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My Unfinished Tale

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  • My Unfinished Tale

    Here's chapter one of a four part story that will probably never be completed...

    <Story deleted. GM>
    Last edited by Grey Mouser; 07-04-2008, 03:02 PM. Reason: Removal of story text

  • #2
    Wow - most impressive Mouser! Gets going much quicker than mine does. Gets right into the action there - and some very nice dialogue to boot!

    You should definitely keep plugging at it!
    Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

    Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

    Comment


    • #3
      Oooooooooh! A "Neyovar storm-pistol!" I want a replica!



      That story is really good and super-cool, Grey Mouser!



      Please, keep up the good work!



      Thanks for posting!


      -Lemec

      "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
      - Michael Moorcock

      Comment


      • #4
        What I would suggest (and this is something I'm struggling with - based on my ongoing effort) is resisting the need to create excessive backstory, which I think often draws away from what should be the real focus - character based action.

        Its weird - if you read any non-sci-fi/fantasy work of fiction you hardly ever see that. That's I think what makes this genre deceptively difficult - its almost as though it cries out for backstory to explain the fictional world and its politics - but fantasy/Sci-fi is no different to regular fiction in that is driven by characters - not by exposition. If you look at Mike's Elric & Corum stuff for instance, what backstory there is mostly comprised of a few well-placed lines. When I see how heavy-handed my stuff is in comparison it makes you really appreciate the subtlety of the professionals. Elric in particular starts merely with an argument between Elric and Yrrykoon - the story pretty much takes off from there.

        It's all about the drama. Certainly more difficult than it appears. Next time I'm going to try to go back to basics.

        You certainly do have some pretty cool characters to work with though... not to mention a good sense of pacing and a definite gift for description. You've got some pretty good character names there too - something else I struggle with (hence there is a small "homage" to H.P. Lovecraft in the title of my story). Don't give up - perhaps try narrowing the focus a little, might make things more manageable. As you say - having a finished story under your belt (however it turns out) is definitely a confidence booster.
        Last edited by devilchicken; 08-17-2006, 07:55 PM.
        Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

        Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the advice and encouragement!

          Not sure if I'll be finishing this version of the story as is. I think what I shall probably do is re-work the concept a little differently, focusing on the Duke as a central character first. Try to work some threat or drama into the action at a more personal level earlier in the tale. Mike said he often starts with a strong instinctive idea of the main character first and everything flows from that.

          Mmm. Perhaps the above can be a test or half-synopsis for the actual version...

          Comment


          • #6
            Look forward to seeing it!

            Hope you didn't find my comments too blunt - I'm painfully aware that this writing thing represents not only a big investment of time but a significant emotional investment as well.

            You definitely have some good stuff to work with - I guess its fair to say that we're all in the process of learning the techniques of storytelling.

            I don't know if you've read any of REH's Conan stuff. For all the press it gets - some of the stories are extremely well written, others are not. But its interesting that the entire premise for say, The Tower of the Elephant stems from a bar brawl. That's also a good one to look at to see how REH uses just enough backstory to tell the story.

            The problem with fantasy is that the demands of backstory to explain the world in which the story takes place can often take over and distract from the story being told.


            In my previous post I forgot to applaud your use of poetry - I'm not brave enough for that yet
            Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

            Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

            Comment


            • #7
              I found your comments tres appropos and very useful DC. In retrospect I think I have four problems:

              1 As you suggest, I'm mixing too much backstory in with the narrative. Howard, for instance wrote a whole separate story The Hyborian Age to clarify in his head the backstory for Conan's world and tales. Might be worth me writing a separate page or two on the world to serve a similar function.
              2 Using an idea which is too big/complicated to deal with in a short 6000 word story with a Dent structure.
              3 Attempting a theme too far beyond my current level of practice. It's one thing being ambitious (in terms of ones own level of skill) and it's quite another being too ambitious.
              4 Not having a strong enough feel for the characters, which could stem from nos 2 and 3 above.

              I think you're right that focusing will help greatly, both in terms of selecting one character on which to focus, and in narrowing the scope of the action to a more manageable size for someone of my limited experience. I seem to recall Mike mentioning that he started writing stuff at about 1000 words, then 3000 then six then ten then fifteen etc.

              Re TTotE 'Torches flared murkily in the revels of the Maul, where thieves of the east held carnival by night.' Great story and a good example.
              Last edited by Grey Mouser; 08-21-2006, 12:33 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Those are good thoughts, I can also apply some of the same thinking to my projects.

                "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
                - Michael Moorcock

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well my project is now on 5500 words - could certainly use my own advice. My lack of a rigid structure is making this a lot longer than it should be - so my next effort will be better planned.

                  I'm thinking of starting a side project in addition to the current one - keeping two irons in the fire might help me be a little more creative.

                  Even though I know where it is going, my current story has a worrying amount of backstory and is looking like it has the potential to spin dangerously out of control. Still looking at about 10,000 words.

                  What might be a good idea is to actively study a couple of short stories - the Tower of the Elephant is a good one. I guess you could apply the Dent structure to them and see how much space is devoted to different segments of the story.

                  Take a look at some Clark Ashton Smith - this is also a good one to look at structurally. CAS uses the backstory at the outset of the story in the form of a speech by a superstitious innkeeper.

                  http://www.eldritchdark.com/wri/short/charnelgod.html
                  Last edited by devilchicken; 08-21-2006, 02:40 AM.
                  Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                  Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks DC. Didn't realise they have full online versions of CAS stuff over at Eldritch Dark.

                    Tower of the Elephant is around the 10000 word mark in three parts.

                    Part one 1500 words Conan asks about the tower and gets into a barfight.
                    Part two 5500 words Conan meets Taurus and they brave the towers defenses.
                    Part three 2500 words Conan finds the secret of the tower and barely gets out alive.

                    A case could be made for a roughly Dent like structure if one breaks the 2nd part into 2 at the point of Taurus death.

                    So you have now written as much as Howard did for chapter 2 of Tower. Mind boggling to think that Howard claims to have written 12,000 words a day on occasion. And Mike has achieved around the 15000 word mark during the time he wrote the Hawkmoon books.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well on the plus side Mike and REH were making a living largely (if not solely) from writing - so on that basis I can see that once you get into your flow that you could (I say with trepidation) easily write that much. The problem I have is to keep going back and tinkering with bits I've already written - so in the hour or so I set aside in the evenings to work on my story I find that I've only progressed maybe 2-300 words. My method needs work I think - I should really leave what I've done as 'set in concrete' until the rewrite and just concentrate of blasting through to that stage.

                      I've lost a lot of the discipline I picked up through school and university, and with all the modern distractions (video games, moves, the internet - especially) I find myself envying the older writers who had less frivolous stuff taking up their attention. REH especially - probably wrote as much out of boredom than anything else, writing as he did around the time of the Depression and living in a town that was in the arse end of nowhere.
                      Its not coincidence perhaps that kids these days have little imagination - which has arguably been taken over by movies and video games which can directly portray the sorts of environments and scenes that previously could only be imagined through prose fiction.
                      Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                      Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I forgot to mention that wikipedia now has some of Howard's tales on-line.

                        I probably agree in general with your comments re video games, though I would tend to say that kids might use their imagination less rather than that they actually have less imagination. This is probably contestable but I'd argue watching TV is a more passive process than playing a video game, but playing a video game is a more passive process than reading a book, which is again, more passive than writing one etc.

                        Being able to relatively reliably turn ones writing efforts into hard cash must be a good incentive, though not necesarily the one which yields the best results.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Grey Mouser
                          Being able to relatively reliably turn ones writing efforts into hard cash must be a good incentive, though not necesarily the one which yields the best results.
                          True. What's frustrating is that while these days it is nearly impossible to get a book published on your own (even with an agent - unless of course you work in publishing, as I do - which creates 'opportunities' to slip your own stuff into the pile), it is not so difficult to get published by doing commissioned works.

                          Game Workshop for instance, or TSR/D&D has a whole line of mass market titles that are written by commissioned authors. You can even write in for a submission kit and put together a tale that fits within certain defined limits of "creativity" (i.e. you have to abide by the rules of the D&D universe). R.A. Salvatore is one well known author (if only for that kind of stuff) who has done pretty well that way.

                          While it is the antithesis of creativity to do something like that, it is at least a start to getting a published work under your belt. Of course you won't see a great deal of money for your efforts, intially at least - Mike has said as much about how Chaosium and GW have treated friends of his who have written for them in the past.
                          Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                          Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It's certainly worth thinking about DC. I guess you'd have to read a lot of background material to make sure you weren't writing out of sync with existing material. As a writer, it would be a little like moving in on the territory that someone like Earl Aubec had already forged from the stuff of chaos, so to speak - working within a consensus reality whose conventions are more or less already established. Wizard's Planescape stuff shows promise, but I doubt if that's one of their more popular lines.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Grey Mouser
                              It's certainly worth thinking about DC. I guess you'd have to read a lot of background material to make sure you weren't writing out of sync with existing material. As a writer, it would be a little like moving in on the territory that someone like Earl Aubec had already forged from the stuff of chaos, so to speak - working within a consensus reality whose conventions are more or less already established. Wizard's Planescape stuff shows promise, but I doubt if that's one of their more popular lines.
                              True - I might consider that if I really can't get my own stuff published. There's the magazine - book route. Still not a guarantee, but a way of getting yourself known.
                              Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                              Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                              Comment

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