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Snippet Sunday

I'm posting with a "request" this time, rather than just showing a snippet. If you read, I'd like to know: Does this make sense? I've fiddled and fiddled with this paragraph, trying not to be too descriptive while still drawing a clear picture for the reader. It is the "clear" I'm worried about.

In the distance, two earthstars lit the massive, freestanding gate that separated the jungles of Paoqei from the capital. The gate stood upon a sheer cliff which ringed Open City and its harbor, making a wall unnecessary. Wider by several lengths than the paved, rammed-earth road leading up to it, the gate sufficed for keeping offislanders in the caldera where they belonged. The capital might be open to traders and seafarers from afar but the island was not.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2013 07:28 pm (UTC)
The trouble I'm having is conceiving the different levels and heights. I get that the city is in the caldera, and the walls of the caldera are the cliff faces, right? You say that the gate is upon the cliff--so that makes me think it's at the top? So you've got a jungle island, climbing to a peak, and then that peak has a huge caldera, and the city is within it, yes?

So the gate separates the city from the jungle exterior of the caldera, but how do traders and seafarers get in to the city without going through the jungle, which is off limits to them? Is there sea access?

Here is what I'm imagining:

geography of Miq's island
Feb. 17th, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
And, duh, you've said there's a harbor, so there must be a sea entrance. (Sorry: dense!)

So maybe where I've got essentially a tunnel into the caldera is actually a curve in the landscape? So, viewed from above, instead of being a circle with a smaller circle (the caldera) in its center, the island is like a letter C, only with the tips of the C very close together? And the space in between there is the caldera?
Feb. 18th, 2013 06:25 am (UTC)
Yep, like a C. I love your drawing. You are so sweet to have taken the time to do that.
Feb. 17th, 2013 07:29 pm (UTC)
(I hope you feel better soon!)
Feb. 17th, 2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
Feb. 18th, 2013 06:26 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Feb. 18th, 2013 06:25 am (UTC)
I'm getting there. I think I have to take it easy today.
Feb. 17th, 2013 08:56 pm (UTC)
I am a bit confused, too.
Feb. 18th, 2013 06:26 am (UTC)
Seems like I confused everyone. :P
Feb. 18th, 2013 12:02 pm (UTC)
But look how interesting it turned out - people drawing maps and posting pictures! I did enjoy following the discussions very much!
Feb. 18th, 2013 01:00 pm (UTC)
Hehe. Yeah, an upside to everything. :P
Feb. 17th, 2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
This is the picture I see when I read the paragraph:

Miq's Gate

Feb. 17th, 2013 09:50 pm (UTC)
(Ooh, that is cool!)
Feb. 17th, 2013 10:18 pm (UTC)
Feb. 18th, 2013 06:27 am (UTC)
Yes! That is a great image of it from the city side. :D Thank you!
Feb. 17th, 2013 09:46 pm (UTC)
My points of confusion: first, my position relative to that gate and the real estate on which it stands. If I'm below it, in the jungle (borrowing asakiyume's image), I could see the gate and sky beyond it. If I'm on the road below the gate on the city side, I could see the cliff and gate and sky beyond it. At no point, save standing in the gate itself, could I see both jungle and cliff, and the given POV explicitly notes they're viewing the gate "in the distance."

Second, how that road climbs the side of a caldera whose sides are steep enough to warrant the descriptor "cliffs" (which, by definition, fall off sharply from an edge). That's one heck of a feat of engineering, and I'm having a very hard time visualizing it.

Points of curiosity, which would lead me to read on despite confusion: why such a road would be necessary going *out* of the city and into the jungle, and why those lights would be called "earthstars." >:-)
Feb. 17th, 2013 09:56 pm (UTC)
I love the image of the gate. I don't know what earthstars are, but they sound awesome and perhaps like magic. That intrigues me.

I don't quite think I'm visualizing the island, though, and how it connects/is associated with a mainland. You mention offislanders. Can they get to the island from a mainland? Or only by sea?

If the city is totally ringed by cliffs, I'm also not understanding where the harbor is located.

I like the idea of a city in a caldera. That detail makes me want to know more about the location, the culture, the history.
Feb. 17th, 2013 11:04 pm (UTC)
I imagine something like Bonnie's pic. :)
Feb. 18th, 2013 01:01 pm (UTC)
It does! On the caldera side that is pretty much exactly how I picture it. :D
Feb. 18th, 2013 06:29 am (UTC)
Took a bit of parsing (including working out which side of the cliffs the viewer was on, which might have been implied by the earlier paragraphs), but I think I got it. I'm picturing, as the others seem to be, a city by a harbour surrounded by cliffs with a road going up to a gate. It seems a little odd that it's the gate which "separates" the jungles from the capital, because it seems that it should also be the cliffs that do the separation.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


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