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City Of Nightmares

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posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 03:53 AM
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authors note:This is my first time attempt at writing a story and when it comes to dialogue you could say that I am pretty much clueless. If someone could help me with dialogue then I would be really grateful.Your tips and suggestions are welcome.



(For the record I am not a trained writer in any possible way as is evident from the piece below. Hence I am not familiar with plot devices or machinations that are used and have a very vague idea of these.)


City of nightmares

Introduction
As I gaze out of my bedroom window at this rather peculiar unearthly hour a million thoughts like a tempest penetrate my consciousness.It is dark outside. There is a blackout and the room is enveloped in a sinister Cimmerian shade .Yet the world is not asleep as I can see distant silhouettes that move in the faint glimmer of the gibbous moon. Civilization it seems ceases to exist for a moment and there are no rules that hold us anymore! We are free like the spectres in the everlasting and ethereal night to explore all the astral mysteries that behold us in space and beyond. Perhaps our primitive minds understand too little and there are secrets that mankind must never behold or we will lose all semblance of sanity. For the sake of being sanguine I will not pursue this stream of thought any further for all my dreams are nightmares and that is something I do not wish to reveal. These I will concede to no one.









[edit on 29-7-2010 by Leonardo01]




posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 03:54 AM
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Epilogue
There was a vague feeling of dread as I looked at the distant figure in the darkness. Something about the way it moved seemed to be queer and almost unnatural. The cold and damp midnight air had heightened my senses so much so that I felt a forlorn sense of impending doom. ….It was a blood moon and the moonlight shone like scarlet.












Prelude

It had all begun with the discovery of the primordial fossilized specimen in the Antarctic continent. The fossil despite being perhaps millions of years old was well preserved in the cold of the Antarctic iceberg. It was a fossil of a hitherto unknown species of a race of peculiar reptelloid beings that had existed eons ago when the earth was still young. The discovery had excited Dr Henri Schmidt and he considered it as the perfect catalyst for our experiment.

The ancient colonial building where we housed our research was filled with an eerie glow in the incandescent flicker of the twilight. The somewhat dilapidated run down structure was a state run research facility and a front for the most clandestine form of research. The inhuman screams and nocturnal ululations that echoed in the night kept the general populace away as they believed it to be haunted. Our endeavor and unholy quest was known only to an esoteric few high ranking state officials. The experiment had reached its final stage and would have very serious implications if it were successful. It had the potential to turn the tide of war in Germany’s favor again which was precisely what the Fuhrer desired. Our somewhat macabre enterprise would perhaps take us into realms of understanding the human anatomy that had scarcely been explored before. We as a research team had uncovered secrets that we termed as genetic research which any other relevant department concerned with mere eugenics and experimental research had failed to accomplish in the past.

We were manipulating nature at its core and the results could prove to be nothing short of disastrous. However I could scarcely contain my excitement after our breakthrough last night. Our objective was to create the ultimate form of super soldier that would stand as a testament to Germany’s greatness and superiority which would cause the rest of the world to bow down in subservience.

There was a curious gleam in Dr Henri Schmidt eyes as he considered the ramifications of the cells fusing together and a new being coming into existence. The inchoate mass appeared to be stable although its grotesqueness clearly insinuated the abhorrent nature of it origins. We shared our excitement but Dr Henri Schmidt my eminent colleague- head researcher and one of the founding members of the Thule society had an uncanny hint of madness in his faded blue eyes. His mawkish appearance was betrayed by the fervor in his voice as he stated “This is most exciting. The Reich will be pleased with the results”



(Need help with dialogue and the narrative as well)



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 03:55 AM
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Scene 1: The Lab

There were bodies strewn everywhere. My memory was in a nebulous haze and I could scarcely recall the ‘horror’ that had led to the catastrophe in the lab. The corpses appeared to be unnaturally twisted and the most frightening aspect was the peculiar and inexplicably contorted grimace on their usually quaint faces. It was most unsettling as I wondered about the nature of the thing that could strike such deep fear among these intrepid men of science. The lab resembled a black citadel of the dead and there were no visible signs of life anywhere.

It was like being trapped in some otherworldly hellish quagmire. All the people I had known and worked with were dead, murdered in the most gruesome fashion by some nightmarish abomination let loose. Their eyes had an expression of stark naked fear and their jaws lay open in a most unusual manner as if they were trying to mouth a voiceless scream against some unnameable horror. It is perhaps a wonder that I was not driven insane by these events and had something to do with perhaps my morbid fascination to discover the hideous nature of the thing.

Much I pondered as to the nature of the peril we had unleashed in our zeal and frenzy to uncover the forbidden vistas of the unknown ….. Somehow I laboriously made my way out of what was now an ossuary and clambered on prodigiously on to the multitudinous stone steps in the never- ending darkness of the night to find my way out of the dank cellar where we ran our horrendous experiments. Due to my emaciated state I had frequent blackouts whence I could not recall certain events and I cannot piece them together even now. It was perhaps only my paranoid mind playing tricks on me in my state of decadence but I had a strange and poignant sensation of being watched….why was I the only one who survived the massacre? Did this being perhaps have some semblance of rational thought and was I chosen specifically for some sinister purpose?
[I am stuck here; any ideas?]



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 05:43 AM
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i like it!

i wouldn't change much, at all, in the first part - maybe just some tidying up of the narrative flow, such as:


As I gaze out of my bedroom window, at this peculiar unearthly hour, countless tempestuous thoughts penetrate my consciousness. There is a blackout. It is dark outside and my room is enveloped in a sinister Cimmerian shade.

Yet the world is not asleep, as I can see distant silhouettes moving in the faint glimmer of a gibbous moon. Civilization, it seems, ceases to exist for a moment and gone are the rules that in daylight hold us! We are free like spectres, in the everlasting ethereal night, free to explore the astral mysteries that await us in space, and beyond. Perhaps our primitive minds understand too little, and there are secrets that humanity must never behold or else lose any semblance of sanity.

For the sake of being sanguine, I will not pursue this stream of thought any further; for all my dreams are nightmares and that is something I do not wish to reveal. These I will concede to no one.


i tried not to change any of your original sentiment or intention, but if i did, please correct it~!

i really dig the mood you've laid out in these first paragraphs! it is an excellent atmosphere for your story's setting, and one i personally relate to - that undefined freedom that fills the emptiness of night with so much possibility.

you've captured it quite well, i think.

...and i had to look up "Cimmerian!" two thumbs up for that.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 06:35 AM
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reply to post by queenannie38
 


Well I am really glad that you liked it..
The opening para was actually something I wrote in my journal one night and I thought it would great if I could make a story out of it or something.I also happen to be a night person.....thank you very much for your gracious comments








[edit on 29-7-2010 by Leonardo01]



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 07:27 PM
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I'm in the same situation as you (untrained in writing) except that I did try writing quite a few years ago, and am just starting up again, so I don't know some of the proper techniques, either.

I don't know whether it was intentional or not, but I am strongly reminded of H.P. Lovecraft's writings, both in style and subject matter. (that's a compliment, if you haven't heard of him :p) I'm guessing you have, though, since the only writings I can remember seeing the word 'cimmerian' in were by him and his peers in the genre, like Robert Howard.

Depending upon how you choose to develop the story, I could easily see you managing it without any dialogue at all, which, while a rather cheap way of avoiding your lack of skill writing it, would neatly get around the problem. That is actually one of the things about your style that brought HPL to mind is your lack of dialogue; he tended to tell his stories from one character's point of view, just as you have done, almost like a journal entry. I'm not saying you should deliberately imitate him, but I am saying that you can be very successful in this way, even with sparse dialogue, so if that fits your style better, go for it.

I'm not quite sure it's my place to suggest further ideas, but what I was expecting as I read your story was perhaps a monster in the Antarctic (like in The Thing) or that the scientists had created some sort of monster, or perhaps turned themselves into monsters somehow, and that whatever happened was possible only because of the combination of the fossil and the scientific research. I was also thinking it would be cool if the events in the story somehow impact the results of the war; i.e. that perhaps the Nazis lose the war or are seriously set back because of events in your story.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 12:13 AM
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reply to post by DragonsDemesne
 


Well thank you very much for your comments and your observations regarding H.P Lovecraft are correct. I do cite him as an inspiration as well as Edgar Allan Poe and also to a certain extent the novel "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley which was the first book I ever read.

I am not very familiar with the works of Robert E. Howard although I would make it a point to read something about him. Also I don't recall Lovecraft using the word "Cimmerian"(Cyclopian perhaps but not Cimmerian) which is from a mythical place cited in Homer's Odyssey.



[edit on 30-7-2010 by Leonardo01]



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 12:56 AM
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reply to post by DragonsDemesne
 


Thank you for your the comparison made to lovecraft which is perhaps the best complement received. Your story ideas are also most welcome. However the tale was not originally intended to be lovecraftesque. I have also received severe criticism for not using the "show not tell" technique and this was to be expected.

The reason I posted this here on ATS was because this being a free forum of discussion I could gain some insight into the writing techniques used(It is not to show my writing prowess).

Personally if I read my write-up it does not do it for me as a story in all it coherence for:
(I am my own worst critic)

1)Plot development is pretty much non-existent
2)Lack of dialogue makes it tedious to read
3)Pacing needs work
4)I am not aware of the various plot devices used and this makes the story look amateurish
5)No character development
6)The finale of the story is missing; there was a twist which would complete the story but upon contemplation I decided not to include it.
7)If you must know; The story was supposedly built as a metaphor which would show human beings for what they truly are in a state of dystopia....this idea was to be depicted in the climax.(What happens when you take away the crucible of civilization and what would people be like in a world without morals or ethics?)However when I read the story I felt something was missing which was namely a little more plot and character development as well as dialogue to ensure that people could actually read it.It didn't feel like a good read; so I abandoned it.

This is only an initial draft; a skeleton if you will and since writing is a complex process there are bound to be major changes....
















[edit on 31-7-2010 by Leonardo01]



posted on Jul, 31 2010 @ 02:49 AM
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Hmm, I may be confusing Cimmerian and Stygian there :p I know for sure I've seen HPL use Stygian, and it means kind of the same thing, from what I remember. And yes, HPL *definitely* used cyclopean many times, along with 'eldritch,' and my personal favourite, 'noneuclidean geometry!'

I've got the same problem you do about finishing stories though :p I start out with an amazing idea, write a bit (and it's usually fairly good, like your work here) but then, primarily due to a lack of planning, I have no idea where to take it.

It's hard to judge on most of your seven points without more writing, but I did think the pacing was a bit off, though I couldn't think of a way to describe it, so I didn't mention it before. On a happier note, I disagree with point #2, as I did not find the writing tedious to read at all.

I hope you stick with the writing though, even if you don't come back to this particular story, as I quite liked the style. I'm finding that a little planning beforehand is helping me quite a bit in the short story I've been trying to write lately.



posted on Aug, 3 2010 @ 05:51 AM
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reply to post by DragonsDemesne
 


HPL had a splendid imagination and the tales were fashioned in his own unique style which I suppose is the reason that they are such a cult phenomenon today.Its something of a pity that we don't have writers like him and Edgar Allan Poe(I loved the "The Pit and the Pendulum")

He also coined very bizarre terms such as the ones you have mentioned which gave the stories an altogether otherworldly feel (The "Necronomicon" for example or even "Cthulu")

His phantasmagorical tales are something I can personally relate to for he in my humble opinion is the undisputed master of horror .





[edit on 3-8-2010 by Leonardo01]



posted on Aug, 3 2010 @ 07:42 AM
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reply to post by Leonardo01
 





As I gaze out of my bedroom window at this rather peculiar unearthly hour a million thoughts like a tempest penetrate my consciousness.It is dark outside. There is a blackout and the room is enveloped in a sinister Cimmerian shade .Yet the world is not asleep as I can see distant silhouettes that move in the faint glimmer of the gibbous moon. Civilization it seems ceases to exist for a moment and there are no rules that hold us anymore! We are free like the spectres in the everlasting and ethereal night to explore all the astral mysteries that behold us in space and beyond. Perhaps our primitive minds understand too little and there are secrets that mankind must never behold or we will lose all semblance of sanity. For the sake of being sanguine I will not pursue this stream of thought any further for all my dreams are nightmares and that is something I do not wish to reveal. These I will concede to no one.


As I gaze out of my bedroom window, at this rather peculiar unearthly hour, a million thoughts, (like a tempest), penetrate my consciousness. Perhaps our primitive minds understand too little, and there are secrets that mankind must never behold, or we will...it is dark outside. There is a blackout and the room is enveloped in a sinister Cimmerian shade. Yet, the world is not asleep. I can see distant silhouettes that move in the faint glimmer of the gibbous moon. Civilization, it seems, ceases to exist for a moment, and there are no rules that hold us anymore! We are free, like the spectres in the everlasting and ethereal night, to explore all the astral mysteries that behold us in space and beyond. Perhaps our primitive minds understand too little, and there are secrets that mankind must never behold, or we will lose all semblance of sanity. For the sake of being sanguine, I will not pursue this stream of thought any further, for all my dreams are nightmares, and that is something I do not wish to reveal. These I will concede to no one.




Epilogue

There was a vague feeling of dread as I looked at the distant figure in the darkness. Something about the way it moved seemed to be queer and almost unnatural. The cold and damp midnight air had heightened my senses so much so that I felt a forlorn sense of impending doom. ….It was a blood moon and the moonlight shone like scarlet.


This, my friend, I wouldn't change at all, nor did I feel compelled to offer any "brush stroke" editing. Nicely written.




Prelude

It had all begun with the discovery of the primordial fossilized specimen in the Antarctic continent. The fossil, despite being perhaps millions of years old, was well preserved in the cold of the Antarctic iceberg. It was a fossil of a hitherto unknown species of a race of peculiar reptelloid beings that had existed eons ago when the earth was still young. The discovery had excited Dr. Henri Schmidt and he considered it as the perfect catalyst for our experiment.


Again, I would not change a thing. Although, I did add period behind the Dr. and a couple of commas where I thought it served you best. Nicely written again.




The ancient colonial building, where we housed our research, was filled with an eerie glow in the incandescent flicker of the twilight. The somewhat dilapidated run down structure was a state run research facility, and a front for the most clandestine form of research. The inhuman screams and nocturnal ululations that echoed in the night kept the general populace away as they believed it to be haunted.


I think this is where your paragraph ends, and let the rest begin as a new one. I did add a few commas in the first sentence.





Our endeavor, and unholy quest, was known only to an esoteric few high ranking state officials. The experiment had reached its final stage and would have very serious implications if it were successful. It had the potential to turn the tide of war in Germany’s favor again which was precisely what the Fuhrer desired. Our somewhat macabre enterprise would perhaps take us into realms of understanding the human anatomy that had scarcely been explored before. We, as a research team, had uncovered secrets that we termed as genetic research, which any other relevant department concerned with mere eugenics and experimental research had failed to accomplish in the past.


Commas are your friend Leonardo! Don't be afraid to use them.




We were manipulating nature at its core and the results could prove to be nothing short of disastrous. However, I could scarcely contain my excitement after our breakthrough last night. Our objective was to create the ultimate form of super soldier that would stand as a testament to Germany’s greatness and superiority which would cause the rest of the world to bow down in subservience.


This is just my opinion, of course, but:

Our objective was to create the ultimate form of super soldier that would stand as a testament to Germany’s greatness and superiority which would cause the rest of the world to bow down in subservience. I could scarcely contain my excitement after our breakthrough last night. We were manipulating nature at its core and the results could prove to be nothing short of disastrous.

I think this sequence of sentences creates a larger sense of dread, and regret, than as it was written. Just sort of reversed the chronology of sentences. It is just my opinion though.




There was a curious gleam in Dr Henri Schmidt eyes as he considered the ramifications of the cells fusing together and a new being coming into existence. The inchoate mass appeared to be stable although its grotesqueness clearly insinuated the abhorrent nature of it origins. We shared our excitement but Dr Henri Schmidt my eminent colleague- head researcher and one of the founding members of the Thule society had an uncanny hint of madness in his faded blue eyes. His mawkish appearance was betrayed by the fervor in his voice as he stated “This is most exciting. The Reich will be pleased with the results”


The inchoate mass appeared to be stable although its grotesqueness clearly insinuated the abhorrent nature of it origins. There was a curious gleam in Dr Henri Schmidt eyes as he considered the ramifications of the cells fusing together and a new being coming into existence. I shared his excitement, but Dr Schmidt...Henri...my eminent colleague-head researcher-and one of the founding members of the Thule society, had an uncanny hint of madness in his faded blue eyes. His mawkish appearance was betrayed by the fervor in his voice as he stated “This is most exciting. The Reich will be pleased with the results."




Scene 1: The Lab

There were bodies strewn everywhere. My memory was in a nebulous haze and I could scarcely recall the ‘horror’ that had led to the catastrophe in the lab. The corpses appeared to be unnaturally twisted and the most frightening aspect was the peculiar and inexplicably contorted grimace on their usually quaint faces. It was most unsettling as I wondered about the nature of the thing that could strike such deep fear among these intrepid men of science. The lab resembled a black citadel of the dead and there were no visible signs of life anywhere.


There were bodies strewn everywhere. The corpses appeared to be unnaturally twisted, and the most frightening aspect was the peculiar, and inexplicably contorted grimace on their usually quaint faces. My memory was a nebulous haze, and I could scarcely recall the horror that had led to the catastrophe in the lab. It was most unsettling. The lab resembled a black citadel of the dead and there were no visible signs of life anywhere. I wondered about the nature of the thing that could strike such deep fear among these intrepid men of science.




It was like being trapped in some otherworldly hellish quagmire. All the people I had known and worked with were dead, murdered in the most gruesome fashion by some nightmarish abomination let loose. Their eyes had an expression of stark naked fear and their jaws lay open in a most unusual manner as if they were trying to mouth a voiceless scream against some unnameable horror. It is perhaps a wonder that I was not driven insane by these events and had something to do with perhaps my morbid fascination to discover the hideous nature of the thing.


All the people I had known, and worked with, were dead...murdered in the most gruesome fashion by some nightmarish abomination let loose. Their eyes had an expression of stark naked fear and their jaws lay open in a most unusual manner as if they were trying to mouth a voiceless scream against some unnameable horror. It is, perhaps, a wonder that I was not driven insane by these events, and had something to do with perhaps my morbid fascination to discover the hideous nature of the thing. It was like being trapped in some otherworldly hellish quagmire.



There is not enough room in this post to play with brush stroke edits on the final paragraph, and I am out of time. I will come back tomorrow and play some more if you wish. Thanks for the invitation, and the fun scary read.



posted on Aug, 3 2010 @ 11:33 PM
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reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux
 


Thanks for your insight mate. Reckon that a few changes were in order and the way you have arranged does indeed sound a tad bit better.I look forward to tomorrow.


[edit on 3-8-2010 by Leonardo01]



posted on Aug, 3 2010 @ 11:33 PM
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double post

[edit on 3-8-2010 by Leonardo01]



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 03:20 PM
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I read your story, and think you are very talented.
If this is your first, it's absolutely fantastic.

Okay, you asked.


I would like it to flow a little better. While it's interesting, and has essential descriptiveness (not useless -- my most hated thing is sentence after sentence of useless desciptions) --I wanted it somehow to move along a little more smoothly .... A little easier on the go, maybe.

A story like this I am probably going to read while lying on the beach, or poolside. I want it to keep moving, and to me, it did kinda stall in a couple of places.

Ya know?

I think JPZ was right on with the punctuation. You can use a comma to separate a thought....or as a pause to an on-going stream. You can switch gears in a subtle way with a semicolon, too.


But overall it's beautifully written, and I would like to read it in it's completed form.



eta: Naturally, before you have dialogue, you are going to need at least two people together at the same time.

Dialogue is not always necessary, and this is almost like the "inner thoughts" of our hero, who is the experiencer and observer.

Try bringing another person into his presence, and let them discuss what they see or feel. Try saying dialogue aloud, to insure it sounds natural.

Just a thought.



[edit on 8/4/2010 by ladyinwaiting]



posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 11:31 PM
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reply to post by ladyinwaiting
 


Thank you for your comments.I just realized that there is absolutely no need to force dialogue and the story could flow with a strong narrative as well.

Ostensibly still a few touch ups remain. I also need to edit out the unneccesary over-telling and make the narrative tighter.



posted on Aug, 6 2010 @ 12:17 AM
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reply to post by Leonardo01
 


Yes, exactly right. You really don't need to worry about dialogue, especially since the narrative is being told in the first person.



posted on Sep, 21 2010 @ 05:08 PM
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I like your effort.

If anything, I'd make a couple of points. First, a lot of modern literary critics really chastise HP Lovecraft for what they see as his over-abundance of rarely-used adjectives. In his later writings, he puts the words in the mouths of characters who "would just talk that way," stuffy Old New England types who would parade their erudition before any person who joined them in conversation. Now, I would critique the critics by saying that THIS is precisely what I like about Lovecraft (but see my name on ATS); I think that is exactly the effect HPL was looking for.

Second, I wonder if it would help the reader to give them some specifically visual imagery to focus on, earlier in the story. HPL would write about watching the star Algol rise in the cold winter air (it now rises in the Summertime....) etc. You know, how the factory chimneys look like rows of smoldering cigarettes, that sort of thing.

I don't know if you enjoy the lyrics or poetry of Jim Morrison, but I think his work is an example of what you may be aiming for, particularly his lyrics on less well-known tracks today, such as "stoned immaculate," "the end," etc. Morrison plays with words even as he paints mind-pictures for the audience.

The trick of literature, of course, is to say something unexpected without losing your audience. Bad dialogue is merely whatever you would have predicted the characters would say anyway, before you read the text. We hate what we expect.

All said, you are definitely on the right track. Cheers.



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