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By ana (Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 08:40:03 AM EST) WFC, post-mortem (all tags)
I struggled with this one.


I'll say right off the top that this was not the best story I've ever written. But I took the suggestion that October is a warm-up for November (which is NaNoWriMo, and went with the universe I invented for my WFC6 story, and which had been percolating around in my head ever since.

Whoosh. Run-on sentence.

Elements of this story are in fact being incorporated into a novel-in-progress; I hope to have 50kwords worth of draft done by the end of the month. So far, so good.

I rather liked the scenario of two functionaries in some nebulous organization dedicated to time-travel. They get involved, and as young lovers will, they ignore the "rules". Which will (cue the ominous music for the trailer) Get Them Into Trouble in due course.

The execution was rather lacking. I came up with something called a Dreamcatcher for WFC6, as one of several gadgets associated with the time travel theme. It's at once a beacon and a low-bandwidth communications channel. So, why not have David-of-the-future leave his behind when he visits Lupe the first time; she turns it on, and multiple epochs of David arrive, all more or less simultaneously.

But.

What did the critters have to say?

  • Time travel paradoxes make my head hurt, and this seems like it doesn't quite address some of the more pressing paradoxes. It's well-written, though, and it feels like a small piece of something else. I'd be interested to read more.

    Well, thanks. Part of the point was to exhibit the confusion of someone unexpectedly thrust into such a paradox. But you have a point.

  • Smuttier than necessary. The robe is like another character. Sequence of events is (intentionally?) confusing. Which I wrote myself, and I stand by it.

  • This story could flat out use editing. The prose is halting, the eye has to frequently re-read sentences to get this gist. The entire feel of the story was “first draft” Also, for reasons that are probably not the author’s fault, the story was spaced in a manner that made me want to tear my hair out.

    The story itself was a bit of a rambling mess and the characters elicited no emotion from me. I spent most of the story confused, then bored, then not caring.

    The WFC themes seem to be minimally present. In short, I don’t have much good to say about this story. It didn’t even engage me enough to leave me wanting.

    Um, yikes. It wasn't edited very much, it's true. The font can go right out the window, but mercifully people's computers in general don't have that font, so not many people noticed. Sorry it's not your cuppa tea.

  • How quaint, that font.

    Great, more student/school fiction. Just what we need: fiction about academics and IT professionals on a site full of both. Even if the fiction in question also has strong genre elements. The 2nd paragraph ends with a simile and the 3rd begins with one. I find it awkward. And then it's followed by a "you," and it's not clear whether this comes from our still-unnamed "she" or from the narrator. Ah, this guy snores in bed; the wife was snoring just a couple snories/stories ago. Lots of punctuated one-worders -- "Guy. Whatever," "ahem" and so on. Almost a variation of mutant Valley Speak.

    Ah, David and Maria. "It's never a good idea to make jokes suggested by someone's name. They've heard all of them before." And I've read that before.

    Another 'whatever.' It works less like a part of the narrative and more like a quirk of the author. The same with 'well.' Followed later by Maria's "OK, that was a bit breezy" it all comes across as a bit nervous and self-conscious, which I find fine for characters' psyches but less so in the fabric of the narrative itself.

    The latter three segments of the story are, until toward the end of the final segment, three different stories: there's loneliness after a "failed" relationship, there's psychedelic sci-fi, and there's lovey-dovey witty banter. The sci-fi-ish stuff reappears late, but the sci-fi concept does nothing for me, for while as actual space-time-continuum bending or just mere what-if-dreaming it does provide glimpses of futures and potential futures with David, it doesn't really inform the characters, based on my reading, and the multiple versions do nothing but exchange banter. The sci-fi-ish concept is a plot device only, and one that doesn't stand on its own or develop in any way. A shared dream would have been as good, a feverish hallucination would have worked, as would have some other High Concept. And where did Maria's characterization go? Her background, so carefully established early on, plays no real role. The background in "Sylvia Endicott ..." at least allows the whole setting to work as social satire of sorts.

    Good points, coated with acid prose. The confusion between the character's voice and the narrator's is something I recall noticing as I wrote, but didn't fix. My bad. And it's true that the characters are not that well defined, here in this little story. Incidentally, bo also pointed out that the meta code at the top contained my pseudonym. Not that it wasn't instantly recognizable as my story anyway.

  • I like the image of her sitting on the top of her dresser, drinking tequila and watching him, but that's the only hint we really get of what kind of person she is. We get almost nothing of him, of why she falls for him so hard, or why he can't come back without the doohicky activated if he knows what time and day he met her. Plus, they sound alike. The dialog is sort of flat. I liked it a lot up to the second #, and then it fell over.

    Um, yeah, that. Sometimes my dialog sparkles. This time it did not. And what you got is not exactly a complete story.

  • Fun, if a bit familiar. This is what I think of as a spirograph sort of story, that keeps looping around a point without necessarily getting to it. That's not a judgment in and of itself -- it could either be made more stripped-down or given room to stretch. Title didn't feel well-matched to the story.

    I think maybe that was part of what I intended: a relationship with multiple loops in the timeline, like a doily or something. More room might make it more worth reading (or less... stay tuned).

  • - Indeed. What is this? What fettlingly crunchsome sort of thing is it? You see: the reason Kyle Reese had to be sent back to '85 was because he was John Connor's father. John knew this for his entire life, which was why he specifically sent (and had to send) Reese. Do you see how that works? No. I know you don't. Now watch it again. I know it probably all makes sense in your head, but what's been overlooked is that there are precisely eight thousand, nine hundred and ninety ... three other ways of it making sense too. Or maybe it just makes absolutely no sense at all. Ay-toe / Ah-toe.

    Facetiousness aside, this was oddly compelling, and the writing is good in the sense that it drives and doesn't get in the way of the narrative -- but -- it commits the cardinal sin of offering a false carrot. The reason 'Existenz' can be made so intriguing is precisely because they know that they don't have to resolve the questions they set up in order to keep the viewers' attention at the end of the film. Good. They've got my money, so in that sense it was a success. But now I won't ever be watching another of their stinking movies, so in that sense it wasn't.

    Indeed. Too much left unsaid, in part because I'm sloppy and in part because this is really a scene from a much larger workromp (and, increasingly, a rejected scene, as I write more of that). We'll see whether I can tie it together sufficiently well to have it make some kind of linear sense.

  • It just doesn't grab me. I don't know what to say. I don't like questions in story names, although I acknowledge that's a pretty stupid criticism.

    I could have come up with a cleverer title, true.

  • The Time Traveller's Girlfriend? I liked it but the banter got a bit clever-clever on me by the end.

    I became aware of The Time Traveller's Wife after I had more or less decided to write this, and I'm not reading it til I'm done with the novel. But yeah, sometimes the banter is too clever by half.

Anyway. Thanks to everyone who bothered to read (at least the title). I do try to learn from these experiences, and maybe the lesson is not to try to recycle an old 'verse, but rather to invent a new one, every time. Short stories should stand or fall on their own merits, and this one fell, rather flat.

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Hello, What's This? | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Aw, jeez by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 09:34:53 AM EST
Now I feel bad.  :-(

Gedvondur
"It is virtually impossible to effectively aim a jellyfish, a creature created by God almost solely for the purpose of not flying."- CRwM

you should by BlueOregon (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 09:40:25 AM EST
Meanie.

[ Parent ]
If by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 09:43:45 AM EST
If I'm a meanie, you are a double meanie!

Gedvondur
"It is virtually impossible to effectively aim a jellyfish, a creature created by God almost solely for the purpose of not flying."- CRwM

[ Parent ]
Don't make me come back there. by ana (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 10:08:51 AM EST
Also, don't worry. I like constructive criticism. Mostly. ;-)

Power up your flaming yo-yos already! --StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
What is it with this 'Mostly'? by BlueOregon (2.00 / 1) #5 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 10:13:12 AM EST
It's not a complete sentence. It's just a word hanging or dangling there. I thought you had an education. Would it hurt you to write "I mostly like constructive criticism" or "Most of the time I like constructive criticism"? Furthermore your use of "mostly" is not unambiguous. Do you mostly like constructive criticism but also enjoy certain kinds of non-constructive criticism? Or is it rather that most of the time you like constructive criticism, but sometimes you do not like it?

Plsfixthx.

[ Parent ]
this comment by ana (2.00 / 1) #6 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 10:17:03 AM EST
deserves a two.

Power up your flaming yo-yos already! --StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
Fair... by Vulch (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 12:21:18 PM EST

...enough.

[ Parent ]
'Plsfixthx' by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 10:23:05 AM EST
You spelled that all wrong, and ignored proper internet spelling conventions. What do you think this is, some sort of pre-printing press era where you can just spell things any way you like? Geez.

If you want people to take you seriously, get it right -- it's 'plzfixkthx.'
-----
If you don't get a Bonnie, my universe will not make sense. --blixco

[ Parent ]
You're not providing constructive ... by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 10:44:01 AM EST

... criticism.

You just approached my comment in an arrogant and abusive tone, as if your trying to shut down conversation. Here you are with your "intarweb lingo," mocking the rest of us, as if were idiots for even bothering to post hear.

If you'd bothered to begin constructively and in a more polite tone, I might of been able to take you seriously, but between you and I, I just have to conclude that you're a mean-spirited  asshole who likes putting down others for you're own amusement.

[ Parent ]
I gave you the right answer. by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 10:56:31 AM EST
Surely that should've been enough. But I guess it's never enough for people like you, who just come on here, and expect everybody to be all puppies and sunshine and cat stories and recipes. I mean if that's what you want, fine, but if you want the correct spelling of a made up word, then you should listen to me.
-----
If you don't get a Bonnie, my universe will not make sense. --blixco
[ Parent ]
I wanna play too! by mrgoat (4.00 / 6) #10 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 11:11:37 AM EST
Your repeated use of dots shows remarkable discourteousness to the numerous dot-American posters who frequent this site. Your curious "air quotes", transcribed to text, display an unabashed level of arrogance normally found only in people with names like "A Proud American" or "Egil".

I did not care for the tone of this comment, if you would kindly transpose it up a step-and-a-half, perhaps the key would be more palatable to my super-refined ears. (They're made of sugar)

I can reach but one conclusion regarding you: Your shoes, however dour, are untied.

Made you look, made you look, you dirty dirty, dirty crook.

--top hat--

[ Parent ]
TTW by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 04:42:09 PM EST
That book sort of pisses me off. Not because it's bad, or because I didn't like reading it, but I read it between NaNo '05 and NaNo '06 and, well, I'll just say that after reading my NaNo '06, a friend of mine's comment was, "Have you read The Time Traveler's Wife?"

If I ever try to sell some version of my NaNo story, I'm going to pitch it as The Time Traveler's Wife crossed with The Devil Wears Prada. I predict that the response will be: Those two shouldn't be crossed.

Anyway, back on topic ... Spirograph is suited to that kind of story, yeah ... but not quite to this story, in the form that it was told, if you see what I mean. Anyway, you have a whole month to work out the kinks (and put more kinks in, no doubt).

--
"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM

hm by theantix (4.00 / 1) #13 Mon Nov 12, 2007 at 06:04:28 AM EST
If a story about Time Travel isn't confusing, the author is doing something wrong.  ;-)
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Hello, What's This? | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback