Author Thread: Francis_W (Wordplay 5-8: Star Trek Fan Fic)

Francis_WFrancis_W Member
edited September 2013 in WordPlay
I am creating this author thread, like many before me, to alleviate congestion on the main announcement post by Nika.  I apologize for being late to the program, but I only started watching the vlogs last week.  I hope to catch up with the challenges I missed, but for now I will put the two submissions I had written thus far here for your (hopefully) pleasure.

I am placing links to my submissions for easy access.


Wordplay #5 Limelight (Ghost story with prompts: Lilies to say goodbye and a needed conversation)
Wordplay #6 Basin of Ash (Iambic poem with prompts: a leather boot laying by a field and a choice)
Wordplay #7 Untitled (Writing an ending with prompts: Fragile Desire and Someone has to clean this up)
Wordplay #8 Hearing Reason (Star Trek Fan Fic with Prompts: Inner Demons and A failed Delivery)


  • Francis_WFrancis_W Member
    edited August 2013 PM

    Limelight (#5)

    “Am I crazy?” Alex muttered to himself.  He had seen her maybe a dozen

    times, always on closing night.  He had never spoken to her, only watched from a

    distance.  He didn’t know if she was a phantom living in his mind or emotions

    imprinted on the theatre, but she continuously haunted his thoughts. She wasn’t

    horrific or ghostly, but the color of her face was beautifully highlighted by a

    light that didn’t exist.  His first encounter was her waltzing.   No partner, just

    her.  Soft lit with a magnificent Victorian gown, twenty years on her face, the 

    sight was so surreal that Alex stood transfixed at her beauty and grace.  Her smile

    illustrated delight in the dance, and he imagined himself her partner.  As she came

    to a halt, the silent music completed, he wondered if she would see him admiring

    her, but she merely bowed to her non-existent escort and disappeared into the wings.

    Alex was stunned with the experience, and couldn’t help but smile in joy.

    He continued to see her, every time after a run was over she appeared,

    different costume, and always the most striking woman. He couldn’t move when she

    performed.  His fear was not of her, but that she would disappear if she noticed

    him.  Like a silent movie he was absorbed into her private showcase. He lost himself

    in her emotions sitting alone for hours after. Every time he saw the young woman he 

    became more enthralled.  She became the reason to be at the theatre, every new 

    production was just a device to see this enchantment.  He loved every moment of her

    and longed for her to know his existence.

    After forming so deep a connection with somebody, he needed to know.

    Holding lilies to give to her, he hid behind the curtain to wait for her entrance.

    Upon seeing her he was once again frozen by her beauty. A moment passed and Alex 

    realizes he may miss his chance. Cautiously he stepped out on the stage to tell her

    everything in his heart. For the first time she noticed him. She wasn’t startled or

    angry that he interrupted her, but only looked at him with her deep blue eyes.

    “You… you are amazing.”

    She cocked her head ever so slightly in confusion.

    “I watch you every time, and I had to talk to you.”

    A slight smile creased her face as she took a step closer to him.

    “I see every performance here, and yours are the most beautiful- you are the

    most beautiful.”

    Her smile widened as she stepped closer to him. With a single hand on his

    shoulder she placed a soft kiss on his cheek.

    His heart beat rapidly, “I wanted you to have these. You deserve flowers

    after your performance.”

    She took the lilies from his extended hand.  Examining them for a long 

    moment, her eyes began to well.  As she looked up to Alex he could tell that they

    were tears of joy.  She threw her arms around him in a thankful embrace.

    Stepping back she cradled the flowers and gave him one last smile.  She 

    turned and walked away from him fading into the wings. Alex didn’t know what 

    happened, but he never saw her again.

  • Francis_WFrancis_W Member
    edited July 2013 PM

    Basin of Ash (#6)


    I count, I count the days of dread.

    The crops are gone the cattle dead.

    The water dry and grey dirt-dust,

    Direct that which becomes of us.

    A farm, you see, became our plan

    To break our toil from other man.

    We claimed the ‘stead to raise our child

    Away from dangers of the viled.

    We try, we try to win this fight

    But life is cruel, short is sight.

    The land we own is worth a pence

    With huddled shack and lazy fence.


    We hear of bounty, warm and green

    Out west we set our golden dream.

    To saintly cities drawn are we

    By will to leave this death to be.

    To pack, to pack the gear and kin

    The harshest penance for our sin.

    One boot of mine had missed the load

    A single soul beside the road.

  • The meter has a very gentle flow to it.  It pulls you along very easily, without being forced to it.  It's a hell of a counterpoint to the MESSAGE, which shows a hard and harsh environment and the chance for something better.  Very nicely executed.
    "And he sang to them...until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness."

    -J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Return of the King", Book VI

    -- Author Thread:

  • @FerroMancer Thanks for the feedback. I am glad that you liked it, like you this image was the first thing that came to my mind from the prompts.
  • Wordplay #6 

    I thought this was an extremely griping poem about a family that was in desperation because of the worthless land they had that would eventually lead to their starvation. This is a very bleak poem with visceral imagery.

  • My inner voice wasn't reading this poem in its normal tone, but as a whisper.

    Soft, strong, reverberating with bass. Careful, individual strings plucked quite deliberately...on a guitar the size of the sky.
    "And he sang to them...until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness."

    -J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Return of the King", Book VI

    -- Author Thread:

  • KouriKouri Member
    Welcome to the illustrous circle (?) of author thread owners ;)

    I liked the ghost story, the image of the girl dancing all alone with an imagined (?) partner was very touching. Also the idea that she had to wait for someone to appreciate her in order for her to find peace (that's my interpretation, I might be wrong).

    The poem was really great - it just flowed so naturally, amazing. The story told may be dark, but to me it makes the whole thing even more powerful.
    I sometimes tweet: V_Arakawa (in several languages)

    Author Thread: Kouri

    I also have a blog: Arakawa Fiction
  • Francis_WFrancis_W Member
    edited August 2013 PM
    @cynicalclown thanks for your comment. I really tried to draw on a historically significant time and embody the emotions of it. 

    @FeroMancer I like how you describe your interpretation of reading it. the flavor that you personally apply makes it wonderful that it works outside of my frame of reference. I have come accustomed to reading it in a rushed and desperate tone, and kind of wrote it with that feeling. However, that is me, and if everything is supposed to be one way this world would be rather bland.

    @Kouri is it read as "ill-us-tr(y)-o-us"? But thank you for the welcome. OnLimelight, I honestly don't know if I imagined her with a partner, I think that because I couldn't answer that question I left it to the reader. I tried to keep her ethereal despite describing her as tangible putting focus onto Alex. But yes I was trying to structure your impression of the piece by only hinting at her feelings.  Regardless of my intentions, you as the reader are NEVER wrong in your interpretations. I am glad that you enjoyed the story and the poem. 
  • Wow, powerful stuff.  My mind went immediately to the dustbowl and 'Grapes of Wrath' but was your intention more about an earlier time?  Just curious, works either way :)

    Not sure I understand 'By will to leave this death to be'.

    Otherwise, very good work, I agree that the meter is gentle but steady as a metronome.  Thanks for sharing.
    'Never attribute to malice, what can be adequately explained by stupidity'
    Hanlon's Razor

  • Francis_WFrancis_W Member
    edited August 2013 PM
    @Peat yep you got it exactly, the title is a play on dust bowl deliberately obscured, was wondering if anybody would pick it up. As to that specific line I realize it is a slightly different voice than the rest, but I thought about it and I like the way it says two things at once. That if they stay they will die, leaving to live(be), and leaving it be as in breaking from their old life. Almost a way of saying "we have to, but it's good for us." Other hints to the dust bowl were 'out west' and 'saintly cities' insinuating a migration to California and 'grey dirt-dust' the general color of the land after the black fertile topsoil took to the atmosphere.
  • Francis_WFrancis_W Member
    edited August 2013 PM
    Wordplay #7 (untitled)

    Energy cannot be created or destroyed… the question is then how each of us finite beings spend our energy. For my kind, the Lorians, ours is expended in work. Endless tasks that support those above our station, fruits that we produce for our social masters, the Kinlans. I know that my life is a refrain of hammer, shovel, lever, rest. My own little rhythm. Sal next to me has a slight variation making his toils unique to him. Adding his to mine, and the other Lorians, a symphony evolves. Every so often a new instrument joins the cacophony, replacing three whose energy was spent. The notes are sour; its structure-- contorted, not a music that the Kinlans like to hear. As an engineer I know that noise is inefficient use of energy, and the sounds that fill my head, even in my dreams, are cries of this wasteland where we live, cries for change. I don’t know if these thoughts are shared by my peers, but I know that if I voice them the Kinlans will cut my rhythm from the song. Striving for equality is dangerous here, but I see an unsustainable system where Kinlans live quadruple that of Lorians. Something has to change.

    The air is quiet now. Even my mind has abandoned the rhythms I knew so well. This is such an odd feeling looking at the stars; I had never seen the stars before. Out there, somewhere, was our origin, a place where Kinlan and Lorian had been equal. It doesn’t seem possible, except for the still air. Air that didn’t have the same acrid lining as the workshops; so why, then, were my eyes wet? I was cool for the first time since I can remember. It felt good. I simply didn’t want to move from my back, exploring the things I never knew. Sal came into my view, apparently he didn’t enjoy the change our fight had got us. He looked at me and whispered something. It must have been a whisper because I couldn’t hear any of it. His eyes were wet too, but with some pain showing. I smiled and told him we had made a difference, but I didn’t hear my own voice. I must be tired; this would be a perfect place to sleep. I closed my eyes to live in my dreams.
  • @Francis_W: Thank you for sharing this piece. I enjoyed it, especially the use of musical analogies in the first part. I find the ending less inspiring, more conventional maybe.
    There is just one little detail that seemed odd with it: if I understood correctly, you used "symphony" and "cacophony" as synonyms, which I don't think they are. "Symphony" led me to imagine pleasant sounds, "cacophony" did just the opposite.

    Another detail, not related to music : is it really The notes are sour its structure or rather The notes are sour in structure ?

    I also like the star-trekish tone of this story (or at least I could imagine a Star Trek episode with this theme).

    It struck me while preparing this comment that you chose to make only subtle references to sounds in the ending. I think I would have made the ending more about how sounds have become different (or maybe not have become different). Did you consider doing just that ? By the way, I liked your story so much that I may write something around that theme too.

    It also struck me that it's a nice idea to publish just the beginning and the ending of a story: readers can fill in the void using their imagination and writers can focus on a smaller text, maybe even publish stuff (and good stuff, at that) that they'll never actually have time to "finish".
  • WilianWilian Member
    edited August 2013 PM
    @Francis_W: I enjoyed "Limelight" as well, especially the first two paragraphs and the very last, short one.

    I found it fitting and interesting that you used sentences such as
    highlighted by a light that didn’t exist.
    bowed to her non-existent escort
    about a ghost, as ghosts are also something that can't exist.

    The dialog between the two characters does not stress ghost-like qualities in the dancer. Is it on purpose, to show that she is "more" real at that time ?

    Little details: I saw what I think are two small errors : "siting" for "sitting" in the 2nd paragraph and "You deserves" for "You deserve" near the end.

    Once again, thank for sharing this story with us.
  • @wilian Thank you for the critiques, and I'm glad you enjoyed bothe pieces. You are absolutely right that symphony and cacophony are antonyms I think I tried to pair them as synonyms to create a disjointed thought between the two groups. Perhaps I could have done a little better with sentence structure to highlight it, but I wanted to try to differentiate perspective in some way. I am rather conflicted on if I wanted to give a false impression or not, or if by simply mashing them together it produced an unsettling feeling. On the question of its or in, I definitely meant its. I think I just missed a semicolon after sour.

    The problems I ran into with the ending were a matter of economy. I really strive to meet the challenge exactly, and only hint at the prompts subtlety. Hence I had to conform my exposition into 200-ish words and turn around and resolve it in the same amount. I have my own thoughts with how the story would evolve, but to me the story must end when the protagonist ends (especially in a first person narrative). In reading it over again, I may have been too subtle in relaying his fate, and without the added benefit of a climax it is difficult to relay that. I think that is why I tried to focus on the absence of sound, not that it wasn't there, only that he no longer could hear it.

    All told I may have tried to pack too many themes into the story, but I wanted to try to make it complex and enticing.

    With Limelight I really wanted to give the impression that she was tangible, otherwise the "needed conversation" would be disbelieved, and to Alex she was very real. Thanks for the two editorial notes, I'll make the changes.

    Again I am glad you enjoyed them, this type of feedback is what helps make this community better writers.
  • alanalmeriaalanalmeria Member, Moderator

    I really enjoyed this, the lyrical style of the writing plays perfectly to the musical nature of the content. And It really works so give us a sense of the alien nature of the creatures, The fact that they equate life with sound is a concept that I haven't seen before. And I especially loved the my life is a refrain of hammer, shovel, lever, rest. line.

    A couple of small things to mention, it looks as though their may be a issue here, as it doesn't quite read grammatically, maybe add an before inefficient? (Although I did note that "speaking style" of the Lorian's is non-standard, so it may have been intentional?)

    As an engineer I know that noise is inefficient use of energy,:

    Also re the in/its - shouldn't it be their rather then its as you refer to notes plural.

    Thirdly and this is just a personal preference, I think I would have liked a little more spacing in the paragraphs, I know I tend to write much smaller sections than I should, but It would have been easier to read on the page if it was broken up just a little.

    Overall, this may be the best actual attempt at the challenge I have seen so far. Its obvious that a major shift has occurred between the start and the end of the story, and yet you do an excellent job at resisting the urge to simply recap, and instead use subtle hints to guide us towards the changes.

    Utterly fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

    Love The Guild and/or Choose Your Own Adventure Novels? Then make sure to check out The Trials of Codex.

  • Francis_WFrancis_W Member
    edited August 2013 PM
    @alanalmeria Thanks for your time in responding to my submission. I am very glad that you enjoyed it, and provided some valuable feedback.

    With the insertion of the indefinite article an, I am not sure if I like it that way or not. Obviously the reader is the most important perspective to consider, and if I ever flesh out this story I will certainly look at how speech patterns are conveyed.

    With the in/its question, I was trying to use the first part as a phrase describing the "music" thuly its would refer back to the music, but as I can see that choice has caused some confusion, I may consider changing it on the aforementioned rewrite.

    Spacing has always been a problem for me, in that I tend to think that all things are related. Thus I have a tendency to run-on and produce "walls of text." This is something I need to personally work on, and thank you for pointing it out.

    I am glad you liked the subtle approach at the end, because I dislike writing that is to predictive. It also has the added benefit of giving the reader room to fill in the gaps, so to speak.
  • Francis_WFrancis_W Member
    edited September 2013 PM
    Wordplay #8: Hearing Reason

    Vice-Admiral Jamison pounded his gavel twice to signal the start of the ethical inquiry. In formal monotonous speech he began “We have convened on this day, November 27, 2118 to establish if in-fact transporter technology is a feasible method of transit for living organisms. At the conclusion of this review of the research of Dr. Emory Erickson, we will make a binding recommendation as to if the research should proceed. Firstly…” 

    The Admiral droned on, acknowledging the members of the board, reading statements for and against the research, and outlining procedural guidelines to which the board must adhere. It was all very dry, and unassuming.
    Dr. Emory Erickson had read all of the statements beforehand, and knew which arguments he could refute. The chief contention with his proposed research was metaphysical drivel centered around if a transport beam killed an individual and created a new entity; it was utter nonsense, and he had the proof by Dr. Gillian Leighton, a pioneer in computer science, who thankfully was sitting on the board.

    “… Do you have a statement Dr. Erickson?”

    “Yes Admiral, Ladies and gentlemen of the board, I submit that there is one barrier that Humanity has been limited by, time. History teaches that we have devised many inventions to save that one precious resource. Eventually even distance became an equal representation of time. My research WILL cut time to a non-factor and aid us in traversing this vast space that has opened before us. The question is not of ethics, but of necessity.”

    “I agree whole heartily with you Doctor. This is the main reason Starfleet has convened this hearing, to determine the application viability of this technology.”

    One vote his way. Four to go.

    “That is all well and good, but if a person is transported, you cannot ensure that mentally they are the same on the other side.” Came from a slight man, Dr. William Cooper, a prominent scholar of Neuroscience.

    “Dr. Cooper, you yourself have indicated on several occasions that consciousness is a highly modulated electrical pattern permeating the nervous system of organisms.”


    “And any pattern can be copied…”

    “…But you are missing the main point! The subtleties of consciousness are too vast to replicate.”

    “One misplaced molecule may change a highly respected officer into a homicidal fanatic. Humans are very prone to emotional outbursts. I can see Dr. Cooper’s point in that manipulating a person’s psyche may produce… undesirable effects.” The input came from Val’Tak, an advisor from the Vulcan Science Academy.

    “That is precisely why the Heisenberg compensators used in computers can be reversed to gauge incoming data rather than just imprinting data into storage.”

    Dr. Leighton interjected, “His proposal is sound. I truly believe that using his method a person can be transported with psyche intact.”

    Two votes.

    “A logical assumption, Dr. Leighton, but as previously stated, it would be a copy.”

    Emory snapped back, “Only in the way that a symphony is a copy of each performance before. We are a collection of waveforms, if you can pick out the separate quantum instruments the pattern is perfect not just the manifestation.”

    “Hmm… Intriguing.”

    Three votes.

    Dr. Cooper was having none of it, “You can’t equate the mind to a group of individuals playing a rudimentary mathematical sequence!”

    “The analogy is an extrapolation from your own research.”

    “Do not attempt to distort my research…”

    “ENOUGH!” The aged man at the end of the board shouted.

    It was Zefram Cochrane, the father of the modern age, a living legend.

    “Dr. Cooper, I believe that Dr. Erickson has given more than enough proof that his design is safe for bio-matter. Admiral, could we have a vote?”

    Five votes, unanimous.
  • WilianWilian Member
    edited September 2013 PM
    Another enjoyable piece, @Francis_W.
    Your use of binding recommendation tips us to the coming conclusion : there would be no Star Trek without Beam me up... But I don't think it was a bad choice on your part.

    I'm not enough of a fan to know whether this scene is within ST canon. Do you know ?

    I like how the story progresses, the objections raised, the replies, the votes acquired one by one. It reminded me of 12 Angry Men (but I saw that movie long ago, don't remember it well).

    I was distracted by Ladies and gentleman. Was it gentleman on purpose or a slip of the keyboard for gentlemen ? Found nothing conclusive in the story.

    I liked that you mixed techno-babble with music :
    if you can pick out the separate quantum instruments the pattern is perfect not just the manifestation
    It means nothing to me but still sounds right in the ST universe.
    Still, it troubles me a little that techno-babble is used mainly by Dr. Erickson. It makes his (her ?) points weaker from a 2013 perspective.

    On another note : You might want to change adhered to adhere in the 2nd paragraph.

    Thanks for sharing.
  • Francis_WFrancis_W Member
    edited September 2013 PM
    @willian thanks for the feedback. First off you are right on with adhere and gentlemen they were typos.

    You are also right in that the conclusion is foregone, but so was Star Wars episode 1-3 (not that I am defending them). I found it interesting to explore the 'how' rather than the 'what' in this instance.

    I did try to keep the story within the bounds of the vast canon that is Star Trek, partly why I went back so far. I did a bit of research on the internet, and Emory Erickson (male) is credited with the discovery of transporter technology. He appeared in one episode of Enterprise season 4 (Daedalus) which I netflixed prior to writing this. It is established that he met Cochrane at some point, but not definitively where and when. Also it is not set what the exact discovery date of transport technology was.

    I chose the time in standard format because I couldn't find a reliable way to express stardate, or if they were even used before the formation of the Federation. Late 2118 would fit with Cochrane's timeline, in that in 2119 the Warp 5 facility was commissioned on Earth eventually leading to the Enterprise (NX-01). So by my estimation it fits canon.

    My biggest issue with this piece was trying to cut it down to ~500 word (I failed in that is rounded out at about 600). I had far more dialogue and descriptive information to set the scene, but unfortunately I couldn't justify a board of less than 5. That presented issues with characterizing the individuals, and by those constraints I was forced draw it down to the Protagonist and antagonist. I have other thoughts about how this would proceed into different scenes, but as of now I aimed for the initial goal of the challenge. I definitely could have expanded this to several pages.
  • There are a few places where the attribution for a piece of dialogue would be better placed before the dialogue rather than after it; it might make it clearer who is speaking at any given time, especially with multiple characters. I also had a hard time seeing how the decision could have been unanimous given the discussion that preceded it. Dr. Cooper needs a moment where he 'gives in'. Otherwise, good. :-)

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