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Author Topic: Write Your Weather  (Read 7748 times)
Reiter
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« on: April 08, 2010, 07:05:37 AM »

So, here's a little game (yay, first game :p) to help us brush up on description/narrative. All you do is describe what the weather's like at your place in as many words as you like - as long as it's under 250 words. Gotcha there, didn't I. Wink The next person to post rates that description from 1 to 5 (worst to best), provides some short advice or critique, then adds his or her own weather description; and so on and so forth until we all get cybernetic brains.

There's no strict rule on what kind of advice you can give - you can be hard or soft, sweet or tangy, crunchy-bitter but marshmallowy in the middle; all your critique needs to be is helpful (and to the writer, not your ego). You can also rate anyone who came before you as long as you also rate the person who described immediately before. That's all.

Oh - and be truthful. Of course. Wink

So to kick this thing off:

----

Sunny sunny sunny with no signs of stopping, and the sweltering breeze descendant upon the land, like the damning, draining wheeze of the devil himself heavy on your back. Outside is an empty street, silent from the patter of cubs' little feet, for all are lying in the shade, langorously lounging, simmering in the shade. Even the flies daren't spread their wings this morning. Across the road is an intrepid boy, scraping eggs off the hood of the family car. Reminds one of that clip of Rommel and the Afrikakorps chilling before El Alamein; the only difference is, this is not the Sahara, and not once in my life would I have thought that its harsh, incapacitating beauty would suggest itself inside my home.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2010, 03:15:13 PM by Reiter » Logged

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k9k
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2010, 05:32:12 PM »

The day can only be described as pleasant. The temperature being the perfect, yet elusive. Because no matter what you do, you can never set your AC to just the right setting to replicate the day. The weather is warm yet cool. The very essence of spring is upon you skin it seems. It is not a day of action but observance. Too cool to laze around and nap, too warm to act up. The perfect weather to lay nude in your hammock, book in hand, for the flies have not yet awoken from their slumber.
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Quinn Yellowfox
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2010, 05:35:12 AM »

*Beep* k9k, You have to give feedback before you post. Now I need to do both.

@ Reiter: 4.0 Your imagery and word use makes me think of prose poetry, which has as fluid a definition as "furry." Excellent use of rhythm, but for normal narritive, the alliteration was a bit over the top. For prose poetry, it is excellent. You lost me with the Afrikakorps. I had to stop and try to dig the image out of deep memory. For me, it was a bit too esoteric and disruptive to the flow. A more universal image would have been better.

@ k9k: At least put your boxers on. Sheesh  Cheesy 2.8  Your first two sentances are both vague and telling rather than showing. I caught it was morning by your description, which is good, but rather than telling me it is "perfect," show me perfect. I live in Tucson. For me, perfect is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Was there dew on the ground? Did the cool breeze punctuate the warm sun? etc. It's an excellent start, but you still have some work to do.

*   *   *

Blowing dust choked me and forced my ears back as I trudged southward, past the watchful eyes of the Border Patrol agents in their shimmering green and white cruisers. Guilt and the late summer sun held my head down.  My feet were swollen and bloody from my march and my palms were blistered from grueling labor. The rags I once called clothes clung to my fur, plastered in place by sweat and sand.

I finally made my way to a cool grove of giant pecan trees along the serpentine dirt track leading past a book store and gift shop filled with chattering tourists. There I spotted a giant stone cross marking the entrance to the Holy Trinity Monastery. I fell to my knees on a searing saltillo tile platform and prayed with all my heart at the rough hewn altar. I couldn't go further and I couldn't go back. Lonely death in the desert waited in both directions. All I could do was hope.

*   *   *

(I hope I didn't violate the rules by illustrating the weather by adding a character and it's impact on him.)
« Last Edit: April 09, 2010, 05:44:52 AM by Quinn Yellowfox » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2010, 10:20:58 AM »

Review of Quinn's offering:
I'm in two minds about what you have written. The adding of a person to the work is not the issue, it's the jarring of the two contexts you use in your work that bothers me. You start with what is obviously references to life in a modern American boarder community then you seem to change tack by evoking the worn medieval pilgrim vibe seeking salvation. Is it your intention because I'm not clear on it, considering the second paragraph could fit either context. I'll rate it 3/5 simply because I'm simply confused by your context otherwise it would be an easy 4-4.5.

My offering:

Damn, the autumn has come in with a vengeance for such an insipid summer.

It’s mid morning and the white hot sun in the empty blue sky has done it’s best to warm this tiny coastal town. Shame it had failed. The smart souls are staying safe and warm inside. Call me stupid then, for I walk down the near empty streets on my way to work. The cold post Easter morning air has tiny sharp teeth and it takes great delight in nipping on my exposed skin. The only relief that I have is the knowledge in a few hours time the heat will force us to strip short sleeves and put on sunnies.

The wind picks up. I can taste the salt and smell the sea. In the unusualness stillness of the urban streets, I can catch brief snatches of the roar of the waves on the foreshore a scant few dozen metres away. It seems to say that a cruel winter is coming, and what I’m feeling is just the first few tender brushes of a long tight embrace. Turning away from the words I don’t want to hear, I make my way to work and the warm sanctuary it offers.

Let the ripping of my offering begin.
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2010, 11:23:58 AM »

CS, I think Quinn's character is a modern pilgrim paisano seeking refuge from the border patrol, or simply an escaped convict who thought he could start a new life in Mexico but was instead forced by circumstance to find sanctuary in a remote monastery. I would actually rate it 4.5/5, for its clarity and evocative imagery; the 0.5 lacking is due to what I feel is a generic description of the character in the end of the first paragraph, and the jarring use of "couldn't" at the end of the piece, whose casual nature interrupts the mystical, despairing quality built up throughout.

CS: 3.5/5 - You state in the very first paragraph that autumn is coming "with a vengeance", yet the sense I'm getting from the rest of the piece is of a mild spring/autumn afternoon: cold morning, hot afternoon - pretty normal. What is this vengeful autumn like? How is it different from any other autumn? I like the description of the post-Easter air nipping at you with "tiny sharp teeth", but come on, man, describe the rest of the autumn! Where I come from, we only have two main seasons - wet and dry - so I don't know what the New Zealand autumn of 2010 feels like. Make me understand. Cheesy

----

I know places where the four seasons play out in one day, but here there's room for only one at a time, and spring's already given way to summer. Barely time for the jasmine to bloom and be strung together and sold by the urchins at the cathedral before they wilt sadly and dry, perfume degrading into a tired memory reminiscent of cobweb-covered chests and moth-eaten clothes. Yesterday the students removed the last of the stalls from the football field. You shoulda seen it -- black, brown, bone-white, polished from the hundreds of sneakers traversing it, every blade of grass trampled underfoot like cockroaches under the boot of an irate chef. I don't know why they put the carnival up in this heat - possibly they di'nt know, who knew summer would come this early? - but I wasn't surprised when the wiring burst into flame.

Now they've taken it all away and replaced it. But the victims of that night, who ran to safety, stumbled, were trampled underfoot like the myriad blades of grass, I think they deserve a better memorial than what was placed, the rows of balloons some art student planted for his thesis. Yet who am I to say? For all I know, they're there: clinging to the balloons, and their frustrations, and their childhood; and when, for the finale, that art student cuts the strings and photographs his balloons drifting towards a heaven they'll never reach, those souls will be there too, looking back, letting go, soaring towards a place their envoys will never reach.
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2010, 12:09:18 AM »

Okie doke, let's jumpstart this thing. No use having a game board if nobody's doing any games. Tongue

Now let's see if I can allude to the weather subtly!

----

ENERGY PRICE HIKE ENRAGES CONSUMERS AMID FREQUENT SUMMER BLACKOUTS


(Yes, that's the whole thing, and no, that's not a real headline, but it does imply something about the weather, doesn't it? Doesn't it? D: )
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2010, 05:59:02 AM »

actually it doesn't. Black out could be due to heat, wind, storms, some idiot cutting down a powerline, etc.
As for boxers, pffft, none for me! I am au natural! Wink

It was a day that was an essence of spring, the dew on the grass wets your feet but no grass sticks to it, the summer mowing has not started. The air has a mild bite to it, just a nip to inform you summer has not moved in yet. But the chill is mild, enough to cause goose pimples on bared flesh and a shiver down the spine but not enough to put clothes on. The sun is low yet the day bright, even the sun is sluggish getting up this day. Book in your hand, drink in other, you walk out to your patio, cool concrete massaging your feet in its hypnotic manner. With a mild shiver you sit in the metal deck chair, the cool air having chilled the metal, causing shrinkage of certain organs on contact. But as the sun lazily makes its way across the sky, the weather is always comftable. Cool enough so as not to cause you to sweat but warm enough not to make you shiver.
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2010, 09:56:30 AM »

Nah, you're that's the wrong implication. You're supposed to be looking at it *in the context of* all those blackouts happening. Also, you forgot to put up your rating.
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2010, 10:47:32 AM »

Well Reiter I think you were being a bit generous on the score on my piece. Looking at it now I would only class it a 2-2.5. I would also warn you to never throw the gauntlet at me, because it might spur me to do something truly silly, like presenting a free form poetry piece called An New Zealand Autumn Day in 238 Words

The dawn weakly bleeds thought tarmac sky. Failed snow drifts and dances in the wind as the first hints of winter creeps in to your bones. Shining like polished enamelled jewellery are the leaves of the natives, limbs heavy with vivid fruit.
Harsh white sun burns away the wetness of the early hours. Invisible ice mist bristling the skin and aching the teeth. Too pure blue for a mid-morning sky that refuses to let the fading summer in.
Meridian makes its’ mark. The change of hour representing the change of season. People sit out in the curb-side cafés and bars mixing their cold crisp salads with hot espressos are placing a bet both ways.
Shadows start to stretch as the heat of the day ripples across the tarmac. Cicadas sing their desperation anthem seeking of immortality though children as their seven year reward. Each arid inhale is worth suffering for the fragrances it conveys.
The day makes its’ last play for dominance. A sky of fire burns beyond the seaward edge of the world. Scarlet and gold chased by nigh-time’s black embrace as the day’s heat fades with the light.
Dragon smoke plumes from your mouth as you walk home in the dark. The night-birds make their calls of war and courtship in the stilled air. A sea of stars ripples and washes under the stalwart guard of a moon haloed in the frost of the coming morn.

* Steps off stage as a group of hipsters manage to find enough interest/energy to click their fingers in acknowledgement. *

In review of k9k's last post. I would put it only as a 2.5-3 simply because it seem to be labouring the point in several places. The last two lines are good example; where it says: But as the sun lazily makes its way across the sky, the weather is always comftable. Cool enough so as not to cause you to sweat but warm enough not to make you shiver. , I myself might have said: 'Lazily drifting across the sky, the sun softly bathes me in a light that warms but lets me feel the coolness of the spring air.' A side note:  the quoted block starts with 'but' which is considered bad grammar, but acceptable in free-form stuff like this. On a personal perspective, while I'm far from prudish, the reference to shrinkage is skating over the line of what could be acceptable of 'all ages' rating of the forum. While it's polite written, many people would have problems letting a seven year old read it.
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2010, 12:10:13 AM »

Well, I don't feel quite qualified for a review, so let's do a bungee jump. CS: 3/5. Because, I feel there is too much detail, somehow generalized. Few quirks: tarmac mentioned twice; once as sky, second as pavement - I'm confused for one second. Tarmac and cicadas: I'm getting a smell -- but it's undefined. Last sentence: am I gazing into sky's reflection on the water, or watching the sky while drunk?

My turn. *hides in a bomb shelter*

The spring arrived casually. Absence of rains and high winds opened a loose time window where the season unfolded quietly, too slow for my busy work schedule to notice. One random day the trees appeared lush and alive, and the early dawn eased my otherwise painful wake-up routine. Dark blue clouds and a single strip of yellow sun signaled the start of a new 24-hour sequence. Cold breeze from an open house doors. Then there were the nightingales, chirping symphonies of discontinuous creativity; and the invisible woodpecker, echoing through the mist, too close, almost by the window. Now, as I lay my bare knees on the grass, adrift smells of earth and dandelion mix with the time-programmed water sprinklers' gentle haze. An odd morning shower indeed. For a split-second all is quiet, then a howl interrupts the flow of time or water, it doesn't matter.
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2010, 10:18:57 PM »

tempest: 2.8-3/5. As with CS, I feel there is too much detail in this which obscures rather than clarifies the picture of your casual spring day. To avoid repetition, you use certain phrases as stand-ins for words (eg. "24-hour period" for "day"), yet here they are neither poetic nor necessary. A synonym would have sufficed. There are also details which don't really contribute to the bigger picture - your use of nightingales is one of these. It presupposes the reader's exposure to nightingales, then describes their song as "chirping symphonies", a phrase which says nothing about the nightingale, and can in fact be used to describe any chirping animal: say, the cicada. If your nightingale can be confused with a cicada, you may have a bit of a problem there. Tongue

My verdict: you have the idea and you have the palette to paint with, but keep in mind that less can be more. With a briefer, more precise selection of words, you could create the same day more powerful than before.

k9k, just a reminder - if you're going to post, *please* remember to include your rating and comments so the rest of us don't have to review twice.

----

Cotton webs in cerulean skies
Though God may beat them, they still don't cry.
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2010, 03:16:36 AM »

Great review Reiter. (Can a reviewer review a review too?) And by the way, you were right about my character in the last post I made. The character was a killer escaping to Mexico but had to choose between death in the desert or taking refuge in a monastery. It seems that I was too weak in the context as well.

As far as your weather goes, 4/5 stars for brevity and 3/5 for clarity. I suspect there is a longing for rain and your POV wants God to beat rain/tears out of thin cirrus clouds, but there isn't much context. It is a phenomena of the Southwest US deserts, but it did make me think faintly of the high cirrus clouds that preceed the monsoon season. The way the clouds form, it looks like a procession of bowed flute players...a parade of Kokopellis. (Google it  Roll Eyes )

***

The sinking sun set the horizon aflame in luminous turquoise and neon pink. Black monsoon thunder heads crashed against ragged purple mountains unleashing furious torrents. Lightning and thunder raged against the skyline as if hell had brazenly attacked heavens gate.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2010, 05:04:21 AM by Quinn Yellowfox » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2010, 10:55:32 PM »

Quinn: 3.8/5. I felt every word uttered, weighed, emphasized, jagged, clean cutting down through the subject. However the comparison in third sentence somehow dispersed the oil-painting effect. Maybe: 'as if hell had broke loose'. I'm also having hard time understanding the connection between torrents (a torrent of wind or rain?) and the colors related with clear sky in the first part. Definitions of clouds density could help.

~~~

Zenith sun radiated it's ravaging heat above the desert highway. Mild wind rose the volcanic particles, decreasing visibility to a mere half mile. Powdery warmth puffed over our car who had just happened to stop working. Mike straightened his cap, kneeling over the hood, cursing. I gleamed over the dancing horizon enjoying slow gentle breeze cooling down my ears. Not a single car for ten minutes. Then the wind turned to blizzard, littering the front seats and dashboard with fine gray dust. I wished I had not been a canine - sweating would be so much easier in this circumstances.
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2010, 09:50:40 PM »

tempest: 3.5/5. I get the feeling that this would read better in Serbian. There are a handful of wrong/strange word uses ("rose" for example is not a transitive verb; "zenith" is a position, not time of day; people don't "gleam"), illustrating the sheer inconsiderateness of the English language. You'll get there, don't worry. Right now I can sort of see the sense in your piece - it sounds somewhat like Quinn's, actually - but the translation problems are messing up the picture. Keep reading English stuffs to you get used to these definitions, then you'll be all set!

And now for something completely different. Wink

Wanted to try see if I could describe the weather "in" dialogue (it's not technically in it, see). This goes a little over the word limit, but I hope you don't mind. I'll make it up next time, promise!

----

They trudged up the loose incline, hacking steadily through the undergrowth.

Baron wiped his forehead on his sleeve. "If I have to do this all day, I want a shrubbery for my efforts."

Marky laughed, his choppy, staccato laugh. "Ni! Ni!" he added.

"F'r goodness' sake, people," Martin growled. "If you're going to joke around, least make it good."

Julia stared at them. "I don't get it."

"It's Monty Python. You don't know?"

"No?"

"Thought not. Don't get their shows around here."

"Shut up, will you?" Nestor glared at them. "I'm trying to listen."

"Ni! Ni!" said Marky.

"How much longer do we have to go?" Baron unscrewed his canteen and sipped. "Need to take off these boots."

"I could tell you if your friend here weren't so noisy. River shouldn't be far off; it's probably a creek by the sound of it."

"I don't hear anything," Julia said.

"That's because you don't listen."

"I can't hear it either," Martin agreed. "What's it supposed to sound like?"

"Water, duh." Marky tilted an ear forward. "Is that... children?"

"Yes," panted Nestor, "and they're close!"

"Hoo-ee!" Baron hacked faster. "Civilization!"

"I don't get it."

Marky smirked. "Sweetie...."

They were all smiles when they reached the end of the path.

"We're here!" Nestor raised his bolo high overhead. "Just one last cut...."

They stepped through.

A dry riverbed and scattered boulders greeted them.

"But--" Nestor walked to one of the rocks and stared blankly. "I don't get it."

"It was the heat." Martin set his bag down beside Nestor, placed a hand on his shoulder. "Don't kill yourself over it. C'mon, let's get the tents up."

But Nestor was much too tired to assist. And when Marky went over to tell him dinner was finally ready, he found him slumped gently against the rock, the blood dried out from his nose.
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2010, 08:38:55 AM »

*scratches out the ending and replaces it with a flash flood, the deaths of all involved, and Roland Emmerich as God*

*shudders violently*
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