1. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,535

    Philosophical sentences - good or just confusing?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Mckk, Aug 24, 2014.

    Sorry I've been starting these threads so often lately... If you're not annoyed with me yet, then I'd appreciate your opinions!

    Okay, the context is this: this is the end of my story, one of the story climaxes, when my character C finds out his father isn't really his father. In the ensuing scene, C shoots his "father". Now C is about to get into a hover-box (think a helicopter of sorts) with his girlfriend to throw bombs out of the city before they blow up.

    At the very end, I finish with a slightly philosophical sentence that's open for interpretation. It's deliberately that way. However, my co-author found it confusing and unsatisfying and didn't understand what I was getting at. She admits she isn't into philosophical stuff, however.

    I need to know if I've hit that sweet spot of "made you think", or if it just leaves the reader a little confused. Open for interpretation is fine but it should suggest something strongly, and I'm not sure I've managed that.

    Basically, should I leave it as is, or clarify the sentence, or lob it off altogether?

    Excerpt below: (where it says "catch my father's eye" - C is seeing the open-eyed corpse)

    She smiles, licks her lips and turns her attention to the levers and dials. I catch my father’s eye, my own numbness surprising me.


    Not my father. Not my father.


    The hover-box roars to life. It shudders and we begin to lift off.

    His face recedes from me as we climb higher into the sky, and I realise truth does not always shape our reality.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  2. Empty Bird
    Offline

    Empty Bird Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    42
    CHECK THIS FAST REPLY!!!

    ...yeah. I personally think it's a bit too philosophical, yeah. I do love a good statement to chew on for hours, but contrasted to what yoe've written before, it does seem a little out of place.

    Of course, this is all in my humble opinion!

    I think it could be something snappier! More emotional! More...more...BANG! You know? Realistically, if someone told me: "Hey. Guess what. Your father's not actually your father. Snap." I think I'd be catatonic. And then, if I'd just shot the man (may this never happen), I'd definitely be frothing at the mouth in pure horror. I don't think I'd whip out my bubble pipe and wail some pretty statement to the sky.

    Ha ha!

    But this is just MY OPINION. I'm just joking, by the way. I hope you're getting my dry sense of humour rather than anything insulting. I think everything written before is super intriguing, and cool, but I'd have to agree with your (co?) author in saying that it's maybe a teensy bit too airy-fairy from the smack-bang action before hand :)

    Again, my opinion.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,997
    Likes Received:
    5,506
    I'm not getting the significance from just the excerpt, but maybe I would with more context.

    The word "shape" is, I suspect, undermining my understanding of your message. To me, "shape" means "influence" not "definitively form". In other words, the statement would mean, to me, that truth has no influence at all on personal reality, rather than, as I think you mean, that truth is not the final word. I'm trying to think of a substitute word--architect our reality? paint our reality? determine our reality? None of those satisfy me, but maybe they illustrate my issue.

    "I realise" also feels a little too moral'esque for me, too much like you're consciously trying to teach us something. Maybe taking the concept into execution...? but it's hard to explain what I mean by that. Example:

    His face recedes from me as we climb higher into the sky. I turn away from the truth below, and start to build my own reality.

    I don't think that the example actually reflects your message, but maybe you see what I mean about shifting from concept to execution?
     
  4. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    Wow you've both replied so quickly!

    @Empty Bird - you're not insulting at all :) Just energetic and bouncy, and that's all good. Thanks for your opinion!

    @ChickenFreak - well in the past, you're one of few or even the only one who got my writing at all, and if even you're saying it doesn't hit the mark, and so does my co-author (who obviously usually gets my writing and enjoys it), then it's almost certain the sentence needs to be changed I think!

    Right, I've changed it to this:

    His face recedes from me as we climb higher into the sky. When finally I turn away, something cracks inside me, as if I've accepted it all.

    Not my father. Grief trickles down my throat. Haven't I wished that were true a thousand times growing up?
     
  5. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,997
    Likes Received:
    5,506
    I really like the idea of acknowledging that the perception of reality isn't reality, which is how I interpreted the statement, but the execution wasn't ringing clear for me. (Er. Or something. Now I'm analyzing my own words. I need a Coke.)
     
    Mckk likes this.
  6. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    Lol. Coke? What time is it where you live? It's nearly 1am here. Just trying to finish one of my scenes. We have over 100k words all written in a month and this is the climax :D (different character and different climax - there're 4 characters switching POVs between chapters)
     
  7. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,997
    Likes Received:
    5,506
    4pm on a nicely idle Sunday. I should be writing. I'm not.
     
    Mckk likes this.
  8. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    This is the better example, but why is the character asking a question? Don't they know that they've wished it?

    I may be in the minority, but I'm not in the habit of asking myself rhetorical questions.
     
    Mckk likes this.
  9. Empty Bird
    Offline

    Empty Bird Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    42
    I always ask myself questions.

    But then, I am a weirdo.
     
    Mckk likes this.
  10. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    Rhetorical questions?
     
    Mckk likes this.
  11. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    @ChickenFreak - you have the whole evening then! It's past 4am here. I really should sleep. Nearly at the end of my scene!

    @Jack Asher - yeah, my co-author also agreed that that's the best option :) As for rhetorical question - I dunno, but I pray often. When you pray, you tend to ask quite a few questions. Perhaps that's why it's not so strange to me? Besides, as long as it works in the narrative, it's fiiiiine :D And imagine - had the rhetorical question been a statement, it wouldn't have as powerful an effect.
     

Share This Page