Monday, June 22, 2009

First line critiques

First Lines Not to turn this into a meme but I'm going to play too. :D What I have with me that hasn't been published or maybe even finished yet.

#1: “You sure are going to a lot of trouble.”

*SNORT* Yeah, that loses a lot without context.

#2: Wyatt Cain rode slowly through the barrack’s gates into the Royal Palace’s compound.

Serviceable, I guess.

#3: She propped her head up on her elbow and considered the nude lines of the man standing at the large curtain-less window.

Nudity makes everything better.

#4: Peggy Wynn flipped through her portfolio one more time.

And I still hate Peggy's last name. She's a writer and she needs a better imagination. Or better phone book research skills.

What does this prove? I like to extend the hook of the narrative to the whole opening paragraph. Agreed, the shorter the work, the more that first line must do, but I think readers process more in paragraph chunks than on the sentence level. So let's see these examples with some context.

#1: “You sure are going to a lot of trouble.” Vinnie leaned against the bathroom’s doorjamb, and watched Throttle buttoning the black, long-sleeved shirt. “You two should be way past the bribing into her pants stage.”

Vinnie is always good for a laugh. And boy, this story is light on the comedic moments.

#2: Wyatt Cain rode slowly through the barrack’s gates into the Royal Palace’s compound. It had been almost a year since the Eclipse, and the Royal Army hadn’t finished renovating the former Longcoat headquarters. He hoped the rest of Central City looked better. The Palace next to the barracks gleamed in the suns. He wondered which tower housed DG before shaking his head. A lowly Tin Man—-even if he was a hero of the realm-—shouldn’t be concerned about such matters. That had been made clear the last time he had been in her Majesty’s presence.

I think that does a much better job of hooking I hope.

#3: She propped her head up on her elbow and considered the nude lines of the man standing at the large curtain-less window. The glow of Central City beyond the glass bathed his scarred muscles and fair hair green. Heat pooled in her belly as she remembered how those strong limbs had tangled with hers on this bed she stretched across. But he seemed content to expose his glory to the city below. “I married as exhibitionist,” she snorted.

No names because I want some ambiguity about the POV character.

#4: Peggy Wynn flipped through her portfolio one more time. All the pieces showed off her writing, but also conveyed how interesting she could make interviews and childhood remembrances. Just what Mr. Nate Ardenwood would need in the ghostwriter of his memoirs. She shut the binder and leaned back in the chair. Ardenwood’s executive assistant had apologized profusely for the wait before leaving for the day. What could possibly be taking so long? How tempting it was to just leave, but she needed this job. She closed her green eyes.

I'm glad this one is still in writing stage. It needs to be chopped to bits. I like the rest of the scene though, just how to get to the good stuff.

Let me know what you think: sentences versus paragraphs. Or do I just need to work harder on those first sentences. :D

Personal updates: I've finally made it to the last section of the "Turbo" edits to make it's draft 2. And I slice off the tip of my middle finger and make typing and writing with a pen a real bitch. Before that happened my plans were to finish Turbo and buckle down on all the Tin Man edits while finishing my website update. Now I need to scale back because I'm finding it impossible not to type with that finger.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tin Man: Pirates Notes 06

The O.Z. Map Project
Started: May 4, 2009
Completed: June 7, 2009

The Oz east/west issue is driving me nuts! I shouldn’t let it, since it really doesn’t matter with Tin Man’s O.Z. and I do enjoy the fanfics that use it to mess with the characters’ heads. But the fact that so many people seem to think it is canon is driving me crazy.

Let's start with Baum's canon. *Manical laughter* Sorry about that, but I don't think the man took internal cohesion in the series very seriously. But he is a writer, so his canon is the text. And since I am such a well-trained scholar….

"She was the Wicked Witch of the East, as I said," answered the little woman. "She has held all the Munchkins in bondage for many years, making them slave for her night and day. Now they are all set free, and are grateful to you for the favor."

"Who are the Munchkins?" inquired Dorothy.

"They are the people who live in this land of the East where the Wicked Witch ruled." -- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

"But I thought all witches were wicked," said the girl, who was half frightened at facing a real witch.

"Oh, no, that is a great mistake. There were only four witches in all the Land of Oz, and two of them, those who live in the North and the South, are good witches. I know this is true, for I am one of them myself, and cannot be mistaken. Those who dwelt in the East and the West were, indeed, wicked witches; but now that you have killed one of them, there is but one Wicked Witch in all the Land of Oz--the one who lives in the West." -- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

These passages state unarguably that the Munchkins lived in the East and were ruled by the witch Dorothy's house landed on. Winkies live in the west. So where did the error creep in?

The Wizard of Oz - Frequently Asked Questions devotes two questions to this issue: 4.4. Why do some books have the Munchkin Country in the west and the Winkie Country in the east? and 4.5. Where can I get a map of the Land of Oz? They make the very logical case that Baum was first confused by a reversed slide of the map used in the stage play adaptations, then illustrators corrected the compass rose but not the ground that they were making a map of. And then writers after Baum referenced the bad map illustrations, and it snowballed.

Seeking to avoid the whole mess with what I'm writing, I grabbed a corrected map from Oz Central LLC that was put together by James Haff and Dick Martin. Plus I needed the surrounding kingdoms since Pirates is taking place out in the ocean. It's also safe to say in my Tin Man fanfics the suns rise in the east and set in the west and the compass rose is W - E not E - W.

That settled, on to making my own map. First step is acknowledging that I adore Gregory Maguire's stuff, so I scanned in all the maps from Wicked, Son of the Witch, and A Lion Among Men. And then I started jumping up and down to resist the urge to go kick Maguire, Douglas Smith the illustrator, Joel Avirom or Jason Snyder who are listed as designers, or the editor for HarperCollins if he or she is not already listed. What ticked me off? There's no compass rose and Vinkus is left of Emerald City and Munchkinland is to the right.


See the arrow pointed southwest labeled "desert to Ev?" *Sigh* You can see where James Haff and Dick Martin put it on their map. Quox is renaming of Quok, and Fliaan is a renaming of Phunnyland also known as Mo (I think Baum's first way of naming countries must have been to pick a letter on the top keyboard line and match it with a letter on the bottom line. And then somebody must have told him to really name the countries.) and their arrows are also pointed in the wrong directions. Disheartened, I double checked the next two books, hoping they had decided to fix it. I was disappointed. Southstairs inside Emerald City is drawn right next to the Shiz Gate, which heads north to Gillikin.

Okay, fine. If people want to continue using the geographical confusion, I also made a mashup of all three maps without the corrections. But nobody should care if I mess with the maps to get something I consider right for my Tin Man fanfiction. And North, South, East, and West are all going to correspond to how we are used to them working!

The Tin Man miniseries was careful not to use an Ozian detail that could be under someone's copyright, which I do applaud them for, also the variations on names gives the verisimilitude of passing time between Dorothy Gale and DG's adventures. However, I think the only instruction the visual background artists were given was "make it not look like Kansas," and that turned into lots of mountains, trees, and waterfalls on screen. I took the corrected mashup of the Maguire maps for the base and then added the details mentioned in the miniseries.

List of Tin Man locations:
  • Guild Fighters' village
  • Cain's cabin
  • Fields of the Papay
  • The Brick Route/Old Road
  • Milltown
  • Central City
  • Northern Island/Northern Palace
  • the Tower, west of Central City
  • the Crack Across the O.Z.
  • Ralph's family cabin
  • the cabin by the white elm with Adora's grave
  • Finaqua is in what Cain calls lake country and sits next to a lake
  • Black Mountains (just mentioned)
  • Realm of the Unwanted
  • Ahamo's teepee next to a lake
  • the Royal Tomb also next to a lake, probably not the same one since it takes an overnight balloon ride to get to it

This was the source of much agony for the greatest portion of the month. All I have to say after this agony, if you find something wrong with this map, open your graphics program and fix it and never bring it to my attention. Otherwise, I'm liable to do something that makes the Sorceress' soul-suck look humane in comparison.

Fitting Dorothy and Ozma's Oz into Nonestica was much easier than dealing with the modern Outer Zone.

And then ripping that apart with the event I'm calling the Great Upheaval was way easier than dealing with the modern Outer Zone.

I finished my island maps in five seconds compared to the time spent on the modern Outer Zone map.

So while I would really appreciate a shout out for my hard work here, I don't expect it. The drawback I have found with this fandom is the tendency to ignore anything not provided on LiveJournal. But you're welcome to link back to this information and download any of the maps that you need.

set of Oz and O.Z. maps in a zip file 25.7 MB