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The City
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:46 pm    Post subject: The City Reply with quote

I can't seem to get my procrastination habits under control. As a result, I continually find myself writing a few opening paragraphs then stopping and not doing any more. While I'm working on improving this (going to go back over one or two of them during the next couple of days), it still remains a problem.
On the other hand, I get a lot of story ideas working in my head through this process. Recently, a number of these opening fragments have shared the same setting - a city I came up with back in December. These are extremely short pieces, but they're all serving to build up this image in my head of the setting, that I hope to expand on in the future. I thought I'd collect them here, adding more as I go.

I think I'm becoming enamored with the city, even thinking of adapting some of my older bits into this setting.

------------------------------------

Quote:
Wrote this recently as the opening to a new story. Not my usual. I'm stopping here for now - I've given in, and I'm actually going to try to write an outline for this one before going any further. Anyway, I wanted opinions on how well this works as an introduction to the city of Del-fi.

-----------------------------------------

Clarus folded up the newspaper and placed it into an inside pocket of his long coat. Stepping away from the newsstand, he slipped back among the inner-city crowds of F. Citizens of Del-fi (as they called it) pressed in around him, rushing back and forth between jobs and home; home and school; school and work; place to place and action to action, each playing their tiny part, gears in the greater workings of the metropolis. The air was filled with a constant hum of voices, vehicles, machinery, and the fliers passing in all directions overhead. Clarus lost himself in the throng, and let the ebb and flow of the crowd carry him off down the Edelstrasse and out from Astor Fel. The avenue was lined with businesses and department stores in their multi-story structures of steel and glass; in between them, in the alleyway openings and empty yards stood the vendors with their carts, hawking papers, magazines, confectionary, hotdogs, and second-hand doc-sheets. The sky was coloured violet with the early hours of dusk, but the city does not rest: as one man lays down his head, another rises and heads out into the world, ready to take his part in the perpetual city. Every street is a constant press of flesh.
The people of Del-fi come in all kinds tall and short; light- and dark-skinned; fat and thin and round and straight and hideous and beautiful. They passed Clarus in their hundreds, in as many styles of dress. A smooth-skinned, dark-haired beauty, in a miniskirt and tiny top; a wart-nosed businessman swathed in the folds of a blood-red cloak; a young girl in a strangely cut dress, too-large eyes of a stunning sea green, chewing gum loudly; a woman, pale, in a crumpled suit and carrying a battered old briefcase; a stranger, tall, his long white coat hanging to his ankles, thin white hair hanging down to his shoulders - grey eyes watching the crowd, he moved through them, with them, down the Edelstrasse toward Astor Central.
He passed beneath an immense ivory arch, and was in the centre. From the avenues branched out to all the districts of Astor, from the peripheral streets of Mon to the hubward sprawl of Lay. The Astor Radius cut across the Central like a knife drawn across the district, pushing the houses aside to form the wide boulevard the ran from one end of Astor to the other and then further, into the heart of Del-fi.


Quote:
It was a dark and stormy night in the sky above Del-fi. Wind swayed the tops of the tall towers of steel and glass, rain lashed the windows of the luxury offices, home to the rulers of this vast and ancient metropolis. It was a stormy night, but the streets of Del-fi are never dark. Far below those wind-swept heights, beneath the sheer facades of the corporate towers, the streets thronged. The night-shift vendors huddled behind their carts, pulled up their plastic canopies, and called out their wares through the glare of artificial light flooding the air around them.
Del-fi shone. The rain catching the sharp glow of the streetlamps, filled the air with a thousand thousand dancing sparks that flickered in and out of vision - flashing, shining, falling; and gone in a milisecond. A million souls went about their nightly business as the air above them danced. The wind, shattered, scattered, and broken against the towers of the ethereal city never reached the crowd below. The city pays no attention to weather; to the seasons of the year; to the rising and setting of the sun. The city has grown beyond nature. The city has beaten it.
Fuck the fucking city, Simon thinks - this is beautiful.


Quote:
I was dying in a corner of the old junktown when the machines found me. They took me in; patched me up; better than new. Hurt like hell - the bastards don't understand the human body so well. They don't get the whole 'pain' deal. So they cut me up, fix what's broken, and stitch me back together again. I wake up with a blinding headache and smooth skin where the scars should be. Not that I'm grateful for it. Likely I was better off dead than alive, with Enforcement after my skin.
Didn't even do that much - bit of trafficking for the big man, mostly. It got complicated, though. Should've seen it coming. Big man goes down, suddenly everyone's after his people, even part-timers like me. Couple of lackeys track me down, there's some nasty business with a gun, and suddenly I'm all over the newsfeeds, face on every docsheet. Guess the cleaners didn't get round soon enough. Forensics all over the place, lifting every hair, every skin flake, and there I was, bleeding my guts out in some scrapheap on the perimeter. Fucking robots should've let me die.
Instead, here I am, all better. Better is the word for it all right. Where they couldn't stitch flesh back together, they replaced it. I'm still not sure how much they 'fixed', they patch you up too well for that - not a bruise or scar to show work's been done. Head's been killing me ever since, though. Sometimes gets a little hard to take, but the worst parts pass soon enough. Just wish they didn't always come back. The machines told me it would stop in a day or two, but I think they just wanted me to shut up.
They creep me out. Humanoid and yet oh so alien. The ones that speak, that is. The other ones, the ones that lurk in the junkyards, the ones who speak in a stream of noughts and ones on the airwaves - those ones are far from human. And yet, and yet I had never heard of them before. No clues, no rumours. Not even a conspiracy theory - and in this city, with a nutcase shouting on every street corner, that could only mean that someone didn't want us to know.


----------------------------

Background on the last two:
The second I wrote today, after seeing a 'challenge' on another forum I lurk at asking people to write something beginning with the words "It was a dark and stormy night..." As you can see, I didn't manage to finish. I think I must prefer working in fits and starts, smatterings of writing that accrete slowly over time.
The last one I wrote the day before yesterday, and I didn't even wrap it up, left that last paragraph dangling. Working on it, though.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like them. Haven't you posted that intro before? And apart from the opening line, I like the second one as well.

The last two lines of it before the final thought are great. In fact, everything from "Far below..." to "beaten it" is good. Nicely descriptive, captivating enough to make me read on.

And I really like the last one. Great opening paragraph for something. Maybe even a short story set in the city. Excellent. Some of your best in fact I think Murrin.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I posted the first one back in december. Deleted the old post when I posted this though - noone had responded, and I wanted to collect this stuff together.

Quote:
Excellent. Some of your best in fact I think Murrin.

Thanks. I think I'm getting better, I just wish I could get myself to keep writing beyond the opening, beyond just setting the scene.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murrin, this is great. Loved it. Alot. The imagery is fantastic and it is well written. There are so many that are good.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL One of the reasons I gave up writing prose really. Don't have the motivation/patience to keep it going. I've got about five (bad) first chapters of different stories lying around. Never ever get past that point. I stick to poetry...it's quick. Wink

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't do poetry. I either rhyme badly, or try too hard forcing myself not to.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never bothered worrying about rhyming. If you do worry about it, it usually looks contrived. Think I've only ever turned out 2 that actually ryhmed consistently, and they were both total accidents.

The thought that poetry has to rhyme is a sad fiction that's probably spoiled the "genre" for many aspiring poets.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I meant was, if I try to just write without worrying, I rhyme, and badly. If I try not to rhyme, it ends up forced.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
The thought that poetry has to rhyme is a sad fiction that's probably spoiled the "genre" for many aspiring poets.

--A


The great Wilfred Owen got around that corner by using pararhyme.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aah, the unintentional rhyme. I'm afraid I can't suggest anything that sounds even vaguely helpful. Very Happy I suppose we all have different problems with our writing, incomprehensible to those who don't share them.

I wouldn't worry about it if I were you though. Your prose is looking good enough that you won't have to fall back on poetry. Wink

I like that last segment better every time I read it. Now if you could just do something about the impetus... Wink

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My problem, really, is that I can't come up with stories. I come up with a setting, a single event, a line of prose. If I could come up with an actual story to tell, I might manage to write it.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loremaster wrote:

The great Wilfred Owen got around that corner by using pararhyme.


That's the thing though LoreMaster...I don't see it as an issue at all.

Although I like his work, that of it that I recall anyway, you'll have to provide an example to demonstrate.

What it sounds like to me is "something that sounds like it rhymes, but doesn't. A fake rhme if you will. Wink Even that is unnecessary in my opinion. It makes it too much like work, looking for a word that fits.

The way I look at it, the descriptive that you think of is what fits. *shrug*

As long as you have flow, you're fine IMO.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha, talk about crossed lines. LM is probably replying to my other post right now. Very Happy

Murrin wrote:
My problem, really, is that I can't come up with stories. I come up with a setting, a single event, a line of prose. If I could come up with an actual story to tell, I might manage to write it.


Damn, you see, my instinctive advice is to tell you to turn to poetry. A single setting or event is exactly what poetry is made for. You don't have to develop plots or characters, or fit them into some sort of coherence. It's all about describing that one moment, that one feeling, that one view. And then it's done with.

As I said to LM, rhyme is nothing. It's all about flow.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strange Meeting

It seemed that out of battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which titanic wars had groined.
-Wilfred Owen
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loremaster wrote:
Murrin, this is great. Loved it. Alot. The imagery is fantastic and it is well written. Some of the lines were great, but there are so many that are good.

(just realised I haven't acknowledged your posts once in this thread)
Thanks. As I always say, I'm very easily influenced in terms of style, and I've been reading a lot of good writing recently.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the example LM. As I thought, the illusion of rhyme, which essentially achieves the same thing really.

I can see how it works well, but for me, it would be too limiting I think. Thinking about it, what I go for is perhaps a type of "chant." It has rythym, flow, but no rhymes.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've made a minor addition to the last piece. Slightly more satisfying than the sudden cut-off where I'd originally left off, and food for though for where I want to go with the piece.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I stumbled across an interesting website tonight, which is based around the experimental writing techniques of people like William S Burroughs. One of the little programs on the site takes a piece of text, cuts it into two columns, then switches them - with interesting results. A lot of it is nonsense, but when I put some of this stuff into it... Well, with a little tidying it came up with something quite remarkable.

Quote:
In the sky above Del-fi, wind swayed the tops of the tall luxury offices, home to the rulers of this vast metropolis. It was a stormy night, but the streets of Del-fi are never dark. Far below those sheer facades of the corporate wind-swept heights, beneath the towers the streets thronged. The night-shift vendors put up their plastic canopies, huddled behind their carts, looked through the glare of artificial light and called out their wares. Del-fi shone. The rain caught flooding the air around the streetlamps filled the air with the sharp glow of sparks that flickered in a thousand thousand [shapes?] dancing, falling; and gone in a moment of vision - flashing, shining about their nightly business. A million souls went as the wind, shattered, scattered; [the] air above them danced. The ethereal city never broken against the towers pays no attention to weather to the rising and setting of the seasons of the year nature. The city has beaten the sun. The city has grown beyond. Simon thinks - This is beautiful. Fuck the fucking city.


The website is www.languageisavirus.com
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have time right now to post a proper assessment, but I'm impressed with the things you've posted here. You've always written well, but you seem to have improved markedly.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice little addition to the end of that last piece in the first post. Just creates even more questions...very good set-up for the story to follow.

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