The man with two minds


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Post May 17, 2005, 10:07:52 AM

The man with two minds

A nice pyschological twist, a fresh angle ( at least for me) on a sci fi premise I've seen before. Donald created a convincing reality in this one, and by that I mean I stopped reading with a critical eye at some point and just let the story carry me on, but from a craft standpoint, he only lost me once and only momentarily.<br>There were a few points in TMWTMs when exposition shattered the make believe world created, but I don't write science fiction and would imagine exposition is extremely difficult albiet necessary to the genre. <br> In other genres you can create worlds with no real need to explain yourself as a writer, but science fiction readers demand all the loose ends be tied up, I think.<br> Still, I really enjoyed the story and would love to be corrected if my premise about sci fi is wrong.<br> Rob <br>

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Post May 18, 2005, 08:39:47 PM

Re: The man with two minds

Thanks, Rob, and glad you enjoyed TMWTMs.  That ol' bugger-bear, exposition!!  It can jump up and bite the best.  It's really difficult for writers to know whether they're pouring it on too thick or too thin.  I once read an article on writing by a big name writer--can't remember his name--who said that exposition to a story is like water to a plant.  Too much and you drown the roots, too little and the plant withers.  Ya gotta know the right amount, and there's no set formula for that--it's just kind of intuitive, I guess.  I think the more experience I get, the better my feel for it--and feedback helps a lot!!<br><br>I don't think any writer, especially scifi , wants to shatter suspension of disbelief in his/her readers.  When I write a story, I go for roping the reader in and hoping to hold him glued to the story, keeping his suspension of disbelief and sense of wonder intact throughout the tale.  I also try to tie up those loose ends, too--and that can get a bit knotty. (ouch!)    :-(<br><br>I also write mystery/suspense, humor, and mainstream, (some of which can be found at my website,  http://www.webspawner.com/users/dsullivan.  End of plug.)  Yes, I think you're right about scifi being a tad harder to control exposition (or info dumping) than in other genres.  A mystery writer, for example, writes about places, events, and people that we're mostly familiar with.  It's possible for the ol' bugger-bear to pop up in any genre, though!<br><br>You'll probably hear more ideas on the subject!!<br><br>Donald<br><br><br><br><br>
Last edited by dsullivan on May 23, 2005, 12:46:34 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post May 23, 2005, 10:51:54 AM

The man with two minds

<br>Hey Don,<br><br>enjoyable read and an interesting spin on invasion tales. liked the subtle way you divulged the aliens' appearance, it wasn't too vivid and allowed for reader discretion.<br>everything about hyamul and jake stewart was quite believable til close to the end. i just thought the ovanhi fell for his tricks all too easily. in truth, it would have been better to have em invade, then write a whole bevy of sequels about Jake and Tina leading the resistance up in montana, superimposed over a gory depiction of earth under the yoke of ET oppressors. now that's storytelling!<br><br>but good one overall, thanks for writing it!<br><br>Lee
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Post May 23, 2005, 09:21:05 PM

Re: The man with two minds

Hmm... Another one wherein a human gifted with knowledge beyond the rest of us stops an invasion from outer space by trickery.<br><br>Was this another of your recycled works, like the Zenin & Ryls, or brand new?<br><br><br>Overall, I'm afraid to say that I thought this one wasn't as good as it could have been. Mostly, I thought it lacked emotional tie-ins for the readers and suffered from over-narration. <br><br><br>Initially, I thought the idea of experiencing our world from the eyes of an alien was a tremendous idea. What would a six-foot insect think about our factories, or a lunch counter, or wet, sloppy kisses with your sweetheart? How would our values rate on an outsiders scale? Would an hour in front of an infomercial or soap opera be grounds for immediate invasion? If he saw everything as ugly, he had to notice details--but what were they? He never said much about anything he experienced. What about humans was so ugly to him? Our pink skin? Length of our noses? Our smelly feet?<br><br>The "hero" or the tale was essentially the villain when it started. Rule #1 about characterization is to make your main character an engaging figure. Hyamul is neither engaging nor likely to create sympathy in the reader. After all, he's out to study humans so we can be invaded. Since the vast majority of the audience for the story is human (I hope), they would logically dislike the character. I know I did. <br><br>Still, starting with a villain is ok, if you can be drawn to him, either by wit or some other traits. Hyamul hides, is anti-social, and doesn't really do much. As such, the story distanced itself from any emotional attachment I could have had for it. Hyamul's loss of his own body could have been a great draw--he can't go home again--but he neither dwells on it for long or does anything to try to rectify the situation.<br><br>And then he just changes into a human. It only takes 9 sentences. Imagine the struggle to maintain control of your mind, the horror of losing yourself to that which you revile! But instead, Hyamul just becomes Jake like a light dimming. <br><br>Jake, now, garners some sympathy. He's got an alien in his head, knows the world's going to be invaded, and doesn't know how to stop it. He's going to go on the run with his amazingly rational girlfriend, and finally, I thought the story was really going to get going. They throw their gear in the car, start off, talk for a while, then drive back, and leave a threatening note.<br><br>End of invasion. <br><br>At this point, suspension of disbelief fails, at least for me, terminally. What a world it would be if it were true: A world full of clever thinkers and hopeful dreams. Alas, the purity of real life is considerably more murky and unhappy.<br><br>This technique also fails to build much tension. There is little or no rising action, and I felt no fear because no potential harm had been demonstrated. The aliens are out there, somewhere, with some kind of weapons, that could do some kind of harm to somebody... probably in the big cities first. This is too nebulous, and didn't draw me in. Plus, the only real complicating actions are that the ship is coming, and Jake took over his own body.<br><br>I found the dialogue of the aliens "a trifle remiss." Not because it was impossible that aliens could use such words, but because it sounded entirely familiar. It sound exactly like good, kind-hearted Donald Sullivan talking, and not an alien bent on the conquest of the earth.<br><br>Jake was supposed to have a Southern accent, but his psyche re-emerged, he didn't speak that way.<br><br>Others have mentioned the exposition, so I don't think I need to dwell on the amount of narration.<br><br><br>All in all, I say this was a story with promise, but one which never lived up to expectations.<br><br>Nate
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Post May 24, 2005, 12:46:09 AM

Re: The man with two minds

Aoyutch! Ya gimme both barr’ls thet tahm, raht twixt th’ ahs. Noaw thet’s how a southe’nah is s’posed talk, haint it? <br><br>Nate, You made some real good points, and I appreciate it--and they might be helpful if I ever decide to quit writing for fun and turn pro. Other points--and a few remarks--I took with a grain of salt. :-) <br><br>But I couldn’t let the remark about Jake’s southern accent pass--with or without salt! I was born and raised a southerner, and we (most of us, anyway) don’t go around talking like the Beverly Hillbillies. Remember, Jake is an electrical engineer, and probably wouldn’t sound like Jethro Bodine. <br><br>Jake did use a few southern expressions, and I’m a little surprised that you, Nate--who are usually pretty sharp--didn’t catch that.<br><br>Everything I’ve read in the how-to-write books, tells me that we shouldn’t pour accents on too thick Many advise us to merely mention that a character spoke with a Brooklyn accent, and to omit things like “I saw a boid on da way ta woik” unless it’s done for the humor of it. (Like in Gareth Lyn Powell’s very funny “Oi! Peples of Earth”) It’s permissible to use a regional expression or two according to what I’ve read.<br><br>Of course, it’s possible we’ve been studying different books. And there’s lots of conflicting advice in those books!<br><br>BTW, I gave Tina a slight German accent, but never had her to say anything like “Ve gonna get dem schtinkin’ bugs!” <br><br>One other thing: Your protag may be likeable or despicable--as long as he/she’s not bland. If mine were bland, shame on me!<br><br>‘Bout tahm fo’ me ta git offa this heah soap box, ah reckon!<br><br>Donald <br>
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Post May 24, 2005, 08:17:24 PM

Re: The man with two minds

But I couldn’t let the remark about Jake’s southern accent pass--with or without salt! I was born and raised a southerner, and we (most of us, anyway) don’t go around talking like the Beverly Hillbillies. Remember, Jake is an electrical engineer, and probably wouldn’t sound like Jethro Bodine.

Jake did use a few southern expressions, and I’m a little surprised that you, Nate--who are usually pretty sharp--didn’t catch that.
<br><br>I don't know about "Sharp." I'm sure a few folks around here would insist otherwise. <br><br>I caught the "cotton pickin' nut." Other than that, I missed them.<br><br>I only brought it up because Tina talks about him losing his southern accent. If it was absent before, I expected there to be a more noticible change as the story progressed. It she hadn't mentioned it, I might not have noticed his speech patterns at all.<br><br>Nate
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Post May 24, 2005, 09:33:13 PM

Re: The man with two minds

in truth, it would have been better to have em invade, then write a whole bevy of sequels about Jake and Tina leading the resistance up in montana, superimposed over a gory depiction of earth under the yoke of ET oppressors.

Lee
<br><br>Thanks, Lee. Glad ya liked it. Actually, I thought about Jake and Tina going on to Montana and starting a resistance, but I opted for the turn around. In retrospect, the resistance seems like the best choice. Maybe if I rewrite it into a novel. I'll go that route.<br>Donald
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Post May 25, 2005, 12:43:24 AM

Re: The man with two minds


Thanks, Lee. Glad ya liked it. Actually, I thought about Jake and Tina going on to Montana and starting a resistance, but I opted for the turn around. In retrospect, the resistance seems like the best choice. Maybe if I rewrite it into a novel. I'll go that route.
Donald
<br><br>Yeah, but then you'd have 'V - The Series', except with bad guys that you could kill with a Supersoaker filled with diluted Windex with Ammonia D. (I've always wondered why vampire fighters never use high-tech water guns filled with holy water -- except in 'From Dusk Til Dawn' ...)<br><br>Robert M.
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Post May 25, 2005, 11:13:25 AM

Re: The man with two minds


(I've always wondered why vampire fighters never use high-tech water guns filled with holy water -- except in 'From Dusk Til Dawn' ...)

Robert M.
<br><br>There was a Buffy novel that featured setting off a building's fire sprinklers on a vampire nest, and then a priest blessing the city water into holy water. Real nice visuals of vampires bursting into flame as the blessing was completed.<br>I go more for Fred Saberhagen's Dracula, PN Elrod's Jack Fleming, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's St. Germain as my favorite literary vampires. Stoker and the Buffy/Angelverse and the rest vie for 4th place on down.<br>Dan<br><br>
Last edited by Vila on May 25, 2005, 11:19:26 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post May 30, 2005, 12:36:01 PM

The man with two minds

<br>what's wrong with bringing V back only setting it down outside Missoula? Can be a good thing, if ya ask me.<br>is the story a precursor for some bigger project btw?<br><br>ve vill get zem schtinkin bugs...heh heh. that's how my dad talks when he gets real pissed off.<br><br>Lee
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Post May 30, 2005, 12:50:05 PM

Re: The man with two minds

what's wrong with bringing V back only setting it down outside Missoula? Can be a good thing, if ya ask me.
is the story a precursor for some bigger project btw?

ve vill get zem schtinkin bugs...heh heh. that's how my dad talks when he gets real pissed off.

Lee
<br>And I suppose if he's fixing a broken wind-up clock (that only goes 'tick ... grindwhimper ... tick ... grindwhimper ... tick ...'), he says, "Ve haff vays of making you tock!"<br><br>Robert M.<br><br>(Hmm. I think this topic is starting to mutate. Time for 40 days and 40 nights of, er, Lost in Space reruns to sterilize the site so we can start over. (Rain has been done. Ditto all them Egyptian plagues.))
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Post May 30, 2005, 08:21:42 PM

Re: The man with two minds


Yeah, but then you'd have 'V - The Series'...
<br><br>Vot means dis "V- The Series" shtuff? 'Fraid I don't get it...<br><br>Donald
Last edited by dsullivan on May 30, 2005, 08:23:10 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post May 30, 2005, 11:04:20 PM

Re: The man with two minds


Vot means dis "V- The Series" shtuff? 'Fraid I don't get it...

Donald
<br><br>Late 70's or early 80's -- miniseries starring Marc Singer, Faye Grant, et alia. Human-looking aliens arrive, apparently to offer friendship and technical assistance, but THEY'RE REALLY LIZARDS WEARING MASKS who are there to steal Earth's water and maybe even take people as a food source. A second miniseries (V - The Final Battle(?)) followed, and eventually a TV series (V - The Series). Try IMDB.com or just Google it ...<br><br>Robert M.
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Post May 31, 2005, 01:32:20 AM

Re: The man with two minds


Late 70's or early 80's -- miniseries starring Marc Singer, Faye Grant, et alia. Human-looking aliens arrive, apparently to offer friendship and technical assistance, but THEY'RE REALLY LIZARDS WEARING MASKS who are there to steal Earth's water and maybe even take people as a food source. A second miniseries (V - The Final Battle(?)) followed, and eventually a TV series (V - The Series). Try IMDB.com or just Google it ...

Robert M.
<br><br>Sounds like a good one--like something I might've written! :-) Last time I saw anything like that was "The Invaders," which I really liked.<br><br>I used to watch all the shows when they had four or five channels. Now that they have a zillion channels, I mostly watch news, sports, and weather.<br><br>Thanks for the info--I'll be sure to Google it.<br><br>Donald<br>
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Post May 31, 2005, 09:39:33 AM

Re: The man with two minds

The original miniseries was just called 'V' (the aliens were dubbed 'The Visitors'). I'm pretty sure the miniseries is or was available on DVD and/or VHS -- if you're really interested you could probably get them used from Amazon.com or eBay.com.<br><br>Robert M.
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Post June 02, 2005, 01:20:36 PM

Re: The man with two minds

Nice story and I enjoyed it. That's what a story is all<br><br>about: the reader enjoying it! This story exists for itself <br><br>-----and this one stands solid!!<br>
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Post June 04, 2005, 09:31:49 PM

Re: The man with two minds

When I finished, my first thought was that Don told the wrong story. For me, the compelling story was how our protagonist "became" human. I think that would've given more oomph to the psychological aspects of the ending.<br><br>One quibble:<br><br>It's all well and good that a military regime would be interested in expansion. However, and this is my preference, I want to know what factors are driving the imperialistic urge. It strikes me as too simplistic to simply say that an alien race is fixing to conquer Earth. I want to know some damn good sociopolitical reasons why anybody would undertake the expense of invasion and subjugation. To me, it's those reasons that can really drive this kind of story. <br><br>I know Don is toying with writing a novel, I think this idea here could serve as the core of a pretty interesting sci-fi tale.<br><br>Dan

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Post June 05, 2005, 12:21:31 AM

Re: The man with two minds

That's what a story is all
about: the reader enjoying it!
<br><br>Absolutely! All the accepted criteria for writing a story (character build-up, sensory input, imagery, etc) are very important, but the one thing that overides everything else is...entertainment. If a writer breaks all the rules when writing a story, it doesn't mean a thing if his/her story is entertaining.<br><br>"The average reader -- this cannot be overemphasized if you wish to make a living at writing fiction -- reads to be entertained." Marion Zimmer Bradley
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Post June 05, 2005, 12:43:29 AM

Re: The man with two minds

... I want to know what factors are driving the imperialistic urge. It strikes me as too simplistic to simply say that an alien race is fixing to conquer Earth. I want to know some damn good sociopolitical reasons why anybody would undertake the expense of invasion and subjugation.
Dan
<br><br>The leader of the Ovahni wants to bring Democracy to every planet in the galaxy, and he has decided that they're going to get it whether they like it or not! No, wait. That's been taken by another leader, hasn't it? :-)<br><br>Seriously, that's a good point, Dan, and it's well taken. It would be a good idea, perhaps, to study reasons of expansionist powers here on Earth, such as Imperialist Japan, Nazi Germany, the British Empire, and so on. <br><br>Donald<br>
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