The Solune Prince: [Workshop I]

A couple things before the piece starts. You can skip ahead if you just want to get to the narrative.

First: This is a lightly edited sort of experiment. This piece projects itself into a much later chapter of The Solune Prince. Short background, the general concept is sort of a “coming of age” story for Chloe Rhye, and right now, in Novella 1, Chloe is in her own kingdom, but here she’s already at her destination: The Lussa City.

So, this should be interesting in general, but also interesting to readers of my serial novel. (Which you can check out here.)

It’s from my Creative Writing workshop, so it’s part of an exercise, which was: write the same piece using two different styles. This is marked with the (1) and (2).

Second: The next chapter of The Solune Prince will be up later today. This is not a “replacement” for it like the IOU from last week. Due to a somewhat stressful existence last week (both mentally and physically), as well as the late-term deadlock of university assignments, I’ll be writing the chapter on the day of its release. So, basically as you’re reading this.

Now, we shouldn’t have to worry about quality control for the following reasons: a) I’ve handwritten this chapter already. The major problem is really that I decided I had to change a few things, and so about 75% of that chapter had to be moved ahead in the story to some completely different parallel-universe chapter. Then b) I do have a decent idea of how I want this chapter to go, and what sort of changes I need to make to continue the story as intended, but also modify the sort-of mess it became. Essentially, I need to rewrite.

I’ll have to elaborate on all that in a full post later but for now I’ll put it like this: There are a few key points I want to re-arrange, some stuff I need to rework, and some stuff that will likely have to go altogether. Thus, chapters 17-19, which have all been handwritten, will need to be redone. (Re-handwritten, and then typed.)

Not a big problem, in fact it’s sort of a relief, as I’m extracting myself out of a sort of narrative hole, and then taking a better grasp of the story. For now, enjoy this projection into the future, and we’ll see whether this, too, get’s changed when the time comes.

(1)        It was yesterday. We were spraying, as usual. I admit we were spray painting. Look, I know the law and we had the permits. Show them the permits. We had the right to be there.

If I were less ethical, I could have blamed the other guys. In fact, I could have abandoned them and ran. But I am a man of Noah, and I know the law; at least I know that part. This happens a lot. Police usually don’t know anything, they just don’t. Luckily for us, I do.

‘Hey! You can’t be markin’ up that wall like that! Is that another one of them canted x-shapes? It’s you lot then, markin’ up the town! You best give all that up and come in with us.’

I heard them shouting, so I came, I ran. But, man, my peers are so…so good at fumbling up tense situations. Good thing I know the urban sprint. Hop, skip, run up the walls, onto the trash, swing off the window bars, slide down the side, skid ‘round the corner, man. Nice.

“You best leave my team alone. We’re here on business.” That’s what I said. Business. Usually stops them. But they didn’t even hear! Looks like the ‘prince’ over there already had it down, but damn! She was talking the wrong law! Where is she from?

She said, ‘No, this isn’t public property, it’s without your jurisdiction, unless you get a formal complaint. Look, he  has our papers, this is a job. What about you? Do you have your papers? Was there a complaint? Any warrant for you being here?”

Oh man, that’s not how things work here missy! After that, well, whew, violence man. We didn’t even move, but missy dismantled everyone for us. No sweat.

(2)        The litigator moved on to a different witness. “And you, you were there, my lord?”

‘As a bystander. I only saw the second part.’

“Please describe what you saw.”

‘Haha. Missy, that’s miss Chloe Rhye, fifth Prince of the Solune. They don’t have the honorific “princess” where she comes from. What a people, the Solune. She dismantled your three officers in seconds. Truly admirable—from a tactical perspective.

‘The draw of her weapon became the first attack, a cut across the chestplate of your first man. She flicked back the instant she’d made her hit; truly, a trained movement. Her weapon was back out before it could be seized—she slid into tierce with little effort.’

“Could you please limit the technical—”

‘That’s a point-up guard. She followed tierce up with a four, and then another four—’

“Please, the—”

‘—That’s an underhand thrust that ends in an upward sweep. Your men are so slow that she could hit with four twice before having to go back into a carte. And Chloe didn’t even bother moving onto the later cycles, although maybe she doesn’t know them. Regardless, she held carte and just kicked the poor man to the ground.

‘The rest fell likewise; engage stance on the secondary officer, (she has a terrific engage), into a one, into prime parry stance, smack the tertiary officer with a two, up to…I really wish she would protect her sword arm, but no, she slides back into engage carte, beats the secondary officer’s pikesword out of his hand, a smack to the face with the off hand, and then, no guard whatsoever, she grips her sabre two-hand (a very bad idea), and hits an oncoming attack from the tertiary. And then, lo! Kicks officer three to the ground as well! To my great pleasure, she cycled back to a carte, and then a prime hanging guard before sheathing. You may now understand why it is she prefers the military sabre to the officer’s one.’

“…You seem almost pleased about what occurred here.”

‘Truly; I trained her in the sabre.’ At this, the first witness laughed. ‘Further, as royal emissary, Prince Rhye, I believe, is subject to diplomatic immunity. Why she was with these vagrants is beyond my knowledge, however, she should answer to the Lussa royalty, not the law. I assume that you have contacted Prince Ryann?’

There was a short discussion among the court, and then recess was called.

You can see it was a bit of fun, an exercise in style.

Here’s a link to The Solune Prince (again), just in case you have an interest in the story, or Chloe as a character. She’s also a side character in the current draft of Alice and Finch, which you can find here.

See you later today, hopefully, or later than that. You can subscribe if you want, or follow my facebook, which is mostly auto-updates from this page anyway. I mostly chat and stuff on twitter, and my instagram has some cool visual arts and other ramblings.

Anyway, thanks for reading, I’ll be here every week lol. (And also later on today.)
Daniel Triumph.

Alice and Finch – Update 2

Happy too am I!
Where are you, my love?

Hello. I am Alexandre Dirge.

And I dub Alice and Finch’s life to be an Archetypal Comedy, and therefore eternal.

Now I digress from my memories of their love story to bring you evidence with the help of Northrop Frye.

Elements of Archetypal Comedy

These are the elements that occur in nearly all love stories (and realities) across nearly all cultures. (Sorry barbarians, you are hardly romantic.)

1

Two lovers. Two lovers who are destined for each other, often both secretly of noble blood; prince and princess. No explanation needed here.

(I will add, however, that the connection to royalty is a very Jewish tradition. For more, read,Song of Songs, which may or may not have been written by King Solomon, or contact your local Rabbi.)

2

Flawed Society. The society is flawed; even if the only flaw is that it does not approve of, or actively denies the love of the heroes.

  • Angry Father. The father represents society itself. Thus, often the father directly manifests the society’s disaproval of the heroes love. The father, usually the maiden’s father, but it could be as distant as a grandfather or even another member of the society, becomes a blocking character.

You can see conflict and excitement, and even longing on the horizon by now, surely.

3

Instant Love. There is nothing in between the lovers. It is as if they have known each other forever. They slip into each others’ lives as easily as they slip into each others’ arms. Love at first sight may be something only found in the realm of fantasy, but surely love at his words must be real.

This is, of course, how I fell in love.

I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
(Authorized King James Version, Job. 23.12 2, emphasis mine, italics in original)

4

Separation. How tragic! The lovers mus separate. It is either caused by a chaos or double chaos (brigands are a chaos. Water is a chaos as well, so pirates, thieves of the sea, are a double chaos.) Usually, however, it is the society’s failure in tandem with a chaos that sets it off.

  • Society. The society did not approve of Alice, the little monster, except for the other outcasts such as Finch the bookworm, the Metch priest, Prince Chloe Rhye, and myself. The guard were the final straw, urged by Ilias, and caused by…
  • Chaos. Alice is a chaos, because we don’t know (at least we didn’t know) what she was, what a Plainkind was. Plus, she was coming into puberty at the time, another chaos from within.

(The chaos being internal instead of external is, of course, very intriguing to me.)

5

Struggle to find oneness. Often this process brings out the woman’s beauty and desirably, as she longs for her husband-to-be. In the man, it brings out the same longing, and in some cases, even suicidal thoughts; “If I cannot be with her, I do not want to live!” (Infamously, Chaereas from one of the most ancient novels, Chaereas and Callirhoe, tried to die at least three times.)

  • Longing. Most of the wishes for death and disparity comes from longing. The pair are soul mates, and without each other, the world is but nothing, they are broken.

Fuck it all and fuckin’ no regrets
I hit the lights on these dark steps
Medallion noose, I hang myself
Saint Anger ’round my neck

And I choke… on the cross
As I hang… as I’m hanging
I just wanna die today
I just wanna die
Will tell you why

I’m madly in anger with you
I feel my world shake
Like an earth quake
Hard to see clear
Is it me? Is it fear?

Searching my head
For the words that you said

The light at the end of the tunnel
Was turned off
And something I noticed
Beating you is thrilling me
I’ve got a secret for you

Tears filled my eyes
As we said our last goodbyes
This sad scene replays
Of you walking away

The tides of change pulled us apart
I feel a familiar pain
In my hour of need,
No, you are not there
And though I reached out for you,
Wouldn’t lend a hand
My darkest hour is every hour
You’re not there
When no words are spoken and please are ignored
Your tears go unnoticed, will you say enough?

Did you ever think I get lonely?
Did you ever think that I needed love?
Did you ever think, stop thinking;
You’re the only one that I’m thinking of.
Goodbye 1000 times goodbye
The thought never crossed my mind
That this would be my last goodbye.

My heart, it hurts
‘Cause it never catches its breath
I’m still staying when I should have left
Come to where the waters meet the shore
I’ll be there
And I will stay, leaving you

I am really afraid
But I am her protector
You know?
You’ll be never alone again,
Cause I am your protector.

Waves—close your eyes and count slow
In this moment things are getting dangerous.
Oh no.
I can’t find my way.
All these things that left me in their waiting.
—I keep shaking.

But the things that she said sounded peculiar and strange
Like she couldn’t believe the words that were shaping
Her future life

(Plagiarized by Alexandre Jutt, and Daniel T.
Credits in order: Metallica, Two, Logic, Metallica, Megadeth, Falling Up, Daniel Triumph.)

The struggle to return as one pits the protagonists against many trials, mostly internal for the woman, and external for the man.

6

Reunion. Of course, there is a happy ending! The man finds his woman, or in the case of stories like An Ephesian Tale or An Ethiopian Story, the lovers find each other.

Sigh.

7

Wedding! Of course, the lovers need to lock in their commitment and become slaves to each other. How romantic, a choking band around the neck—I mean the finger. You will never be forgotten, Alice, Finch!

The old and corrupt society is inspired and renewed by the lovers’ actions and their fated reunion despite it all. The wedding festival brings happiness not only to the lovers, but to the whole city that celibates with them. Even the villains find their good spirit and join the celebration (if only to be arrested or likewise midway through. However, all are happy for the lovers, even they that opposed them see how wrong it was to do so.)

The marriage is very important, it is the symbol; a promise of a new and bright future. (Ah, love is in the air. Are you as excited for Alice and Finch’s wedding as I? Truly, I must finish these writings soon, for they are calling that I help with the preparations.)

35963625_1778460728867077_5277050098382012416_o

Bye bye, love,
Alexandre Dirge!

…and Daniel Triumph.

Read an essay on the first draft of Alice and Finch Here: Alice and Finch: The Archetypal Recapitulation

You can also check out Alice and Finch – Update 1 here, as it is far short, and less dense.

Finally, the first draft is available on this blog, for free in its entirety. Check it out if you are feeling impatient!

P.S.

Burying all of the evidence
My glamorous words will CATCH HER
Burying all of the evidence,
Some thousands of eyes will HAPPEN

P.P.S.:

STRUCTURALISM IN ART AHHGGGGG NORTHROP FRYE IT IS THE NEW FRONTIER OF SOCIAL SCIENCE AND I LOVE SOMEONE AS WELL WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT BLEGHH >:3

Life and Memory: An Overview of Programmatic Introductions and Mnemosyne

– The Most Artistic Detective Anime (That isn’t Really a Detective Fiction)

From a programmatic perspective, the opening scene of this anime is perfect. Both scenes. The only thing I could think to change would be the placement of the opening (put it after the opening scene, not before it! It’s more dramatic that way.)

Before I begin, let me set up the program for this review. I’ll be covering the first part of Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi, localized as Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne. Although, more accurately it can be translated simply as: Mnemosyne: Daughters of Mnemosyne. I will cover:

  • The first opening
  • Meeting Maeno
  • The Hotel Scene

So, with that out of the way, let’s begin.

The Opening Scene(s)

With the exception of the very “fast” final episode, Mnemosyne is a very tight, well-managed anime. By that I mean that every scene, almost every action, has its place. There would be something missing if you cut five or ten minutes from this show. Compare this to other anime or even television shows—think of how many scenes are just there for fun and may not add anything to the overall story—and you will quickly see why this is a complement.

The opening scene is a great example. Any good anime, television show, novel, play—any art form with a temporal aspect should tell you what it will be about within the first twenty or so minutes of the experience. The simple explanation is that you need to make sure your audience knows what they’re in for. Some people, certain academics anyway, call this the “program” of a narrative. Like the program you get if you go to a play or performance, the program of an anime tells you what’s going to happen, but skips the juicy details. If you’re in, your mind will ready itself for the payoff of the show. If no,  you can switch away knowing that you won’t be missing anything you wanted to see.

Mnemosyne opens with the intro song, which I might get into later, and then an opening scene. A woman is running up a stairwell from someone, a predator—a mercenary, sent to kill her. The setting is dark and urban, I might even call it noir, but I don’t know enough about the noir genre to correctly categorize anything. Who we presume is our hero makes it to a door, wearing only a button up shirt. It’s locked! Moving fast, she pulls out some steel and picks the lock, locking it behind her. Running up the stairs, she makes it to the rooftop just as the mercenary breaks the door down behind her. The, the mercenary arrives, armed with a shotgun. She spots her target and shots are fired. Rin sprints beneath the night sky and jumps to the other roof. Our hero didn’t make the jump—she’s hanging by one hand. The mercenary smiles, and shoots her. We watch Rin  fall to the ground, dead, followed (rather artistically) by her dismembered arm. The mercenary leaves, but not before crushing Rin’s fallen  glasses beneath her foot.

RIN Daughters of Mnemosyne 01 Cats Don't Laugh.mkv_snapshot_03.48_[2018.06.17_19.56.09].jpg
3:49
So, is this programmatic of the anime? Simply put, yes. There are a few important elements. The first would be the violence. Not just blood, but a full disembodied limb. It’s enough to give it its well-earned R+ rating at the very least. Later, there are at least two scenes of torture, so an audience had better be expecting something along those lines. The touch of nudity is also important, if only because there’s a bit of sexuality and nudity in the anime. Violence an nakedness are ever-present aspects of Mnemosyne, so a viewer should know right away that there’s a potential for their depiction. More important than the violence, however, is Rin’s reaction to it. She is very calm, despite her doom. This is also meaningful. It is a valid expression of the overall tone of the anime. Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi is a calm, intelligent deliberation on the value of life and immortality.

After this opening scene, Rin wakes up in her bed. A scene later, she’s in an office, wearing standard professional clothing, complete with a vest and tie. Is this a flashback? We’re left wondering for quite a few more scenes. We find out that Rin’s job is something of a jack-of-all trades type private investigator. Almost a Jessica Jones, without all the edginess. Shortly after, we meet another very important character, the character with the problem for the episode. He’s being hunted by some men in suits, and using swift and deadly combat abilities she saves him and they begin to talk.

The man, named Maeno, says he doesn’t know who he is. The scene is rather therapeutic, with him sitting on a red chair, facing perpendicular. “Amnesia?!” Shouts Rin. “No, I have my memory. I also know my address and phone number.” He explains. Maeno has a far worse problem, one a little more original. I won’t give it away, this episode is well worth the forty-five minutes. Right now though, neither party knows what’s wrong with him, although it is revealed by the end of the episode.

RIN Daughters of Mnemosyne 01 Cats Don't Laugh.mkv_snapshot_11.35_[2018.06.17_20.19.14]
11:35
There are some beautiful scenes in this anime, held back only by its budget. This image is the scene on which I’ll end my analysis of the introduction. Rin is on the phone. We don’t know with whom, and we won’t know until well past halfway through the series. This is important for the program though, as it alludes to something going on behind the scenes. (As does Rin’s references to the name “Apos,” and the appearance of the partially-incorporeal figure at the end of the hotel scene later.)

I have a lot more to say about this terrific and oft-missed anime, but I will end it here for today. But first, I’ll reveal whether or not the second scene is a flashback. Or rather, I’ll let the mercenary reveal it for you.

RIN Daughters of Mnemosyne 05 Holy Nights Dont Shine Brightly.mkv_snapshot_41.38_[2018.04.29_25.29.00].jpg
20:32 (The Hotel Scene)
Rin is immortal, she survived the fall, and regrew her arm.

Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi is a brilliant, bloody and artistic series. It’s loaded with symbolism and detail that even after analysing, I don’t think I’ve completely come to understand. It is not perfect. I believe that it needed on more episode, as the final one was a little too rush-paced. But that aside, if you’re looking for something truly unique, and with the ethos of an “anime was produced to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the AT-X network,” then Mnemosyne is not an anime to be passed on.

Daniel Triumph.

You can follow me:
For updates: Facebook, and Twitter
for art: DeviantArt and Instagram.

“Keep Dialogue Short”

This article is fairly explorative and contains long passages from literature. Enjoy.

Across blog posts, forums, and subreddits, there seems to be an almost universal rule in the online writing community. That notion that dialogue should be kept short, or even avoided. It isn’t as common as advice like “show don’t tell” or “don’t use the passive voice.” All three rules of thumb are fairly effective, but they can have important exceptions. “Telling,” for example, is very useful for summarization and transitions. When it comes to brevity of dialogue, the exceptions can be even greater.
I’ll begin by stating that I agree, for the most part, with the advice that “often, less dialogue is more.” Dialogue can be a something of a trap for a writer, and I think the reason is that dialogue is interesting. A writer (such as myself, on occasion) could, maybe subconsciously, assume that if dialogue is so interesting, anything spoken by a character must also be interesting. But, the problem is that like any prose or poetry, dialogue can be tedious and pointless.
The idea of limiting dialogue is one that even writers such as Ernest Hemingway agree with. He states, “Good dialogue is not real speech—it’s the illusion of real speech.” Further, the Iceberg Theory that emerged from his writing style is highly reflective of this mode of thought.
“If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water” (Earnest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon, p. 171).
As useful and interesting as the rule might be, I simply cannot see it as absolute. What if you need a scene with long dialogue? Do you therefore also need a giant iceberg beneath it? Should you cut it down, or turn some of the speech into description? Would that not be editing out “showing” and replacing it with “telling?” I wonder about these kinds of things.
When I read Jane Austin’s novel, Pride and Prejudice the mental playing field shifted. It seemed to me that Austin does a terrific job of contradicting a lot of the “write minimal dialogue” advice I’ve contended with. Below is a very good example of effective, but also long dialogue with little prose interrupting it.


“How delighted Miss Darcy will be to receive such a letter!”
[Mr. Darcy] made no answer.
“You write uncommonly fast.”
“You are mistaken. I write rather slowly.”
“How many letters you must have occasion to write in the course of a year! Letters of business, too! How odious I should think them!”
“It is fortunate, then, that they fall to my lot instead of yours.”
“Pray tell your sister that I long to see her.”
“I have already told her so once, by your desire.”
“I am afraid you do not like your pen. Let me mend it for you. I mend pens remarkably well.”
“Thank you–but I always mend my own.”
“How can you contrive to write so even?”
He was silent.
“Tell your sister I am delighted to hear of her improvement on the harp; and pray let her know that I am quite in raptures with her beautiful little design for a table, and I think it infinitely superior to Miss Grantley’s.”
“Will you give me leave to defer your raptures till I write again? At present I have not room to do them justice.”
“Oh! it is of no consequence. I shall see her in January. But do you always write such charming long letters to her, Mr. Darcy?”
“They are generally long; but whether always charming it is not for me to determine.”
“It is a rule with me, that a person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.”
“That will not do for a compliment to Darcy, Caroline,” cried her brother, “because he does NOT write with ease. He studies too much for words of four syllables. Do not you, Darcy?”
“My style of writing is very different from yours.”

“Oh!” cried Miss Bingley, “Charles writes in the most careless way imaginable. He leaves out half his words, and blots the rest.”

“My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them–by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents.”

“Your humility, Mr. Bingley,” said Elizabeth, “must disarm reproof.”

“Nothing is more deceitful,” said Darcy, “than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.”

“And which of the two do you call my little recent piece of modesty?”

“The indirect boast; for you are really proud of your defects in writing, because you consider them as proceeding from a rapidity of thought and carelessness of execution, which, if not estimable, you think at least highly interesting. The power of doing anything with quickness is always prized much by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance. When you told Mrs. Bennet this morning that if you ever resolved upon quitting Netherfield you should be gone in five minutes, you meant it to be a sort of panegyric, of compliment to yourself–and yet what is there so very laudable in a precipitance which must leave very necessary business undone, and can be of no real advantage to yourself or anyone else?”

“Nay,” cried Bingley, “this is too much, to remember at night all the foolish things that were said in the morning. And yet, upon my honour, I believe what I said of myself to be true, and I believe it at this moment. At least, therefore, I did not assume the character of needless precipitance merely to show off before the ladies.”

“I dare say you believed it; but I am by no means convinced that you would be gone with such celerity. Your conduct would be quite as dependent on chance as that of any man I know; and if, as you were mounting your horse, a friend were to say, ’Bingley, you had better stay till next week,’ you would probably do it, you would probably not go–and at another word, might stay a month.”

“You have only proved by this,” cried Elizabeth, “that Mr. Bingley did not do justice to his own disposition. You have shown him off now much more than he did himself.”

“I am exceedingly gratified,” said Bingley, “by your converting what my friend says into a compliment on the sweetness of my temper. But I am afraid you are giving it a turn which that gentleman did by no means intend; for he would certainly think better of me, if under such a circumstance I were to give a flat denial, and ride off as fast as I could.”

(From Pride and Prejudice, chapter 10; By Jane Austen, 1811)


The section quoted above contains short and banter, but is also a quite perfect depiction of Darcy’s introversion. Then, very shortly after this passage, the dialogue goes on for a couple more pages, with characters throwing entire paragraphs of dialogue at each other.
It’s an example of long dialogue from a classic—a classic in the literary canon nonetheless. And it isn’t just her. Anyone familiar with Leo Tolstoy would know that he’s no stranger to long dialogue himself. I think the way that he gets away with it is by only writing out explicit speech when the characters are saying something important, or in a specific manner. At other times, it seems, he leaves communications in prose.


This first quarrel arose from Levin’s having gone out to a new farmhouse and having been away half an hour too long, because he had tried to get home by a short cut and had lost his way. He drove home thinking of nothing but her, of her love, of his own happiness, and the nearer he drew to home, the warmer was his tenderness for her. He ran into the room with the same feeling, with an even stronger feeling than he had had when he reached the Shtcherbatskys’ house to make his offer. And suddenly he was met by a lowering expression he had never seen in her. He would have kissed her; she pushed him away.

“What is it?”

“You’ve been enjoying yourself,” she began, trying to be calm and spiteful. But as soon as she opened her mouth, a stream of reproach, of senseless jealousy, of all that had been torturing her during that half hour which she had spent sitting motionless at the window, burst from her. It was only then, for the first time, that he clearly understood what he had not understood when he led her out of the church after the wedding. He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began. He felt this from the agonizing sensation of division that he experienced at that instant.

(From Anna Karenina, Part 5 Chapter 17; By Leo Tolstoy, 1877)


Here, most of Seryozha’s lesson explanation and not dialogue. It could easily have been dialogue, but instead Tolstoy focused on the actions and emotions, rather than the words that were said.
Despite this example and its effectiveness, I should point out that, in both Anna Karenina and War and Peace, there are often large strings of dialogue, sometimes entire chapters devoted to conversation. Tolstoy doesn’t write communication all the time, but I thought this style was very interesting.
From my experience with these two writers I’ve gathered a few things: Like any other part of a story, dialogue must either advance/address the plot, or reveal character. By my recollection, all the dialogue in Pride and Prejudice follows the two rules, and by reverse, a lot of the impressions and opinions the characters express in that novel could only be properly conveyed through dialogue. Leo Tolstoy shows (occasionally) that sometimes explaining what a character is trying to communicate through prose can be more effective than dialogue.
Impressions, opinions, and… emotions. I think that a solid overarching reason for why the dialogue in Anna Karenina and Pride and Prejudice is so effective is because it offers a direct emotional conduit between the character and the reader. The long passages of dialogue in either work will often cover an emotional arc. One of the speaking characters will often be feeling strong emotions that shift and change as they talk. It keeps their words engaging, and it allows the reader to tune in and empathize with the speaker directly.
This sort of effect isn’t always possible through non-dialogue prose because that comes from (or through) the writer, whereas dialogue feels more like direct quotation from a character. That isn’t to say that a reader shouldn’t connect to a writer, or a writer’s ideas. It just means that dialogue could be a better medium than prose if a writer wants their reader to connect with a character.
But then again… there’s always “revealing character through action.” Aren’t actions supposed to be louder than words? Well now I’ve sort of come full circle.
I think it’s clear that there are few universal rules in writing, and that “keep dialogue short” probably isn’t one of them. It’s a good rule of thumb, but if you can strongly justify your dialogue’s place in the story, then you might have an exception on your hands.

Daniel Triumph.
Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina (as well as Alice in Wonderland and War and Peace) are in the public domain, meaning that you can legally find them all, in their entirety, online for free.

You can follow me:
For updates: Facebook, and Twitter
for art: DeviantArt and Instagram.


P.S: For readers of The Solune Prince (or any of my other fiction)

I’m still coming up with a schedule for the release of The Solune Prince.

If I can get rigid writing schedule down, then I might be able to manage once a week, but it would likely be at the expense of other kind of post, or at least any other kind of quality post.

Once every two weeks seems decent, but that might be too long between chapters. What might end up happening is a “minimum of one chapter every two weeks.” Or I might tighten the blog down to just chapters of The Solune Prince for the summer, and then loosen up around when university re-opens.

For now, know that, exactly as before, the schedule is up in the air. (But I’ll get that nailed down in the future.) Either way, Chapter 2 will be released next Thursday.

(also check out https://danieltriumph.com/the-solune-prince/ for the first chapter.)

P. P. S.: This is the original Anna Karenina quote I had. I switched it for the marriage one, since it was a better (and perhaps more interesting) example.


“You understand that, I hope?” said his father.

“Yes, papa,” answered Seryozha, acting the part of the imaginary boy.

The lesson consisted of learning by heart several verses out of the Gospel and the repetition of the beginning of the Old Testament. The verses from the Gospel Seryozha knew fairly well, but at the moment when he was saying them he became so absorbed in watching the sharply protruding, bony knobbiness of his father’s forehead, that he lost the thread, and he transposed the end of one verse and the beginning of another. So it was evident to Alexey Alexandrovitch that he did not understand what he was saying, and that irritated him.

He frowned, and began explaining what Seryozha had heard many times before and never could remember, because he understood it too well, just as that “suddenly” is an adverb of manner of action. Seryozha looked with scared eyes at his father, and could think of nothing but whether his father would make him repeat what he had said, as he sometimes did. And this thought so alarmed Seryozha that he now understood nothing. But his father did not make him repeat it, and passed on to the lesson out of the Old Testament. Seryozha recounted the events themselves well enough, but when he had to answer questions as to what certain events prefigured, he knew nothing, though he had already been punished over this lesson.

(From Anna Karenina, Part 5 Chapter 27; By Leo Tolstoy, 1877)

Musings on Gender and Characters

This is adapted from a reply to a reddit thread: “Male writers, what annoys you the most about women making male characters?”

I think most people agree that there isn’t really a problem with how women and men are written either way. Psychologically, the statistics show that the average man and the average woman are very similar. This is no surprise, as we have to get along for biological reasons at the very least.

Skylar Astin in Pitch Perfect (2012)
Had to look up his name. It’s Jesse. Nice guy, but is that enough?

However, something I notice more in movies and shows written by women (or anyone, I’m not really sure who’s writing in those contexts) for women, is that the men can be toothless. Take the guy from the rightfully popular Pitch Perfect. If a man came and challenged him, would he stand up for himself? Would he stand up for what’s-her-face? I don’t know, but I can’t definitively say yes. Antagonists and “bad boys”, of course, don’t have this problem. (I like Pitch Perfect though, but I feel like Aubrey has more spine then this dude.)

My personal process has always been like this: To start, I used to write a person first and think about gender later. That’s how we grow up after all, before puberty not many little kids give a damn what they are, not really. I think I cared about my age more than my gender. As my writing developed, this point turned out not to be enough. Little known fact, women are not just feminine men! Wow! Took my brain a little while to figure that one out. (To all my masculine female characters, you are remembered, and you will live on.)

Yaska of Souls
Yaska Rheya May Däwngale is more masculine than feminine… and I don’t really care.

Second, I had to figure out where masculine and feminine motivation differ. The feminine side (not necessarily the “woman”) is, according to literary archetypes, looking for someone that wants to become better, and then helping them do that. Beauty and the Beast is a decent example of what has come to be known as “the female hero archetype.” By my criteria, good fathers and good leaders have also embedded this aspect, so it isn’t just women.

Masculine motivation in the literary landscape is usually presented as the “hero’s journey.” Going out into the world, fighting a fear (dragon), and getting valuable experience (gold) in the process. It’s about going out, facing fears, and learning. Then, of course, he brings his gold and knowledge back to the community, or his family. That’s your stereotypical 60s “working man” right there. And, as before, obviously women need to face fears and learn too.

In ancient myths, it seems, the external and exploratory world was portrayed as masculine, and the domestic, and internal worlds as feminine. You can argue about that, but I didn’t write ancient myths, so I don’t much care. It’s cool to see that these two can quite easily intertwine though. Going out into the world, but need to improve as an individual? Doing some introspection, and you remember something you did that you can’t explain? Everyone needs to embed a bit of both, even your written characters.

Third is, physical issues. Writing women has been a long process of exploration and discovery for me. Women’s lives are more complicated than men’s; I don’t think it’s going too far to make such a statement. Take, for example, the current issue I’m exploring; what the hell is a career-oriented woman supposed to do if she want’s a child? What? What would you tell her? Seriously. There’s no good answer to this. If there is, I don’t know it, and that’s why I write. To find out.

Oh, actually, Camille Paglia has an answer. Hack the system, have children while you’re in university. You can imagine how fun that is, and how many semesters you’ll be taking off. But it’s a functional solution, It’s been done, my mother did it. It’s great because it leaves your later career free and open.

king_janna_rhye_by_danieltriumph-dbkzgtd
Janna Rhye, Fifth Prince of the Solune, Heir to the Solune Throne.

Finally, if the Five Factor Mode of personality are to be taken seriously (it’s what is used in psychology right now, so the answer to that is yes), then there are slight differences between men and women. Women are, on average, higher in neuroticism and agreeableness; so inversely, men tend to score lower in those two areas (Chapman). Openness and extroversion are generally the same (Chapman), and average IQ is identical across genders (no source, feel free to look it up).

As a male writer, I’ve come to the point where I can write better female characters than male characters. I don’t know what to do about that really. The solution to writing any gender, even your own, is to explore and research. The internet is free. Libraries will often take you deeper than the internet, especially academic ones. There’s no excuse for a hard working writer not to write a good character. In the mean time, I need to develop my males.


Works Cited

Chapman, Benjamin P. et al. “Gender Differences in Five Factor Model Personality Traits in an Elderly Cohort: Extension of Robust and Surprising Findings to an Older Generation.” Personality and individual differences 43.6 (2007): 1594–1603. PMC. Web. 7 Mar. 2018.

Daniel Triumph.

You can follow me:
For updates: Facebook, or Twitter
for art: DeviantArt and Instagram.