View Full Version : The lure of water

November 24th, 2011, 02:13 AM
I was surrounded by bubbles, all rising and growing larger as they rose. I lay down flat on my back and looked directly up into the path of beautiful and hypnotic streams of trapped air as they hurried their way up towards the distant light way off at the surface. To my left side there was a steep drop that fell off into the dark sediment rich water that lay below the little underwater shelf I was lying on. The water below me was deep black but grew gradually lighter as I looked up eventually forming a dazzling copper colour as my gaze reached the surface above, a shade fashioned by the explosion of light where the sunbeams meet the skin of the water. A beautiful rusty orange glow was formed as the light particles collided with the sediment rich water that surrounded me. So sediment rich that rays of light cannot penetrate much further than ten or twenty feet down after which it grows gradually darker and darker until eventually you are enveloped by pure pitch black. Only the sound of escaping air and the direction of the ensuing bubbles allow you any perspective as to which way you’re positioned, a truly amazing experience of being lost in a virtual inner space.

I was scuba diving in one of the icy cold peat bog lakes of the wild and rugged Wicklow Mountains, a place that I hold so close to my heart. For years when hiking those weathered peaks I would look into the dark waters of their many lakes and wonder what they were like from the inside. They are glacially formed bodies of water so all have dramatic, lofty and steep rugged cliffs that run in a semi circle around the water’s edge. Equally they all have a flat open side where the lakes spill over and form rivers that run down the mountainside and into the valleys below, all features that betray their ice age origins. I often stared at those lakes from the edges of the cliffs above them and while looking hundreds of feet down below, I would wonder on how deep their dark and mysterious waters ran. It was only after taking up scuba diving that I was able to step into that magical underwater world and see for myself what it really looked like. When diving there I could feel a deep sense of history and culture, there is something very Celtic about the experience. The surface environment of wild and rugged mountains mixed with the strange coppery colours and barren rocky landscape of the underwater setting was the way I’d imagined ancient Ireland to have been, the one that my great Gaelic and Celtic ancestors would have grown up in. It was these little diving trips to the mountains and seas around my home that would eventually draw me into a lifelong love affair with water, both fresh and salt, that brought me all around the world.

November 24th, 2011, 08:40 AM
Interesting descriptions, I can't really tell if this is a stand alone story or maybe part of a bigger one ?
Whatever it is, keep going, I very much like it.

November 24th, 2011, 05:26 PM
A very imagetic piece, and a note on that later. Whenever we reach the second paragraph we are allowed to know the context of the first paragraph. While this seems like a good way to establish mystery and wonder, I don't know that it doesn't take away from the piece. It'd be interesting to see what these paragraphs would look like mixed up. If the scuba diver found things that reminded him of the surface world and forced him to remember the backstory of what was taking place. It seems like the flow would be more fluid that way.

Now then, description. Your first paragraph is quite weighty. You use the description, "Sediment rich," three or four times and the last few are in rapid succession. Use it once. Speaking of once, or perhaps more appropriately one, you don't want to layer too much description on a piece. Unless the power of multiple descriptions increases the full understanding of the scenery or the character or the piece, one should stick to simple descriptions like, "the red chevrolet," as opposed to, "the red, scratched, flat-tired, chevrolet."

A better way to do the second sentence would be, "The red chevrolet sat in the driveway of Buddy's house. As i walked along the side I could see the key marks from when his ex had discovered why she was going to soon be his ex. The rear right tire was flat, and I made a mental note to inform Buddy when he answered the door."

Now, that's a bit lengthy, but you can already see how much characterization we get, not only from the car, but also the stories related to it, or perhaps some idea of where the story is going to go. Unless you are purposely writing a mystery, you want to take the reader with you on the story, not leave them behind, trying in vain to understand what your cave paintings mean. Not saying this is a cave painting... that was just a useful metaphorical term.

November 25th, 2011, 08:18 AM
Your opening was great. When you were talking about the tiny bubbles it made the real world seem magical and really come alive. This is great as a short exercise in writing for you to enjoy, or as the start to a much larger story!

Jon M
November 25th, 2011, 08:56 PM
Almost every sentence is loaded with too much information. An example, picked at random:

"A beautiful rusty orange glow was formed as the light particles collided with the sediment rich water that surrounded me."

Several issues here. First, 'glow' is modified three times. Seems a bit excessive, but really that is par for the course here. But notice how many ideas are packed into this one sentence. Also, try reading this outloud. It is extremely clunky sounding.

JDegg has some good advice for you. Try simplifying your writing, limiting your sentences to one or two ideas at most, and ease up on the description (especially the modifiers). Remember, fiction is supposed to be cumulative -- it builds on what has come before.

November 27th, 2011, 08:02 PM
a great piece of descriptive imagery. if i have any criticism of it, it's only that many of the sentences feel too long.

Die Oldhaetunde
November 29th, 2011, 04:08 AM
Hello CelticMyst. It's nice to meet you.

It seems to me as if you are writing about personal experiences you have had in this environment. The description is very lengthy and detailed, but I can't help but feel distant from the narrator of the story. The long paragraph with the intense description of the narrators environment, while attempting to be beautiful, doesn't have the feel of any personal significance to the reader. The second paragraph, while certainly easier to read, is... well... boring.

Allow me to explain, that good writing may have good descriptions in it, and you certainly have those(to an extent), but good writing also has plot, characterization, and action in it. There is no plot in this story, because there is no real action. And in such a static environment, the piece becomes pure description. If that is what you wanted, then you have achieved it. But it's not very interesting to read. Nor do I care about a character who does nothing in the story that he stars in. In fact, the narrator's voice seemed a little like he was bragging.

I do like that you can write at length and keep a unified, coherent piece together. You focus on your theme, and you stick with it. I feel that if you focused on other elements, such as plot, you would do well with those as well. But perhaps try to interweave them so as to make a more compelling tale?

November 30th, 2011, 02:13 AM
Thankyou all for the kind comments and very helpful criticisms, much appreciated. Though I need to point out - I'm an idiot - this piece is based on real life experience and should have been posted in the 'non-fiction section' (maybe one of the kind mods could move it?), not sure how I managed to post it in the fiction section. Its an opening piece of a collection of stories / accounts that I've written about my love of water, above and below, and my experiences in different locations over the past two decades, so there's no plot or other characters as such, it may read differently to you when its understood to be non fiction. I agree it's weighty and when reading it again I realised that this is perhaps becasue that particualr experience had a very deep effect on me. Also I have looked at the length of the sentences and the multiple use of 'sediment rich' in the opening paragraph, am looking at ways to correct that now. Again thankyou all for the replies and pointers, all very very welcome.

Die Oldhaetunde
November 30th, 2011, 02:35 AM
Eh. Don't beat yourself up. Here, let me get my shovel...

December 4th, 2011, 07:14 PM
As an ex diver(I'm too old now) I found this very descriptive. I too have dived in a bog lake in Donegal, near Buncrana.
A cold experience as I remember, no dry suits then.
Well done,

December 4th, 2011, 09:49 PM
It's like looking up from a watery grave. Do they resent it, your intrusion? Or, are they surprised by modern technology? I mean you must look like a **** spaceman to them...Do they even consider you kin?