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Author Topic: Write Your Weather  (Read 7671 times)
Quinn Yellowfox
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« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2010, 09:25:47 PM »

*Laughs heartily* You went straight from Hermann Hesse to Samuel Beckett.

Since I'm not prepared to submit, I'll refrain from offering a rating. (And flattery won't get you anywhere)
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« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2010, 07:12:48 PM »

@Reiter: 2.8/5. Hm... Too sparse hints about the weather. I felt a hot downtown street somewhere in Phoenix, blue flashlights flashing and spoken Spanish on the streets. It's enough as a bare weather reference, but offers no descriptive depth. Or I'm too unimaginative? You can do better. I always remember that "Frequent blackouts..." short weather of yours. That one packs a novella into a short sentence, at least I felt it that way.

~~~
~~~

Full Moon is the perfect time for contemplation - at least that's what Wynn thought while he strolled through the wet grass in front of the hotel, searching for the missing chips. So different from the dry air in server rooms, the cold breeze of wild urban outside made him shudder in anticipation, waiting for a petal or a leaf to fall on him as a sign of nature's good will. His hair danced in quad eolian anarchy that made him laugh, a simple joy of being outside. Earth felt cold to four paws and the cold haze was slightly entertaining to his sweaty fur and pants and shirt and... Oh no, the tie hanging down his neck's getting wet! For a moment he rose smelling the air. City noise cast through the oak treetops lit by halogen lamps of the hotel light system was pleasant to hear, but the Moon was indeed better to listen to. Just as he inhaled a deep breath of humid air preparing for a howl, something punched his footpad. Ah, the fourty-pin plastic microprocessor centipede, there you are!
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« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2010, 06:22:45 AM »

Hmm, I might have a decent seed to grow a description from, but I'm not sure I'm ready to critique yet.  So I'll refrain for tonight, as well as from rating.

Dagnab, so much for lurking in the shadows >.<
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« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2010, 01:02:38 AM »

@tempest:  Not bad.  I liked the contrast between the "anarchy" of the natural world versus the more "ordered and controllable" of the programmer detailed in the weather.  Still, there are some muddy spots.  I took me awhile to realize the character got onto all fours, and the sentence, "City noise cast through . . . " is kinda awkward for some reason.  3.8/5 

And now I will submit to your reviews. 

----------

Hot.  Undeniably, unequivocally, oppressively hot.  Exactly why he decided to go out into it, he didn't really know.  Everything that invaded his senses reminded him of the heat.  It was early afternoon, but sunlight invaded the street, turning it the awful, dying yellow of dusk.  He could feel the sun on his fur; not the gentle warm one feels on a beach or the first pleasant day after a long winter, but a haze, a fog of heat that he walked through like mist, bleaching his fur, robbing it of color.  Cicadas chirped from the tiny yards of the houses he passed, that strange song that never sounded quite natural to him, always more like a machine.  The heat even penetrated his nostrils; the rotten smell of trash as it decayed in the gutter, the ugly, putrid, death-like smell of the blacktop on the street next to him. 

Looking up, he noticed the sky.  Remarkable, awesome blue, it was; beautiful pastel hues that faded as they reached the horizon, but never yielding to white.  The multitudes of clouds were like huge billows of cream, wonderfully soft, wet, and cool.  The sky was beautiful and alive, far away from the heat and its deathly smells and distorting colors.  Two birds flew from one corner of his vision to the next, and he admired them.  That was why the birds flew; to be beyond the awful heat and discomfort on the ground and continue into the infintie beauty that was the sky. 
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« Reply #34 on: August 19, 2010, 01:04:41 AM »

@Sneeze: Not bad either. Descriptions are precise and picturesque. Not much story to this, but for a strict "weather" piece, it's just fine. However, the long-ness of the sentences detracts from the starkness of the image, and in some places the structure forces you to tune out. This is bad. Mark Twain parodied this in his "Double-Barreled Detective Story". Here's the specific paragraph: see how easy it is to lose yourself in the meticulous description and mellifluous tone.

Quote
It was a crisp and spicy morning in early October. The lilacs and laburnums, lit with the glory-fires of autumn, hung burning and flashing in the upper air, a fairy bridge provided by kind nature for the wingless wild things that have their home in the tree-tops and would visit together; the larch and the pomegranate flung their purple and yellow flames in brilliant broad splashes along the slanting sweep of the woodland; the sensuous fragrance of innumerable deciduous flowers rose upon the swooning atmosphere; far in the empty sky a solitary esophagus slept on motionless wing; everywhere brooded stillness, serenity, and the peace of God.

In short, your passage is good, but you can still condense it into something fifty-seven times more powerful. Do that. Wink 4/5.

And now, I shall defer to your infinite collective wisdom.

(minor edit: wording. Oh, and I'd appreciate a critique v. much. Thanks! Smiley )
-----

Listen.

Those echoes in the wind. Do you hear what they say? That's the laughter of children running through potholes and grime, playing hopscotch and “kick the can” between the crawling lanes of traffic. They dash around cars, in and out of the tumble-down shanties. Tug at each other and taunt. Sometimes the mud betrays them, and they slip, and they die. They know that. They don't care. It's all a game to them.

Now that's the summer breeze sighing in the chimneys of houses that never needed them. Oh-five, they toppled down, you know. Rent by the shrieking fury of a bad-day shower that grew and grew, then drenched the city in enough water to drown a whale. City Hall evacuated the area in boats, but the corporations rebuilt the houses next summer. Sold every one, too. Not that they cared. It's all a game to them.

Do you hear them? Do you hear? Listen, dammit!

But I understand. You rarely hear the voices closest to you. Nights, when the dust blows and the unearthly chill insinuates itself in my bones, I try to remember yours. The timbre, pitch, lilt – God, how could I forget? Soon I'll join you, with these other memories. Hear your voice again. But how? When? I'm too afraid.

Sometimes I hear you call my name on the wind. Then I prick up my ears, but you've already become something else.

So I wait. Listen.

It's all just a game to me now.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 12:12:37 AM by Reiter » Logged

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« Reply #35 on: August 31, 2010, 11:44:51 PM »

*Pats violin case and puffs cigarette*

OK, Reiter. You asked for it. Now you'll get it. So you want critique, eh? Well, this is some of the best writing I've seen you do and I can't offer any advice to improve it. There. You happy?  Grin

(There really needs to be a special font for good natured ribbing and playful sarcasm. Seriously, excellent work.)

Sunlight sparkles on restless aspens as the first golden hints of autumn wave in the breeze.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 02:02:51 AM by Quinn Yellowfox » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2010, 07:12:39 AM »

Quinn, you have quite the talent for being a minimalist!  I do hope you expand on the transition between summer and fall in your neck of the woods sometime though.  There's so much to write about in that aspect, and that transition doesn't much exist around here x.x

~~~~

I step out of the warm thick air of new hopes and broken dreams that make up my job.  The chilled breeze and gentle raindrops are soothing to a tired soul and dried skin.  A plastic bag full of paper drugs and Styrofoam tears is slung on my back, bouncing lightly to the rhythm of my steps.  Rainbow colors shine from the oil and grease that riddles the parking lot from cars who's drivers are struggling just to get by from paycheck to paycheck.  I follow one clouded stream as it twists and turns along the black pavement, and for a moment my mind takes me away.  The clouded stream is a river running through dark valleys at night, and I am flying high overhead, following it to... the cemented slats that all waking dreams seem to drain into.

The gentle raindrops are getting heavier, so I quicken my steps to the fenced dumpster.  In front of it is an old tv that has been laying there longer than I've been working here.  Watching the rain settle as fat drops on it sends a soft, melancholy emotion through me.  It seems people fall out of love with electronics faster than they do with most anything else in their possession.  In this day and age, all it takes is the three months most people spend paying off a loan for the 'next big thing' to be out.  

A particularly fat drop near my eye jerks my head back, and I quickly sling the bag into the dumpster and hurry back into the store, seeking shelter from the very place I had yearned to escape from.

(O.O These were just random thoughts I had today at work while taking out the trash.  Um, wow, heh.  I'm actually kinda proud of this one.  Please be sure to critique!)
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 07:38:38 AM by The Ghost Tigress » Logged

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« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2010, 09:52:56 PM »

@Ghost Tigress: It's a well put piece, but it tells too little about the weather, comparing to the total word count. I see wet asphalt, oily parking lot, rain dribbling over everything, but after the 1st paragraph there isn't a single reference to the rain or wind or whatever. Piece is quite good, I enjoyed it as an intro to a dialogue, or a book opening, but try to concentrate more on the weather then on the consumer electronics. Cheers!

Ah, practice makes perfect. Let's crack the rusty wheels once again...

A golden sunbeam flashed through the window, making Alice roll in her bed. If there weren't her mother, she would've missed the day, that special day, she now remembers, as the day of the flippy goodness. As soon as she got dressed and ate the marmalade-topped bread slice, she was in the back-court garden. Same sunbeams broke through the endless oak branches, and the air, so damp of the dew and the early breeze, it dazed. Her morning dress weaved, as her fluffy tail, weaved towards the car gate. Mister Reynolds got out of his carriage, smiling broadly at the mild wind and sky's heavenly glitter. "Hello, young lady," the fox bowed to Alice, "how are you this morning?" "Fabulous," she replied, jumping through the gate and running down the tame country road, all shadows disappearing, doubts buried in the soft grass of Essex. The storm came with the evening.
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« Reply #38 on: November 23, 2010, 09:57:49 AM »

*chuckles* You haven't read many of the past posts, have you?

Either way, no submission tonight, so I'll refrain from rating and commenting on your own.
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Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.  ~William Wordsworth

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« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2011, 05:01:13 AM »

Time to revive this thread, if for no other reason than it's late, it's Friday, the weather outside is unspeakably nasty, and I just may have had a beer or two too many over the last few hours. Odd that the itch to scribble should seize me at a time like this...

In so far as I understand the rules of this particular game, it seems that I must supply a review in order to post.

In that case..... @ Tempest: 2/5. Your entry reads a bit strange to me, and after going over it a few times I'm still not quite sure what you were aiming at. The whole thing seems seems rushed, a bit chaotic.

And now for my addition, something inspired from an ordinary, average January day in my neck of the woods. Tough for me to keep this below 250 words as I've always been the wordy, descriptive type.

A quiet January night. Clear and wickedly cold under the pale light of a crescent moon and a sky full of fiercely bright stars. The air is still and silent as snow squeaks and squeals underfoot. An old friend trots out in front of me, frost clinging to her whiskers, her ears perked and tail curled tightly over her back as she surveys her territory. Senses far more acute than any I could dream of find nothing of worry within reach. Few things are brave enough to stir on a night such as this. The cold conquers all, working its way through layers of clothing and fur to brush icy fingers against vulnerable skin.

The dog bounces out before me, jumping and twisting in the frigid air to turn and face me in a crouch that can only mean that it's time to play. After a moment of motionless silence I jump towards her, taking two quick steps before freezing in place. In gloved hands I grab a handful of snow and toss it up in the air. The dog leaps to snap at the drifting snowflakes as they glitter in the moonlight. The cold burns nose and lungs as I spring away, the dog chasing at my heels. Stopping suddenly, I make a grab for her tail as she sprints past me. My fingers just brush the tips of the the long hairs there before she sprints away from me, trying to get me to join her in a game of tag...
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 05:09:23 AM by JonaWolf » Logged
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« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2011, 11:20:51 PM »

Hey Jon,

Thanks for resurrecting this thread. I forgot how much fun it is.

4.5/5 You do an excellent job of creating the scene and weather. The only constructive criticism I can give is that you seem to echo a bit ('her' is used four times in one sentence and 'the dog' is used 3 times in the second paragraph.) It's not bad, but it could be a little tighter. Still, you write excellent prose. I can feel your dog's playfulness.   

OK, my post:

Swirling white stings my skin as I pause to rub my thighs. Pine trees whimper under their heavy overcoats, occasionally shedding their cloaks in muffled thuds. A lone bull elk struts across the valley below, safely hidden from the village and it's cacophony.

The scent of smoke teases me homeward. I smile, then lean forward and accelerate into the wind. The clouds part and sparkling waves of powder rush over me as I race past overburdened pines and barren aspens. Push right. Push left. Wisshhh...Wisshhh...
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« Reply #41 on: January 15, 2011, 04:01:48 AM »

Hey, guys, cool thread!

@quinn: I'm not good at giving ratings, so please don't hurt mee D= 4/5.
You used a lot of cool metaphors, and I likes me some metaphors =)
I felt that cacophony was a bit big of a word to use. Also, I think you missed a word between 'white' and 'stings'... snow, maybe? Idk.

Okay, here's my little quickie contribution:
It got really warm in my neck of the woods today, totally spring weather, but then it just went to being gross.

 
I shiver, pulling my wind-breaker tighter around me; dressed right, for the wrong weather. It isn't my fault, though. The day certainly didn't start out like this; it was warm and sunny just a few hours ago... Then the clouds rolled in. Why did Mother Nature decide to PMS on my one day off from work?
The wind picks up, as if the old witch had heard me, brushing several raindrops into my eyes. A few more follow; I try to count them, but realize that I have better things to do, and concentrate on staying dry instead. My wind-breaker doesn't have a hood, and pulling it up only serves to expose my midriff. The rain lashes sideways, like it's trying to deck me in the gut, soaking my fashionable plaid shirt; it sags under the weight of the water, clinging tightly to my fur.
The little voice in my head must have frozen to death, because it still hasn't told me to run for shelter. It's too late for that, anyway; my fur and clothes have sponged up all the water they could hold.
I'm so busy shivering and feeling sorry for myself, that I stop paying attention to where I'm going. One of my feet shoots straight through a half-frozen puddle, submerging all the way to the knee. I stagger, and windmill my arms, trying to regain balance. Somehow, I manage to stay upright, pull my foot out, and keep walking; shaking it off would only be useful if the rest of me was any drier.

My little autumn leaf is standing on the street-corner, shivering. He's wearing an outfit more ill-chosen than mine and looks so miserable, that I almost want to cry.

"W-w-what took you?" He asks, steadying his trembling wrist with the other paw to get a better look at his watch.

"Sorry, hon, I got held up." I give him a quick lick on the nose. "I texted you."

He reaches into his coat pocket, and pulls out the remains of his cell-phone. "F-f-f-phone's broken. That's why I w-w-waited for you outside."

"Come on, let's go get warm." I take his paw in mine, feeling that wonderful sort of warmth that even this frigid rain can't take away.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 05:14:03 AM by Alflor » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: January 15, 2011, 05:12:04 PM »

P.S.
I was going to use the "B-word" instead of 'witch'... but I wasn't sure how PG we're trying to keep things, so decided not to.
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« Reply #43 on: January 16, 2011, 06:26:15 PM »

Hey Alflor,

Those are some long 250 words you got there. Wink Don't worry, not going to bite your head off. If you didn't see it, the challenge here is to write a convincing or evocative story *using the weather* in 250 words or less. I use www.wordcounttool.com to check word length; MSWord and OpenOffice consistently give conflicting values so decided to standardize using a third party instead. (Hassle-proof and free.)

Hope you don't mind if I lengthen this a bit. Need to warm up my reviewing skills again.

I like your ending, particularly the imagery of his "little autumn leaf". There's an affection there that doesn't sound contrived or juvenile, and I get a good glimpse of the MC's partner's character in the short time he's on stage (though on second thought, that may be due mostly to the wind-induced stutter). A few niggling details:

- "W-w-what took you?" He asks, steadying his trembling wrist with the other paw to get a better look at his watch.
I'm not convinced by this sentence. The normal course of action would seem to be to look at his watch *before* talking to the MC. Otherwise he'd be talking to his arm, and neither of them'd have a proper conversation. Also not sure how often people glance at their watches in friendly conversation (I know they do it in polite conversation a lot), but I'm guessing it's not that much.
- Considering how ill-dressed MC's partner is for the occasion, why doesn't he stay inside a building and watch the street from there? Seems like a much more logical option for someone who's chattering so severely from the cold.

The main bulk of the piece could be much tighter, I think. Some phrases/passages can be deduced from context, and the story might read better if you cut them. For example:

- The wind picks up, as if the old witch had heard me, brushing several raindrops into my eyes. A few more follow; I try to count them, but realize that I have better things to do, and concentrate on staying dry instead.
I think this would work equally well without "A few more follow" and "but realize I have better things to do" . Rain is rain; unless this is an isolated 5-second shower, the loss of a few raindrops won't break the whole story. The realization's already implied, too, so you can go straight from counting to staying dry. Same goes for the "I'm so busy shivering" sentence at the end of the paragraph.
- BTW, since you asked - the forum's PG-13, so the truly hardcore curse-words (use your imagination) are discouraged. *However*: literature is supposed to imitate reality to some degree, to a reasonable extent. So the answer is, if (and only if!) your character absolutely, positively, most definitely needs to use that curse-word, let him. Don't let him break character because you're worried about the prudishness of your readers. You can affix a warning to your piece, or use asterisks like this s**t here (that's "spot", you...), but don't feel you have to sugar-coat nastiness, unless you plan to eat Hansel and Gretel. That was some nasty stuff going on there. If you're just cursing for the sake of cursing, though, eh eh ehhhh. Not gonna work bud.

Personally, I found your usage of semicolons to be a bit much (6 in 350 words!). I think they're more effective when used sparingly, like pepper and adverbs and spice, but that's just me.

Lastly, maybe you could try varying your sentences some more? I'm not sure how to put it - all I can say is that the first half sounded monotonous after a while.

3.5/5 in my humblest of humble opinions (IMHOHO). Looking forrard to yer next one!

=======

Uh, okay.... I fess that I haven't done any actual writing since... er, October... so it's entirely possible that what I've just written is utter tripe. But then again, it may not. Fire away!

***

"Springtime in January." Rain danced in the courtyard, tikka-tikka-tikka-tikka-tik. Jig turned his mug until the faded logo vanished on the other side. "Never thought it'd come to this."

"Weird, right?" Sniffing the pot on the stove, Morgan turned down the heat and crossed over to the fridge. "Almost makes me want to believe in that global warming bul-- business. No offence."

"None taken."

"Just saying. Last week, you'd never've guessed it would be raining. Now, it looks like it's here to stay. Beer?"

"No thanks. You never know, though. Lots can happen in a week."

"But you wouldn't have called this 'springtime' if you didn't agree." Bottles clinked. "Sure you don't want a beer?"

"I'm fine." Jig propped his elbow on the table, set his cheek on his fist.

Last week, he and Jules had gone to the park together. Virginal white everywhere, ankle-deep. Jules'd photographed the kids sledding on the hill; he'd insisted on shooting a pissed-on snowman. They'd tugged and laughed over the camera. She'd tumbled, shrieking, into the snowman; he, down the hill.

The next day, the rain washed it all away.

Dammit, now he remembered - he'd left his umbrella in Jules's car. Now he'd have to call her to get it back.

"Jig? Yoohoo!"

He blinked. "Yeamm?"

"Y'all right, man? You looked all spaced-out and shit." Morgan lowered his arm. "Thinking about global warming again?"

Jig stared at him. "No."

He leaned back, sighed, rested his gaze on the window. "No, I'm not."
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 06:28:32 PM by Reiter » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: January 17, 2011, 12:58:10 AM »

Wow, long critique is long!
Well, I agree with everything except for the first two points-- only because I've personally done both. I was waiting for my friend outside the mall, because I knew he'd get lost if he went looking for me indoors.
Now, since the character here has been waiting for so long, his first reaction is to greet his boyfriend, and only then to see what time it is. Once again, those are just personal things, only right from the right perspective.
The raindrop thing, I understand. I was trying to show how it started with just one and rapidly increased to a full-scale monsoon, but I guess it didn't work.
As far as sentence variation goes...Idk. I was trying to show just how bored and annoyed the character was by the way he narrated... Once again, I guess it didn't work.
And, lastly, the semicolons... I like semicolons. You're right, however, not everyone does.

Okay, now your piece:

"Springtime in January." Rain danced in the courtyard, tikka-tikka-tikka-tikka-tik. 
This was an interesting idea, but it makes me think that some guy named Rain was dancing in the courtyard, because, the way you structured it, it makes him sound like the speaker, since you only mention Jig in the next sentence.

The word 'crossed' sounds awkward. Either 'crossed the kitchen' or 'walked'.

Jules'd photographed the kids sledding on the hill; he'd insisted on shooting a pissed-on snowman. They'd tugged and laughed over the camera. She'd tumbled, shrieking, into the snowman; he, down the hill.
This part sounds fragmented. It just seems to impede the flow of things.


Dammit, now he remembered -
This seems a tad personal, compared to the rest of the narration.

That's about it. I'd say 3-3.5
Again, this is all opinion. That, and I'm very new to this critiquing business.

Okay, here's another attempt at this:

After finding a brand-new pair of skis under the Christmas tree, Ray's only wish was that it'd snow properly, so he could try them out. Now, standing knee-deep in the white stuff, shovel in both paws, he was taking it all back. It had snowed for three days without stopping. Schools were closed, trains were canceled. Ray had to take three vacation days because his boss was Norwegian, and didn't believe that snow was reason enough to give his employees the day off.
Ray dug the shovel in deep, but when he tried to lift it, the plastic blade bent and sprung back, showering him with snow. He shook the snow off his muzzle, made a mental note to yell at Dennis for buying crap just because it's cheap, and continued shoveling.
Midway though the third shovelful, his lungs were already burning from the sub-zero air. Ray hated his long muzzle, and the inability to properly wrap it with a scarf only made him hate it more.

“Hey Ray, don't waste your time, hon.” Dennis stood in the doorway, dressed in a plush bathrobe, and holding a mug of hot chocolate.

Ray rolled his eyes. “Well, some of us have to get to work. Hon.”

“Well, the forecast says we'll get another two feet of snow soon.” Dennis took a sip from his mug. “Come see for yourself, if you want.”

“I don't have to.” Ray watched a snowflake land on his nose, followed by several of its brethren. “God damn it!”
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"The only people who write bad fiction are writers."
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"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use." -Soren Kierkgard

alflor.com <-- You should go there. You should go there now.
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