Chat log for December 27, 2004

[anneliese] Hi Ross!
[rcs] hey.
[rcs] how are you doing?
[anneliese] For some reason, I like the color switcher better here.
[anneliese] Doing good. Did you have a good holiday?
[rcs] yeah.
[anneliese] I hope your connection is better tonight.
[rcs] and you?
[rcs] I hope so too.
[anneliese] Not bad. Getting some writing done
[anneliese] With the holiday, I don't know how many will show up tonight.
[rcs] any idea how many are showing up tonight?
[anneliese] (We're anticipating each other)
[anneliese] It could be another slow night.
[rcs] in some ways that creeps me out.
[anneliese] But you have my nearly-undivided attention
[rcs] true
[anneliese] It's the holidays... people are off doing other things. The chat I attended last night was very slow also.
[anneliese] I think Elizabeth is out of town... probably visiting relatives.
[anneliese] How have the critiques been on your story?
[rcs] I've only gotten one, and I can't really make a judgement based on that. It made some good points though.
[anneliese] If I get the chance, I'll send you one.
[rcs] OK
[anneliese] And, we can discuss it tonight, if you wish.
[anneliese] When I do critiques, I usually don't send them to the whole group, only the author.
[anneliese] Don't imagine that my critiques are better than anyone else's, though...they aren't!
[rcs] That's why I didn't want to make a judgement based on only one.
[anneliese] Best not to. A critique is just someone's opinion, after all...it doesn't have to mean too much.
[anneliese] How do you feel about the story?
[rcs] Looking back I see a few things I could improve on. I thought it was good start though.
[anneliese] I agree. A good start. I'd certainly like to see more.
[anneliese] Do you feel that you were able to accomplish what you set out to do?
[rcs] I think so. My main objective was to set up the events for a couple of stories that take place after this one.
[anneliese] Cool.
[anneliese] You seem to have the 3 'C's in this story: a Character with whom we can sympathize, a Context, and a Conflict.
[rcs] Yeah. It stills needs some work though.
[Elizabeth] hi there!
[anneliese] What I took away was a hunger for more of the context...you've created an interesting world, and I want to see more of it!
[rcs] Hello
[anneliese] HI Elizabeth!
[Elizabeth] Sorry I'm late.
[anneliese] Glad you could make it!
[anneliese] By the way, Ross, what are Sedwa Warriors?
[Elizabeth] I'm glad, too. Eye-wink
[rcs] I agree that it needs more detail. Sedwa Warriors are a kind of knights that I should have gone into more detail about. Alec is one.
[anneliese] If all of your stories explore the life of Sedwa Warriors, you might not need too much detail here...although we readers might want to know why they are included in this project.
[Elizabeth] More detail on that could be helpful...explains more about Alec's background, his motives for being on a hostile planet, and the unusual powers he has.
[Elizabeth] I thought that the story, while a good start, needed more detail overall.
[rcs] I kind of rushed this story a little bit, I think. Right after I sent it, I saw several flaws in the story.
[anneliese] Will you fix them on a rewrite?
[Elizabeth] I liked your description of the coral caves, and of Alec's struggle to stay conscious and keep moving after he's been hurt. That's the kind of narrative detail that sparks a reader's interest.
[anneliese] <== agrees with Elizabeth. I thought that was well done. Overall, you have some very visual writing.
[Elizabeth] Other parts of the narrative read more like a summary than a story. Does that make sense?
[rcs] I think I'll make some changes. I'm not quite sure what yet.
[rcs] Yeah. I was trying to focus on Alec plight, but wanted to give some background and may have sumarized that too much.
[anneliese] (We're not trying to gang up on you...think of us as a resource to tap for ideas, if you like.)
[Elizabeth] Backstory is always tricky...too much of it slows down your narrative.
[rcs] Don't worry about it. I don't mind being ganged up on by peo
[Elizabeth] But you probably need some to explain why Alec is on the run.
[anneliese] For me, I often have to write my story as a summary first, then go back and rewrite it with the proper amount of detail for it to work.
[rcs] ple I can't even see.
[anneliese] lol
[rcs] Balancing the Background was probably the biggest obstacle. I definitely will work on that.
[Elizabeth] I wanted the story to start right when Alec's alien friend tells him that her people are now at war with the colonists, and that she can't protect him any longer.
[rcs] I agree. I think that might have been a better starting point.
[Elizabeth] That was, in my opinion, where the story really got going.
[Elizabeth] And I still wasn't quite sure why Alec was on this planet. A diplomatic mission? Business? Protection for the colonists?
[Elizabeth] Or was I just being thick?Eye-wink
[anneliese] I also wondered... is this the colonists' final destination, or just a stop along the way?
[rcs] He was supposed to the military presence in the colony. More of a secuirity advisor then anything.
[Elizabeth] Ah. If they had nowhere else to go, that increases the stakes, and the suspense, considerably.
[Elizabeth] And how important is this colony to Alec? To his career? To his purpose and sense of duty?
[rcs] I hadn't thought about that. The current portion of the story I've thought out is on this planet, but it may go elsewhere in the parts I haven't thought about. Suspense is always a good thing.
[rcs] I was tried to make part of the story his realization that the colony wasn't important, but the lack of detail may have made that get lost.
[rcs] all important, I meant
[Elizabeth] So...he found something more important than the survival of the colony?
[anneliese] The duty isn't important to Alec...or the colony isn't important?
[rcs] Duty isn't all important. His happiness is also vital, and he learns that while "dying".
[anneliese] I think you hint at that pretty well.
[Elizabeth] There was definitely a personal revelation for Alec in that "dying" sequence.
[rcs] Yeah. I intended part of it to be acceptance, and part a deeper learning.
[anneliese] If you wanted, you could use the scene with the mystic to forshadow that revelation.
[Elizabeth] My question would be, what was the deeper learning?
[rcs] That he should have stayed with Cecillia, and that the whole mess would have been avoided if he had.
[rcs] But obviously it takes almost dying to learn that.
[Elizabeth] The whole mess? Do you mean his situation, or the war?
[anneliese] Or did he have to leave Cecilia in order to really learn that he loved her?
[rcs] I don't yet. Definitely his own situation. I might have some deeper cause for the war linked in that.
[rcs] I think he realized that he really did love her while he was there, I guess he had to leave her to realize it.
[anneliese] It is an important and difficult realization to learn that you cannot live without someone.
[Elizabeth] So the main conflict and main revelations are internal, and the external conflict is icing on the cake.
[anneliese] (hope that makes sense)
[rcs] It makes sense. The gravity of the realization could be clearer.
[Elizabeth] Yes, I agree.
[anneliese] Are there any questions you'd like to ask Elizabeth or me?
[Elizabeth] And if, in the beginning of the story, Alec is obsessing over politics and the logistics of evacuating colonists, how to deal with the aliens, everything but his personal life...
[rcs] None that I can think of right now.
[Elizabeth] which creeps in when he least expects or wants it...
[Elizabeth] the realization will hit that much harder. Just my two cents.
[rcs] I like that idea of him obsessing over the politics and such. I thnk that would work.
[anneliese] I'd like to see what you do with this story in rewrite.
[rcs] I'm looking forward to doing a rewrite. It could be good.
[anneliese] You have a lot of good ideas here.
[Elizabeth] <===agrees w/Anneliese
[rcs] Thanks.
[rcs] I think I've said all I can think of about it. How about you?
[anneliese] For tonight, I think....anything else y'all want to yak about?
[Elizabeth] You've got a lot of good ideas and some nice, visual, evocative scenes. Keep working on this.