April 20, 2019, 01:40:00 AM

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Messages - The Gem Cutter

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Welcome back!

I have thought of John's situation every day, and I am so sorry to hear this news.

There was a fantasy novel I read where the people had a customary question they asked about funerals they did not attend: "Was the fire bright?" I hope the fire was bright and the pain of this time fades soon.

Keeping you in my thoughts Jmack. Be well.

Writers' Corner / Re: Only Mostly Dead Poets Society
« on: April 06, 2019, 05:56:45 AM »
Behind You Your Family Remains

There’s darkness in your sky.
Your broken wings can’t fly.
The light you followed for so long won’t shine.

And now you stand alone.
And only you can know,
How far you’ve flown and now you can’t fly home.

And I know your faithful heart’s about to break,
And there’s only so much more that you can take.
But when the light goes out,
And your hopes all fade,
Behind you your family remains.

Rivals in the fight, Siblings in the light,
We tried we learned we grew and it’s alright.
We did what we could do.
We pushed we learned we grew.
We fought we won we lost we pushed on through.

So when you’ve passed the point and know there’s no return,
When the light that lit the way no longer burns,
When the light goes out,
And your hopes all fade,
Behind you your family remains.

The love we hold for you,
Brings no light to what you must do,
But when the light goes out,
And your hopes all fade,
Behind you your family remains.

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: March 29, 2019, 04:17:26 AM »
Huh. Robert Mueller just release his report.

Got to say I'm pretty disappointed with his conclusions. I would rather it had never been released and the orange menace had it hanging over his head the whole time.

I was really hoping he would go out of the White House and straight into prison. That was probably too much to hope for, although from what I have heard he's done plenty of illegal things.

It would be pointless to say once more that I'm sick of him and all the populist leaders like him. No doubt we have another six years of this moron to put up with.

I sympathize greatly. But consider - the report is merely the facts. What to do with the facts, in this case, was never up to Mueller. 300+ pages of facts, evidence, and testimony. He's referred a vast amount of info to authorities who can level charges against the president, and likely will. Tampering with the national election is an illusion - it's tampering with multiple state elections (the ones the President cannot pardon). I believe Mueller has laid the ax at Congress's feet - the only ones who can impeach anyway. So once again democracy hinges upon the real power - the voter. Call your representatives. Speak out. Support candidates who listen. Make it your key issue and tell others to do the same. It seems like it's just noise, but noise matters. Silence is acceptance.

Writers' Corner / Re: Take a look at my magic system?
« on: March 29, 2019, 04:09:59 AM »
As my name directly suggests, I made my magic system circle around gems and their very real properties, and also involved (some) mages being able to move energy around. My system had a Source, and most mages moved energy from the Source into this world. While this is powerful, it is limited to their will, their psyche. The other kind directs energy not from the Source but into it, like a drain, which is really not limited at all.

I think what you're looking for are crystals - most of which are not precious or even valuable. Quartz, for example, is amazing... check out piezoelectricity and the other interesting properties of some of the lesser known crystals... really quite amazing. This is literally what you are talking about - transforming physical energy into electricity and back. Lightning involves many kinds of energy. The heat alone will literally melt your face - and this is merely the byproduct.

If you look into the properties of gems, their purity, the way they are cut (ratios and angles), and their smoothness - all these impact their properties in surprising ways. Hence my name. There is an interesting invention that I decided to make my MacGuffin - it is a strange conical mirror that focuses a laser so you can transform crystal components (dust, essentially) into a crystal. This is similar to how salt crystallizes as water evaporates - but allows someone to precisely control the laser. Without this device, 'growing' crystals is haphazard and leads to poor clarity and consistency. But with it, one can make amazing crystals very quickly. In a world where crystals allow magic, that is the super-power behind the super power.

I hope this hasn't been dull. Just trying to urge you on and offer some brainstorming :)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Torture/Cruelty
« on: March 26, 2019, 03:09:49 AM »
With regards to any intense content, whether cruelty, sex, violence, (and of course we all have different senses of what constitutes intense content), I think the writer should aim for a particular audience. Some, like me, cannot stand it - I do not find it entertaining in the traditional sense. That said, the cruelty in GoT made me hate the perpetrators with an intensity that took my breath and made me long for justice to an extent I've not experienced elsewhere. Like the sickening stomach-flop of a good roller coaster, I do not enjoy it - but it does make the ride more compelling.

This kind of content is one of the key areas where the adage "Show don't tell" breaks down. Sometimes, you should not show, if it will drive your readers away or shatter the overall tone or whatever. Comments about the many dead birds, cats, and dogs in a neighborhood can convey that someone is cruel to animals, and inspire the desired dread or anger without actually subjecting the audience to an animal's suffering.

I'm not sure if people outside the UK can access this, I really hope you can.

This half hour program called "The digital human" is broadcasted every Monday. Today's episode, called "Haven", was amazing, I listened to it while driving home from work and just missed the first 10 minutes or so.

It relates to a life online, to how people can create relationships online and have wonderful friends, and help each other... all the things that so many of you, present and past members, have done for me, ever since this thread was created.
A big hug and kiss of thanks to all my *real* friends :-*


Hahaha, I said it first!

"I wouldn’t know his signature or how his sweaters feel,
I only know the words we shared in a world that is unreal,

And yet –

I know him from the echo of the things he’s shared and said,
I know him from the tug of thoughts he set within my head,
I know him from his love of those that he holds close and dear,
And through the words we’ve often shared I feel that we are near."

Thinking of you John. Be well and be strong.

General Discussion / Re: Member birthday calendar
« on: March 16, 2019, 07:35:21 PM »
Thanks everyone!

The sixteenth of the third month is quite a day a for me,
Once a day of presents, cake and jubilee
Many days have come and gone and some have left their trace,
They grayed my hair and bent my back, left lines upon my face

The sixteenth of the third month is quite a day it's true,
Many things I’ve said and seen on the path to 52:
Quiet days and busy ones, and days that didn't end,
Crowded days and gloomy ones, with rules that wouldn't bend,
Weighty days of import, of risk and draining trials,
Days of rest and meaning, of laughter love and smiles.

The sixteenth of the third month is quite a day for me,
The end of my beginning’s gone - where did the swift time flee?
Just where my middle starts and stops I won’t know til the end,
When final fading moments close with no more left to spend.

The sixteenth of the third month, is quite a day a for me,
My mind it likes to wander down paths that cannot be,
My eyes have ever seen the world not as it is but could be,
My heart has loved what was and is and isn’t now – but should be.

@JMack For whatever it might be worth, I respect your strength and stoicism as you ask the hard questions and ponder their answers. Perhaps your father will recover, and we all hope this comes to pass.

I was in a similar situation with my grandfather, who was returned to his home to hospice when I arrived. He died in the deep night, with only myself holding his hand and caressing his brow. He left the world with a kiss on his forehead and my tears on his arm. So far as I have seen, this is as good an ending as anyone can hope for, and better than most by a good way. This stands tall in my memory - my best service to him. And he taught me how to pass with dignity and humor - his best service to me. My point, if I have one, is that on the far side of this pain and doubt there is wisdom and solace. Until you get there, I'll be thinking of you and wishing you strength.

Hi @JMack ,
I am so sorry to hear of your family's difficulties and losses. I wish you strength and resilience going through this period, and on the far side, peace and solace.

There's a line in that old astronaut movie The Right Stuff when someone is comparing astronauts to the monkeys, and Chuck Yeager says that the difference is the monkey doesn't know all the things that can go wrong. I kind of think of us being in that position - knowing how things will end but ultimately unable to do anything about it. Being human is a helluva thing. Peace and strength brother, in equal measure to you and yours.

I'm seeing @The Gem Cutter posting!
Are you back?
Are you going to start entering the monthly contest again?
Are you doing well?

I pop in once in awhile, but find I have run out of things to say - imagine that. Been busy and have a cold. But I am well - thanks for asking :)

Surely in a world as diverse as SW, people must be studying all kinds of biology-related issues - ways to adapt alien proteins and organs and hormones for all kinds of purposes. And of course, the diversity of the environments, diets, and biology of the differing species leads to all kinds of medical issues.

Apparently, people who are raised in highly repressive environments never get a chance to fully evolve their emotional sensitivity - meaning that they have a hard time identifying just what emotion they're having. The result is that strong, specific emotions (fear, loathing, etc.) are experienced as fatigue and depression-like sadness. Not sure if that applies to anyone here, but perhaps some explorations will lead to enlightenment. Knowing that there's a rock in your shoe doesn't take away the pain, but it does stop you from thinking that the pain reflects something wrong with your foot. So to speak :)

Writers' Corner / Re: Unreliable narrator
« on: February 04, 2019, 03:27:11 AM »
I have studied this somewhat, and here are my thoughts.

A narrator can be unreliable in several, meaningful ways that a writer can use to surprise the audience, introduce twists, and otherwise influence both the way the plot proceeds and the way the story is experienced. There are several forms this 'unreliability' can take. Here are some with examples and a bit about their dynamics.

Internally unreliable narrator (my own term) - the narrator doesn't know they're unreliable, often due to memory loss, mental illness, drugs, etc.Shutter Island and Fight Club are great examples in film.

Externally unreliable narrator (again, my term) - the narrator is reliable, but their perceptions are not. The core of their being is intact and their motivations pure, but there's something else wrong. This is a subtle distinction others might not agree with. A man reports he heard no gunshot - forgetting his hearing aid batteries were dead. Someone believes they cannot be pregnant/father a child because of a procedure that was done - but it wasn't, or not correctly.

Combined - Memento and Inception are good examples of reliability twists laid upon reliability twists... known and (perhaps) unknown by the narrator. Ambiguity rules in these examples, and this requires a masterful hand.

Socially Unreliable Narrator - the character reports faithfully what they know or understand, but their sources were unreliable, perhaps nefariously so. I like this one, because you can highlight how a person is subject to the blindspots, assumptions, and ignorance of their group(s). In Dune, there is a lot of this surrounding the Doctor who betrays Duke Leto. The doctor's conditioning was supposed to make him immune to coercion - and this was stated many times by many characters. However the villain achieved this exception, and it is critical to the plot.

The issue with unreliable narrators that you should be aware of is that it doubles or even trebles the complexity of writing within that character's POV on multiple levels. Their actions and thoughts must be consistent with both the incorrect view (the audience's) as well as the correct one (whether known or unknown to the narrator). This is hard.

The biggest danger is that if not done well, the audience can feel cheated, lied to, etc. Which they are, of course. The trick is to get them to enjoy the twist so much they don't care you've been jerking them around.

Unreliable narrators are in the 'deception' section of the writer's toolbox, along with misdirection (Shawshank redemption has some amazingly subtle misdirection) and some other bits and bobs. It is a fine line between what we like to look at as a character element (narrator reliability) vs. a plot device (plot twist), but if you look hard enough, I believe you will see they are close cousins.

Hope this is helpful.

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