EXERCISE Prove Tom Clancy wrong while proving him right!

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Thomas McTavish, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. Tom Clancy once said that the difference between Fiction and Reality is that Fiction has to make sense. The point of this Challenge is to prove him wrong, while simultaneously proving him right. Write a short story (3-5+ paragraphs) that has a plot one can follow, while making just as much sense as reality: none. So, blow up your writer's block, let you're creative juices flow, and prove Tom Clancy wrong while proving him right!
  2. Probably not what you're looking for...

    Cyper Punk Detective (open)
    "Detective! Detective!" a short, pudgy man called out as he wobbled along the crowds of Grand Stirlington puffing and flushed in the face. The man's metal prosthetic leg struck the steel walk way of the bustling city lit with neons and dazzling blues from the hover-vehicles that zipped overhead rather loudly, creating a constant draft for the underneath. The detective, a tall middle aged man with quite the rugged appearance, ignores the frantic shouts and continues on at a brisk pace. He was a busy man with no time to spare and a murder case hanging over his head. Sure the local authorities were also on it but people didn't pay him thousand of dollars to mosey about and eat donuts all day. Those thousands of dollars ensured the case would get settled a lot quicker and much more efficiently.

    "De-tec-tive!" the pudgy man wheezed, his voice ending in a whine. "Please, wait; I have valuable information!" The detective growls with annoyance, turning towards the pudgy man, who was forced to stop running and double over to catch his breath. The detective makes a face of disgust at the unfit pedestrian and strolls over to him within three strides.

    "Yes? What is it?" the detective demands. "Time is money and I am currently preoccupied at the moment!" Normally he was more understanding and patient, but when he was under pressure and working on a case, he was quite snappy and was known for his short fused.

    The pudgy man holds up a piece paper and the detective skims over it before growling and storming off. The pudgy man straightens up and grins, pressing a button on a watch and instantly changing his appearance to a quiet ominous figure. A passing pedestrian bumps him into though, and spills coffee on his watch, making it spark and malfunction. He soon finds himself reverting back to the pudgy man he was using as a disguise and curses with frustration. He chooses to waddle after the detective on his metal prosthetic leg, hoping to accomplish his mission anyway.

    The house the detective was destined to arrive at was made up of glass walls, metal beams, and a system of wiring and blinking lights, much like an over-sized computer chip, located just under the glass surface. The detective didn't have time to linger on the exterior and strode up to the metal door that parted down the middle, pressing the little button off to the side. He never got to see the doors open. Right when the pudgy man was creeping up on him, a loud whistle sounds and bounces off the buildings. The detective and the pudgy man turn just in time to see a large missile-like projectile heading their way.

    And that was the last they saw after the it made contact with Grand Stirlington and exploded.
    #2 Noctis the Devious, Jul 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
    • Like Like x 2
  3. ... Well then. ice ending, there. Throughout I was confused as well as able to follow what was happening. Good job!
  4. Thing is, though, is he's right. and I don't think it's Tom Clancy who said that, he was actually paraphrasing Mark Twain.

    In fiction stories, the universe is designed completely by the author, but you can't go too crazy or you'll lose your reader.

    We all live in the real world; if I write a story that starts with birds flying through the air, no explanation is needed. We already know that birds have lightweight bodies and manipulate air currents with their wings to be able to fly.

    If I open a fiction story by saying the Blorgs were flying swiftly above, I have some explaining to do. What the heck is a Blorg? How does it fly? Is it magical? does it use wings? Is this creature common? and I can't spend too long explaining it, either, or it detracts from the plot.

    Fiction writers have to establish a code of conduct that defines and explains their universe; authors who write in the real world are spared a lot of that, because people already know a lot about how basic things in this world function.

    Mark Twain wasn't saying that fiction has to be boring, or that things in the real world always make sense, he was saying that it's easier to write nonfiction, because everything is already explained and you can attribute the odd strange thing to the random factor of stuff science hasn't figured out yet. In a fictional universe, as the creator, you must account for everything. The reader must be able to accept and understand your world in order to see from the character's perspective, and that requires more work than if you're writing a world they already live in.

    It should also be noted that Mark Twain was an absolute genius of sarcasm and satire

    Sooo, I don't understand your challenge; I interpreted it as

    "write a short fiction story that makes sense"

    Is this a lesson in writing sensical universes? A lesson in coherent plots? I'm not sure what I'm supposed to aim for here.
  5. Well, allow me to use Silent4everbeatless' entry. She created a short tale that made sense, while also leaving several loose ends, so the reader would be able to follow what is happening but does not understand what has happened thus far. The reader knows it is in the future, someone was murdered, technology has advanced, the main character is/was a PI working on the murder case, and they were killed by a missile. The reader is left to figure out the rest of the universe on their own, or left to wonder what may be happening. Who was murdered? Who is the pudgy man? Why was the person murdered? Who murdered the person? Why would they go to such a length to keep their identity hidden that they would fire an explosive projectile at the detective to prevent capture? What year is it? What is the government like? Are there aliens? The list of questions goes on.

    I meant for it to be interpreted as 'Write a fiction story that can be followed without making too much sense.'

    The challenge sort of doubles as an indirect creativity challenge, making the writer be creative about the world they create and the reader creative about how they choose to tie the loose ends left by the writer to their own ideas.

    As for who said the quote, I am unsure if it was originally Clancy or Twain, but I do remember Clancy having said it. He may have paraphrased similar quotes of Lord Byron, Mark Twain, G. K. Chesterton, and Leo Rosten.
  6. Ah, ok. I don't think this is the right challenge for me, then. I hate it when an author leaves me to figure stuff out; it's confusing, what I decide may not be what the author had in mind, and it makes the story frustrating to read as it goes on. You don't have to explain every little detail, but when I'm reading and you keep throwing "figure it out yourself" at me, I'm not going to read much further.

    to each their own I suppose.