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Christmas Carol: A Short Story - Part XVII

Posted by DZ-Jay, in Christmas Carol, Short Story 09 October 2018 · 124 views

I don't have much progress to report today.  Although I spent several hours working on the story yesterday, I feel like it was all spent just spinning my wheels in place.  I wrote almost an entire page before I halted and decided I didn't really like the way it was going.  After that, it just got worse:  I wrote and re-wrote paragraph after paragraph, and never got past the same spot.  All in all, it was a frustrating day, to balance the ecstatic and successful day before, where I completed chapter eight and started on nine.
 
My goal yesterday was to get Carol through the Eastern Passage tunnel, which she took out of the Candy Cove, and into the Snowflake Gardens, which lie at the very center of the Ice Cube Caverns complex.  I've been looking forward to getting that done for a while since the Snowflake Gardens cave is where some of the cool things happen which lead to the Boss Level er ... I mean, to the third act and exciting climax of the story. ;)
 
Every chapter since the fifth one has started with the title "Snowflake Gardens" with my expectation of getting Carol there ... only to end up describing some other place or adding another sequence; and every time I end up extending the story outline and moving the "Snowflake Gardens" to the next chapter slot.  Don't get me wrong, every one of those "new" chapters just included stuff that I needed to put, but either didn't account in my outline or didn't know where to fit it adequately.
 
Anyway, the current slot for the "Snowflake Gardens" is Chapter 9, which is where I find myself right now.  I thought for sure this was it.  I mean, there is nothing but an almost straight corridor, the Eastern Passage, from the Candy Cove to the Gardens; and back in Chapter 7 (before I interjected a new eighth chapter), I left Carol more than half-way through that tunnel.  I thought perhaps she'll hear the Snowman in the distance or see some Bad Toy tracks in the snow, or something similar that would spook her; but overall, just let her walk the distance and get her into the frosted "Snowflake Gardens" already!  (Yes, I'm trying to adopt Carol's "F" word now.  I think it's cleaner to have it programmed in my head if I'm to have grandchildren around. :))
 
And that's where it all went wrong.  The best laid schemes of elves and snowmen, as they say, often go awry.
 
I had this cool idea:  I thought that the entrance to the Garden, which was a doorway inlet in the western wall of the northbound tunnel Carol was in; would be covered in a thick mist.  Neither Carol nor anyone would be able to tell what was inside.  The Ghost and the Snowman would have been scared of it and never go in, and Carol would be afraid to even try ... except that she hears the approaching Bad Toy and freaks out, so she runs in and ... discovers the beautiful and magical (and still yet without specific form and description in my mind) Snowflake Garden!
 

Attached Image

Ta-da!  Simples.
 
Well, it didn't quite go that way.  The "writing me" conspired to go in a different direction -- as, apparently, he is wont to do.  First, he put the mist in the tunnel itself.  Carol then thought the tunnel was blocked by a great big wall, and only discovered the mist after approaching it with trepidation.  By then, she was already enveloped in it and couldn't see where she was.
 
It was all written quite nicely, and it flowed well with the rest.  Below is an excerpt of this passage:

After walking for several yards, Carol saw up ahead what at first glance looked like a solid white wall, and stopped.  "That's not right," she thought staring at the blockage.  "This can't be the end of the tunnel.  I'm sure I heard the Snowman before, and the sound seemed to come from around here.  Plus, there's no other way the Ghost could have gone!"
 
Feeling it could be a trap, Carol approached the wall slowly and cautiously, but the closer she got, the farther away it seemed to be!  She took a few more cautious steps before realizing what it was.  "Prancing reindeers! That's not a wall ... it's a frosty cloud!"  All around her she noticed a chilly and hazy fog.  It filled the tunnel with a thick white mist, shimmering in the glow of the ice cubes, and blocking her view of what lay ahead.
 
Undeterred, Carol took a few more steps into the dense, frozen fog, being careful not to trip on anything, and listening intently for any sound of the Snowman.  She felt her way with her hands outstretched ...

 
 
What bothered me gravely is that it brought with it several problems which were not there before, and which I now had to solve.
 
First, it blocked Carol's way in a blinding fog.  How is she to find the entrance to the Snowflake Gardens now?  Perhaps she could stumble upon it by feeling her way with her hands on the wall, but that would have her discovery rely too much on random chance, which we've already had quite a bit so far.
 
Then, there's the matter of the Snowman's and the Ghost's access to the Gardens.  If there is mist all over the tunnel, and they must have gone through it on their way to the next chambers, why wouldn't they have gone through the entrance to the Snowflake Gardens?  Was it also random chance that let them through to one end and not the other?
 
It also made Carol's escape much more cumbersome and error prone.  If indeed the Bad Toy tracked her to the Snowflake Gardens, but there's no way to find your way through the thick fog in the tunnel leading to it, how does she know where to go to find safety?  More of that fortunate luck, I suppose.
 
The more I thought about it, the more it bothered me, and the more I became convinced that it just wouldn't work well.
 
Moreover -- and this was turning into a big thing already -- it would delay yet once again her discovery of the Snowflake Gardens!  I was beginning to think those gardens were just a figment of my imagination and weren't really there at all!  (Well, they are a figment of my imagination, but ... oh, you know what I mean.)
 
So I stopped that train right in its tracks and determined to go in another direction -- something closer, perhaps, to what I originally intended.
 
However, I don't think I ever recovered after that.  I tried a few things, then a few others, but nothing seemed to click.  And Carol still has not arrived at that darn frosted garden!  So I decided to stop for the day, and give up on my own personal goal for Monday, which was just to get Carol there.  It was frustrating and discouraging.
 
Now it's the next day, and I'm fresh with vigor and motivation, and I am once again determined to get Carol to her next destination.  I have resolved to fix what's broken in that narrative, patch it up as appropriate, and move on.
 
Let's see how it goes.  Until then ...
 
    See ya'!
    -dZ.
 






How many words have you written so far? Genesis in the Hebrew language version is 32,000 words, second largest book in the Bible.

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It occurred to me that with all the pieces of the map I've been including in the blog, you could probably piece together the whole thing.  :o

 

    -dZ.

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How many words have you written so far? Genesis in the Hebrew language version is 32,000 words, second largest book in the Bible.

 

Well, according to my word processor software, the story so far comprises:

  • 13,789 words
  • 275 paragraphs
  • 1,229 lines
  • 43 pages (including 4 leads for the title, dedication, and filler, and an extra page where I kept the passages I removed -- just in case I want to reuse any of it later)

Storywise itself, I'm on Chapter 9, page 38.

 

Not bad for a short story which I expected would go no more than 10 pages, but still not some Great American Novel.  Not even close.  Hehehe.

 

    -dZ.

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I just checked, and for the story pages only, 13,446 words, including chapter titles.

 

I don't know how many it would be when translated to Hebrew. :ponder: :grin:

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Cool! I have a few unfinished (unpublished) novels that range between 6,000 - 15,000 words as well so I can get a feel for much text it is.

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It seems the Bible in its original Hebrew and Greek languages is about 611K words. The various English language versions range from 728 - 783K of which the King James Authorized version is the longest. It would suggest that Christmas Carol would be 15-20% shorter if written in effective Hebrew, but perhaps you could optimize your own language too and reduce the word count a few percent.

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It seems the Bible in its original Hebrew and Greek languages is about 611K words. The various English language versions range from 728 - 783K of which the King James Authorized version is the longest. It would suggest that Christmas Carol would be 15-20% shorter if written in effective Hebrew, but perhaps you could optimize your own language too and reduce the word count a few percent.

 

Yeah, I don't think it's going to grow that much more.  I think it am a little bit over the half-way mark, so perhaps it'll grow to about 20K works in total.  Then with a few illustrations peppered here and there, it'll probably make for about 80 to 90 pages in the current layout.

 

Do you have children that may be interested in reading the Christmas Carol story?

 

   -dZ.

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Nope, I am a happy bachelor and even my nephews are a bit too old to really be in the target group for your story.

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Nope, I am a happy bachelor and even my nephews are a bit too old to really be in the target group for your story.

 

Well, too bad.  :P

 

It's probably not your thing (it is really a Christmas fairy tale), but if you are interested, I wouldn't mind sending you an advanced manuscript once I complete it.  I think it's important to get feedback, even though I'm scared to death of hearing that it's not good. :o

 

Don't feel pressured to respond at all.  I have two other elves, apart from my Wife and nephew, providing feedback and proofreading assistance.

 

   -dZ.

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We can keep in touch in case you want feedback from someone with English as their secondary language.

 

Now, go on try to guide Carol further into the caves! I don't know what kind of elf she is, but I remember from playing Nethack that the elf class in that game tends to have a bit of extra sensory perception, very good at finding doors in walls you walk past without really looking for those. Perhaps you don't want to introduce such elements into the story, but out of all the species it would seem that elves might be among those best equipped to handle the fog.

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We can keep in touch in case you want feedback from someone with English as their secondary language.

 

Sure.  You would be forgiven for not knowing about it, but English is also my secondary language.  I am Latin-American and Spanish is my mother tongue.   :)

 

And one of the elves proofreading the story is a Belgian friend who speaks Flemish as a first language.  She has an English degree, so I trust her feedback.

 

It seems international adults are fond of the Carol story.  Now, if I can only get American kids to like it as well ... Hehe! :lol:

 

 

Now, go on try to guide Carol further into the caves! I don't know what kind of elf she is, but I remember from playing Nethack that the elf class in that game tends to have a bit of extra sensory perception, very good at finding doors in walls you walk past without really looking for those. Perhaps you don't want to introduce such elements into the story, but out of all the species it would seem that elves might be among those best equipped to handle the fog.

 

Well, she's not really a Tolkien elf.  She's a typical "Santa's helper" elf, as depicted in traditional American Christmas folklore:  about 4 feet tall, with pointy ears, green outfits with pointy hats, smart and hard-working, and with just a touch of magic in them.  They are cheery and merry, and full of Christmas Spirit and joy.

 

In my mind, they are like a cross between a Fairy and a Hobbit, if that makes sense.

 

On top of all that, Carol Greenleaf has a spirit of adventure and is very resourceful, like Bilbo Baggins ... or Laura Croft.   :)

 

    -dZ.

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