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ETA: I changed some stuff in an attempt to make things clearer for frigg and to address some stuff brought up in khiemtran's comment to my previous post.

Thanks, everyone, who responded to my snippet yesterday. (I love that you drew an image, asakiyume, and that you took the time to find made one, too mindseas! You gals rock!) I think I kind of shot myself in the foot by not posting the paragraphs that go with the one about the gate.  If I may bother you again, here they are, with the previously posted paragraph in its place:

    Ignoring the stitch in her side and the burn in her legs, Sola’li hurried up the outer slope of the caldera. She wanted to slip into Open City before daybreak. The moon had set some hours before, but she did not need to worry about her footing on the jungle trail thanks to the luminescent flowers planted along its length.

Up ahead, two earthstars lit the massive, freestanding gate that stood upon the caldera rim. The sheer cliffs of the sunken crater formed a wall more daunting than anything man could have devised to separate the rest of Paoqei from its capital and the harbor that served it. The gate, wider by several lengths than the road leading up to it, sufficed for keeping offislanders inside the caldera where they belonged. The capital might be open to traders and seafarers from afar but the island was not.

When Sola stepped out of the jungle into the cleared area around the gate, she exaggerated the swing her arms, and the guards, catching sight of her simili bracelets, greeted her deferentially and let her through without chatter. They weren’t posted to keep Liqei out of the city, but to keep foreigners in.

Despite her hurry, she paused at the top of the road. She had been to Open City many times on Srila’s business, but its splendor viewed from above never failed to amaze her. The cliff stretched out on both sides of her, dark arms holding the city and its bay in a loving embrace. That morning, however, mist filled the caldera, hiding the city’s majesty. The earthstars lighting its streets formed moon-bright constellations through the fog, hinting at the structure the Liqei, and the First before them, had imposed on the lushly vegetated crater. But that had been long before the wither. Now that the blight had devastated all but the southernmost tip of the island, it was anathema to needlessly cut trees or uproot plants.

Is the image clearer this time? I realize from the comments to the snippet that the size of Paoqei is not really coming through. Do I need something here, like Sola turning and looking at all the land and volcano peaks behind her? Suggestions? I'm not at all uptight about people rewriting my prose, so feel free to do so if that will get your point across. I love examples.

Thanks again for reading and thanks for the get better wishes. I think I'm on the mend now.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 18th, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC)
Well, you know my denseness, but shouldn't she be hurrying "down" the zig-zagging jungle path?
Feb. 18th, 2013 05:38 pm (UTC)
No. Up. She is on the outer slope of the caldera/crater. :)
Feb. 18th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
Ah, I thought she was coming from the other direction.
Feb. 18th, 2013 06:06 pm (UTC)
No, hence the "wanting to reach the capital." :)
Feb. 18th, 2013 08:26 pm (UTC)
What can I say? Dense. :p
Feb. 18th, 2013 07:26 pm (UTC)
What wasn't clear to me was that the cliffs are only visible to Sola after she passes through the gate. From her perspective, the gate stands on relatively level ground. Perhaps she sees that the land ends at the distance of the gate, which might seem to stand on the brink of the world, opening to sky or clouds, or perhaps the glare of city lights if they reach that high. But the gate wouldn't actually look like it was controlling egress from the city until she reaches it and can see how deadly the fall from anywhere except the road would be. I made that pic with Gimp since my desktop is broken and I didn't think I'd be able to scan in a sketch, but I was a bit confused about which direction I was seeing the gate from, or I would've made the cliff look more cratery.
Feb. 18th, 2013 07:35 pm (UTC)
You are awesomely talented
Ah! You made it! Doubly--nay, triply!--cool. And yes, I'm tweaking with your points and frigg's confusion in mind. This is what I meant in my first post about not wanting to be overly descriptive (I had deleted the bits about a brink, even though I hadn't used that word. :P). My "problem" is that there are trees growing all along the rim (the word I did use) and so it is difficult to "see beyond."

This convo is making my mental gears churn, though. So thanks for that!
Feb. 18th, 2013 10:24 pm (UTC)
Re: You are awesomely talented
Glad to have helped. And now, hopefully, I will soon read more about this world. You do have a habit of creating worlds that stimulate the imagination!
Feb. 19th, 2013 06:25 am (UTC)
This one seems much clearer to me.

Edited: Ah! I've worked it out! There was something else that was bothering me and I was trying to figure out how I'd write it differently. I think the problem is all in the placement of the viewer.

The sentence that starts "Up ahead, two earthstars lit the massive, freestanding gate" puts the viewer (and reader) still on the path looking up towards the gate; but the next paragraph are all about what the Sola sees when she's already at the top (unless she's only thinking about it from past visits. So, if I was writing it, I'd separate the things she thinks about before she reaches the top and the things she thinks about when she's reached it and only show Sola's impressions of the city when she actually reaches the top.

Edited at 2013-02-19 06:39 am (UTC)
Feb. 19th, 2013 04:23 pm (UTC)
Ah-ha! Good call! Will edit. Thank you. :D
Feb. 19th, 2013 06:51 pm (UTC)
This is much clearer to me now (and I love that even after just reading one chapter, I **know** stuff now--so excited by that)

I may not be imagining it precisely as you are, but I feel like we are in the same ball park now.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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