Discussion:
YASID: near the edge
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Wolffan
2018-02-26 11:50:46 UTC
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setup: our protag is king of a small kingdom on The Edge Of The World. As in,
there’s a Really Stupendous Cliff on one border of his state, the other
borders being ordinary land borders. If you stand on the top of the cliff and
look down, there are lots and lots and lots of clouds way, way, way, down,
hiding whatever’s down there. Battles near the Edge are different from
battles elsewhere; the various armies try to force the opposition off the
Edge.

So our protag has been out of the kingdom, acquiring a new queen. He returns
to find that there’s been a slight change of management while he was away.
It seems that some people, including many immigrants from lands not so close
to the Edge, resented the high taxes he’d demanded, especially as a large
chunk of those taxes went to buying livestock and forcing the herds off the
Edge for what were obviously demented religious reasons.

The new management is civilized about things; they’ve cut the taxes,
stopped the wasting of valuable livestock, and will give our protag a subsidy
if he’ll take himself, his delusions, and his new queen and go elsewhere.
Any elsewhere.

Our protag laughs, which was unexpected, and turns to go... quickly. But not
before taking one last look over the Edge. There appears to be something...
glinting... down there. Something very, very, very, big. The new management
sees it too and is suddenly having second thoughts about the
‘wastefulness’ of throwing herds of livestock over the Edge. And about
certain legends, which just have to be just tales for children... don’t
they?

Anyone know this one?
Jack Bohn
2018-02-26 13:01:50 UTC
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Niven's "Transfer of Power".

He says he wrote it after reading Dunsany tales set at the edge of the world, but, unless there's a set I'm uninformed about, that edge isn't a cliff, but where it borders the Other World.
--
-Jack
D B Davis
2018-02-26 15:08:02 UTC
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Post by Jack Bohn
Niven's "Transfer of Power".
He says he wrote it after reading Dunsany tales set at the edge of the
world, but, unless there's a set I'm uninformed about, that edge isn't
a cliff, but where it borders the Other World.
Good job Jack. ITYM neighboring countries that share the vista of the
edge of the world. "Transfer of Power" opens with a vignette that reads:

Alfred, Lord Dunsany had a seminal influence on fantasy fiction
in America. More: he wrote good. Crime fiction devotees will
remember his "Two Bottles of Relish" whether they want to or
not. He was superb at writing vignettes: 1,000 to 2,000 word
stories. It's difficult to fit the elements of a story into so
short a length. I only recently got the hang of it myself.
After a long night reading Dunsany stories set "at the edge
of the world," I finally broke down and wrote one.

Vignette also means a shorter story? That's a new for me.
"Shorter story" seems like a plausible nomenclature because it's two
characters longer that "short story." As we know, story taxonomy labels
grow longer as stories become shorter: novel, novella, novelette, short
story, and now shorter story, if you will.
Niven labels "Transfer of Power" a vignette. So, what do you call
the intro excerpted above? A vignette of a vignette? Vignette^2?
The late Stuart Wilde was a prolific author who wrote metaphysical
guidebooks. Before he passed away he talked about one way to hone your
writer's discipline. You pick a low number, one hundred twenty nine
for instance. Then you write something, it doesn't have to be a story
per se, that has exactly that many words in it. As odd as it seems at
first blush, it was relatively easy for me to do that. You just kind of
fiddle, mostly with the last couple of sentences, until you reach your
word count.

Thank you,

--
Don
Robert Carnegie
2018-02-26 21:34:39 UTC
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Post by D B Davis
Post by Jack Bohn
Niven's "Transfer of Power".
He says he wrote it after reading Dunsany tales set at the edge of the
world, but, unless there's a set I'm uninformed about, that edge isn't
a cliff, but where it borders the Other World.
Good job Jack. ITYM neighboring countries that share the vista of the
Alfred, Lord Dunsany had a seminal influence on fantasy fiction
in America. More: he wrote good. Crime fiction devotees will
remember his "Two Bottles of Relish" whether they want to or
not. He was superb at writing vignettes: 1,000 to 2,000 word
stories. It's difficult to fit the elements of a story into so
short a length. I only recently got the hang of it myself.
After a long night reading Dunsany stories set "at the edge
of the world," I finally broke down and wrote one.
Vignette also means a shorter story? That's a new for me.
"Shorter story" seems like a plausible nomenclature because it's two
characters longer that "short story." As we know, story taxonomy labels
grow longer as stories become shorter: novel, novella, novelette, short
story, and now shorter story, if you will.
Niven labels "Transfer of Power" a vignette. So, what do you call
the intro excerpted above? A vignette of a vignette? Vignette^2?
The late Stuart Wilde was a prolific author who wrote metaphysical
guidebooks. Before he passed away he talked about one way to hone your
writer's discipline. You pick a low number, one hundred twenty nine
for instance. Then you write something, it doesn't have to be a story
per se, that has exactly that many words in it. As odd as it seems at
first blush, it was relatively easy for me to do that. You just kind of
fiddle, mostly with the last couple of sentences, until you reach your
word count.
Thank you,
--
Don
That sounds like a way to not care what words you use, but how many!
It doesn't do to be sentimental about words, they're just bricks...
and the length game sounds like a good way to exercise the ability
to say the same thing in a different way... so that you don't speak
in one way all the time. As children we learn that using a different
word each time you refer to the same object keeps the text lively.
D B Davis
2018-02-27 00:16:18 UTC
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Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by D B Davis
Post by Jack Bohn
Niven's "Transfer of Power".
He says he wrote it after reading Dunsany tales set at the edge of the
world, but, unless there's a set I'm uninformed about, that edge isn't
a cliff, but where it borders the Other World.
Good job Jack. ITYM neighboring countries that share the vista of the
Alfred, Lord Dunsany had a seminal influence on fantasy fiction
in America. More: he wrote good. Crime fiction devotees will
remember his "Two Bottles of Relish" whether they want to or
not. He was superb at writing vignettes: 1,000 to 2,000 word
stories. It's difficult to fit the elements of a story into so
short a length. I only recently got the hang of it myself.
After a long night reading Dunsany stories set "at the edge
of the world," I finally broke down and wrote one.
Vignette also means a shorter story? That's a new for me.
"Shorter story" seems like a plausible nomenclature because it's two
characters longer that "short story." As we know, story taxonomy labels
grow longer as stories become shorter: novel, novella, novelette, short
story, and now shorter story, if you will.
Niven labels "Transfer of Power" a vignette. So, what do you call
the intro excerpted above? A vignette of a vignette? Vignette^2?
The late Stuart Wilde was a prolific author who wrote metaphysical
guidebooks. Before he passed away he talked about one way to hone your
writer's discipline. You pick a low number, one hundred twenty nine
for instance. Then you write something, it doesn't have to be a story
per se, that has exactly that many words in it. As odd as it seems at
first blush, it was relatively easy for me to do that. You just kind of
fiddle, mostly with the last couple of sentences, until you reach your
word count.
That sounds like a way to not care what words you use, but how many!
It doesn't do to be sentimental about words, they're just bricks...
and the length game sounds like a good way to exercise the ability
to say the same thing in a different way... so that you don't speak
in one way all the time. As children we learn that using a different
word each time you refer to the same object keeps the text lively.
It's good of you to reply because your followup enables me to correct an
earlier error on my part. Jack's phrase "Other World" is actually spot
on. The edge of the world doesn't terminate with a void. There's
actually an Other World out there, or rather down there.
That's good advice about using different words. It also pays to
echo other people's words and phrases back at them to aid communication.
You need a creative impulse to write one hundred and twenty-nine
words. A cathartic catalyst that tickles your fancy is necessary to make
your thoughts and attendant words literally spill out of you.
This followup contains precisely one hundred and twenty-nine words.
The count excludes the closing that appears next.

Thank you,

--
Don
Wolffan
2018-02-27 03:10:21 UTC
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Post by Jack Bohn
Niven's "Transfer of Power".
He says he wrote it after reading Dunsany tales set at the edge of the world,
but, unless there's a set I'm uninformed about, that edge isn't a cliff, but
where it borders the Other World.
I think that that’s it. I’m pretty sure that it was a cliff. Something
with a lot of clouds, anyway.
Jack Bohn
2018-02-27 05:06:05 UTC
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Wolffan writes:

On 26Feb 2018, Jack Bohn wrote: 
Niven's "Transfer of Power". 
He says he wrote it after reading Dunsany tales set at the edge of the world, 
but, unless there's a set I'm uninformed about, that edge isn't a cliff, but 
where it borders the Other World. 
I think that that’s it. I’m pretty sure that it was a cliff. Something 
with a lot of clouds, anyway.
I should have been more clear. The Niven story has the world end at a cliff, the Dunsany stories he sites as influence don't, IIRC. In _The King of Elfland's Daughter_, for example, "the fields we know" border on Elfland across a frontier "made of twilight."
--
-Jack
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