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@  Nevermore : (12 June 2021 - 03:43 AM)

8ass X÷ has hijacked this conversation.

@  Bass X0 : (12 June 2021 - 03:37 AM)

Its Bass X0. I named myself after my three favourite Mega Man characters - Bass, X and Zero. I did consider going with Vile Bass X0, but that would have been going too far.

@  repowers : (11 June 2021 - 11:29 PM)

Bass XO has been trying to reach you about your car's extended warranty.

@  Echowarrior : (11 June 2021 - 09:25 PM)

Do not taunt Bass XO.

@  wonko the sane? : (11 June 2021 - 09:02 PM)

Please consult a technician before using Bass XO. Do not operate Bass XO while consuming alcohol.

@  TheMightyMol... : (11 June 2021 - 04:48 PM)

Nine out of ten doctors recommend Bass XO. The last doctor is on my list.

@  Dekafox : (11 June 2021 - 01:51 PM)

Bass XO is available at these fine retailers.

@  PlutoniumBoss : (11 June 2021 - 02:01 AM)

Bass XO is not to be confused with Bay Sexo.

@  Fenix Twilight : (10 June 2021 - 08:38 PM)

It's good to be back, after that outage I think I'll try to post more.

@  Steevy Maximus : (10 June 2021 - 12:16 PM)

I think Hasbro Pulse is broken. Dang Star Wars nerds!

@  tigerhawk : (10 June 2021 - 04:46 AM)

When I googled 'space bridge' I was disappointed. Maybe in a hundred years.

@  ▲ndrusi : (09 June 2021 - 04:05 PM)

Bass XO is backward compatible with the Sega Master System.

@  Donocropolis : (09 June 2021 - 05:37 AM)

Bass XO has 9" long, dagger-like teeth and a 12,000 lb. bite force

@  repowers : (08 June 2021 - 07:26 PM)

Bass XO doesn't feel pain. He can't be reasoned with!

@  TheMightyMol... : (08 June 2021 - 02:57 PM)

Bass XO has no known weaknesses.

@  Nevermore : (08 June 2021 - 06:15 AM)

Base XO is definitely unstoppable.

@  Donocropolis : (07 June 2021 - 04:30 PM)

What about magnets? No one knows how they work or what they can do.

@  Bass X0 : (07 June 2021 - 02:22 PM)

Yes Cybershark, and now no force in the universe can stop us.

@  Cybersnark : (07 June 2021 - 10:03 AM)

Aaaan we're back!

@  Telly : (06 June 2021 - 09:07 PM)

its alive! AAAALIIIIIIVEEEEEE! *maniacal laugh*

@  repowers : (06 June 2021 - 02:18 PM)

WHAT!!! ALLSPARK!!! you IN LIVE!!!!!!

@  Donocropolis : (06 June 2021 - 01:53 PM)

Indeed. I was missing it.

@  Shockwave 75 : (06 June 2021 - 11:35 AM)

So glad the boards are back!

@  Echowarrior : (06 June 2021 - 07:45 AM)

It's alive! Alive!

@  wonko the sane? : (05 June 2021 - 08:32 PM)

Aw man, I missed this place...

@  Sabrblade : (05 June 2021 - 08:31 PM)

Now here in Manhattan, the spell is broken! And we live again!

@  PlutoniumBoss : (05 June 2021 - 08:16 PM)

Groovy.

@  Kaon : (05 June 2021 - 07:23 PM)

How is everyone

@  Kaon : (05 June 2021 - 06:42 PM)

test

@  tigerhawk : (24 May 2021 - 07:42 AM)

I'm making progress with tweezers. It's no great loss given Dai Atlas minor roles anyway, I really do prefer this mold for Titans Overlord and Sky Shadow,

@  unluckiness : (22 May 2021 - 09:57 PM)

Had that happen once. Drilled a 1 mmhole in the peg and superglued a rivet into it for something to pull on.

@  tigerhawk : (22 May 2021 - 09:44 PM)

pliers, superglue, heat, nothing has worked so far but I had to take yesterday off due to pfizer side effects.

@  unluckiness : (22 May 2021 - 07:04 AM)

is there enough plastic sticking out to yank it out with pliers?

@  tigerhawk : (21 May 2021 - 01:05 PM)

Oh great my Legends Dai Atlas fell and the gun snapped in two, the handle is stuck in the port on top of the vehicle mode.

@  Nevermore : (21 May 2021 - 04:14 AM)

Also, our compound terms are legendary among foreigners, because we throw them together as a single word, with no spaces and usually without hyphens too.

@  Nevermore : (21 May 2021 - 04:12 AM)

You can have straightforward sentences that are a literal word-replace translation of stuff like "I go to school", but once you throw in perfect tense and prepositions, you end up with insane constructions where the main verb is at the very end of a very long sentence, so you have to listen to the whole sentence until you have any clue what is going on.

@  Nevermore : (21 May 2021 - 04:10 AM)

And I stand by that. German sentence structure can be utterly insane.

@  Nevermore : (21 May 2021 - 04:10 AM)

Fun fact: When I was teaching German kids English, I kept telling them that English grammar and especially sentence structure is more logical than German.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (21 May 2021 - 01:17 AM)

e.g. Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den was by a Chinese guy pointing out the weirdness in his own language, rather than the frustrations of somebody learning Chinese as their second. So English isn't the only case where native speakers might enocunter funky issues.

@  PlutoniumBoss : (21 May 2021 - 01:17 AM)

Then I shall concede, and retire.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (21 May 2021 - 01:14 AM)

I'm not sure if that's even all that unique to English.

@  PlutoniumBoss : (21 May 2021 - 01:07 AM)

Which is why I specified those comparing learning it to learning other languages as a second language.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (21 May 2021 - 01:04 AM)

And I don't think "ancedotal frustration" means much, considering that every language has complaints from people trying to learn it.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (21 May 2021 - 01:03 AM)

The fact that these stand out certainly makes Japanese "not a smoothie". And it's only consistent within more recent loanwords. Older ones stick out in a different way.

@  PlutoniumBoss : (21 May 2021 - 01:00 AM)

Even writing them generally in katakana is a consistent treatment, and gives someone learning the language a general expected approach. I'd say the anecdotal frustration with English by those learning it compared to learning other languages as a second language is a demonstration that this sort of consistency and organization was not a valued thing in the past few centuries of the language's development.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (21 May 2021 - 12:28 AM)

Frankly, it just sounds like you think other languages seem a certain way because you don't look into them all that much.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (21 May 2021 - 12:28 AM)

It's pretty pervasive in Japanese as well, with how these feature into everyday speech.. And I don't know what you even mean by "deep", since writing them in a particular character set basically calls attention to not just their derivative nature, but their relative recency as well.

@  PlutoniumBoss : (21 May 2021 - 12:25 AM)

Indeed, every language has those artifacts if you examine deeply enough, but in English they're not deep, and they're pervasive.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (20 May 2021 - 11:56 PM)

like Japanese using three different script types together, and more recent word borrowings tend to be in katakana.

@  NotVeryKnightly : (20 May 2021 - 11:51 PM)

I don't know what you mean by "cohesively". Borrowings are probably obvious if you know what to look for.


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Vonnegut's rules for short stories


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5 replies to this topic

#1 Whirlaway

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 04:07 PM

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.*
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.


It's a pretty good list. I especially like #5. Too many stories drag along and fluff up the content in the mistaken thinking that longer somehow always equals epic.
Any other rules you like to follow?
"You are a ghost, a shadow of the past, a forgotten relic of a protracted, inconclusive war that brought our whole planet low, consigned the Predacons to humiliating contrition and compliance. Your day, such as it was, is done! Over! I... am... Megatron!"
S. Furman, (2004). "Beast Wars: A Meeting of Minds." Transformers Legends

#2 Echowarrior

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 12:33 PM

QUOTE(whirlaway @ Sep 12 2009, 05:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.*
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.


It's a pretty good list. I especially like #5. Too many stories drag along and fluff up the content in the mistaken thinking that longer somehow always equals epic.
Any other rules you like to follow?


I approve of #4, and I definitely wish more people were aware of #8. Would save us so much trouble with the current comic books.
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#3 Autobus Prime

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 09:23 PM

Folks:

They're good rules, but like any system they have limits. In this case, they're good rules for writing like Vonnegut. icon-hotrod.gif

Vonnegut's writing is wonderful stuff, and I love it, but I love it as much for its quirks as its efficiency. I like quirky stuff. This may surprise some people. I doubt it.

In his case, without that efficiency, the quirks might make it less readable...or it might still be fun, in its eccentric way.

He's a very American author, too, and Twain could easily have made a similar list. The Yankee efficiency of it all suits them nicely, and it does make good stories. But there are other authors who have totally incompatible systems, and they can be fun to read, too. A lot of my favorite English authors are egregious violators of #4.

And just how does one reconcile #1, and #7, Mr. Vonnegut? icon-fire.gif

I guess there are only two rules, really. Have a good story and recreate it in the reader's mind!




#4 Fortress Ironhold

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 09:27 PM

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

This is the only thing I can agree with without reservation.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

Actually, some of the most thought-provoking fiction out there is done in such a fashion that there really aren't any heroes.

For example, in Phillip K. Dick's "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch," none of the main characters are what could be considered heroic. They're all either jerks, airheads, or cons. Depending upon who you talk to, that's actually what makes the book so successful.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

What of those characters who want for nothing?

You can have quite a bit of fun playing them off those characters who do want.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.*

Not if you do it right.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

Uh, no.

It takes a skilled writer, a limited plot, or both to pull off something like that.

6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

Sometimes, you can see a good deal of character growth by seeing what takes place when good things happen to a character.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

While it is true that you have to please yourself, you've also got to churn out something that others will likewise wish to read.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Was he drunk when he wrote this list?

I ask as this one runs contrary to quite a bit of good, solid, writing.

#5 Autobus Prime

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 09:57 PM

QUOTE(Fortress Ironhold @ Oct 19 2009, 10:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Was he drunk when he wrote this list?

I ask as [#8] runs contrary to quite a bit of good, solid, writing.


FI:

No, he's just Vonnegut. That really is how he writes. It's a lot of fun, honestly.

It helps that his characters tend to be quite straightforward. If they speak their minds, they're giving an accurate account, except when they're not, in which case Vonnegut or somebody steps up with the correct explanation. It's all very pleasantly unsubtle and "American", and yet it can generate amazing realism, because the characters are all people you know, and really, are most of our motives all that complex? icon-fire.gif





#6 Rust

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 04:54 PM

QUOTE(Fortress Ironhold @ Oct 19 2009, 09:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

What of those characters who want for nothing?

You can have quite a bit of fun playing them off those characters who do want.


Yes, but then the character who wants for nothing becomes a plot device and not an actual character. Climbing the Mountain to reach the Zen Master, the Zen Master is not a character he is merely a goal.

QUOTE
4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.*

Not if you do it right.


I disagree. Too many authors now-a-days unnecessarily pad their work with nothing of substance. I really could give a damn how many chairs are in a airport Terminal Lounge. Just say "Airport Terminal Lounge" and move on. If it's a rundown Terminal Lounge, just call it "A Rundown Terminal Lounge" and move on. Most people reading have imaginations to fill in the scenery blanks.

QUOTE
5. Start as close to the end as possible.

Uh, no.

It takes a skilled writer, a limited plot, or both to pull off something like that.


In a Short Story? I'd hope not. With Short Stories, you really should start as close to the end as possible.

QUOTE
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

While it is true that you have to please yourself, you've also got to churn out something that others will likewise wish to read.


But not at the expense of the story. Look at Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin. I suspect some of their padding comes from fans clamoring to learn more about Character X and Y. That's all fine and good...unless it brings the main plot of the story screaming to a halt simply to learn more about these characters of secondary importance.

QUOTE
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Was he drunk when he wrote this list?

I ask as this one runs contrary to quite a bit of good, solid, writing.


Not really. David Weber uses this to masterful effect. It's amazing how, when you are presented all sides of a conflict...it's a lot harder to decide who's good and who's evil. And even when the motivation is a little more cut and dried, it's still refreshing to at least understand where the Villain is coming from.

The Scooby Doo style suspense writing ("It was Old Man Withers the Entire Time!") still works, don't get me wrong, but sometimes it's nice to see the hows and whys of an opposing viewpoint. Rob Pierre didn't have to continue with the war against Manticore after he overthrew the corrupt Legislaturist Government, but he did anyway. Not because he agreed with the Propaganda he threw to the masses to make that war legitimate, but because it galvanized the 3/4ths of the population that were living on the Government's various Welfare Policies and got them back into the work force. And, over time, the concept of "Work" would be known to the useless drones the population of his nation had become.

A good chunk of other writers wouldn't have even bothered with motivation past the official Propaganda.

Edited by Rust, 20 October 2009 - 04:55 PM.