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Fantasy Writers

Audio Cinema

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  • #135009
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Hey Fellow Writers,

    So I have been given permission from above…(No, not THAT far above 😉 ) to start a new Topic that challenges us to step out of our comfort zones a little, and employ some of our other theatrical skills.

    Who likes movies?  Who like “mind movies”? (No, not you mumbling freak sitting in the nuthouse talking to himself in the padded playpen… What?!  Sorry, I just chased away one of those pesky mind rabbits… Uh, you don’t want to know. 😝)
    …Anyway, this is it.

    Drum roll….
    I am challenging my fellow Story Embers creatives to Read & Record a short scene (no more than 20 minutes max) of their WIPs and post a shared link to the MP3 file (preferably on a location like Good Docs) to give others a chance to listen under the posted excerpt text of their scene.

    Assignment:

    Just post your Tag, the “Text” and the Audio File link” with no context qualifiers or lead-in notes.

    I know personally that I get myopic in my writing when I only “hear” my work in my head.  Sometimes performing it into a recording (using a smartphone’s audio memo feature) allows me to step back from it and listen to it as it might be read by a stranger. [Not that my potential readers are “strange”… Just gonna let that go… Forget I said it. 😜]

    This has helped me to see what seems to work and what “sounds off” more clearly.  It also allows me to rework the scene so that it flows more naturally, with the added benefit of role-playing and experimenting with my characters’ voices.

    I thought it might be fun to try this with my fellow writers in the Forum.

    Remember: Just post your 1) Forum moniker, 2) the scene text, and 3) the MP3 File link so we all get to “see” how it sounds.

    Bonus:

    Here are some potential follow-up questions to the listeners to help give the Author some valuable feedback.  Remember all posts (in text or in audio) must adhere to the Forum Guidelines.

    FORUM GUIDELINES

    I used to make a weekly 80-mile commute, and recorded much of my WIP to listen to “on the road”.  I had a Google Audio Voice read it first, but have recently been recording it in my own “character voices” with sound effects and background music to bring in the atmospheric experience, much like a dramatic audiobook does.  The Audio Cinema might be a fun and developmental exercise that helps us writers employ more of our senses when approaching our gift’s expression.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135010
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Here are the Scene Questions:

    Scene Questions

    1.       Is there anything that stood out to you as intriguing about this scene?

     

    2.       What would you say the mood was of this scene?

     

    3.       What character(s) in this scene would you like to know more about?

     

    4.       Which character, if any, do you feel the most empathy toward in this scene alone?

     

    5.       Which of the following, as a reader, do you wish I had developed more fully in this scene?

    a.       Setting

    b.       Character thoughts and motivations

    c.       Character appearance and/or mood expressions

     

    6.       Do you feel that the dialogue in this scene flows or is mechanical and stilted?

     

    7.       Did you learn something in this scene that you wondered about in a previous scene?

     

    8.       Did this scene make you want to read more scenes? (Why or why not?)

     

    9.       Is there any part of the scene that you personally felt did not belong?

     

    10.   What, if anything, would you change about this scene to make it more interesting to you?

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135012
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @daeus-lamb


    @josiah


    @hope-ann


    @briannastorm


    @karthmin


    @this-is-not-an-alien


    @erynne


    @skylarynn


    @rose-colored-fancy


    @bclarke


    @writergirl101

    To start the “Audio” ball rolling,… (Yes, yes, I know that’s cliche…)
    Here is the first entry:

    Moniker:

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Text: (1623 Words) [11 minute audio]

    The old woman watched as the foamy tides cast themselves relentlessly upon the wet sands of the beach, expending the last breaths of their moon-driven energy.

    Her body had once had a name, and an identity. She had been called Noadiah, but now that name was lost with the death of the personhood that had quitted the body when it fell into the great fjord and the wounded beast prowling those frigid waters took her under.

    Afterward only the image of the old woman remained, and the thing that inhabited her form was nothing like the woman who once was lovingly known by that name.

    Before coming to the beach, she’d been in a great stone city. And there she had existed for several years. In the shadows. In the alleys. In the darkness. Waiting for an opportunity to take back something that did not belong to them.

    Each day the old woman’s form became more restrictive and weakened. The presence within her, now fully occupying her dissembling remains seethed and chafed in the length of the waiting. Yet it did not dare to show its degree of impatience. After all, time was only a construct given to allow humans to experience dispensation. Impatience gave birth to recklessness. And recklessness was a child that should be strangled in its infancy.

    The old woman had arrived upon the beach and had taken up residence in the sea caves months before the coming of the beast. She had unwittingly summoned the creature. Or, rather, the thing living inside of her had.

    Since the coming of the second quest, she had learned what the Surface Worlders were after. The three virtue stones that would unlock the hidden kingdom. For years she and her sisters had blown through the lands of the Mid-World, seeking the current resting places of the two remaining stones, for she knew the place where the first stone now lay- high in the mountains of the great Stone Wall, where the fire-beast slept until the final time for its re-awakening. The second stone had gone beyond her sight, but she suspected that it had fallen in the possession of The Pan. Its true resting place was unclear, and that bothered her not knowing for sure.

    Through swirling about eaves, and hearing tales whispered by firelight, she had, at last, learned of the location of another, and that breathy intelligence she had whispered across the waves, reaching the sea creature that had given her its present form to walk unnoticed among mankind.

    And insinuate herself there near the location of the third and final stone that lay locked within the treasury of the great stone city of Xarm, named after its founder and first monarch. Guarded by fools who did not know what they had in their possession.

    No one suspected the old beggar woman who sat day after day in the shadows, wearing tattered rags, with matted hair, and various insects crawling on her form beneath her clothing to keep her company. She’d waited and watched for an opportunity, allowing the lax guards to grow accustomed to her huddled and seemingly innocuous presence. To see her only as a regular fixture of a city impoverished by the mundane and ineffectual. Just another pathetically huddling piece of human debris, skulking in the shadows. She stared out at the world with gray-blue eyes, clouded with cataracts. No one suspected that she might be anything more than she appeared. A blind beggar—seemingly unseeing. Dismissed by the wary guards as only a ubiquitous and harmless shadow to the point that they no longer saw her. And in this guise, she was able to trade the blindness they perceive to be hers for their own.

    The Xarmnians never really knew what they had in the inner room of the treasury, to begin with. To them, the stone was just a valuable rock, unique in its large size, retrieved long ago in a time best forgotten, when their ancestors first traveled from a great distance to settle in the surrounding plains of the mountainous valley. Legend had it that this particular stone was dug out from its golden setting, along with two other large stones, and each of these stones was divided among the kingdoms that occupied the region. The Xarmnian Kingdom, the Capitalian Kingdom, and the Middle Kingdom, an alliance formed of the indigenous proto settlements who occupied the plains before the arrival and formulation of the latter kingdoms. The three precious stones were said to have once been the jeweled adornments of a mysterious golden crown capping a pillar that predated all known races of men and other kinds occupying the lands of the Mid-World. These separated fist-sized stones were taken from the mysterious pillar stone and, along with the twelve base set mover stones, were used to build the great cities that grew into powerful walled empires.

    But the thing inside the old woman knew these stones were much more than they appeared. They were particularly connected to a prophecy of the Mid-World’s future. These three stones were key components to unlocking a multi-dimensional gate and whose opening would bring about a change in the Mid-World and signify the ushering in of a new kingdom age that would supplant everything. A potential future, this occupant of the old woman would do everything in its power to prevent. And when at last the opportunity finally came, she had absconded with the mysterious gate stone, smooth and polished and perfectly round and larger than any other natural stone of its kind.

    One evening, the old woman, at last, saw her opportunity. The treasury had been easier enough to enter under distraction than she had ever anticipated because the sight of her and the groveling denizens like her had grown commonplace within the city. All city guards were ordered to the city walls to track and kill a particularly hated traitor and prevent him from escaping.

    In the rush to comply with orders, the posted guard of the treasury failed to notice the old woman’s stick extended into the closing doorway as they rush out to follow the command.

    In the evening darkness, they failed to see the old woman’s slinking form, accustomed to blending in with the shadows, hobbling out of the now-closed treasury rooms, with a large smooth stone tucked into the flea-ridden folds of her tattered clothes. They failed to follow her skulking course through the night, out of the city, or tracked her progress for days without food or water, walking through the wildlands toward the seashore, she knew to lay to the eastern edge of the lands of the Mid-World. The incompetent soldiers would not discover the loss of the great and ancient treasure stone for many days, months or even years. They would never conceive of what she intended to do with it. That the great and giant sphere would be cast, as soon as she reached the shoreline out into the Great Sea, never to be found again. And then she would decide, what next to do about the other stones that remained, but first, she must rid herself of this old body and once again walk in the newness of a life stolen from among the lands of the living.

    The old woman arrived at last at the beachhead embankment. From atop the edge of one of the many sea-cliffs, she watched the continual march of the waves coming from the distant pumping heart of the ocean, pounding in frothy surf along the seashore, extending far as her old eyes could see.

    She thought and raged long and hard about what all had transpired to lead her up to this moment. The insufferable restrictions she has borne living within the decaying mud of the now almost bloodless body. She harshly chuckled to herself, realizing that she had at last gotten the upper hand. That those outworlders would, finally, be prevented from being used as instruments of the Terrible One to bring about the prophesied return of this land’s champion.

    If she could not destroy this stone, and she had tried many times along the way, she would do the next best thing. From an outcropping ridge that extended as a tall peninsula into the ocean, she heaved the stone, a giant, sparkling pearl, outward as hard as her frail form would allow and, breathless, she watched as the stone left her hands, arched and descended towards the swirling frothy waters below, only to see, to her amazement, the pearl seemed to punch into the air and ripple the fabric of the Mid-World’s veneer of reality, the seascape undulating and forming concentric circles in the very air and as it passed through the center of this reality, she saw, what appeared to be the great fanged mouth of a massive creature catch the falling pearl through a swirling tear in the air. The massive head and jaws clamped down upon the stone, and its eyes shifted and stared at the old woman’s form standing shakily on the cliff before it.

    Something passed between them, and the old woman knew that it was only a matter of time before this terrible beast would be allowed to pass through its mystical portal and meet with her again. She need only wait for its coming and the inevitable people that would follow soon afterward. Twenty-one meddling and clueless Surface Worlders who she had vowed to kill as soon as possible before they could make any further trouble with ancient prophecy non-sense.

    She waited for many months, occupying the sea cave on the shore below the overhanging cliffs. At last, the first of the otherworldly travelers came.

    Audio File Link:

    Prologue: The Beachhead  – Scene 01: “The Old Woman Who Was Not”

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135049
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Ooooooooooh! Now I get to hear everybody’s dramatic voices! I don’t know if I have all the equipment I need right now *glances around the room totally not planning McGyverism* Probably should’ve try to do sound effects right away *is totally gonna try sound effects*. I’ve looked at recording as a marketing scheme and an all-round awesome theatric…but you probably won’t hear from me for a while, I should focus on driving and buying a laptop first…let’s see what’s the most sound-proof room I can use and will my siblings run down worried I’ve finally killed myself if they hear me practicing character voices? I know exactly what tone and inflection the key one’s have I’ll murder myself trying to imitate them! 😀
    (Ok *mumbling like a maniac* 1623 words equals about 11 minutes so at most I can probably get about up to 3200 words a scene depending. I wonder how many sound effects are on public domain…)

    Sometimes performing it into a recording (using a smartphone’s audio memo feature) allows me to step back from it and listen to it as it might be read by a stranger. [Not that my potential readers are “strange”… Just gonna let that go… Forget I said it. ]

    lol I feel attacked 😜

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #135063
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Ooh that sounded interesting, I can answer some scene questions! First, though, I just want to say I love your narrative voice, it added an extra layer of suspense to the story and made me listen a little more attentively than usual.
    1. Is there anything that stood out to you as intriguing about this scene?
    I would say the details were just enough to keep me listening and I feel like you’ve provided a lot of promise for the later scenes. One thing I might be concerned about is the style itself sounded passive which is perfect for an introductory scene or section but I probably wouldn’t finish a book that relied solely on that style unless it was absolutely exceptional or assigned to me for school 😄.
    But this may be personal preference, or maybe your story has a deeper POV later?
    2. What would you say the mood was of this scene?
    I would say overall it sets for a supernatural horror, it provided plenty of literary angst and prepares for some pretty intense stakes probably.
    5. Which of the following, as a reader, do you wish I had developed more fully in this scene?
    a. Setting
    b. Character thoughts and motivations
    c. Character appearance and/or mood expressions
    If anything maybe the immediate setting, but as an intro it works perfect. I would want to be more grounded in the characters and setting as the story moved on but for the moment it works fine.
    8. Did this scene make you want to read more scenes? (Why or why not?)
    Definitely. It was dramatic and held promise. The poetic, lyrical style might strain if prolonged but if I can connect with the characters and the immediate aspects of the plot as I go along I think the premise and the plot are very promising.
    On the other hand I could absolutely listen to this style for a while with your voice talents coupled with it 🙂
    10. What, if anything, would you change about this scene to make it more interesting to you?
    I might slow down at the actual theft and integrate descriptors into small actions like say swiping mud-smudged hair out of her face as she steps into *whatever the inside looks like* and maybe use multiple senses like the different temperature inside from outside, how she smells compared to how the place smells etc.
    But that might be a horrible idea especially since this sounds like the main villain not the main character, so you might want to hurry through it like you did and just leave the reader with the image which was very clear in the narrative. In that case the style is perfect for its purpose although I might try to opt for more strong verbs and active sentence structure. I might try varying sentence types and punctuate with very short sentences to increase tension.
    The sentence “Impatience gave birth to recklessness. And recklessness was a child that should be strangled in its infancy.” was an awesome sentence! I might try to isolate a couple of those really good sentences to give like four or five key images. Personally, I’d try and draw attention to those sentences by mixing the sentence order and figuring where it can catch the eye, maybe putting it in a place to sound slightly abrupt or “hooking” or maybe set it as its own paragraph.
    Or I might systematically go through and pick three or four minor setting/character details and try to amplify them.
    But it might just be a me thing, or not applicable to the particular genre you’re going with.

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #135069
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Cathy!

    Much appreciated!  I so enjoy and needed this feedback!  You have been so much help!

    I can hardly wait to hear, perhaps, your entries or those of others who venture onto this Topic!

    Don’t feel the need to make a recording fancy.  I have been experimenting with audio files for a few years now.  It took me a while to learn all the little nifty tricks of audio production (on a budget of free 😉 ).
    Even if you want to record a “rough cut” just try it.

    There is something about hearing it back that allows us to perceive our own writing in a very different way.  It is something more than just reading it aloud to ourselves.  Engage the family in it too, if you want them to do different character voices. It lets them in on your creative process and they become even more excited for what you are doing.  You may find they enjoy it so much they are more willing to let you have some “me” time to write scenes that include some of “their” characters.

    Thank you so much for your encouragement!

    Your instincts are on target.
    I am employing much of the “passive voice” deliberately in this opening scene.  The “old woman” is, in fact, villainous and not the MC, nor is she a “human” entity, but something much worse.  Some authors begin with their MC, but I didn’t for some very good reasons. (At least, I think so, anyway.)

    I want the sense that she is laying a trap of deception for the MC and the ones he will lead when they arrive.  I want the reader to feel she is off, but not know too much about her at the beginning. (We will pay-out the crumbs of what she is as the story progresses, but I wanted to subtly plant the seeds of danger, quietly in the field of imagination before harvesting them.  That is why she is sketchily defined at first.  To leave you feeling that she is “off” in some ways.)

    I think you picked that up nicely, so perhaps I have quietly planted my field as intended.
    I will use the active voice more, but there will be some passive voice too until each character’s volition becomes more deliberate.

    My MC (appears first in Chapter 1, not in the prologue), after all, has a past that leaves him uncertain of how best to proceed into a place where he was once hunted by the villains of this place, and shunned by the friends that he betrayed.  He was a recluse, having very few friends, before he left, and now, upon returning, must gain their trust again, and most of all trust more fully in The One who called him back.

    I expect the active voice will grow stronger as he gains confidence and is raised to his calling.  {trying to use that as a subtle technical device}

    With regard to horror, I  do consider myself to be more of a thriller writer than a horror writer.  I am more aligned with a Dean Koontz type than a Stephen King.  I think the “monster” unseen is often more menacing than the monster shown.
    I do not go blood-and-guts or employ gratuitous violence. Just cannot reconcile that personally as a writer. I value God’s created life too much to do it.

    I am more overt in my faith and deliberately bring that out even moreso later, for I do not feel that I am writing for a secular audience.  I feel called to write Fantasy for Christians, so there is more of an arc into the Lordship Walk towards maturity, than an appeal to share the basic gospel.  The need is great to encourage Christians to move beyond the entryway of their salvation experience into the “working out of our own salvation” as the Apostle Paul describes in Philippians 2:12.  I think too often people of faith forget that the world will not be drawn to a Jesus who seems to make no difference in our own lives.  It is upon us to let The Vine bear His fruit upon us as branches.  That gets the attention of the lost world more than just preaching it.  SO, my stories challenge Christians to walk deeper, dig deeper, yield more of themselves to Christ to find their empowerment from Him and not in their own strength.  God subverts man’s expectations continually. His strength is made perfect in weakness, He tells Paul.
    1 Corinthians 1:27 says: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”

    He says to be ruler of much, we must be faithful in the few.  He says the last, will be made first.  He came as the Lamb to be Slain first before He will return as the Lion of Judah and Judge.  He says the one who would lead, should make himself a servant of all.  These are typical of the positions of God as revealed by Scripture.  He calls the overlooked, the cripple, the humble, the unloved and raises them to be His champions.  That is what I feel compelled to tap into.  We can relate more to these than we ever could a champion by the world’s definition of such.

    C.S. Lewis chose to use displaced, frightened children as his “heroes” who would thwart the White Witch Jadis, by sitting on the four Thrones of Cair Paravel.
    Tolkien chose the smallest, simple folk of Hobbits in the unassuming humble village of the Shire to thwart the power-seekers who wanted control through The One Ring, and put them on an unlikely path through terrors to accomplish that.

    I think too often we writers lose sight of that.  That the unlikely hero is the most relatable one.  We give our MC’s too much power, when the ultimate path to gaining is to yield ourselves to God’s authority, and find ourselves lifted in Him.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135076
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Cool idea!

    I probably won’t be joining anytime soon, though. I do read my chapters out loud (usually to my brother since I enjoy seeing his reactions), and it does help!

    Anway, lack of time, long chapters, and my foreign accent combine to make this less than ideal.

    Thanks for tagging me, though!

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #135106
    Bethania Gauterius
    @sparrowhawke

    I am more overt in my faith and deliberately bring that out even moreso later, for I do not feel that I am writing for a secular audience. I feel called to write Fantasy for Christians, so there is more of an arc into the Lordship Walk towards maturity, than an appeal to share the basic gospel. The need is great to encourage Christians to move beyond the entryway of their salvation experience into the “working out of our own salvation” as the Apostle Paul describes in Philippians 2:12. I think too often people of faith forget that the world will not be drawn to a Jesus who seems to make no difference in our own lives. It is upon us to let The Vine bear His fruit upon us as branches. That gets the attention of the lost world more than just preaching it. SO, my stories challenge Christians to walk deeper, dig deeper, yield more of themselves to Christ to find their empowerment from Him and not in their own strength. God subverts man’s expectations continually. His strength is made perfect in weakness, He tells Paul.
    1 Corinthians 1:27 says: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”


    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Your approach to writing sounds great. I think a lot of Christian authors feel they need to write their stories for secular audiences to reach them with the gospel. In reality though, I don’t think many non-Christians would pick up a book marketed as Christian fiction. Even as a Christian myself, I’m wary of a lot of Christian fiction. A lot of it is very shallow and mediocre. (However, your WIP sounds fascinating and I love the way you’re creating a sort of Biblical fantasy.)

    We reach non-Christians with the preaching of God’s Word. I’m sure some have gotten their first taste of Christianity from reading a novel, but that’s not the way God ordinarily works. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to reach non-Christians with our stories. But I don’t think we should feel so pressured to always use that approach. My WIP (a contemporary novel) is meant for a Christian audience and I think has a very timely message for the church. I’m also keeping in mind the non-Christian reader, particularly one who has been hurt by the church. But my main audience is Christians.

    "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." - Psalm 103:14

    #135107
    Bethania Gauterius
    @sparrowhawke

    Here is my try:

    Moniker: @sparrowhawke

    Details: 1143 words, 6:22 min. audio

    Audio: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1P9S15_W8C7LZtrX5J8i17-bhapBR8fnV/view?usp=sharing

    Text:

    The steel is smooth under my fingers, the blade as sharp as my tongue. Words written in the Forgotten Language, the Eling, curl around the handle, carved into the ivory. They’re thin and discreet–my opponent won’t know they’re there until it’s too late. They are more than letters or designs though. They were carved by a Petromagus and are filled with the power of aether. When I hold the knife in my hand and speak the Eling words, aether will flow into me and strengthen my Resolve. When I throw the knife, the blade will claim another victim. And I will claim their Resolve.

    I sheathe the knife and then tighten the leather braces on my arms. These, just like the knife, have Eling written on them. So do my belt, cloak, and every weapon I own. They match the markings tattooed on my body. Those match the birthmark on my neck, the patch of skin that hailed me as the Warrior of Namule. As it is on the back of my neck, I have never seen it, but I can feel it. And not just when I’m touching it.

    I pull my hood over my head, grab my spiked staff, and leave my room. Eling runes carved on the stone floor glow as I step on them. At the flick of my hand the flame of a torch on the wall changes from the natural orange to green then blue then purple.

    The door at the end of the hall opens and out steps Crin, my mentor. He’s balding and his scraggly beard hangs over his sagging belly, but people say he used to be handsome. I have a very hard time believing that.

    “I was just coming to see you,” he says as he closes his door. He’s holding a scroll in one hand and a piece of chalk in the other. I frown.

    “I’m not going to defeat the Rissians if all we do is talk about how to defeat the Rissians,” I say.

    He shakes his head. “You need to know the enemy.”

    “I’m not going to know the enemy from reading old myths.”

    “They’re not myths. They’re exaggerated histories. You must not only know how your opponent fights, but also how he thinks. Then you’ll be able to anticipate his every move.”

    He passes me. “Come.”

    I begrudgingly follow. I was hoping to get in some good knife-throwing practice today, not another lesson with Crin the Cranky.

    We navigate our way through the passages of the fortress until we end up in the inner open-roofed garden. It’s peaceful here, all flowers and birds and marble statues. One is still broken in the grass. I accidentally knocked it over during staff practice and apparently nobody has bothered to clear it away.

    The sky is reddening but I still keep my hood on, especially after Crin tells me to put it down. That just makes me want to keep it on even more.

    He sits his fat bottom down on one of the marble benches. I stand and fold my arms.

    “What’s the story today, Crinky?” I ask.

    He exhales, obviously annoyed with me. Good. Maybe he’ll leave me alone to break another statue.

    But he just unrolls the parchment. It’s a small map showing Rissa and Adabar, the border between the two countries clearly delineated in dark red ink. “Red for blood,” Crin says. “Blood you will avenge.”

    “So far the only thing I’ve avenged is the statue over there, and I couldn’t care less about him.”

    “Could care less,” Crin corrects.

    “Whatever. What were we talking about again?”

    “Blood.”

    “Ah yes, a lovely subject.”

    Another exhalation, this one so breathy I’m glad Crin isn’t an Aeromagus.

    He continues. “The blood of the Adabarans. Of our ancestors. Of us.”

    “Obviously not my ancestors, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”

    Crin ignores me. “The Rissians attacked us first. Unprovoked. They crossed the Rift and came to conquer us. And they did, for a time.”

    “Then we beat ‘em all up and kicked them out and now they’re back in the west plotting how to take us down again and blah, blah, blah.” I finish the story for him.

    “That is a rather simplified version of it.”

    “I like simple things.”

    “I’m sure you do.”

    It’s one of Crin’s few insults I’m more shocked than offended. I know he hates me, but he hardly ever says it out loud.

    “Malar,” he says, putting aside the map, “you really do need to understand these things. This is the reason they’re fighting and the reason you’re fighting.”

    “If you hadn’t noticed, I’m not fighting. I’m standing in a flower garden listening to an old man tell me a bedtime story.”

    “You could be sitting if you wished.” He points out the empty space on the marble bench.

    “I know why I have to fight, Crin. What the Rissians did, what they are doing is terrible. Unforgivable. But you’re not helping. I’m the most powerful fighter we got and while thousands of our soldiers are dying, you’re keeping me cooped up here so I can look at maps. Frankly, it’s insulting.”

    He looks down at the ground, suddenly very interested in the flora. I hope he’s not trying to make some metaphor like last time.

    “You’re right, Malar,” he says. “You should be out fighting. But you’re also not just a throwaway soldier. The Warriors of Namule are more than soldiers–they’re thinkers. Our best philosophers have been from the Warriors. That’s all I’ve been trying to teach you.”

    “And I guess I appreciate that,” I say slowly, trying to sound diplomatic. Still, it’s very hard to churn out the words. “But I’ve been doing this for years. I’m ready to fight now. I may not even live to be a philosopher.” I pull out my knife. “This is why I’m alive,” I say, laying it out in my hands. “To fight and die for Adabar.” I say it in Eling and the letters on the handle glow white. “That’s all I want to do.”

    He takes the knife and brushes his fingers over the Eling script. “I know. I just hoped you could have been different. Could’ve lived longer.”

    “I was born to die, Crin. And if I don’t do that, then I won’t have lived.”

    He smiles. It sounds also like one of those dumb platitudes he’d say and I guess he’s proud of that. I want to forget I said it.

    “You’re right.” He rolls up the scroll and puts his hand on my shoulder. The garden is dark now, but his white beard and bald head are clear in the moonlight. “Tomorrow, you’ll fight.”

    He hands the knife back to me. It’s heavier, although it’s not glowing anymore, and I know it’s done it’s job.

    It’s just stolen part of Crin’s Resolve.

    "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." - Psalm 103:14

    #135115
    Bethania Gauterius
    @sparrowhawke

    I would definitely be interested in hearing you guys’ thoughts on the narrator. What kind of person do you think he is?

    "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." - Psalm 103:14

    #135118
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @sparrowhawke

    Wow! Thank you for your entry!

    I will provide my feedback a little later because of present time constraints but thank you for being the first brave one.

    You may have heard it said, “Fortune favors the bold”, so, since you are the first, I am going to do something for you, that I could not do sustainably for others.

    I am going to prepare a dramatic reading audio of your text back for you, with sound effects and background music to allow you to experience it performed as I read it.  Would you like that?  I love what you’ve written and I think good authors ought to hear how an actor might render their works.  (I did take drama and directing courses in college, and have done some amateur acting in college plays and in church productions. I’m nothing in the galaxy of an A-List actor, but I do all right.)

    Thank you for your courage to share and your audio offering into this “Cinema”.

    May you have a very blessed and joyful day.  It has been a pleasure to read your writing.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135119
    Bethania Gauterius
    @sparrowhawke

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Wow, thank you so much! Yes, I have heard that phrase–first learned it in Latin class as “Fortes fortuna juvat.”

    I would love to hear your dramatization. This is just a piece I wrote several months ago and I have not written any more of it (I have this and one paragraph of notes XD). I feared it might be confusing, but I am so glad you enjoyed it!

    "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." - Psalm 103:14

    #135158
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @sparrowhawke

    As promised, please find my humble offering to you of a dramatic reading of your very fine work.

    Your MP3 file is linked below:

    Dramatic Audio rendition of SparrowHawkes Entry_06-25-2021

    I will provide a comment review in a follow-up post.
    Thank you again for playing along and being such a good sport!

    May you have a very blessed evening!

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135204
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @sparrowhawke

    Hello,

    Here, at last, is my responses to the scene questions.

    Scene Questions

    1)      Is there anything that stood out to you as intriguing about this scene?

    There is a familiar conflict of wills in this scene. The young, promising acolyte (Malar) challenging an authority figure (Crin), frustrated with what they view is slow progress, champing at the bit to be loosed and set free to be active in the anticipated conflict.  They are headstrong and overeager, and their mentor/teacher has a more sober view of what all their impatience young charge might face in the conflict ahead they want.  We see this in young Luke Skywalker’s impatience with Yoda in TESB and again in the young paduwan Anakin, with regard to Obi-Wan Kenobi in Attack of the Clones.  The young view the old with suspicion.  The old view the young as headless and reckless. It is a very familiar trope. The headless youth vs. the wizened master.  But, at the very end of the scene, Malar does something startling beyond the expected rash disregard for the warning from his mentor.  Crin concedes to allow Malar to fight, but Malar goes beyond gratitude for this concession.  He takes something called “Resolve” from him.  It is something Malar is planning to take from an enemy in mortal combat, under the point of his blade and utilizing his particular Eling magic.  The degree of this theft, perpetrated upon a “friend’ is unexpected.  Surely the wizened master Crin, knows the nature of the Eling magic and what purpose it might serve the one who wields it.  By taking the knife and brushing his fingers over the Eling script, surely Crin considered the danger in it, but it is Malar who considers what has been done, as if the exchange was planned.

    Since Crin initiated taking the Eling knife, it does not follow that Malar planned it, nor does Malar’s cynical suspicion of Crin indicate that Crin’s “Resolve” is something he would desire to take, because he underestimates the old man.  Perhaps, there is something that Crin did by purposely yielding his “Resolve” into Malar’s knife which might prove useful to the young man in his upcoming battle. It is this possibility that subverts the expectation and make is something the reader would want to know more about in the scene that follow.

     

    2)      What would you say the mood was of this scene?

    There is an undercurrent of tension in the scene.  A tug of wills, that appear to be waning, because Crin does appear to concede to Malar’s wishes in the end without too much pushback.  It appears that Crin is weary of Malar’s impatience and the little contemptuous digs the young man throws at him.  Malar assumes the man does not like him, but I think his assumption is as rash as he appears to be in wanting to plunge ahead without fully appreciating what it was that Crin was trying to teach him.

     

    3)      What character(s) in this scene would you like to know more about?

    Crin seems to have more secrets to tell. Malar seems too willing to blurt out whatever is on his mind.

    4)      Which character, if any, do you feel the most empathy toward in this scene alone?

    Crin

    5)      Which of the following, as a reader, do you wish I had developed more fully in this scene?

    a)       Setting

    It might be good to add a little more set dressing, but not too much. The focal point of the scene is the people in it.  We need not distract from that, but it might be interesting to see how the atmosphere plays into the focal conflict.

    b)      Character thoughts and motivations

    I think there is enough there. We have Malar’s POV, and not showing Crin’s perspective does leave him enigmatic enough for us to wonder about him.

    c)       Character appearance and/or mood expressions

    I think enough is there. We need to focus on the interplay of dialogue and not get too hung up on their fashions.

    6)      Do you feel that the dialogue in this scene flows or is mechanical and stilted?

    Yes.  I think the emotions are implicit in what is being said without restating the obvious by too much bodily expression.

    7)      Did you learn something in this scene that you wondered about in a previous scene?

    There is a subtle transition from being inside the enclosure of the fortress to the movement to the garden room with a more natural feel and birdsong.  It is like the implied conflict of Malar’s perceived imprisonment (stone walls, heavy doors, etc.) to the open-air liberty of the garden room where, despite the litter of broken statuary, a sign of his contempt for traditional venerations of the old heroes, the freedom he seeks from study is there and it is there where Crin grants him his promised freedom to join the conflict.

    8)      Did this scene make you want to read more scenes? (Why or why not?)

    Yes. For the reason stated in Question 1.

    9)      Is there any part of the scene that you personally felt did not belong?

    I do feel at times (i.e. “born todie”), Malar might be a little overly dramatic.  There seems to be no real animosity coming from Crin.

    10)   What, if anything, would you change about this scene to make it more interesting to you?

    I do wish I knew more about what atrocities the Rissians did to make me more invested in Malar’s frustration to go to battle.  We have only cryptic a vague statements: “What the Rissians did, what they are doing is terrible. Unforgivable.”

    May you have a very blessed day!

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135209
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    @sparrowhawke
    Oh CONGRATULATIONS @SPARROWHAWKE! YAY YOU’RE THE FIRST ONE AND YOUR STORY IS FASCINATING!

    I can hardly wait to hear, perhaps, your entries or those of others who venture onto this Topic! Don’t feel the need to make a recording fancy.  I have been experimenting with audio files for a few years now.  It took me a while to learn all the little nifty tricks of audio production (on a budget of free ). Even if you want to record a “rough cut” just try it. There is something about hearing it back that allows us to perceive our own writing in a very different way.  It is something more than just reading it aloud to ourselves.  Engage the family in it too, if you want them to do different character voices. It lets them in on your creative process and they become even more excited for what you are doing.  You may find they enjoy it so much they are more willing to let you have some “me” time to write scenes that include some of “their” characters.

    Well I can’t wait to try my hand at it but I’ll probably still be a few days XD. I think I’ve finally found a good laptop in my price range and I’m just waiting for my mom to have a chance to look at it and approve it before we order it so I’m gonna download the recording software on that when it arrives. (my baby brother was delighted to play with my camera while practiced “dramatic reading” today so I’ll probably get plenty of practice while I wait 😂)

    Thank you for the advice and I LOVED writing answers about your post it was so promising! I like the idea of implementing the passive and active voices like that, that should be really fun to see especially tied to the character arc!

    With regard to horror, I  do consider myself to be more of a thriller writer than a horror writer.  I am more aligned with a Dean Koontz type than a Stephen King.  I think the “monster” unseen is often more menacing than the monster shown. I do not go blood-and-guts or employ gratuitous violence. Just cannot reconcile that personally as a writer. I value God’s created life too much to do it.

    Ah, me too! I like psychological or supernatural thrillers when they’re actually good ;). And absolutely the monster unseen is much more chilling! Blood-and-guts type thriller/horror is just… I really can’t with it, there’s pretty much nothing redemptive in those styles. Every so often I’m sure there’s one or two that hammers an important point that could only be shown graphically, like the movie Unplanned (which I haven’t actually seen and couldn’t bear to see either). But it’s just the least poignant style as well on its own.

    He says to be ruler of much, we must be faithful in the few.  He says the last, will be made first.  He came as the Lamb to be Slain first before He will return as the Lion of Judah and Judge.  He says the one who would lead, should make himself a servant of all.  These are typical of the positions of God as revealed by Scripture.  He calls the overlooked, the cripple, the humble, the unloved and raises them to be His champions.  That is what I feel compelled to tap into.  We can relate more to these than we ever could a champion by the world’s definition of such.

    Amen!
    I think what repels most people from the Faith is that the “faithful” are all too often faithless. And so first Christians must deepen their faith and live it to be able to evangelize, and we must actually do and not make excuses like “we’re too poor or weak for it”. He uses the weak to shame the strong and we must always remember it’s His Strength not our’s that conquered death. And no one sees themselves as a likely hero…at least I don’t think XD. So we must write unlikely heroes before we can even think of identifying with them.

    I probably won’t be joining anytime soon, though. I do read my chapters out loud (usually to my brother since I enjoy seeing his reactions), and it does help! Anway, lack of time, long chapters, and my foreign accent combine to make this less than ideal.

    (aw man, I love accents! And skin tones and mannerisms and basically anything that’s odd to be fascinated by. Maybe I’m weird 😜)
    Well we’ll miss you! <3


    @sparrowhawke

    Oh I gotta takes some time to write thoughts on your post that was good! I loved being able to like hear his tone when he was talking with your narration, I feel like I could really get the gist of how his voice would sound like.

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

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