Jump to content

  • Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Welcome to BZPower!

Hi there, while we hope you enjoy browsing through the site, there's a lot more you can do if you register. Some perks of joining include:
  • Create your own topics, participate in existing discussions, and vote in polls
  • Show off your creations, stories, art, music, and movies
  • Enter contests to win free LEGO sets and other prizes
  • Participate in raffles to win LEGO prizes
  • Organize with other members to attend or send your MOCs to LEGO fan events all over the world
  • Much, much more!
Enjoy your visit!



ambage write-off The Tower

  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Chro

  • Premier Member
  • Premier Members
  • Kohrak-Kal Attacks!

  • 07-August 12
  • 2,880 posts

Posted Dec 03 2012 - 05:38 PM

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]This tower had fallen long ago.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]Rubble littered the misty, forested land of the former battleground; not a soul in sight, living or dead. Perhaps great and terrible things had once happened here, but there was no evidence anymore. Just half a tower and a pile of stones amidst the trees.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]I jogged quickly, ducking through the ruins with a practiced air. The remains of the old army lookout post had practically been my home the past few days. Best place to hide out when things got a little dangerous.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]I strode into the clearing that had once been the center of the tower. A short quarter-ring stone wall edged the expanse. Walking to a pile of stones and logs designed to camouflage the tent, I stopped. Something wasn’t right at all.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]Carefully, I kept walking as if nothing was wrong. I’d trained myself to follow my instincts, and to trust the feeling that you were being watched. This was when I needed those skills the most.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]Crouching down below the wall level, I moved towards the tent as if entering. If I stayed inside then whoever was observing would no doubt approach. So instead, I crawled back around the wall, and cautiously peered over.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]Yes, there it was. A grey form plodded through the mist of the darkening evening.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]There was nothing to do. I ran.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]A shout rang from behind, then a gunshot. A tree shattered. No time to think. No time to stop. Go. Run.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]The war had ended long ago, but I was still fighting, and now someone had tracked me out here, of all places. How…?I kept running through the trees. I knew where I was going, but only vaguely. But that didn’t matter now.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]The trees all blurred together and eventually it was all the same color, the grey of the mist and the sunless twilight, the bark of the trees, running on, running. I had been trained for this. I couldn’t hear the man behind me over the sound of my breath and my footsteps, but the feeling of eyes on the back of my head remained, so I ran on.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]Eventually I saw it. A stone. Profile hugging the ground, between the trees. Run. I was back at the ruins of the tower. Here’s where I could gather my supplies and take him. Faster now, ducking through, between, around, the blind grey stones not sparing me a glance nor I them as I sped by.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]And there I was. I could barely see the wall and the ruins in the darkness that had overtaken the grey dusk, but they were there. I ran to where the tent would be.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]Nothing. What? Nothing there.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]I ran to the wall where I had buried a few emergency supplies. The wall? Where? There was no wall.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]I heard a crashing behind me. The man who had chased me stomped into the clearing. And I remembered then the story of the two towers that had fallen to the enemy all those years ago.[/color][/font]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]So. This was the end of the war.[/color][/font]







[color=#808080;][font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"]So this was... okay. Just a quick write-off piece. Wanted something first-person, not boring, and barely on-topic (theme was "the tower"). And besides, I just wanted to contribute to the new COT Library, great establishment that it is,[/color][/font]  (or will be if all goes according to the plan,) [color=rgb(128,128,128);font-family:verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-size:11.818181991577148px;] because as we know, it needs a lot more stuff. :lol:[/color]

  • 0

On 10/20/13, at 9:07 PM, Voltex wrote:
> I used to be a professional assassin
> Until I tried to kill Santa Claus
> But he caught me
> I was fired and Santa Claus has been hunting me down ever since

#2 Offline Jean Valjean

Jean Valjean
  • Premier Member
  • Premier Members
  • Nuhvok-Kal Attacks!

  • 02-January 07
  • 3,083 posts

Posted Dec 03 2012 - 11:16 PM

:kaukau: [color=#0000ff;]What I call a "Zarayna" ending.  That's the easy way to end something, I guess.  Back in the day, my Imrov friends had a simple way of ending every single improv act.  They'd do something and they'd say "Hey, was that just a hydrogen pipeline?"  Never mind that a stream of hydrogen gas would mix with the oxygen in the air and form harmless water vapor and that they could have chosen something far more harmful like chlorine.  The point was, if the setting was "Helen Keller visiting the Great Wall of China while unknowingly doing the Nazi salute with her hand gestures, provoking a salute back from her Chinese guides" or "Two guys playing pool while one guy plays the white pool ball", they would always find a way to break a pipeline or gas tank that would induce instant death.  Call it the easy way out. The teacher said to never use it in competition.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]Meanwhile, for exercises, for which this would count given that it is a 15 minute write-off piece, I find this hilarious due to this personal experience.  Sometimes I criticize these.  Zarayna has now removed me from the list of people to ask for reviews from due to his tendency to end his stuff like this (hence me naming this trope after him with regards to BZP short stories), but other times, like with now, this memory just pops up.  I'm glad the theme was Towers instead of Rainbows.  The Rainbows ending for Zarayna would have been funny if he had played it for humor, but he had not.  You didn't intend this to be funny, either, and so I apologize for my laughter, but the image of my improve group using "Death by Hydrogen" as a convenient way out of any situation just happens to come to my mind.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]The sheer number of times I have had to sit down at my computer, straighten my bowtie, and give writers a metaphoric wag of the finger for ending this way escapes me.  It's time for a change of pace.  To you, I say "Happy birthday!" even though it isn't your birthday (to my knowledge), plan on giving you a high five over Skype the next time you're online (or, if you prefer, an imaginary cookie, another common theme in internet etiquette), and giving a friendly but ever-so-slightly serious reminder that I will hold you accountable if you ever end up writing something that isn't improvised and isn't under pressure that seeks a simple, cheap way out.  However, this is not one of those times, so I do not have to be your enemy.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]Part of what lets you off the hook, of course, is that you are not Zarayna and you had a good ending line, and at least I got action before someone died instead of a bunch of flashbacks and exposition and long, drawn-out description of mood.  Death doesn't need the mood to be set up and flaunted.  If a death was dealt to an important and beloved character in a longer work of fiction, and it had been built up over a longer period of time, it would make sense to bulk up the death scene with its due drama in order to make it every bit clear in the readers mind that this was it, but in a short story such as this, you can end the work with the death of the character in the space of one sentence and it wouldn't feel as if there was any pace change.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]Now my one (of two) serious critique of your work is the legnth.  Everything else is fine.  The action is straightforward.  The descriptions come of as plain and open, not needing any modifications.  I like your style.  It doesn't stand out, but it's a great basis to build your writing upon.  It actually feels like one of those significantly shorter second drafts that writers talk about.  However, given that this is not a second draft and a write-off piece, and that you didn't have time to think about what you were writing as you were writing it, I would have expected you to come up with a little more over the course of this story.  It's a little bit shorter than the average write-off piece (well, I would have to confirm that, but I'm not going to check all of them and average them out), and I would just encourage you to keep on practicing and taking part of the write-offs.  This is what they are for, to get us to become more natural with our writing process and to get our brains to kick out more quality ideas when demanded with continued practice.  For that, I highly recommend that you come back and visit regularly, because if I recall you aren't there every weekend.  I'm not either, for that matter, and its something I will have to keep in mind as well, but for the moment the encouragement finds itself directed toward you, as these are my thoughts about your story and how they pertain to your writing as a whole and you as a schrijver (off note: Nederlands is such a cool language and everything sounds better in it).  If you don't participate, though, I certainly contend that it's in your best interests to start writing during the weekdays more often, just to get your stuff out there and be established here on BZPower, like I'm trying to hard to.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]The other serious critique is that you should certainly add tabs to each of the paragraphs.  I had to butcher the last person I reviewed who lacked them.  Poor lass.  It doesn't take that much effort, and I really encourage writers on this site to use this new feature, because I find it awesome.  Also, unless you're like me and occasionally write chapters that are 10k, after which length there comes a point where they can be overused and stop working, I also encourage you to use two of them and create ten spaces, which makes it twice as easy to locate a paragraph and closer to an actual indentation on a Word Document.[/color]


[color=#0000ff;]In the end, I celebrate your gift to the cause of the CoT Library, your innovative work, your desire to know what you want (I see that you said you wanted something only barely on topic), your resulting honesty, and your acknowledgment on the quality of your work, which is definitely a smaller Write-Off piece, and your gracious afterword, which adds some clarity and openness that I think readers sometimes need in order to connect with the activity of writers.  And I especially emphasize the CoT Library cause, wishing to cite a few songs for Les Miserables about revolution but coming back to this simpler acknowledgment of your work: as the Bishop of Digne said, "I commend you for your duties and God's blessing go with you."[/color]



Edited by Jean Valjean, Dec 05 2012 - 07:31 PM.

  • 0

#3 Offline Chro

  • Premier Member
  • Premier Members
  • Kohrak-Kal Attacks!

  • 07-August 12
  • 2,880 posts

Posted Dec 05 2012 - 05:51 PM

[color=rgb(128,128,128);font-size:12px;font-family:verdana, geneva, sans-serif;]I think one problem I have is that, like you said, you shouldn't have time to think while doing a quick write-off, so there should be more actual writing here; but this time, I kinda spent a while twiddling my thumbs, writing, erasing, writing more, revising, erasing, et cetera. Consequintially I didn't have a ton of actual story content left over. Apparently I still didn't have time to think about adding tabs, though. :lol:[/color]

[font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"][color=#808080;]Thanks for the review, Kraggh, even if plenty of it was comparison to Zar. :lol:[/color][/font]


  • 0

On 10/20/13, at 9:07 PM, Voltex wrote:
> I used to be a professional assassin
> Until I tried to kill Santa Claus
> But he caught me
> I was fired and Santa Claus has been hunting me down ever since

#4 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
  • Members
  • Lunatic Wordsmith

  • 13-December 08
  • 1,701 posts

Posted Mar 27 2013 - 09:39 PM

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Nuile reporting with an official review, courtesy of the SSCC.[/color] 


[color=rgb(0,128,0);]If you're trying to be vague and ambiguous, this is the way to do it. It's always a good idea either to give very little information, or to give all the necessary information. In a case like this, there is no balance. If you withhold information from the reader you pique their curiosity: unless you satisfy that curiosity, the reader just ends up piqued. There are levels of vagueness and levels of clarity, and you can have both: but if you go too far between them, you're likely to have trouble. There in the middle the story feels as if something is missing or intentionally withheld, something hinted at but not expressed. Vagueness is different, but only subtly: it is the feeling that there is something more, something intentionally withheld, something only hinted at; not something missing, but something that does not matter to the story.What matters to this sort of story is the scene you're telling and--not its true significance--the significance that might be behind it. What it means to you could be entirely different from what it means to me, the reader; and that's perfectly all right. The point is that if you give too much information to further your own interpretation, but fail to confirm that meaning, you begin to sketch something definite but too nebulous to be grasped, merely confounding the reader's imagination. As it is, you give just enough information that you leave everything entirely up to the reader's own ideas and interpretations.I want to look for shapes in the clouds: I don't care about the airplane behind them. But then if I hear it, I become curious; I look for it, but do not see it. Now everything is ruined! As a writer, you have to command the reader's curiosity properly. You showed me the clouds and deafened my ear to the roar of the concealed airplane's engines.I know this all sounds very vague. I'll try to clarify. To begin, I'll state the obvious: this story is about an unidentified narrator in a ruins. He becomes aware he is being followed, flees, and finally returns, only for his plans to be confounded and the enemy to catch him in the end.The only place that superfluous information begins to bother me is when the narrator searches supplies and an emergency cache, both of which have vanished. This starts to hint too much at something inexplicable, arousing curiosity that is left entirely unsatisfied. It seems pointless. Maybe there's a deeper significance to it, but as the reader, I want to know what that is. I don't want to be forced to hazard random, unfounded guesses as to its meaning.The same point applies to this:[/color] 

And I remembered then the story of the two towers that had fallen to the enemy all those years ago.

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Everywhere else, the vagueness is superbly balanced. You provide only the information necessary to the scene you're writing. The narrator is a soldier, or a lone warrior, or in some way involved in a war: this much is plain. You provide just enough information about him without posing too many questions that will never be answered. Long ago some destruction befell this tower, it doesn't matter what: it's ruined now, why or how is irrelevant. Our narrator is pursued by a mysterious figure who is obviously the enemy, and seems also to be involved in the war. That's all we need to know! That there is a war--for this story, that's all we needed to know. The rest depends upon the scene being depicted, and upon the style.And I'll say that, as usual, I very much enjoyed your style.It's also important that you provide very vague, very subtle hints regarding the story's significance. These are of a very delicate nature. Here is a perfect example:[/color] 

So. This was the end of the war.

 [color=rgb(0,128,0);]Grammatically I'm not thrilled by that first period, but that's not the point.The point is that this gives a very vague hint of significance, that says just enough to be an answer without being a question. In fact, it is so open, it might not even be referring to an actual war at all. It might be a personal contention between these two men--or are they men at all? I assume so; some one else may assume they are women; some one else may assume they are not human. It is open to interpretation because it does not matter to the story.You allow the reader's imagination to run wild almost subliminally; they don't have to give any real thought to the impressions that form in their mind. They can, as obviously I as reviewer am forcing myself to, but you don't force that. You don't force your reader into any hopeless attempt to deduce the story's real meaning, an attempt doomed to failure without sufficient evidence. Thus your story becomes, truly, something that exists only in the individual eye of each and every beholder, including yourself: and that, my friend, is something very impressive, indeed.Well done. Sir, very, very well done.[/color]

[color=rgb(0,128,0);] [/color]

[color=rgb(0,128,0);]Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:[/color]

Edited by The Novelist Called Nuile, Apr 02 2013 - 09:54 PM.

  • 0

When I know I can't live without a pen and paper, when I know writing is as necessary to me as breathing . . .




I know I am ready to start my voyage.


A Musing Author . . . Want to read my books?

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users