, like a window pane." - George Orwell

    "Brevity is the soul of wit." - William Shakespeare
    Last edited by T.Allen.Smith; 2-9-13 at 2:09 AM.
    "What lasts in the reader's mind is not the phrase but the effect the phrase created: laughter, tears, pain, joy. If the phrase is not affecting the reader, what's it doing there? Make it do its job or cut it without mercy or remorse."
    - ISAAC ASIMOV

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    Moderator T.Allen.Smith's Avatar
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    On a second read through, I'll admit that there's a certain playfulness to the language that I like. Still, I think that a rewrite, focusing on clarity and eliminating the unnecessary words, while still keeping the general feel and vison, would do wonders.

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    Senior Member The Unseemly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.Allen.Smith View Post
    On a second read through, I'll admit that there's a certain playfulness to the language that I like. Still, I think that a rewrite, focusing on clarity and eliminating the unnecessary words, while still keeping the general feel and vison, would do wonders.
    Ah, absolutely true, I've had 7+ people suggest this.

    It's about getting the balance: I'll never be the one for simple, clear, and straightforward writing, however, as you say, overdoing this is more harmful than beneficial. And that's just something to work on (I do admit, I wrote about half of this in a sitting, then the rest on the forum, heh heh...)

    Quote Originally Posted by T.Allen.Smith View Post
    Clarity is king.
    And never were more true words spoken.

    Also, the interpretation thing... I meant more or less what you explained in detail.
    One must understand that slaughter cannot be spelt without laughter.

    And... Do you want to know how I got these scars?

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