Oh so pretty and shallow and liiiggghhht (Imagery and characterization)

Home Forums Dare 2 Discuss Agents of Dreamland – March 22nd Dare to Discuss Forum Oh so pretty and shallow and liiiggghhht (Imagery and characterization)

This topic contains 14 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  GracieKat13 1 day, 9 hours ago.

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  • #27347
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    Lilyn G
    Keymaster

    Question submitted by S.A. Barton:

    Imagery and characterization: trying too hard, too baroque, not enough, or just right?

  • #27363
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    Lilyn G
    Keymaster

    Definitely trying too hard. Its trying to make it feel deep and… Its not a deep story. Ya know ?

    • #27366

      S.A. Barton
      Participant

      Super agree. What turned me off from the get-go was how hard it was trying to be cool. And make Signalman cool. Ooooh, “the Signalman.” Did anyone see a train? I didn’t see a train. WTF is with that name? And the whole tone of the opening was this casual oh-look-that’s-cool and oh-so-jaded and oh-look-how-scruffy and… geez. Just let things be things sometimes.

      There was a big effort to set a tone and for me the tone was a no-go. I am not agog with amazement, and that made the story flop like a dying fish from the start for me.

      • #27368

        JB Rockwell
        Participant

        The story definitely got bogged down in extraneous, overly wordy speechifying and descriptions of things that frankly didn’t matter. At times it felt self-indulgent (look at all the words I can use!) at others it felt like the author was padding to add to the page count. Tightened up and with fewer sub-plots (seriously, aliens, time travel AND killer fungus??!!) this might have held my attention better.

        • #27375

          S.A. Barton
          Participant

          Now that you mention it, self-indulgent and wordcount-padding feel right as criticisms. I was a little surprised I reacted so strongly to it — I’ve read plenty of books that went a bit too far on look-how-cool-this-is — and now my reaction makes more sense. I think it offended me as a writer, not just as a reader.

      • #27369
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        Lilyn G
        Keymaster

        You nailed it. Wtf was with the mysterious name? And some of the comparisons she made. Like nuclear explosions to,a bright sky. Please.

        • #27377

          S.A. Barton
          Participant

          Yeah. Sometimes there’s a point to a wild comparison. Foreshadowing, linking up with later imagery. But it’s one of those things that must be done very sparingly. Comparisons need to live between the cliche and the crazy nearly all the time, and to venture off to either extreme must happen rarely and with purpose.

          Here, it was neither rare, nor often with purpose.

  • #27383

    JB Rockwell
    Participant

    I found it interesting how she made the Signalman very noir detectivey but Immacolata felt like some anime good-bad chick.

  • #27405

    GracieKat13
    Participant

    The stories I have read by her do seem to read the same. A lot of fantastic (in the fantasy-sense) imagery, no real plot and no end.

    Has anyone here played Half-Life? The whole train thing reminded me of the G-Man from that series.

    And yeah, I think the ‘edgy’, weary alcoholic figure has been done to death.

    • #27408

      S.A. Barton
      Participant

      Done to death is right. That trope is too ancient and rickety to use it without a significant new twist on it.

    • #27409
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      Lilyn G
      Keymaster

      Yes its definitely been done to death. Just like each element,of this story individually.

  • #27424

    JB Rockwell
    Participant

    Lots of emphasis on the train theme (the Signalman and his watch, long scenes actually ON a train. You suppose there was some deeper meaning or symbolism behind this or did she just like the train aesthetic?

    • #27457
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      Lilyn G
      Keymaster

      I honestly haven’t got a clue. Good question, though!

  • #27462

    JB Rockwell
    Participant

    So, to recap, we’ve managed to tie in Lovecraft, X-Files, Harry Potter, Pilgrims, and now… Thomas the Tank Engine. Good job, guys!

  • #27464

    GracieKat13
    Participant

    Especially since, as far as I know, there are very few passenger trains running in America right now. Maybe a time thing? Since trains either run in exact patterns or forwards and backwards…I don’t know. I think my brain derailed, I thought I was on to something.

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