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  1. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    One room school house

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by GingerCoffee, May 12, 2016.

    My characters live in an isolated village, they have a sort of one room school but this isn't your normal village. I have a reference to the school and the readers don't yet have much description of what this village is like. I don't want them to think of a normal school. It will be confusing.

    Here's the sentence:
    “Someone took it from my bag at school. I didn’t know it was missing until school ended.”
    I could say,
    “Someone took it from my bag in/at class. I didn’t know it was missing until class/school ended.”
    Or,
    “Someone took it from my bag. I didn’t know it was missing until class/school ended.”
    I need to expand the image of this one room school. This is a small village hidden in a forest. It's sci-fi, in the future on another planet, but it isn't fantasy. The village is isolated and while they survive by hunting and gathering, the people are modern, knowledgeable, they have books. One of the parents has taken on the task of being the school teacher.

    So I'm looking for one or two sentences that might describe or hint at such a school without being blatant exposition. And should I refer to it as a class or as school?

    Thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Contributing Member

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    I think the last line is best - "until school ended" ("class" singular would refer to a single period in the day, not the entire school-day; you could say "classes", but that seems more like what someone in college would say, IMO).

    As for the second part: I'd call it "school". They would think of the building as "a place where we go to school", whereas "class" is "the people who attend school with me", and "classroom" is "the place where we attend classes". Of course, referring to it as "the classroom" might better support things when the character returns to the school, walks through the front door, and ends up in her classroom:

    "Mari hurried back to the school. The front door was unlocked, like always; she opened it and looked around the classroom, which took up the whole interior of the building."

    (Maybe still a little blatant; my brain's foggy tonight.)
     
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  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Dark, is it not? Contributor

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    You say it is on another planet, but that doesn't tell us whether they are human, alien, or a ball of yarn trying to speak to a wheel of cheese.

    If human: Then I like your first option you have provided with the addition of 'day'.

    If alien: Try out something that sounds grander than plain old school. Like academy, or house of knowledge, or something that sounds like it was uttered from a waspy person.

    If ball of yarn trying to communicate with a wheel of cheese: How the hell should I know, ones going to fade and the other is going to melt if you leave them to play in the sun all day.:supergrin:
     
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  4. Sifunkle

    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    You could try piggybacking the descriptors of the school onto whatever else is going on. How about something like:

    Including the word single highlights that the schoolhouse is only one room, although the same would be implicit (but less obvious) if you left single out - it's clarity vs subtlety. You could also elaborate the second sentence into something like:

    That's starting to get blatant exposition-y though (perhaps disguised as characterisation).

    I agree with IHaveNoName's assessment of school and class. More specific alternatives like classroom, schoolhouse, etc might be clearer, depending on context. You could even tailor your own compound word if nothing quite fits.
     
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  5. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    For me: schoolhouse

    Someone took it from my bag at the schoolhouse. I didn’t know it was missing until class ended.

    Schoolhouse, for me, immediately conjures the image of a one-room school without further explanation.
     
  6. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Thanks everyone, it's what I was afraid of. People picture a building, that's where I need to work on the description. There's one large open sided cave that has been remodeled into a center house where anything community goes on from just hanging out together to the school to council meetings and sometimes feasts. Encampments where families live are scattered nearby around the forest.

    I may just leave the reference and address the fact later that 'school' takes place in a flexible space.

    They are human, it's a human colony 100 years after the planet was settled.
     
  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Dark, is it not? Contributor

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    Way to follow in the footsteps of Dune and The Foundation. Once you leave this rock in search of new species prepare for a sour disappointment, cause who knew that Humans would populate other worlds.

    Going to have to agree with Wreybies and go with: School house.
     
  8. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Custom Title. Contributor

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    School house makes me think of a kid being home schooled by Aunt Mom and Uncle Dad and temporally interrupts my immersion.
     
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  9. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Dark, is it not? Contributor

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    Your mind goes to some strange places. o_O
     
  10. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Custom Title. Contributor

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    My mind is the strange place :meh:
     
  11. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's not a school house, that's the problem. And they're not home schooled. One adult teaches the kids in the village like a single teacher would teach all the kids in a town, teaching different age groups at the same time because there aren't enough kids for multiple teachers and multiple grades. These are modern people in a primitive setting. But they value formal education for the kids.
     
  12. edamame

    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you might have to write more about the school house if what is essentially happening is they're having lessons in a cave. You can leave hints about it being damp or chilly and simply give it another name like "Center House" while another character might snort about it not being much of a house. Since it's in the middle of everything, it would probably be used as a general meeting place also.
     
  13. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    A description of it comes in later. I'm still pondering this one reference. In the meantime, I really need to kill a lot of darlings, I'm 30K words more than I want to be and I have to be careful not to let the story drag. I don't want to turn my duology into a trilogy. ;)

    Hmmmmm.....
     
  14. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why not be more descriptive? Instead of "I didn’t know it was missing until school ended," show the situation where the character realized their lack of the object, as it's happening. Is anyone else still around? Where do they look for it? What is the place like?

    Or is this a direct quotation, with the character maybe reporting to their mom or dad why they don't have the object in question? Again, though, you can throw terms into the conversation that indicate that education is only one use this community building is put to.

    Incidentally, this reminds me of the Welsh Nonconformist capelau (chapels). They were used for worship on Sundays, as a schoolhouse for the kids on weekdays, and as a site for political gatherings, cultural enrichment, and singing assemblies any time in-between.

    Part of the problem will be solved, I think, if you give the place a name early on. Community House, The Gathering Place, whatever.

    Oh, yeah, and if you use the word "class," I think it should be "classes." If all the kids of whatever age go there, they'd be in a range of classes.
     
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  15. Kinzvlle

    Kinzvlle Active Member

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    I reject the stereotype that being homeschooled has any correlation to incest.They make occur together but a donut can exist without sprinkles. Many public school systems are worthless in the states now a days regardless.

    I may be misinterpreting Ginger Coffe here but I believe the non-descriptive nature is intentional. They`ve already said that the reader wouldn`t know much of the village at this point and I believe the intent is to hint at an unusual school setting while not revealing his full deck. Running on this assumption, I`d have be like. "I know I lost it during lessons, it`s probably still there." Her not referring to where takes lessons, as a school could count as a hint, or you could refer to by a general name it has like meeting rock or the hall. Another thing that springs to mind is something along the lines of. "I know I must have lost it during lessons. It could have rolled anywhere by now if I can even still see it." Doesn`t call it a cave directly, but implies that things have a lot of room to roll and visibility, isn`t a given. Assuming they don't have like lamps set up in the cave or something.
     

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