Science Fiction Microstory Contest discussion

Science Fiction Microstory Contest (July 2016) ** COMMENTS ONLY **

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message 1: by Jot (new)

Jot Russell | 1247 comments Mod
The theme* for the month follows this note from the competition's Creator/Director, Jot Russell:

To help polish our skills and present a flavour of our art to other members in the group, I am continuing this friendly contest for those who would like to participate. There is no money involved, but there is also no telling what a little recognition and respect might generate. The rules are simple:

1) The story needs to be your own work and should be posted on the Good Reads Discussion board, which is a public group. You maintain responsibility and ownership of your work to do with as you please. You may withdraw your story at any time.

2) The stories must be 750 words or less.

3) The stories have to be science fiction, follow a specific theme and potentially include reference to items as requested by the prior month's contest winner. The theme for this month is posted below.

4) You have until midnight EST on the 22nd day of the month to post your story to the Good Reads Science Fiction Microstory Contest discussion. One story per author per month.

5) After, anyone from the LI Sci-Fi group or the GR Science Fiction Microstory Discussion group has until midnight EST of the 25th day of the month to cast a single private vote to Jot Russell () for a story other than their own. This vote will be made public once voting is closed. Voting is required. If you do not vote, your story will be disqualified from the contest. You don't need a qualifying story to cast a vote, but must offer the reason for your vote if you don’t have an entry.

6) To win, a story needs at least half of the votes, or be the only one left after excluding those with the fewest votes. Runoffs will be run each day until a winner is declared. Stories with vote totals that add up to at least half, discarding those with the fewest votes, will be carried forward to the next runoff election. Prior votes will be carried forward to support runoff stories. If you voted for a story that did not make it into the runoff, you need to vote again before midnight EST of that day. Only people who voted in the initial round may vote in the runoffs.

7) Please have all posts abide by the rules of Good Reads and the LI Sci-Fi group.

8) Professional comments and constructive criticisms are appreciated by any member in either group and should be posted to the separate thread that will be posted at the end of the month and all voting is complete to avoid any influence on the voting. Feel free to describe elements that you do and don't like, as these help us gain a better perspective of our potential readers. Remarks deemed inflammatory or derogatory will be flagged and/ or removed by the moderator.

9) The winner has THREE days after the start of the new month to make a copy of these rules and post a new contest thread using the theme/items of their choosing. Otherwise, the originator of the contest, Jot Russell, will post a new contest thread.

*Theme / Requirements for the July 2016 contest:

Must be SciFi

Must Include: Vacation (however you want to use it), Underground City, and someone must receive a message

message 2: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Lichtman | 304 comments Aha!

message 3: by Andy (new)

Andy Gurcak | 91 comments Thanks, Jot.

message 4: by Paula (new)

Paula | 941 comments Yay! p.s., oh dear, those parameters are just reminding me of, again, Willis's Passage. . .

message 5: by C. (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 736 comments Story is up a bit early this time.

Please enjoy.

-C. Lloyd Preville

message 6: by Tom (new)

Tom Olbert | 1088 comments Mine's up.

message 7: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 1034 comments Story is live.

message 8: by Heather (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Love the story, Justin ... it has an intriguing, flowing read-feel to it AND contained within that an arrestingly insightful observation; a telling juxtaposition ... very clever story telling!

message 9: by C. (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 736 comments Justin,

Hah--good one. I'm exploring the dark side of salesmanship at the moment. This was one of my less-cynical efforts.

Maybe I'll try a story about timeshares inside a singularity at some point. The rent is pretty cheap there, but the association fees are crushing.

-C. Lloyd Preville

message 10: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 1034 comments LOL! Funny!

I can see it now, a community called: "Event Horizons"

message 11: by C. (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 736 comments The ultimate in private living. Plenty of time for rest and recreation, and of course the gravity surfing is to die for.

message 12: by Paula (new)

Paula | 941 comments Nice elegant sentence structure to your friend's little piece, Justin.
C., be careful with that g. surfing!

message 13: by Heather (last edited Jul 05, 2016 09:26PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Nice one, James ... you sound just crazy enough to fit in Wwelles with this group of writers! Just warn us if you have a podcast channel, so we know not to be alarmed enough to become part of the (repeat) mass panic ... if you plan to continue your story - of the invasion of Earth by real estate agents... no travel agents ... no uhm, I mean, selling agents of all varieties Oooh, the panic!! I can't think straight!! Which way to safety?!! (screams and scary music plays in background) :)

message 14: by Heather (last edited Jul 05, 2016 10:53PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Actually Justin, on reading James' fun story I realized I had skimmed over a thick layer of your story, like a thick layer of ice cream over a nutritious, organic layer of fruit (or is it fruit cake?) : humour! How did I miss the ice cream? :) Of course your story is ALSO very funny ... but on my first reading I was so impressed by it's other - deeper - qualities that I just dug straight into chomping on the chewy bits.

I must be just as gullible as the 1938 radio-listening public who were taken in by the Wells-via-Welles War of the Worlds broadcast! :) duh ... I guess "Monwedsday" was a serious clue early on, for the humourously-attentive!

message 15: by Dorthe (new)

Dorthe (dortheaabom) | 8 comments Interesting stories so far - not least Justin's inversion of the vacation concept :o)

message 16: by Karl (new)

Karl Freitag | 69 comments Thanks Justin. I enjoyed yours too!

message 17: by Jack (new)

Jack McDaniel | 246 comments I posted a story. Then I decided, theme permitting, I am going to keep adding to this each month for a while and see if I can tell a longer story. I thought it would be a fun challenge.

message 18: by Paula (new)

Paula | 941 comments Sounds a great idea, Jack. According to what I've read online (never mind where!), novellas made of a sequence of micro/flash/short-short fictions (previously lengths that were unsellable :) ) is the coolest, innest thing.

message 19: by Heather (last edited Jul 07, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments I'm contemplating doing the same sort of thing, Jack - taking my last month's story and then creating a new story this month that could be read as a stand alone story but also as a furtherance of the prior story.

I did try something like that last year for a while but wasn't really happy with it, but would like to try it again.

Didn't know it was a 'cool' or 'in' thing to do though, Paula!

If I remember correctly I think I got a critique comment from a group member saying that stories should be 'stand alone' in this contest, not serialized ... but times change and it might be better received this time, or maybe the quality of my prior 'serialization' attempts here just weren't very good back then. But the idea appeals still. (I think with some of the newer members' influence on the group that there is a greater tolerance for experimental ideas, now as compared to say a year or so ago. That's a very good thing!)

message 20: by Heather (last edited Jul 07, 2016 03:40PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Justin, re your asking if I could clarify my opinion about your story having 'depth':

I saw in it a (consciously tackled? or intuitively tackled? I don't know) treatment of the perennial issue of how humans attempt to knit up the two threads of life that make up virtually all drama, comedy, tragedy: those two threads being 'movement' and 'inertia' - because we humans love them both! They provide the dynamism and stability of life ... but we tend to find it hard, scary work to balance them well, and being lazy, a formula - any formula - for doing that appeals ... just like a vacation does! But we know there's no such thing as 'a free vacation' and so the worry and effort and fear ... and the temptation to just drop down dead (or in a dead faint, like Fen's) 'in the quake of it all' can complicate the knitting up of (those two twin threads of) life's black humour.

It was in both your writing style itself and in the content. eg

The apocalypse had been swift [=movement] ...
Yet the roots ... ran deep [=resistance] ....
[X] was virtually unlimited [= movement.]
However, [Y] was not [= inertia].

So it came to pass one day when Tobias Fen was on duty, the unexpected happened. Usually his job was simple ... he quietly repeated a simple technical rhyme for his daily routine [= Uh oh, it looks like he's going to have to REALLY learn/remember/figure out how to knit these two threads together, the usual formula/rhyme/rhythm might not suffice.]

Panel One is where my work is done.[= here's where Fen doesn't have to worry about trusting his own judgement to keep life in balance. He has a formula, a rhyme!]
When the dial is green, there’s no need to scream.[= no need to think]
If the gauge is yellow, you may need to bellow. A dial of red is a thing to dread.[=doesn't bear thinking about!]
On Panel Two there’s nothing to do.” [a bit of foreshadowing that here is where Fen is going to be challenged!]
.... and so on and so on and so forth ... your writing style getting into shorter choppier sentences as Fen gets more and more challenged and indecisive and worried about WHO or WHAT FORCE (in charge) is ALSO applying a formula/a rhyme to ensure that 'no one should challenge the mantra of 'do nothing about Panel Two' no matter what!' ... unless one of The Unwitting is tempted to think that the free 'movement' of the mind towards a better balance is 'some sort of vacation!'

re "did I find the Star Wars Easter egg hidden in your story?"

Well, I'm not a Star Wars afficionado by any means, but I'll hazard a guess:
"There is one lesson you've yet to learn. How to become one with the Force!"
―Cin Drallig to Darth Vader
[=how to just keep on repeating the rhyme even when it makes no sense]

or the Easter egg might be hiding under 'Wizard' ?? other than that, I give up ... where is it hidden? (If I can't find it, it's okay, I'm enjoying the chocolate cheesecake!)

message 21: by Heather (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments There's always more layers of life, art and everything (and sometimes of 'magic') to be found, when any layer(s) of anything gets stripped away, I think ... suspect ... hope; so probably no need to worry, I'd say.

message 22: by Heather (last edited Jul 07, 2016 08:44PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Justin, I'm just thinking about what you said re your not knowingly having put the layers into your story that I read as being there.

But does your 'not knowing' they're there mean that they aren't there? Can you reveal what you were thinking your story was about? (You might not want to, as you said, strip it to any more bare bones.)

My reaction to a story is always, in the first instance, purely intuitive and not at all consciously analytical.

I only start analyzing after I begin to wonder why the story had the effect on me it did.

Once the reader gets to contemplating 'the meaning' of a work then there probably is a lot of room for veering from what other readers see in a work and from what the writer intended - because 'meaning' can be imposed!

But is such an 'imposition' by the reader as easy or as possible at the level of what the 'writing style' and the 'content' of a story are doing?

I don't usually have an initial sense of 'the meaning' (though there can be in any story certain 'triggers' that flip me straight out of my initial reverie of intuition.) But, if those triggers are absent-enough, its the 'flow of the writing style' (and the contribution that that particular way of making words flow lends, in its own right, to the feel of the broad poetic sense of the work) that connects with me at the outset of reading. Then next comes the (universal TRUTHworthiness of) the'umbrella content' (which to me, in the case of your story, was that everything could be herded into sheltering under two umbrella categories (representing the two opposite concepts of everyday life's) Movement and Inertia (specifically how we as humans perpetually try to deal with those two opposite forces!!)

The thing is, that that particular flow of writing is there and those particular opposite concepts of Movement and Inertia are there. (That is I don't think they are interpretative, that is to say 'reader-imposed.' What is interpretative is the degree of significance I have given to them! ... as opposed to how much significance, if any, someone else might give them. I would say, for example, that over-reliance on formula/learned rhyme -and even 'education' is a type of formula - equates to Inertia, whereas curiosity and initiative equate to Movement. Fen tried but failed to balance these two forces and this, to me, told of a very significant universal issue or truth.)

But the interesting thing to my mind is: if those things that I saw (viz a flow of writing that is reflective of the interaction of two key and opposite drivers-of-life, Movement and Inertia) are present ... and they are, I'm sure of it ... but you aren't conscious of (nor even have a vague intuitive sense of) having put them in your story, then how did they get into your story? :)

My own answer to that question is that 'the inner artist' has an inherent gnosis of all such truths, without having to be conscious of them, indeed even when dismissing their significance, or presence, in an art-work.

message 23: by Heather (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Sweet dreams!

message 24: by Paula (new)

Paula | 941 comments Heather, I meant stand-alone stories that also work in sequence.
Btw, Justin, Heather, all, please do note that I, and I'm sure a few others here, skip over comments discussing the particular stories until we've read the stories or, even, until after voting on the month's stories.

message 25: by Heather (last edited Jul 08, 2016 07:30PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Well, would it be of value if those who like to discuss the current month's stories put a clear heading at the top of their relevant posts, Paula? eg "TAKE NOTE: THIS POST DISCUSSES A CURRENT MONTH'S STORY."

(I wouldn't want to use the words "SPOILER ALERT" as I don't think that that is what such discussions are at all. I regard them, rather, as a valuable parallel stream (parallel to other streams within the Comments Thread.)

To me such discussions are an enriching and valuable part of the writing experience - and need to be, primarily, centred around whatever the current month's stories are about, in order to engage as optimally as possible with the dynamism-of-thought that comes with focusing on a particular 'live' topic.

It's a Learning and Enriching experience, NOT a Story-Evaluation process, (in any absolute sense, such as, "is the story vote-worthy? yes or no" ... nor in any influential sense, such as, "geez, I never thought of that interpretation before, therefore I'll re-evaluate my interpretation of the story, so as to change my vote or whatever else.")

Personally I have no trouble whatsoever - nor any objection {philosophical, moral or whatever} - in keeping these two parallel properties (of the monthly writing theme/ point-of-interest and challenge/contest) appropriately separate.

But if others don't share this outlook I am happy to put a relevant 'warning' heading on such posts. (p.s. I would hate to see a vote though that had the potential to ban such freedom to be oneself-as-a-type-of-writer: one who finds value in this specific type of interactivity vs one who does not. {I'm not sure if anyone is considering asking for such a vote}. We have some good diversity in the group. I wouldn't like to see that restricted.)

message 26: by Paula (new)

Paula | 941 comments No need for all that mechanism, Heather. One can tell at a glance, no necessity for headlines.

message 27: by Richard (new)

Richard Bunning (richardbunning) | 1 comments It's more than easy to skim the frequent spoilers. Reading them makes a total farce of any vote. But it long ago became apparent that probably a majority here like the clatter. Well, the ones that clatter anyway. Avoid any extra repetitive words- please! Apart from that: let it be- one isn't forced to see.

message 28: by Heather (last edited Jul 08, 2016 07:03AM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments "Avoid any extra repetitive words- please!"

Aright! Alright! Alright! :)

message 29: by Paula (last edited Jul 08, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

Paula | 941 comments Yes, you're right, Richard. Well said. Richard wrote: "It's more than easy to skim the frequent spoilers. Reading them makes a total farce of any vote. But it long ago became apparent that probably a majority here like the clatter. Well, the ones that ..."

message 30: by Andy (new)

Andy Lake I guess it depends what it is.

I don't mind some conversation - a little enthusiasm and insight never goes amiss. It gets a bit dull through the month if no one says a word. And then after the vote we just rush on to the next contest, with little discussion of any of the stories. Most of the stories get no feedback at all, and some writers never offer any feedback at all. That makes it all about the vote - and should it be?

In another group - Carrie's one - active critiquing is encouraged and I think works well.
Except one time when I wrote a story with a surprise at the end and someone came straight in with their comments revealing details about the twist. Knowing the twist in a story ruins the reading of the build-up. I was tempted at that point to delete it altogether.

I think there are things one can say without giving the game away, though. And it's also possible if people have made howlers or typos or something in particular appeals greatly to contact them directly.

message 31: by Heather (last edited Jul 08, 2016 08:13PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Talking of 'balance' (as Andy is)
I will just say that Chris' story is one of the best ever here!

Without 'giving the game away' I will just say what it 'looks like' in my mind's eye. It appears, in 3D, like a simple funnel-shaped concept -floating in space for humanity to see if it wishes - coming to a sharp point at the end, a perfect balancing point ... and therefore ... (I am really controlling myself to NOT SAY some more about that here!) in the perfectly balanced final sentence:

"[X] (this place isn't a lab)" [ = ] "[Y] (it's a slaughterhouse)"

message 32: by Paula (last edited Jul 08, 2016 11:44PM) (new)

Paula | 941 comments Justin, I was not speaking for the entire group, nor would I wish to discourage discussion of the stories. Obviously, as Andy said, giving away endings of stories likely affects the reader's pleasure in them; but of course there are a zillion ways to discuss a tale without the "reveal." But other discussion, and exploration of themes, and indeed critiquing, when done well, is part of the value of any writers group, surely.

message 33: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Alleson (goodreadscomjjalleson) | 105 comments Suggestion: perhaps writers could put an abbrieviation after their title indicating whether or not they welcome critique before voting eg C, or NC.

This way it might give more flavour to the discussion and allow greater involvement in feedback. Critiquing is also a two-way street; defining the skill of both the writer and the reviewer. It might even draw more members in.

I took note sometime ago of a discussion which agreed that commentary be held off until after the voting. However some critique or observation is fine. It's when it becomes personal and plays favourites that doesn't work for me.

None of us have independent opinions, which means there are some who may be swayed by the stronger characters here. That's a given anywhere in society. But this group is too small to get cliquey - and there is a danger of that happening when people jump in with unwanted critiques.

message 34: by Heather (last edited Jul 09, 2016 04:41AM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments And what is 'the' or 'a' "reveal" anyway?

The access to the stories here is open to all and so each story reveals itself to each reader according to their own interpretation. The thing about this group when it works well is that interpretations of what is revealed to different minds can be shared, giving greater pleasure in each story, whenever such a multiplicity of interpretations is welcomed.

(And of course this is a Comments Thread and so those who choose not to "have other people's thoughts pitter-pattering through their head" (as from memory someone once said!) can simply restrict themselves to not reading the viewpoints here, while leaving those who want to free to do that!)

Yes there has to be some discernment, but, in this setting there is no one standard and immutable 'plot' or 'twist' to be given away to others not yet exposed to the stories.

I, for example, can see a twist in Chris's story that occurs AFTER the last line (set up by the last line) to do with the nature of mathematical thinking. (I won't say exactly what it is.) But did Chris intend it? I don't know! Do others see that twist or other twists? (some may see the last line as 'the twist.')

I love hearing what others are getting from the stories and what the writer got and gave. I don't think "reader's pleasure" can or should be herded into the one corral? And for those who think it should, then that corral is very easily found. It is the (more pristine) Stories Thread.

EDIT: That's a good option that JJ has suggested that people can put a C - for "critiques welcome" or NC - for "Not For Critiquing" at the beginning or end of their stories. (We must have been typing at the same time so I didn't see it before posting this.) (I think it is generally possible to guage how people feel about critiques by their responses to such, so one (eventually) knows to steer clear of some writers' stories! ... but JJ's idea would make it absolutely certain.)

EDIT again: If we do adopt JJ's suggestion, it would be useful to also include the option D and ND for "Discussion of Story welcome" and "No Discussion of Story wanted" respectively. Critiques and discussions-with the author-&-interested-others are two very different beasts! Critiquing is a writing skill. Discussion is an exchange of ideas and perceptions; a more informal activity. (eg I would call my exchanges with Justin re his stories "discussions" ... and also the same goes for a lot of the exchanges last month about Jeremy's story. That was much more in the realm of (at least so I thought) fascinating discussions rather than critiquing!)

message 35: by Heather (last edited Jul 09, 2016 02:26AM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Are you able to post a link to Carrie's writing group, and/or any other that you would recommend, Andy?

message 36: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Alleson (goodreadscomjjalleson) | 105 comments Lol. I'm reminded of the closing statement by Joshua in War Games. Or a subtle re-wording thereof . . .

message 37: by C. (last edited Jul 09, 2016 01:09PM) (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 736 comments Interesting... we're now discussing the 64 dollar question: what to say about someone's story prior to the vote?

It seems to me there are three options:
1. Say nothing, a choice I've pretty much made; a safe way to go but it leads to a boring and quiet forum.
2. Say something nice about everyone's story or just your favorite writer's stories, which turns this contest into a politically oriented popularity contest or,
3. Say something responsible.

Since option three is something I really haven't really thought about very much, I'll do so now. It's tricky.

This contest as I read Jot's intentions should not be a popularity contest. And comments really should focus on contributing to the skills and confidence of our writers, particularly the newer ones. An inclusive, welcoming environment which encourages quality writing and constant improvement is what I think we're all striving for.

I can say that in my own experience, a few comments of support and encouragement early on in my participation in this forum really meant a lot to me.

It seems to me that comments would be most helpful if they offer constructive criticism which helps to improve the quality of writing in a positive way, but without influencing the contest intentionally or not. And so perhaps our discussions about stories prior to the vote should keep to comparisons with the writer's own prior works, rather than comparing stories or picking favorites among the actual competitors' stories. This may be done later, during the voting, which is when I included my observations about the quality of stories, which I offered as the reasons for my votes. Perhaps Jot could publish these voting comments as he used to do on our prior forum site.

So an easy rule might be not to compliment, pick favorites, or compare stories during the competition, only during voting. I'll offer a simple three letter acronym: No CFC's. No (unqualified) compliments, (picking) favorites, or (making current story) comparisons.

That can all wait for the vote. Picking your favorite is what the voting is all about.

It's a slippery slope. If we allow the group to devolve into a small group of writers each complimenting the others around their little coffee clutch table, everyone else will be discouraged and feel left out. And nobody likes a coffee clutch. Too much conversation, not enough good writing.

Besides--new talent should always be welcomed, since it makes for a more interesting group.

That's my two cents worth.

-C. Lloyd Preville

message 38: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Alleson (goodreadscomjjalleson) | 105 comments Different members handle discussions differently.

Yep, sticking with Joshua's advice... :-)

message 39: by Paula (new)

Paula | 941 comments Haven't seen/read War Games. (War Game, otoh!) But hey whatever.
C. Lloyd, yes---agreed---very good distinction. Discuss one another's works, critique where author open to a given story being critiqued, but avoid comparisons etc. between a month's stories until most folks have their first-round votes in.
J.J.'s point, btw, is also crucial--if you critique a story, your critique is also being critiqued and/or judged. On this---look at some of the critiques on Goodreads of, say, a couple of your favorite books; you'll see that a few were written with both knowledge of writing/literature and a commitment to look seriously at/into the particular tale; best is to aim for such skillful commitment with each story (insofar as time allows).

message 40: by Heather (last edited Jul 10, 2016 01:20AM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments I think there should be three threads: 1. story thread; 2. critique thread; 3. comments (general discussion) thread.

We already have threads '1.' and '3.' We would only need to add in the critiques thread.

For some reason there seems to be not enough distinction being made, by some here, between 'critiquing' and 'having a discussion based around anything, including 'someone's story'' (where that person has shown a willingness to participate in that discussion - eg as in Justin's story that month and Jeremy's last month.) In neither case was there any hint of favouritism or unfair comparisons. There was just enthusiastic commentary! (I admit that this month I did seemingly 'compliment' Chris' story ... without knowing whether he was OK for his story to be discussed. But it wasn't meant as leaving others out ... I was just picking up on something that really struck me.) I don't even begin to think in terms of who's better than who, or cliques, and the like. I do think people who are condemning of 'general discussion' seeing such discussion as displaying favouritism, and the like, should remember that just because they see 'ill' in a situation it doesn't mean that 'ill' is actually there! It might just be the way their mind works! (And it is simply the case that those people can themselves be quite inconsistent in their comments.)

In a case like the one where I commented on Chris's story, it would be very handy to have the symbols such as JJ suggested, re whether a writer is open to pre-voting CRITIQUING (and expanding that idea to include the ones I also suggested re being whether a writer is open to pre voting DISCUSSION ... based around their story.) That would allow for the comments thread to allow for human foibles and we ALL have them ... and those who only like pristine comments can avoid the thread ... and thus avoid sparking discord by trying to herd everyone into one mindset!

Also, re JJ's observation, re Joshua's comment (Joshua is the computer "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?." {sorry about that "reveal" :) } ) I can say that, my own perception of myself, is that, I'm not a game player ... and where others see 'discussion' as 'a game' with winners and losers being necessarily therefore in the mix, I am moved towards agreeing that "the only winning move is not to play." I just can't be bothered whenever an activity is being mis-cast as 'power games' instead of as the enthusiasm for genuine discussion and exchange that I see it as!

I've been thinking about taking a rest from the group for a while in any case. Now seems like a good time to do that. I'm not leaving the group, just having a break.

My 'chess' (okay, yes it's another game - but such a nicer one :) one presumes! :)) is going to be my other projects: learning web development; trying my hand at my mystery/thriller novel; the memoir (a combination of real-life perceptions and micro-stories) that I am working on; and, experimenting with graphic noveling ... and maybe even some animation of my graphic noveling in an online form of that (when I get a bit further into my web development learning) ... and, getting myself as fit as I can - through hydrotherapy - and just relaxing a bit - knitting, gardening etc - after a bit of 'a heart scare' ... and putting in some energy and effort towards some of the humane causes that enthuse me ... and everything else that (makes having 'won' the lottery to be a part of the Game of Life) makes some sort of sense, if sense there be.

message 41: by Richard (last edited Jul 10, 2016 12:35AM) (new)

Richard Bunning (richardbunning) | 1 comments Can an author afford to be a critic?
If one does what can one say other than, write like me- an arrogance I'd rather avoid- I'll leave that crap to Steven, there is only one way to write, King and other numerous luvvies. We can sum up all modern theory of writing as **** the readers mind in every single chapter.
We learn how to write by reading, not through dissecting writing. The vote, it's pattern, is indicative enough for those that wish to learn. Certainly it isn't an accurate guide, but it is a useful signpost as to what the middle-aged might consider worthwhile.

message 42: by Heather (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments that chessboards's looking so appealing

message 43: by Karl (last edited Jul 10, 2016 05:48AM) (new)

Karl Freitag | 69 comments We learn how to write by reading, not through dissecting writing.

I fully agree with this. I’m an aficionado of science fiction short stories from the 50s and 60s and I honestly can’t stomach a lot of the emo stuff that’s acclaimed as being good SF writing these days.

My style of storytelling is inspired by writers like Sheckley, Brown, Asimov, PKD and Lafferty, which obviously doesn’t resonate with the character über alles faction here, but for me, ideas/situations trump character - especially in micro SF.

I’ve been in writing critique groups where virtually any descriptive passage is derided as an info dump, earning the obligatory “show don’t tell lecture.” Shut up! The other one is ‘write more about the character. I don’t feel an emotional bond.’ Please. Even Heinlein has been accused of having cardboard characters. I mean, if it’s good enough for Heinlein, it’s certainly good enough for me.

On the other hand, I do appreciate feedback and discussion on plots. That can sometimes be quite helpful.

message 44: by J.J. (last edited Jul 10, 2016 05:43AM) (new)

J.J. Alleson (goodreadscomjjalleson) | 105 comments Sorry Paula, how provincial of me! I just assumed everyone had seen this classic so didn't go into the humdrum details (if you can call forcing a computer to avoid global destruction by beating itself playing tic-tac-toe as humdrum!)

Heather thanks for the 'reveal' - was just about to post a link to it.
Paula, there you go just in case you missed it in Heather's.

message 45: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Alleson (goodreadscomjjalleson) | 105 comments There's absolutely never going to be any equality of discussion. We're all different beasts for a reason. If we were all alike, there'd be only need for just the one.

Still, I can't help feeling I've inadvertently called a bluff. Took my C off.

message 46: by C. (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 736 comments JJ,

Good for you. It's never good for a writer get too comfortable.

What did you mean by "took my C off?" Was this a reference to me, or to some abbreviated item of clothing like "coat?"


message 47: by Tom (new)

Tom Olbert | 1088 comments Justin wrote: "Tom wrote: "Mine's up."


Clever time-shifting and use of this month's required elements."

Thank you, Justin. I found the narrative in yours compelling and direct. I thought it was a very effective use of dark humor in illustrating the decline of a post-apocalyptic tech society into a new dark age. My compliments.

message 48: by Tom (new)

Tom Olbert | 1088 comments I'm especially enjoying this month's entries. (Without getting too specific, in deference to the controversy over pre-voting commentary) - This month's entries so far lean more toward traditional story-telling; scenes over narrative, which I like.

There are poetically descriptive passages that reminded me a little of Bradbury, concepts that reminded me of Asimov and chilling "aha" moments that brought Rod Serling to mind.

My compliments to all.

message 49: by C. (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 736 comments JJ,

Hah. This all can get so very complicated when you're just a letter like me.

-CC (As in Canadian Club Whiskey, my favorite anti-anxiety drug.)

message 50: by Paula (last edited Jul 10, 2016 05:15PM) (new)

Paula | 941 comments Whee! J.J., thank you! I'd not seen that (and love getting to see just the last part, skip the meat-n-potatoes course). Super--well done filmically and music and acting too. Thanks again.
And btw, you're one of hte last persons I'd characterize as "provincial."
J.J. wrote: "Sorry Paula, how provincial of me! I just assumed everyone had seen this classic so didn't go into the humdrum details (if you can call forcing a computer to avoid global destruction by beating its..."

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