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SGInc "Short" Story Workshop 2.3 Poll and Comments

10 Jan 2006 16:32 #4073 by WhitePaw
Brousing the above few posts, no wonder you guys hate me. You're all about sand-in-your-toes super slow-mo and drawing things out into taffy-pulling huge mountanous tomes of rusty-bolted wheelbarrels full of words and words and even more trainloads of rivers and oceans and if-all-the-seas-were-ink-and-all-the-skies-paper-we'd-fill-all-that-up-too-turn-it-all-over-and-keep-going-on-the-back-of-the-page kind of any-dumb-lack-of-excuse-for-more and more drier-and-even-less-purpose-driven words?

I "gunwrite". One word, one kill.

Ten marines on one ubergirl? I don't even bother. Fair presumption it was a wipeout: 'thud' to the next scene and get on with moving the plot forward.

No wonder we're so diametrically opposed. Just an observation, carry on.

Wuv,
-White Paw

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10 Jan 2006 16:45 #4074 by conceptfan
There goes the neighbourhood :roll:

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10 Jan 2006 18:13 #4079 by brantley
I don't hate Whitepaw. Wish I could see more of his writing. Never got an invit from his group. Maybe he thinks I'm part of the hoi polloi by now. A hoi polloi that never votes for my stuff!

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11 Jan 2006 01:59 #4083 by WhitePaw
Well, I've finished reading all entries. I've even written up a bold and daring set of reviews with intent to nurture you all one giant step towards greatness, each in your own unique and wonderful ways.

It looks like I best keep that to myself in the interest of neighborhood peace. Ping me in private if you'd like a copy under the table, else I will force no opinions on you.

I cast my vote for Brantley, details withheld.

Silly Brantley. I've announced my yahoo group often and freely, but sent no invitations to anybody. It's strictly a 'come uncoerced' party, write your own invitation. You'll find the address in my profile here.

Wuv,
-White Paw

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11 Jan 2006 03:01 #4085 by argonaut

If my first story (Supergirl Phenomenon 2.0) is the main comic book story, consider this one the short story that fills up the last couple pages (or those Hostess ads where the superhero foils a plan with Twinkies).


I remember those ads. Maybe they could be the basis for the next workshop story ... Kidding!

Brad, my experience as a genre writer has been somewhat like yours. When I started to write my first story, I expected that the action scenes would be the easiest to write. Instead, I found them to be the most difficult! Like you, I enjoy writing dialogue and consider that to be my strong suit.

Here are a few "strategies" I've developed over the past year:

1. If dialogue is your strong suit, go with it. True, you don't want your story to be too "talky" -- but well-written dialogue can carry a story along quickly and effectively. (To me, well-written dialogue is dialogue that sounds natural and that conveys the speaker's personality and emotional state.)
Let's say Melinda is about to tear the door off a vault. If Conceptfan were writing the scene, he'd give the reader a minutely detailed description of her slender fingers digging into the steel door, the metallic shriek as she rips it from its hinges, the heavy bolts popping from the wall, etc. It would be great, because that's the kind of scene he does so well.

Or you could have someone present at the scene -- a television reporter, say -- exclaim, "Holy crap! She just dug her fingers into the steel door and yanked it off its hinges like it was cardboard or something!" The reader gets the essentials of the action, and the speaker's amazement reinforces the image of Melinda's superhuman strength.

2. "Snow Angel" was the first story I've written from a first-person point of view. First-person narration has some of the advantages of dialogue: It allows be to tell the story more succinctly, without the descriptive frills that I'd feel obliged to include in a story told from a third-person p.o.v, and in a less formal style.

3. But a vivid description of an ubergirl using one or more of her powers is usually what makes a genre story memorable. Although Conceptfan's "super-slo-mo" style isn't mine, I find it helpful to imagine the scene "frame by frame," as if I were seeing it in a movie or on a television screen. There are literary equivalents for long shots, close-ups, breakaway shots, etc that can help you avoid the monotony of writing something like: "Wendy ripped the door off the getaway car and casually tossed it across the street. She pulled the driver from the front seat and flung him over her shoulder. The other robber was already running away, but Wendy knocked him over with a blast of super-breath ...'

4. Re-read stories you like -- genre stories or otherwise. Second and third readings help you see how the author "did it." The idea is not necessarily to try to write your stories in Conceptfan's style, or Marknew's, or Ace's, but just to become aware of the kinds of choices they made in writing their stories -- what they included, what they left out, when (in dramatic time) they started, etc.

I've been re-reading the Sherlock Holmes stories lately (in a new three-volume edition with annotations, period photographs, etc). Even though I'm reading them for enjoyment, I find that I'm picking up on aspects of Doyle's craftsmanship that I never noticed before I began writing my own stories ... including how he used dialogue to move his stories along.

I'm no expert -- I'm still "learning as I go." But these are a few things that have helped me; maybe you'll find them useful.

Marknew, Conceptfan: Thanks for sharing your expertise -- not only with Brad, but for all of us who are trying to write better stories. Maybe there could be an entire thread in this forum -- "Advice for Writers" -- where authors could solicit, and offer, advice.

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11 Jan 2006 05:12 #4088 by xoronewithnature
My not so brief thoughts on the first five stories:

A Little Less Conversation
by BW

You have good writing in this story, but you need to keep chiselling away until you get to it. For example, your opening paragraph should have just been cut down to:

“John was watching the Rams-Vikings game on television while Melinda was doing a little housework. She was trying to vacuum around John but he wasn’t budging. She smiled and with one hand grabbed the base of the couch and lifted it into the air!”

Cut the first two sentences. “It was an ordinary day...,” is an unspectacular opening line. You clearly identify Melinda as Mindy Marvel five short paragraphs later, so what need is there for the rather bland: “Days like this were rare since Melinda’s transformation into the superheroine Mindy Marvel”? Is lifting the couch with one arm not enough of a clue for the reader that Melinda is super?

Getting rid of the first two sentences gets you to the attention grabbing couch lifting that much quicker.

Or how about the dialogue exchange after “She streaked through the city as the people looked up”? You don't introduce the men who speak it, so why pretend to? You could just leave the dialogue, it explains itself:

“It’s a bird.”

“It’s a plane.”

“You’re right, that is a plane…but there’s a flying girl over
there!”

“I think you need to stop drinking before noon”

As for the rest of your story, the puns were almost too painful, but part of the fun, but your action suffered from a serious lack of drama. You need to create some sort of meaningful conflict. Give Mindy Marvel a challenge!

Or you could go the other route, ala conceptfan, whose stories are descriptions of how little challenge everything and anything is to an ubergirl. These stories revel in indulgence, and often the only “tension” is that experienced by the victims. In other words – cf stories are equal parts “destruction porn” and horror.

Which lets me transition smoothly to:

Perfect Timing
by Conceptfan

Good and as always, wonderfully written. This has just the right amount of story for the thousand word limit (Something I definitely need to work on). The strongest part of the story is how you turn the “ubergirl to the rescue” theme on its head. Brilliant.

In the end this is more solid Conceptfan work. The story's only weakness is your own success. You've created you're own personal subgenre, of which, this is just another example.

Daphne Does Baby Sitting
by Daphne Orgone

I liked this story a lot. Right now this gets my vote.

This is a triumph of character and storytelling over plot. The Daphne character is so likeable, this scene is so efficiently and cheerful written that despite there being absolutely no conflict – do we ever believe the robber is going get away with anything more than accidently waking the girls? - this scene work.

I love the setup, too. A supergirl desperately needing a baby sitting job? That's worth the price of admission alone. Great last line.

Rescue Him Now!
by Marknew

In the first 80% of the story you do so much so well: with amazing efficiency you develop an alternate reality populated with superwomen, establish Emilia as the “other woman,”and show a very sexy seduction. Then Sara arrives.

If it wasn't for Sara's ultra-virtuous manner, I think I would understand this story. Unfortunately, as it stands, I feel like a new element was added in the last 5 paragraphs. Is she some sort of super-morality cop? Maybe this is simply a product of your belief that 1000 word stories shouldn't stand on their own.

Snow Angel
by Argonaut

Solid. I've got no complaints, and I can think of no helpful critiques. I wonder what that means?

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11 Jan 2006 09:08 #4096 by marknew742

Unfortunately, as it stands, I feel like a new element was added in the last 5 paragraphs. Is she some sort of super-morality cop? Maybe this is simply a product of your belief that 1000 word stories shouldn't stand on their own.


Elimia rescued Barney from the drabness of his life with Sara.

Sara rescued Barney back to save his soul from Emilia's evil feminine wiles.

I've had a few comments that Sara completely de-sexes the story when she enters, and I see exactly what y'all mean. Still, she was part of my original idea for the story. I wanted the contrast between Emilia and Sara as two types of supergirl, along with the two types of rescue. But I can see that, without the perspective of my literary pretensions, Sara ruins the pornfluff.

Think of The Empire Strikes Back.

You can be sure that Barney will be dreaming of Emilia, and she will have her day. The Rebel Alliance lifeforce will win in the end.

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11 Jan 2006 12:20 #4101 by admin
Replied by admin on topic Results!
The poll has now closed.

Thanks to all those who registered their vote, everyone who posted comments, and special thanks as ever to all our authors.

Here's the final results:

Snow Angel by Argonaut 9 votes
Rescue Him Now! by Marknew 5 votes
A Little Less Conversation by BW 3 votes
This Is A Job For ? by Ace191 3 votes
Perfect Timing by Conceptfan 3 votes
Asylum by Xoronewithnature 2 votes
Daphne Does Babysitting by Daphne Orgone 2 votes
Serious Radio by Brantley Thompson Elkins 2 votes
The Slave's Rescue and Re-rescue Song by Supergirlssexslave 0 votes

Total: 29 votes.


Congratulations to our clear winner, Argonaut. As ever the prize is the right to pick the topic for the next similar workshop (SGInc Short Story Workshop 2.4).

A new thread, "SGI "short" Story Workshop 2.4 Topic Suggestions" will be created for members to post their ideas. Details of SGI Workshop 2.4 will be posted once Argonaut has chosen a topic.


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12 Jan 2006 20:42 #4128 by marty_the_butcher
whitepaw, i think they hate you cause they think your un minchia as we say in the neighborhood! of the ones i read, i'd vote for brantly cause it reminded me of Howard!!! 8) dont care what I think?? andate tutti a fanculo!

marty

Brousing the above few posts, no wonder you guys hate me. You're all about sand-in-your-toes super slow-mo and drawing things out into taffy-pulling huge mountanous tomes of rusty-bolted wheelbarrels full of words and words and even more trainloads of rivers and oceans and if-all-the-seas-were-ink-and-all-the-skies-paper-we'd-fill-all-that-up-too-turn-it-all-over-and-keep-going-on-the-back-of-the-page kind of any-dumb-lack-of-excuse-for-more and more drier-and-even-less-purpose-driven words?

I "gunwrite". One word, one kill.

Ten marines on one ubergirl? I don't even bother. Fair presumption it was a wipeout: 'thud' to the next scene and get on with moving the plot forward.

No wonder we're so diametrically opposed. Just an observation, carry on.

Wuv,
-White Paw

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13 Jan 2006 01:51 #4135 by WhitePaw
Mille grazie, sapientone. :wink:

Con amore,
-Bianco bava di vento

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