Sapling


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Post October 06, 2009, 07:52:03 AM

Sapling

It was difficult to put my finger on why this story seemed common. It’s more than the fact that the words aren’t exciting.
Perhaps it seems common because it’s what my teenage sons might come up with as they’re playing a role playing game. Roll the dice – “Let’s have a walking tree try to pull itself out of the ground.” Roll the dice – “Your roll is successful and the tree pulls itself out and begins to walk.” Perhaps I’ve just watched the boys play their dice game with a medieval theme too often.
Having said that, I can see this as an interesting aside in a larger story, and perhaps that’s what the author is trying to do – present the idea of a walking tree to infuse it into a novel, perhaps. I just don’t believe the story, by itself, is successful.
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Post October 06, 2009, 09:23:10 AM

Not the tree's idea...

The tree did not want to go for a walk -- it was possessed by the ghost of the evil wizard. In fact, insofar as the tree was capable of understanding anything, it was aware that walking was very untreelike. Not quite as untreelike as deliberately setting oneself on fire, but close...

Now, Jayne seems to suggest that the tree had some degree of awareness even before it was possessed, so there is the potential for a larger-scale war story in which living but usually stationary things are used as vehicles and weapons (or slaves). A prequel to this tale might show an ancient battle between druids (or other nature / tree magic users) and more "civilized" enemies who use (say) alchemy or science as weapons.

Robert M.
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Jack London (1876-1916)
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Post October 06, 2009, 12:09:52 PM

Sapling

Yeah, I got the premise - but I was thinking about a story showing why the witch was so angry, or a result of her evilness (the sapling passed a ruined shell of a church where the wicked witch had ....), or memories of the old man testifying of the horror of her wretchedness.
I noticed that the author has two fantasy books out: Celic & Vadas. I don't think this is successful as a standalone story - but it could definately be a nice part of a larger work.
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Post October 08, 2009, 01:04:57 PM

Re: Sapling

bottomdweller wrote:It was difficult to put my finger on why this story seemed common.


So. . .maybe the dialogue was stiff as a board? Perhaps the plot line failed to branch-out in enough places? Did you find the narrative to be a bit wooden, a smidgen pithy? What is the root of your ennui with this story?

Honestly, the protagonist is swept-up into spectacular (for a tree) events, battles a massively more powerful villainess and, through persistence and sacrifice, manages to thwart her plans.

It has all the elements that a basic story needs. It has strife, growth, drama and resolution. Lots of content for such a tiny package.

I thought the happy ending was the only part with the odor of commonality to it. I imagined the essence of the witch, trapped inside the lifeless sapling's scorched and scrawny trunk, wailing impotently as the sprig was discarded to a brush pile to slowly decay away. After all, it was shorter than a cottage doorway. . .

I imagined the sapling throwing itself into the fire, consuming the essence of the witch, once again. I imagined Bruce Willow, bursting through the doorway, guns blazing to rescue. . .uh, maybe that would be even more common, after all.

Generally, I give it a rousing buds-up.

Bill Wolfe

"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."
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Post October 08, 2009, 01:43:11 PM

Hey! Horrid puns are my department!

I can't beleaf you'd ignore the roots of bottomdweller's concerns. But I didn't twig to your seedy intentions in time, and had to endure your attempts to be humus.

:roll:
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Post October 08, 2009, 04:32:05 PM

The Sapling

You guys are such saps.

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Post October 08, 2009, 08:41:12 PM

What do you think of this comment bottomdweller?

You started a new thread, so I'm wondering if you missed this threadlet. It creaked and tried to grow, but withered...

kknapp wrote:Three houses down, he came to a back door. His leaf fingers turned the knob. The door creaked open.

I liked this story a lot. The lines above are my favorite, especially 'His leaf fingers turned the knob'. The door creaked open is a little cliche but it works. I like the surreal images of trees walking, it evokes a Tolkienesque image of 'Last March of the Ents'. Not sure exactly how I feel about the machine-like thought processes of a tree, machines are the antithesis of the natural, which the tree represents. But how do any of us know how a tree thinks?

It works, and I like this story. Great job.
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Post October 09, 2009, 08:09:44 AM

earlier thread

Honestly, I didn't see the earlier thread. I looked down the column for 'Sapling' and didn't notice 'Sapling by Jayne Waggoner'. That kind of thing happens with dyslexia - I was looking for a short title, instead it was longer than expected...Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees.
It's knot as if there was anything wrong with the story in particular, I just pine for a story with a little more substance. I thought the author should branch out a little, and use this as part of a larger story. Maybe I'm just squirrelly...Mad cow.

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Post October 09, 2009, 06:19:26 PM

Yew guys are gonna lumber along here just to log posts, huh?

Actually mostly agree with Bottomdweller. While the elements of a story are there, they need some dynamism to quicken them into something a bit more compelling. The visual of a tree uprooting itself against its will is a strong one, but there's a lot more potential to create something pretty resonant. Let's learn more about the witch and her crimes, for one.

Oak-ey dokey? :roll:

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