Forum: Elena Tiriel - Star Gazings

Discussing: Fell and Fair Drabble Series - Thread 1

Fell and Fair Drabble Series - Thread 1

Hi!

I've started working on a drabble series (I hope -- there's only one at the moment!) called Fell and Fair, about the participation of Elladan and Elrohir in the Battle of the Field of Celebrant, the decisive final battle of the war that triggered the Ride of Eorl and the creation of Rohan (you can learn all about the war here and the battle here).

This piece is intended as an entry into my The Sons of Elrond at the Field of Celebrant Challenge, which is discussed here, and also will be entered into Marta's Alternate Perspectives Challenge, discussed here.

My plan is that each drabble will be from the point-of-view of one character, who is either a participant in or a "witness" of the battle. (A "witness" does not necessarily have to be present at the battle; they just need to see, hear, or think about it before, during, or after the event -- for example, Galadriel might view it in her Mirror.)

The focus will not be on the battle in general, but specifically on the sons of Elrond, including both their actions and their possible motivations, as well as how they might have affected the people around them.

By the way, if anyone has any ideas for some unusual "witnesses" they 'd like to suggest, please let me know (Liz has kindly supplied some ideas already in this post -- thank you!).

- Barbara

 

 

1st drabble posted: Elrond at the Grey Havens

I've posted the first drabble in my (hoped-for!) series: Elrond is at an emotionally vulnerable time, as Celebrían sails for the Undying Lands, when his gift of foresight manifests itself -- with a terrifying vision of his sons in a future battle. I would be very grateful for any feedback! (And, criticism doesn't faze me, so fire away! Figuratively speaking, of course... ) One specific question: in the last sentence, is it clear what Círdan is affirming? - Barbara

 

 

Re: 1st drabble posted: Elrond at the Grey Havens

Hi Barbara Very nice! I love phrases such as Shadow-stained foes. It occurs to me that this could also be a vision of the Sons of Elrond at the Battle of Pelennor fields too. One specific question: in the last sentence, is it clear what Círdan is affirming? If the correct answer is "he's affirming the vision is a true one and of something that will come to pass", then yes, it's clear to me. (Maybe also affirming that Elrond will have to suffer fear for his sons and perhaps lose more of his family?) Some suggestions/quibbles: rolling gangway This may just be me, but this threw me a bit, because I don't think gangways roll (ie tip from side to side). The ship may roll and/or go up and down on the tide, but that would mostly make the gangplank pitch (change the angle it makes with the horizontal) or possibly yaw (the top of the gangplank would move sideways relative to the bottom as the ship moved forwards and backwarsd on the tide). And I can't quite believe I'm being this picky over vocabulary, but there you are.... ...my beloved aboard, despite my longing... delete the comma? ...my sons charging amid the throes of battle-fury over surging grasslands... Perhaps: ...my sons charging over surging grasslands amid the throes of battle-fury...? But I'm not 100 per cent sure about this suggestion. Sadly, he nods affirmation. I was slightly unsure what the "sadly" belongs to: a description of Círdan's nodding or a description of Elrond's response to it. I have the urge to change it to He sadly nods affirmation. but I'm not sure that's your intended meaning. HTH. Looking forward to seeing more of these when you can cudgel your muse into submission. Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 1st drabble posted: Elrond at the Grey Havens

Hi, Liz!

Very nice! I love phrases such as Shadow-stained foes.

It occurs to me that this could also be a vision of the Sons of Elrond at the Battle of Pelennor fields too.


Thank you! And you're right about the Battle of the Pelennor (can't fool a Resource geek like yourself...) Barbara grins slyly, hoping that her idea of a drabble about Aragorn arriving at the BotP with his brothers pans out...

If the correct answer is "he's affirming the vision is a true one and of something that will come to pass", then yes, it's clear to me. (Maybe also affirming that Elrond will have to suffer fear for his sons and perhaps lose more of his family?)

Oh, what a relief! Yes to all of those... thank you, thank you, thank you! Squeeeeeee!

rolling gangway This may just be me, but this threw me a bit, because I don't think gangways roll (ie tip from side to side). The ship may roll and/or go up and down on the tide, but that would mostly make the gangplank pitch (change the angle it makes with the horizontal) or possibly yaw (the top of the gangplank would move sideways relative to the bottom as the ship moved forwards and backwarsd on the tide). And I can't quite believe I'm being this picky over vocabulary, but there you are....

Hee, hee, hee... and I love you for your pickiness!

Hmmmm thinking out loud, in engineering jargon, yes -- the three degrees of freedom are pitch, roll, and yaw. And if the ship is perpendicular to the direction of the incoming waves (that is, if the pier that it's tied to juts out from the coastline, as I imagine it in this drabble), the ship is actually pitching, and the gangplank (okay to use an Americanism here?), which is perpendicular to the ship, is yawing. Er, um, no, wait... Barbara holds both hands up at right angles, to work out the motion -- eureka! The gangplank is technically ROLLING! Wooohooo! I didn't exactly expect that result! Edit: Actually, maybe "twisting" is a bit more accurate, since the ends are presumably fixed...

But I wrote this in everyday English, where we think of rolling as a gentle undulation (as a ship does in calm waves) and pitching as a violent, lurching motion (as a ship in a storm), and yawing is -- er, maybe a misspelling of yawning??? (I'd never heard the word until I spent a summer helping an aeronautical engineer...)

Therefore, in both common and technical English, the ship's gangplank is rolling. (Whew!)

But I would have kept "rolling", anyway... poetic license and all... (and it's faintly echoed later in the surging plains)

...my beloved aboard, despite my longing... delete the comma?

Done.

...my sons charging amid the throes of battle-fury over surging grasslands... Perhaps: ...my sons charging over surging grasslands amid the throes of battle-fury...? But I'm not 100 per cent sure about this suggestion

I went back and forth on this one several times... Yes, now I think it does sound better your way...

Sadly, he nods affirmation. I was slightly unsure what the "sadly" belongs to: a description of Círdan's nodding or a description of Elrond's response to it. I have the urge to change it to He sadly nods affirmation. but I'm not sure that's your intended meaning.

Yes! I *meant* it to be ambiguous... but the question is, does that pull you out of the drabble (in a negative sense)? or does it leave you pondering it (in a good sense)?

HTH. Looking forward to seeing more of these when you can cudgel your muse into submission.

Thank you so much, Liz! This helps tremendously! You "got" the parts that I was worried about... that in itself gives me confidence that I'm on the right track!

If you don't mind, I won't mention your suggestion to my Muse... Glorfindel is glowering at me rather, um, forbiddingly right now... and with his highly-honed warrior reflexes, not to mention his strong warrior's arms and muscular legs... er, what were we talking about? Oh, yes, I was about to offer him some Dorwinion...

- Barbara a bit distracted at the moment

 

 

Re: 1st drabble posted: Elrond at the Grey Havens

Hi Barbara You "got" the parts that I was worried about... that in itself gives me confidence to continue! Excellent on all counts. You really do write very nice drabbles. Therefore, in both common and technical English, the ship's gangplank is rolling. (Whew!) I would have kept "rolling", anyway... poetic license and all... (and it's faintly echoed later in the surging plains) Ah, see, I envisaged the ship in the lee of a jetty parallel to the shore. And because a gangplank is flat not cuved, even if the ends aren't fixed I would see it as tilting rather than rolling, even if the ship is pitching.... But I am clearly putting my distant scientific background to far too much use here, and you should ignore me. I doubt anyone else is bothered by this! Yes! I *meant* it to be ambiguous... but the question is, does that pull you out of the drabble (in a negative sense)? or does it leave you pondering it (in a good sense)? It did trip me up a bit, although I think it does work OK. I suppose it felt too much to me like you'd just accidentally misplaced it in the sentence, rather than it being a deliberate choice, if that makes sense. I wonder if ir's the choice of adverb and if something else would work better. (Although I have no suggestions. Sorry ) - Barbara a bit distracted at the moment And now I've got Faramir glaring at me and muttering "how can I compete with some blond, immortal elf?" Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 1st drabble posted: Elrond at the Grey Havens

It did trip me up a bit, although I think it does work OK. I suppose it felt too much to me like you'd just accidentally misplaced it in the sentence, rather than it being a deliberate choice, if that makes sense. I wonder if ir's the choice of adverb and if something else would work better. (Although I have no suggestions. Sorry ) Ah, well, I certainly don't want tripping readers! Would "He nods sad affirmation." work for you? It loses the "shape" of the sentence that I wanted, but that's okay... Edit: I fixed the verb case... originally wrote "nodded". And now I've got Faramir glaring at me and muttering "how can I compete with some blond, immortal elf?" Hee, hee, hee. Offer him some Dorwinion and cuddling. Trust me, it works... This might cheer him up: I have my earlier drabbles posted separately at Tolkien Fan Fiction, with cross-references by character -- and the two that include Faramir get more hits than any of the others, even the one with Legolas! - Barbara

 

 

Re: 1st drabble posted: Elrond at the Grey Havens

Would "He nods sad affirmation." work for you? Yes, that works, although I'm sorry you've lost the "shape" of the sentence you wanted. And I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful in coming up with alternatives. Maybe you need a second opinion? Offer him some Dorwinion and cuddling. As he's currently wandering round Ithilien wet and cold and miserable and sleepless, that might well help. Cheers, Liz

 

 

2nd Drabble Posted: An Old Balchoth Warrior

Hi!

I added a new drabble from the point of view of an old Balchoth (Easterling) warrior back home. It is in the chapter Edit: titled "2511 Third Age". I don't wish to say much more about it, so that you can read it without my biases.

Your feedback would be most welcome!

In particular, I'm concerned about the rhythm. It seems that I fell into using a strange metric pattern on some -- but not all -- of the drabble. Is this meter (or the lack of it sometimes) distracting or annoying to you?

And -- perhaps more importantly -- does the attempt at meter imply that future drabbles in this series will be similar in that regard?

Thank you in advance for any light you can shed...

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 2nd Drabble Posted: An Old Balchoth Warrior

Hi Barbara Great that your drabble muse kicked in and, as always, I love reading your drabbles! Again, some beautiful phrases such as "sinister witchcraft" and "suffering hearts will ne'er cease to bleed." In particular, I'm concerned about the rhythm. It seems that I fell into using a strange metric pattern on some -- but not all -- of the drabble. Is this meter (or the lack of it sometimes) distracting or annoying to you? I thought it was a very nice artistic effect. My mind immediately viewed the drabble as a translation of some kind of Balchoth alliterative oral poetry - that if this thought could be spoken aloud, it would be the kind of thing chanted around the fire in the evening. It was only annoying in the sense that there were a couple of places where I didn't think it quite worked (see below), but I very much liked the effect. And -- perhaps more importantly -- does the attempt at meter imply that future drabbles in this series will be similar in that regard? I don't think so, given the first drabble wasn't in any strong kind of meter. I would expect you to produce very different drabbles each time, because you are in different "voices". To me, this captured the voice of the old Balchoth very well. Minor quibbles: We speak not so, openly I keep tripping on this, omitting the comma so that it simply becomes "We speak not so openly;" (ie they still speak). Given you're not using an exact metre, might it work better as "Openly, we speak not so;"? visiting slaughter upon a war-plain. -> upon the war-plain? No perfidy short of sinister witchcraft could master our warriors, shielded so surely by Sauron's fell grace. I 'm not sure about "No perfidy". I think you have an incredibly strong run of the use of the word "no" three times in the final paragraph, and this one detracts from it. I'm not sure what to suggest, since I do really like your phrasing here; I just feel it doesn't work as well as it might in the context of the whole drabble. I'm also unsure the Balchoth would refer to "Sauron's fell grace". I know "fell" has a lot of shades of meaning, but I think the Balchoth might use a more euphemistic and laudatory word? HTH Looking forward to the next in the series. Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 2nd Drabble Posted: An Old Balchoth Warrior

Hi Liz! As usual, your comments are very valuable, and tend to focus in on areas that I was concerned about (even without my having mentioned them). My links spreadsheet has been restored (from an 8-months ago backup), and I am manually trying to pull it back together so I can continue my Resources work. I won't be looking at the drabble again for at least a couple days, but I will respond in detail then. Thank you for your help and encouragement. - Barbara

 

 

Re: 2nd Drabble Posted: An Old Balchoth Warrior

Hi Liz! Great that your drabble muse kicked in and, as always, I love reading your drabbles! Again, some beautiful phrases such as "sinister witchcraft" and "suffering hearts will ne'er cease to bleed." Thank you! And, I seem to be on a roll... this morning, I woke up with a third drabble in the works! Woohoo! (Very odd, since I haven't even finished the second one...) My mind immediately viewed the drabble as a translation of some kind of Balchoth alliterative oral poetry - that if this thought could be spoken aloud, it would be the kind of thing chanted around the fire in the evening. Ah, thank you, what a nice observation (translation: I wrote WHAT? *blinks in surprise*). I'm not sure that's what I want on this one, though... I was hoping to convey that they were just at the point of becoming conscious that the warriors should have returned, and are just beginning to grapple with why they have not... in other words, fairly early in the awareness of something being drastically wrong. I'm wondering whether the "oral poetry" might not be more appropriate for later in the game, when the history (real or imagined) has become more settled upon... Does that make any sense? On the other hand, we speak of other languages sounding "musical" to the ears of non-speakers (or a specific accent sounding "musical" even when the person is speaking the listener's language) -- maybe the Balchoth language sounds like alliterative oral poetry to us? Hey, I kind of like that... does the attempt at meter imply that future drabbles in this series will be similar in that regard? I would expect you to produce very different drabbles each time, because you are in different "voices". To me, this captured the voice of the old Balchoth very well. Ah, thank you! (*whew*) I keep tripping on this, omitting the comma so that it simply becomes "We speak not so openly;" (ie they still speak). Given you're not using an exact metre, might it work better as "Openly, we speak not so;"? Yes, it is awkward... Does "We dare not speak openly" work for you? It leaves out the "so", i.e. the explicit reference to the prior line, but I think it is still implicit. visiting slaughter upon a war-plain. -> upon the war-plain? Not sure... I used the indefinite article to imply that the rumor is still so vague that no one at home even knows where the battle was. I think I'll leave it indefinite (unless you think that it doesn't accomplish that...) No perfidy short of sinister witchcraft could master our warriors, shielded so surely by Sauron's fell grace. I 'm not sure about "No perfidy". I think you have an incredibly strong run of the use of the word "no" three times in the final paragraph, and this one detracts from it. I'm not sure what to suggest, since I do really like your phrasing here; I just feel it doesn't work as well as it might in the context of the whole drabble. LOL! I guess you can tell that I struggled the hardest with that line. I will have to re-think it entirely. Something along the lines of "We know that they could not be defeated under civilized battle rules, therefore the enemy must have cheated by using the most horrific forms of sorcery..." (but in fewer words!) It will take a while to fix... I'm also unsure the Balchoth would refer to "Sauron's fell grace". I know "fell" has a lot of shades of meaning, but I think the Balchoth might use a more euphemistic and laudatory word? So, you think "fell" doesn't work but "grace" does? Hey, I can live with that! (I really hesitated at using "grace" instead of something more blunt, like "power".) I'll brainstorm some adjectives, then wring some more out of the thesaurus, and come up with something along the lines of what you suggested. (I just liked the way it sounded, and the fact that it was self-contradictory -- like Sauron/Annatar himself. And, in one obscure dictionary sense -- that maybe three people besides you and I understand -- it makes sense...) Thanks, Liz! It'll take me some time to fix the rougher parts, but your thoughts really help. - Barbara

 

 

3rd Drabble: Celeborn in Lothlórien

Hi everyone!

I added a new chapter about Celeborn's thoughts as the twins leave for battle in the chapter called Edit: "9 April, Morning".

Please tell me what you think!

- Barbara

P.S. I apologize for not putting links to each new chapter in these postings; the eventual chapters will be in chronological sequence (and I'm not writing the drabbles in sequence), so the chapter numbers will move around each time I insert a new chapter, making the links invalid.

 

 

Re: 2nd Drabble Posted: An Old Balchoth Warrior

Hi Barbara I'm not sure that's what I want on this one, though... I was hoping to convey that they were just at the point of becoming conscious that the warriors should have returned, and are just beginning to grapple with why they have not... in other words, fairly early in the awareness of something being drastically wrong. I'm wondering whether the "oral poetry" might not be more appropriate for later in the game, when the history (real or imagined) has become more settled upon... Does that make any sense? Hmm, I was actually seeing this in a more convoluted way. I'm not sure if this makes sense, but I can see the Balchoth being one of those cultures where "abstract thought" can only be expressed through poetic and distanced forms of language. So the old Balchoth can only express this in something approaching poetry because it's too difficult or uncomfortable a concept to just state plainly. And the fact it's not a perfect metrical form maybe suggests this is not a fully formed thought but an early one. Er... have I rambled on long enough to justify myself yet? Does "We dare not speak openly" work for you? It leaves out the "so", i.e. the explicit reference to the prior line, but I think it is still implicit. Yes and yes. I used the indefinite article to imply that the rumor is still so vague that no one at home even knows where the battle was. I think I'll leave it indefinite (unless you think that it doesn't accomplish that...) ...upon some war plain...? And I'll leave you to wrestle with the other parts. (I did like the "No perfidy..." sentence and it conveyed what you wanted, I just felt it diminished the impact of the really strong ending. :-() Will look at the other drabble soon. Woo-hoo on your drabble muse coming out of hiding! Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 2nd Drabble Posted: An Old Balchoth Warrior

I'm not sure if this makes sense, but I can see the Balchoth being one of those cultures where "abstract thought" can only be expressed through poetic and distanced forms of language. So the old Balchoth can only express this in something approaching poetry because it's too difficult or uncomfortable a concept to just state plainly. And the fact it's not a perfect metrical form maybe suggests this is not a fully formed thought but an early one. Actually, this does make sense. He is grappling with concepts that are not only vague and shocking, but actually forbidden. I think I will try to stick with the meter -- if only because I'd have to rewrite so much of it to start over, but imagine that it is just this old man who speaks that way. The reason is, I have enough ideas that I might actually be able to write two more drabbles from the Balchoth POV, one a chieftain, and one a destitute war widow. Needless to say, I don't want to constrain myself into using meter with them -- the drabbles would never get written otherwise! Does "We dare not speak openly" work for you? Yes and yes. It's changed. But I also realized that the dratted drabble had only 99 words (how many times did I count and recount? ), so I changed the whole sentence to: We dare not speak openly; such is deemed treason, met by the sword. But I might take back that extra word when I redo the next paragraph. ...upon some war plain...? Perfect! (And alliterative, too...) Woo-hoo on your drabble muse coming out of hiding! Yes, I couldn't be more pleased! (I think that three drabbles do now a series make... ) Thanks, Liz! - Barbara

 

 

Re: 3rd Drabble: Celeborn in Lothlórien

I added a new chapter about Celeborn's thoughts as the twins leave for battle in the chapter called "Days before the Battle: In Lórien" Hi Barbara We likes it, precious, yes we does. Once again, you have some wonderful turns of phrase: Man-dappled blood - wow! And yay for a mention of Elmo - you research geek, you! My only quibbles this time are the first two of the three sentences starting "But...". But though I am commander here, I am also grandfather. I have a strong urge to insert a comma after "But" ie "But, though I am commander..." YMMV But now, Orcs especially draw their implacable enmity. I feel the "But" weakens the statement/sentiment. And I'm not wild about "especially" either. So maybe "Now Orcs, above all, draw their implacable enmity."? HTH Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 3rd Drabble: Celeborn in Lothlórien

We likes it, precious, yes we does. Once again, you have some wonderful turns of phrase: Man-dappled blood - wow! And yay for a mention of Elmo - you research geek, you! Thank you, Liz! I'm particularly proud of "Man-dappled blood" myself -- sometimes a phrase just pops up and demands to be written! And I figured Celeborn would be especially interested in his direct ancestor... I have a strong urge to insert a comma after "But" ie "But, though I am commander..." YMMV Yes, I like it. I feel the "But" weakens the statement/sentiment. And I'm not wild about "especially" either. So maybe "Now Orcs, above all, draw their implacable enmity."? Excellent! I've made both your suggested changes, and also changed "war-skills" to "battle-skills" in one sentence, since I already have "warriors" twice. Thank you, Liz! - Barbara, proud to be a research geek!

 

 

4th Drabbles: On the Battlefield

Aha! ...you shall see that at least the wolves of the mountains do not devour them. It is with their friends, the Orcs, that they hold their feast: such indeed is the friendship of their kind...

I love these two drabbles! Rather dark, and not a little "euwww!" but magnificent. A very nice insight into the wolfish and wargish minds.

I do see what you meant about these being a somewhat generic and applicable to any battle. Don't suppose you'd like to write another drabble series about the Battle of the Fords of Isen, in which these would fit perfectly, would you?

Specific comments:

The pungent scent of ripening meat called forth ravenous hunger; we rushed to these nearly-silent feasting-grounds.

I keep wanting to put this in the present tense (calls, rush).

The gurgling stops.

stops seems a little abrupt within the rhythm of the drabble - which might be your intention? - but I'd like to suggest changing it to ceases. It just seems to fit better with the otherwise rather "educated" thought patterns of the wolf-pack leader.

I snap at one, but spit out the morsel in favor of the hairless and thin-skinned mound of warm flesh.

This somewhat repeats the clause-but-clause construction in the previous paragraph and I think just feels a little repetitive to me. Also, it took me a while to work out that "morsel" meant the wolf-pack leader had caught the crow, rather than just scared it off. And, I'm fighting the urge to suggest ...a hairless... rather than ...the hairless.... I can see why you used the; it just feels "wrong" in the rhythms of the drabble.

Maybe I snap at one, yet drop the bloodied morsel in favor of the hairless and thin-skinned mound of warm flesh.?

Now, catching his scent, I gallop to him, but...

I'd suggest deleting the but: I think it weakens the outrage in the thought in the next line. (But keep the ellipsis.) Which gives you an extra word....

its snarl turns to squeal, ceasing as its neck snaps.

I suggested cease in the first drabble. May I suggest its snarl turns to squeal, cut off as its neck snaps. or its snarl turns to squeal, cut short as its neck snaps. here?

I howl my grief to the sky-vault above, then slowly and reverently honor him by consuming his proud body.

You have pale-face above in the first drabble. I'd like to suggest you delete above here - I think it's pretty clear the sky-vault is above . I'd then like to use the extra word to slightly change your sentence construction: I howl my grief to the sky-vault. Then, slowly and reverently, I honor him by consuming his proud body.

Hope this helps. I do very much like both of these drabbles and am glad your drabble muse has returned.

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 4th Drabbles: On the Battlefield

Hi Liz!

...you shall see that at least the wolves of the mountains do not devour them. It is with their friends, the Orcs, that they hold their feast: such indeed is the friendship of their kind...

Ah, what a great quote! (Added to my footnotes...) I had forgotten about that... the really cool thing is this: when I wrote the wolf drabble, I didn't have the warg one in mind, so I just assumed the wolf was attacking a Rohir (or a Gondorian or an Orc, but who cares about those? )... Then, the warg drabble sprang to mind... and it accidentally made the pair canon-compliant? Woohoo!

I love these two drabbles! Rather dark, and not a little "euwww!"

Yes, I think "euwww!" just about captures it...

but magnificent. A very nice insight into the wolfish and wargish minds.

*blushes* Thank you, Liz! That means a lot to me!

But, it is also kind of scary that I get into the minds of Dark characters so well... Once I finally got Sauron to grant me an interview, I've become the regular Rita Skeeter of the Dark...

(Although, before their lawyers sue me for libel, I hereby declare that regular wolves are not Dark creatures, not corrupted by evil. Just, er, understandably hungry...)

Don't suppose you'd like to write another drabble series about the Battle of the Fords of Isen, in which these would fit perfectly, would you?

Aaaargh! I'm struggling hard enough with one drabble series! (But if the muse ever went in that direction, I suppose I could copy them there....)

The pungent scent of ripening meat called forth ravenous hunger; we rushed to these nearly-silent feasting-grounds.
I keep wanting to put this in the present tense (calls, rush).


Let me play around with that; in the original form, it made more sense to distinguish between the past actions in the 1st paragraph and the present, starting in the 2nd. But it's gone through so many versions, that I should rethink that.... If I did change it, I might also remove the "now" in the 2nd paragraph...

The gurgling stops.
stops seems a little abrupt within the rhythm of the drabble - which might be your intention? - but I'd like to suggest changing it to ceases. It just seems to fit better with the otherwise rather "educated" thought patterns of the wolf-pack leader.


Yes, I did intend it to be abrupt -- more shocking that way. But if it calls attention to itself (i.e. pulls you out of the story), that's not so good...

I like your idea (from IM) to make it a separate Edit: sentence paragraph. That's what I'll try next.

I snap at one, but spit out the morsel in favor of the hairless and thin-skinned mound of warm flesh.
This somewhat repeats the clause-but-clause construction in the previous paragraph and I think just feels a little repetitive to me.


I wasn't entirely happy with that sentence myself.

Also, it took me a while to work out that "morsel" meant the wolf-pack leader had caught the crow, rather than just scared it off.

Yes, that is the part that I thought was weakest. But it is good that you caught the wolfie reference to crows. I wasn't sure that would work.

And, I'm fighting the urge to suggest ...a hairless... rather than ...the hairless.... I can see why you used the; it just feels "wrong" in the rhythms of the drabble.

I think I see what you mean... let me play with that a bit...

Maybe I snap at one, yet drop the bloodied morsel in favor of the hairless and thin-skinned mound of warm flesh.?

Yes! I think that "drop" works much better than "spit out". Good! (I thought that "spit out" sounded a bit refined? persnickety? for an alpha predator...)

I might play around with "bloodied" part... feathery, tickly, crunchy? How about bony? (Ever eaten quail? *Far* too high of a bone-to-edible-part ratio to be worth the effort...) Notice I haven't explicitly used the word "blood" in the drabbles? I think if the reader's imagination has to work out what the meal is "dripping", it becomes more involved... and maybe the reader has a stronger emotional reaction. (Okay, that's the last of my very twisted rendition of my extremely superficial knowledge of the theories of Marshal McLuhan...)

Now, catching his scent, I gallop to him, but...
I'd suggest deleting the but: I think it weakens the outrage in the thought in the next line. (But keep the ellipsis.) Which gives you an extra word....


Done!

its snarl turns to squeal, ceasing as its neck snaps.

I suggested cease in the first drabble. May I suggest its snarl turns to squeal, cut off as its neck snaps. or its snarl turns to squeal, cut short as its neck snaps. here?


Oh, I like the variation on "cut"... sounds so vicious! let me experiment to see which works out better, but at this point I think "cut off" sounds more wolfish.

I howl my grief to the sky-vault above, then slowly and reverently honor him by consuming his proud body.
You have pale-face above in the first drabble. I'd like to suggest you delete above here - I think it's pretty clear the sky-vault is above.


Ah, I see. Okay!

I'd then like to use the extra word to slightly change your sentence construction: I howl my grief to the sky-vault. Then, slowly and reverently, I honor him by consuming his proud body.

Great! I kept wanting to expand the "honor" phrase a bit.... and splitting it into two sentences increases the deliberateness of the action... I like it!

Liz, as always, your feedback is extremely valuable and much appreciated! Thank you!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 4th Drabbles: On the Battlefield

Hi!

I've made several revisions to the 4th drabble, "A Wolf-pack Leader", and a few to the 5th, "A Loyal Steed", thanks to Liz/Tanaqui's fine suggestions. They are both in the chapter titled Edit: "16 April, Afternoon".

I'm getting very pleased with these! But, as always, independent views are welcome!

Also, I've added a Edit: Foreword Preface to the beginning and Author's Notes at the end. These are both very much In Progress, but if you wouldn't mind telling me whether they Make Sense in the overall sense, I'd appreciate it. Does it seem off-putting to have a Foreword? Are the Author's Notes too obsessive (I'm hoping they will be easier to ignore at the end, if they're too scary)? Do you have a suggestion for setting off quotations from my text better? For example, would italicizing the quotations be better than indenting them from both left and right?

Any and all feedback is much appreciated.

Thank you!
- Barbara

 

 

Re: 4th Drabbles: On the Battlefield

Hi Barbara

Bravo! I love the new versions and don't have any quibbles. Glad to know my comments were so helpful (oh, and I liked "bony morsel" very much!)

Also, I've added a Foreword to the beginning and Author's Notes at the end. These are both very much In Progress, but if you wouldn't mind telling me whether they Make Sense in the overall sense, I'd appreciate it. Does it seem off-putting to have a Foreword? Are the Author's Notes too obsessive (I'm hoping they will be easier to ignore at the end, if they're too scary)? Do you have a suggestion for setting off quotations from my text better? For example, would italicizing the quotations be better than indenting them from both left and right?

I'm possibly not the best person to ask whether the notes Make Sense or are offputting, as I'm now well versed in the Battle and your thinking about it, so I don't really need them.

I did have one quibble about the way you've expressed something in the glossary:

Battle of the Field of Celebrant [...] the first time that the Northmen who later became known as the Rohirrim came to Gondor's aid in battle

It took me several goes to stop thinking "but, but, but... the Northmen came to Gondor's aid before..." (ie under the Kings) because there are the generic "Northmen" and the specific "Eotheod". Maybe: Battle of the Field of Celebrant [...] the first time the Northmen of Eotheod, who later became known as the Rohirrim, came to Gondor's aid in battle?

I also have some comments about formatting for the notes, although these partly depend on you finishing the series.

I think the TOC is a little confusing. Can I suggest it may be better structured and worded along the following lines:

Table of Contents
Background to the Battle of the Field of Celebrant

Notes to chapters:
1. Months before the Battle: Celebrían's Departure from Middle-earth
2. Days Before the Battle: In Lórien
3. A Day after the Battle: On the Battlefield
4. A Year After the Battle: In the Balchoth Homelands

Glossary


I like the indentation of the quotes but think the citations should also be indented, either to the same degree as the quotes, indented a second time (ie as if they were tabbed twice) or right aligned.

Oh, and if you're just posting this at HASA, perhaps some links to the Resource Library entries? (If you're posting that elsewhere, I appreciate that's not possible.)

HTH

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 4th Drabbles: On the Battlefield

Hi Liz!

Bravo! I love the new versions and don't have any quibbles.

You don't? *blinks in surprise* Wait -- where is my friend Liz and what have you done with her?

Glad to know my comments were so helpful

They were! None of these drabbles would be as good as they are without your input... that's a simple fact, for which I am eternally grateful.

(oh, and I liked "bony morsel" very much!)

*Hee, hee, hee* My great literary inspiration for "bony morsel" was Never mess with dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

Battle of the Field of Celebrant [...] the first time that the Northmen who later became known as the Rohirrim came to Gondor's aid in battle
It took me several goes to stop thinking "but, but, but... the Northmen came to Gondor's aid before..." (ie under the Kings) because there are the generic "Northmen" and the specific "Eotheod". Maybe: Battle of the Field of Celebrant [...] the first time the Northmen of Eotheod, who later became known as the Rohirrim, came to Gondor's aid in battle?


Ah, yes, of course! Done, and thank you!
Edit: Actually, I just said the first time the Éothéod, who later...

I think the TOC is a little confusing. Can I suggest it may be better structured and worded along the following lines:

Ah, I like your suggestions very much! But I will indent the chapter names under the "Notes on Chapters" title -- and I won't include chapter numbers until this series is ready to publish, since at this point they change almost every time I add a new drabble...

I like the indentation of the quotes but think the citations should also be indented, either to the same degree as the quotes, indented a second time (ie as if they were tabbed twice) or right aligned.

Aaaargh, I was afraid you would say that. What I really wanted to do was to use italics for quotes, but with the italics in the citations (and I got the convention of italicizing the book names from a standard citation format), I thought they would run together. Although, now that I see the end result, maybe there are enough of my comments to distinguish the quotations well enough? Hmmmmm....

Let me try italics, and see how it looks with the surrounding text...

Oh, and if you're just posting this at HASA, perhaps some links to the Resource Library entries? (If you're posting that elsewhere, I appreciate that's not possible.)

Well, when this is done, I was planning to post in several places, so HASA links would not work (much as I'd like them to).

Thanks, Liz!

- Barbara

P.S. Did you see that I updated the Old Balchoth Warrior one? I'm still not entirely happy with it, but I think it's much improved over the last one, with your help....

 

 

Re: 4th Drabbles: On the Battlefield

Hi Barbara!

Wait -- where is my friend Liz and what have you done with her?

Maybe I'm sickening for something.

P.S. Did you see that I updated the Old Balchoth Warrior one? I'm still not entirely happy with it, but I think it's much improved over the last one, with your help....

I just went and looked and think you've done an excellent job. It still has some natural speech rhythms to it, but without being as formally poetic as before.

Here's the quibble (OK, maybe I'm not sickening after all. Maybe the other drabbles were really good ):

Yet some hear dark whispers of ghastly grey spectres, dealing out slaughter on a distant war-plain.

I'm not sure who these "some" who "hear" are - if the old Balchoth is thinking this, he must be amongst the some who hear, yet this is oddly distanced from him. Maybe either Yet we hear dark whispers... or Yet some mutter dark whispers...?

BTW, I was looking back through the thread and seeing that the drabbles were all supposed to be focused round the SoE, but the wolf/warg ones aren't really, are they? So are you going to change your terms of reference for the series? Or do something else with the wolf/warg drabbles?

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 4th Drabbles: On the Battlefield

P.S. Did you see that I updated the Old Balchoth Warrior one? I'm still not entirely happy with it, but I think it's much improved over the last one, with your help....
I just went and looked and think you've done an excellent job. It still has some natural speech rhythms to it, but without being as formally poetic as before.


Cool! *beams*

Here's the quibble (OK, maybe I'm not sickening after all. Maybe the other drabbles were really good ):

Well, that's a relief! (awwww, surely not? )

Yet some hear dark whispers of ghastly grey spectres, dealing out slaughter on a distant war-plain.
I'm not sure who these "some" who "hear" are - if the old Balchoth is thinking this, he must be amongst the some who hear, yet this is oddly distanced from him. Maybe either Yet
we hear dark whispers... or Yet some mutter dark whispers...?

Um, yes, I think I see what you mean... but let me defer a decision on that one. If another of the drabbles that I have in mind (and a lot of notes for) is added, then it might shed light on where the rumors might have started... Then I can come back and re-evaluate this one in light of your comment.

BTW, I was looking back through the thread and seeing that the drabbles were all supposed to be focused round the SoE, but the wolf/warg ones aren't really, are they? So are you going to change your terms of reference for the series? Or do something else with the wolf/warg drabbles?

At this point, I'm going to leave all the drabbles together -- even ones that are not SoE-specific, and the unifying theme will be the Battle of the Field of Celebrant in general. Then, when I finish the ones I have in mind, I'll decide whether to split this into more than one series. I want to see the "shape" of the final compilation before making a decision. (One series at a time, Liz! )

BTW, I just finished revising the Foreword and Author's Notes; essentially, I moved everything in the Foreword except the inspirational quote to the back. Also, I changed the quotations to use italics rather than indenting. (I'm going to wait a day or two before I decide whether I like italics or indentation better, so your opinion still counts).

Also, I revised the story summary, so it didn't sound quite so... er, stiff. LOL!

As always, thanks for your comments, Liz!

- Barbara

 

 

6th and 7th Posted: A year later, in the Balchoth homelands...

Hi everyone!

I've made several changes to the chapter titled Edit: "2511 Third Age".

First, I updated the existing drabble, "An Old Balchoth Warrior", and am pretty sure it is now final. (Well, as final as my drabbles ever get... )

I also added two new drabbles, "A Balchoth Chieftain" at the top of the chapter, and "A Balchoth War Widow" at the end.

Please let me know what you think!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 6th and 7th Posted: A year later, in the Balchoth homelands...

Hi Barbara

I also added two new drabbles, "A Balchoth Chieftain" at the top of the chapter...

I like the ideas in this one - I particularly like what is clearly exaggeration on the part of the "deserter" (unless you really think the SoE behaved like that ) and the chieftain's disdain that any rabble of westerners could defeat his glorious people.

However, you know me: even when I really like something I still have nitpicks. It's how you know I care.

So...I'm not sure the ideas are in quite the right order. The chieftain does his sneering and then the "deserter" starts babbling. This just seems a bit odd and I would expect the descriptions first and then the sneering. Perhaps you could try playing around with the placement of different elements?

Some specific nitpicks:

if you're going to divide the chieftain's speech into two paragraphs, you need quotation marks at the start of the second paragraph (i.e. before Sauron is enraged! ).

Oh - I'm not sure the chieftain would refer to "Sauron" either. There's a quote in TTT about Sauron not allowing his "right name" to be used. I think he would more likely use some honorific title like "The Great One". (Of course, that's three words, not one. )

I signal my ever-alert guards to command his dispatch. The use of command here seems a bit odd to me - as if the guards are going to give the orders to someone else, rather than carry it out themselves. Maybe arrange?

...and "A Balchoth War Widow" at the end.

I think this is an incredibly powerful, bitter and moving drabble which complements the other two well. I think you mentioned in IM that you were concerned this might seem too specifically Muslim. However, there are several cultures (including, I believe, Anglo-Saxon) where it was shameful for a married woman to be seen bareheaded, so I don't think it's too closely anchored to any one culture - and the headscarf provides a nice illustration of her predicament.

Some specific quibbles:

To assert our warriors' deaths is treachery; so declare our smug chieftains. Thus they avoid paying the war-widows' allotments, more moved by parsimony than piety.

I'm not convinced about several of your word choices here. I'm not sure the widow would call the chief tains "smug"; "allotments" sounds terribly modern to me (I might be able to find you a more mediaeval word if you want me to); and "assert" just doesn't seem quite the right word to me in the sentence as you have it constructed.

Also, I'm not sure if the widow would be quite so openly critical of the chieftains and the situation - I think she might be more oblique and ironic? Perhaps repeating the chieftains' "propaganda" but with a twist so it's clear she doesn't believe it. Maybe something along the lines of There is no need to make disbursements to wives, for they are not yet widows: our warriors will return. To say otherwise is to deny the Great One.

I sold the loom for weaving cloth for coin.

I think you could just reduce this to I sold the loom. Looms are generally used for weaving and "sold" implies either "for coin" or barter. And in fact at the end you might consider having Scarfless and guardless, all here will know what I barter.?

I think that should give you plenty to play with. I look foward to seeing the next versions, because I think this triad in particular is shaping up very nicely.

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 6th and 7th Posted: A year later, in the Balchoth homelands...

A Balchoth Chieftain
I like the ideas in this one - I particularly like what is clearly exaggeration on the part of the "deserter" (unless you really think the SoE behaved like that)


Oh, puh-LEEZE! If anyone could possibly believe that the honorable, gorgeous, intelligent, gorgeous, civilized, gorgeous, magnanimous, gorgeous, powerful, gorgeous, hunky, gorgeous... *ahem* Sons of Elrond could truly behave like that, then the exaggeration isn't flagrant enough...

and the chieftain's disdain that any rabble of westerners could defeat his glorious people.

LOL! I was particularly fond of the epithet "horse-straddlers"... somehow, I couldn't ever see that being used in a complimentary manner.

However, you know me: even when I really like something I still have nitpicks. It's how you know I care.

I'm so relieved! The "real" Liz is back...

So...I'm not sure the ideas are in quite the right order. The chieftain does his sneering and then the "deserter" starts babbling. This just seems a bit odd and I would expect the descriptions first and then the sneering. Perhaps you could try playing around with the placement of different elements?

Hmmmm, then I haven't done a good job. I wanted to convey that the warrior had given an accurate description, but the chieftain sneered at the clearly impossible concept that any enemy could defeat their troops. I also wanted to convey that the warrior panicked as soon as the chieftain called him a "deserter" -- the penalty for desertion being, as everyone knows, death... So, the babbling started when the warrior became desperate to save his life...

Edit: I think I've managed to change it to convey what I intended...

if you're going to divide the chieftain's speech into two paragraphs, you need quotation marks at the start of the second paragraph (i.e. before Sauron is enraged!).

Ooooops!

Oh - I'm not sure the chieftain would refer to "Sauron" either. There's a quote in TTT about Sauron not allowing his "right name" to be used. I think he would more likely use some honorific title like "The Great One". (Of course, that's three words, not one.)

I was hoping to get a pass because this was the Easterlings -- maybe Sauron didn't demand that they avoid his name? No? Oh, well... yeah, you noticed about the word count... I'll try to slice out another couple of words elsewhere... *grumbles*

Edit: Done. It's amazing how many words I ended up cutting out of the first version...

I signal my ever-alert guards to command his dispatch. The use of command here seems a bit odd to me - as if the guards are going to give the orders to someone else, rather than carry it out themselves. Maybe arrange?

I planned to use "effect", but changed it because so many people don't know how it is used as a verb. Oh, well.... I think I'll go back to using "effect".

Edit: Okay, does this work better: I signal my ever-alert guards, commanding his dispatch.? (It's also one less word )

A Balchoth War Widow
I think this is an incredibly powerful, bitter and moving drabble which complements the other two well. I think you mentioned in IM that you were concerned this might seem too specifically Muslim. However, there are several cultures (including, I believe, Anglo-Saxon) where it was shameful for a married woman to be seen bareheaded, so I don't think it's too closely anchored to any one culture - and the headscarf provides a nice illustration of her predicament.


Thank you for the kind words, Liz! I am pleased that the head scarf isn't a problem... although this is clearly an honorable culture with a long history, I don't want it to be compared with any single real-world culture... And I really enjoyed putting in the bit about the embroidery -- this woman is clearly from a loving family, but no longer has any family support whatsoever.... *sniffle*

To assert our warriors' deaths is treachery; so declare our smug chieftains. Thus they avoid paying the war-widows' allotments, more moved by parsimony than piety.
I'm not convinced about several of your word choices here. I'm not sure the widow would call the chieftains "smug"; "allotments" sounds terribly modern to me (I might be able to find you a more mediaeval word if you want me to); and "assert" just doesn't seem quite the right word to me in the sentence as you have it constructed.


*moan* I've gone through so many changes with those words... have pawed through the thesaurus.... For now, I'll switch to "pensions" instead of "allotments", and go back to the drawing board on the others.... Thanks for the offer to find something more medieval!

Edit: The upside is, that "pensions" alliterates with "parsimony" and "piety"... Okay, so I'm reaching a bit....

Also, I'm not sure if the widow would be quite so openly critical of the chieftains and the situation - I think she might be more oblique and ironic?

It might depend upon whether she is speaking to someone else or thinking to herself? I see her as being too isolated to have anyone to complain aloud to... Edit: and too desperate to mince words anymore...

Perhaps repeating the chieftains' "propaganda" but with a twist so it's clear she doesn't believe it. Maybe something along the lines of There is no need to make disbursements to wives, for they are not yet widows: our warriors will return. To say otherwise is to deny the Great One.

Hmmm, I rather like that idea... let me work with it....

Edit: I'm rather pleased with the result (though I had a lot fewer words to work with than your suggestion )! See what you think...

I sold the loom for weaving cloth for coin.
I think you could just reduce this to I sold the loom. Looms are generally used for weaving and "sold" implies either "for coin" or barter.


Oh, dear... I meant "for coin" to modify "cloth", not "sell". (But "sell" is much more obvious, isn't it?) What I tried to convey was that, in selling the loom, she was not only selling her most precious Edit: material possession, but also her only means of earning any income. Otherwise, I would have lumped it in with the other possessions... How about I sold the loom for weaving coin-earning cloth.?

And in fact at the end you might consider having Scarfless and guardless, all here will know what I barter.?

No, I really want what I trade for coin there, even if I don't end up using "coin" above, with the loom.

I like to manipulate the rhythm of the last line for a more dramatic effect, which, in many cases, means nothing more exotic than ending on a stressed syllable (Edit: or a shocking word, like "dispatch"). But in this case, the whole sentence has a rhythm to it that I don't want to mess with....

I think that should give you plenty to play with. I look foward to seeing the next versions, because I think this triad in particular is shaping up very nicely.

Cheers, Liz


LOL, yes! And thank you, Liz! Your feedback and encouragement mean so much to me...

- Barbara

Edit: Which type of garland do you think would have greater shock value to a Balchoth warrior: oozing eyes, or oozing man-organs?

Edit 2: And no, I can't believe I'm asking such a thing, either.....

 

 

8th Drabble Posted: An Injured Eorling

Hi!

I've posted the eighth drabble, "An Injured Eorling" at the top of the chapter titled Edit: "16 April. Morning".

This one is about a badly injured Eorling who somehow manages to survive until dawn... And we finally get a glimpse of a son of Elrond in action! (Though, we don't actually find out which one.... )

Enjoy!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 6th and 7th Posted: A year later, in the Balchoth homelands...

Hi Barbara

Ooh, I really like the way these two drabbles are developing. Both very powerful.

A Balchoth Chieftain

Yes, I think this version much more conveys what you wanted and is structured more effectively. It certainly gets across the chieftain's nastiness and unreasonableness much more strongly. And I like changes such as "commanding their despatch" which makes it clearer who is doing the commanding.

I still have a few nitpicky suggestions. I'd like to suggest you cut a couple of words that I think are extraneous and use them to expand on "he" in the fourth paragraph to give a clearer idea of who "he" is. (At the moment, I'm tripping a bit up wondering just who "he" is when I read the drabble.)

I think you can cut that out of "You expect me to believe that mere horse-straddlers could defeat our chosen battalions? and then out of Quaking violently, he begs for mercy, then begins gibbering tales of unspeakable sorcery.

In uttering incantations to make the enemy dead stand and kill again I keep reading this as "make dead the enemy..." not "make the dead enemy...", and then don't know what to do with "stand" (if that makes sense). May I suggest uttering incantations to make our dead enemy rise and kill again?

Oh, and on your question - I would personally be more squeamish about oozing eyes than oozing man-organs, but maybe that's just me. Also, well, oozing seems a bit the wrong adjective for man-organs.... Both are pretty gross, though!

A Balchoth War Widow

I like the way you've now handled the chieftains' refusal to acknowledge there are widows. I think it's stronger for repeating the chieftains' weasel words.

I also like the use of pension here (which is actually originally a 13c word meaning some kind of regular - probably lifetime - payment in reward for services rendered, btw, so no unauthentic.) The only more mediaeval suggestions I can come up for are "alms" and "widow's portions".

I sold the loom for weaving coin-earning cloth. Still, my beloved did not return.

I think my problem here in understanding what you meant was that I wasnt clear that the woman's main income was weaving (rather than having some form of agriculture to support her family at least at a subsistence level). I think I did originally wonder if this was the case, but dismissed the idea because I found it unlikely the woman would sell her main means of earning money apparently so early on. Again, this may be because the compression in the drabble means you haven't room to demonstrate her earlier struggles.

What I can see happening is that, because there are a lot of poverty-stricken families, she would have no market for her cloth, therefore the loom would actually be useless as a way to earn money. Not sure if you can manage to convey that in the words you have available. Maybe No market for my cloth. I sold the loom. Still, my beloved returned not.

And one final nitpick: I think it might make the rhythm in the last line stronger to switch the position of here to Scarfless and guardless, all will know here what I trade for coin edit or Scarfless and guardless, all will here know what I trade for coin.

I do think these drabbles make a very nice triptych and play nicely off each other. There really are some tremendous ideas - and a great sense of culture - conveyed in a few short words.

HTH

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 8th Drabble Posted: An Injured Eorling

*sniff* Oh Barbara, this is a wonderful drabble. Great to see one of the SoE doing the other thing they're good at and bringing comfort to a brave man. I also like your subtle use of the Anglo-Saxon spelling of Wæter. And a nice bit of misdirection for the following two drabbles as well!

In short, I love it, and have very few nitpicks.

As a general point, you might want to try and put a little more alliteration in, as it's an Eorling's thoughts? (Umm, perhaps "soughing sedge" rather than "soughing long-grass"?)

More specifically , may I suggest My eyes overflow with gratitude as the cool trickle soothes my parched mouth.

In At peace, I float towards the mist-shrouded halls of my forefathers., mist-shrouded doesn't seem to me to be quite the right adjective for "Valhalla". It seems a little dank and unwelcoming to me. I suppose I personally see them as perhaps mist-shrouded but it's with a golden, warm and welcoming glow? Not sure how you'd convey that in the words you have, though!

Anyway, bravo on this drabble. A very touching piece.

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 6th and 7th Posted: A year later, in the Balchoth homelands...

Hi Liz!

Thank you!

A Balchoth Chieftain
Yes, I think this version much more conveys what you wanted and is structured more effectively. It certainly gets across the chieftain's nastiness and unreasonableness much more strongly.


Ah, thank you! Yeah, he's a real winner, isn't he?

And I like changes such as "commanding their despatch" which makes it clearer who is doing the commanding.

Good! Is "despatch" the British spelling for this case, as a noun meaning "execution"?

I'd like to suggest you cut a couple of words that I think are extraneous and use them to expand on "he" in the fourth paragraph to give a clearer idea of who "he" is. (At the moment, I'm tripping a bit up wondering just who "he" is when I read the drabble.)

I took your suggestion, and I think it is more clear now....

I think you can cut ... then out of Quaking violently, he begs for mercy, then begins gibbering tales of unspeakable sorcery.

Uh, I don't agree with you here... I believe that some sort of conjunction is required between the two verbs to make the sentence grammatical. But, I got rid of the second verb....

In uttering incantations to make the enemy dead stand and kill again I keep reading this as "make dead the enemy..." not "make the dead enemy...", and then don't know what to do with "stand" (if that makes sense). May I suggest uttering incantations to make our dead enemy rise and kill again?

Yes, you may! LOL! Thanks for pointing out that possible misinterpretation....

Oh, and on your question - I would personally be more squeamish about oozing eyes than oozing man-organs, but maybe that's just me.

Okay, I think I'll switch it to eyes -- actually, eyeballs (even more disturbing).

A Balchoth War Widow
I like the way you've now handled the chieftains' refusal to acknowledge there are widows. I think it's stronger for repeating the chieftains' weasel words.


Thanks! (whew!)

I also like the use of pension here (which is actually originally a 13c word meaning some kind of regular - probably lifetime - payment in reward for services rendered, btw, so no unauthentic.) The only more mediaeval suggestions I can come up for are "alms" and "widow's portions".

Per your idea on IM, I'm going to go with "widows' stipends". Thank you, that's a great suggestion!

I sold the loom for weaving coin-earning cloth. Still, my beloved did not return.
I think my problem here in understanding what you meant was that I wasnt clear that the woman's main income was weaving (rather than having some form of agriculture to support her family at least at a subsistence level). I think I did originally wonder if this was the case, but dismissed the idea because I found it unlikely the woman would sell her main means of earning money apparently so early on.


I was hoping to just wave my hand over that part....

Again, this may be because the compression in the drabble means you haven't room to demonstrate her earlier struggles.

You noticed, huh?

What I can see happening is that, because there are a lot of poverty-stricken families, she would have no market for her cloth, therefore the loom would actually be useless as a way to earn money. Not sure if you can manage to convey that in the words you have available. Maybe No market for my cloth. I sold the loom. Still, my beloved returned not.

So, I ask for a beta-reader, and get a socioeconomic analyst? You do know, Liz, that you're really amazing, right?

How about something like Cloth-weaving stopped earning coin; I sold the loom.? Sorry, the part about her customers also becoming impoverished just won't fit....

And one final nitpick: I think it might make the rhythm in the last line stronger to switch the position of here to Scarfless and guardless, all will know here what I trade for coin edit or Scarfless and guardless, all will here know what I trade for coin.

Hmmmm... let me think about that. I wanted "here" to modify "all" -- in other words, because this is a marketplace, everyone will instantly recognize that she's selling something.... Let me try out your first suggestion, but I don't like the second one.

I do think these drabbles make a very nice triptych and play nicely off each other. There really are some tremendous ideas - and a great sense of culture - conveyed in a few short words.

I don't know how many more ways I can thank you, Liz! So: thank you!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 8th Drabble Posted: An Injured Eorling

Hi again, Liz!

Oh Barbara, this is a wonderful drabble. Great to see one of the SoE doing the other thing they're good at and bringing comfort to a brave man.

Thanks! *beams* It was so nice to focus on good guys, for a change! (Even with a bittersweet ending....)

I also like your subtle use of the Anglo-Saxon spelling of Wæter.

Thanks! *grin* I added it to the glossary, but was really pleased that it was close enough to the English that a reader could figure it out without having to look it up...

And a nice bit of misdirection for the following two drabbles as well!

Tricksssy, we issss, precioussss!

As a general point, you might want to try and put a little more alliteration in, as it's an Eorling's thoughts? (Umm, perhaps "soughing sedge" rather than "soughing long-grass"?)

Good idea! I like it, and will look for other easy opportunities for alliteration, too. (Actually, I made it soughing sedges...)

More specifically , may I suggest My eyes overflow with gratitude as the cool trickle soothes my parched mouth.

Done! (Easier to say, too....)

In At peace, I float towards the mist-shrouded halls of my forefathers., mist-shrouded doesn't seem to me to be quite the right adjective for "Valhalla". It seems a little dank and unwelcoming to me. I suppose I personally see them as perhaps mist-shrouded but it's with a golden, warm and welcoming glow? Not sure how you'd convey that in the words you have, though!

But, but, but, but Liz! *whines piteously* I copied the imagery from Tolkien:

... the ancient halls
of the Mark-wardens mist-enshrouded
.

Okay, they're talking about Edoras here, but I thought they might imagine the halls of their forefathers as being familiar, like Meduseld, which I thought would be a comforting thought.... Also, I thought that his "vision" might get misty as he dies.... And, of course, the suggestion of shrouds also fits....

(If anything, I might change it to "mist-enshrouded"....)

Anyway, bravo on this drabble. A very touching piece.

Thank you so much, Liz!

- Barbara

 

 

9th Drabble Posted: A Young Rohirrim Boy

Hi!

I've posted a new drabble, "A Young Rohirrim Boy" in a new chapter "2995 Third Age".

Warning: fluff alert!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 6th and 7th Posted: A year later, in the Balchoth homelands...

Hi Barbara

I really think you've cracked these three drabbles. I only have a couple of very minor points or answers to your questions.

Is "despatch" the British spelling for this case, as a noun meaning "execution"?

I don't think I've ever consulted my dictionary so much as with you! It seems "despatch" is simply a variant of "dispatch" and either is fine. It may well be my personal usage to prefer "dispatch" for written reports and "despatch" for to send or execute. I think that's partly because I would pronounce the two words slightly different and put more emphasis in "despatch" on the first syllable, thereby stressing the "away" meaning of "de-".

Uh, I don't agree with you here... I believe that some sort of conjunction is required between the two verbs to make the sentence grammatical. But, I got rid of the second verb....

Well, I am now firmly convinced that "then" without an "and" in front of it is equally ungrammatical, thanks to my beta circle.... but your solution to cut the then and the verb is much neater and slicker all round.

Talking of grammar, my one remaining quibble with this drabble is with the punctuation in the paragraph Now quaking violently, the once-proud warrior begs mercy, gibbering tales of unspeakable sorcery: a brace of grey-shrouded necromancers garlanded with oozing eyeballs, uttering foul incantations to make our dead enemy rise and kill again; ripping out our captains' throbbing hearts to guzzle their courage-laden blood; summoning thunderbolts from open sky...

The three parts after the colon are not "balanced" because the first has the noun (grey shrouded necromancers) and the other two don't. I'm not quite sure how else to punctuate it, though, except to replace the colon with a period.

So, I ask for a beta-reader, and get a socioeconomic analyst? You do know, Liz, that you're really amazing, right?

Yes, of course I'm amazing. Blame Gwynnyd for encouraging me to give full rein to my tendency to want things to make "logical" sense and not be able to accept the "unexplained vistas". (Umm, not part of the charm, just sloppy, IMHO!)

I don't have any more comments on this drabble. I think it's excellent, and the three together are just marvellous. You are amazing, Barbara, not least for letting me berate you this way.

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 8th Drabble Posted: An Injured Eorling

Hi again Barbara

*double sniff* I think this is perfect now.

I like the extra bit of alliteration, and the way soughing sedges draws the reader's attention to the alliteration later on, some of which I think was always there, but didn't come across so strongly on first reading.

But, but, but, but Liz! *whines piteously* I copied the imagery from Tolkien:

Oh dear. I don't like to make authors whine piteously. No really.

Oddly enough mist-enshrouded conjures up an entirely different set of images to mist-shrouded in my mind. Don't ask me why. Perhaps simply because it is more poetical? So I'm happy with that change.

I really don't have any more quibbles on this one. Bravo again.

Cheers, Liz



 

 

Re: 9th Drabble Posted: A Young Rohirrim Boy

Hi Barbara

Warning: fluff alert!

Yep, fluffy! This is very sweet and entertaining - and quite different to the other much darker drabbles. But a charming portrait of a parent/child interactions.

However, apart from the reference to the grey horsemen, I'm not quite sure why this drabble is in this series. It seems a little generic and unfocused. I presume the date refers to the death of Walda by orcs in the Eastfold, so perhaps I need to see the companion drabble for the father that you mentioned in IM, which you said would have context, before I can give you a definitive response to it?

Meanwhile, as always, I have a few nitpicks....

I'm not convinced by Papa as "Rohhric" epthet, since it's derived from Romance languages rather than the Germanic. I asked Marta, who speaks German far better than I do, and she told me small children call their fathers "Vati" in German, as a contraction of "Vater".

Should Éowine have an umlaut on the final e? (I think Elfwine does in some places but not others?)

"Long ago, a little boy was chased by great ugly demons and cried, 'Helpan!' Do you know what happened then?"

Possibly overnitpicky here, but do you see the conversation taking place in "Rohirric" or Westron. My feeling is that you should only stick in the Old English if they're mostly speaking Westron, since otherwise either the whole conversation should be in Old English and not just this single word, or you should "translate" the whole conversation to modern English from "Rohirric" (if that makes sense).

...faster than a horse can blink!"

I try to blink, but cannot. Papa's arms are so warm and comforting....


While I can see you want a horse reference and also the link to "I try to blink..." (I'm guessing he can't get his eyes open again!), the phrase "faster than a horse can blink" just seems a bit odd. I suppose because, although I know horses do blink, it's not an action I associate strongly with them. "...faster than a horse can whisk it's tail." would seem a more appropriate comparison. Of course, that then loses the link to "I try to blink..." Not sure what to suggest, but I'm finding "faster than a horse can blink" rather jarring.

All in all, this is a very cute drabble, and I'm intrigued to see what the "parent" drabble turns out like.

HTH

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 6th and 7th Posted: A year later, in the Balchoth homelands...

Hi Liz!

I really think you've cracked these three drabbles.

Woot!

Is "despatch" the British spelling for this case, as a noun meaning "execution"?
I don't think I've ever consulted my dictionary so much as with you!


*very, very, very big grin*

It seems "despatch" is simply a variant of "dispatch" and either is fine. It may well be my personal usage to prefer "dispatch" for written reports and "despatch" for to send or execute. I think that's partly because I would pronounce the two words slightly different and put more emphasis in "despatch" on the first syllable, thereby stressing the "away" meaning of "de-".

Hmmmm, okay. My dictionary also described it as a variant, without specifying it as specifically British (which it would usually, if applicable).

For some reason, "despatch" keeps looking odd to me, unlike, e.g., "defence", which doesn't call attention to itself. Tolkien did use that spelling in UT as a verb, but I keep tripping over it when I read my drabble. I think I'll go back to "dispatch", which I pronounce with the stress on the first syllable as a noun (whereas the verb is more equally stressed).

Uh, I don't agree with you here... I believe that some sort of conjunction is required between the two verbs to make the sentence grammatical. But, I got rid of the second verb....
Well, I am now firmly convinced that "then" without an "and" in front of it is equally ungrammatical, thanks to my beta circle.... but your solution to cut the then and the verb is much neater and slicker all round.


I probably should have said "some sort of conjunctiony looking thing". You didn't see me waving my hand over it, did you? -- which, if you had, would have made it all okay... Needless to say, I was surprised to find that the dictionary didn't list any usage as a quasi-conjunction, because it seems to me that "He did something, then did something else." is a very common formation, and it didn't send a blip to my relatively-sensitive grammar radar. Guess I'll have to fine-tune the radar....

Talking of grammar, my one remaining quibble with this drabble is with the punctuation in the paragraph Now quaking violently, the once-proud warrior begs mercy, gibbering tales of unspeakable sorcery: a brace of grey-shrouded necromancers garlanded with oozing eyeballs, uttering foul incantations to make our dead enemy rise and kill again; ripping out our captains' throbbing hearts to guzzle their courage-laden blood; summoning thunderbolts from open sky...

The three parts after the colon are not "balanced" because the first has the noun (grey shrouded necromancers) and the other two don't. I'm not quite sure how else to punctuate it, though, except to replace the colon with a period.


Yes, this is a really hard one, with such an image-packed paragraph. I want the colon to introduce the list, but the list isn't parallel... well, the verb phrases are parallel (-ing), but the first item in the list supplies the noun... If I replaced the colon with a period or an ellipsis, I'm not sure it would be so clear that the following stuff refers back to the gibbered tales, and the second "sentence" would only be a fragment.

This doesn't directly address your concern, but I'm thinking of replacing the semicolons separating the list elements with ellipses... after all, it is possible that there were other (horrific) images left out of the narrative... Perhaps, if the list elements are not "coupled" quite so closely, their lack of parallelism won't be quite so blatant? (But I like the idea of the ellipses, even if it doesn't solve the parallelism problem -- they seem more appropriate for someone who is desperately gibbering random excuses to save his life...)

So, I ask for a beta-reader, and get a socioeconomic analyst? You do know, Liz, that you're really amazing, right?
Yes, of course I'm amazing. Blame Gwynnyd for encouraging me to give full rein to my tendency to want things to make "logical" sense and not be able to accept the "unexplained vistas". (Umm, not part of the charm, just sloppy, IMHO!)


LOL! Yes, you seem inordinately immune to hand-waving.... In the Land of Oz, you not only would have headed straight to the curtain and looked behind it, but you also would have torn it down so everyone else could see behind it....

Edit: This is Liz's IM response to my Oz observation, posted here with permission and without comment, snarky or otherwise :

"And I think you misunderstand the point of my sociological analysis - I'd want to go look behind the curtain in Oz so I could see how the "wizard" worked and help the operator create a more convincing illusion so other people didn't even think there might be a curtain to look behind *grins*"

I don't have any more comments on this drabble. I think it's excellent, and the three together are just marvellous.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Liz! *bows humbly* *okay, maybe not humbly...*

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 8th Drabble Posted: An Injured Eorling

Hi again Liz!

*double sniff* I think this is perfect now.

Wow, it rates a double sniff? Woohoo! (That's like a "two thumbs up" in movie parlance...) My work here is done....

I like the extra bit of alliteration, and the way soughing sedges draws the reader's attention to the alliteration later on, some of which I think was always there, but didn't come across so strongly on first reading.

Thank you! I made a few minor wording changes, but I agree, the "soughing sedges" works very well there... thank you for the suggestion!

But, but, but, but Liz! *whines piteously* I copied the imagery from Tolkien:
Oh dear. I don't like to make authors whine piteously. No really.


Uh... sure, Liz... if you say so....

Oddly enough mist-enshrouded conjures up an entirely different set of images to mist-shrouded in my mind. Don't ask me why. Perhaps simply because it is more poetical? So I'm happy with that change.

Cool! I was surprised that I hadn't copied the phrase exactly to my notes -- in fact, when I was searching for "mist-shrouded" in the text, I couldn't find it, and was beginning to wonder if I had imagined it -- but I also like Tolkien's variation better.

I really don't have any more quibbles on this one. Bravo again.

Thank you, Liz! Another one marked "done"!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 9th Drabble Posted: A Young Rohirrim Boy

Hi again, Liz!

Yep, fluffy! This is very sweet and entertaining - and quite different to the other much darker drabbles. But a charming portrait of a parent/child interactions.

Thanks! it's a bit too fluffy for my taste, but I was hoping that a second drabble, with his parents, would give it some more compelling context... but that second drabble is not letting me write it....

However, apart from the reference to the grey horsemen, I'm not quite sure why this drabble is in this series. It seems a little generic and unfocused.

Hmmmmm... well, the reference to the legend of the Grey Ghostriders is pretty much the whole point, especially without the context of the parental drabble, which would have made it less generic and more focused. *Sigh* Stupid, uncooperative muse....

I presume the date refers to the death of Walda by orcs in the Eastfold, so perhaps I need to see the companion drabble for the father that you mentioned in IM, which you said would have context, before I can give you a definitive response to it?

Yes, indeed! I thought that hearing such horrifying news would be a nightmare-inducing event for a small child....

I'm not convinced by Papa as "Rohhric" epthet, since it's derived from Romance languages rather than the Germanic. I asked Marta, who speaks German far better than I do, and she told me small children call their fathers "Vati" in German, as a contraction of "Vater".

*Sigh* I see what you mean, but if I changed it to the Anglo-Saxon "Fæder", it would run afoul of your comment below, which I agree with. Isn't it possible that the translator might have done a good job of translating the "Rohirric" into idiomatic English? And I certainly thought that "Papa" would sound more generic than "Daddy"... and a lot more widely recognizable than "Vati". *Sigh again* Not entirely sure what to do here...

"Long ago, a little boy was chased by great ugly demons and cried, 'Helpan!' Do you know what happened then?"
Possibly overnitpicky here, but do you see the conversation taking place in "Rohirric" or Westron. My feeling is that you should only stick in the Old English if they're mostly speaking Westron, since otherwise either the whole conversation should be in Old English and not just this single word, or you should "translate" the whole conversation to modern English from "Rohirric" (if that makes sense).


A very good point! I will change "helpan" back to "help". (But if I translate the entire conversation into modern English, then some readers complain if I use "Papa"! *grumble*)

Should Éowine have an umlaut on the final e? (I think Elfwine does in some places but not others?)

I left it off because Elfwine doesn't have an umlaut in RoTK Appendix A, which I consider more canonical than HoME... but, if it makes you feel any better, I did struggle with the decision!

...faster than a horse can blink!"
I try to blink, but cannot. Papa's arms are so warm and comforting....

While I can see you want a horse reference and also the link to "I try to blink..." (I'm guessing he can't get his eyes open again!),


Yes! So that part worked as intended, anyway....

the phrase "faster than a horse can blink" just seems a bit odd. I suppose because, although I know horses do blink, it's not an action I associate strongly with them. "...faster than a horse can whisk it's tail." would seem a more appropriate comparison. Of course, that then loses the link to "I try to blink..." Not sure what to suggest, but I'm finding "faster than a horse can blink" rather jarring.

Yes, I do see what you mean, and, in fact, was wondering about that myself... Fortunately, I had an idea last night for something to add to the drabble, which will soak up any excess words, so the line will become "faster than you can blink!"... which is more appropriate for someone talking to a five-year-old, anyway.

All in all, this is a very cute drabble, and I'm intrigued to see what the "parent" drabble turns out like.

Thanks, Liz! I'm hoping to take this beyond the realm of "cute" -- and with all the nuzgûl you flung at me today, think I can do so! I'll tweak with it a little for the moment, then work on reframing it as you suggested on IM... Thank you!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 9th Drabble Posted: A Young Rohirrim Boy

Hi Barbara

*Sigh* I see what you mean, but if I changed it to the Anglo-Saxon "Fæder", it would run afoul of your comment below, which I agree with. Isn't it possible that the translator might have done a good job of translating the "Rohirric" into idiomatic English? And I certainly thought that "Papa" would sound more generic than "Daddy"... and a lot more widely recognizable than "Vati". *Sigh again* Not entirely sure what to do here...

I've been thinking about this some more, and Tolkien uses both Daddy (as in Daddy Twofoot) and Dad (also used to refer to Daddy Twofoot and when Farmer Cotton is referring to Pippin's father). Now, we know there is a relationship between "Old Rohirric" and the Hobbits' original language and current dialect of Westron, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to me for you to "translate" whatever the boy is saying with Dad or Daddy. (Both of which feel more "Old English" than Papa to me - but maybe that's just me....)

I left it off because Elfwine doesn't have an umlaut in RoTK Appendix A, which I consider more canonical than HoME... but, if it makes you feel any better, I did struggle with the decision!

*grumble* stupid darn diacriticals that Tolkien couldn't even use consistently *grumble*

I think we might have solved this one anyway by changing the identity of the boy?

I'm hoping to take this beyond the realm of "cute" -- and with all the nuzgûl you flung at me today, think I can do so! I'll tweak with it a little for the moment, then work on reframing it as you suggested on IM... Thank you!

You're welcome. (Hey, I'm being thanked for flinging nuzgul. )

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 9th Drabble Posted: A Young Rohirrim Boy

Hi Liz!

I've been thinking about this some more, and Tolkien uses both Daddy (as in Daddy Twofoot) and Dad (also used to refer to Daddy Twofoot and when Farmer Cotton is referring to Pippin's father). Now, we know there is a relationship between "Old Rohirric" and the Hobbits' original language and current dialect of Westron, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to me for you to "translate" whatever the boy is saying with Dad or Daddy. (Both of which feel more "Old English" than Papa to me - but maybe that's just me....)

Well, that sounds very reasonable to me...Especially since you convinced me that "Daddy" is not an Americanism... I've changed the "Papa"'s to "Daddy". Thanks!

*grumble* stupid darn diacriticals that Tolkien couldn't even use consistently *grumble*



I think we might have solved this one anyway by changing the identity of the boy?

Yes... but not quite yet.... *big, evil grin*

I'm hoping to take this beyond the realm of "cute" -- and with all the nuzgûl you flung at me today, think I can do so! I'll tweak with it a little for the moment, then work on reframing it as you suggested on IM... Thank you!
You're welcome. (Hey, I'm being thanked for flinging nuzgul. )


Enjoy it while you can, Liz!

- Barbara

 

 

10th Posted: Círdan

Hi everyone,

I've posted a companion to the Elrond drabble, called "Círdan". It is in the chapter, Edit: "Early 2510 Third Age".

It is the reaction to Elrond's premonition, from Círdan's POV.

Enjoy!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 9th Drabble Posted: A Young Rohirrim Boy

Hi Barbara

I really like this after all the changes you've made. I reserve the right to quibble when I see the other related drabbles you plan to add, but I think this works much better and seems a little less fluffy.

One other issue is that maybe it seems a little disconnected from the rest of the series because you don't show the "legend" developing in Rohan as you did so brilliantly with the Balchoth. I don't know if you have any thoughts in that direction....

Anyway, well done here. Off to inspect Cirdan....

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 9th Drabble Posted: A Young Rohirrim Boy

Hi Liz!

I really like this after all the changes you've made. I reserve the right to quibble when I see the other related drabbles you plan to add, but I think this works much better and seems a little less fluffy.

Thanks, Liz! Yes, I think adding the bit about his father's deep voice added a little more realism -- not to mention a bit more content -- and somehow lessened the fluffiness a tiny bit....

I've had a few ideas for the 3002 drabble, but neither that one nor the follow-on to the little boy are quite congealing yet.... I have to be very patient with my Muse.... he's so stubborn.

One other issue is that maybe it seems a little disconnected from the rest of the series because you don't show the "legend" developing in Rohan as you did so brilliantly with the Balchoth. I don't know if you have any thoughts in that direction....

At this point, I'm not planning anything specific for that; but, I'm hoping that if the Muse ever speaks to me about the battle itself and its immediate aftermath (from a human perspective, that is....), then the source of the legend will reveal itself in an organic way...

I have to balance wanting the SoE to stay on the battlefield and heal men, with the "none knew whence they came or whither they went....".... Maybe the Eorlings went haring across Calenardhon to chase the Orcs and Balchoth, but the SoE had left by the time they reassembled back at the battle-ground?

The same quote also presents problems for my plans to have the SoE meet Eorl in the mist.... but I'm hoping that people will realize that histories are imperfect.... at least a handful of someones did know who they were (since, being the polite folks they are, probably introduced themselves ) Surely, Félarof knew....?

Off to inspect Cirdan....

All hands on deck! All hands on deck for an inspection.....

Thank you, Liz!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 10th Posted: Círdan

Hi Barbara

I very much like the way this drabble complements the one from Elrond's point of view, and gives new resonance to Cirdan's affirmation in the last line of that.

I like the oblique references to both earlier and later events: not just the eventual fate of Elrond and his children, but also calling Elrond Gil-Galad's herald to remind us of Elrond's long struggle against Sauron, and the references to Lúthien. I also think you've captured Cirdan's mindset well, especially his appeal to Ulmo to intercede in the last line, and the metaphor in this Age ebbs.

Quibbles....

I offer my hand to Gil-galad's herald, bereft anew -- and now dreading his sons' downfall.

I'm a little confused by what bereft anew refers to. Initially I thought you meant bereft at the potential loss of his sons on top of his wife, but then you had and now to refer to his sons, which made me think bereft anew must refer to Celebrian. But then I'm kind of confused as to what specific previous bereavement you're referring to for the loss of Celebrian to be anew: Gil-Galad or Elrond's parents or brother? I'm just a bit muddled about exactly what you want to convey here.

Yet much will betide these scions of Lúthien.

While I like the reference to Lúthien, I do wonder if using it here weakens the much more powerful use of it later in Lúthien's echo. Would it work better to find a different way to refer to Elrond's ancestry? Perhaps by referring to his heritage from Men (Beren and Tuor) here?

Elladan and Elrohir will endeavor to defend Free Men from the raging currents of the Dark.

Two things here. Firstly, I don't think the SoE endeavor to defend, I think they do defend. I think this over-emphasises the fact that they don't always succeed, and seems more pessimistic than Elrond's and Arwen's achievements. I'd like you to concentrate more on the equal success they will have.

Second, is there any way you can work in Elrond's phrase Elves and Men and all Free Folk from his blessing as the Fellowship departs, since the SoE don't just defend Men?

They will at last take ship with me... his daughter, Lúthien's echo, will not.

This might be more powerful if you subsitute a period for the ellipsis.

I call upon Ulmo to grant them strength to weather the storms as this Age ebbs.

I feel the storms is a little "non-specific": I know you mean the events that close the age, but I'm wondering if you can reword this to make it clearer. I'm not sure how, but maybe making it singular i.e. the storm might be stronger?

HTH. As always, you've moved me with your elegant compression of so many strong ideas in such a small space.

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 9th Drabble Posted: A Young Rohirrim Boy

Hi Barbara

I have to balance wanting the SoE to stay on the battlefield and heal men, with the "none knew whence they came or whither they went....".... Maybe the Eorlings went haring across Calenardhon to chase the Orcs and Balchoth, but the SoE had left by the time they reassembled back at the battle-ground?

The same quote also presents problems for my plans to have the SoE meet Eorl in the mist.... but I'm hoping that people will realize that histories are imperfect.... at least a handful of someones did know who they were (since, being the polite folks they are, probably introduced themselves ) Surely, Félarof knew....?


As we talked about in IM, I think a literal interpretation is that the SoE appeared and disappeared somewhat mysteriously, even if people had some idea who they were. Also, that it's possible Eorl didn't really know who Elrond was at that point, so the names didn't mean much to him, and he didn't remember them. I'm guessing Cirion would have known, but perhaps either Eorl never discussed it with anyone from Gondor who would know, or the discussion was "lost" when recording the much more important conversations about granting Calendardhon to the Eotheod.

I've also got a "historical" theory about why the quote doesn't appear in the Appendices of LotR. As I understand it, much of Appendix A (as opposed to the Tale of Years) was supposed to have been written either in Gondor or using records sourced from Gondor. There's no record of the mysterious horsemen in the records of Gondor (for the reasons outlined above), hence they didn't make it into the various copies of the Red Book.

So I think you can have the SoE introducing themselves to Eorl and not violate the canon of the "historical records" too violently!

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 10th Posted: Círdan

Hi Liz!

I very much like the way this drabble complements the one from Elrond's point of view, and gives new resonance to Cirdan's affirmation in the last line of that.

Cool! Thank you!

I like the oblique references to both earlier and later events: not just the eventual fate of Elrond and his children, but also calling Elrond Gil-Galad's herald to remind us of Elrond's long struggle against Sauron, and the references to Lúthien. I also think you've captured Cirdan's mindset well, especially his appeal to Ulmo to intercede in the last line, and the metaphor in this Age ebbs.

*Sighs with relief* I'm so glad these worked! I think that Círdan has what might be the most unique POV in Middle-earth.... he's ancient, been involved in a lot of history, enormously insightful, but also has incredible foresight... so he sees past, present, and future with equal clarity, and as equally important. I can only imagine such foresight would be terribly isolating; he certainly wouldn't want to tell anyone what's going to happen to them.... (But, he's really just a humble ship-builder.... as he keeps trying to tell me.)

I offer my hand to Gil-galad's herald, bereft anew -- and now dreading his sons' downfall.
I'm a little confused by what bereft anew refers to. Initially I thought you meant bereft at the potential loss of his sons on top of his wife, but then you had and now to refer to his sons, which made me think bereft anew must refer to Celebrian. But then I'm kind of confused as to what specific previous bereavement you're referring to for the loss of Celebrian to be anew: Gil-Galad or Elrond's parents or brother? I'm just a bit muddled about exactly what you want to convey here.


Thank you for bearing with me so patiently in our IM conversation! The sentence is now: I offer my hand to Gil-galad's herald, bereft anew... and now also burdened by dread for his sons' downfall. Please let me know whether it works for you now....

Edit: I've also added another drabble to the beginning of this sequence, which refers explicitly to his prior losses... which might help. (I *think* there will be at least one more drabble in this sequence, also, before Elrond's....)

Yet much will betide these scions of Lúthien.
While I like the reference to Lúthien, I do wonder if using it here weakens the much more powerful use of it later in Lúthien's echo. Would it work better to find a different way to refer to Elrond's ancestry? Perhaps by referring to his heritage from Men (Beren and Tuor) here?


Good point! I don't think that Círdan would be particularly impressed by Elrond's Edain bloodline, but I changed it to refer to Elrond's dynasty as the House of Lore, per the wonderful quote from the Letters that Nilmandra posted on the Stories of Arda home page. (Hey, I'll steal inspiration from wherever it can be found....)

Elladan and Elrohir will endeavor to defend Free Men from the raging currents of the Dark.
Two things here. Firstly, I don't think the SoE endeavor to defend, I think they do defend. I think this over-emphasises the fact that they don't always succeed, and seems more pessimistic than Elrond's and Arwen's achievements. I'd like you to concentrate more on the equal success they will have.


Done. *Salutes crisply.*

Second, is there any way you can work in Elrond's phrase Elves and Men and all Free Folk from his blessing as the Fellowship departs, since the SoE don't just defend Men?

Thanks for the IM clarification, I was a little unsure if they defended more than Men. Well, duh, of course they defended (at the very least) the Elves of Rivendell.... can't believe I didn't think of that!

There isn't enough room for that long quote of Elrond's, but how about another: Free Peoples?

They will at last take ship with me... his daughter, Lúthien's echo, will not.
This might be more powerful if you subsitute a period for the ellipsis.


Agreed and done, though I combined the previous two sentences, about the Sons: Elrond is destined to lose more family -- but not his sons; they will at last take ship with me. His daughter, Lúthien's echo, will not.

I call upon Ulmo to grant them strength to weather the storms as this Age ebbs.
I feel the storms is a little "non-specific": I know you mean the events that close the age, but I'm wondering if you can reword this to make it clearer. I'm not sure how, but maybe making it singular i.e. the storm might be stronger?


Yes, I like that. Done.

HTH. As always, you've moved me with your elegant compression of so many strong ideas in such a small space.

Yes, it truly helps... and thank you, Liz, for your kind words... they encourage me to no end!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: 9th Drabble Posted: A Young Rohirrim Boy

Hi again, Liz!

I've also got a "historical" theory about why the quote doesn't appear in the Appendices of LotR. As I understand it, much of Appendix A (as opposed to the Tale of Years) was supposed to have been written either in Gondor or using records sourced from Gondor. There's no record of the mysterious horsemen in the records of Gondor (for the reasons outlined above), hence they didn't make it into the various copies of the Red Book.

So I think you can have the SoE introducing themselves to Eorl and not violate the canon of the "historical records" too violently!


And I think you're a genius! Thank you, that solves my concerns rather handily!

- Barbara

 

 

11th Drabble Posted: Glorfindel

Hi everyone!

Well, it had to happen sometime... my Muse finally managed a self-insertion into the series...

Glorfindel, of course, leads the escort of the traveling party to the Grey Havens, then stands by as the family says good-bye, while reflecting on his friend Elrond's tragic history.

The "Glorfindel" drabble is at the beginning of the Edit: "Early 2510 Third Age" chapter. (I renamed the chapter from "Months before the Battle: Celebrían's Departure from Middle-earth" because there is now enough narrative to explain the situation... so I just used the place name, as in all the other chapter names.)

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

Thank you,
Barbara

 

 

Re: 11th Drabble Posted: Glorfindel

Hi Barbara

Well, it had to happen sometime... my Muse finally managed a self-insertion into the series...

But he had such good things to say when he finally talked! This is the perfect opener to this part of the series, and also sets up the Cirdan drabble effectively, allaying a lot of my concerns about that.

I like the sense of Glorfindel standing beside his friend through many long years and all these difficult times, and doing what he can to support him. You also (as always!) have some wonderful phrases: perverse sunshine is the one that really leaps out here for me.

Quibbles.....

Mithlond, at last. The ship awaits at the quay, gleaming white in the perverse sunshine.

I feel I want another syllable before ship, and I'm finding awaits trips awkwardly off the tongue. Maybe: Mithlond, at last. The white ship waits at the quay, gleaming in the perverse sunshine.?

I bid the solemn guards withdraw, and then watch discreetly -- affording the family seclusion for their final farewells.

Glorfindel seems to be both giving the family seclusion and yet "spying" on them as well, which comes across as a bit confused to me. I think he would send the guards away to give the family privacy, but not be able to stop himself (out of concern) from watching the farewells himself from a distance. Maybe this might work better along the lines of: I bid the solemn guards withdraw -- affording the family seclusion for their final farewells -- but watch discreetly.

Elrond has lost so many loved ones: his mother, flying from Sirion; his father, sailing the skies; his brother, surrendering to mortality; his foster father, mighty singer, suffering Silmaril-curst madness; his mentor-king, succumbing to Sauron's fell fire.

There are some wonderful images here, but I feel the very repetitive verb formation dulls the later items a little. This might work better if you varied the tenses a bit. Perhaps: Elrond has lost so many loved ones: his mother, flying from Sirion; his father, sailing the skies; his brother, surrendered to mortality; his foster father, mighty singer, suffering Silmaril-curst madness; his mentor-king, succumbed to Sauron's fell fire.

Can the grief-stricken husband mend his heart?

I think I took out a word in one of the revisions above, and I have an urge to use it here to insert own into mend his own heart?. ("Physican, heal thyself!" )

My dear friend, how can I help you endure?

*sniff* Such a good friend!

A truly lovely drabble of friendship amidst loss. Thank you! (And thank you to Glorfindel...)

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 10th Posted: Círdan

Hi Barbara

Yes, Cirdan does have a very unique perspective, doesn't he?

Thank you for bearing with me so patiently in our IM conversation!

You're welcome!

The sentence is now: I offer my hand to Gil-galad's herald, bereft anew... and now also burdened by dread for his sons' downfall. Please let me know whether it works for you now....

Very nearly. I very much like burdened by dread but still want to replace a comma with a colon: I offer my hand to Gil-galad's herald: bereft anew... and now also burdened by dread for his sons' downfall.

Edit: I've also added another drabble to the beginning of this sequence, which refers explicitly to his prior losses... which might help.

Yes - as I said above, that helps enormously! And is a very nice drabble in its own right!

I don't think that Círdan would be particularly impressed by Elrond's Edain bloodline

As we discussed in IM, I think he would. Elrond is the grandson of Tuor, explicitly chosen as the messenger and agent of Ulmo (and spoken to directly by Ulmo), and the son of the mariner of the skies, Earendil! Also I was under the impression from something I'd read recently (but can't remember where), that Cirdan taught Tuor and Earendil the craft of shipbuilding.

But I love the way you've sidestepped this issue by referring to the House of Lore!

And no more quibbles on this one. Very nicely done! (And have I complimented you recently on how well you're capturing different voices in these? A really good - and well executed! - exercise in characterisation!)

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: 11th Drabble Posted: Glorfindel

But he had such good things to say when he finally talked! This is the perfect opener to this part of the series, and also sets up the Cirdan drabble effectively, allaying a lot of my concerns about that.

Thank you, Liz! As I mentioned in IM, I wanted somebody to talk about Elrond's prior losses, and Glorfindel seemed to be close enough to Elrond to know him very well, yet not quite as immersed in the grief of the family, so he could maintain a little emotional distance... just the right person to be able to think more clearly than the family at the moment.

I like the sense of Glorfindel standing beside his friend through many long years and all these difficult times, and doing what he can to support him. You also (as always!) have some wonderful phrases: perverse sunshine is the one that really leaps out here for me.

Cool! I had a lot of description that referred to everyone's depressed state, but that is almost the only thing that survived... sometimes, people are just not in the mood for cheerful sunshine!

Mithlond, at last. The ship awaits at the quay, gleaming white in the perverse sunshine.
I feel I want another syllable before ship, and I'm finding awaits trips awkwardly off the tongue. Maybe: Mithlond, at last. The white ship waits at the quay, gleaming in the perverse sunshine.?


LOL! I originally had lies in wait... like a predator about to carry off a loved one! But alas, too many words....

Seriously, I like The white ship waits at the quay, gleaming in the perverse sunshine. Thanks for the suggestion!

I bid the solemn guards withdraw, and then watch discreetly -- affording the family seclusion for their final farewells.
Glorfindel seems to be both giving the family seclusion and yet "spying" on them as well, which comes across as a bit confused to me. I think he would send the guards away to give the family privacy, but not be able to stop himself (out of concern) from watching the farewells himself from a distance. Maybe this might work better along the lines of: I bid the solemn guards withdraw -- affording the family seclusion for their final farewells -- but watch discreetly.


Yes, that is what I was trying to convey -- but I never thought of rearranging the sentence that way. Very good idea! Edit: But I will change it slightly, to: but linger discreetly.

(And I take back all the nasty thoughts I had about beta-readers as I grudgingly wasted an entire word on the "and" before the "then".... )

Elrond has lost so many loved ones: his mother, flying from Sirion; his father, sailing the skies; his brother, surrendering to mortality; his foster father, mighty singer, suffering Silmaril-curst madness; his mentor-king, succumbing to Sauron's fell fire.
There are some wonderful images here, but I feel the very repetitive verb formation dulls the later items a little. This might work better if you varied the tenses a bit. Perhaps:
Elrond has lost so many loved ones: his mother, flying from Sirion; his father, sailing the skies; his brother, surrendered to mortality; his foster father, mighty singer, suffering Silmaril-curst madness; his mentor-king, succumbed to Sauron's fell fire.

So -- let me get this straight: lack of parallelism is bad, but sometimes presence of parallelism is bad, too? LOL! Well, I was a bit worried about that, myself. If you think it would be better to mix them up a bit, I have a couple of ideas I could use, along with yours.... let me work with it a bit... Hmmm, do they all have to be verbs? How about:

Elrond has borne so many losses before: his mother's flight from Sirion; his father, sailing the skies; his brother's surrender to mortality; his foster father, mighty singer, suffering Silmaril-curst madness; his mentor-king's destruction by Sauron's fell fire.?

Edit: I added "before" above.
Edit 2: and changed GG's "death" to "destruction."

Can the grief-stricken husband mend his heart?
I think I took out a word in one of the revisions above, and I have an urge to use it here to insert own into mend his
own heart?. ("Physican, heal thyself!" )

Excellent idea!

My dear friend, how can I help you endure?
*sniff* Such a good friend!

A truly lovely drabble of friendship amidst loss. Thank you! (And thank you to Glorfindel...)


Glorfindel beams and says, "You're welcome!".

The best part is, whenever I start getting teary-eyed about what a wonderful friend he is, he comes over here and hugs me, and thoroughly distracts me from any maudlin sentimentality I might be suffering from....

And I thank you, too, Liz!

- Barbara, thoroughly distracted


 

 

Re: 10th Posted: Círdan

Hi again, Liz!

The sentence is now: I offer my hand to Gil-galad's herald, bereft anew... and now also burdened by dread for his sons' downfall. Please let me know whether it works for you now....

Very nearly. I very much like burdened by dread but still want to replace a comma with a colon: I offer my hand to Gil-galad's herald: bereft anew... and now also burdened by dread for his sons' downfall.

Hmmm, the colon just doesn't seem grammatical to me; it inserts too much of a separation between herald and bereft anew, which is a simple adjective phrase modifying herald.

I see the first part of the sentence, up to and including bereft anew, as something that Círdan would say even if Elrond had not had the vision; whereas, only the and now also burdened part of the sentence refers to the vision. If that second part were not there, it would be obvious that herald: bereft anew is ungrammatical.

I would have less objection, however, to a dash, like so: I offer my hand to Gil-galad's herald -- bereft anew... and now also burdened by dread for his sons' downfall. Does that sound better?

I've also added another drabble to the beginning of this sequence, which refers explicitly to his prior losses... which might help. Yes - as I said above, that helps enormously! And is a very nice drabble in its own right!

*Beams* Excellent! And thank you!

I don't think that Círdan would be particularly impressed by Elrond's Edain bloodline. As we discussed in IM, I think he would. Elrond is the grandson of Tuor, explicitly chosen as the messenger and agent of Ulmo (and spoken to directly by Ulmo), and the son of the mariner of the skies, Earendil! Also I was under the impression from something I'd read recently (but can't remember where), that Cirdan taught Tuor and Earendil the craft of shipbuilding.

Yep, I really missed the boat (so to speak) on that one! You are right, Círdan taught Eärendil to build ships, and possibly also Tuor. So, yes, he would indeed be impressed by those sea-loving Edain... Edit: Not to mention, Ulmo's partiality for Tuor, since Círdan seems to have Ulmo's ear....

But I love the way you've sidestepped this issue by referring to the House of Lore!

It's a bit of an obscure reference, and may not be recognized by everyone, but the quote from the Letters is now in my Author's Notes, in case anyone ever reads those... Yes, I like the way it worked into this drabble, too... (But don't worry, Círdan may have a chance to reflect on Elrond's seafaring Edain lineage at a future time....)

And no more quibbles on this one. Very nicely done! (And have I complimented you recently on how well you're capturing different voices in these? A really good - and well executed! - exercise in characterisation!)

*VBG* Thank you, Liz! And I'm really learning to enjoy writing the distinct voices of the characters in this series... that may be why the wolves and wargs butted in and demanded to be heard.... Edit: And it's why I enjoyed your drabble, "A thing unheard of" so much... Gimli doesn't speak often, but when he does, it is in the voice you wrote there....

- Barbara

 

 

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