Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 28

Thread: The Smith of Smiths

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    6,129
    Blog Entries
    8

    The Smith of Smiths

    There are some places commonly associated with superstition that even rational people just don’t want to be on particular days of the year. I mean, just think about it. Stonehenge, at dawn, on midsummer’s day is a case in point. You can’t see the monument for the hordes of new age Hippies and would-be Druids and TV camera crews and security guards, who grudgingly accept the presence of (mostly) human beings clambering all over their charge, as the sun, invisible behind the traditional banks of English summer cloud, lines up, but fails to shine between the carefully positioned rocks. Meanwhile, all the loonies bang their tambourines, blow horns, wave ribbons and recite spurious prayers to forgotten gods as they dance in the early morning drizzle.

    Definitely to be avoided, trust me. You’re much better off catching some zeds instead.

    Then, of course, there are those places that, at times, live and breathe superstition, which, whether you believe in it or not, still believes in itself. Belief is a powerful thing, far more powerful than disbelief. Belief is like faith, and faith, as they say, can move mountains. After all, what Jedi ever fished his spaceship out of a swamp when he didn’t believe he could, eh?

    No. There are some places which are just bad news, like anywhere called Springwood, Haddonfield or Sleepy Hollow. Definitely not locales you want to be in on Halloween, or Friday the 13th, particularly if you’re a promiscuous teenager. But there’s a problem here, isn’t there: is midnight on Friday the 13th the one that comes after 23:59 on Thursday the 12th or is it the one that comes after 23:59 on the 13th? I mean, technically that would be Saturday 14th wouldn’t it? It’s probably better to avoid all those extra dodgy places from Thursday night through to Saturday morning, just to be on the safe side.

    Of course, sometimes the fates conspire against you and you have no choice. You just find yourself in some innocuous little village like Ripperton at what can only be considered an inauspicious moment. When this happens I guess you can only trust to luck, and try to live, with or through it…

    ******

    Even though it was a Thursday, it was still one of those narrative clichés, a dark and stormy night, and the rain was hitting the windscreen so fiercely that the wipers just couldn’t cope. Everything within reach of the probing headlamps was a watery blur and the road markings were lost in reflected glare. Out here, in the countryside, there was no street lighting, and to either side of the road, the verges were little more than fuzzy grey shadows, giving no hint of the treacherous ditches that lurked at their edges. Only the occasional shelter of a wooded hedge provided a temporary respite from the deluge, when the drumming on the glass and roof, which sounded as though the vehicle was ploughing its way through a fall of led shot, would suddenly decrease in volume, allowing Weyland to be momentarily entertained by a snatch of Turandot bellowing at full volume from the speakers. Irritatingly, the monotonous clunking of the wipers beat out of time with the music. It didn’t seem to bother his brother, who slept soundly in the passenger seat. Gil could sleep though just about anything.

    For the moment though, there were no trees or high hedges, nothing to give even a suggestion of shelter from the weather; just the apparently endless road, awash with muddy runoff. Weyland had been driving for hours and the constant effort of peering into the watery darkness was taking its toll on his concentration. He missed the sign which proclaimed the name of the village he was approaching because it was hanging at an odd angle from its broken posts, and he failed to see the sudden bend in the road that, even at the reduced speed he was travelling, caused him to swerve suddenly and skid off the slick tarmac into the ditch. The car lurched sickeningly and came to an abrupt halt, nose down, so the seatbelt dug painfully into his shoulder. It restrained his torso but allowed his head to whip forward sharply. He just knew he was going to feel it later, a more intimate pain in the neck than the one he had to deal with right now.

    “****,” he said, thumping the steering wheel with the edge of his fists, adding, “****, ****, ****, ****, ****ity-****!” before turning off the ignition.

    Emanating from the front of the car there was a suggestion of vapour which was whipped away by the wind almost as soon as it emerged. There was probably something stuck in the radiator. He toyed with the idea of saying **** again. It wasn’t really necessary and wouldn’t make any difference, but he decided to say it anyway because it made him feel better.

    “****!”

    “Wassat?” asked Gil, as he surfaced from dream into reality, “We there yet?” He yawned, rubbed his eyes and peered at his watch. The hands indicated that it was 9:23 and the date counter was displaying a 12.

    “We’re somewhere, right enough.”

    “Somewhere nice?”

    “Not really. We’re in a ditch.”

    “That doesn’t sound good.”

    “It isn’t.”

    “Bummer! Still raining, I see.”

    “Just a bit.”

    “Any idea where we are?”

    “Other than the middle of nowhere: no, I haven’t a clue.

    Gil twisted in his seat and peered out through each of the windows in turn. With the headlights off he hoped to be able to see if there was a tell-tale glow anywhere that might betray the presence of civilization. There was nothing visible behind, but as he ducked down and looked through the driver’s side window he thought he could make out a slight sodium tint in the haze of rain in the sky.

    “That looks promising,” he said, pointing.

    Weyland looked, estimating it was about a mile away, but it was difficult to tell through the rain. There seemed to be something between them and the light, a rise or a patch of woodland, perhaps.

    “What do you reckon?” he asked.

    “We’ll get wet.”

    “Very wet, I’d say.”

    “I’d say you were right.”

    “So we’re both right. Question is, do we want to get wet?

    “Well obviously we don’t want to get wet. However, the alternative is to remain here. We may stay dry but we’ll be cold and we’ll get hungry, and we don’t know when it’s going to stop raining. It might rain for ever.”

    “If it rains for ever we’ll get wet anyway because the car won’t float indefinitely. We’d need to build an ark. If you try to build an ark in the rain, you’ll get wet.”

    “True, but you won’t drown, at least not if you finish it before the water reaches over your head.”

    “A valid point. However, seeking shelter in a village or town would seem to be a pointless solution if it’s going to rain for ever, unless, of course, the village is well supplied with ark making materials and the necessary tools, which the car is not.”

    “An additional point in favour of seeking shelter in a village or town would be that it will almost certainly be able to supply food, regardless of its ability to provide tools and ark-making material. Alcohol is also likely to be discovered there. In fact, to hell with all the rest, let’s go get a drink!”

    “Now that, Gil, is an argument. I say, we walk.”

    “Proposed, seconded and carried unanimously. Hang on while I get me coat out of the back. Do you want your sample case?”

    “Hell yes. I’m not leaving it here.”

    Weyland opened the car door and was immediately lashed by cold water propelled by an unrelenting wind which snatched the door from his grasp and snapped it forward against the stops. As his right leg emerged from the vehicle its foot sought purchase on terra firma, only to sink to a depth of about four inches in soft cloying mud. Grabbing the vehicle for support, he hauled himself out and blindly probed behind him with his left foot, which managed to find a firmer piece of ground. Pushing vigorously against the car he stepped backwards. His shoe remained firmly embedded in the muddy embrace of the verge. Consequently, it was a somewhat inadequately protected foot which descended into the very chilly stream of water running off the road.

    He swore again, then bent over and battled to manually extract the errant item of city footwear from the clutches of the countryside. After some wiggling he succeeded, then he straightened up to be confronted by the grinning countenance of his brother.

    “Having fun?”

    “Not really,” replied Weyland, as he wiped the more stubbornly adhering portions of the verge from his shoe in wet grass before giving it a final rinse in the runoff. “Here, hold this a mo.”

    He handed the shoe to Gil, then pulled off his sock and wrung it out before putting his foot back inside.

    “Hardly seems worth the effort,” said Gil, eyeing the road. “Here, stop messing about and put this back on.”

    “Thanks.”

    Gil also proffered Weyland’s coat. “I doubt if it’ll do much to keep the rain out but at least it’s another layer against the wind. I’ll get your sample case and our overnight bags out of the boot.”

    Weyland struggled into the wildly flapping wind-whipped garment, then slammed the car door shut.

    They’d barely been walking for five minutes when the blackness was split by a searing lance of actinic light which left greenish red echoes dancing on their retinas. A second later a rumble of thunder tried to deafen them.

    “That’s all we need,” Weyland complained. “Rather close too. I hope civilization doesn’t prove to be too far off.”

    Peering ahead into the night it was impossible to tell. There was no hint of the friendly glow they’d seen earlier because the lightning had struck an electricity substation just beyond the village, plunging it into darkness.

    “Well, there’s only one way to find out and that’s to keep walking,” replied Gil, just as another heavenly spear smote a lonely tree in the middle of a nearby field, shattering it and igniting the debris.

    Weyland paused for a moment, just long enough to glare up into the inky sky and shout, “Oi! Watch your aim, you careless bastard!” before resuming his sodden trudge up the road.

    “I think if he’d wanted to hit you, he would have,” said Gil, keeping in step. Stop whining. Wassamatter, you want to live for ever or summit?”

    “Well, I am a god,” came the petulant reply.

    “True, but you’re not a very well-known one these days. Only a handful of superstitious peasants and the odd scholar remember you. You’re almost forgotten; makes you kind of vulnerable, that.”

    “They’re not much better off,” said Weyland, flicking a nod towards the heavens.

    “At least some of ‘em have days of the week named after ‘em. And then there’re all those comic books and movies. That kind of stuff keeps ideas alive and memory fresh. What have you got? One poem that only a Viking can read and a passing mention in Beowulf.”

    “**** ‘em,” muttered Weyland, and was immediately rewarded with a rumble of thunder which sounded distinctly ominous.

    “I think he heard you,” chuckled Gil. “You’d better just shut up and keep walking. It can’t be that much farther.”

    Indeed, this proved to be the case. As they’d been talking they’d followed a bend in the road, which, as Weyland had surmised, rounded the base of a slight rise capped with scrubby trees. Before them, a low cottage loomed out of the gloom as a dripping shadow, and they found that a pavement had been laid to the side of the road. There was some evidence of street lighting, which, had it been working, would have seemed rather more welcoming than the blank facades of shadowy, unlit thatched dwellings which were dotted along, what appeared to be, the only street in this isolated rural hamlet. Before the ravages of a certain Dutch beetle it had been bordered by Elms.

    The cottages they passed showed absolutely no signs of habitation, but from a few yards down the road they detected the tell-tale squeak of an inn sign which was swinging in time with the fiercer gusts of wind. In the rain lashed night, the pole supporting the elevated swinging board coalesced out of the darkness as a slick, black shadow, making reading the establishment’s name impossible. Some twenty yards back from the road a dim flicker of yellowish light from the windows suggested that this building, at least, held occupants, together with the promise of shelter and refreshment. Still battling the lashing elements they steered towards the entrance.

    As they drew near it became possible to discern the occasional roar of harsh laughter above a background buzz of conversation. There was even the suggestion of music coming from somewhere. It all sounded rather jolly. Gil, who was only carrying one bag and had a spare hand, reached for the doorknob, grasped it firmly and opened the door.

    As they entered, all human vocalization ceased, followed almost immediately by a loud click as a heavy paw slapped down hard on the off button of a battery powered ghetto blaster positioned on the bar. There was just time for Weyland to register the sung words, “Welcome to the Ho— ” before a silence heavier than death descended, punctuated only by the cackling of an open wood-burning fire large enough to roast a whole coven of witches. Although its warmth was welcome, the cold hostility of the establishment’s denizens was not. Every eye in the place, and they were not all in pairs, regarded them suspiciously.

    “Oi spoi strangers…” rasped a disreputable inhabitant of the bar with a Mummerset accent so thick you’d need a jackhammer to crack it. He lurked in a shadowy corner. There were lots of shadowy corners in this place. The only light was provided by the blazing conflagration in the hearth and a profusion of thick dribbly candles in ancestral sconces, which proclaimed their antiquity with great tapering soot stains up the walls.

    “They’m benighted travellers, they be,” declared a bushy-bearded leviathan behind the bar. He had the kind of physique which looked as though it would be more at home clad in shirt of chainmail than the slightly overstretched, beer-stained linen that covered it now, and the meaty hams which passed for hands, gave the impression that the haft of a battle-axe would have been a more fitting filling than the greasy phallic pump-handles standing along the inside of the bar. The piercing insight of his remark was followed by a slow chorus of, ‘Aarrr’s from around the room.

    The rural behemoth then addressed the trespassing newcomers directly. “Have an accident?” he asked.

    “No thanks, we’ve just had one,” replied Weyland with an irony which passed way over the inquisitor’s head.

    “Thought so. You’m all wet,” said the barman with sluggish pride and satisfaction at his skills of observation.

    “Aarrr,” chorused the chorus of denizens.

    “Just as a matter of interest, You couldn’t tell us where we are, could you?” asked Gil.

    “You’m in Ripperton,” piped up an anonymous voice from the shadows, and the pronouncement elicited a further round of, ‘Aarrr’s from the locals.

    “Is there a hotel nearby where we can lay up for the night?” asked Welyand.

    “Nearest hotel’s 40 mile on, down Glazebury way,” replied the barman. "No need to go that far. We’ve rooms here.”

    “Mind if we dry out a bit by your fire?” asked Weyland.

    “Can’t say as I’d mind, leastways, not so long as you’m drinkin’,” said the barman. "What’ll it be, gents?”

    “Got any mead?”

    At the mention of mead the room seemed to erupt with a warm, enthusiastic chorus of, “Aaarrrr!” as if the word had the magical property of instantly transforming cold hostile suspicion into lifelong fellowship. Attempting to make himself heard above the din, Weyland attempted to convey that he would really like a large [strike]horn[/strike], [strike]cup[/strike], glass of the stuff. Oh, and one for his brother, too.

    The heroically proportioned Barman cocked a quizzical eyebrow and smiled a rather disconcerting smile as he poured out the liquor from a stoneware jug. He re-stoppered it with the cork and pushed the glasses across the bar where Gil and Weyland gratefully accepted them. “You’m go warm yoursellen by the fire and I’ll tell the girl to make up your rooms. Nice comfy rooms they be. You’ll sleep like the dead, mark my words,” he concluded, grinning his head off.

    “Thanks,” said Welyand, turning to head for a seat by the fire.

    “Welcome to The Slaughtered Slut,” said their host.

    To be continued….
    Last edited by Hawkman; 10-15-2012 at 04:57 AM.

  2. #2
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    next door to the lady in the vinegar bottle
    Posts
    5,059
    Blog Entries
    72
    Hi, Hawkman--

    Normally, I really don't care for introductory material since I prefer the story to hit the ground running, so to speak. The opening info was not without interest, however; for instance, the question over when Friday the 13th actually begins is witty. With all this talk about the imminence of the End of the World-- even today on the LitNet, by a poster who claims to be all of fifteen!--I wonder what the doomsayers mean about December 21, 2012: on what side of the International Date Line are they talkin' about? And by the bye, even though yours is not (as far as I can tell) a story about space invaders, why is it that whenever anyone claims he's seen a "UFO" it's always at night, and not in broad daylight? Just asking.


    After the short preface, the story starts off in a more-or-less conventional manner, with the common motifs of a ghost story --or in this case, given the name of the tavern, a "whore-or" story (pun intended)-- the proverbial "dark and stormy night," the disabled vehicle, unknown town described as far from civilization --another common feature of the horror story. Knowing your work, Hawk, I'm certain that subsequent chapters of this tale will break out of the conventional mold.

    Now some questions and comments:

    -Check the spelling of the title of Puccini opera playing on the car's audio system. Italicize it as well.

    -The choice of "Weyland" as the character's name is not I trust a reference to the C&W warbler Waylan Jennings but rather a sly reference to the 1798 gothic novel by the American writer Charles Brockden Brown. (If not intended, it's a splendid case of serendipity!)

    --The banter between Weyland and his brother sounds natural -- and hints that they're making noise to keep away the chill and perhaps incipient fear, like whistling in the dark, perhaps. The only thing is you might want to ask yourself if parts of the conversation aren't a tad repetitious or go on too long.

    --In most short stories I really do prefer the third person P.O.V., which, believe it or not, is much more versatile than first person (and we won't even get into the use the second-person viewpoint practiced by Jay McInerny.) Your use of third-person narration in this story is appropriate. Even so, the story is about Weyland and Gil; therefore the material that is known only by the omniscient narrator and is more-or-less superfluous ought to be dropped. For instance, the fact that elm trees once lined the lonely road into the village until they were felled by the Dutch elm disease really doesn't have much bearing on W and G's current situation, and you've already established the setting. The fact that the the trees were living things which died could have some symbolic value, I suppose.

    -- what is the "slight sodium tint" in the storm clouds and what does it signify? That salt is white? And why would there be salt in the clouds?

    --"actinic" light?-- "radioactive"?

    Your style, as always is accomplished. To wit:

    "Then, of course, there are places that at times live and breath superstition which, whether you believe or not, believes in itself."
    ". . .wood-burning fire, large enough to roast a whole coven of witches."
    "Every eye in the place, and they were not all in pairs, regarded them suspiciously."
    Let it ne'er be said that the Hawkman doesn't write elegant sentences.

    I realize we're told that the tavern patrons speak in an obscure regional accent. But what's with all the "arrrs" ? They must be land-lubbin' pirates, they be.

    Looking forward to reading subsequent episodes of this intriguing tale.

    Yer demoted serpent,
    Auntie
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 10-13-2012 at 02:53 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    6,129
    Blog Entries
    8
    Hi Auntie,

    Thanks for pointing out the typo in Turandot. However, I don't actually see any necessity to italicise the word. This may conform to a particular publisher's "house style" but I'm not.

    Yes, actinic light can refer to "radio active", up to a point. It's a term often coined when referring to the supernatural lighting effects in Spielberg movies, but can also refer to a flourescent blue, with a colour temperature of about 10k Kelvin. It's rather appropriate for lightning I think. As for the character origins of Weyland, you're out by nearly a thousand years There are enough clues to inter textual references scattered throughout the piece that you should never assume that information in the narration is unnecessary. You're just missing the joke, sorry

    The references to sodium with regard to glows and street lighting indicate an orange colour. Sodium street lights flouresce orange.

    I'm afraid you're in for more inter textual references in forthcoming episodes. Hope you get them all - lol

    Glad you seem to have enjoyed it so far. There are a few errors in punctuation which I will get around to addressing in due course, hopefully before the next instalment. Until then, thanks for reading and dropping off your comments

    Live and be well - H

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    6,053
    I'm also not particularly fond of prologues to stories. They're usually an excuse to dump back-story as unsubtly as possible, introduce the hero and his family tree, or in this case spin your wheels as the author steps into the story to provide us with his personal insights. As well-written and amusing as this was, it quickly outstayed its welcome. It was rather old-hat and your intended audience could well have decided to close the book and hired a DVD long before they reached the end of page 1.

    Your decision to continue in meta-fiction mode at the opening of the real story didn't bode well either. If something is well enough written the reader isn't supposed to notice the writing itself - or the author. I assume this was an intentional stylistic decision on your part but it often comes across as rather twee and distracting. Fortunately you saw sense and got on with telling the story soon after.

    Action scenes aren't the easiest to write. Often the sentences have to do two jobs - describe what's happening and convey the sense of immediacy. With this in mind I don't think a 60-word sentence - He missed the sign... ...into the ditch - fits a car going off the road. It needs breaking down into bite-sized pieces - often sentence fragments work better in this context.

    I'm also unsure what was 'whipped away by the wind' - was it 'the front of the car', or the 'vapour', or the 'suggestion of vapour'??

    I didn't find the dialogue so tiresome at first - though it did get monotonous once they started over-analysing the situation. The writer spinning his wheels again? And I began to wonder why Beavis + Butthead were listening to Turandot. I'd have been expecting rap if I'm honest.

    Too often you have the same problem as Weyland's foot - getting bogged down. Does anyone need to read 170 words to discover how he gets his shoe stuck in the mud? No doubt you had fun spinning out his predicament like an evil puppet-master but it's not such fun this side of the screen. Especially when we have to put up with another 76 words while he rearranges his footwear.

    This paragraph made me stumble.
    Peering ahead into the darkness it was impossible to tell. There was no hint of the friendly glow they’d seen earlier. The lightning had struck an electricity substation just beyond the village, plunging it into darkness.
    Up to now we have been observing/experiencing the events from Weyland's viewpoint. We only know what he knows first-hand. So he can't possibly know what caused the power to cut out. It's authorial intrusion.

    Similarly 'Before the ravages of a certain Dutch beetle, it had been bordered by Elms to the West.'
    Presumably you're adding these asides to create a more entertaining picture but the reader is rapidly losing focus.

    And if they're drinking mead I'm assuming this tale takes place at a time before electricity was invented! What's wrong with Scrumpy?

    I'm picturing a cross between 'An American Werewolf In London' and 'Straw Dogs' - plenty of fun in store. Just spare a thought for your readers.

    H

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    6,129
    Blog Entries
    8
    Hill, thanks for reading and sharing your thought, even the predictable ones It doesn't actually bother me whether you like the preamble or not. As you say, it was a stylistic choice, and yes, I'm writing for my own amusement. That you find it necessary to count the number of words in a sentence and make something of it doesn't bother me either. So you like shorter sentences. Fine. Sometimes I do too, but the style of this piece has room for some longer ones. I have already indicated that there are some errors in punctuation in the piece, but to think that the front of the car was whipped away by the wind is just daft in context.

    I do wish that you didn't take your self appointed role as critic quite so seriously. It gives the reader the impression that you are spending more time trying to be witty and congratulating yourself on your own prose style than actually making valid points about the penmanship of whoever happens to be benefitting from your opinion. Referring to characters in the tale as Beavis and Butthead, just demonstrates your own smugness. So you don't like them. Tough.

    Too often you have the same problem as Weyland's foot - getting bogged down. Does anyone need to read 170 words to discover how he gets his shoe stuck in the mud? No doubt you had fun spinning out his predicament like an evil puppet-master but it's not such fun this side of the screen. Especially when we have to put up with another 76 words while he rearranges his footwear.
    Doubtless you'd have a go at Dickens for his prose style if he was writing today. Would he be a bad author by contemporary standards?

    This paragraph made me stumble.
    Peering ahead into the darkness it was impossible to tell. There was no hint of the friendly glow they’d seen earlier. The lightning had struck an electricity substation just beyond the village, plunging it into darkness.

    Up to now we have been observing/experiencing the events from Weyland's viewpoint. We only know what he knows first-hand. So he can't possibly know what caused the power to cut out. It's authorial intrusion.
    What utter crap. The glow of the village was seen from the car. It is necessary to explain why the village is in darkness when they get there. The village needs to be in darkness so that street names and pub signs can't be seen and to explain why everyone seems to be in a pub lit with dribbly candles. You seem to be missing things in the narrative. Likewise the missing elms are mentioned to give an indirect suggestion of the street name, previously hinted at in the preamble. There is nothing in this story which isn't there for a reason.

    By all means feel free to raise points for discussion, I'm more than happy to enter into dialogue with you, but please don't presume to lecture me in a superior manner for you own self aggrandisement. It is an impression which merely irritates.

    I do appreciate the time spent by my colleagues on the forum to read my work and share their views on it, even if they don't like it. I don't expect only rave reviews, and I don't mind being challenged, but this style of criticism just winds me up.

    Live and be well - H

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    6,053
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkman View Post
    What utter crap. The glow of the village was seen from the car. It is necessary to explain why the village is in darkness when they get there. The village needs to be in darkness so that street names and pub signs can't be seen and to explain why everyone seems to be in a pub lit with dribbly candles. You seem to be missing things in the narrative. Likewise the missing elms are mentioned to give an indirect suggestion of the street name, previously hinted at in the preamble. There is nothing in this story which isn't there for a reason.
    One simple question then I'll leave you in peace. Who's pov is the story being written from?

    If we're seeing everything through the eyes of your two MCs they can't possibly know about the sub-station or the reason for the missing elms.

    It's a stylistic issue. Nothing more.

    H

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    London
    Posts
    918
    Blog Entries
    2
    I must say I'm finding this story thoroughly entertaining, I can't wait to read more
    I like the character names, and I am wondering if a third brother may appear at some point? ^_^

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    6,129
    Blog Entries
    8
    Hi hill, as far as POV goes, it is established in the preamble, where the author addresses the reader directly, that the story is written from the narrator's perspective. As a third party narration, there is sufficient leeway for the narrator to break away from following the principal characters every so often, either to share a joke with the reader or for diagetic necessity to explain things which the characters couldn't know without tedious exposition. In this case it comes under, "little did he know..."

    If I'd made the sub-station lightning srike visible to my protagonists they'd have known they were closer to the village than they thought they were. They saw the lightning and heard the thunder and were aware that they could no longer see the glow they'd seen earlier. Without mentioning the effect of the lightning strike in the narration it would be necessary to explain it in a tedious dialogue exchange along the lines of, "Oh so that's why we couldn't see the glow any more." / "Yes, the lightning srike must have knocked the power out." Kind of lame, isn't it?

    With regard to the Elms. This is to share a joke with the reader. The fact (and reason) that they aren't there anymore reinforces the contemporaneousness and place of the narrative. Perhaps this isn't strictly necessary, but it really doesn't do any harm. Anyway, it's so dark in the story it's unlikely that Weyland and Gil could have seen or identified them even if the trees were still there. What it does do is connect Elm St. (with it's nightmares) a palce called Ripperton (a contraction of Ripper Town) which contains a pub called, "The Slaughtered Slut." I'll avoid further exposition here because I don't want to spoil the story.

    By letting the audience know something the characters don't, you can create anticipation and set things up. This anticipation can fuel the subsequent humour of a given situation. It is a well established narrative technique and is used frequently, especially by authors like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. You may not like the style but it doesn't make it wrong or bad practice. As you say, it's a stylistic choice.

    You were right that there was a problem in expression around the wind whipping the vapour away from the radiator of the ditched car. I don't think it was particularly serious, but it wasn't an elegent sentence and I have edited it. I have also reworded some of the business around the shoe, as that too was a poorly worded passage. I'm still plalying with various bits of punctuation which aren't quite right.

    I'm quite happy to have my attention drawn to problematic passages where the expression might have become confused. It is probable that I'd find them for myself eventually, but one can get lazy and leave things if they are not picked up. Please feel free to continue to comment and highlight them. I just ask that you don't make a meal of it. A simple, "You might want to look at this, because..." is quite sufficient. I don't mind a, "Why have you done it this way?" either. I'm more than happy to explain or discuss.

    Live and be well - H
    Last edited by Hawkman; 10-14-2012 at 09:36 AM.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    6,129
    Blog Entries
    8
    Volya: Hi, and thanks for reading. I'm particularly happy that you seem to have made the connection As far as the third brother goes, I'm afraid he won't be turning up. The portion of the tale I'm parrodying takes place after his departure and, as there are no subsequent references to him, I can't really fit him in.

    Glad you're enjoying it!

    Live and be well - H

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    London
    Posts
    918
    Blog Entries
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkman View Post
    Volya: Hi, and thanks for reading. I'm particularly happy that you seem to have made the connection
    It's amazing how much you can find out with a few quick google searches

  11. #11
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, The Middle East, UK, The Philippines & Papua New Guinea.
    Posts
    2,585
    Blog Entries
    1
    Well Jim mi lad, I read this yesterday in camp. Indulge me if I refer to the notes I made during said enjoyable exercise and maintain the sequence in which they were put down.

    1. I’m reading “The Return of the Native” by Thomas Hardy at the moment and could not but subconsciously compare the first introductory chapter of that book where he sets out the scene on Egdon Heath, and yours where the mystic relevance of Stonehenge is disturbed by the intrusion of the odds and sods of modern society.

    2. So, having established that you are in good company regards an introduction, it was in fact executed in a relaxed style that I personally had no problems with.

    3. The inane conversation between the two brothers considering their options post-crash. Don’t you think that it’s only in siblings or between two Irishmen that such banter can be exchanged?

    4. We must endeavour sometime to drag Aunty, (kicking if need be), to the UK, in order that she can experience the diversity of regional accents we still retain. I’m well acquainted with the West Country and it is only fortunate that your intrepid pair did not break down in the Rhondda Valley. Then the pub inhabitants would have all switched to Welsh.

    5. Finally, I look forward to reading more, or as you are prone to say “Arr keep em coming.”

    6. The only final, final suggestion would be to inauspiciously slip a weather forecast into the introduction. You know the sort, “Deep depression, with narrowing millibars settling over Somerset, wind north north east, variable with gusts up to 100 furlongs per hour. Damage possible to roofs and swinging car doors!”

    Best regards
    M.
    Last edited by MANICHAEAN; 10-14-2012 at 04:24 PM.

  12. #12
    Registered User zoolane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    North Yorkshire
    Posts
    1,445
    Blog Entries
    48
    “If it rains for ever we’ll get wet anyway because the car won’t float indefinitely. We’d need to build an ark. If you try to build an ark in the rain, you’ll get wet.”

    “True, but you won’t drown, at least not if you finish it before the water reaches over your head.”

    I absolute love this describable and sorry did not get connect about third brother and 'Mummerset accent' just made me laugh.

    Also look forward to reading more.
    English my native language and have characterizes of dyslexia.

    Copyright (C) 2011, Zoolane

    I have pass by English Exam.

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    6,129
    Blog Entries
    8
    Volya: Well - at least you bothered

    Man: “A Saturday afternoon in November was approaching the time of twighlight and the vast tract of unenclosed wild known as Egdon Heath embrowned itself moment by moment.”

    Strange, but the first line of that particular Hardy novel is forever embazoned on my consciousness, not because I read it, but because of a certain Monty Python sketch. Anyway, I'm glad you're enjoying my little tale

    Yes, it's true, coversations between brothers can be bizarre, certainly in my family anyway I think my favourite Irish quote is, "Follow me, I'll be right behind you..." Of course, you know what they say about the Welsh, they "pray on their knees and on their neighbours." Don't want to make Auntie kick too much, she might hurt her leg again.

    I will of course set about providing more of this tale as soon as I can stop replying to the thread replies

    Meanwhile, just for you, the shipping forecast:

    Portland, Plymouth: Low, Depths of Hell, Wind South, backing Southwest - 8 increasing severe gale 9 for a time, rough, visibility 3 miles, precipitation within sight, lock up your daughters.

    zoo: thanks for reading and I'm glad you are enjoying it. "Mummerset" is a term for a theatrically Westcountry accent don't worry about the other brother

    Live and be well - H

  14. #14
    Beyond the world aliengirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Blue Planet
    Posts
    2,394
    Really enjoyed the story so far. Provided me some much needed laughter after a very stressful week. Moreover, it touches one of my favorite topics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkman View Post
    “I think if he’d wanted to hit you, he would have,” said Gil, keeping in step. Stop whining. Wassamatter, you want to live for ever or summit?”

    “Well, I am a god,” came the petulant reply.

    “True, but you’re not a very well-known one these days. Only a handful of superstitious peasants and the odd scholar remember you. You’re almost forgotten; makes you kind of vulnerable, that.”

    “They’re not much better off,” said Weyland, flicking a nod towards the heavens.

    “At least some of ‘em have days of the week named after ‘em. And then there’re all those comic books and movies. That kind of stuff keeps ideas alive and memory fresh. What have you got? One poem that only a Viking can read and a passing mention in Beowulf.”
    ^ and the title of the story were pretty good clues for me. I put two and two together and consulted one of my best friends, Wiki. I wonder what is there in Weyland's sample case. Goblets? Jewels? Rings? ... I'd better shut up now and wait for the next part.
    I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. ~ William Blake

    Captivity is consciousness,
    So's liberty. ~ Emily Dickinson

  15. #15
    It wasn't me Jerrybaldy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    3,582
    Blog Entries
    1
    Hi Hawk
    It reminded me of Withnail and I. That cant be a bad thing. The only thing I struggled with was the conversation going on amid a thunderstorm and hammering rain. Picturing myself in that scene with nearby trees exploding by lightning strikes I can only imagine being head down, marching,cussing and wiping my eyes.

    Its a small point though, I enjoyed the read. You dragged me in as I am a Smith. Maybe that was a marketing ploy.

    Funny to think that these yokels became pirates and that the 'arrrs' are now recognised as such.

    The chorus of 'arrrs' was comical, it took the potential horror into 'Sean Of The Dead' territory, which also cant be bad.

    Cheers
    JB

    For those who believe,
    no explanation is necessary.
    For those who do not,
    none will suffice.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Unbreakable; Fragile
    By KP- in forum Short Story Sharing
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-27-2012, 11:03 AM
  2. Just Kids by Patti Smith
    By qimissung in forum Write a Book Review
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-24-2011, 11:40 PM
  3. White teeth by Zadie Smith.
    By prendrelemick in forum Write a Book Review
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-24-2009, 11:37 AM
  4. Betraying Adam Smith: Corporate Libertarians and Runaway Capitalism
    By Unregistered in forum The Wealth of Nations
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 05-07-2007, 06:05 PM
  5. Barbauld's 1811 and Smith's the Emigrants - comparisons?
    By _poptart_ in forum Poems, Poets, and Poetry
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-30-2007, 12:55 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •