Robinski

Robinski - 160719 - Qk - Submission 1 - 3861 words

16 posts in this topic

Hey there.

The following are portraits of three characters in a story I am planning. I am writing this story as I work through Season 10 of Writing Excuses, which is set up as a writing ‘masterclass’ for listeners to work through with a particular project they are writing. I'm near the start where main consideration is about characters. The particular exercise (homework!!) is as follows:

(S10-E5) Take three different characters and walk them through a scene. Convey their emotional states, their jobs, and their hobbies without directly stating any of those. The scene in question: walking through a marketplace, and they need to do a dead-drop.

Here is my attempt. I know there are issues with it, and certain things that I should go back and punch up, but I'm just trying to maintain progress at this point, so I'm not putting any work into polishing - apologies!

The comments I'm looking for are all around the characters, although anything else that you might wish to comment on in relation to world-building, etc. is more than welcome.

Thanks for reading!!

<R>

Edited by Robinski
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These 'character sketches' are pretty good. There's a lot of world-building in there too, but I feel you achieve a good balance between that and the character info, and the world-building is done differently for each POV character.

Quirk is good overall, and I really liked the "attack of cynicism" bit. I see a well-cultured white-collar criminal in this piece.
(my own cynical comment: I'm not even sure McD's has any actual meat today!)

Moth has a lot more personality, but is also a bit more confusing . What kind of flaming convent is she in!? Moth is a rude brat, isn't she. Which is amusing, but might get tiresome after a while.

I didn't like the Robot POV as much as the other two. But I do have to tip my hat for the stylistic choice you made here. I get less character out of this than the others, and more of a generic robot. But I might just have a touch of Asimov's Frankenstein complex. :P 

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Similar thoughts to Eagle on this.  I liked all three characters, though Moth probably the least, as I didn't catch her motivation as much as the others.  The
robot, I'm assuming, didn't have much choice, and Quirk seemed to be doing it for amusement and respect.


Quirk was my favorite character, and very intriguing.  I want to know why/how he has so much wealth and who Fantano is, if Quirk jumps to do his bidding.

Moth, is, basically, a brat.  She seems to have a lot of anger to random strangers, which is not unheard of, but as I said, takes away from her motivation.  Why take
this job for what seems like not a lot of pay, if she's basically telling everyone to screw off.
I at first thought Mister Grimes was Quirk, playing along, but that seems not to be the case.  

Like Eagle, I enjoyed the Azimov aspect of the robot perspective, though it doesn't, of course, have much personality.

On worldbuilding, it was generally enjoyable, near/far future Earth.  I liked the omnipresent restaurant (Taken from Demolition Man, perhaps?) and the extrapolation
of future country bloc lineups.

Interested to see what the story holds!

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19 hours ago, Eagle of the Forest Path said:

Moth is a rude brat, isn't she. Which is amusing, but might get tiresome after a while.

Hey Eagle, thanks so much for the comments. Yeah, she is!! There's what I hope is a good reason for it that would come out in a story. I'm not entirely sure at this point where it's a short (I doubt it); a Novella (Hmm...) or a Novel (unlikely). My current plan is to write an initial story that I would like to turn into a series of episode (capers? possibly). In fact, I conceived it initially as having all three of these characters, so Mandamon is closer than perhaps he knew with the comment about Grimes.

So, the reason I would be able to get away with Moth being a brat is by offsetting her against Quirk's more calm, coll and considered approach to life.

I'm planning to work all through WE Season 10 with these characters, so there will be more story elements coming forward in coming weeks, I hope. But they will be WE exercises, so might be a bit fragmented rather than a continuous through line of narrative.

Thanks again, Eagle.

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16 hours ago, Mandamon said:

 I liked all three characters, though Moth probably the least, as I didn't catch her motivation as much as the others.

Thanks Mandamon, excellent comments, as ever, and pretty much the sort of reaction I was hoping for. I won't repeat what I say above to Eagle, but I hope to make these characters work together.

Not seen Demolition Man in an age. I wonder what Wesley Snipes is doing now, I think he's out of jail.

Interestingly, since I was in Milan with my family in about 2007, the McDonald's in the central 'square' (octagon) of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele has been 'forced' out of the mall so they could put in a second Prada store. I feel that's there's a story right there!!

Thanks again, Mandamon, much appreciated.

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First of all, I really enjoyed your writing style. There were plenty of well-crafted sentences to sink my teeth into. I liked Quirk's sketch the best. I felt like I learned a lot about him as he reacted to his changing surroundings. The depiction of the surroundings nicely mirrored his moods.

As with Eagle, I'm not sure how much of Moth I could stand to read. Also, her vignette didn't leave much of an impression with me overall. With Quirk, I felt like I was in the scene and strutting alongside him. But after Moth's story, I didn't recall much that I had read except her crabbiness. I wasn't as invested in her section. Though, it was just one scene and not every scene needs to leave a lasting impact, I suppose.

As for characterization in general, these vignettes are a good introduction to these characters, but I'm not yet hooked and dying to know more about them. I imagine that with a few more pages and more information about them I very well could be. Nice work!

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Great comments, thanks Coop, much appreciated.

Yup - it's across the board (so far), which is what I might have expected. I totally accept your point about Moth not leaving a lasting impression. I would not say that I consciously wrote her section that way, but I was conscious during it and reading back that I was not including the same amount or kind of world-building, or as many character clues (maybe just unanswered questions).

Still, I'm totally happy with the reactions to Moth. My plan for the actual stories is for her to be a foil for Quirk, but not the enemy. So, her present lack of likeability is not a bad thing, and pretty much designed in - as I guess you can tell from the fact that I don't put any effort into trying to make his likeable!

And your kind comments about style are very - thank you for reading!

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Hah. I liked Moth. I didn't like her weird moment of sticking her tongue out at the businessmen (that went beyond immaturity into antisocial behavior), but I found her well-intentioned interactions with Mister Grimes strangely fascinating in the context of the rest of her background. What sort of convent is this anyway? LOL. I am rather confused on what exactly she did in relation to the drop? I'm not sure how her interactions in the restaurant moved the package along? I kept waiting for her to pick it up out of the trashcan and I feel like I missed whatever she actually did. 

Quirk's character section was slower moving for me. I like some of the cultural observations while others dragged for me. His narcissism made it harder for me to like him, but that's quite possibly intentional on your part.

I like the diversity of having a robot being a character - and how you kept it short and to the point. 

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11 hours ago, spieles said:

I am rather confused on what exactly she did in relation to the drop? - Just dropped the envelope in the trash along with her napkins.

His narcissism made it harder for me to like him, but that's quite possibly intentional on your part. - Yup. More character / story development to come in the next few weeks, so I won't prejudice that be revealing any more of my intentions, yet.

I like the diversity of having a robot being a character. - There's certainly potential there for me to learn more about diversity.

Thanks Spieles, I value your opinion and I love that you a different reaction to Moth. Her behaviour and Quirk's narcissism are reactions to how life has treated them (so far). I haven't written more than a few notes on background. I have yet to write full profiles, but I'm really looking forward to it. Writing Excuses Season 10 is really helping me zero in on how I put stories together.

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Strapped in and ready to go!

Overall

I like Quirk a lot. Rich imagery trails him, and he has a distinctive personality. I don't often connect with male protags without some female also being heavily involved in the narrative, but I could probably follow (and like) a Quirk narrative. Moth's POV seems rougher. I expect her to see a more gritty side of the city, but the grittiness doesn't come through. Her age seems to bounce as well, which it does for a 13 year old, but it really confused me for a while. I'd love to see more city descriptive views from Moth that contrast Quirk, especially since his were so vivid. I really enjoyed the android scene!

Per other reader's comments - I'm with @spieles on Moth. I really did enjoy her character, although I'd love to see it cleaned up a bit in terms of description. In contrast, I liked Quirk too, but mainly for the richness his POV brought to the narrative. I could totally get on board with a robot character as well, especially if well written.

As I go

- I'm having a hard time picturing what a 'light and shiny' terminal would look like

- Quirk likes tight bums on men, eh? OK, you have my interest.

- Second paragraph of page two reads as info dump without POV

- Yes, Quirk. Tell me more about why you would want to put your hands in someone else's pockets.  

- Page 2: pouring out love from behind a menu seems...rushed. Pouring out interest maybe? Affection? Love seems a strong word here.

- page 3: I don't think pleather needs an explanation. It's pretty well known

- page 4: Grown ups were idiots - how old is Moth? Kids up to about thirteen use the word 'grown-ups' like that, but you've described her as more like 16. 

- Per above, the tongue sticking out on page 4 again puts Moth younger, maybe even down to about 8. I am really confused about her age now

- Ah page six and we have an age. 13. I can see that. Carry on.

 

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8 hours ago, kaisa said:

Tell me more about why you would want to put your hands in someone else's pockets

Kaisa, honestly, you're incorrigible! I hadn't even thought about that angle. His sexuality is not well defined yet, it's the first I've written of these chrs, so it's early days.

8 hours ago, kaisa said:

Affection? Love seems a strong word here.

Agreed.

8 hours ago, kaisa said:

I don't think pleather needs an explanation. It's pretty well known

The underlines were notes for me - they would come out certainly.

8 hours ago, kaisa said:

the tongue sticking out on page 4 again puts Moth younger

Really? Anyway, this scene is in the middle of something, if I even use it, so I would make sure her age was well established earlier in the story.

Thanks so much for the comments, Kaisa - much appreciated. An almost-published-in-fiction author read my stuff!! *swoon*  Thank you  ;-)

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Something I forgot in my original comment: you can add the trademark™ symbol with Alt Gr + T (or Alt + Shift + T, depending on your keyboard and/or operating system).
That way you don't have to mess around with superscript.

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All right; given the nature of the sub I'm going to leave off prose commentary.

I don't much care for Quirk's POV; I think he would be more entertaining from someone else's eyes. As it is I find him pretty tedious; trying too hard, as it were. There's a sensation of disdain for his own trappings that I'm catching on, I think; he may think it's nice that people appreciate these particular fine things, but I'm not feeling so much that he does, either. He comes off like a poseur to me, a few degrees out from 'correct', and it chafes.

Moth is generally more readable, though her vernacular is all over the place. She does not have a coinsistent voice; you're mixing both age and formality registers like crazy and the result is kind of dissonant. The homophobia and misogyny feel unnecessary, too; I don't think they're adding much to the character's voice or personality; one gets a pretty clear impression of her roughness without going that route. Even so, I've got a strong preference for her and her voice.

Professor Robot is novel, though something feels inconsistent in the stylings of some of these messages; the warnings in particular feel a bit out to me. Still, this one was fun.

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- This could be splitting hairs, but I always think of a turbine as part of a machine instead of the complete machine.

- I like that water actually has brands and level of filtration. That's a neat world touch, and a perfectly realistic one too. It also serves to show the Professor seems to have some financial wealth.

- I also like that Moth doesn't like conning nice people. It reflects a certain degree of moral compass.

- I agree the profanity feels a bit out of place. I know it makes her a more rough character, but when it is only used sparingly, it's a bit jarring.

- I'm intrigued by Professor Robot. Not sure how much you could do with his mode of conversation, but I'd definitely like to see more. I could see it feeling gimmicky if over done, so I'd really like to see him react with the other two characters.

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Thanks for the great comments, NeonGrey.

On 23/07/2016 at 10:56 AM, neongrey said:

trying too hard, as it were. There's a sensation of disdain for his own trappings that I'm catching on, I think; he may think it's nice that people appreciate these particular fine things, but I'm not feeling so much that he does, either.

This one is bang on. Exactly what I have in mind for the character. I can debate with myself whether I managed this by accident or design, but I'm glad that you saw it this way. His character is certainly intended to go deeper than that of a mere popinjay.

On 23/07/2016 at 10:56 AM, neongrey said:

Moth is generally more readable, though her vernacular is all over the place. She does not have a coinsistent voice; you're mixing both age and formality registers like crazy and the result is kind of dissonant.

That's fine - I accept that. She isn't really tied down in my thoughts, so that should improve as things develop. One of the WE exercise coming up soon is to write the scenes before and after the dead drop scene, so that will be my next opportunity to smooth off some of the rough edges, hopefully.

On 23/07/2016 at 10:56 AM, neongrey said:

Professor Robot is novel, though something feels inconsistent in the stylings of some of these messages; the warnings in particular feel a bit out to me. Still, this one was fun.

Again, I'm perfectly happy with such comments. It's one pass at this style and very much not worked through in terms of logic or feel, just s sketch of how the android's PoV might look. As others have noted, I would not presume to have big slabs of this stuff but, if the 'robot' does appear as an important character, I will put a lot more into his specs, as it were.

Super comments, thank you so much.

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Hey RD, thank you for commenting, much appreciated.

19 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

This could be splitting hairs, but I always think of a turbine as part of a machine instead of the complete machine.

Yeah, I know what you mean, but it's simply shorthand. Consider the use of 'engine' when talking about a train. The link is 'inspired' (ahem) lifted from the Rush song, Red Barchetta, which uses a couple of terms in reference to a train-like vehicle, as follows:

     And now on Sundays I elude the eyes; And hop the turbine freight; To far outside the wire where my; White-haired uncle waits
     Jump to the ground as the turbo slows; To cross the borderline; Run like the wind as excitement shivers; Up and down my spine
 
19 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

I agree the profanity feels a bit out of place. I know it makes her a more rough character, but when it is only used sparingly, it's a bit jarring.

Yeah - I was certainly going for jarring. I suppose it maybe more of a problem where she's on her own, as my plan is to have some of combination of these characters acting together and playing off one another.

19 hours ago, rdpulfer said:

I could see it feeling gimmicky if over done, so I'd really like to see him react with the other two characters.

QED!!

Thanks again for the comments, very helpful.

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