A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliot


Tell us what you think about the August Issue

Moderator: Editors

User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post August 10, 2004, 09:49:16 PM

A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliot

I don't like to critique a story without trying to be fair, unless Robert M. wrote it. (;) Just kidding, Robert.)<br><br>To that end, I always try to find something positive and hopefully constructive about the writing to bring up before I mention any critical points. That way, a hopefull author has some hope to cling to while drowning their disappointment in copius amounts of beer.<br><br>I'm afraid I'm having trouble coming up with some good positives about this story. Perhaps other Aphelionites can come to the rescue.<br><br>The characters had the potential to be interesting, but they were never described in sufficient detail that I could get a sense of them. In fact, when it was revealed that Awstene had only one breast, the way it was written I thought there might be a second woman, instead of just Awstene. I know by the nature of the story they were not meant to be well-defined until Jeremy began writing, but that didn't give the reader much to go by. At the least, they could have had exaggerated traits besides archaic language, like accents, so I could tell who was speaking (especially since the speaker usually wasn't identified).<br><br>Dialog was hard to follow, particularly because of the missing character identifiers.<br><br>Setting was not well defined. They hid in a thicket for the night, was it?  And then they wandered into a petting zoo that had a cabin in it? Is that right? Were the furs already in the room, or did his delusions bring them forth? Stone Mountain reads as cold. The day was cold. Everything was cold. But WHY did everything have to be cold?<br><br>As far as plot, well, I guess the story had one. Jeremy eventually catches the groove and realizes he has to start writing. But frankly, from what we learned of his character, why should the audience want him to write? What of this character was endearing, apart from the fact that he was kidnapped. I suppose we are meant to be happy for him, now that he is in touch with his "inner voice."<br><br>Was this tale mapped out before it was written, or did it just evolve? In future, you may wish to change whatever was used here.<br><br><br>Another reader may see it differently, but no matter what, don't give up trying.<br><br>Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on August 12, 2004, 01:47:31 PM, edited 1 time in total.
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 550

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Atlanta, GA

Post August 10, 2004, 11:35:27 PM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jamie L Elliot

Hi Nate. Thanks for taking time to read my story. I appreciate your feedback. I was afraid when I wrote it that some people would not understand the approach. I did have few people read it beforehand and they seemed to enjoy it, but I knew that it would be hit or miss with others.<br><br>Before I discuss the concept, I'm not sure I understand your comments on the setting. I did in fact visit Stone Mountain Park and the description matches fairly accurately. There are paths you can walk through the forest. The temperature reached record lows. Also, the abandoned petting zoo did exist as well. If it's more an issue on why the particular environment was used, I touch on that below.<br><br>The story was not meant to be standard fantasy. The theme revolves around Jeremy's formidable subconscious and the inner struggle that ensues. Symbolism and foreshadowing are applied throughout the narration. The story begins as a dream. The light that "softens him cherubic" foreshadows his Creator aspect. The use of gates, barriers, and fences were also symbolic; Jeremy needed to burst through his self-made obstacles to reach comprehension. The whole concept of cold, which you seem to be anethemic to, is symbolic of Jeremy's inner vaccuum. The travel through the night is his journey through his dark side. Despite the use of occasional slapstick, this is indeed a dark tale. <br><br>Ghorhold, Awstene, and Lashkian should be viewed allegorically. They are more concepts at this stage of their existance than real people. As Jeremy begins to slip towards unconsciousness via hypothermia and, later, through the savage beating of Ghorhold, the thread of reality begins to unravel as his subconscious dominates further. The first concrete clue to the reader are the furs you refered to earlier. Jeremy even notes in his haze that this did not seem plausible. It's even more explicit when Jeremy awakens on top of a table that had not existed beforehand.<br><br>I'm sorry you were not sympathetic to Jeremy. I meant to portray him as an "average Joe". In fact, the whole idea that these three powerful antagonists would bother with someone like Jeremy was meant to pique the curiousity of the reader. Whether you're happy or not for Jeremy at the end I leave up to the reader, although a few people did find satisfaction on how he got back at Ghorhold. :-p<br><br>The one thing that did bother me with the story (and yes, that happens to writers; we're not completely colorblind to our creations) was the discussion Jeremy had with Aninikaan. By using the conceived-but-not-born-yet idea, I realized belatedly that the story could be viewed as an affirmation of the Pro-Life stance. It was not meant to be pro or con on the matter. The gist of the story is that creativity and imagination are living entities in all of us. The protagonist is a writer, but he or she could have an artist or any other creative outlet.
"Even the straight arrow needs a crooked bow."
- Samani


jaimie l. elliott

[b:2o4dvkjg]Check out my website:[/b:2o4dvkjg]
http://www.jaimie.org/
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post August 11, 2004, 12:42:08 AM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jamie L Elliot

Trying to debate an author about their own story usually goes as well as trying to steal a bear cub from its mother--while it is nursing--but here goes:<br><br>
The story was not meant to be standard fantasy.
<br>Well, clearly.<br><br>
The theme revolves around Jeremy's formidable subconscious and the inner struggle that ensues. Symbolism and foreshadowing are applied throughout the narration. The story begins as a dream. The light that "softens him cherubic" foreshadows his Creator aspect.
<br>I disagree that the internalization of his struggle is readily apparent. Cherubim are the second-highest level of heirachy of angels behind the lofty Seraphim. Angels do not create by themselves, and do not seem to be indicative of the creative forces inside us.<br><br>
The use of gates, barriers, and fences were also symbolic; Jeremy needed to burst through his self-made obstacles to reach comprehension. The whole concept of cold, which you seem to be anethemic to, is symbolic of Jeremy's inner vaccuum. The travel through the night is his journey through his dark side.
<br>If you say so. <br><br>
...The first concrete clue to the reader are the furs you refered to earlier. Jeremy even notes in his haze that this did not seem plausible. It's even more explicit when Jeremy awakens on top of a table that had not existed beforehand.
<br>Jeremy's senses are dulled by the effects of his hypothermia, and he may be delusional. That he does not see the world clearly or does not remember objects which may or may not have been there before is hardly concrete evidence. <br><br>
Ghorhold, Awstene, and Lashkian should be viewed allegorically...
<br>I have met very few writers who deliberately tried to make their stories allegorical once they graduated from institutes of higher learning--it usualy interfered with selling the tale. You may well be one of the few. If so, I wish you luck with that.<br><br>Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on August 11, 2004, 12:46:42 AM, edited 1 time in total.
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 550

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Atlanta, GA

Post August 11, 2004, 08:58:10 AM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jamie L Elliot

Trying to debate an author about their own story usually goes as well as trying to steal a bear cub from its mother--while it is nursing--but here goes:
<br><br>I'm unsure how this turned into a debate. I was discussing the approach. I'm looking for constructive feedback on what you think I could have done differently.
"Even the straight arrow needs a crooked bow."
- Samani


jaimie l. elliott

[b:2o4dvkjg]Check out my website:[/b:2o4dvkjg]
http://www.jaimie.org/
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post August 11, 2004, 06:06:18 PM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jamie L Elliot

I'm unsure how this turned into a debate. I was discussing the approach. I'm looking for constructive feedback on what you think I could have done differently.
<br>Debate: [Old French debatre ] - To talk about something at length and in detail, especially as part of a formal exchange of opinion.<br><br>I would have recommended altering the story's construction. I'd move the cabin scene to where Jeremy is tortured to the beginning of the story, and then flash back to the original beginning. The characters are the most defined at that point, and Jeremy's plight with strike the strongest sympathy in readers, yielding a better chance to "hook" them.<br><br>If they're hooked at the beginning, people like me will be a lot more like to be patient and tolerant while the story unfolds.<br><br>Constructive enough?<br><br>Nate
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 550

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Atlanta, GA

Post August 11, 2004, 06:28:51 PM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jamie L Elliot

Debate: [Old French debatre ] - To talk about something at length and in detail, especially as part of a formal exchange of opinion.

I would have recommended altering the story's construction. I'd move the cabin scene to where Jeremy is tortured to the beginning of the story, and then flash back to the original beginning. The characters are the most defined at that point, and Jeremy's plight with strike the strongest sympathy in readers, yielding a better chance to "hook" them.

If they're hooked at the beginning, people like me will be a lot more like to be patient and tolerant while the story unfolds.

Constructive enough?

Nate
<br><br>Thanks for the suggestion.<br><br>As a side note, I won't quibble about the meaning of 'debate'. It implies an argument. I never said your points were incorrect. Pure negativism without constructive comments serve no purpose, especially for a writer. This can be especially damaging to a fledging writer, who's self-esteem may be shaky to begin with. <br><br>Here's a word for you:<br><br>flippant <br>adj.<br><br> 1. Marked by disrespectful levity or casualness; pert.<br><br>
"Even the straight arrow needs a crooked bow."
- Samani


jaimie l. elliott

[b:2o4dvkjg]Check out my website:[/b:2o4dvkjg]
http://www.jaimie.org/
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post August 11, 2004, 08:07:04 PM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jamie L Elliot

Here's a word for you:

flippant
adj.

1. Marked by disrespectful levity or casualness; pert.
<br>Damn, I was going for "arrogant!" :)<br><br>Pert? "Bold and lively in a pleasantly amusing way." I could live with that.<br><br>Aphelion is a place full of levity and casualness, but the "disrespectful" part I take umbrage to. Perhaps it would be more wise to take criticism at face value, especially as I'm the only offering any. If I didn't honestly want to provide what advice I could, because I thought it might help other writers, I would not have offered it.<br><br>Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on August 11, 2004, 08:19:21 PM, edited 1 time in total.
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.

Critic

Posts: 125

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Halifax, NS., Canada

Post August 13, 2004, 07:47:38 AM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliot

As the story is currently written, I must unfortunately agree with kailhofer in some regards, but for different reasons. I too, found the dialog hard to follow, but mainly due to, what I consider, excessive description. For example, <br><br>"He looked up and saw a man of great size, masculinity of the tenth order, exuding the powerful nature of the patriarchal that made Jeremy feel lacking" . <br><br>While I understand somewhat what you were tying to say, I feel saying <br><br>"He looked up to see a monster of a man blocking the door." would have conveyed it quite adequately. Also, I did not understand why you were referring to Ghorhold as a father figure in that line.<br><br>As to the description of Awstene with her one breast, I immediately thought of her as an Amazon warrior.<br><br>I also did not understand why Jeremy needed to write. From what happened to him, He should be wanting to write a 3 sentence story introducing the 3 characters, and saying how they all meet gruesomes deaths, and then never write again. <br><br>I understand you were trying to write Jeremy as an average joe, and I believe you were wanting the reader to have some sympathy with the 3 characters, however, I suggest that you give the reader some indication of why the 3 character from legend be interested in Jeremy writing about them. Did he used to write and stop? Did he conceive of the ideas of them as a teenager, but never pursue it?<br><br>Overall, I think that with a rewrite, and some slight changes and additions, this could be a very good story. <br><br>
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 550

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Atlanta, GA

Post August 13, 2004, 09:00:22 AM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliott

"He looked up and saw a man of great size, masculinity of the tenth order, exuding the powerful nature of the patriarchal that made Jeremy feel lacking" .

While I understand somewhat what you were tying to say, I feel saying
<br>Yes, this definitely needs to be reworked. The original sentence said, "He looked up and saw a man of great size, masculity of the tenth order, exuding the powerful nature of the patriarchal that made Jeremy feel lacking, like a really tiny penis." Jeff made me, uhm, clean up the prose, so this was one thing that dropped. It was acutally a lot more voilent and sexual in the first draft, trying to elaborate on Jeremy's id. The idea was that to implant the idea of a bully-victim relationship. The word "patriarchal" was used for two reasons. One, it's a strong male word and the two, it was one of a number of words, phrases, or events that foreshadowed the parent-child relationship between Jeremy and his "offspring". Patriarchal is the wrong word to use here though since it denotes a benevolent relationship. I'm still waking up (need more coffee) so I can't think of a better word at the moment. :-)<br><br>
As to the description of Awstene with her one breast, I immediately thought of her as an Amazon warrior.
<br><br>Yes, she was an Amazon. According to mythology, Amazons had their right breast removed to allow them to be more efficient with the bow and javellin.
Last edited by Jaimie on August 13, 2004, 09:15:44 AM, edited 1 time in total.
"Even the straight arrow needs a crooked bow."
- Samani


jaimie l. elliott

[b:2o4dvkjg]Check out my website:[/b:2o4dvkjg]
http://www.jaimie.org/
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post August 13, 2004, 10:31:06 AM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliot

Speaking of Robert Moriyama, here I is.  (Greg G., that grammatical error was deliberate ...)  I sort of kind of liked this story, partly because the inversion of the writing-influences-reality (or even creates reality) riff used in Claude Hopper's and Nate Kailhoffer's Mare Inebrium stories was rather original, and partly because the story had quite a few funny bits in between the unprovoked acts of violence and terror.<br><br>On the other hand, I agree that the language used in most of the story was a little TOO poetic.  I actually found the prose in the story-within-a-story that Jeremy begins in the last part of the tale more readable than the rest.  To some extent, that's a matter of taste; I've said elsewhere that I love vivid description and clever turns of phrase.  It just seemed that Mr. Elliot was trying a little too hard to be colorful, and it got in the way of the storytelling.  (Think of the superfluous coloratura riffs that Whitney Houston, Maria Carey, and Celine Dion often throw into their arrangements -- showing off, as it were, without really contributing to the task at hand.)  Maybe I'm a little old-fashioned, usually leaning toward a more journalistic style.  (As shown here -- look at this compact, elegant, 900 word paragraph! ;))<br><br>So:  on the positive side, an original concept, good description, good use of humor; on the negative side, maybe too much emphasis on 'literary' technique, to the detriment of the story itself.<br><br>Mr. Elliot, you may now dissect MY work.  (I'll do anything to get more feedback.)<br><br>Robert M.
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on August 13, 2004, 10:32:57 AM, edited 1 time in total.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 550

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Atlanta, GA

Post August 13, 2004, 11:31:44 AM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliot

On the other hand, I agree that the language used in most of the story was a little TOO poetic.
<br><br>Guilty as charged. I'm as much a poet as a writer, so I actually have to try hard NOT to be too poetic. I had also been reading Updike, which encouraged me to let loose. I really didn't know how the experimental approach would pan out when I started the story, although after the first few paragraphs I suspected it would be something that would be hit or miss (especially problematic for the Fantasy fan who tends towards traditional prose). Jeff actually had me tone down the lyrical aspects, so please thank him for making it somewhat readable. :-) As a side note, most of my other stories are more traditional. I do enjoy experimenting, however, as I view creative writing more an art than a craft.<br><br>
Mr. Elliot, you may now dissect MY work. (I'll do anything to get more feedback.)

Robert M.
<br><br>Will do. I was doing well until I hit Red Dwarf. Damn, that one is long...<br>
"Even the straight arrow needs a crooked bow."
- Samani


jaimie l. elliott

[b:2o4dvkjg]Check out my website:[/b:2o4dvkjg]
http://www.jaimie.org/

Senior Critic

Posts: 417

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: St. Augustine, FL

Post August 13, 2004, 08:53:23 PM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliot

Negatives first: Description, like exposition, is like watering plants. Too much and you'll cause the roots to rot; too little and the plant will wither. Here, I thought the descriptions were a mite overdone, causing the story to bog down and move too slowly at times. Also, I'll agree with Robert that some of the descriptions were a bit too flowery (a matter of taste, I guess). <br><br>I thought that Jeremy was a little too casual about what was happening to him--even after getting beat up and slapped around. At one point, he says, "Whatever thou sayest." Sounded too flippant for a man who was in such dire circumstances.<br><br>Now the positives: I did like the story. Some of the descriptions evoked good imagery. The storyline was original (at least to me), and I'm not sure that I would agree that the story isn't a standard fantasy--whatever standard means here. I would definitely place it in the fantasy genre.<br><br>And finally, I liked the way Jeremy gets even with Ghorhold. :-)<br><br>Donald
A really good story can compensate for less-than-brilliant writing, but brilliant writing will not save a bad story.
User avatar

Senior Editor

Posts: 1085

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Northeast Georgia, USA

Post August 18, 2004, 03:42:15 PM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliot

Over all, I really liked this one. Although the night in the brambles did confuse me a bit. <br>The characters were done well, if a bit sparce in spots. That might have been because they *were* just dreams, proto-stories.<br>I particularly like the "characters coming to life" element of the story. However, if the worldwalls ever get as weak around me as they did for the story's protagonist, I'll be in deeep doodoo.<br>I don't have any technical quibbles about the story or characters except to say that I would have prefered more of a division between the scenes. More than once I found myself backing up to see where I missed the scene change. Anything that slows the reader down is a problem. That's more of a format quibble than a story quibble, but still its in the writer's best interest to put spacers in the manuscript so the reader (and editor) doesn't have to "work out" where things change in the story.<br>Dan
"Extremely difficult- Virtually impossible- However, it should only take me ten minutes or so..."
Brice Linch - Max Headroom
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post August 18, 2004, 04:34:46 PM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliot

I particularly like the "characters coming to life" element of the story. However, if the worldwalls ever get as weak around me as they did for the story's protagonist, I'll be in deeep doodoo.
Dan
<br>I can see where having a D'rrish (or the Reaver) show up at a quiet dinner party might be a bit upsetting for you and your guests ...<br><br>Trixie, on the other hand, would only upset the women present.<br><br>Robert M.<br>
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)
User avatar

Senior Editor

Posts: 1085

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Northeast Georgia, USA

Post August 18, 2004, 05:33:12 PM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliot

I was thinking more of the Bethdish Pantheon come to complain that the evil god got all the press. Or the 5 million Immortals who are bored out of their minds 'cause I haven't been writing anything for them to *do!*<br>I have nightmares about Guiles Thornby and a dart gun. And that was from *before* I read Jaimie's story.<br>None of my characters are people I'd want pissed at me, you know?<br>LOL! Dan<br>
"Extremely difficult- Virtually impossible- However, it should only take me ten minutes or so..."
Brice Linch - Max Headroom

Critic

Posts: 119

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Australia

Post August 18, 2004, 09:05:35 PM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliot

Speaking of Robert Moriyama, here I is.  (Greg G., that grammatical error was deliberate ...)
<br><br>Don't worry, I've learnt my lesson- never attempt to catch Robert M. out, it's generally a trap:)<br><br>And with prose like this:<br><br>
I sort of kind of liked this story...
<br><br>who could criticise?;)<br><br><br>
[img width=40 height=40]http://www.ozscififorum.com/100_010.jpeg[/img] Greg Guerin
[hr]
[url=http://www.ozscififorum.com:2tvavb2m]Australian Science Fiction Forum[/url:2tvavb2m]
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post August 18, 2004, 09:08:52 PM

Re: A Path of Ramble and Mist by Jaimie L Elliot


And with prose like this:

Quote:
I sort of kind of liked this story...

who could criticise?;)
<br>I was writing in the Vulgate to avoid confusing the unwashed peasantry. (I've tried writing in the Colgate (do they have Colgate toothpaste in Oz?), but all that minty freshness gave me a headache.)<br><br>Robert M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

Return to August 2004

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.