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DesDownunder

The Last Shaman

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I found this first chapter of The Last Shaman by Arthur at Nifty.

http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/sf-fantasy/the-last-shaman

Normally, I would wait for at least a second chapter, but I am so impressed with the writing and the story that I decided to post this alert now.

The science fiction/fantasy element is barely obvious in this chapter, but points to an expansion of the story line that will intrigue as well as set the background of times gone, to times yet to come. The chapter is of a decent length and I think, well written. If you like Native American tales then this chapter may appeal. It holds me in suspense and waiting for coming chapters with much expectation. What are your thoughts?

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If this first chapter is an indicator this is going to be a great story. Now I must do my best to forget it entirely (not so hard at my age) until I can read the whole of it, once completed.

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If this first chapter is an indicator this is going to be a great story. Now I must do my best to forget it entirely (not so hard at my age) until I can read the whole of it, once completed.

I know what you mean James, but I am hooked and will watch eagerly for each new chapter.

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Lots of run-on sentences in the first few paragraphs, which was enough to send me screaming from the room. With the benefit of a good editor, there might be a good story there.

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I guess I am not sensitive to this author's run-on sentences. Of course, now that you pointed them out, I can see them, but I'm not bothered as much as you, Pec. He does use commas, but perhaps he should have used semi-colons. I know how much you like those in fiction. :hehe:

Anyway, I am hooked by the story and sense a worthwhile plot. I'm interested to see where the author takes us.

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I agree, Des. Semi-colons would have fixed a lot of those.

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Yeah, Pec needs to stop picking on my poor, undervalued semi-colons. They're a tool, like all punctuation, and they have their place. One might just as well disparage the ellipsis, or the apostrophe. My current story has several semi-colons, and while they could be replaced by periods, in every case I think the writing is better using them than not using them. Of course, the reader is the ultimate judge.

C

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I guess I am not sensitive to this author's run-on sentences. Of course, now that you pointed them out, I can see them, but I'm not bothered as much as you, Pec. He does use commas, but perhaps he should have used semi-colons. I know how much you like those in fiction.

Sometimes, nothing beats just an ordinary sentence that gets to the point, has a subject and a verb, makes sense, and ends with a period. I've read at least 25 or 30 books on writing, and many of them have also said, "writers often struggle to find some unique way of expressing dialogue, like 'he exploded' or 'she shrieked,' but sometimes, a simple he said works very well." Simple structure can often benefit good storytelling, and that doesn't mean having a single sentence with 79 words.

This is a good case where if the author had just tried to read this out loud, he or she would immediately see, "oh! I need to pause there to catch my breath. Perhaps this would be a good place for a period."

I often give my characters voices in my own head, and (assuming it's a 1st-person story) I try to imagine what the story would sound like being told through that character's mouth. I don't think it takes any special talent to do this, but sometimes you do have to work on making the story not sound like you're telling it, but instead that your character is telling it. I'm guilty on occasion of giving my teenage characters a larger vocabulary than they probably would have in real life, but that's a little artist's license that I think can be forgiven.

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I agree that reading the words out loud can reveal where periods may be useful. Whilst I do sometimes do that myself to my own writing, it's not something I do with other author's work unless i have a difficulty with making sense of the structure's meaning. in the case of The Last Shaman I had no such difficulty and accepted the long sentences as an atmospheric rolling, rambling, description.

Even though I am inclined to agree with Pec's assessment of the need to break up the run-on sentences, I do think it is important to point out the different (dramatic) demands of writing intended to be read, and those intended to be spoken aloud. This difference drives me bats when I hear those computer voices reading dramatic writing where they put the emphases in all the wrong places. We must be very careful to make sure we try to read, in our minds, the way the words were intended to be heard, and not adhere to our own expectations and rules. Of course conventions help this, and play a significant part in communication. It's all too easy to have a failure to communicate, but allowance has to be made for the uncommon, innovations, and writing conventions of different eras, or dare I say, of different periods.

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Chapter 2 of The last Shaman has been posted.

The story and the run on sentences continue, sorry Pec. :sad:

Edit to show link to story index

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The story and the run on sentences continue, sorry Pec.

Gaaaaa! I disliked run-on sentences when I was in 4th grade! If I could figure it out at the ripe old age of 10, I think anybody could.

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Tale is an interesting one, but the writer desperately needs either lessons in English or an editor to knock things into shape. I read chapter one, but stopped less than halfway through chapter two as although the basic premise is good, reading it is hard work.

Sentence length is the major issue for me. And certainly in some sentences, all one needs to do is put in proper punctuation and the basic words as written will do. One sentence in part 2 is 107 words and has a Gunning Fogg index of 45.79. Which is utterly ridiculous, the editorial in broadsheet newspapers is often in the low teens.

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There must be something terribly wrong with me, or my Australian education. I had no trouble reading the long rambling sentences. I don't doubt that some find it difficult or even dislike the sentence structure. I think that a good editor would indeed improve the text, but I'm intrigued as to where the author is going to take the story.

At the moment I fear that a detailed description of sexual interaction, using those very long sentences, may mean that the next chapter will be a very quick read for me. On the other hand, I am wanting to find out about that virus.

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I almost passed this one by after seeing the negative remarks. Glad I didn't. The story reminds me of the 80's movie "Night Of The Comet". I seen nothing wrong with it. I could sit here and pick it apart because it needed this or that, but in the end, it's a fine story.

Quit picking things apart and read the story. If it don't suit you, no biggie.

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Regarding run-on sentences--I remember my first encounter with the writings of William Faulkner back in high school. Reading the story the night before class, the three- and four-page sentences seemed absolutely impenetrable. Then my teacher, who was originally from Macon, Georgia, began to read the story out loud in class, and all of sudden, I could hear Faulkner's Southern raconteur narrating the tale. After that, Faulkner was intelligible, and actually enjoyable. I'm not put off by longwinded narrators when it's appropriate to the tale.

--Rigel

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Regarding run-on sentences--I remember my first encounter with the writings of William Faulkner back in high school. Reading the story the night before class, the three- and four-page sentences seemed absolutely impenetrable. Then my teacher, who was originally from Macon, Georgia, began to read the story out loud in class, and all of sudden, I could hear Faulkner's Southern raconteur narrating the tale. After that, Faulkner was intelligible, and actually enjoyable. I'm not put off by longwinded narrators when it's appropriate to the tale.

--Rigel

If you worked your way through The Sound and the Fury, you're a better man than I. Horrible book, and least the first third of it was. I gave up after that.

Funny, though. I have read stuff of his I liked.

C

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It may be worth noting that neither classical Greek nor Latin texts had any punctuation whatsoever. In addition, all written words were run together without spaces between. This was true for entire texts. Also, lettering was all the same size: there were no upper and lower case letters.

thinkofpostingastoryentirelyformattedlikethis.


I'm with you, Des. I do not find reading The Last Shaman to be a hardship, and the story-line itself is very interesting.

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Chapter 9 is now up. Still enjoying it.

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