Print Story No Butterfly; WFC4 Recap
Sex
By Scrymarch (Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 02:00:14 PM EST) WFC4 (all tags)
"Gregor Samsa woke one morning from uneasy dreams to discover he had transformed in his bed into the body of a giant insect."


I wrote As Is. My initial idea was this was a way of trying to turn the theme on its head - hence asexual reproduction. To me this still invokes the Sex theme, but hey. This merged with the idea of metamorphosis, hence Kafka, hence an opening line.

Kafka had great starts, and when he got around to them, great endings, but to be honest I was never a big fan of the middles, which can err on the side of droning existentialist claptrap. Some of his short stories get over this problem: after Stephan Donaldson included "In The Penal Colony" in a collection, I read it quite a few times, and keep returning to it. Metamorphosis, on the other hand, has its most compelling sentence at the very beginning, and descends from there, in my overblown opinion. So what better idea than to structure a story of my own around it? Not that the big K is to blame for my rubbish. A Kafka limerick from a few years ago:

There once was a writer named Franz
Who made quite meticulous plans
To destroy all his scribblings
At his death, but some quibbling
By his publisher saved them for fans.

On the responses: Well, fuck. At least it tried, said fleece: let me just slash my wrists now. Some fairly late, appreciated, possibly pity-, votes came in saving me from a WFC pants run around the pool table, but it wasn't exactly a stellar performance. Compoundingly, at time of posting, I actually felt pretty good about this one. Still do, a bit. There's some critical eyes of worth here though, so I suspect in three or six months time I will reread and realise what dross it is. Maybe even why.

2+3: accidentally exquisite timing running this while my wife is on the other side of the world. Talk about don't mention a hippopotamus.

The original concept was for the binary fission to flower out of poor Greg's grotesquely swollen dick. There was also an extra scene where he visited a sleep deprived, gorgeous and dismissive female intern at an emergency room, and left with antibiotics and embarassment, choosing to ignore the continuing changes. I turned away from this whole line, for two reasons. Firstly it's a lousy place to split a human body in two. People may be symmetric about a line going from nose to belly button but the resulting twins would only end up with one leg each. I stopped believing in it. Secondly it's a pretty boring reversal of female pregnancy. It seemed too obvious. Also he should have been fatter if he was splitting into a full grown twin. I guess he could have just been really dehydrated.

The sex scene is a bit disconnected without this though, in fact the whole story is jumpy, as toxicfur pointed out. I left the scene in for the dispassion. It's thematically linked, to me.

I never really considered making the main character female. One for the amateur psychoanalysts in the audience, as if this whole wfc hasn't already given you years of material to chew on.

persimmon: Bad Ash? I don't get it?

Kellnerin: I forgot about Diaspora, short memory I guess.

2+3: Now I can have the blurb: "Mentioned in the same breath as Heinlen" ...

< WFC4 post mortem | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
No Butterfly; WFC4 Recap | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
to be honest by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 02:29:48 PM EST

I rather enjoyed it, though -- and this is a rather empty comment at this point, since I'm not offering any concrete examples or suggestions -- while the writing is concise it is not tight. Plus, I didn't bother reading many of the entries, so I can't compare it to *all* of them (though I did read the winners, among others).

The sex scene comes across as a bit unmotivated, though it is thematically related, but perhaps a bit too weakly. I did like the on-the-bed-reproduction scene.

Indeed, at least you weren't at the bottom of the heap.

That's all.

Not tight by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 10:30:03 AM EST
Yeah, the structure is shot to hell. Glad you enjoyed it.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
I remember (almost) everything by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 03:17:09 PM EST
It's not as cool as it sounds.

It was unfair to write the story off as a "Diaspora" rip-off (especially when it's really a Kafka ripoff ... man, do I feel stupid for missing that).

I missed a lot about this one. Didn't notice, until aethucyn pointed it out to me, that Greg eats two of everything prior to the split. I think the more traditional sex scene distracted me from the central premise of the story, and it fit the theme more easily so I had trouble seeing the fission as thematic. The title also led me to expect a different kind of story, but again that's my problem, not yours. The ending trailed off with trademark Scrymarchian "huh." That kind of ending works sometimes, but I didn't have enough of a grip for it to be effective, I think.

There, that's my digging-myself-deeper non-conciliatory comment.

--
"If we build it, will they come, and what will they do when they get here?" -- iGrrrl

The trademark Scrymarchian "huh" by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 10:47:39 AM EST
Heh.

I hate drawn out and pat endings. I guess I might be over-reacting somewhat.

Yeah, the sex scene seemed to throw everyone.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
I have a preference by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:33:19 AM EST
for a little more ... roundness, or ... something ... in endings. The feel I get from yours is more like a chapter ending than a final ending, like I end up holding my breath for what's next but there's no next. I liked your WFC2 ending, though. WFC3, I wanted just a tiny bit more of a nudge in some direction or other. Of all your WFC endings this was the one that worked least well for me, because it added ambiguity on top of (my) confusion.

Also, I'm not certain this is what was meant, but: bad Ash.

--
"If we build it, will they come, and what will they do when they get here?" -- iGrrrl

[ Parent ]
Bad Ash by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #14 Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 12:02:09 PM EST
Ohh. I watched it not so long ago too. I kept thinking of Ash: A Secret History.

There's no next ... I think it's just because I dislike bad endings more than ambiguous semi-endings. So if the story doesn't quite come together that's the mostly likely victim; I don't mind a story being a sketch. Which is fine as an aesthetic preference but it's probably lazy to use it all the time.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
I liked it fine by 2 plus 3 equals 5 (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 04:02:18 PM EST
I was in an asshole (more than usual) mood when commenting.

It's a prejudice, I confess, against stories that consist of 90% exposition.  I liked the idea, and there were some fine turns of phrase  For example: "He stared at the computer, switching windows and tapping keys in stressful spinning idleness."  It says in a sentence more than you'd convey in a paragraph (or in dialog, I confess again).

But it was uneven.  I wasn't sure of who he was, although the idea of two of him amused me, and the last line about thinking of moving out said a lot, too.

-- Do the math.

Bah by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 10:50:34 AM EST
I didn't take it as an insult, actually. All comments welcome.

There is an awful lot of exposition, and barely any dialogue. I didn't really think about that.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
I was right in my review. by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 04:02:43 PM EST
I was missing something. I can't believe I didn't pick up on the Kafka bit. I honestly think I would've liked the story better without the sex scene, since it distracted me from what the story was really about.

I haven't really read your diaries. This story convinced me that I should be, though.
-----
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye

unfortunately, by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 04:07:20 PM EST
It seems Scrymarch doesn't write diaries, except for the occasional WFC postmortem. He should, though. I picked him up on my watchlist when he posted his NaNo ('04, I think) serially here.

--
"If we build it, will they come, and what will they do when they get here?" -- iGrrrl
[ Parent ]
Yeah by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:04:14 AM EST
I'm not really much of a diarist, more of a lurker. What little I do write tends to be politics or bad poetry, and neither are really on topic for Husi, so I hit k5 or SSR instead.

Annotating other people's lives with barely relevant comments seems to work out better.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
Well by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:13:04 AM EST
The story should stand on its own without the Kafka references anyway.

No doubt you're right about the marooned sex scene. Without it the story would have been too short though - something needed to be there.

As I said to Kellnerin below, I'm not much of a diarist. I try to offer the occassional non-redundant comment.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
sorry typo by fleece (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 07:10:31 PM EST
I meant to say "at least I tried [to get it]"

sometimes I just don't get stuff, but you shouldn't see that as a reflection of you or your story. I think it's about my poor attention span/concentration when i'm tired. which is all the time. :)

Shrug by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 11:19:08 AM EST
Looks like you weren't alone in not understanding :)

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
No Butterfly; WFC4 Recap | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback