2016 August Comments/Reviews/Thoughts
Universal Channel (TV) has unveiled its new look and logo with the tagline ‘100% Characters’. I haven’t given it much thought until now, when I think that it’s really quite a clever tagline but one that could be applied to any story-telling genre. This perhaps begs the question of how characterizations and descriptive elements make a story come alive and the techniques for doing so, to which I don’t have a clear answer. However, I would be surprised at anyone getting pleasure from reading a story — either fictional, non-fictional or biographical — in which they did not make an emotional connection with the characterisations. The emotional nature of a character or place is usually described just enough to satisfy the moment and context, adding to an emotion compilation hopefully being created in the reader’s mind.
As an aside: I come from a technical and report writing background — very factual and unemotional — and was taken by surprise at the first emotional reaction I had in my involvement with social media. As someone who has been posting blogs for the last eight years I researched the style advice given to journalists and should not have been surprised at all. In re-reading one of my old blogs, while there may be a distinction between the works of creative writers, journalists and bloggers, those that are really successful seem to have made that emotional connection between their writing and their readers.
1 Rediscovering sensations on Elba — Written by Expatangie: Another delightful story Angie, spoilt for me by the paragraph about Ben beginning, Ben carried on texting on his phone… . I thought that it should have melded better with the following paragraph, On the tour of the island Alessandro had shown them the prison at Porto Azzurro. Even being a rewrite of both paragraphs to make them integrate better into the story.
2 Island — Written by Lostinwords: A depressingly true story of an island ravaged by human intervention, an intervention that I wasn’t expecting Lost. In this case I would have preferred it end before the humans arrived or on their arrival. Nevertheless, it made a neat allegory for our life on this planet.
3 The Lost Key — Written by Lostinwords: What an intriguing beginning to this story Lost, it drew me into the story straight away. Having never given much thought to hurricanes this story was (at least in part) an enlightenment. As an example of stories without human dialogue, I thought that both of yours were good.
4 Choices — Written by Araminta:  What an amazing month Araminta the hybrid narrations of Lost and then your third person narrative — all with no direct speech. I really enjoyed reading this story and its form. The links were interesting but perhaps not to be included in the story, you had already provided an introduction? I’m now wondering just how autobiographical (if somewhat embellished) the theme source of this story is. Then perhaps I would think that anyway.
5 The Homecoming — Written by Atiller: It’s always a pleasure to read these stories about Brenda James Atiller, unfortunately my memory retention loses track (mostly) of the ongoing plots, which is a pity. It occurs to me that they would make a good film script , or given the fairly limited locations sets a television series.
6 Columba’s Mist. Written by Danthemann:  You have what is to me an enigmatic style Dan but nevertheless your stories make for compulsive reading and re-reading. I now have to return to the Norwegian incident and while I’m only vaguely familiar with the Pokemon phenomenon it is pretty much as you portrayed it. PS — I’m very careful what I download.
7 The Siege — Written by Peter Barnett: A story that I never set out to write. I found the island theme surprisingly difficult as it brought me face to face with what is perhaps the source of writer’s block. That is an interest in the subject at hand, eventually finding it in the battle of Solent and the Isle(s) of Wight. Then I ran short on time due to my failing of being easily distracted. I over-researched the Isle of Wight and fell in love with the island, or at least its history. Time and words — Aye there’s the rub.
8 Visitors — Written by Archie_tp: As you tend to write what I would call pure sci-fi Archie and post mostly stories that — again to my mind — need an explanation regarding their context, I always find them difficult to assess. I found the reference to Tongan confusing other than making an island connection.
9 The Girl in the Lake — Written by Colmore: An interesting story Colmore which may well be based on a lore regarding that particular area. Perhaps you were conveying this fact in your denouement but — to me — it never came across as such until I researched the story. A neat variation, especially the release of a dead soul, but there were no surprises.
10 This Island Universe — Written by Charles Stuart:  A really neat ending Charles and a total surprise (I was never sure how this story was going to end), the notion of a Lent term is me nit picking. While I accept the George Oswald Davies being known as GOD the use of the word god, coupled with your reference to Lent, confused me in the context of the story. Regarding who this superhuman person having power over nature and — ultimately — human fortunes was actually meant to be, I took it to be an oblique reference to the Christian notion of God.
11 The Island — Written by Seadams: I guessed that the story was based on some historic account Seadams something that you turned into a great story. However, I was confused by the idea of some Methuselah climbing to the highest point of the island (I assume literally) then coming across Eden and discarding his cloths (although I assumed a metaphor here). At the moment I’m concluding that the Mirrin of the story is St Mirren and an allusive ploy cleverly used to make this historic account of Inchmurrin flow.
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