1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    What do you think about this paragraph?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by waitingforzion, Apr 5, 2014.

    I wrote this paragraph several months ago at the beginning of a story that was supposed to symbolically represent to a certain situation. I was aiming for rhythm, but I am not sure if anyone would find it entertaining. I would like you to give me your ideas about this paragraph. Let me know if you sense a certain rhythm in it and what this rhythm communicates to you, and let me know if you find the paragraph too flowery, and whatever other feedback you can give me about this paragraph.

     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It reminds me of an old Chinese text that has been translated by someone from the Victorian era. So I think it's a bit over the top.
     
  3. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    So is it over the top because of too many cliches, too many unnecessary words, etc? If it is because the words are unnecessary, how should I go about creating rhythm if I have to keep cutting out words so that it sounds like a driver's manual? Sorry, I just have trouble creating certain rhythms when I am forced to keep to a minimum word count.

    Or is it over the top because it is arrogantly obscure?

    What do you suggest I could do to improve it, while retaining a similar rhythm, or perhaps, a rhythm that is far superior if you don't like the rhythm you read from it?
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm not quite sure what you mean by creating rhythm because rhythm in prose can be a very subjective thing. What I consider to be a pleasing rhythm may sound horrible to you.

    That issue aside, I think the description is confusing. I take the phrase "The kingdoms are at rest by the sun" to mean that the kingdoms can all be seen in the distance next to a rising sun. The phrase that comes immediately after that is where I'm confused. I'm not sure how to interpret "places near the sun." The phrase after that ("for how shall you see a planet that is not in orbit") doesn't make sense to me as well because I'm pretty sure every planet is in orbit around something.

    Because of all this, I find it very hard to understand that whole passage.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that, sorry to say... it simply makes no sense whatsoever... writing fancy for fancy's sake is never a good idea...

    i can't make any suggestions for improvement, since i've no clue what it is you're trying to say or describe...
     
  6. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Okay, I agree with you that it is confusing and from a quick reading doesn't make any sense. But this is what I am trying to say basically:

    The kingdoms are lying in places around the sun, but you will not find them in those places, because they are not in orbit like planets are. They are not in orbit because I am speaking figuratively about the sun and about its kingdoms, in order to hide from you what I am really talking about, and in order to send to a person who figuratively lives in a city in the sun, to a woman who helps people write better, a very strong message of tears.
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Sorry, but I still don't understand what you're trying to convey in that passage.
     
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  8. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Never mind. I think it would be best if someone just deleted this thread.
     
  9. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    It strikes me as destitute of sense and meaning.
     
  10. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Alright, I revised the paragraph to make the meaning clearer. The thing you have to understand is that, while you're right in saying that it should be coherent, the passage is intended to be cryptic. You're not supposed to know what the sun represents, or what the kingdoms represent, or who the woman is, or the precise meaning of the faithful pen which she puts in the hands of the people who dwell in the kingdoms, but simply that she does so, and simply that the passage is meant to be understood by her, and to deliver her a strong message, which throughout the rest of the writing will be characterized by strong rhythms and impressions of painful tears.

    But hopefully it make more sense now for what it is. Usually I would want to be clear, but in this case I want to be cryptic. Nevertheless I want the symbolic imagery itself to be clear and make sense.

     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I think the trouble I have with this paragraph is you carefully set up images with words that revolve around each other in a wordy way - then tell us to forget the images as they're incorrect and instead of giving us a clear image, make things even cloudier.
    You said to think of a sun and earth kingdoms then you said it's not the earth or the earth's sun - then you said you're basically lying. The reader isn't left with anything to imagine or what to believe.

    it's 2 sentences - 126 words and I'm not sure where I am, whose the main character or what's going on.
    Remember there's a difference between cryptic meaning and cryptic imagery. The imagery should be clear even if the
    meaning isn't - think Cormac McCarthy's dream sequence to start The Road. Clear imagery - cryptic meaning.

    Why not start your first draft really simple than build up to some of the clever language you admire - it will help you to keep everything clear - not for yourself - the writer is kinda like a god - see-all know-all ( he/she assumes clarity ), its more for the reader's sake.

    You've got some interesting stuff going on but you're burying it.
     
  12. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    I am sure that much of this is cliche, but I have tried to revise it to something less confusing and more interesting.

     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Your last revision is better, but enough with the repetition. Repetitions are poetic when they are short or particularly meaningful. The word "kingdom" is not meaningful, nor does it have the poetic rhythm you're hoping for.

    Listen to Peachululu above you - write simply, and then build it up. You have good potential but as Peach said, you're burying the good stuff in your deliberately flowery language.

    Learn to write clearly first - and then you'll know how to build it up so it sounds cryptic without being confusing or boring.
     
  14. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    This is much better! But it could still be peeled back. Maybe highlight some of the interesting stuff and keep close to introducing your mc, delete some of the frills -

    - Around one star, hovered kingdoms, cosmic islands. And in the midst of the star was a city, and in the midst of the city a woman who sat at a large table inlaid with pens. - example only
     
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  15. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Okay, here is a revision. I think I took some of the above posters idea.

    Does the first clause sound right, because for some rest I think it doesn't sound right?

    Also, I took out the part about the kingdoms seeking knowledge, but that does play a part, so should I have taken it out, or should I have revised the repetition out of it?
     
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  16. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I actually rather like this latest revision. Good job! And the meaning is much, much clearer than before :) The setting sounds intriguing.
     
  17. AlannaHart
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    Around one star hovers cosmic islands, and kingdoms rest upon them[I wouldn't say a kingdom rests upon an island, I'd reword that. I know you want the repetition for poetic purposes but there's enough of it without that weak imagery.]. And [There's way too many ands in this. It doesn't build poetic rhythm, it distracts from it] in the midst of the star is a city, and in the midst of the city a woman sitting by a large table, and upon the table a bounty of golden pens. And to everyone who comes to her she gives a faithful pen. And to her are written these words, to the only one who is able to understand them, to send her a strong cry, flaring and thunderous, from one who travels among the kingdoms, to declare the injustice that was done.

    I think if you just change up the punctuation and take out some ands, this would read well.

    eg, Around one star hovers cosmic islands, kingdoms sprawled across them. In the midst of the star is a city and, in this city, a woman sits at a large table. On the table are the golden pens that she bestows to those who come to her, for she is the only one who is able to understand their letters. To her comes the cry, flaring and thunderous, from one who travels among the kingdoms, to declare the injustice that was done.

    Only suggestions!
     
  18. Mackers
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    Mackers Contributing Member

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    I loved the opening sequence of the Road...One of the best parts of the book
     
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  19. James Joyce
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    James Joyce Member

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    If you want to be fancy, start with a concrete and clear idea. What are you describing? If you have a clear understanding of what the scene is, then you'll have an easier time depicting it and making that depiction as abstract or cryptic as you want. I always say this, but give This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald a read; it's perfect at tapping into this idea.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    Around one star hovers cosmic islands, and kingdoms rest upon them.​

    There's nothing gained, IMO, by this contortion.

    Kingdoms rest upon the cosmic islands hovering around [give your star a name].

    And in the midst of the star is a city, and in the midst of the city a woman sitting by a large table, and upon the table a bounty of golden pens.​

    Is the city on the star? Not a good place for a city, even one in fantasy land.

    How do the kingdoms fit in with the city? Why make your readers struggle to understand? Change the central body to something besides a star. There are other bodies in space that can command the symbolism of a center of power or influence.

    And to everyone who comes to her she gives a faithful pen. And to her are written these words, to the only one who is able to understand them, to send her a strong cry, flaring and thunderous, from one who travels among the kingdoms, to declare the injustice that was done.
    What are you trying to say? Because what you wrote makes little sense.
     
  21. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    So then, what's the point? Confusing the reader about something the character is meant to understand is a very strange thing to do, unless there is a) context and b) a reason later explained. Otherwise, why the hell am I reading?

    Edit: ignore me. Things have moved on rapidly.
     

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