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Thread: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

  1. #1

    Default Change (Short story, a few chapters)


    Greetings, fellow writers.

    I've never set foot in the gilded halls of the creative writing section, partly because I mostly stick to AARs, and partly because I don't really enter a section unless I plan to make a commitment to it. Today, that changes. But not in the way you think. Instead of the standard introductions, I'm going to just give two short paragraphs:

    What you can't expect
    This is my first attempt at a Creative Writing piece, so I really have no idea what to expect from myself. So you shouldn't really expect much from me. The story might not even be coherent, the flow might be a bit confusing, and the language might be superfluous or unnecessary.

    Don't expect lengthy, regular updates either. I already have a commitment to my AARs and staffwork, and I'm not going to shirk those even if I am trying out a new 'pet project', which is what this CW is.

    Perhaps after a while I shall touch up the OP with pictures and fancy formatting, but not now.

    Now I'm not trying to sound dismissive or depressed, I am simply trying to lower reader expectations because I know my limits - and as such I won't be putting this in my sig or anywhere else. If you manage to find this and want to read it, by all means go ahead. The standard rules for any of my work apply - comment if you feel like doing so or want to give your input, I will always respond and appreciate such feedback.

    What you can expect
    Very, and I must emphasize, very short updates, for one. I don't foresee any updates going over 1000 words, and in fact most of them should be around 500 words or below. Thank you Alwyn for inspiring this sort of writing style with New Town.

    I spend a lot of time writing, and sometimes when I hit Writer's Block and the ideas run dry, I switch to another piece of work that I feel good at writing, to recharge my brain cells and let my thoughts recompose themselves. That is one of the reasons I'm writing this CW. So what I'm trying to say is you can expect to see updates being posted very irregularly. I might finish this CW piece in two weeks, or it may take a few months. The bottom line is, I will only be updating this when inspiration strikes.

    This CW piece shouldn't last for more than 10 chapters. No prologue, no epilogue. Oh and one last thing.

    Expect a twist at the end

    Still here then? Well, here goes nothing.

    Chapter List

    Chapter 1
    Chapter 2
    Last edited by Swaeft; January 14, 2019 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Updated chapter list

  2. #2

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    Chapter 1

    “Childhood is the most beautiful of all life's seasons.” – Author Unknown

    The birthing of a new soul is a wondrous affair. To almost ever species, the sparkle of new life is a tremendous, fascinating affair. Lions nuzzle their cubs warmly, horses frolic around each other eagerly, and pigs oink non-stop. Even a colony of ants will pause to acknowledge the new life that has just been brought into their world, even if all it means is that there will simply be another worker in future.

    In the minor city of Colat Tartenwer* however, bringing a child into the world is not a major affair at all, and is accompanied very little pomp and circumstance. After all, freshly born babes are a great annoyance, know nothing, and do nothing but take up space and resources, at least in their infancy.

    Life as a child in Colat Tartenwer is easy. Children are free to wander around and explore, for the city is a very safe place, and it is not uncommon to find large groups of kids roaming around the city together, having fun doing their own things. Sometimes they would become rowdy and unruly, but that is nothing if not expected.

    The children are simple-minded, as expected of four and five year olds. They play with toys, pick up sticks from the ground and pretend they are knights, poking and jabbing and prancing around until they are exhausted, or more likely, bored. Indeed, a parent could even expect to see their child just twice a day – at dawn, where they are fed and told to behave before scooting out the door in search of adventure, and at dusk, when they return to the familiar comfort of their home to be fed again, lectured, scrubbed down, and tucked into bed for a good night’s rest.

    And that would be their life for a few years.

    Some would say those would be the best years of their lives. Carefree, happy-go-lucky, with no responsibilities. The sky was their limit, the earth a canvas for them to shape their futures with, and the very ground a foundation for their lives, the dirt both a harsh teacher and a place to lie on and rest.

    But everyone grows up.

    *completely fictional name, I tried to make it sound like a place out of Eastern Europe.
    Last edited by Swaeft; Yesterday at 08:49 PM. Reason: This is going to be interesting...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    Well, that's an interesting beginning. I can't help but think that what comes next will be the polar opposite of what you described.

    You also intrigue me with the setting. The fictious name and the reference to knights point to something medieval-European-fantasy-esque, but the combination of whales, dolphins, lions and ants in the first paragraph seems rather unusual for that style.

    Oh, and welcome!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Van Tromp View Post
    Well, that's an interesting beginning. I can't help but think that what comes next will be the polar opposite of what you described.

    You also intrigue me with the setting. The fictious name and the reference to knights point to something medieval-European-fantasy-esque, but the combination of whales, dolphins, lions and ants in the first paragraph seems rather unusual for that style.

    Oh, and welcome!
    Salutations, Admiral! *tips tricone hat*

    Thank you for dropping by. Alas, it's been only a few hours and already the cracks in my writing have been exposed. It's time to disappear forever to hide my shame! I was trying to contrast the primal way animals react to newborns with the rather ordinary way the people react, but as you can see I didn't do it very well. Also, setting, hmm...that shall be expanded upon. Your comments are very helpful, I appreciate the feedback!
    Last edited by Swaeft; January 14, 2019 at 10:18 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    What I mentioned about the animals isn't necessarily a crack. It's just that the narrator's imagination and cultural references tends to coincide with the world around the characters. And some of the animals you refered to aren't very common in a medieval fantasy setting (and we don't even know if the setting is like that yet, I just assumed from the reference to knights ). If the people of Colat Tartenwer know about those creatures and the behaviours you described, then it's totally fine.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    That was the thing, I'm pretty sure lions and the like existed 500 years ago, but weren't called that. I did a quick google to ascertain this when I was writing the chapter, but after much thought I think I should change it now.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    Chapter 2

    “There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” – Elizabeth Lawrence

    The boy was, by all accounts, unremarkable. Average, ordinary, and didn’t seem to have any special traits or talents. He was excitable and had seemingly endless reserves of energy, but that was to be expected from almost any child.

    Like the rest of his peers, the boy spent most of his time with like-minded individuals. Whilst hanging out with other children, he made some acquaintances, and after the initial awkward phase in which the children slowly determined their closest friends, the boy began to experience the joys of life, with one distinct difference from his early childhood years.

    The bliss of companionship.

    Children aged 12 and up were allowed more freedoms, and once the boy and his friends reached that threshold they were allowed outside the city, but always within eyeshot of the guards. Together they traipsed through the lush, verdant sea of grass, basking in the golden glow of the sun and thoroughly enjoying the subtle sting of the cool breeze on their faces. Pearly laughter resonated from, it seemed, everywhere, which brought a smile to the faces of the guards watching over them.

    Toys and childish games would only capture their attention for so long, however, and soon the children became captivated by the various professions. They still had their ‘run around like there was nothing else in the world’ days, but they increasingly stayed within the city walls to observe the various going-ons. Be it the constant hammering of the blacksmith, the incessant twangs of arrows being released, the ceaseless work of toiling the fields, or even the quiet introspection of the artists, all attracted scores of curious young ones, eager to learn what they could. The boy started to see the city for what it was – a bustling hub of life and vibrance, and not just his backyard in which he could spend the whole day indulging himself in games and whatnot.

    Of course, as befit a teenage boy or girl, their minds were fickle, their attention spans wavered constantly, and their profession of interest changed every single day, some even more so.

    Eventually though, with some guidance from their elders and perhaps a moderate amount of peer pressure, these teens would settle down and start their apprenticeships.

    The boy was one such teen. He took longer than usual to choose, having flitted here and there all throughout the city, his interest piqued by almost all the professions, but in the end, like the rest, he finally decided on one.

    The boy chose to be a painter.

    It wasn’t exactly the most sought-after profession, and neither was it the most glamorous, but something about it spoke to the heart of the boy. He had enjoyed immensely his time as a child, and wanted to capture such memories and keep them with him, and what better way to do that than by recreating the scenes of his fondest and most treasured moments? One day I’ll be able to paint masterpieces, the boy dreamed. People from far and wide will come to admire them, and perhaps I’ll even give away some as gifts!

    The boy was delighted to see that some of his friends were of the same mind as him and had decided to become artists as well, but unfortunately, most of the teens that he had been mingling with had all gone down separate paths, and their conversations slowly died down.

    For better or for worse, the boy’s circle of friends had shrunk, but it had become tighter-knit, and for a time, the boy wasn’t sure how to feel about that. But one thing was crystal clear to him.

    His journey had just begun.
    Last edited by Swaeft; Yesterday at 08:50 PM. Reason: Is something wrong? Yes, formatting! :P

  8. #8

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    That's a very relatable tale of growing up and choosing one's path. I enjoyed it!
    I'm also very intrigued to see where this goes. I'm always interested in the lives of artists!

    One thing that had my "world building senses" tingling () was the fact that the young have that much freedom to choose their work freely and, interestingly, whenever they want. To me, that's a sign of amazing prosperity - since parents don't have to put them to work as soon as it's possible to be able to feed them.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    I'm glad you found it relatable. I was thinking: What could make my childhood better? Then I remembered: Ah, yes, why not even more freedom?

    Indeed, you have picked up on another detail. Excellent sleuthing, Admiral!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    If you have Knights and Lions together, I will be most disappointing if there isn't Lion Knights later on. Lion Cavalry sounds terrifying.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    Lion cavalry! That would be fearsome indeed, much like the griffon? knights in the TW: Warhammer empire trailer. You have given me something to think about.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    Hey Swaeft, I've read nothing but the OP so far (seriously, I read that and then scrolled down, as I'm short on time right at this precise moment; will come back later though ). I think for a side project like this setting that word restriction is really helpful, and can drive much more motivation for yourself. In my ongoing CW thing I have also been aiming for roughly 500 words each time, which helps a lot.* I find that with such a short update, it is easy to get a whole thing out in one day (maybe even just an hour), and that can make me more easily think to myself "Hey, today I'd like to crack out an update!" With the AARs they almost inevitably take more time, and so you really need to be in the groove to get started on writing a new chapter. So yeah, try to stick to that limitation, and I think you'll find yourself wanting to write on this more, because progress feels much more forthcoming. At any rate, I'll be back by later to read the actual story itself!

    *(I actually do my composition in LaTeX, and there one full screen of text is exactly what I aim for with my update, as that gets to roughly 500 words, and is a nice demarcator. Like, I scroll down, see if there is a solid panel of text. If so, then I must be done!)
    The Grand Duel, between this esteemed Gentleman and Swaeft, the Villain!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    Haha no problem man, take all the time that you need! You're right, the word restriction helps, but this is more of a 'I write this when I'm out of inspiration for my AARs' sort of thing, hence the irregular updates.

    I did a quick google for latex, it seems (in my opinion) needlessly complicated, as opposed to Word or OpenOffice. Is there a reason you use it?

    Glad you could stop by

  14. #14

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    Quote Originally Posted by Swaeft View Post
    I did a quick google for latex, it seems (in my opinion) needlessly complicated, as opposed to Word or OpenOffice. Is there a reason you use it?
    Well, I have lots of reasons why, and thoughts on the matter. I'll box them for politeness' sake.


    It seems much more complicated, and one does indeed need to learn how to use it a bit (when I started using it, I needed about two weeks to figure out the nooks and crannies, and to grips with how one makes a good document with it), but it allows for much more control in typesetting a document. However, the main reason I use it is because it makes citing and referencing things far easier than it ever could be in Word (or a similar program), and it additionally has a lot of good functionality with images and graphs. For that reason it is ideal for any type of academic or scientific work (which is my job), and that's the core of why I use it.

    However, that being said, it is super nice for other things as well, and since it's all open-source stuff, there are also awesome templates that are easy to find laying all of the internet. Like, I write my AAR and CW stuff in LaTeX, using a paperback book template I found online, and the results are really nice. Perfect spacing, perfect options available, so that when I print a .pdf it really looks just like a book. To me, that is nice, and also helps me gauge if a chapter is getting too long (I have a better feel for paperback page lengths than for word counts or page counts from a Word file).

    But I guess it really is a personal choice, and depends a lot on what your needs are. If you do a lot of writing where citations or data are expected, LaTeX is a good choice. If you just write short or simple things, where there aren't rigid expectations about formatting or that stuff, Word can be just as good. I think at the end of the day what I like most about it is that you put the commands for the typesetting in yourself, so nothing ever happens where you're like "What the hell?! Why did that just indent itself?" I used to find that happening a lot in Word, that formatting would just be done automatically, but done in a way I didn't want, and I could never understand how to undo or modify it. In LaTeX if I want an indent I just type \indent before the text begins. If I want a bigger indent for the document I can just at the outset type, e.g. \setlength\parindent{1in}. Obviously that looks cryptic, but once you have a basic handle of the typesetting coding, it is all really simple and straightforward.

    So that's the long answer.
    The Grand Duel, between this esteemed Gentleman and Swaeft, the Villain!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Change (Short story, a few chapters)

    I see. You're right, I'm more of a simple writer, which might explain why word is my default choice. I don't use graphs or citations, but I can imagine you doing so in your professional work, so I understand why you use it now.

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