Chat log for November 15, 2004

[camidon] Interesting
[Elizabeth] hi there!
[camidon] howdy!
[Elizabeth] brb
[anneliese] Hi, sorry, I've been hiding!
[anneliese] Time got away from me as I was goofing off.
[camidon] Lol. Didn't know you could do that.
[camidon] hiding online, not goofing off
[anneliese] Don't tell anyone!
[camidon] What's the occasion for a the new chat site?
[anneliese] I'm trying to move everything over to the new hosting company.
[anneliese] This is the chat software that they provide.
[camidon] I see. The scrolling is all weird. I'm so accustomed to the opposite.
[anneliese] Theoretically, you can reverse it, but it didn't work for me.
[camidon] But at least there are smileys!
[camidon] eww, theory never been good with that, so I don't think I'll mess with it. Change is good, right?
[camidon] let's try a new color
[camidon] ugh, no, how about this
[camidon] ah, not that either. This one?
[anneliese] Our newest member is in the other chat room...can't believe I have both running at the same time!...I'm trying to get him over here.
[camidon] Maybe this; awesome. do your best
[anneliese] That color bar is fun, huh?
[anneliese] Hi rcs! you made it!
[camidon] All the colors are weak. I miss my dark green
[rcs] hello
[camidon] Yes, hi rcs
[anneliese] Earlier today, I had a drop down menu with color names...wonder what happened to it.
[anneliese] How many lines of text do you all see on the screen?
[camidon] How's it going, rcs? Is it Ross?
[camidon] 20, I think
[rcs] I'm fine. rcs or Ross is okay.
[anneliese] You can change that. I set mine to 5000.
[camidon] How do i go about that? I didn't pay too much attention to the intial screen, I just log in and it popped me here. I assume theres a place to alter "my settings?"
[anneliese] Clicking the question mark gives you a popup with the command summary.
[camidon] You mean I have to read that!
[anneliese] the command is /show 5000 (or what ever number you like)
[anneliese] Naw, CM, you don't have to read anything!
[anneliese] I had a pretty dark red color earlier...wonder what happened to it.
[camidon] Yah, why would I read anything? This is a writing group!
[anneliese] lol
[camidon] It's good thing you sent out that reminder, or I think even I would have forgotten. I had no idea my story was in the queue for this week. NaNo's fully occupied my time
[anneliese] Has anyone checked out the new online calendar: http://www.sfwritersworkshop.org/calendar
[camidon] I will now
[anneliese] I'm not sure that I ever announced it to the group yet.
[Elizabeth] Feh. Sorry about that. Parents are coming into town tomorrow and called me w/details.
[camidon] Too bad about DaveK had to bag the next few chats.
[anneliese] Glad you're back
[anneliese] Yep, and Mike is too busy now also.
[Elizabeth] Same here. Smiling
[camidon] The calendar's a good idea, as long as it's updated!
[Elizabeth] Welcome, Ross!
[anneliese] I thought that it would be easier to update it, than to keep the website up-to-date.
[rcs] thanks. Good to be here.
[camidon] probably true, Anneliese
[anneliese] Also, I can create member accounts if you want to use the calendar.
[anneliese] Did you want to talk about your story, CM?
[Elizabeth] I like the calendar...any way we can put critique due dates in as well? That would help the more absent-minded among us. :
[anneliese] We can put anything you like in the calendar...If we register everyone, we can even use it to send email reminders.
[Elizabeth] I can send the reminders, as long as there's a place for me to look up the names.
[camidon] sure, always willing to here feedback about my stories
[anneliese] As soon as I get assign the date, I'm putting the name in the calendar.
[anneliese] I add the story title when you send out the sub.
[Elizabeth] Very well done. For a claustrophobe like myself, a cave story is especially creepy.
[camidon] the good, bad, and most fun of all, really ugly
[Elizabeth] The hook--the cavers trying, unsuccessfully, to locate the lost and panicky teenagers--should come sooner in the story, though.
[anneliese] I thought it was a lot of fun...liked that the teamsters were gaining some power again.
[camidon] Yes, Greg mentioned that, and I completely agree.
[Elizabeth] That scene, and the guy's realization that they aren't <B>anywhere<B> in the cave that he knows of was very effective. And spooky.
[anneliese] Oops, I'm confused.
[Elizabeth] Whoops, fat-fingered the code again.
[camidon] Teamsters? Hmm cavers unionizing, that must be Bob!
[anneliese] Yep. Read both this afternoon and forgot which was which, I think!
[Elizabeth] Trapped unionizing cavers...could be an interesting mix.
[camidon] Nothing like last minute cramming, Anneliese!
[anneliese] lol
[anneliese] When I was supposed to be at a client's, no less!
[Elizabeth] "What do you mean, management suggested this location? You NEVER let management set the location!"
[anneliese] Left the copy on the printer
[Elizabeth] I also liked Gary's concern that he's seeing and hearing things after spending such a long time in the caves, and the weird stuff that happens to his caving buddies. Creepy and good.
[camidon] E, that's good to know some of it is effective, and spooky. Thats what I was going for, but not having written anything like this, I just gave it a try.
[Elizabeth] It could be a sensory deprivation chamber, in a way--dark, isolated, very little noise. And after a while that dripping water would drive me nuts.
[Elizabeth] And the descriptions of some of the spaces the cavers have to wriggle through gave me the willies. Then again, I'm a huge claustrophobe.
[camidon] You mean Jerry? No Gary's in the story, at least no that I remember...
[Elizabeth] Whoops, Jerry.
[camidon] That's a good way to look at it, a "sensory deprivation" chamber. I like that.
[Elizabeth] Hey, I was only off by one phoneme!
[Elizabeth] Made me think of Altered States, the chamber the protagonist goes into on his mental journeys...and the way he completely cracks up in the end.
[camidon] I was hoping for the willies. Any time I read anything about a cave, it's all walking. I wanted this down and dirty and squirming, as serious caving really is.
[eddy] howdee
[camidon] I've been so engrossed in NaNo, that I didn't remember if there was a Gary or not. I had to scroll through my doc real fast to check!
[Elizabeth] hi Eddy!
[anneliese] Hi eddy
[camidon] Hey Eddy
[Elizabeth] I think you did a great job of showing what a gung-ho caver does, and what sort of stuff they encounter.
[eddy] just finished my crit Chris... sent via email
[anneliese] Eddy, use /show 5000 to show all the lines you want.
[camidon] "Altered States" Is that something I should check out? Not familiar with it
[eddy] ah
[eddy] Altered States = bleah
[eddy] lol
[eddy] never figured out what the fuss was about
[eddy] kinda boring
[camidon] Thanks eddy.
[Elizabeth] Very unsettling movie with William Hurt. Some over-the-top moments, but a great premise.
[Elizabeth] brb
[eddy] read the book?
[anneliese] * anneliese never saw the movie
[camidon] Have to add it to my Netflicks list.
[eddy] too drawn out with long periods of little happening
[camidon] and apparently, my book list too.
[eddy] read Life of Pi!
[eddy] great book
[camidon] So your bboard review says, eddy
[camidon] Thanks for the crit, Eddy. I was wondering when someone would ask Why the other cavers didn't have a cave name.
[eddy] I liked the idea of a nickname, it shows familiarity between chars
[eddy] for me, just setting the story in a cave was scary
[eddy] !
[camidon] Don't really have an answer for you. Some use them, others don't. Guess it has to do with the caver.
[eddy] well you implied that everyone did, but only one in your story did
[eddy] I suggest calling it just a nickname
[eddy] otherwise you have to explain
[camidon] Then that should probably be clarified
[camidon] makes sense.
[eddy] if all cavers have nicknames, that may be a detail you want to show the reader, but that would be really hard to do with that many characters... there is only so much you can do in one story
[camidon] I like your shadow idea. That's probably more in tune with the setting. Something that's harder to see is that much more nerve-racking
[eddy] when I think of lights, I think of Cocoon
[eddy] or Close Encounter, or ET
[camidon] Not seen Cocoon, though it's also on my netflicks list
[eddy] wouldn't consider it high priority... I thought it had a weak ending
[eddy] a must see movie is the Incredibles
[camidon] I think i chose the lights initially because to see a light in the cave, that's not from your group, is down right unsettling, but like I said, I think I'll try your shadow idea and see how it plays.
[eddy] that and Shrek 2, excellent examples of how to make quirky characters work
[camidon] What, Cocoon, or my story!
[eddy] well I can see the lights being unsettling, maybe they could be faint lights and the critters themselves are seen as shadows
[camidon] Are you "hiding" again Anneliese?
[eddy] hehe... Cocoon
[Elizabeth] bak
[anneliese] Yup. Sorry ducked out to check something else.
[camidon] I'd vote for Mosters Inc, imo.
[anneliese] I keep testing the logging feature. so far so good!
[Elizabeth] That's okay, I keep bugging out with job/parental visit stuff.
[eddy] I went cave diving a couple of times, then I watched a show with some nut who squeezed into a space so tight that he had to remove his tanks to wriggle through
[camidon] Anneliese, I like thought of your virtually self, running between the letters, duking down, peeking around an A.
[Elizabeth] I didn't have a problem with all the nicknames...under those circumstances I think I'd want to have short and easy-to-remember tags for each of my buddies.
[eddy] imagine getting stuck underwater with 10 min of air in your tank!
[Elizabeth] Because if something happened down there, I'd be too freaked out to remember much.
[anneliese] LOL, CM!
[Elizabeth] <== laughing w/CM and Anneliese
[eddy] my point with nicknames is, if everyone has a name and a nickname and you have 10 characters floating around, how would you handle that?
[camidon] Any specific comments about the ending? Eddy, your crit suggest more. <side note, that's why cave diving is statistcally the most dangerous thing you can do on the planet, or in the planet>
[camidon] suggests you desired more, is what I meant.
[Elizabeth] I almost wanted less from the ending. You have this great creepy scene where Jerry sees all of those obviously-dead people--Confederate Army, cavers who disappeared years before--and then he comes out of what he thinks was a temporary blackout to be told that he's been in a coma.
[eddy] that's what I didn't like... it felt like the "it was all just a dream, haha!" ending
[camidon] Yeah, handling all the characters was a real challenge. That's why the story wound up so long, perhaps will be even longer.
[Elizabeth] After that, I wasn't sure I wanted a long explanation of what he thought happened...the final line about part of him being lost, forever, in that cave was so spooky and so perfect.
[eddy] I don't think that's what you had in mind tho
[Elizabeth] What if he never figures out what really happened, and that's the price he pays? The rest of his life he has to wonder what happened, and if he's gone insane.
[camidon] Hmmm. Coma was not my intention. I think I said No Lite was in a coma.
[eddy] for me, I would take it in another direction... the idea of him going down and finding ghosts was too cliche'd
[eddy] he could find another mystery down there
[Elizabeth] CM, my understanding was that somehow time had warped around this guy...he thought all of this stuff was recent, but it had happened months ago...did he lose part of his memory? Did something get permanently damaged as a result of his experience
[eddy] I liked the bit where the wrapper moved around
[camidon] I do agree, eddy, about the cliche aspect, but that's what came out. Any ideas what that different direction might be?
[Elizabeth] It seemed to be more psychological than physical horror to me.
[eddy] one part of the cave where time shifts around
[Elizabeth] All sorts of weird stuff could happen to your head in that kind of prolonged crisis situation.
[camidon] I think I spent as much time on that final line as I did on the rest of the story. I just kept going back to it, so I'm glad someone liked it!
[Elizabeth] (Did I ever tell you about the college acquaintance who spent a weekend in the Santa Cruz Mountains with a friend, a bag of chips, and a bag of shrooms, and got the bags mixed up?)
[camidon] Yes, pyschological was the aim
[eddy] I would leave out the zombies and make it a weird place that messes with your head, or maybe one nasty thing... something a little more different
[rcs] The sequence with the ghosts actually seemed like it was out of Lord of the Rings, when they call the Army of the Dead. I don't know if that was your intention, but that was the feel, I got.
[Elizabeth] What might be even creepier is if he doesn't so much see them as hear and feel them (a chill in the air, or sudden movement), and see shadows, vague forms that may or may not be real...
[camidon] Definitely wasn't thinking lord of the rings, though I can see that. I don't think I want that correllary
[eddy] or in keeping with the time shift idea, instead of finding zombies he could come out ten years later
[eddy] or maybe as a different person
[camidon] So, if I make what happens in the cave, at the end, even more vague, you think it would fly? No ghosts, no physical desription of civil war soldiers, etc. Maybe hints, a gunshot sound here, shadows, things like that?
[eddy] dunno... think of something unusual and unsettling
[Elizabeth] Perhaps you need to cut some of the characters. Keep the female friend, the really good caving buddies like No Lite, and nobody else?
[eddy] no, you need to be more direct... but it should start vague
[eddy] I agree... too many characters
[Elizabeth] The reader could probably infer era from their conversation, or details like light flashing off what looks like a bayonet.
[camidon] Maybe that's a thought, dumping a few characters.
[eddy] keep it to Frodo and Merry and Pippin and Gandalf... oh wait
[Elizabeth] The Civil War ghosts would sound a lot different from the caver(Drunk, or the contemporary teenagers.
[camidon] More direct?
[eddy] what I mean is... start with subtle hints of weirdness like you did with the powerbar wrapper, and the tie in with the flashback (I liked that a lot)
[camidon] Ross, what that "Army of the Darkness" feeling good or bad? Draw you out of the story, into the story?
[eddy] then when he gets closer to the mystery, then tell us what it is
[eddy] or at least give strong hints... me, I hate enigmatic endings, they make me feel like I read the story for nothing if I have to make up my own ending
[camidon] Okay, got it Eddy. You're off the mindset of full explanation. There are definitely too different sides to the issue, and it's so hard to choose which side.
[rcs] It seemed a little confusing, but thinking for a moment helped to understand it.
[Elizabeth] The powerbar wrapper was a nice touch, BTW.
[eddy] I like an explanation at the end, but guessing up to that point
[eddy] I just read Bob's crit... I disagree, I think the beginning was terrific, I agree with his title recommendation though
[Elizabeth] It was clear to me, at the end, that Jerry's version of events and everybody else's version of events were wildly different, and Jerry is going to have to spend the rest of his life reconciling that. And failing. That what you intended?
[camidon] Thanks, I liked that wrapper idea too.
[camidon] Yes, E, that was one basic element; the other was that the cave "stole" people every 60 years or so, and somehow hid the evidence/truth from the surface. There were always explanations for the disappearance, but thos always changed.
[camidon] I agree with the title suggestion too; I was not happy with the title with which I sent out the story.
[eddy] I didn't get that, Chris
[Elizabeth] Hmmm. "Stole" as in made them disappear completely? That would be a great campfire story, but I would expect more people on the surface to get involved, and in this lawsuit-ridden era, to get the cave closed.
[eddy] maybe instead of meeting the zombies, he should be threatened by them and then meet the "real" evil in the cave -- whatever is stealing people
[camidon] Mainly, I wanted the story to be strange, eerie, and pull you to the end.
[anneliese] I have to go, guys. Feel free to chat on, though!
[eddy] for a while I thought the cave was replacing people, kind of a doppelganger thing
[camidon] I would say, imo, the real evil WAS the cave. In a sense it was "alive'
[Elizabeth] I like the more subtle "stealing" you describe in the story...No Lite's inexplicable coma, the huge gaps between Jerry's experience and "the official story"...the idea that the cave takes something precious and irretrievable from you, and you don't even know what it is until it's gone, is wonderful
[camidon] Night, Anneliese. Good luck with the next week of NaNo
[Elizabeth] 'night, Anneliese!
[eddy] I have to go too... good story Chris
[eddy] l8r all
[Elizabeth] And the idea that an experienced caver can spelunk in this cave for years, enjoy it, and then get slammed with this "theft" is creepier still.
[camidon] That's good, I think, Elizabeth, you hit on the head what I was TRYING to do.
[Elizabeth] 'night Eddy! Thanks for coming!
[camidon] gnight Eddy
[Elizabeth] Perhaps what Jerry finds in the cave is that part of the other people that the cave has "stolen" from.
[Elizabeth] A caver's confidence. A soldier's courage. A teenager's loyalty to his or her friends.
[camidon] Oh, I like that idea. I think these ideas are all rambling around in my brain. Any suggestions how to make that come across?
[Elizabeth] A bit of their intelligence, their humor, their talent, whatever that talent may be.
[Elizabeth] Well, the cave has literally stolen away No Lite's mind. And Jerry's memory.
[Elizabeth] Perhaps one of the teenagers DID get out of the cave, but ran off...without telling anybody that he had friends still in there.
[camidon] The way you summed it up is perfect, the taking something irretreivable from you.
[Elizabeth] Or somebody comes out of the cave (in the story, or one of the "campfire stories" Jerry knows of) losing their will to live, and dying/committing suicide shortly after their cave visit.
[Elizabeth] Perhaps the soldiers who came out of the cave turned tail and fled after their next battle, or committed some atrocity.
[camidon] To make that the definite central theme, how concrete do I need ot be with the climax against the cave, what Jerry, Don, No Lite n and Rich experience? OR how vague? Either way, I think some will like a concrete explanation, others a vague 'somethings been taken away"
[Elizabeth] All sorts of things could be "lost" in this place, and never seen or sensed until the cave finds its next victim.
[Elizabeth] Hope this helps, CM. I probably need to sign off soon. Got stuff to fill out for kiddo's teacher.
[camidon] btw, if you need to skeedaddle too, don't let my inquiring mind keep you!
[Elizabeth] And I need to finish cleaning up before the parents arrive. They'd probably like to have a place to sleep.
[Elizabeth] I really liked the story, CM, good luck with it!
[camidon] sounds goods I appreciate all the feedback from tonight.
[Elizabeth] It was good talking to you, and good night.
[camidon] Thanks, gnight, Elizabeth!