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Author Topic: A Writing Piece - Comments Welcome/Required  (Read 2390 times)
Vella Malachite
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Never underestimate carefully worded nonsense.

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« Topic Start: February 02, 2010, 05:29:17 am »

For my exam piece last year, I wrote the beginnings of a story.  The reference to Macbeth was obligatory, but I was wondering what the Cauldron thought of the characters and their interaction, mainly.

STANDARD COPYRIGHT:
The following text, in its entirety, is copyrighted 2010 by the author, who is registered on ecauldron.net with the username "Vella Malachite." No authorization to redistribute the text in any format is given under any circumstance, except with the author's express permission.

Jared cursed under his breath.  Another drop of rain trickled down his neck, and he shivered.  What was the point?  When you got right down to it, what was the fugging point?  Stupid Marcus.  Stupid, fugging Marcus.  The rain got heavier.  The sky was what Mara would have called ‘pitch grey’.  Not that that helped much, stranded at a bus stop no-one went to anymore, waiting for stupid, fugging Marcus.
“Hey, Jared!” A voice shouted happily, close to Jared’s ear.  Jared winced – he had very sensitive hearing.
“Dammit, Marcus, I told you not to do that!”
“You know you’d miss it if it wasn’t there,” said Marcus, who looked like a cheerful drowned rodent.
“You’d better be ready to go,” Jared growled, striding off into the downpour.
“You seem unhappy, Brother,” Marcus said, grinning.
“We should call you Sherlock,” Jared retorted, voice smothered in sarcasm.  “And I told you to stop calling me that.  How many times do I have to tell you?”
“Let’s see if one more time does it.”
“Stop.  Calling.  Me.  Brother.”
Marcus stopped and considered.  “Nope, sorry, Brother.  No dice.”
“Damn you, Marcus.”  Marcus grinned as Jared glared at him.
There was a pause, while a car sped past.  Jared narrowly missed getting soaked as a sheet of water sprayed up from its tyres and splattered on the pavement.
“Are you ready for tonight?” Marcus asked conversationally.
“More ready than you.”
“Just asking…”  Marcus trailed off.  “Look, it’s like you’re always telling us – if we don’t pull together, we won’t get anywhere.”
“We are working together.  Well, OK, then.  Let’s try to have a civil conversation.  What book did you get this time?”
“It’s called “In the Lake of the Woods” by Tim O’Brien.”
“What’s it about?”
“A couple.  The wife dies.  Not entirely sure yet, but it looks pretty deep.”
“You read too much of that…I mean, you sure read a lot.”  Jared shoved his hands into his coat.  This was a stupid idea.  He felt his blood pressure rising.  Stupid, stupid, fugging Marcus!
“You don’t read enough, Brother,” Marcus returned jovially.
“There’re more important things to do,” Jared said shortly.
“And would it kill you to let someone else do them, for a change?  You’re too stressed.  I’ve just finished ‘Macbeth’ – maybe you’d like that?”
“No.  That play leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”
“Right.  Interesting to wonder, though – what was important?  Really?”
“To whom?”
“Macbeth.  Banquo.  I dunno, Shakespeare.”
“Well, they reckon that the victim shows us what’s important.  So, who’s the victim?”
“All of them, really.”
“Yep.  Macbeth is the victim of his wife.  Lady Macbeth is the victim of the witches.  Banquo is the victim of Macbeth…”  Jared left the sentence hanging, indicating that the list continued.  He pulled his coat a little closer.  “Brilliant worldview to have, that.”
“That’s simplified a lot, Brother.”
“I know.  My point is, everyone’s someone’s victim.”
Lightning forked across the sky, and the thunder rolled.
“So, what about the witches?” Marcus asked.
“What about them?”  Jared frowned slightly.
“Whose victims are they?”
“Hecate’s probably.”
“And her?”
Jared was stumped.  “I dunno.  Some other god.”
“What about them?”
“What are you getting at, Marcus?  I know you.  You’re trying to prove a point.  Go on, spit it out.”
“The person at the top.  The very top of that chain, who lords it over all the rest of them.  Whose victim is he?”
“Marcus…” Jared warned.
“His own, Brother.  And the victim of everyone beneath him, but in a different way.”
Jared grunted.  “Poor bastard.”
“Exactly!  Exactly.”
“What?”
“When you get to the top, the guy there is more of a victim than everyone else,” Marcus looked proud of himself.
“So what’s the moral?  Don’t get promoted?”
“No.  If the victim shows us what’s important, and the guy on top is the biggest victim, then what’s important?”
“Being on top?”  Jared gave Marcus a mocking look of wide-eyed innocence, which Marcus dismissed.
“No.  It kind of opens up options, though, doesn’t it?”
Jared grunted noncommittally.
Marcus paused meaningfully.  “I’m talking about you, Brother.”
“I gathered.”
“It’s worth thinking about, though.  Tell me, Brother, what’s important to the guy on top?”
“Some peace and quiet’d be nice,” Jared snapped.
“Brother…”
“No!  Shut up, Marcus.  I know what you’re saying.  Blah, blah, Jared’s a little lost lamb, blah, blah, blah.  Concentrate on the job now!”
“That’s not what I’m…”
“Don’t really care, Marcus.”
“Brother…”
“Drop it.”
“I…”
“I said, drop it!”  Jared pulled his shoulders up and doubled his pace.  Marcus followed just behind him for a minute or two, looking at shop windows.
“We don’t get to have many conversations that end nicely, do we, Brother?” Marcus asked hesitantly.
“Gee, I wonder why?” Jared’s voice was laden with sarcasm and vitriol.
“It seems like I can’t say anything to you anymore.”
“I tried, Marcus.”
“I know you did, Brother.”
“Stop calling me that,” Jared choked slightly.
“But you are  my brother.”
Jared was silent.  Marcus heard a sniff, and Jared inhaling raggedly.
“I know what’s important to the guy at the top,” Marcus ventured.
“What?”
“Everyone else.”
“What, all the people who victimise him?” Jared said thickly.  Marcus took care not to look at his face.
“Yep.  Everyone whose little fights he’s got to deal with, everyone who doesn’t agree with him, everyone who he’d really rather not see.”
“So does that make him a masochist?”
“No, Brother.  The victim shows us what’s really important, remember?  He’s the best of us all.”
“No, he’s not.”
“Yes, he is.  Everyone back home believes it, too.”
“Do they.”  It was more a statement than a question.
“They’re there for you, Brother.”
“Really.”
Marcus put a hand on Jared’s shoulder.  Jared stiffened.  “I’m here for you, Brother.”
The coat seemed to shrink a little.
“I know you are…Brother.”
 
STANDARD COPYRIGHT:
The above text, in its entirety, is copyrighted 2010 by the author, who is registered on ecauldron.net with the username "Vella Malachite." No authorization to redistribute the text in any format is given under any circumstance, except with the author's express permission.
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« Reply #1: February 02, 2010, 08:30:23 am »

For my exam piece last year, I wrote the beginnings of a story.  The reference to Macbeth was obligatory, but I was wondering what the Cauldron thought of the characters and their interaction, mainly.

stupid nit, off the bat - you use the word "Brother" WAAAAAY too often.  It's grating.  I recognize why you're doing it, but it's still too much.

And .... I've no idea where they're going or why.  Which makes the rest of the story kinda detached from everything else.  It feels almost like they're on their way to commit a crime, which makes the ending weird.

I guess I just need more context.  Without that, it's kinda ... okay, Jared realizes his family still loves him.  ....... so what?  y'know?  It feels a little TOO much like an excerpt without context to be able to give real critique.
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Vella Malachite
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Last Login:July 31, 2011, 03:27:04 am
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Religion: Irish Celtic Reconstructionist
Posts: 368


Never underestimate carefully worded nonsense.

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« Reply #2: February 02, 2010, 11:59:19 pm »

stupid nit, off the bat - you use the word "Brother" WAAAAAY too often.  It's grating.  I recognize why you're doing it, but it's still too much.

And .... I've no idea where they're going or why.  Which makes the rest of the story kinda detached from everything else.  It feels almost like they're on their way to commit a crime, which makes the ending weird.

I guess I just need more context.  Without that, it's kinda ... okay, Jared realizes his family still loves him.  ....... so what?  y'know?  It feels a little TOO much like an excerpt without context to be able to give real critique.

Heh - I kind of figured it was a bit too much, but it was whether it was annoying-too-much or understandable-too-much that was under question.
I'll fix that.

And fair enough about the background thing.  Do you want me to post a quick explanation?
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« Reply #3: February 03, 2010, 07:38:19 am »

Heh - I kind of figured it was a bit too much, but it was whether it was annoying-too-much or understandable-too-much that was under question.
I'll fix that.

And fair enough about the background thing.  Do you want me to post a quick explanation?

Well - is it part of a larger work, or is there background in your head?  If it's part of a larger work, an explanation to set it up is fine.  If it's just in your head - the writing stands on its own or doesn't. Cheesy
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Vella Malachite
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Last Login:July 31, 2011, 03:27:04 am
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Never underestimate carefully worded nonsense.

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« Reply #4: February 06, 2010, 10:53:11 pm »

Well - is it part of a larger work, or is there background in your head?  If it's part of a larger work, an explanation to set it up is fine.  If it's just in your head - the writing stands on its own or doesn't. Cheesy

It's part of a larger work, but that's the only part I've actually written so far - I was using my English exam to explore the characters' interactions.

Basically, this is a flashback into Jared's past - he is remembering time he spent with his brother, Marcus, before Marcus died.
Jared is the leader of a small troupe of people living on the borders of a town (not sure exactly why - originally it was vampires, before I decided that that really wouldn't work with the setting, now they're normal people with some reason for rejecting society.  That sounded less fanfiction-y in my head...).  On this occasion, he was going to talk to someone, or a couple of someones, who were candidates for joining their group, but it was a trap set by a group who oppose them (either a personal grudge or some legal reason, undecided), and Marcus was killed.

Um...I think that's all I've got on background so far - like I said, it was just to get an idea of characters and their interactions.  The story itself is still a bit up-in-the-air.

Sorry about not making this all clear beforehand!   Smiley
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« Reply #5: February 26, 2010, 10:25:41 pm »

Jared grunted.  “Poor bastard.”
“Exactly!  Exactly.”

Okay, I got a chuckle out of that.

Overall a bit quick, but I could still follow it.  Something this dense in dialogue might be double-spaced, to give the reader breathing room.

I really enjoyed Marcus' neurosis. Smiley

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Vella Malachite
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Last Login:July 31, 2011, 03:27:04 am
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Never underestimate carefully worded nonsense.

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« Reply #6: March 05, 2010, 09:40:32 pm »

Okay, I got a chuckle out of that.

Overall a bit quick, but I could still follow it.  Something this dense in dialogue might be double-spaced, to give the reader breathing room.

I really enjoyed Marcus' neurosis. Smiley

Thanks, WarHorse!  I think I can safely attribute the quickness to the fact that I wrote that in 45 minutes under exam conditions - if I rewrote it, I think it'd take longer and have more description in it.

Heh - I never designed Marcus to have a neurosis, but it does sort of come across that way, doesn't it?   Roll Eyes
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What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter as if he is a man, but when he is a spinning ball of ammonia and methane must be silent?
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« Reply #7: March 06, 2010, 10:47:22 am »

Heh - I never designed Marcus to have a neurosis, but it does sort of come across that way, doesn't it?   Roll Eyes

He does to me - might be my interpretation.

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"I've seen knights in armor panic at the first hint of battle.  And I've seen the lowliest unarmed squire pull a spear from his own body to defend a dying horse." - Kevin Costner as Robin of Loxley, Robin Hood; Prince of Thieves.

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