Wednesday, July 26, 2006

JED's Festival

Link to the Original Story: Festival - JED

This is one of my favorite attempts at SF. Okay, so I've only done like two, and I actually like the other one a little more, but still. I generally think the role of SF is to spin something so that you see it from a different angle. It isn't the heroic saga of fantasy, or the insightful artistry of SpecFic. It's just to make you go 'huh' about some element of the human condition. I hope that I accomplish that a little bit with this story. Of course, the main thing is that I hope the readers actually get that these guys are human. That's always a tricky thing when you're writing flash fic – how much to give away. Too much and it ends up reading like a plot outline, no fun there. Too little and everyone misses the subtle beauty of your genius. Er. Yeah. Anyway, these guys are human, and not only that they represent humans who have somehow adopted an alternating life history stage cycle. So there's a dark generation and a light generation, and never the twain will overlap substantially.

I'm not really certain what inspired me to write this for this pitch. I guess I was thinking about how most festivals originally had to do with astronomical cues and the changing of the seasons. How they were celebrations of renewed life and celebrations of lives already lived. I like that aspect here – that the dying embrace their death with a little bit of nostalgia for what is over, but a lot of hope for what is to come. Maybe some day I'll go back and expand on this one, give it a little more depth (maybe a lot more depth) and really flesh out these themes. In the mean time I will give you a little teaser (you deserve that if you actually read these things)…in a future story you'll get to see how JP handles the world I created here, and I pretty damn sure you'll like what he has to say

One of our themes here at the game is that we present to you writing at its rawest; this is what we come up with in a week’s time. If we get to edit it and polish it in that week, great, if not, too bad, it goes up as-is (minus copy-editing). Often, that’s a shame, and I think this piece is a good example of why. I love this world. The more I think about it, the more I love it. I love the duality, I love the characters, I love the story, I love everything about it. But man, will you look at that use of passive voice! I think one good edit would take this over that fine, fine line between cool and awesome, and who knows, maybe we’ll get that someday. Maybe even more.

The other thing about this piece is that I totally didn’t understand what was happening the first time through. Then I read JED’s notes (yes, we actually make notes… if you’re good, we might show them to you sometime) and suddenly everything made sense. So if you didn’t get that we have here a race that lives on a planet with an enormously long day/night cycle, and that the race has a different and morphologically distinct generation for each part of that cycle, go back and read it again. Because it’s a really cool scifi world… maybe if we all ask nicely, JED will bring us more.

JP's Festival

Link to Original Story: Festival - JP

This is a great example of how the Game leads up to write interesting things we might never right otherwise. Sure, this story doesn’t stand up to the slightest bit of scrutiny, but it’s a fun piece to write, and hopefully a fun one to read quickly. Nothing novel about it, but I enjoyed taking on this style. I took inspiration from Borges’s “Death and the Compass,” a serious story that is actually chock full of weird meaning, in stark contrast to my own. The name Dread Scharlack is a nod to Borges’s villain, Red Scharlock.

I can't be certain, since I haven't read his comments yet, but I seem to remember that JP didn't like this story. Which, to be honest, I can understand. It's a little slow, and fairly blatant, with a theme that isn't the most original. But saying it isn't his best is still saying that it isn't HIS BEST. So it's still several notches above good. I enjoy the unusual, almost Holmsian setting, together with the interesting twist of complicity between hero and villain. Yes, it's been done, pointed out that the two need each other and that heroes need villains to keep on being heroes, publicity junkies that they are. But it's a nice spin on that, with a well played accent. Certainly, it's far from his best, but I still think it's a tasty little treat.