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Oasis - A Short Story


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#1 Offline PooZy

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Posted Mar 15 2012 - 04:57 PM

The sky burnt bright in the late morning sun. It scorched the bleached ground which stretched endlessly in all directions, broken only by patches of dry crisp grasses and tall standing stones. It was between two of these stones next to a dried riverbed that a couple of matoran rested, shaded by a large dusty canopy.Tarau sat cross-legged, gazing into the distance where the pale blue ghosts of mountains stood, his telescopic eye humming gently. "Po-rah!" Without so much as a flinch, he hissed his companion's name."Po-rah, wake up you useless hunk of waste, I've spotted one."Po-rah rolled onto his side. "It's probably the heats, there's no rahi left here, good nights."Tarau kicked some sand at the other matoran, causing him to groan. "Hey, who's the one with perfect vision? I saw one, and it's morning in any case, so wake up and help me catch it!""Ok Ok Ok" said Po-rah, "I don't see how I can helps anyway, we've only one bow and you're the best shots.""You could stay here" replied Tarau, "-but if you do then you're getting the neck meat and not a scrap more."Po-rah frowned and hastily got to his feet, stretching his arms and groaning some more. He begrudgingly scooped up the canopy and folded it into a neat square before packaging it into a rucksack. Tarau snatched a simple black bow which was propped loosely against the stone and then stood upright, still carefully examining the horizon-line. Po-rah appeared behind him and squinted in the same direction."I sees nothing...""For once do what's good for you and trust me" replied Tarau, "I could easily leave you behind, you know, it would be a great deal of nuisance off my back too."Po-rah darted back a few paces. "No, don't leave me, I trust you! If you saws one you saws one, don't mind me, I'll just eat the neck meats and nothing more!" His eyes darted from side to side as he thought. "I'll helps you catch it too, I'll scares it and then you can kills it with your arrow!" He jumped up and down on the spot. "I can helps you eat the legs too, if you get all full up."Tarau smiled. "You can eat all the leg you want if we catch it, but we should hurry up before the sun's too high, you run ahead over that direction-" Tarau pointed to a sparse collection of bent trees just left from the rahi, "-so that you can scare the rahi once it heads for some leaves, then I'll shoot it"Po-rah nodded furiously and hoisted the rucksack further up his back, then hurried off into the distance. Limp clouds of dust blew away from his feet as he ran. Tarau jumped down into the gritty riverbed at his side. He stayed at the borders of the trench, shaded by the overhanging roots, before jogging after Po-rah.Tarau had skilled feet, yet it was a great deal of time before he reached his destination. The sun had risen more than he had anticipated and the shadows he'd relied upon to keep him cool had withered to thin slithers. With some difficulty Tarau hauled himself from the river and paused, scanning his surroundings with his telescopic eye. There were no rahi, just swathes of empty grasslands and the small gathering of trees where he'd sent Po-rah. "That's where dinner's gone" thought Tarau, "I'd do the same in this kind of heat, were I as simple-minded as a rahi beast". He grinned and wiped his dry mouth on the back of his arm. Crouching low on the ground with arms outspread, Tarau shuffled towards the trees. When he could he walked into the direction of the standing stones that littered the grasslands, keeping his reflective metal body out of sight.Tarau stumbled and halted as he approached the first shrubs and bushes. Somehow the trees looked denser close up, they formed an impervious wall that oddly contrasted the bleak deserts that Tarau was leaving behind him. He was almost daunted by them, their broad branches blotting out the sky and leaving him blind whilst his eyes adjusted themselves to the new alien conditions. "There must be an oasis ..." thought Tarau, "That'll keep Po-rah babbling for a week and a day". He blundered through the undergrowth, batting the rubbery fronds of lush green plants out of his path as he did so. Despite the shade Tarau had grown even hotter than before and beads of dewy condensation soon speckled his body. "Po-rah, I'm ready, aren't you hungry?" Tarau shouted into the humid air. He panicked, there was no reply, looking about him he suddenly realised his telescopic eye was redundant in the trees. "I'm not saying I'm sorry about earlier, you're just going to have to come out now or I'll leave you here forever!" The words fell flat, suffocated by the forest."I'm over here, matoran". Po-rah's voice picked Tarau up and he spun to face its direction."THERE you are, what have I told you about your little games? Po-rah, are you listening?"The figure of Po-rah rose from the ground a few dozen paces from Tarau. Tarau run to greet him angrily. "Taking a nap? You've had more than enough of that today, I have to do all the work around here don't I?"Po-rah stood limply, his shoulders hung forwards and his arms dangled before him. At his feet a young rahi lay curled up, its eyes were red-veined and dull."You caught one all by yourself? How on Spherus Magna did you manage that?", Tarau spoke with genuine surprise, putting his bow away behind his back. "I suppose all that training I gave you wasn't completely wasted afterall"."What did you call me?" Po-rah gathered his shoulders together and stretched his arms one by one, examining his hands carefully as he did so."Why Po-rah, I called you a lazy excuse for a hunter who sleeps on the job but I take it back now-""Po-rah.." Po-rah tested the name cautiously."Hang on one moment" Tarau frowned and shook his head. "You didn't bang your head up did you? Some fearsome fight with that rahi you must've had." Tarau stepped over the body of the rahi and towards Po-rah. "There's an oasis here somewhere, you'll need some water to clear your head out."Po-rah stood firm and held his palm out to block Tarau. Tarau walked straight into it and double-backed in confusion."I'm fine, really, you truly have no idea how long I've waited for a body that can talk. This land isn't as prosperous as what I'm used to.... 'Po-rah'... I don't like that name, I'll call myself Teridax."Tarau pinched his eyes. Teridax... "I don't agree, Po-rah suits you fine, come on lets go.""I don't think you appreciate what's happening here." Replied Po-rah, a deeper note creeping into his voice. "Po-rah is having a rest, your lord Teridax is in control for the time being." He smiled as he kicked around the ground with his feet, swinging them by the knee as if to free them up after days of slumber.Tarau thought carefully... 'lord' Teridax, there was no dispelling the feeling that the name held importance... if only he could place it. He had to admit Po-rah could never be cunning enough to play a game this mentally engaging - this was real. Then the alarm set in. Po-rah was having a rest? "Fiend! You can't just take a body of your choosing, I don't care how long you've been waiting, Po-rah is my friend!" Tarau flared up in an impulsive frenzy of rage."What kind of friend would threaten to leave forever""What?" Tarau said."Your friend is in no danger, matoran, he is quite safe within this body and I assure you he is perfectly compliant with my presence. Just help me to the city and I will gladly leave your friend and inhabit my rightful body." Po-rah's words were like honey, sweet and unassuming."How can I be sure?" Tarau pushed the question weakly, already deciding that he trusted this new stranger."Not to put your friend down, but his body is not suitable for a lord of status like mine, and I'd dearly prefer not to keep a body that did not belong to me any longer than I deemed fair."Tarau nodded in time to the sugary words. "I suppose I have no reason to mistrust you, I'm sorry, I've never met a real lord before. I don't really know how I should act.""You're doing great, just great, now lets see about getting to the city - we can talk on the way, no time to squander by standing still". Po-rah strolled alongside Tarau and patted him on the back."Yes, of course, It's just this way. Long walk." Tarau led Po-rah from the site. As they parted, the body of the young rahi flinched and squirmed. It gasped slow, shallow breaths, its eyes fixating on the shrinking silhouettes of the matoran.As the sun ebbed overhead the shadows waxed and drooped low. The body of the rahi fell into darkness.

Edited by PooZy, Mar 21 2012 - 09:00 AM.

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#2 Offline Jinkmeister

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Posted Mar 20 2012 - 11:18 PM

I have to say, your descriptions are excellent. I wasn't so much reading what you wrote as seeing what you thought. The dialogue feels natural, and there are very distinct differences between the characters. With the addition of the "s"'s to Po-Rah's speak, it gave him, at least in my mind, a very Gollum-y feel, kind of a quirky feel.Of course, there are one or two things that I feel could be improved. One is the feel, and here are some particulars:

"Po-rah!" he hissed the name loudly without flinching or turning his head.

I think that might flow better as

"Po-rah!" Without so much as a flinch, he hissed his companion's name

Also:

Tarau kicked some sand at the other matoran, causing him to groan.

I think the word causing kind of stumbles the sentence a bit. Maybe say it like:

Tarau kicked some sand at the other Matoran, eliciting a groan.

A great thing to do would be to read your story out loud after you've written it. If it doesn't feel natural when you say it, it may not turn out so well when it's written, either. Of course, flow is rather minor, and obviously, if the story is good, it's easily overlooked.To touch on the characters and plot; without so much as an introduction, you do give the characters a good bit of personality. The only thing is that from the beginning, I had it in my mind that Tarau and Po-Rah's relationship was closer to a Frodo and Gollum as opposed to a Frodo and Sam. It isn't until Teridax takes over Po-Rah's body that Tarau's affection becomes apparent. Of course, if that's a purposeful plot device, it can work, but in this case, it doesn't strike me as that.To segue right into the plot, I feel that it was very solid. The idea is interesting, and the execution is excellent. I especially like that the story has an air of mystery. There's no telling what will happen next. For example, from Teridax's appearance to the end, I wasn't sure if he was going to trick Tarau or be as honest as a Makuta can be :POverall, I'd say this is a very solid work, with just some stumbling blocks in the way of flow. Your descriptions are excellent, characters are as deep as you can get with a story this length, and the plot is intriguing. I hope to see more from you!

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#3 Offline PooZy

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Posted Mar 21 2012 - 08:57 AM

Tarau is supposed to like Po-rah and only lets him tag along because he needs the friendship, although he masks this with hostilitythanks for the post <3
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#4 Offline Jinkmeister

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Posted Mar 21 2012 - 09:27 AM

Ah, mkay, so more of a Legolas and Gimli? And sure thing! I look forward to reading more of your stories!
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#5 Offline Velox

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Posted Mar 27 2012 - 01:01 AM

Official SSCC ReviewI'll begin with the title, as I usually do -- fit quite well, I think. It was cool to see how the Oasis came into the story a little later, though at the same time I wish it could have been fit in there earlier. After all, it's named Oasis, yet the oasis featured in the story has a very small part. Therefore, I would've liked it to have more of an importance to the story, but it is fine how it is. You started off the story well, giving us a quick but vivid description of the surroundings. Then you get into the two main characters. They were interesting, to be sure, but I just felt like they weren't fleshed out enough -- at the end of the story I just had questions about them. What really is their relationship like? for one. What were they doing together? As Jinklemeister mentioned in his review, they seem to have a somewhat odd relationship, in that they're not best friends like Frodo and Sam would be, but more like Frodo and Gollum. Which presented another problem: Why? Why is Tarau treating Po-rah that way? As if it's a mentor/learner relationship. Yet at the same time, it seems like they're supposed to be friends. Now, I'm not saying that friends can't act like that, but I am saying that it should be explained as to why they're acting like that. Then there's Po-rah's "accent." It was well-written, and cool to see a little individuality between the characters, but at the same time I'm not sure how well it fit. Again, it gave the impression that Po-rah was a child and Tarau was his mentor or something. Perhaps they could both have unique ways of talking, and then with their friendship fleshed out more, it would be clear that they are friends who simply speak slightly differently (this could also help diffrentiate them if they are different species of Matoran -- if they are the same, then this will also provide unique qualities, making them have slightly different dialects, while at the same time making some of their speech simliar enough to show that they live in the same region). Next, the plot. I found it quite interesting, but at the same time I would have loved to have also seen it fleshed out. There were some inconsistencies in the way the characters acted, which I'll note in a second, but the main thing I thought was simply the length. I realize this is a short story, but you opened up quite the unique situation here: namely, makuta taking control over the body of a Matoran. And that leaves me with questions. Why his body? Why is Makuta there in the first place? Why does he want a new body? You also said he was looking for a better body than a Matoran, so why go through the trouble of taking over a Matoran's body before going straight to the desired body? Of course, that's most-likely because it'll give him access to another body, but that wasn't explained. What is Makuta's plan? Now, all these questions don't have to be answered, but you did touch upon them slightly, and then not answering them completely felt like the story was unfinished. You could have simply focused on the Matoran more (specifically, Tarau), and their thoughts -- then they could be having all the questions I listed above. If something like this happened to me, you'd bet I'd start asking a million questions in my head; why, what for, et cetera. Now for those two inconsistencies:

Then the alarm set in. Po-rah was having a rest? "Fiend! You can't just take a body of your choosing, I don't care how long you've been waiting, Po-rah is my friend!" Tarau flared up in an impulsive frenzy of rage.

"How can I be sure?" Tarau pushed the question weakly, already deciding that he trusted this new stranger.

For the first, it seemed like Tarau came to that new way of thinking too quickly -- at least, for the story. I'd recommend showing his thoughts and how he came to that conclusion; at first you make it seem like he has no idea what's going on and is quite confused, then all of a sudden it finally clicks, without any explanation. That also leads to another question: Does he know Teridax? Obviously not by name, since when Teridax reveals himself as Teridax he gets no reaction, but then how does Tarau know him? Or does he? And if not, then how does he say what he says? Matoran have to know that not anyone can simply change bodies at will, so his mind must be going on overdrive trying to explain what's happening, unless he's heard of Makuta and comes to the conclusion that Teridax is Makuta. For the second passage, it seems unlikely that Tarau would trust him -- why would he? For all he knows he just killed his friend (another inconsistency...he seems to only care about him when he's missing, but it's the way he cares that's inconsistent. If it is the mentor/learner relationship, then he'd care in a different way than if they're truly friends), and going around stealing other people's bodies is not a reason to trust someone. But that aside, I still enjoyed it. The writing was solid, and as I said before, the plot is quite interesting, but I just want to see more with it. For example, why are they out hunting in the first place? What kind of culture do they live in? Again, I know it's a short story, but these things can all be touched upon in order to explain the characters more, and therefore give a greater impact. When we discover that Po-rah's body has been taken, there should be some kind of emotional response from the reader, and to do that we have to know the characters and subsequently feel their pain. And just a few nitpickings:

broken only by patches of dry crisp grasses and tall standing stones.

Need a comma between those two words.

"Po-rah!" Without so much as a flinch, he hissed his companion's name."Po-rah, wake up you useless hunk of waste, I've spotted one."

This should be part of the same "paragraph"/line, as it's the same person speaking.

"Ok Ok Ok" said Po-rah, "I don't see how I can helps anyway, we've only one bow and you're the best shots.""You could stay here" replied Tarau, "-but if you do then you're getting the neck meat and not a scrap more."

A couple examples of a mistake I saw throughout the story: Whenever you say "said___" (or any variation thereof, such as "replied Tarau" etc.), there should be a comma inside the quotation mark. For example:"You could stay here," replied Tarau...Also, there should be a comma after each "Ok", and for "Ok" you would either capitalize both letters, or type out the full word "OK or okay":"Okay, okay, okay," said Po-rah...

Tarau had skilled feet, yet it was a great deal of time before he reached his destination.

"Skilled" is an awkward word to use here, IMO -- I'd use "quick" instead.

The sun had risen more than he had anticipated and the shadows he'd relied upon to keep him cool had withered to thin slithers.

First off, awesome sentence here; good imagery. Though, I believe you mean "slivers" rather than "slithers" -- snakes slither, but a thin piece of something is a sliver.

"That's where dinner's gone" thought Tarau, "I'd do the same in this kind of heat, were I as simple-minded as a rahi beast".

Instead of quotation marks, I would put that in italics to signify that he's thinking, not speaking:That's where dinner's gone, thought Tarau....Also, the period should be inside the quotation mark after "beast" and there should be a comma between "gone" and the quotation mark.

When he could he walked into the direction of the standing stones that littered the grasslands, keeping his reflective metal body out of sight.

Just slightly awkward here. I'd change it to "When he was able to, he walked in the direction...." or something.

Somehow the trees looked denser close up, they formed an impervious wall that oddly contrasted the bleak deserts that Tarau was leaving behind him.

The comma should be a semicolon. Another cool sentence, by the way. Good imagery here.

He was almost daunted by them, their broad branches blotting out the sky and leaving him blind whilst his eyes adjusted themselves to the new alien conditions.

Another sentence with good imagery. Though I might consider changing "whilst" to "while"

He panicked, there was no reply, looking about him he suddenly realised his telescopic eye was redundant in the trees.

Should be:

He panicked when there was no reply. Looking about him...

Though I'm not sure what you mean when you say his eye was redundant..."redundant" means "repetition in excess"

"I'm over here, matoran". Po-rah's voice picked Tarau up and he spun to face its direction.

Period goes inside the quotation mark.

"THERE you are, what have I told you about your little games?"

That comma should be a period, followed by a capital "W" for "what" -- also, it's just me but I'd change "THERE" to "there"

"You caught one all by yourself? How on Spherus Magna did you manage that?", Tarau spoke with genuine surprise, putting his bow away behind his back.

That comma after the quotation mark is unecessary. Also, this goes back to what I said before -- the way he's speaking, it's demeaning, and not friend-like. If they were actual friends, it would be in a more joking manner; even if it was genuine surprise, you wouldn't talk to your friend like that.

"I suppose all that training I gave you wasn't completely wasted afterall".

"afterall" should be two words, and the period should go inside the quotation mark.

"Why Po-rah, I called you a lazy excuse for a hunter who sleeps on the job but I take it back now-"

The "why Po-rah" makes it sound unnatural -- people don't really talk like that. Jinklemeister has very good advice: When you write characters speaking, try reading it aloud and see if it sounds natural or not.

"I don't agree, Po-rah suits you fine, come on lets go."

Should be:"I don't agree; Po-rah suits you fine. Come on, let's go." ("let's" is the combination of "let us" which is what you want, and then there were a couple issues with punctuation)

"I don't think you appreciate what's happening here." Replied Po-rah, a deeper note creeping into his voice.

Period should be a comma, and the "R" should be lowercase.

Tarau nodded in time to the sugary words. "I suppose I have no reason to mistrust you, I'm sorry, I've never met a real lord before. I don't really know how I should act."

The comma I bolded should be a period. Also, again this takes me back to a point I made above -- he could have just killed Po-rah, yet he's apologizing and saying he trusts him. ----Don't let any of that discourage you, however -- I pointed out all those things (including my rambling thoughts on the plot and characterization) because I can see a lot coming from this story. You've got a great plot, a good writing style, interesting characters, and a cool sense of mystery to this story that I would love to see expanded on. I know that with a little more you can create something not just good, but great. Keep it up, and definitely keep writing!Posted Image

Edited by Velox, Mar 27 2012 - 01:04 AM.

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#6 Offline PooZy

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Posted Mar 27 2012 - 12:41 PM

Thanks for the review! As to your questions:Tarau and Po-rah are supposed to be different species of matoran, yes. Tarau treats Po-rah badly because he gets on his nerves but at the same time Po-rah is the only person he has so in a way he's stuck with him. I wanted to make it clear that the two matoran didn't naturally get along.They're supposed to be on a vast desert on spherus magna, makuta has been inhabiting the body of rahi for hundreds of years because those are the only living creatures he has ever come across which is why he's so pleased with a new body. Tarau sides with makuta so easily because makuta hypnotised him, I tried to make this apparent but I probably should've made it more obvious.edit: urh, slithers, that's an embarrassing one D:

Edited by PooZy, Mar 27 2012 - 12:42 PM.

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