That Which Must be Written

Dont mind the Stoic mood.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

 

The Art of Story Telling.

Foreword

I am neither a great story teller nor a scholar in the art of story telling. I have looked around for good sources on the subject of story telling but to no avail. Thus I have decided to start writing on the subject myself. With respect to writing, the writer with a blank sheet of paper and a pen assumes the same position as that of the creator where the infinite nothingness into which he must put forth his creative energy is but the blank sheet of paper. With great humility and respect for what he creates the writer must move forward for what he creates in the end is what will give him his existence.

Matter

To simplify the understanding I will assume three objects to be necessary for the act of story telling to happen . One would be the Teller, then the second would be the Story itself and the third would be the Listener.


The Teller is the God of the story. The Story itself would be where the Listener and the Teller interact thus the life of these three objects. The Listener is passive in this relationship but is the end of the three. The Teller with all his powers and tools must “floor” the Listener with his story or the story itself would be a failure.

Now that we have defined our players lets delve into the art itself.

What are the qualities of a good story? What is a simple story? What is a Higher Story?

Let us take into account some good stories. Not writing or directing or a good musical score but the story in itself. A great writer or director might have many skills up his sleeve but all of those will fail if the story itself doesn’t count.

Heres one sci fi story I really liked.

A Most Ambitious Experiment by Mike Krath

"Now," Robert told his wife, "I am going on a long trip. You won't see me for years, but I will come back and see you."
"Where are you going?"
"I am going into the future. I am sure you will be angry when you see me, but it won't be for long, because once I have seen you, I will then vanish again and you will see me standing in this very spot exactly five minutes from now."
Robert's wife was puzzled.
"I am curious what our 401k will do if I invest in certain options and leave them," he said. "I've decided to go twenty years into the future and see the outcome."
"What if you can't come back?"
A slight pause - then, "I hope I made the right choice."
"What do you want for dinner?"
"I wouldn't make anything for me now, but, five minutes later, I will tell you what I want."
Robert left for the basement. His wife, still confused, but knowing that Robert was a puzzling man, went to the kitchen to make dinner, with or without her husband's request. She was quite unsure what to make of all of it, but, after a few minutes, she quickly forgot the conversation.
Later in the afternoon, Robert's wife walked over to the basement door and knocked. She waited. She knocked again, and, again, nothing. Finally, she opened the door and walked down to the laboratory. Robert was nowhere to be seen. She hadn't heard him come up. Where had he gone?
When supper was ready, and the light outside turned a dim color, Robert's wife called out his name, but no one answered. The house was quite still.
"I don't like this," she thought. "He's never been late for dinner before."
Robert's dinner grew cold, and his wife placed it in the oven to keep warm hoping he would notice it when he came back. In the morning, Robert's plate was still warm in the oven. He had never touched it. His wife looked for him once again and called out his name, but it was to no avail - he wasn't in the house.
After several days, Robert's wife contacted the authorities and told them what had happened. They searched the house for clues, but all they could find was a slightly discolored spot on the basement floor.

"Did he say anything before he left?" they asked.
"I'll be back in five minutes," she said.
After the authorities had left, and after several more days, weeks and months, the case was officially closed. Robert was missing, but since no foul play could be determined, it was decided that he had just deserted his wife. Robert's wife was not pleased.
Years passed, and Robert's wife was able to secure a job that kept her living slightly above poverty level. Day after day, while working, she cursed her husband for leaving her. She would never forgive him. Never! Her face became more wrinkled and the pretty smile she once wore turned into a permanent scowl.
Finally, twenty years to the day her husband had left, Robert's wife was sitting at the kitchen table when she heard a noise coming from the basement. She immediately got up in fright. Who was down there? She heard footsteps slowly walking up the stairs and - finally - the door flew open and there, before her eyes, was none other than Robert. He didn't look any different than when he had left.
"You!" she managed to say.
"Okay, what's the value of our 401K?" Robert asked.
"Where have you been?"
"That doesn't matter. What matters is the value of our 401K. I need to know if I invested wisely or not."
"You left me twenty years ago with nothing to live in and expect to find anything left of the 401k?"
"You spent it all?" Robert asked. "Oh great - that's just great. I'll be right back."
Robert turned and went down into the basement.
"Robert? Robert, where are you?" Robert's wife said but suddenly saw a brilliant blue flash of light and then nothing. Robert had vanished once again.
Robert's wife went back to the dining table. She sat down and tried to think of what had happened. Her mind was muddled. She couldn't think. The 401k had been - had been - she thought - left untouched when Robert had first left, but now - she was beginning to remember different things. The 401k had been placed in a trust. A trust where she couldn't touch the money for twenty years. Then, she remembered that when the authorities had informed her that Robert had deserted her and was never located, that she had him declared legally dead so the trust would be legally hers without waiting for twenty years.

Another flash of light in the basement, more footsteps, and Robert walked into the kitchen.
"The value?"
"I told you I spent it."
"I put it in a trust."
"I had you declared legally dead." Robert's wife said.
"Oh bother," Robert said. "I'll be back again."
A flash of light and Robert's wife was again confused.
"Did I say spent it? Spent what?" she thought. She had tried to obtain some money after Robert had left her. When she had gone to inquire how much was in their 401k, she had found out that Robert had withdrawn the money and had hidden it somewhere - but where?
Another light and Robert was there in the kitchen again.
"Do you know how much you put me through? You left me nothing to live on."
"This will all be a bad dream," Robert said.
"If it wasn't for some gold coins that I found buried in the backyard, I would never have survived."
"You found the gold coins?"
"So that's where you hid the money!" Robert's wife said. "Good. I'm glad I found it and spent it all!"
Robert went back into the basement and disappeared. His wife sat still for awhile expecting him to appear, but he never did. She got up and went to cook. She thought of her husband and tried to remain bitter against him. She suddenly couldn't think of what would make her bitter. Deserted her? He had never deserted. What an imagination she must have. As she opened a cupboard, Robert walked into the kitchen.
"Have you decided what you want for dinner?" she asked. "I haven't started making anything yet."
"Leave me alone, I'm not hungry," Robert said and sat down at the kitchen table.
"What's wrong?"
"Can't you keep your grubby hands off our money for twenty years?"
"What?"
"You can't let me leave you for a measly twenty years without spending everything we have, can you?"
"What are you talking about, honey? You haven't been gone for five minutes and already something is troubling you."
Robert looked at the wife of his youth.
What if he killed her? He could strangle her now, go into the future, see what the 401k did, come back a few minutes before, and live happily ever after.
"May I see that dish towel for a sec?"

Robert's wife handed it to him, and, much to her desperate surprise, he tied it around her neck and choked her, all the while telling her, "Don't worry, this is just an experiment."
Robert went back down into the basement, and twenty years later reappeared in a flash of light.
"Who's down there?" a man asked walking down the basement stairs.
Robert hadn't thought of this. He looked for somewhere to hide, but it was too late. The new owner of the house had a rifle.
"Say your prayers."
"Wait! I can explain!", but it was too late. Robert was immediately shot and fell backwards quite dead - a most miserable end to a most ambitious experiment.

The End

I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did. Lets get to analyzing it.

The Teller

Krath’s writing is average. He gets his point across using simple language and doesn’t play with his words too much. Krath’s understanding of time travel is formidable and his character play is exquisite.

The Story

The world is very simple. A basement and a kitchen. The number of lead characters is two.A husband and a wife. The motive for the narrative lead is money. The Spin on the story is the Time Machine/Time Travel which in itself is hardly described.

The Listener.

The listener must make the suspension of disbelief about time travel. Other than this the trivialities of greed for money, husband wife relationship, interest on deposits are all universally accepted concepts. Putting my feet in the shoes of the Listener I was floored. Why? Because I couldn’t predict what would happen. What happened enthralled me. And the end was satisfying.

Comments

This story reminds me of butterfly effect and the Linear hold that story had on different points in time and the effect of one time on another.



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

 

That Light in the Woods


Once upon a time, in what is now called France, there lived a dark wizard called Monet. He ruled over the forest of Chique Saret where he kept a harem of witches to do his bidding. All girls born to them would eventually be taken by Monet. All male children were killed. And in this despicable fashion he and his family ruled over Chique Saret.

One of the young witches born to him was Sabrina. The day she was born she cried and cried. The witches around her tried their best but nothing would do to silence the child. The wails persisted and they slowly left the room one after the other. In the end only Sabrina and her mother remained. Her mother carried her around her trying to comfort her. Then suddenly the witch felt something. The baby in her arms had stopped crying. Out of the corner of her eyes she saw the Light. Rays of the Sun, which never touched Chique Saret, touched her and her baby. She put down the child and opened the windows. Dead trees who had their souls stolen by Monet were coming back to life. The Sun shone through and everything came alive.

Sabrina's mother had forgotten what light was but then she wondered about it. All of this was impossible. The forest was under the strictest spells. There was something stronger than it here now. She looked at her baby and grew anxious.

Much later the day came when Sabrina came of age. Her mother took her to Sabbath cliff where Monet would come. Sabrina wasnt angry with her mother . She knew like the dead forest below her and the Undead that lived in it, her mother had lost her soul to the dark wizard a long time ago. Her mother had protected Sabrina's secret for as long as she could. Today there was blood on the moon and Monet would see it. He would come no matter what. She simply placed her child there and left.

Sabrina shivered in the cold. She stared up at the moon and saw his carriage approaching. She stood there and waited. The carriage drew to a halt in mid air and Monet descended. He was smiling at her. She noticed his fangs. When spells didnt make his victims submit he would drink their blood.
Monet inspected her with his eyes and then whispered," You dont seem to be here by your will my dear". Sabrina shook at the iciness of his voice. She didnt want to give in ever. She stood her ground and shook her head .
"Yes Master I do not wish to be taken". Monet laughed,"Young witch, there is nothing to be afraid of. " Monet then licked his fangs and strode towards Sabrina. Sabrina went on her knees and undid her coat. She took it off and began to take off her blouse. Monet slowed down seeing this. She opened the top of the blouse to reveal her smooth bare neckline. Monet smiled. He caught her by the shoulders and dug his fangs slowly into her soft skin. Sabrina shuddered. He drank and drank.

Having had his fill he raised his head. His mouth was draped in blood and his eyes were intoxicated. He went on his knees and began panting. He looked at her and said,"Sabrina my dear your soul is more powerful than anything I have ever tasted." Sabrina looked at the ground. She stared at it. Monet tried to lunge for another feed but began heaving and sighing. The spot on the ground where Sabina stared started to move. A green leaf showed itself. Monet saw it too and was astonished. "How can this be?" He said. He held himself and began to shiver. He retched and threw up but knew what he had just drank was in his bloodstream now. The power it gave him had a mind of its own. Monet tried to control it, hold it and bend it to his will but it was strong. Too strong.

Monet had to let it out. He opened his eyes, his ears and his mouth and it gushed out. Pure white light. He stood there screaming white beautiful light. And with it came the souls. The Countless souls that he had made his, escaped within those rays. The green leaf grew faster and faster fed by the illuminance flowing into it. In just a few moments it grew to become a tree. All the souls that had escaped hid in the tree making the tree strong. The tree grew tall and titanic in its might. When the light escaped him Monet fell to the ground. He gasped and spat what was left of him.

Sabrina did her top and put on the coat.She broke off the sharpest branch of the Tree and walked to Monet. He was helpless and weak. She kicked him turning him over facing her. She drew the branch back and drove the stake into his heart, the only way the Undead can be killed. Monets body went limp. The forest below her let out wails and screams. She stood next to her tree and hugged it feeling its warmth.

Monday, November 12, 2007

 

The Nth reAwakening.

The_UndeaD_ flexes his fingers and twirls the keyboard on his index finger. He looks at the screen and then drops the keyboard and begins punching it in.

Dogs. I live with two dogs. Their names are Foxy and Therakan. They are the sweetest, dumbest and most gentle alsatians ever. Their Dad is even dumber but their Mom was incredibly smart. She died of breast cancer. When she was alive she had so much class she even beat the humans in the house. Full grown men used to shit in their pants when Diana gave them the eye. She would sit like a lady when ordered to, wait like a sniper when she hunted and attack like a tiger when ordered to shoo. Small children were forewarned not to bother her before they entered the house because Diana took shit from no one. Well almost no one.

The Bell has rung and The_UndeaD_ went to open the door. Aunty has driven all the women folk home and Uncle is back in the restaurant with the boys who are cleaning up. Its Aunty's Birthday today but the cake, flowers, presents are all hidden. They ll be opened when Uncle comes home.

Small Children. I live with one small child. Her name is Lumsy. She is the cutest, smartest and the most irritating child of all time. Shes small. Very small. So small I can lift her up with one finger. But her arrogance can dwarf Russel Crowe's. Let me give u an example. During her potty training days which happened to be in winter the whole family would sit around one powerful coil heater coz there would be no electricity and the inverter could hold just one coil heater. This gathering was usually formed around the idiot box and on one of many such gatherings Lumsy happened to unknowingly urinate in her pants. One of the family noticed it and soon all of them noticed. Before a single angry reprimand could be launched Lumsy jumped into the air and mid air she kicked and sent her chappals flying into the audience. As soon as her cute lil feet landed on the floor her face grimaced and she screamed a blood curdling warning to all present. It was so funny man, seeing such a small thing defending her honour so viciously.

The_UndeaD_ has had two shots of vodka and is buzzing nicely. Uncle has come, The Cake revealed, the flowers and gifts bestowed and the alcohol flowing.

The point being Lumsy is the only person who challenged Diana's authority. She had been bitten by Diana many times but she never rested in her mission to climb that mountain of ego no matter who stood in her way (except Heno and Hepa). Diana fell in the end to breast cancer and Lumsy is 3 and half now. All her energy, enthusiasm and will is genetic. Nothing has been imbibed except general discipline and language. But all alone this girl can stab you without looking back. She can also achieve anything she wants if she really wants it. Shes still damn cute. Till she stabs me that is.


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