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oarfish
December 23rd, 2011, 04:13 AM
He had just moved to the city. Still unfamiliar with the country, he had decided on living in the city, feeling that it would be similar to his old home. He rented a small apartment, a two-floored residence on the seventh floor of the building. Its layout was more open than he was used to, but he found it more connected than his previous home.
That morning he was standing on the main balcony, looking around the skyline. He enjoyed the view of that balcony. It was more open and actually showing the city, unlikehis bedroom balcony. It just stared at the side of a neighboring building. As he stood, he heard the sounds of the market, which was a street over from his apartment. The musicians played that Saturday morning, as they always did. The pan flute music floated up to his balcony, presenting relaxing tones to his inflamed nerves. After basking in the musical pleasantries, he slid open the glass door that led into his living room. Walking over to the kitchen counter, he made some coffee, Columbian, as usual. He proceeded to walk towards the door leading to the hallway, carrying his coffee along with him. He stepped out into the deserted hallway and waited for the elevator.
Leaving his apartment building, he strolled along the sidewalk, glancing at the pigeons that were perching on the dusky street. Turning off the road, he continued down a dirt path. While he was walking, he enjoyed the natural fragrances of the freshly-grown flowers that lined the path. He soon arrived at a clearing, a bright circle of foliage enclosed by dense trees. He walked over to the center, which contained a shallow pond. Staring into the pond, he remembered the park that he used to visit near his old home. There was a small indentation in the water, from which a silver fish became visible. He watched the fish, watched as it swam around the perimeter of the pond. The fish swam in a particular pattern, one with which it seemed familiar.
The trees behind him rustled, causing the fish to vanish back into the pond. He turned around, facing the source of the distraction. From the entrance of the clearing stepped a dark-haired woman. She carried a small wooden case. She walked overto the pond, standing next to him. He could smell the aroma of the flowers that lined the path on her.
“Hello,” she greeted him.
“Hi,” he responded.
She sat down next to the pond. “I am quite tired. I just came from the market.”
He sat next to her. “Yeah, the market is unusually busy on the weekends. I have not been there much yet; I just moved here a few weeks ago.”
“So you are new here. That explains why I have not seen you here before.”
“Seen me where?”
“Here, in this clearing. It is where I come after I go to the market.”
“It is a nice clearing.” He looked around, absorbing the atmosphere of the clearing.
“It sure is,” she added, also observing the clearing.
“So, I take it you come here often?” he asked her.
“Yes, I feel relaxed here after all of the commotion of the market.”
“I feel the same. Every weekend I go to my balcony so I can hear the wonderful music.”
“Yes, the music is lovely.” She sat in the quiet for a moment, and then she opened her wooden case. She removed a wooden pan flute from it and started to play. Theyboth proceeded to bask in the musical pleasantries.

Insomnia7098
December 23rd, 2011, 09:35 AM
Hi Oarfish,

There were a few spelling mistakes (I think that you just forgot to put a spacebetweensomewords), but other than that there was nothing to formal to get all fussed about.

What I'm about to say is just my opinion (take it or leave it), but I found that a lot of the writing came off a little forced. There was detail and a lot of it (a lot), but really vague detail. It was stuff that added to the word count and to the line size, but not to the story; in either flavor, pace, or purpose. Here, take below for example.

"As he stood, he heard the sounds of the market, which was a street over from his apartment"

You haven't really described the location at all, so going into this detail doesn't really do much. I think that it would be okay if you went with a bit more gusto, something like...

"As he stood, he heard the sounds of the market below. 8th and Hays and every Saturday." (not great, but hopefully it shows what I'm saying)

It provides a nice contrasting clarity to the overly vague (which I have taken as purposeful) story. What have you divulged? Really, nothing (some made up street?). What have you gained? A deeper sense of place and scene. A more clear image to act as a life preserver for the areas that can't have description. There's a few more times where I think that you do something kind of like this (like when you're describing the coffee), but that may just be my opinion.


Also, your dialogue seems a little forced. Like you're trying to make it this little awkward chance encounter rather than it being this chance encounter. I think this may be because you immediately get into the talk of "nice clearing" when the reader has no real knowledge of the relationship that these two hold. I mean, if it's suppose to come off as this "nothing needs to be said" moment, I think that alluding to it may help a bit.

Anyway, those are my opinions. Overall, good. Keep at it.

- Insomnia

oarfish
December 23rd, 2011, 04:13 PM
.................Ever heard of The Iceberg Principle?...................................

Insomnia7098
December 24th, 2011, 02:41 AM
Hi Oarfish,

I can see why you'd think this style is utilizing the Iceberg Principle. Truth be told, I even went back to what you wrote and re-read it. Who knows. Maybe I had overlooked something. But I have to say, I don't think that this is really an "iceberg" and I don't think that this is quite what you think it is. Here, let's look at what an iceberg is.

To be fully cliche, I'll use a Hemingway piece (and only the title). Take a look at the title, "Soldier's Home". What does it tell you? A first, it may seem to represent possession. That is, the home of the soldier. But when you look deeper and beneath the surface, you also see that the title implies that the soldier is at home. That, simply a soldier IS home (or, a soldier's home). This is an iceberg. This is something that has deeper meaning and a hidden, almost playful, genius.

So, what are common characteristics of an iceberg? Well, you were partly right. It is a piece that overly lacks intricate and superfluous detail. It's vague in many of its scenes and, at times, seems to present little to nothing to the reader. But all of this is only because there is that deeper, submerged, meaning beneath it. You have to swim beneath the surface to see it for what it is.

Now, and not to be harsh, your writing is not this. It is not following an iceberg style and it didn't seem to have any message (but, hey, then again I may be thick headed and just not fully appreciated what you did). Take this for example.

"Walking over to the kitchen counter, he made some coffee, Columbian, as usual. He proceeded to walk towards the door leading to the hallway, carrying his coffee along with him. He stepped out into the deserted hallway and waited for the elevator. "

Here you do the problem that I pointed out before. Vague detailing. Colombian coffee, as usual, brought you little with your environment and (to me), it seems that the "as usual" only bogged down your writing. You then go on to talk about him going to the "deserted hallway" and waiting for an elevator. Why? What point did any of this have other than changing the environment of the scene? Than, possibly, attempting to characterize a central character?

From what I saw, there was no hidden meaning in your story. No double entendres. Nothing really lurking beneath the surface. Does that mean your writing is bad? Of course not. But does the label of "Iceberg Principle" really save anyone's bacon when it comes to poor detail and plot movement. No. The Iceberg Principle relies entirely on hidden genius, on innovative and unique, forms of expression modes of thought. Without these, the iceberg turns into an ice cube. Quickly melting away.

- Insomnia

ElDavido
December 30th, 2011, 02:25 AM
Well I had not heard of the Iceberg Principle, now informed I will try and offer a critique.

Also, apologises if some of what I come to say is repetition of Iceberg's posts. Some minor spelling mistakes but that has been said.

My main problem with reading this is drive, I do not find the narrative engaging. It is alienating in its reportative nature. As much as I hate the, 'Show don't tell' axiom of every creative writing program now in existence I do feel it is mildly applicable here. We are repeatedly told the general and then specific: 'natural fragrances...freshly-grown flowers'; 'watched as it swam...swam in a particular pattern'.

Stylistically I think there are superfluous words abound, now extra words are not inherently a negative but I think they must do something of value. The sentence, 'glancing at the pigeons that were perching on the dusky street' to me reads more fluidly omitting the highlighted words.

There are things I feel uncomfortable commenting on in isolation, for example the repetition of phrases pertaining to regularity. The musicians play, 'as they always did,' he chooses Columbian, 'as usual'. The later insistence that always comes to the clearing and he always goes to his balcony. Chekhov's gun? I have no idea but in an isolated read it feels laboured.

oarfish
December 30th, 2011, 04:44 PM
..........Why does everyone here just flame my threads????

ElDavido
December 30th, 2011, 07:41 PM
Well that's insulting. Contrary to your belief I, and I's guessing Insomnia, did not come here to, 'flame' you. This is not some personal attack, nor slight on your character. What I gave was an honest appraisal of my perspective of your work. If you would rather have everyone mindlessly praise your work as perfect then perhaps it would be wise to prefix your post with this. Now I am not trying to start a war of words here so if you wish I will withdraw my criticism, or you can disagree with what I wrote earlier and now or you can merely not read it. I still think what I have written is pertinent to your work and I think it is valuable but I don't think it need be read and listened to as a necessity.