Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Doesn't Everyone Know What Dolmen Means?

Just back from the Wordos.   

The first story confused the hell out of everyone.   Sigh.  This hasn't happened for a while.  I guess I got so into the story that I forgot to adequately translate it for 21st century readers (the story was set in paleolithic times).  I and my characters knew what they were doing and why, but not my readers.  (Although the person who seemed to be the most confused by the story was the person who figured out what was happening.)

Someone said that the story felt like a translation from another language -- which was good; the story was told from a 20 C BCE tribal person's point of view.   And I guess I was so casual about the fuzzy boundaries between this life and the afterlife that it killed any tension about dying.... And no one knew what a dolmen was; I thought "dolmen" was in most fantasy readers' lexicons -- but I guess that's only if they also read a lot of archeology and Neo-Pagan paleolithic history.  (It's a stone with a hole in it or a stone arch or gateway -- like what they have at Stonehenge.)

Oh well.  On the brighter side, my surreal story was more positively received.  I think I mananged to channel my inner Ray Vukcevich (probably a more manic Ray than the real Mr. Vukcevich, but still a successful channeling). The folks who recognized it was a slipstream story enjoyed it a lot.  The folks who read it as a more "mainstream" fantasy story got frustrated with the narrator's logic (and they were more likely to find the more confusing plot elements).

Oddly, although the first story is more Burridge-esque,  the second story, which is more Vukcevich-esque,  will be easier to fix.
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