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    1. Fiction writers introduction thread!

      1. Definition By fiction, I mean: literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people. (Google) 2. Introduce Yourself! I understand we...

      1. Definition

      By fiction, I mean:

      literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people. (Google)

      2. Introduce Yourself!

      I understand we have at least one professional writer in the house (I cannot remember your username, sorry!), and several aspirant writers.

      Every once in awhile, I get the urge to suggest some collaborative threads exercises, but it's hard to gauge interest without a better notion of how many fiction writers we have.

      With that in mind, I make this call for introductions!

      Please try to include:

      • Have you ever made money writing fiction?[1]
      • First writing language(s): Examples: English, Portuguese, German, etc
      • Other writing languages(s): same as above. English is implied.
      • Formats* : Examples: Short story, Romance, Play, Screenplay, etc
      • Genres*: Examples: horror, science-fiction, fantasy, etc.
      • Main themes*: Examples: relationships, violence, artificial intelligence, etc.
      • Link to Writing Sample(s) on Tildes or Ghostbin (either as text or markdown)
      • What do you expect to achieve with your writing (anything, either subjective or objective)?[2]
      • Apart from ~creative, where do you go for feedback?
      • Are you looking for collaborations of any kind? Yes or No.

      Footnotes

      [1] The purpose of this question is not to assess the quality of your writing, but rather the position writing occupies in your life. Is this something you do in your free time, or does it have a central role among your other activities? I do not pretend to know how and why everyone writes, this is just a starter. Feel free to share as much as you want.

      [2] For example: self-expression, philosophical investigation, external appreciation (nothing wrong with that), financial rewards, political or societal change, any combination of those.

      * In order of importance

      8 votes
    2. "The Fae in the Bottle" by the Reverend William Holland (as constructed by GPT-2 Simple, additionally finetuned by the works of the Brothers Grimm)

      Special thanks to Max Woolf and Project Gutenburg for resources, and the Brothers Grimm for such inspiring material. The Fae in a Bottle By Reverend William Howland "Dear brother, thou seest the...

      Special thanks to Max Woolf and Project Gutenburg for resources, and the Brothers Grimm for such inspiring material.


      The Fae in a Bottle

      By Reverend William Howland

      "Dear brother, thou seest the water
      crystallizing, go and show it to the merchant. I will make him a
      little bottle of water of the same kind; put it in a corner, and
      not open it too quickly, until the reflection shall let him see it."

      The merchant, who was standing behind the glass, said, "If that is
      the case, I do not see why the name of the fountain should be
      changed." "Why not?" asked the merchant. "Because my name is
      Dummling." "Dummling, what is that?" "Is a rare and wonderful
      name; I do not know how it is to have it." "If you do not see why
      the name of the fountain should be changed," said the merchant, "I
      will pay you three thalers." "There! now I see what is in my head;
      I will pay you thaler, but you must wait until I come back."

      Then he disappeared behind the glass. The poor man was forced to go back
      on his begging; he had no more money but the three thalers which the
      merchant had given him. He had long ago left the village, and wandered far
      off, and when he came back, his brother had forgotten him, and thought,
      "Why should I travel farther? I have not seen my brother." Then he came to
      the town where his brother was again living. "Dear brother," said the
      brother, "how are you? How are you getting on?" "Oh," said the brother,
      "not well."

      "Then just come and eat thy bread."

      "That would be very good," said the brother, and went away.

      He walked a long time, and came to a great forest. Then he said to his brother,
      "Go and bring me with you to-morrow morning." "Nay," said the brother, "I
      can't go. I have heard so many lies and stolen things from my brother,
      and they have not served me very well, I see very well that they will
      do me no harm." Then he went to the gallows, and told them that there
      was a poor shivering, peering there from the window. "If you let me in,"
      said the brother, "I will do you a favour. In grey hairs you can see
      a piece of a horse's heart." So he went into the forest, and saw there
      how a greyhound which was his neighbour, was dead. Then he was sad,
      and made himself known to the brother. "Dear brother," said he,
      "how are you getting on? What hast thou been saying there about
      a piece of horse's heart?" "Ah," said the brother, "how can I say that
      on the gallows, when I have not a drop of blood on me!" Then he gave him
      the greyhound's heart, and had it put in his own. The brother felt for a
      while in his pocket, and then he said, "I have a small bottle of wine,
      and if thou art inclined to drink, thou shalt find the courage
      to hold thy tongue." "To what use is the bottle put," said the
      brother, "but to some end I should like to have a sip?" "To win the
      Rosen Cup," said the brother with great joy. "To me that is enough,"
      said the hare. "To thee alone, it is the most valuable thing that
      the world possesses," said the brother. "To me, it is my most valuable
      thing." "To me, it is my most valuable possession," said the hare. Then
      he turned himself around and went to the gallows. "To-day it was
      announced that the very gallows were to be, and to-morrow they were
      to be," said the brother. "I do not know to which I should place myself,"
      he replied, "but, to-morrow it will be to-morrow, and to-morrow
      I will go." Then he was led to the gallows, and was once more there
      in the place where he had formerly been. He again said to the greyhound,
      "I wish you were still standing there." "To-day it was announced that the
      very gallows were to be, and to-morrow they were to be." "I do not know to which I
      should place myself," said the hare. "To-morrow it will be to-morrow, and
      to-morrow I will go." Then he turned himself round and went to the gallows,
      and was once more there in the place where he had formerly been.

      "To-day it was announced that the very gall

      (E/N: The story stops here abruptly, as the author ran out available memory. I wouldn't like to enforce my interpretation of the story upon it, so I'm leaving it as written.)

      6 votes
    3. Create a Logline

      Per @mrbig: What is a logline?: a brief summary (25 to 40 words) of a story for film, television or book that states the central conflict and an emotional "hook", with the purpose of stimulating...

      Per @mrbig:

      What is a logline?: a brief summary (25 to 40 words) of a story for film, television or book that states the central conflict and an emotional "hook", with the purpose of stimulating interest (Wikipedia).

      A logline is evaluated not exactly for what a story is (since it does not contain a complete story), but for what it can be. Suggestions usually seek to maximize the dramatic potential of the idea.

      Create a Logline, and you can chose to reply to others with your interpretation of how their stories would go.

      9 votes
    4. Man of the Train

      Another story. The narrator is not well and slips into periods of "extended daydreaming" where they image they're someone else or that the context of their life is otherwise different. I thought...

      Another story. The narrator is not well and slips into periods of "extended daydreaming" where they image they're someone else or that the context of their life is otherwise different. I thought about coloring the text differently for those moments but couldn't figure out a way to do it well.


      No one walks out to this place. Why would they? It’s too far for children to be playing or for teenagers to sneak away to, there’s no beauty or interesting landscapes or scenery for hikers, and God knows it’s worthless for development. I walked out here because I knew I couldn’t stay at home and I kept walking because I knew I had nothing to go back to. Then, brooding, thinking that I would just continue walking until I died of exposure (which would have taken a while in that day’s mild weather), I stumbled across this place. I stopped to explore it of course, how often does one’s life yield such a whimsical sight?

      I started daydreaming as I walked through the trains. They looked ancient, the cars were buried up to their wheels in the dirt and huge patches had lost their paint and rusted over. The interiors were stripped, but I spotted some kind of hatch in the roof (by the pile of leaves and other debris below it) and clambered up. Then I was standing astride the car looking down at the whole scene. Two neat little rows, five cars in one and four in the other, with the only sign tracks used to run here being a small corridor where the trees were shorter.

      I loved it. It was a sort of post-industrial twist on the railway bum, you know? They would hitch rides on trains and travel all over the country, seeing everything it had to offer and adventuring everywhere they went. I had, in the past, been disappointed I didn’t live in a time where the vagabond could thrive, and was delighted to imagine the 21st century equivalent. Sitting in a rusted old abandoned train car, the Seeker (I always name my characters like that) sat by his gas fire watching the rain pour down and spatter across the corrugated walls. It was lovely. I felt much better and after playing around a bit more headed back home with a smile, all the while dreaming of the Seeker. The evening passed comfortably and I slid into sleep imagining I was the man sleeping out by the trains.

      I pulled my blanket closer, clutching it around myself. I had found something, and tonight II was able to rest peacefully because of it. The night breeze flowed over me in soft, regular breaths. It was sweet and pleasantly cool, and carried memories of cheery days. All else faded always as I walked into them, leaving behind the blanket and the breeze and the night itself.

      When I got up the next morning though the levity had vanished. I dragged myself through the morning and lacking anything real to do and completely out of distractions for the afternoon I headed out for another wander in the woods. Alone with just the half-leafless trees to speak to I very quickly fell into my thoughts and my world of pasts, real or imagined. I don’t know how long I walked, just that after a while my breath was coming out in ragged bursts and that I was approaching the top of a hill. Attaining it I realized with gloomy resignation that I was somewhat lost, and that the cup of tea I was desiring now more than most anything would be a while yet. As I started back in the direction I more or less thought town was I imagined how the Seeker had trudged through the same damp leaves and browning grass. Autumn would quickly change from the mild early days to the coldness that marked the start of winter, and this landscape would be unrecognizable. Even this escape would not last. Just like them. More gloominess. Pushing through a thicket of young trees I was surprised to be face to face with the train wrecks from yesterday, and, after briefly marveling at the occurrence started back home. I was throwing off my shoes and starting the kettle in just over an hour.

      At home I picked, for some foolish reason, the blue teapot (of memories) and was soon sitting at the table and warming my hands on a steaming cup. I was shivering. Sometimes I don’t realize how cold I am until I’m back inside. I need to dress warmer. For a while I could pretend to be content sipping at my tea and feeling myself thaw out a little, but after a few cups I started thinking about what I would do for the rest of the day. That’s why I had gone out in the first place wasn’t it, that I had nothing here? I didn’t feel warm anymore. And since I had picked this pot (it was three years ago, why should I care?) my thoughts slid further and further back until I was recalling the conversation we had over it. And how I had laughed and taken your picture holding it and you had smiled as the wind whipped your hair back and I couldn’t stand sitting there and looking at it anymore. I fled to the couch and fell face first down into it.

      What was I doing? I couldn’t sit here for another eight hours waiting to go to bed and dream, I was gripped with sinking panic just at the thought. No, I couldn’t stay. And I didn’t have to. If I could tell myself a story about it, I could do it myself, right? I could just leave. I could make it real. Go to another town, or sleep in a car, or, go camping. Yes, I could camp for the night. I did tell people I was an outdoorsman after all, even if for the past few years I hadn’t done anything more than day hikes to run from my reality. I had all the gear, I knew what I was doing.

      Twenty minutes later I was out the door, heading back the woods for the second time today, this time with my pack slung across my shoulders. As I walked I thought about how unpleasant this would probably be and I was pleased. At least it would be because of something else. Something immediate. I went to the trains because where else would I go and also because I knew they were isolated and I wanted to be sure no one would be out harassing me over lighting a fire or being a vagrant. It was perfect.

      And as evening fell the fire was lit. I had set camp in between the two rows of derelict cars to provide some shelter from the wind.

      The heat from the flames sank into the metal siding of the cars and soon they were radiating back a friendly warmth. Touching it felt almost like being warmed by the sun. I leaned back against one now and stared at the fire. It was a comfortable scene, even if the ground was cold and hard and all I had to do was sit and think and brood. It was basically what I would have done at home anyway, but now I was not drawn into despair. No, out here all these feelings were beautiful, and if it was beautiful I could enjoy it. Some time and drinks passed and I became outright elated. Considering the whole absurdity of where I was right now I had to laugh. I might curse my life every day, but it was, if nothing else, interesting. Even if I was the only one who would ever know. Just look at where I am! I grinned and kept laughing and drinking and soaking up the intoxicating woodsmoke and tender light that flowed from the fire. I loved that this was something I did. And later as the flames hid back in their coals I climbed into my tent and floated right away on a dreamless, happy sleep. Lord of my little realm of heat and smoke. Good times for all. All for good times.

      I sat at the edge of fire’s light clutching my cup closely. It was a bitter tea, what one could brew with just a cup over a camp fire, but I sipped at it greedily anyway, burning my lips on the rim. It would hold the blaze’s heat for a while yet, the cup was almost painful to handle even through my gloves, now streaked with ash. It had been a long, cold day. I had almost lost myself, but now, resting in the half-light at the edge of reality, it was alright. I smiled and, tipping my head ever so slightly up, whistled out a few bars of some song or another. Yes, here it was alright. There was a lot I didn’t know, but that was fine, I knew I was, as was the fire and the smoke and the warmth and the tea.

      I refocused on the fire, source of the little world I had found myself in. It was as if I were gazing through into my own light. A welcome feeling, as I had felt a dull cold more than anything recently. I looked more intently, allowing the firelight to wash out the surroundings until I and it were all that existed. Like this I could see hints, now and then, of what had been. Perhaps if I looked too greedily the flames would even take me then, shattering the gracious illusion of the light in the process. No, echos would have to do. They were all that was real anyway. I stared for a long while, lost in burning contemplation.

      That was a... number of days ago. I haven’t counted exactly. For the first few I was at home most of the day, only heading out for the trains in the evening. The first morning I didn’t plan to come back at all and tore my whole camp down. But around mid afternoon my listlessness would become unbearable and I’d flee from the prospect of another night in. So I started leaving my tent pitched, figuring I’d do this as some kind of therapy until I got better and figured out what I was going to do with myself. And I did get better! Or at least the more time I spent in the woods the less time I was sinking in the mire of my thoughts and the more I marveled at them. Maybe they were still dragging me down, but I didn’t notice anymore. Soon I was spending the afternoons out as well, and then I was only going back home in the morning to grab food and water.

      I’ll probably be forced out by the weather soon. It’s been getting much colder these past days, but I don’t want to leave yet, I like this routine. I like the work of building the little stone wall, or clearing the ground around the fire pit I’m slowly carving out of the stiff ground, or sketching my map of the area around the camp. It was more than I had back there.

      As the last of the purple in the sky was swept away by the darkening blue I stretched out alongside the newly rekindled fire. I had known for days that I was not going to find it here. I would have to go back and see what was next for me. But it was comfortable here, and for that I could pretend I had a reason to stay, at least for a little while longer. Yes, I’ll have to leave soon, but for now I can just enjoy the fire. I can walk in dream a little while longer.

      9 votes
    5. The Ceremony

      This is a short, experimental story I wrote. Hope it's interesting. As I opened my eyes the whirl of indistinction calmed and I was standing there in a room paneled in wood, rich and dark and...

      This is a short, experimental story I wrote. Hope it's interesting.


      As I opened my eyes the whirl of indistinction calmed and I was standing there in a room paneled in wood, rich and dark and polished slightly. It was time for the oath. She stood at her lectern with her book open in front of the priest, who turned to the needed page and bid her to sing, which she did, sweet and calm and certain, without dramatics or pomp. Why would she need it? It was what she was to do. She smiled, I think, her form was not clear except for the vague impression of her gently rounded cheeks and lips the color of a rose too pale a pink to be said red. And now the priest was across from me and my book opened to its song page. Seven squares, (or was it nine?), filled mid grey onto the paper ruled across with needle fine lines the color of rust. It was old, plainly, but still strong. I felt looking at the page a feeling I had never known, not quite joy or determination or happiness or fear but an immensity as if I had for a heart now an infinitely faceted gem in whose faces you could find any color if you would only let it catch the light. It was like madness melded together with a certainty so strong anything less than “it is” fails to reach it. I feared I could not voice it, and said as much to the priest. To point at the page and utter “Sing.” was his only response. And I did, tremulously and weakly, but I sang, and through it came a sweetness despite me. And it was done. Through the haze now I remember the ascent up the stairs and my body collapsing onto the white couch my head landing in her lap, and her final exclaim “_______! We are!”.

      5 votes
    6. I finally finished a novel

      I've finally finished writing something. It's been about four years since I actually finished something nicely. I'm entering the editing phase, which generally takes longer... But I'm a bit...

      I've finally finished writing something. It's been about four years since I actually finished something nicely.

      I'm entering the editing phase, which generally takes longer... But I'm a bit excited.

      Hopefully this is an acceptable thing to talk about, and I'm going about things the right way.

      So... To spin off into discussion, here's two things:

      A part of the story:

      The ground rose up and struck Raul in the face.

      He blinked, stumbling backwards, seeing his master standing nearby.

      The old man was glaring, his hands clutched around a brightly coloured stone.

      Raul opened his mouth to question, but the old man was whisked away to a distance hillside, and the boy found himself tumbling head over heals backwards down a hillside.

      He scrambled onto his knees, staring as he found himself on the shore of the lighthouse.

      His master placed a solid hand on his shoulder, and muttered gibberish.

      Raul glanced up, but found himself staring at the light of the lighthouse.

      Spinning.

      A bright light, round and round.

      Lightning struck him, and Raul screamed, stumbling backwards.

      The rod lay in front of him.

      He tore his gaze away with effort, and saw his master, hands outstretched, the stone of red, gold and silver floating between them.

      Almost as astonishing, the stone was clean.

      A hammer hit him between the eyes.

      Raul found himself stumbling behind his father, watching as the old man struck stone, separated it, revealing the river of solid copper within it.

      "Boy!"

      I'm hoping I've got the grammar at least semi-right. My illness means I can forget words, or my brain can replace words at random with others that it thinks are related.

      Any guidance or critique is welcome. (I'd give a bigger quote... But this is probably more than enough to discuss.)

      The build script I'm using:

      #!/bin/sh
      
      set -e
      
      if [ -z "$1" ]; then
        echo 'Please provide an output file name.' >&2
        exit 1
      fi
      
      tmp=$(mktemp)
      
      echo 'Building...'
      
      cat title.txt > "$tmp"
      echo '' >> "$tmp"
      cat LICENSE.md >> "$tmp"
      echo '' >> "$tmp"
      cat Prologue.md >> "$tmp"
      
      for file in 0*.md; do
        echo '' >> "$tmp"
        cat "$file" >> "$tmp"
      done
      
      for file in 1*.md; do
        echo '' >> "$tmp"
        cat "$file" >> "$tmp"
      done
      
      echo 'Converting...'
      
      pandoc --toc "$tmp" -o "$1" 2>/dev/null
      
      rm "$tmp"
      
      echo 'Done'
      

      title.txt is basically just YAML markup for pandoc. The other files should be fairly obvious.

      I'm silencing pandoc's output, because I make use of a self-reference to add comments to the Markdown, that get killed by the parser and never make it to the output:

      [//]: # (This is a Markdown comment. Isn't that cool?)

      However, as all the references point to themselves, pandoc warns.

      I'm using pandoc this time around, because it produces fairly clean files. I've used GitBook and Calibre in the past, and though the ebooks they produce work and look okay, the amount of crazy markup they produce means the books lag on some ereaders.

      However, that does make a lot of back and forth. Building, checking output, rebuilding, etc.

      20 votes