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Author Topic: Thirsty Herald OOC XVI, Day 4, Sunreign  (Read 85816 times)
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Twn Arerwn
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« on: November 30, 2007, 09:57:44 AM »

New OOC thread and Herald threads now open. Please reference Day 3 for posts pertaining to this day.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2008, 07:19:26 AM by Twn Arerwn » Logged

The spell fell upon the crowd like a dragon,
ancient and full of death.
Twn Arerwn
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 10:43:10 AM »

Just a quick note to you all. Some very wonderful posts going on, keep up the fantastic work. Maybe we can all inspire the lazy people around Santharia to join us ;).
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The spell fell upon the crowd like a dragon,
ancient and full of death.
Tiras The White Rose
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 10:50:51 AM »

Well Twen , ignoring old Tiras are you ?
Not many women could say that lol , you probably hurt his feelings ...
It looks like Torscha is a man to watch carefully .... I dont like competition ... evil
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My crime? It is a serious one -- you see, I am too handsome to look upon.
<a href="http://www.santharia.com/adv/index.php?topic=815.msg27340#msg27340 target="top">Tiras The White Rose[/url]
Twn Arerwn
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2007, 10:52:55 AM »

Never ignoring you hun  ;). Just that Torscha is one of the few characters left in TH that Twen would recognize. Gotta keep it in character. She never ignored you either ..... brought you a drink and raised a toast to you both.
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The spell fell upon the crowd like a dragon,
ancient and full of death.
Tiras The White Rose
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2007, 11:02:52 AM »

@Twen , Of course love just kidding , altought my other cd you could probably know also.

@Torscha if you dont mind I would wait until you post again , I love seeing two magnificent writers namely you and Twen , maybe I could learn a thing or two
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My crime? It is a serious one -- you see, I am too handsome to look upon.
<a href="http://www.santharia.com/adv/index.php?topic=815.msg27340#msg27340 target="top">Tiras The White Rose[/url]
Twn Arerwn
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2007, 11:14:13 AM »

Tiras, post if you like dear and I'll give ya a tinge of advice if you want to expand on your posts. Keep the five senses in mind and use them all, though sparingly to add depth. Took me a very long time to learn that from the fantastic writers here and it helps a ton.
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ancient and full of death.
Garret Arroway
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2007, 12:05:26 PM »

Kaldez, is it Garret your refering to in your last post? If so he's kneeling next to Shadowfoot by the bar. Might have missed another with a wolf but not sure, so figured I'd check.
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Torscha
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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2007, 03:50:37 AM »

If you hadn't noticed, the attention Twen's been giving me hasn't been entirely positive.  Roll Eyes Snarky comments and all. Such a feisty one. She seems to have pulled the 'rugged and handsome' bit out of thin air though; rugged I'd allow, but I'm definitely not pretty.

Anyway, it's good to just finally have some service around here. Thanks, Twen.  ;)

I'd like to address the whole "writing advice" thing, really. While Twen's point on incorporating the senses is a valid one, it really depends on what you're trying to do. Writing reams and reams of incredibly descriptive and lush prose might not necessarily always be the best approach to something. There are also multiple ways to do things. Allow me to illustrate; I was a bit careful when writing my own post so we would have some comparisons and contrasts across the board.

First, I think, before addressing descriptive writing, let's do something a bit more basic: characterisation, and how to write a convincing and compelling character. There are several things to address here: what you think, what you say, and what you do. There are of course variations, but these are the main things which constitute what people perceive as your 'character'; how you manipulate these things determines the impression you create. There is an impressionistic difference between TELLING someone about yourself and DEMONSTRATING it, though, so let's take a closer look at the two posts:

First, thought.

In Twen's last post, she both incorporates a kind of 'reported thought', such as The only thought on Twens mind was simply, was he drunk already. Injera had not even reached its apex and the human was screaming as if he were in the seedy ports of Ciosa and also demonstrating the physical manifestation of a thought process, such as A look of glee could be seen dancing in the obscure facade of the ancient elf's eyes. In the latter, instead of just telling you "TWEN WAS VERY HAPPY", she allows the character to express a 'thought', or emotion in this case, physically.

This frisson between pure thought and physicality suggests something about the personality of the character, Twen Araerwen. It suggests, first of all, that she is both an intellectual and a sensual entity: she can operate on a 'conscious' level, but also appreciate sensual stimulus. To be Freudian about it, her Ego and Id are in relative harmony. The other thing her post suggests is that Twen Araerwen is rather self-conscious: by constantly throwing in adjectives pointing to her physical characteristics, such as pointed ear, tiny hands, and crimson lips, Twen emphasises certain characteristics, namely: 1) she's an elf, 2) she's small, and 3) she has kissable lips. And she does this without explicitly telling you "TWEN IS A SMALL ELF WITH KISSABLE LIPS". This is subtlety at work. The technical term for it is "apostrophe", ie. referring to a holistic entity by its part.

Psychologically, Twen's overwhelming self-consciousness also suggests something. Assuming these details are the result of a deliberate narrative decision on Twen (the person's) part, they suggest that Twen (the character) is as I have mentioned extremely self-conscious. She is at all times fully aware of her appearance and its effects. This might also suggest something slightly neurotic or paranoid about the character; obviously, by referring to her CD you know she has a hidden past, but just by reading the post and ignoring the CD, you already get a sense of that: she has a hidden past, she is ancient, she has a compelling reason to remain self-aware at all times. Why? Paranoia? Fear? Wariness?

Thus, the character Twen Araerwen, while saying very little about herself, through her actions suggests much, and raises questions that makes her character and personality interesting and consistently compelling. You want to know more about her, you also want to know more about her past, and the whole emphasis on the size difference between her and everyone else also instills a certain protectiveness. Of course, that says quite a lot about me, too.

Now, for a counterpoint to the above, let's look at (the very modest) Torscha, applying the principles as used above.

First, thought. Torscha lacks the 'reported thought' that Twen has. His thoughts are either not mentioned at all, or are explicated directly, as in the case of a bard's drink will always be a long, cold pint. In other cases, for example when he's embarrassed by his ale-moustache, he doesn't actually say or think anything about the embarrassment: he just swipes at his lip as quickly as possible, suggesting that he feels a little sheepish, but isn't aware enough of his own emotional reaction for that sheepishness to be properly explicated in the narrative. This suggests that, in contrast to Twen's awareness, Torscha is extremely unselfconscious. His otherwise blithe behaviour further suggests what Twen picks up on when she mentions that The gambler existed in a world the mage had never allowed herself to be part of, a place filled with laughter and a carefree atmosphere. In this case, the 'place' Torscha inhabits is not so much a different geographical location, since they're for all intents and purposes in the same bar, but a different state of mind.

In Torscha's case, because he likes to talk, a lot of what we miss in terms of 'reported thought' instead delivered as 'direct speech': he says what he feels, instead of just thinking it, in a typically extroverted fashion. The initially rambling nature of his stream-of-consciousness is made explicit in his earlier lines; they are fragmented, associatively easy to follow, and completely blithe. There is a lot of punctuation to his sentences, which tend to be short and clipped; not curt, but the heavy punctuation suggests a conversational style that is rapid, as if the words are stumbling over themselves to get out. Obviously, he is speaking his mind, saying whatever pops into his head as soon as it pops into his head.

Then, lulled by his own words, he falls into a more meditative reverie. This begins with his line my waking mind has yet to fully master my dreaming soul. Speaking of dreams and souls obviously engages him intellectually, as he is speaking of more sublime things than just a pint of ale. His sentences become longer and more fluid. Compare It's been a long and dry walk; I appreciate the brown. Strange how that works, really with I know it passes differently for your kind than for mine, but I would not have expected a small, quiet place like this to have been able to hold you this long. Also, his accent changes, involuntarily. At the same time, his usual defining attributes, a kind of carefree mentality as symbolised by the dice he often plays with, is symbolically disrupted when he drops them.

At this stage, Torscha's "constructed" personality, the part of himself that he consciously displays to people, falls away, revealing a different person: someone who does not have the carefree and thoughtless soul associated with the dice, which are associated with gambling and a devil-may-care attitude. Someone who speaks differently, in a less rural, more polished form. Ironically, it is this unconscious gentility which awakens his awareness of courtesy and gratitude: it snaps him back into awareness of the present, and also reminds him that he owes Twen something, hence he shifts attention away from himself by introducing you, Tiras, and then proposing that he perform a song, in an attempt to cover up his momentary slip.

Therefore, what you get from reading both posts is a kind of mini-narrative: two people who obviously already know each other meet in a bar. One of them is small, female, and emphatically beautiful, who displays great consideration to the other, whom she doesn't know too well but is strangely sentimental about. She does not know the source of her own sentimental feelings. The other is male, weathered, and usually given to a kind of carefree expression the female lacks, is aware of lacking, and envies. Speaking to the female, however, causes the male to expose something behind the blithe shallowness; something he becomes aware of and which makes him uncomfortable. He then smoothly changes the subject.

Narratively, we also discover things about both characters. For one, they are both adept at conversation. Twen's remark is appropriately sarcastic, but is nonetheless not unkind - something hard to do. Torscha is more verbose, but even on the wrong foot is capable of redirecting conversation is a smooth and unobtrusive manner. Furthermore, we learn that both of them are more than they appear. Twen is not your ordinary barmaid: she is a centuries-old magic-wielding elf with a reason to look over her shoulder. Torscha is not your ordinary on-the-road bum: he is capable of a style of expression that suggests good schooling and a genteel upbringing.

There is therefore a dialogue going on, on many levels. This makes the posts (well, Twen's at least, I shan't flatter mine) interesting to read, because they are multifaceted. Just like Twen's suggestion of using all the senses engages the reader by appealing holistically to his sensorium, not just his eyes, the ways of characterisation I have identified and explicated here engages the reader by appealing holistically to his mind: he is not just imagining wooden characters executing a dull script, but watching two people interact, and dong so with a great deal more information from the narrative than an actual bystander would have. This insight into their personalities and histories allows the reader to glean more from their conversation than they are actually saying. This intellectual engagement with a topic is satisfying and fulfilling.



Okay. That was hugely long. If anyone is curious, I actually wrote the post first, then while typing this went back and read it and extrapolated this. I was not aware of what I was doing while I was doing it; neither, I suspect, is Twen usually aware of it. This goes to show that, literary criticism aside, writing really is something that comes from the inside. You can't really learn to write from someone else because then you'll only just be writing like them; there won't be anything in that writing that suggests 'you'.

The only way to get better at writing is to write more. The more you express yourself, the better you get at it. Eventually you'll be expressing not only what you consciously think, but what you subconsciously mean, and you will be doing so in the most sublime and (technically and aesthetically) pleasing way possible.

Don't worry about writing, grasshopper. Practice makes perfect.

DISCLAIMER: The writing of this essay (and I think it really does qualify as an essay) has entailed me making some extremely presumptuous comments about Twen and the way she writes, mainly by way of observational criticism. Twen, I hope you don't mind. If you do, just let me know and I'll remove it. For anyone who read this to the end (gasp!) and didn't find it fulfilling, I apologise for the time you've wasted, and offer it as a case study illustrating why studying literature at tertiary level is a huge waste of money.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2007, 05:13:29 AM by Torscha » Logged

Khel
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2007, 09:14:25 AM »

Very good, Torscha! I admit, it was helpful to me definitely! I've admired yours and Twen's writing from afar.. or right here on this site.. but I must say I never picked it down so far. The way you both write is very subtle, yet convey's perfectly what you want to say about your character.

Er, all that was to say nicely written and I concur. Write more! I seem to think something to this effect wouldn't be ill-used in the future. That is, if you have more to say. :)
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2007, 01:11:16 PM »

Do me!! Do me!!  er... very interesting comments, Torscha.   buck

But, as long as I'm here, mayhap I shall look for Val....... *goes off into the desert*
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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2007, 03:27:22 PM »

'Spose Tobac should wake up now...



Don't want to be eaten. grin
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Twn Arerwn
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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2007, 10:58:50 AM »

My apologies Torscha, I have been simply waiting for Tiras to post. If he does not by tomorrow, I shall respond.
~Sincerely~
Co cr'tuulens:Twen Araerwen
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Torscha
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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2007, 11:46:37 AM »

No apologies necessary; I've just been moving from college accommodations to my girlfriend's place, so there's been a lot of displacement going on. No rush.  cool
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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2007, 05:17:43 PM »

Yay, yay, Drex! -jumps around-

 grin
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2007, 09:07:30 PM »

Drex's post is going to make me read from the beginning to find out when all this HOTHOT LOVING has been taking place.
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