1441: Orc – One Shot, Part Two

Title: Orc
Author: Anna Marcelli Palmer
Media: Books
Topic: Discworld
Genre: none listed
URL: Orc
Critiqued by Addicted Reader

In a small riffing chamber on a nearly-abandonded floor of the Library, all that can be heard are the distant sounds of explosions and ensuing screams from other parts of the Library.  By the little light that comes in around the heavy curtains pulled across the single large window, it is just possible to make out a bed in the far corner.  A certain lumpiness of the covers indicates that it is occupied.

The silence is broken unexpectedly by the ringing of a phone.  A hand snakes out from the clump of blankets and pokes at the phone until the near-silence returns.

The phone rings again, and this time the hand is followed by a head emerging from the covers.  Addicted Reader squints at the phone, groans, and answers it.

It’s Monday again?  Already?

Yeah, but Lyle and I are alternating Mondays.  She should be on today.

What do you mean it’s my turn?

It’s been two weeks since my last riff?!?!?!

Fine, fine, give me a minute to freshen up.

Addicted Reader stumbles to the small powder room attached to the riffing chamber and emerges after a few minutes wearing clean clothes and with hair brushed.

Ok, let’s get some light in here.  ::opens curtains wide::

Too much light!  ::closes curtains most of the way::

Ok, so did I really just sleep for two weeks?  Geez.  That last riff must have been harder on me than I realized.  Let’s take a quick peek, shall we?

Oh, right.  This thing.

For those who have managed to find something better with which to occupy their minds over the last two weeks, here’s the reminder:

I’m riffing Orc, a Discworld fanfic that attempts to pick up where Unseen Academicals left off.  This fic started out with a lot of overly flowery purple prose and managed to degenerate into near-utter nonesense of made-up words and disjointed sentence fragments that left me needing a two-week nap after only half the fic.

Glenda and Nutt are riding a horse to/through/past (it’s not really clear) Quirm.  Glenda made a comment about being overwhelmed and then Nutt stopped the horse.  We continue:

“Why did we stop?”, is the only thing that eventually comes out.

This is the second time in this fic that the author has referred to Glenda speaking as something “comes out.”  I really don’t want to explore that.

Eyes are raised to meet with hers, and when they do, a strange gleam resides within. And just then, the faintest idea of a benign smile.

Whose eyes?  Raised how?  Are they detachable?

And who’s having the idea of a smile?  It’s not really something one person can see in another.

He is ugly, in an adorable, virtually enchanting way. The thought seems stupid, but its hers nontheless.

… She’s proud of thinking that he’s ugly?  I’m so confused.

“So that you can indulge in the view.”

That is a very awkward phrase for that.  But since Nutt is speaking (I assume, since there’s no attribution, but after such a long rest I’m willing to be generous here), awkward phrasing is somewhat in character.

The view. Quirm. Summer. The delightful breeze caressing her hair. What she had always secretly dreamt of. Those small, naive daydreams one has, that usually only remain daydreams. And it is true, spreading to every direction around her, full of smell and color and sound. All for her. Right there.

Why the random italics?  Earlier, they were for a portion in first person, meaning the author was quoting her thoughts.  Here, the italicized person is still in third person, so IT MAKES NO SENSE!

::ahem::

Sorry.

::glances down the page::

I’m not sure I’m gonna make it.

And she was just about to let it pass, but for worrying all the time.

Huh?

Oh, right, misuse of “but for” again.  She’s about to miss out on the view because of worrying.

I warned you last time about the rolled-up newspaper, author.

::whack::

You deserve so much worse.

But look! The sun has just set, and the celestial dome is now the most improbable mauve ever, and windows are lit like little halos in the distance, and the town ahead looks like a tiny, vibrating ball of nightlife, so much so that she can cup it in her hands.

What the Snark is the “But look!” doing there?

And “celestial dome”?  Really??  Makes me think they’re in a planetarium.

What would be a probable mauve?  I didn’t know colors had probabilities.

I’m trying to make the connection between lit windows and halos and seriously, I’ve got nothing.  Not to mention, if the town is “tiny” in the distance, how can she make out individual windows?

”I passed many years of my life in a room as dark as a starless night, Miss Glenda. Chained to an anvil for what had seemed like forever, just because people were afraid of me. Memories of my unnatural roots where erased, I think, because they are so painful to carry around. What I am, Miss Glenda, will deprive me of a normal life, because everyone knows how an orc can tear a head off one’s shoulders with a single move.”

Well, that seemed a bit random.  What does that have to do with stopping to enjoy the view?  Is he telling her to run?  Is he confirming her comment about this being an “insane” situation?

::side-eyes author::

You better be going somewhere good with this.

And she stands, there, immobilized by words, unable to come up with a response, get angry at herself for being so blind, or even cry.

I’m pretty sure we all feel “immobilized by words” here.  There have been too damn many saying no damn thing!

“Even Ladyship, whom I always admired, believed I was worthless. I urged myself to constantly accumulate worth, so that the feeling in my chest that I am all wrong would go away. I am supposed to teach the remaining handful of orcs civilized behavior, but how will I ever manage that since the Empire has treated them like animals?”

Ladyship did not believe him worthless.  She saw potential in him to be worthy, that’s why she gave him the opportunities that she did.

By the way, author, it kind of looks like Glenda said that.  Go learn proper dialogue attribution or I’m getting out the newspaper again.

The air, heavy with aromas and the dense summer atmosphere, enters her lungs and fills her with what seems horrifyingly like happiness. The view is so mesmerizing that it could possibly scorch the eyes of a passerby.

Wait, Nutt is pouring out his soul, Glenda is too shocked to respond, and now she’s happy??

This prose is what’s scorching my eyes, here.

It’s like a present. An unlikely, amazing present.

What is????????

“My limited perception of what comprises our world has taught me that people are mostly ugly beings. Life is so complicated I can hardly ever figure out what to do with it. So, you see, I am trying to find beauty in as many places as I can, so that I won’t have to run away from myself ever again. “

When the stilted phrasing is the only clue to who is speaking, you’re definitely doing dialogue wrong, author.

::smack::

And I still have no clue what any one paragraph of this has to do with any other.

Her hands are frantically fiddling with his, looking for something to cling on to. How could anyone be afraid of someone like you, the kind Mr. Nutt? How could anyone notice your looks, your terrifying claws, and overlook the way you work pure magic with a candle? How could I question that, Mr. Nutt..?

Her hands are fiddling with his?  That sounds like she’s trying to fix something mechanical.  Hardly romantic hand-holding.

And since we’ve established that I have no clue what italics mean, I have to ask:  Is Glenda thinking this or saying it out loud?

::smack::

Next time I will have to hit you with something heavier.  Don’t make me go get something heavier.

“You are the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me, Miss Glenda. And I really do hope that I will manage to pay back for some of it all, little by little.”

I really wish I could dock this author for bad dialogue, but Nutt does have an odd way of speaking, and I’m just don’t have the energy to analyze his speech patterns in the book and run a comparison to this piece of flower-crap.

A stunning night is falling upon the Disc, introducing a star-riddled firmament. Tears are streaming slowly down her face, as he reaches for her.

That use of “introducing” makes me picture anthropomorphized Night running around announcing “Here’s the firmament!” and then bashing people on the head with baseball bat.

And “streaming slowly”?  Good thing we don’t have an oxymoron alarm.

“Now. I am not afraid to live. I wouldn’t want you to be either. What do you say?”

Say it with me now, Patrons, DIALOGUE ATTRIBUTION!

Author, you’re lucky I’m too lazy to get up to find something heavy with which to hit you.  So I’ll just smack you again with the newspaper and wait for the commentors to have at you with their various weapons.

::SMACK::

She is crying in the loud, relentless, totally unlikeable way a true woman cries. His face is a riddle, but something within that blank stare implies that, deep inside, he’s aching for the answer.

While I’d like to give the author credit here for acknowledging that real crying can be ugly, I don’t like the implication of saying that a “true woman” cries that way – I know plenty of women who don’t cry ugly.

“It’s the most beautiful spectacle.” , she finally says, and he wordlessly agrees, although it’s not the same view they are looking at.

::carefully rearranges punctuation and saves the extra period for later::

There, now that’s almost a good sentence. Next to last one of the fic, and we finally get one (with a little help).

And, when they are thrown in each other’s arms, she truly finds out what it feels like to be in the hands, not of a man, but of the dream of a lifetime.

Um, who is throwing them?  We were so close a sentence ago, and now we’re back to nonsense.

Time for another two-week nap, I guess!

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14 Comments on “1441: Orc – One Shot, Part Two”

  1. AdmiralSakai says:

    But look!

    Don’t tell me what to do!

    • BatJamags says:

      *Singing*
      Don’t tell me what to say!
      And please, when I go out with you,
      Don’t put me on display!

      Sorry.

  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    the celestial dome is now the most improbable mauve ever, and windows are lit like little halos in the distance, and the town ahead looks like a tiny, vibrating ball of nightlife, so much so that she can cup it in her hands.

    Godammit, the ‘fic set in R’lyeh was last week!

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    I’m pretty sure we all feel “immobilized by words” here. There have been too damn many saying no damn thing!

    This ‘fic has gotten us “immobilized by words” in the same way that Kirk got immobilized by Tribbles:

  4. AdmiralSakai says:

    How could anyone be afraid of someone like you, the kind Mr. Nutt? How could anyone notice your looks, your terrifying claws, and overlook the way you work pure magic with a candle?

    Ok, I really don’t like the implications of that last part.

  5. AdmiralSakai says:

    And “streaming slowly”? Good thing we don’t have an oxymoron alarm.

    Wait, but-

    *Headhotted in the chest by the Department Of Contradictions Agency Covert Shock & Awe Division*

  6. In a small riffing chamber on a nearly-abandonded floor of the Library, all that can be heard are the distant sounds of explosions and ensuing screams from other parts of the Library.

    Cain: Sorry about Vagueness getting through.

    • BatJamags says:

      No, no, that’s not Vagueness. That’s just our regularly-scheduled weekend festivities.

      *Gets out a missile launcher and fires it in a random direction*

      They’re a real blast.

      *BOOM!*

  7. BatJamags says:

    What would be a probable mauve? I didn’t know colors had probabilities.

    Well, if there’s at least a 50% chance that it’s mauve, then it’s probably mauve.

    That, or the author is just throwing words at us and hoping it makes sense.

  8. BatJamags says:

    It’s like a present. An unlikely, amazing present.

    What is????????

    *Points*

    That.

  9. BatJamags says:

    And “streaming slowly”? Good thing we don’t have an oxymoron alarm.

    *Alarms blare silently*

    *Department of Contradictions Agency enters the Library*

    *Luckily, the Department of Contradictions Agency never got to the Library because they got lost on the way*

  10. BatJamags says:

    Author, you’re lucky I’m too lazy to get up to find something heavy with which to hit you. So I’ll just smack you again with the newspaper and wait for the commentors to have at you with their various weapons.

    ::SMACK::

    *Gets out the Door Launcher and Benny the Imaginary Pistol*

    *SLAM!*

    *PISTOL-WHIP!*


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