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Author Topic: The Writers' Block  (Read 13104 times)

MenschMaschine

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #30 on: 07 April, 2015, 09:53:08 pm »
Action is the result of a conflict. You only have a conflict when you have characters enough developed to the point of antagonizing each other. I'm particularly in favor of a slow burn kind of narrative. Find out a clever way to introduce the characters and then build up tension ( the reader is watching all this, powerlessly knowing- or not knowing- where it's leading up to) to reach your climax in a credible way.
Dropping an action scene in the middle of a story only because you're counting the pages- and after 3 pages of dialogue you gotta give the reader his adrenaline pills- you'll be on the verge of blowing up not only  entire fictional cities, but  your narrative structure as well.
Even an untrained eye can spot something wrong when you force things to happen. Though it all depends on your intentions as a writer, I'd only include action sequences when and if I really need then. I could easily go with a actionless story if I'd have my homework done and brought to the table some interesting characters. If you get it right, the readers will stick with you for the ride.

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Steven Denton

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #32 on: 12 April, 2015, 10:47:25 pm »
Read this in spite of it’s epic length.

1) The article says there are vastly more writers then artist. There are more ‘pro’ artist then writers because pro writers can handle multiple books per month. In my experience there are vastly more would be writers then would be artists and that’s the strata he’s talking about.

2) His proposed solution that artist stop accepting money for lower quality work and just work for free on stuff they like is fucking retarded. What he’s describing is a hobby. If you don’t want to pay an artist don’t. wait for a collaborator or a publisher to pick up your work.

The reason artist charge money is simply supply and demand. If there are 5 writers and one artist it’s never going to be long before a writer tries to stand out by offering a cash incentive. Writers have to collaborate with an artist, if they cant get a publisher to pay the artist, then they become they either become the commissioning body or they search for a collaborator. A collaborator may well want increased creative input, they may want scrip changes, they may have character suggestions and plot ideas.

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #33 on: 13 April, 2015, 03:08:54 am »
I agree with your point entirely, Mr D. I, for example, see myself as an amateur and would never consider paying an artist just to get my scribblings published. If my work isn't good enough to be accepted on its own merits then it isn't good enough, period.
.
That said, writing can be a frustrating business for the reasons stated in the article. It's much easier to appreciate an artist's work but then that's simply the nature of the beast.
.
I have only ever encountered one artist who seemed to believe their art was vastly more important than my script. Every other artist I've worked with seems to believe, as I do, that it's the finished product which is important. Good artwork doesn't make up for a poor script or vice-versa.
.
I would say, at least from my perspective, that writing isn't as easy as many people seem to believe. It's not just a case of stringing words together and 'churning them out.' For every script I submit to Zarjaz, for example, there are half a dozen ideas I find don't work and never get beyond a few notes and two or three that don't work even after I've written them. The scripts I do submit are simply the tip of the iceberg - in my case, an iceberg of shit. And even these scripts aren't bound to be accepted.
.
All I claim is that there is more to writing than just tossing off the odd script when there's nothing on the telly - just as there's more to the artwork. Us writers (and again, I only speak for my own processes) also produce character sketches, page layouts and what have you before the script is finished. Using words instead of pictures may be quicker but is no less intensive or creative.

Steven Denton

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #34 on: 13 April, 2015, 08:20:36 am »
I doubt the majority of people in comics, even at the very fringes, think writing is easy.

 I can see why writers get frustrated. If you cut away all of the crap (points like 'sure people are taught to write in school but not comics, can be entirely mirrored by the vast difference between teaching some one to draw a picture of a still life bowl of fruit and drawing a comic. narrative art is a specialised field. Artists can make a profit or break even at shows just by sketching Deadpool?! Sketches are not a licence to print money, if your not a name then your sketches had better be both good and cheep and even then you may well not sell any.) And what you are left with is 'why should the writer pay' which can be answered with supply and demand, the disparity in the amount of time it takes to produce a script and the artwork, the fact that art equipment is in itself quite expensive and that the likely hood is the comic either isn't going to get published or won't make any money.

That doesn't mean I think that the writer should pay but as I have said before the writer often ends up as the publisher as well.

I doubt Ed Brubaker has to pony up any money in advance for his creator owned projects.

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #35 on: 13 April, 2015, 09:07:56 am »
Money ruins everything. I'd gladly write for nothing in an ideal world - or if I won the lottery.
.
I suppose writers could try to earn a bit of money at conventions through the equivalent of sketching, which would probably be jotting down poems or limericks but, as you say, who's going to want to pay unless your name's John Wagner?
.

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Steven Denton

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #37 on: 14 April, 2015, 06:16:30 pm »
Hard to disagree. self promotion won't make you a best seller but if you don't have an online presence no one is going to find your work. Avoid any one trying to sell the secret of success because their just isn't one... except for them, their secret is getting people to listen to their bullshit, but that's not really a secret... se also psychics 

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #38 on: 14 April, 2015, 08:01:25 pm »
Amen.
.
Did I tell you all I have some really rather brilliant short stories available online for free...?
.
Ahem...

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #39 on: 19 May, 2015, 09:07:54 pm »
One or two weeks ago, I listened to an interesting piece on Radio 4 about the work of the people who record the audio descriptions on DVDs. Today's the first chance I've had since then to try a little experiment.
.
I put the audio description sound track on for the first new Star Trek film, then lay back with my eyes closed and listened to it all the way through. Contrary to what you may think, it's not just somebody reading from the film script and is often incomplete (the "narrator" has to shut up when the actors speak), and the experience is a cross between an audio book and a radio play.
.
As an aspiring comic script writer, however, I found this to be a rather interesting and useful exercise in scene description and brevity. Give it a try - you might be surprised.

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #41 on: 07 July, 2015, 04:43:48 pm »
At risk of disappearing up my own arse, I thought I'd post the drafts of my latest forum short story competition entry. Echidna won it this month - well done! - so this doesn't look quite as self-aggrandising as it might have otherwise done. Possibly.  My idea is to start a discussion about editing. What do you keep? What do you throw away? What do you alter?
.
So, here's the first draft as it fell out of my head and into my BlackBerry. I'd been mulling the idea for a couple of days beforehand and held a rough plan in my head, though no physical notes. At this stage I ignored the 500 word limit and just let the story flow out almost on its own.
.
***
1 - First Draft.
.
'Flash from Psi-Div; Judge Anderson overdue on routine radio con. Investigation required, Blavatsky Box-Apts.'
.
'Dredd to control, I'll take it.'
.
'Logged. Routing file to your on-board.'
.
***
.
Anderson stands in the middle of the Spartan room, her uniform glistening under the bare, dull-gold lights. Even with her Lawgiver still in its holster, even with her hands hanging relaxed by her thighs, her posture owns the room. She is a judge of Mega City One and this is her domain. Her box-apt. Her room. Her perp.
.
Adam Uno sits cross-legged on his bed, the only piece of furniture in the room, and his smile cannot mask the sadness in his eyes. 'It's Dredd,' he says, his voice a soft desert breeze.
.
'Dredd's fair,' Anderson says. She pauses. Thoughts steal her eyes and knit her brow for a moment. 'He'll listen... He'll listen, definitely.'
.
'You doubt that. As do I. As does he.'
.
Anderson's eyes flash green as they dart to Uno. 'You can read his mind as well? How? Dredd's double-zero rated, even I can't...'
.
'I told you, I can't read thoughts. Though his mind is my mind, his thoughts are his own. It's difficult to explain. Why don't you just look?'
.
Anderson shakes her head, the movement is slight but emphatic. 'No way am I going into that Hall of Mirrors you call a mind, Buster. No way in Hell.'
.
Uno sighs and shrugs his shoulders. 'As you wish. I understand.' He pauses, thinking. 'Mirrors... Mirrors can be quite odd. When the Is look at myselves in a mirror, the effect of seeing all those faces, looking back at me, can be quite... Quite odd.'
.
'I still don't buy it.' Anderson's voice is firm. She turns her head to listen as a distant siren grows closer.
.
'So you need someone else to decide. You don't trust me and you don't trust yourself.' Uno uncrosses his legs and places his feet on the bare floor. A wave of tension, graceful as a zephyr, coils through Anderson. Uno ignores it and wiggles his toes then rotates his ankles. 'Never understood how all those Is could sit like this and meditate. It sends this me's feet to sleep.' He takes pleasure in the simple relief.
.
The siren reaches a crescendo then stops. A brief silence. Anderson gives her top lip a single long chew, rehearsing. A distant muffled crash, then another, then another, growing louder each time.
.
Uno chuckles. 'Though your thoughts are your own, my mind is your mind - and if I had your mind, I think I'd be wishing this was any other judge.'
.
Anderson holds up her hands, one towards Uno, the other towards the door. 'Whatever happens, just sit still, be quiet and let me do the talking, okay?'
.
Uno nods. "Okay."
.
A final crash and the door splits and tumbles. A Lawgiver with a legend on the end looms into the room. 'Freeze!'
.
Anderson glances at Uno and takes a breath. 'Joe, long time, no...'
.
'Stow it, Anderson! Report!'
.
Uno sits still, smiling at Anderson's boots.
.
'I want your opinion on something.'
.
Dredd snarls. 'Opinion? Why didn't you check in? This creep got you in some kinda mind-lock or something?'
.
Anderson moves closer to Dredd. 'No. At least, I don't think so. I'm in full control of my body, my thoughts, my senses...'
.
'Then what's the problem? Just stick the creep in a cube 'til you figure it out. Come on, Anderson, this is first-year Academy stuff - an' I got work to do.'
.
Anderson holds up her hand, resists patting Dredd on the chest. 'Just... Listen.' She turns to Uno. 'What's the Chief Judge doing now?'
.
Uno's head rises. 'Reading reports on food shortages in the western sectors. They're bad, worse than last month. She's got a synthi-caff and it tastes better than usual. One of her aides added real coffee. I hate her, you see. Not this I,' Uno touches his chest. 'The I that is the aide, Cadet Jannit, and the I that is Chief Judge Hershey.'
.
'Telepathy? Anderson, I know Psi Division goes nuts for these creeps but I ain't seein' your point here.'
.
Anderson laughs, which irritates Dredd.
.
'I can see your point, Judge Dredd,' says Adam Uno, his head raised but to one side - half a bow. 'And I see Anderson's point. And the Chief Judge's point. And Cadet Jannit's point. And this point.' He touches an index finger to his forehead. 'I see everyone's point, all at once.'
.
'Joe - he says there's only one human soul, split into billions of fragments, that we're really all one.'
.
'All one with him in charge,' Dredd jerks a thumb at Uno, who shakes his head with an unconcerned ease.
.
'No, no that's not it.' Anderson pauses, choosing her words carefully. 'There's only one soul, and that soul is as much you as it is me. That place, right at the heart of everything you are, the part you call "I" - there's only one of those and we all share it, or grow from it, like individual nerve endings.'
.
'Anderson - I'm on the verge of booking you both for wastin' my time...'
.
'Joe... What if it's true? What if all the wars and the murders and the... stomm, all happen because we, you... I am in pain from being split into a billion splinters? If I go into his mind and see for sure - if only half of what he says is true I could get lost forever in there. If the other half's true I could open the floodgates - transfer my psi-powers to every living human. If both halves are true it won't matter because every human mind will be united as a single "I" experiencing every life simultaneously and in total harmony - universal peace, Joe, the ultimate order. Or he could be a psirasite - a telepathic pitcher plant. There is a power in him, though, or near him, or running through him. I can sense that much. I can sense he thinks it's the truth.'
.
'It ain't the truth, Anderson - and, frankly, I'm disappointed you'd be taken in by such a cockamaymie story...'
.
'The Chief Judge of Megadishu is in talks with the Deputy SJS Judge of East Meg Three, Murkov, about ways of limiting Mega City One's influence,' says Uno. 'Three juves in Seb Coe Block are planning a revenge Boinging¤ on Weetabix Beckham in ten minutes. Josh Brewster has just murdered his wife's lover, Fenton Moose-Blusterbund is dying, Judge Gil Gilverey is on the verge of deserting and I have your attention.'
.
Dredd says nothing.
.
'You see?' Anderson asks after a moment. 'He's too tempting. I have to go in there, before Psi Division goes blundering about. As I said, I think I'm in complete control - but I have to be sure he isn't influencing me.'
.
Dredd raises his Lawgiver and fires two shots. Uno slumps back on the bed, his brains splattered onto the bare wall. 'Well, he ain't influencin' you now, Anderson.'
.
'What the... Hell?'
.
'Clear and present danger. Unknowable,  uncontrollable capabilities. Always best to nip these things in the bud, I find, and you know the law, Judge Anderson.'
.
She looks at the corpse. 'Yeah, I guess. Pity, though. Universal unity sounded pretty cool. Just one soul, the I in me the exact same as the I in you, but all linked and not isolated any more. How can you not believe that, deep down, we're all exactly the same? How could you know, if you'd been born as Uno, with his brain and his history and his perspective, you'd feel any different? How do you know we're not all the same?'
.
Dredd's had enough of this. He's called it in and logged it out and now he's off. This is one report he's not looking forward to writing - these Psi-Div cases always defied his usual terse style and demanded a level of creativity Dredd found irksome. 'How do I know?' He pauses, the shadow of a sneer tugging at his lip, and when he speaks his voice is as cold and certain as a glacier grinding against a mountain.
.
'Rico.'
.

The Legendary Shark

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #42 on: 07 July, 2015, 04:44:46 pm »
Okay, so the first draft is way too long - over 1500 words - but I often compare writing to topiary, and what I have here is an overgrown, shaggy hedge in roughly the correct shape. On this pass I'll look for repeated or redundant ideas; things not helping the narrative or there purely for decoration. Did I get any of it right? I don't know.
.
***
.
1 - Second Draft.
.
Anderson stands in the Spartan room, uniform glistening under bare, dull lights. Even with her Lawgiver in its holster and hands hanging relaxed by her thighs, she owns the room. She is a judge of Mega City One and this is her domain.
.
Adam Uno sits cross-legged on his bed, his only furniture. 'It's Dredd,' he says, his voice a desert breeze.
.
'Dredd's fair,' Anderson says. Thoughts steal her eyes and knit her brow. 'He'll listen... He'll listen, definitely.'
.
'You doubt that. As do I. As will he.'
.
Anderson's eyes dart to Uno. 'You can read his mind as well? How? Dredd's double-zero rated, even I can't...'
.
'I told you, I can't read thoughts. Though his mind is my mind, his thoughts are his own. It's difficult to explain. Why don't you just look?'
.
Anderson shakes her head, the movement is slight but emphatic. 'No way am I going into that Hall of Mirrors you call a mind alone, Buster.'
.
Uno sighs and shrugs.
.
'I still don't buy it.' Anderson's voice is firm. She turns her head to listen as a distant siren draws closer.
.
'So you need someone else to decide. You don't trust me or yourself.' Uno uncrosses his legs and places his feet on the bare floor. 'Never understood how all those Is could sit like this and meditate. It sends this me's feet to sleep.'
.
The siren reaches a crescendo then stops. A brief silence. A distant muffled crash, then another, then another, growing louder each time.
.
Uno chuckles. 'Though your thoughts are your own, my mind is your mind - and if I had your mind, I'd be wishing this was any other judge.'
.
 'Whatever happens, just sit still, be quiet and let me do the talking, okay?'
.
Uno nods.
.
A final crash and the door splits and tumbles. A Lawgiver with a legend on the end looms into the room. 'Freeze!'
.
'Joe, long time, no...'
.
'Stow it, Anderson! Report!'
.
Uno sits still, smiling at Anderson's boots.
.
'I want your opinion on something.'
.
Dredd snarls. 'Why didn't you check in? This creep got you in some kinda mind-lock or something?'
.
Anderson moves closer to Dredd. 'No. At least, I don't think so. I'm in full control of my body, my thoughts, my senses...'
.
'Then what's the problem? Just stick the creep in a cube 'til you figure it out. Come on, Anderson, this is first-year Academy stuff - an' I got work to do.'
.
'Just... Listen.' She turns to Uno. 'What's the Chief Judge doing now?'
.
Uno's head rises. 'Reading reports on food shortages in the western sectors. They're bad, worse than last month.'
.
'Telepathy? Anderson, I know Psi Division goes nuts for these creeps but I ain't seein' your point here.'
.
Anderson laughs, which irritates Dredd.
.
'I can see your point, Judge Dredd,' says Adam Uno, his head raised but to one side. 'And I see Anderson's point. And the Chief Judge's point. And this point.' He touches an index finger to his forehead. 'I see everyone's point, all at once.'
.
'Joe - he says there's only one human soul, split into billions of fragments, that we're really all one.'
.
'All one with him in charge,' Dredd jerks a thumb at Uno.
.
'No, no that's not it.' Anderson chooses her words carefully. 'There's only one soul, and that soul is as much you as it is me. That place at the heart of everything you are, the part you call "I" - there's only one of those and we all share it, like individual nerve endings.'
.
'Anderson - I'm on the verge of booking you both for wastin' my time...'
.
'Joe... What if it's true? What if all the wars and the murders and the... stomm, all happen because we, you... I am in pain from being a billion splinters? If I go into his mind and see for sure - if only half of what he says is true I could get lost forever in there. If the other half's true I could open the floodgates - transfer my psi-powers to every living human. If both halves are true it won't matter because every human mind will be united as a single "I" experiencing every life simultaneously and in total harmony - universal peace, Joe, the ultimate order. Or he could be a psirasite - a telepathic pitcher plant. But if it's true...'
.
'It ain't true, Anderson - and I'm disappointed you're  taken in by this cockamaymie story...'
.
'Three juves in Seb Coe Block are planning a revenge Boinging¤ on Weetabix Beckham in ten minutes,' says Uno. 'Josh Brewster has just murdered his wife's lover; Fenton Moose-Blusterbund is dying; Judge Gil Gilverey is on the verge of deserting; the Chief Judge of Megadishu is in talks with the Deputy SJS Judge of East Meg Three, Murkov, about ways of limiting Mega City One's influence, and I have your attention.'
.
Dredd says nothing.
.
'You see? He's too tempting. I have to go in there, before Psi Division goes blundering about. As I said, I think I'm in complete control - but I have to be sure he isn't influencing me.'
.
Dredd raises his Lawgiver and fires two shots. Uno slumps back, his brains splattered onto the bare wall. 'Well, he ain't influencin' you now.'
.
'What the... Hell?'
.
'Clear and present psi-danger. Best to nip these things in the bud, I find; and you know the law, Judge Anderson.'
.
She looks at the corpse. 'Yeah, I guess. Pity, though. Universal unity sounded pretty cool. Just one soul, the I in me the same as the I in you. How do you know we're not all the same?'
.
When he speaks, his voice is as cold and certain as a glacier grinding against a mountain.
.
'Rico.'
.
Number of words: 1001

The Legendary Shark

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #43 on: 07 July, 2015, 04:45:28 pm »
Still over 1000 words, so now the fine-trimming begins. I'm still looking for the same things to cut as I was in my last pass but, this time, I'm paying more attention to individual words and word repetitions or redundancies. For example, replacing someting like "huge great big thing" with "big thing" and such. Trying to drill down to the core meaning of each sentence and make sure I've used precise wording.
.
I put the initial radio conversation between Dredd and Control back in because I liked it (still do).
.
***
.
1 - Third Draft.
.
'Flash - Psi-Div Judge missed r.r.c.'
.
'Dredd - I'll take it.'
.
'Logged.'
.
***
.
Even with her Lawgiver in its holster and hands relaxed, she owns the room.
.
Adam Uno sits cross-legged on his bed. 'It's Dredd,'
.
'Dredd's fair,' Anderson says. Thoughts steal her eyes and knit her brow. 'He'll listen... He'll listen, definitely.'
.
'You doubt that. As will he.'
.
Anderson's eyes dart to Uno. 'You can read his mind as well? How? Dredd's double-zero rated, even I can't...'
.
'I can't read thoughts. Though his mind is my mind, his thoughts are his own. It's difficult to explain. Why don't you just look?'
.
Anderson shakes her head, the movement is slight but emphatic.
.
Uno shrugs.
.
'I still don't buy it.' She turns as a distant siren draws closer.
.
'So you need someone else to decide. You don't trust me or yourself.'
.
The siren reaches a crescendo then stops. A brief silence. A muffled crash, another, then another, louder.
.
Uno chuckles. 'Your thoughts are yours, but my mind is your mind - and in your mind, I'd be wishing this was any other judge.'
.
 'Sit still, be quiet and let me do the talking.'
.
Uno nods.
.
A final crash and the door splits and tumbles. A Lawgiver with a legend on the end looms into the room. 'Freeze!'
.
Uno sits still, smiling at Anderson's boots.
.
'I want your opinion on something.'
.
Dredd snarls. 'You didn't check in. This creep got you in a mind-lock or something?'
.
Anderson moves closer to Dredd. 'I don't think so. I'm in full control...'
.
'Then what's the problem? Stick the creep in a cube 'til you figure it out - I got work to do.'
.
'Just... Listen.' She turns to Uno. 'What's the Chief Judge doing now?'
.
'Reading reports on food shortages in the western sectors. They're bad, worse than last month.'
.
'Telepathy? Anderson, I know Psi Division goes nuts for these creeps but I ain't seein' your point.'
.
Anderson laughs, which irritates Dredd.
.
'I see your point, Judge - I see Anderson's point, the Chief Judge's point and this point.' He points to his forehead. 'I see everyone's point, all at once.'
.
'Joe - he says there's only one human soul, split into billions of fragments, that we're really all one.'
.
'All one with him in charge,' Dredd jerks a thumb at Uno.
.
'No,' Anderson chooses her words carefully. 'There's only one soul, and  it's as much you as me. The heart of everything you are, the part you call "I" - there's only one of those and we all share it.'
.
'Anderson - I'm on the verge of bookin' you both...'
.
'Joe... What if it's true? If the wars and the murders and the... stomm, happen because we, you... I am in pain from being a billion splinters? If I go into his mind and see for sure - if half of what he says is true I could get lost forever. If the other half's true I could transfer my psi-powers to every living human. If both halves are true every human mind will unite as a single "I" experiencing life  in harmony - universal peace, Joe, the ultimate order...'
.
'Uh-huh...'
.
'Three juves in Seb Coe Block are revenge Boinging¤ Weetabix Beckham,' says Uno. 'Josh Brewster is murdering his lover; Fenton Moose-Blusterbund is dying; Judge Gil Gilverey wants to desert; the Chief Judge of Megadishu is in talks with Deputy SJS Deputy Head Murkol of East Meg Three about limiting Mega City One and I have your attention.'
.
Dredd says nothing.
.
'You see? He's too tempting. I have to go in, before Psi Division goes blundering about but I have to be sure he isn't influencing me.'
.
Dredd raises his Lawgiver and fires two shots. Uno slumps back. 'Well, he ain't influencin' you now.'
.
'What the... Hell?'
.
'Clear and present psi-danger. Best to nip it in the bud.'
.
'I guess. Pity, Universal unity sounded pretty cool. Just one soul, the I in me the same as the I in you. How do you know we're not all the same?'
.
Dredd growls. 'Rico.'
.
Number of words: 718

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Re: The Writers' Block
« Reply #44 on: 07 July, 2015, 04:46:07 pm »
This is the final draft. This draft was mainly down to the numbers - over 200 words left to cut out. Here I took out most of those lines I'd been resisting killing simply because I loved them or thought they were clever. The comparison of Dredd's voice to a glacier in the penultimate paragraph was the first one I thought of for this story; it came all tangled up with the core idea and I loved it. Dredd's terse advice to stick the perp in a cube until she can figure it out was also a favourite line. But in the end it's just decoration so it's gone. It's a hard thing to do, this "killing your darlings," but was it worth the murders? I'll let you decide.
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***
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1 - Fourth and Final Draft.
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'He'll listen, definitely.'
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'You doubt that. As will he.'
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Anderson's gaze darts to Adam Uno. 'You can read his mind? How? Dredd's double-zero rated, even I can't...'
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'His thoughts are his own. It's difficult to explain. Why not just look?'
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She turns to a distant siren.
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The siren crescendos then stops. A brief silence. A muffled crash then another, louder.
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Uno chuckles. 'Your thoughts are yours, but your mind is my mind - in your mind, I'd be wishing  for another judge.'
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'Sit still and let me do the talking.'
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The door splinters. A Lawgiver with a legend on the end looms into the room. 'Freeze!'
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Uno sits still, smiling.
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Dredd snarls. 'You didn't check in. This creep got you in a mind-lock?'
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Anderson folds her arms. 'No. I'm in control.'
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'Then what's the problem?'
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'Just... Listen.' She turns to Uno. 'What's the Chief Judge doing now?'
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'Reading reports. Food shortages, western sectors. Bad, worse than last month.'
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'Telepathy? Anderson, I know Psi Division goes nuts for these creeps but I ain't seein' your point.'
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'I see your point, Judge - I see Anderson's point, the Chief Judge's point and this point.'  Uno touches his forehead. 'I see everyone's point, simultaneously.'
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'He says there's only one human soul, split into billions of fragments, that we're all one.'
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'All one under him?' Dredd jerks a thumb.
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'No,' Anderson frowns. 'That one soul is as much you as me, or him. Your centre, the part called "I" - there's only one of those and we all share it.'
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'Anderson - I'm on the verge of bookin' you both...'
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'Joe... What if it's true? If the wars, the murders and the rapes happen because we, you... I am in pain from being in a billion insular splinters?'
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'Uh-huh...'
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'Three juves in Seb Coe Block are revenge Boinging¤ Weetabix Beckham,' says Uno. 'Josh Brewster is murdering his lover; Judge Gil Gilverey wants to desert; the Chief Judge of Megadishu is in talks with East Meg Three about limiting Mega City One.'
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Dredd says nothing.
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'You see? He's too tempting. If half of what he says is true I could get lost forever in there. If the other half's true I could transfer my psi-powers to everybody through him. If both halves are true every mind will unite as a single "I" experiencing life in harmony - universal peace, Joe, the ultimate order. I have to go in, before Psi Division goes blundering about, and I have to be sure he isn't influencing me.'
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Dredd raises his Lawgiver and fires. Uno slumps back. 'Well, he ain't influencin' you now.'
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'What the... Hell?'
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'Clear and present psi-danger. Best nipped in the bud, trust me.'
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'I guess. Pity, universal unity sounded cool. How can you know we're not all the same?'
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'Rico.'
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Number of words: 497