Forum: Dwim's Stories (was Lie Down...)

Discussing: Drabble Dungeon

Drabble Dungeon

This thread is for the occasional drabble that may need to be worked on. So far, it has but one occupant, thus far brutally cut down by about twenty words. Still need to shave off thirty more. *sharpens scalpel* An Exercise in Optics Draft one
The White City in her splendor gleams beneath the king's banner. Lonely had her ways been through the years of his first formation, and shadowed in the last years, when fear had lain so heavy upon them all. But now, as the widow in her weeds becomes the bride in her brilliance, so the city had cast off her former raiment and made herself anew. Walking the streets between past and present, Faramir feels his brother close, like the heat on his back, intimate as his own shadow. And despite the grief, still he is glad. For not by hands alone is Minas Tirith transformed, but eyes, too, must see as through a different glass, so that the city shall not forget her shades, nor her shades remain unchanged. For we, too, are remade after the breaking that war wreaked on stone and flesh. Walk with me, Boromir, and see!
Draft two
The City resplendant gleams beneath the king's banner. Lonely and fear-shadowed had her ways been through the long years of his first formation. But now, as the widow in her weeds becomes the bride in her brilliance, the city had cast off her former raiment and made herself anew. Walking streets between past and present, Faramir feels his brother close, like the heat on his back, intimate as his own shadow. And despite the grief he is glad, for not by hands alone is Minas Tirith transformed. Eyes, too, must see as through a different glass, that the City not forget her shades, nor untimely bury still-living memory. For we, too, are remade after the breaking war wreaked on stone and flesh. Walk with me, Boromir, and see!
I think that "nor untimely bury still-living memory" will be substituted no matter what—I like it better since it resonates nicely with the theme of memory and its ills and graces that runs throughout the Ardaverse. I'm less happy with alterations to the second line of the drabble, although it does cut out a good number of words. Really not sure at this point whether I can cut the required 28 words from this. The last line may be changeable but it has to be in there in some fashion or the whole thing makes no sense. Suggestions?

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Dwim, I am trying to wrap my head around: But now, as the widow in her weeds becomes the bride in her brilliance, the city had cast off her former raiment and made herself anew. It seems to jar a little bit, since until quite recently marriages of widows were somewhat subdued doings. Or is this meant to convey that the city is reveling in pure forgetfulness of past darkness and loss and that this, to Faramir, is a discordant note? I do think that "nor untimely bury still-living memory" is very good as is the whole of the second paragraph, very resonant. B. Iris

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Hi B. Iris! It seems to jar a little bit, since until quite recently marriages of widows were somewhat subdued doings. Or is this meant to convey that the city is reveling in pure forgetfulness of past darkness and loss and that this, to Faramir, is a discordant note? Drat. What I was after was an image of transformation that would continue the metaphor of the city as "she" and would follow naturally the move from darkness to light. It's not meant to be discordant or to indicate forgetfulness, but to signify renewal. The bride imagery is pretty powerful (brilliance, radiance, etc.), imo, but the obvious contrast (and the one that fits in the fewest words) is the image of the widow, not of the virgin. So perhaps a different symbol needed, there.

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

The bride imagery is pretty powerful (brilliance, radiance, etc.), imo, but the obvious contrast (and the one that fits in the fewest words) is the image of the widow, not of the virgin. So perhaps a different symbol needed, there. How about a sister or a daughter or...... This is Faramir you are writing about.

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Drat. What I was after was an image of transformation that would continue the metaphor of the city as "she" and would follow naturally the move from darkness to light. It's not meant to be discordant or to indicate forgetfulness, but to signify renewal. The bride imagery is pretty powerful (brilliance, radiance, etc.), imo, but the obvious contrast (and the one that fits in the fewest words) is the image of the widow, not of the virgin. So perhaps a different symbol needed, there. Hello there, O Evil One! :-) Popping in to see what you're musing on. For my part, I like the imagery of the bride and the rhythm of the words used. Perhaps it could be something as simple as saying; 'But now, as the widow in her weeds may become the bride in her brilliance, the city had cast off her former raiment and made herself anew.' That may alter the context enough to make it sound more like hope/renewal as your metaphor. Yes? No? Maybe? But I do find the widow-to-bride metaphor as the most fitting and powerful for your purpose, here. In other news, I honestly do not see where you can cut any more words out without losing the lovely resonance and imagery you have going here. It is my humble but firm opinion that the final passage should not be touched. Faramir's contemplation of remaking is needed to support the emotional impact of his speaking to Boromir's shade, and the plea to Boromir is the gut-punch of the whole piece, to me. Nor can I see anything else that can afford to be cut out. And really, do we mind a drabble-and-a-half, when it's something as beautiful as this? Cheers ~ Erin

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Sisters and daughters: sisters and daughters, however, lack the inherent darkness of the widow, which was why I didn't use them in the first place. It'd need to be something else, some other role that parallels Minas Tirith's original darkness (as posited in this drabble) and which can be transformed into brilliance.

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Hello there, O Evil One! :-) Hi Erin! For my part, I like the imagery of the bride and the rhythm of the words used. Perhaps it could be something as simple as saying; 'But now, as the widow in her weeds may become the bride in her brilliance [snip etc.] I do like it as well, and agree that it is powerful as it stands, if perhaps anachronistic, but if I can come up with something that would work as well as a substitute, I'd be willing to change it (especially if it had fewer words!). In other news, I honestly do not see where you can cut any more words out without losing the lovely resonance and imagery you have going here. Well, I'll push it about some more here. I always keep multiple copies of things, just so that I am able to drastically alter them free of cost. And really, do we mind a drabble-and-a-half, when it's something as beautiful as this? We do when we are aiming for a drabble! ;-P But if I can't make it work, I can't make it work, and I do like trying to keep things at even multiples of a drabble (1/2, 3/2, 2).

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Widow. Widow widow widow widow. I like it as you have it. That whole passage gives me a mental image of a piece of polished black obsidian suddenly catching the sun and blazing to clear white light. And yes, I have a strange brain. Cheers ~ Erin

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

We do when we are aiming for a drabble! ;-P But if I can't make it work, I can't make it work, and I do like trying to keep things at even multiples of a drabble (1/2, 2, 3/2). Ah, well I do understand that wish to hit the target squarely. Hmm. I don't know the word-count you're presently at ... if you can't trim down to an even 100, would it be acceptable to balance at an even 150? Or is that too far off the purpose of drabbling this image? Cheers ~ Erin [*who is really not trying to take over your discussion, LOL!*]

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Widow widow widow widow Repetition is making me think of black spiders and *that* is giving me unwelcome goosebumps that even writing Shelob failed to give! That whole passage gives me a mental image of a piece of polished black obsidian suddenly catching the sun and blazing to clear white light. And yes, I have a strange brain. No, that's a great image! Very much like it. Save it for another story or a poem, I say.

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

<> I personally don't think you should cut out 30 words of it. The sky will not fall if it's not a perfect drabble. But one sentance is problematic; naturally I can't copy it into this post. The first clause "Lonely had her ways been throught the years of his first formation" bothers me, because I don't know who/what "his first formation" refers to. But I love what comes after, the "shadowed" bit, and the fear lying heavily on them all. RAKSHA

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

It'd need to be something else, some other role that parallels Minas Tirith's original darkness (as posited in this drabble) and which can be transformed into brilliance. But do you need to specify the "She" in question really? just to throw out a wild hare it could be something like: "And abandoning her endless dark vigil she cast off her mourning and came forth as a bride........." Just my .02

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

I don't know the word-count you're presently at ... if you can't trim down to an even 100, would it be acceptable to balance at an even 150? Or is that too far off the purpose of drabbling this image? I'm at 128. :-S I'd settle for 150 (3/2, I think, of a drabble), but grrrr... can't resist the temptation to try to find a way to trim it. However, given that I was fifty words over, and I generally can't cut more than thirty, it may be that I'd have to try writing this again from scratch. That's usually how it works with these. Maybe if I'm very good, Faramir will talk to me again from a different (less wordy) perspective. Or maybe I'll find some means of trimming this one a wee bit more.

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Hello Raksha! But one sentance is problematic; naturally I can't copy it into this post. The first clause "Lonely had her ways been throught the years of his first formation" bothers me, because I don't know who/what "his first formation" refers to. I was wondering if anyone would catch on that. In my head, Faramir has been formed by two things: the war, and its ending. His life falls into roughly two halves. So his first formation is his formation under the shadow of war; his second is his transformation into a steward of peace. Why leave it in there if it's unclear? Well, it fits more closely with the notion of transformation—to pass beyond what has formed one originally. It also touches on the idea of a vocation or calling, which I think is important for LOTR characters (clergy undergo "formation"), and of course, one cannot be remade (reformed) unless one has a shape already. Obviously, there is absolutely no way to cram that in there even given a two hundred word limit. But that's what it means, roughly, and why I used that particular wording. Btw, you said: naturally I can't copy it into this post Why is that? Technical glitch or something else? If technical, I refer you to the contact forms—Ang will kill the bug, if bug it be and if it's a HASA bug, not a browser bug.

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Still need to shave off thirty more. Ooh, I love a challenge like that. Which version are you on after these discussions, Dwim? PS I'd say keep 'widow'. The imagery is really, really striking, and I like the alliteration: 'widow-weeds'; 'bride-brilliance'.

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Which version are you on after these discussions, Dwim? Draft three...
The City resplendant gleams beneath the king's banner. As the widow in her weeds becomes the bride in her brilliance, Minas Tirith casts off the shroud of war that had so long darkened her ways. Walking her ancient streets, Faramir feels his brother close, like the heat on his back, intimate as his own shadow. Despite grief he is glad, for not by hands alone is Minas Tirith transformed. Eyes, too, must see as through a different glass, that the City not forget her shades, nor untimely bury still-living memory. For we, too, are remade after war's breaking. Walk with me, Boromir, and see!
Just four words over the limit. I am keeping the widow-bride image; nothing else I've seen suggested or thought of myself has anywhere near the power and succinctness of that analogy. We're getting down to the point of a scalping, here, and I feel coherence starting to waver, but let's see how far I can go. Given my retention of that analogy, my guess is that the four words have to come out of this line: Eyes, too, must see as through a different glass, that the City not forget her shades, nor untimely bury still-living memory. Some of the wording isn't as certain in the rest, either, now that I've changed it. "Shroud of war" versus "shroud of fear" versus "shroud of despair". Which works best? War is in there for now, but I'm not sure it is as suited to that spot as "despair". "Fear", I think, requires the longer versionn of this to make the most sense—it doesn't really stand alone. I'd also like to find a way to ram back in some reference to flesh and stone, but without upping the word count—I think they may also work better with the theme, if I can find a sufficiently precise analogical means of employing those terms.

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

As the widow in her weeds becomes the bride in her brilliance, Minas Tirith casts off the shroud of war that had so long darkened her ways. "The widow in her weeds becomes a bride in her brilliance; Minas Tirith sheds the shroud of war that has so long darkened her ways." OK.. that's two gone...

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Walking her ancient streets, Faramir feels his brother close, like the heat on his back, intimate as his own shadow. "Walking her ancient streets, Faramir feels his brother like the heat upon his back, close as his shadow." Too pared back?

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Too pared back? I think so. I fiddled with that the very first time; it needed the second clause. May take that other line, though, since it loses two words. Edit: The City resplendant gleams beneath the king's banner. The widow in her weeds becomes a bride in her brilliance; Minas Tirith sheds the shroud of despair that has so long darkened her ways. Walking her ancient streets, Faramir feels Boromir close, like the heat on his back, intimate as his own shadow. Despite grief he is glad, for not by hands alone is Minas Tirith transformed. Eyes, too, must see as through a different glass, that the City not forget her shades, nor untimely bury still-living memory. For we, too, are remade after war's breaking. Walk with me, brother, and see! One. Word. Over.....

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Eyes, too, must see as through a different glass, that the City not forget her shades, nor untimely bury still-living memory. Could you lose the 'as'? I also have my eye on the 'For' at the start of the final sentence... PS 'resplendant' or 'resplendent'?

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

I like the "as", if only because it puts it in touch with Dwim's most favorite Biblical quote: in a mirror, as in an enigma, i.e., in a mirror darkly. Except the mirror this time is the one that sees true. I'd rather see if I can do something with the meaning of the last line before Faramir's thoughts. It's not doing what I want it to do. The point of this piece is that Faramir, through being remade, transforms his brother also, who is a part of him in living memory. In this way, Boromir has not truly died, and his redemption is in a way completed in his brother. So... what can we make of this that would be shorter than that the City not forget her shades, nor untimely bury still-living memory? 'resplendant' or 'resplendent' Spell check will be employed prior to a final posting...

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

I had the Biblical quote, from the 'through' and the 'glass' that the City not forget her shades, nor untimely bury still-living memory Er... I'm losing inspiration... I can only think of cutting that 'untimely'. I'll have a think over lunch.

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Ok, try this as a closer approximation of what I want. It does have 100 words, exactly. The City resplendent gleams beneath the king's banner. The widow in her weeds becomes a bride in her brilliance; Minas Tirith sheds the shroud of despair that has so long darkened her ways. Walking her ancient streets, he feels Boromir close, like the heat on his back, intimate as his own shadow. Despite grief Faramir is glad, for not by hands alone is Minas Tirith transformed, else shades linger on dead in memory. Eyes, too, must see as through a different glass: For you who went before us live now but in us. Therefore walk with me, brother, and see! This is so very aptly named "An Exercise in Optics". ;-) All right, so which one seems clearer, better, sharper? The one above, or the one below? The City resplendent gleams beneath the king's banner. The widow in her weeds becomes a bride in her brilliance; Minas Tirith sheds the shroud of despair that has so long darkened her ways. Walking her ancient streets, he feels Boromir close, like the heat on his back, intimate as his own shadow. Despite grief Faramir is glad, for not by hands alone is Minas Tirith transformed, else shades linger on, dead in memory. Eyes, too, must see as through a different glass: For our fallen live now but in us. Therefore walk with me, brother—live renewed in my sight!

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

I'm having trouble unpacking: else shades linger on dead in memory

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

I'm having trouble unpacking: else shades linger on dead in memory Trying to get at that idea that Boromir (and all other ghosts) will have no part in renewal (and so will remain 'dead', static images of what war had made them) unless the living who remember them are able to see not just the present but all the past through transformed vision. Edit in the perpetual quest for clarity: If you look at the evolution from the original 150 words to this, it does perhaps become clearer how this is supposed to work. There's a connection between the city's casting off the dark pall of war, and Faramir's relationship with Boromir. Faramir's the key—he's the one who sees the change in the city; he's the one who recognizes originally that the city's ghosts require not to be forgotten, but also implicitly that they can't be remembered in the same way (as what war had made them before their deaths) or they will be cast aside with the city's former atmosphere of fear and despair. Something has to change, and the idea is that it's Faramir who, in seeing the city reborn in her splendor both is changed and changes all that had informed his manner of seeing things before--a manner of seeing that belonged to the very war that is being cast off. Boromir will not be cast aside or left for dead, but with his brother is transformed. And paradoxically, it's only in "redeeming" the dead in this fashion that th city itself completes its transformation. Otherwise, there would "linger" still the stain of war upon it in the form of the dead who haven't been "reanimated" as it were, given a chance to walk with those who remember them, and to see the city in its rebirth. Does this at all make sense?

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Me again! I think I like the 2nd one. "For our fallen live now but in us" has a lovely ring, a gently martial tone that is a nod of respect to all their fallen warriors. Plus the switch from the abstract "the fallen" to a direct address to Boromir works well for me. It has a certain impact that I think is important that final line retains. I did wonder if your second line of the drabble might work thus: ' The widow in her weeds becomes a bride in her brilliance: Minas Tirith has shed the shroud of despair that so long darkened her ways. ' That's just a passing thought, as I see you are placing it all in the present-tense, which works perfectly. I simply wondered if that one slight switch to show the transformation is already happening might be acceptable. If you prefer it entirely present-tense, however, that works! I am definitely impressed with your revisions, here! I confess to being a bit worried that too much paring might remove the impact of this moment, but you've kept its power and intent beautifully. Well done! Cheers ~ Erin

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

[snips explanation] Thanks, Dwim - I had the meaning, but I'd got myself in a knot with the words. Mr Altariel cast a fresh eye over it, and he thinks it makes perfect sense (he didn't read any of the discussion or the earlier versions). He suggested possibly putting a comma between 'on' and 'dead'. And he thought it was very good (praise of the praiseworthy! ).

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

I think I like the 2nd one. "For our fallen live now but in us" has a lovely ring, a gently martial tone that is a nod of respect to all their fallen warriors. Plus the switch from the abstract "the fallen" to a direct address to Boromir works well for me. It has a certain impact that I think is important that final line retains. I agree, it needs that directness. And it is shorter than the other, which allows me to do more with the second half of Faramir's thoughts. So that is a good thing. [snipt present tense] I simply wondered if that one slight switch to show the transformation is already happening might be acceptable. I think it still does indicate that this transformation is in process. It's a funny thing, but I have trouble thinking of any drabbles I've written that weren't in the present tense. Something about that tense for short pieces seems to work for me. Or perhaps it is just my miserly side, that watches the word count climb with all those auxilliary verbs... I'm still thinking about that colon. I've not decided yet whether it belongs there or not, but it may work. I confess to being a bit worried that too much paring might remove the impact of this moment, So was I! but you've kept its power and intent beautifully. Well done! Thanks for your comments and putting up with my musings aloud.

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Does this at all make sense? Thanks, Dwim - I had the meaning, but I'd got myself in a knot with the words. *phew* Ok, good. These sideways scrolling text boxes have the unintended side effect of surprising you with how much you've written when you see it actually arranged on screen! Thought I had gone off in a spate of babble. Mr Altariel cast a fresh eye over it, and he thinks it makes perfect sense (he didn't read any of the discussion or the earlier versions). He suggested possibly putting a comma between 'on' and 'dead'. Ooh, good call on Mr. A's part. It shall be so added. I'm also very pleased it made sense to him even reading it cold. And he thought it was very good (praise of the praiseworthy! Thank him for me for the compliment and the suggestion. Ok, where's that comma...?

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Altariel pointed me here - can I play? I love the widow-bride juxtaposition! May I suggest a more powerful verb joining them? As for example, 'As the widow in her weeds transforms to bride in her brilliance, so Minas Tirith...' or 'As the widow in her weeds is reborn as bride...' For our fallen live now but in us. Therefore walk with me, brother—live renewed in my sight! That line is a piece of genius. cheers, Maya

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Altariel pointed me here - can I play? Any time you want to play, come on over! Start threads if you don't find them. May I suggest a more powerful verb joining them? As for example, 'As the widow in her weeds transforms to bride in her brilliance, so Minas Tirith...' or 'As the widow in her weeds is reborn as bride...' At one point, I did consider changing the verb. However, 1) I use "transform" later, and in drabbles, I try to avoid repetition (unless it's deliberate); 2) the other suggestion requires an extra word... and I have no more! I'm at 100 exactly. Also, I don't know that "becomes" lacks power... although admittedly, if you read enough about the opposition between "being" and "becoming", those words may assume a disproportionate amount of significance to you. At the least, I can say it's thoroughly Germanic, which, given that it's Tolkien, has to count for something. ;-) Very glad you liked the drabble. Are you going to be drabbling next month? Or even this month? We still have a number of June b-day requests, and I don't think anyone has done a Merry or a Pippin yet. :-(

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Thanks for the warm welcome! As for the 100 word story, barring some lightning strike of inspiration, my chances of producing something meaningful and readable in that limit are slim to none. My writing tends to be verbose, so I don't think I have the discipline to do this sort of thing well. I usually have to edit my stuff down to one-third the word count when its done, even before it goes into beta. Still, there's hope, I suppose. I might work up the courage to try a short-short some day. cheers, Maya

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

Watch out for the drabbles, Maya - they are particularly addictive

 

 

Re: Drabble Dungeon

My writing tends to be verbose, so I don't think I have the discipline to do this sort of thing well. I said that, once. And so did Isabeau. You will notice we each have at least three drabbles to our name. And even Ainae was bitten in the end, she of the legendary nuzgûl immunity. It's a matter of finding a moment and means of looking at it so that the drabble is complete at 100 words, not something "cut down". Heh. It, too, is an optical thing...

 

 

Stewardship

Stewardship—for Thundera Tiger Moonrise over Mirkwood. Pale light touches the oaks, pools upon the earth as if to cool the ashes there. Through the silvery smokes, a silhouette walks amid the ruins, listens to the sighs of trees, the memories caught in tumbled stone–torment and tears and the echo of her voice that sang down Dol Guldur. But the earth lies waiting still. And so Radagast stoops, breathes upon the earth; a kiss and whisper bless the stones. Then shade-like, he's gone. If ever the night could sigh... But next morn, the stones lie cradled in new grass. The shadow has passed.

 

 

Re: Stewardship

Excellent. I like the contrast between 'the echo of her voice' and 'a kiss and a whisper.' This is beautiful with Radagast using his abilities to help heal Mirkwood. RiverOtter

 

 

Re: Stewardship

I like the contrast between 'the echo of her voice' and 'a kiss and a whisper.' Yes! Worked pretty hard to squeeeeeeze that in there, so I'm pleased you found it effective. Thanks, RiverOtter! Now that I've been away from it for a couple of days, does this transition strike anyone as slightly... odd? Through the silvery smokes, a silhouette walks amid the ruins, listens to the sighs of trees, the memories caught in tumbled stone–torment and tears and the echo of her voice that sang down Dol Guldur. But the earth lies waiting still. Much obliged, Dwim

 

 

A birthday drabble for Alawa

Alawa didn't make any requests this year, but the bunny bit anyway. Happy birthday, Alawa!

Providence

Upon the table the palantír gleamed darkly in the lamplight, sleeping, awaiting a mind's touch.

"To challenge Sauron, a king's needed," Aragorn had said. Now Halbarad stood watching him lay out a king's accoutrements: sword, star, and standard; the Elessar upon his breast, Barahir's ring upon his finger. Cloaked in truth, he thought, then grunted.

"You'll need a steward," he said quietly. "Someone to bear your banner... to bear you company before his Eye."

Aragorn sighed. "I'll not command you. I'd've asked Boromir, but—"

"But," Halbarad finished, clapping his friend's shoulder, "I am here, Aragorn."

For a little while.




"'Where is Aragorn?' [Merry] asked.

'In a high chamber of the Burg,' said Legolas.... 'He went thither some hours ago, saying that he must take thought, and only his kinsman, Halbarad, went with him...'"—"The Passing of the Grey Company", 52

"Presently Éomer came out from the gate, and with him was Aragorn, and Halbarad bearing the great staff close-furled in black..."—"The Passing of the Grey Company", 55.

"[Sauron] beheld me. Yes, Master Gimli, he saw me, but in other guise than you see me here."—Aragorn, "The Passing of the Grey Company", 57

 

 

Re: A birthday drabble for Alawa

Thanks so much again Dwim - I'm delighted the bunny bit

Alawa

 

 

Wizardry

Ok, while I'd like to cut this down somewhat (maybe to double drabble size), the wordcount can't go any lower if the transition between frustration and laughter doesn't get a clearer, more precise, and more *feeling* formulation. I feel like I've got statements, yes, that show what's happening. But to earn that second "Well", I need more than that... preferably in fewer words.

Anybody got insight and some scissors?

Dwim, who may or may not be up to responding until this weekend.




Wizardry

"Well."

Their journey, all in a word, caught up snug as snail in its shell, as Aragorn stood scowling at the stony ledge whose crumbled end had lain concealed in the evening's thick shadows. Gandalf grunted in reply. Months they'd been on the trail, scouring the earth and every whisper for any trace of their quarry, and been led ever south and east, only to stand defeated for the fifth day in a row by the Emyn Muil. If Gollum skulked here, he could sleep easy tonight with no fear of them.

With a growl, Gandalf slapped the rockface, feeling the steady refusal of stone that bent to no will, not even a wizard's, then wincing slouched to the ground; Aragorn grimly joined him. Thus they sat, tucked up uncomfortably between the proverbial rock and hard place, acutely aware of their blisters, of the day's scraped shins, strained muscles, and hands bloodied against the unforgiving stone walls of Emyn Muil; hungry, thirsty, exhausted, frustrated.

A sorry pair they were, with dust sweat-crusted in their hair, grey as the rocks that thwarted them—dull as rocks, too, to resent unfeeling stone so. Sorry, indeed, Middle-earth's greatest hunters brought low by an emaciated stick of a Gollum. It was to laugh!

And so, indeed, Gandalf did—his wheezing chuckle overflowing into a torrent of laughter, which his companion met with a nonplussed look. But it soon began to waver before the onslaught of mirth, 'til at last a smile broke and with it, the giddy rush of hilarity that had the Ranger wiping his eyes ere long.

They laughed 'til breath ran out, 'til stomachs cramped, and when at last they sat sprawled, two weary travelers panting amid the rocks, Aragorn sighed once more: "Well."

And with that, they, too, slept easy.




Aragorn and Gandalf, two peas in a pod. Observe:

"Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard's face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth." - "Minas Tirith", ROTK, 33.

"[Aragorn's] face was sad and stern because of the doom that was laid on him, and yet hope dwelt ever in the depths of his heart, from which mirth would arise at times like a spring from the rock" - "Appendix A", ROTK, 385-386.

 

 

Re: Wizardry

Hi Dwim,

What fun to see you explore this particular relationship!

A couple of thoughts... You might be able to tighten it up by moving the perspective to a closer third person, say Gandalf's POV. That is, the situation flows a little bit differently:

- Gandalf and Aragorn look at each other. Gandalf reflects...

- The marks of the journey show on both of them (summary of journey) - and how!
- What irony that two of the greatest hunters in ME were brought low by a Gollum.

- Gandalf bursts out laughing.
- Aragorn joins in.

Does that make sense?

Also, the line 'It was to laugh' is redundant. The irony is pretty obvious in the situation...

cheers,
Maya

 

 

Re: Wizardry

Hi Maya,

Good to see you about again!

A couple of thoughts... You might be able to tighten it up by moving the perspective to a closer third person, say Gandalf's POV.

I think you're absolutely right about this. It should be closer to Gandalf's view than it sounds, which would help with the tension-building.

Also, the line 'It was to laugh' is redundant. The irony is pretty obvious in the situation...

That is certainly a line I'd like to lose if I can, but although the irony is obvious, it's not yet functioning as a good trigger for laughter. Hence the resort to outright statement, thinly disguised as idiom.

I either need a better verbal trigger, or else the tension has to peak in some other way that doesn't require it that will make Gandalf laugh. I'd really like one of those totally awesom transitions, like in The Graduate, at the end, when Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross just burst out laughing for no discernible reason except the sheer absurdity of the whole situation. (I think it's The Graduate. It's been a long time since I watched that.)

I don't suppose those come cheap, do they? ;-P

Dwim

 

 

Re: Wizardry

Take two. Didn't manage to do much with Gandalf's POV, but at least I eliminated the horribly unsubtle line along with fifty other words. What do you think? The ending is still somewhat annoying. What can I do? And can I do it in even fewer words?

Dwim





"Well."

Their journey, all in a word, caught up snug as snail in its shell, as Aragorn stood scowling at the stony ledge whose crumbled end had lain concealed in the evenshade. Gandalf grunted in reply. Months on the trail, seeking any least trace of their quarry, led ever south and east, only to stand defeated for the fifth day in a row by the Emyn Muil! If Gollum skulked here, he could sleep easy tonight with no fear of them.

Growling, Gandalf slapped the unyielding rockface, then, wincing, slouched to the ground; Aragorn grimly joined him. Thus they sat, tucked up uncomfortably between the proverbial rock and hard place, acutely aware of their blisters, of the day's scraped shins, strained muscles, and hands bloodied against the unforgiving stone walls of Emyn Muil; of hunger, thirst, exhaustion. Of acid frustration: here they sat, two of the greatest hunters of the world, brought low by an emaciated stick of a Gollum!

It was too much, and of a sudden, Gandalf laughed—a wheezing chuckle that swelled into a torrent of laughter, heedless of Aragorn's nonplussed look. For what black mood could long endure such mirth? A smile soon broke and with it, the giddy rush of hilarity that had the Ranger wiping his eyes ere long.

They laughed 'til breath ran out, 'til stomachs cramped, and when at last they sat sprawled, two weary travelers panting amid the rocks, Aragorn sighed once more: "Well."

And with that, they, too, slept easy.

 

 

Re: Wizardry

Hi, Dwim

The second take is better--shorter and tighter. Some teensy quibbles: in the first sentence, you mean "a" snail, I think. In the second paragraph, lose the "up" after tucked. And drop those exclamation points. (You were expecting to hear that, I know.)

I'm still trying to think of a better word than "well," but all that comes to mind are the kinds of words that fanfic usually doesn't allow in the Tolkien universe, however appropriate they are to the situation. (But how do they curse in M-e? I mean, that's universal to human language....)

Are you going to put the new version in my birthday drabbles, or shall I?

Thanks,

Amy (G.A.)

PS I'm still at work at the revise of chapter one of "Sword of Elendil." It goes slow, as my time is very limited. But I feel like I'm on the right track at last. 

 

 

Re: Wizardry

Take three, posting on the fly. GA, will respond probably tomorrow during work, but don't worry about transferring anything to your b-day drabbles file. I'll move it when i'm satisfied it's in its final form.

Dwim




"Well." Their journey in a word, as Aragorn stood scowling at the stony ledge whose crumbled end had lain concealed in the evenshade.

Gandalf grunted in reply. Months on the trail, seeking any least trace of their quarry, led ever southeast, only to stand defeated for the fifth day in a row by the Emyn Muil! If Gollum skulked here, he needn't sleep fearful of them tonight.

Growling, Gandalf slapped the unyielding rockface, then slouched wincing to the ground; Aragorn grimly joined him. Tucked uncomfortably between the proverbial rock and hard place, they sat exhausted, acutely aware of their blisters, of the day's scraped shins, strained muscles, and hands bloodied against unforgiving stone; above all conscious of acid frustration—here they sat, two of Middle-earth's greatest hunters, stymied by an emaciated stick of a Gollum!

'Twas too much. Of a sudden, Gandalf laughed—a wheezing chuckle swelling to a torrent of laughter, heedless of Aragorn's nonplussed look and rightly so: for a smile soon broke, and gloom with it, before the giddy rush of hilarity that had Aragorn wiping his eyes ere long.

And when at last wizard and Ranger sat sprawled, breathless and bemused, Aragorn sighed once more: "Well."


 

 

Re: Wizardry

Dwim,

I like version three. It works.

Possibly heretical thought: on re-reading, I thought the piece would actually make perfect sense even if you dropped the first two paragraphs. Less of a lead-in, yes, but more in medias res. Dunno - Not that it needs more editing, really.

My two cents.

cheers,
Maya



 

 

Re: Wizardry

Two responses in one:

GA wrote:

The second take is better--shorter and tighter. Some teensy quibbles: in the first sentence, you mean "a" snail, I think. In the second paragraph, lose the "up" after tucked. And drop those exclamation points. (You were expecting to hear that, I know.)

Sorry for the long delay. Busy month, October. I hope the third version works a little better, even, than the second. It is, at least, a proper double drabble. And yes, I know I have a minor exclamation point fetish. I just can't seem to get rid of them entirely. :-)

I'm still trying to think of a better word than "well," but all that comes to mind are the kinds of words that fanfic usually doesn't allow in the Tolkien universe, however appropriate they are to the situation. (But how do they curse in M-e? I mean, that's universal to human language....)

I hear what you're saying; on the other hand, most cuss words don't have quite the same effect when employed in a vaguely positive manner.

"Damn." X said, frowning. And then grinned, as he ran a hand through his hair, staring at the mess. "Damn!"

See what I mean? Same for everyone's favorite F word, shit, etc. When used positively, they carry an overtone of perverse admiration for whatever or whomever the words are addressed to, and that's not quite the effect I'm after.

PS I'm still at work at the revise of chapter one of "Sword of Elendil." It goes slow, as my time is very limited. But I feel like I'm on the right track at last.

I hope the long silence doesn't mean derailment. More power to you and your muses!

Maya said:

Possibly heretical thought: on re-reading, I thought the piece would actually make perfect sense even if you dropped the first two paragraphs. Less of a lead-in, yes, but more in medias res. Dunno - Not that it needs more editing, really.

Now that's interesting. I've looked at it without the first two paragraphs, as you suggested, and I confess, although I'm fond of fragments, I just can't see it without that lead-in. So I'm glad you're happy with version three as it stands. It's going to have to stand, unless massive inspiration strikes, and I frankly need said inspiration for other projects about now...

Thanks, both of you, for your input!

TTFN,

Dwim

 

 

Re: Wizardry

Hi Dwim

No, the long silence doesn't mean derailment! I've been out of town for the last two weeks, on top of being really busy. But all the same I'm turning over the story in my head whenever I get a few moments of peace.... My muse is talking--on and on and on. The first chapter is pretty far along, and I only wish I had more time to write! I'm taking the time now to really exploit the themes and build up the tension of the story. Some big changes ahead; it's going to be darker and scarier. The Storyteller is going to go (he doesn't get take me where I want to go) and something worse will take his place. Stay tuned!

Re "Both Beholden" and the AU of Aragorn taking the ring. I find it rather amazing that no one has yet written that one. He had the biggest chance of anyone to grab it. I'm planning to deal with it in a story down the line, but in a canon treatment, not the AU.

G.A. 

 

 

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