Tar Pit: A Love Story (Valentines Theme)

100 word stories. Post all you like, maybe we'll dip in and use yours?
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Varda
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Tar Pit: A Love Story (Valentines Theme)

Post by Varda » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:48 pm

This is a love story about a tree and its hole.

From the beginning they seemed made for each other. They hugged each other’s curves, matching bend for bend -- a union which grew more perfect with each passing year.

It came to a sudden end one day when a ravenous Apatosaurus tore up the whole tree by its roots and devoured it.

The hole doesn’t forget, though. Far from it. Nursing its vendetta, it gapes wide, deepens, and fills its heart with black tar. It waits for that murderous, leaf-stuffed bastard to return.

Given time, it can devour things too.
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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Lovecraft-ish)

Post by chemistryguy » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:31 pm

You have some wonderfully nontraditional love stories.

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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Lovecraft-ish)

Post by the-hest-of-hale » Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:30 am

I love how you take us from the dream through the nightmare and leave us anticipating the righting of the balance left lingering from the wrong.

It had a great rhythm when I read it aloud and every word feels in it's place. The only three I get caught up on are sauropod, practically and enough. Sauropod comes out of the blue, catches me by surprise and then I wonder what kind of it is. I like how "were practically" sets up the not quite perfect which "grows more perfect". It just disrupts the beat I hear when I read everything else. I find it again when I put "seemed' in there. ONE-TWO-THREE (This is a story) (About a tree) (and its hole.) ONE-TWO-THREE (From the beginning) (They seemed made) (for each other.) Enough works well and has a nice rhythm. You just have such amazing economy that it doesn't feel like "Given time" is worked on enough by ENOUGH to give it that feeling of necessity every other word has. That's all the thought I can offer as payment for such a cool read.

Thank you for making me explore what it's like to be a hole in the ground.

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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Lovecraft-ish)

Post by Varda » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:02 pm

the-hest-of-hale wrote:I love how you take us from the dream through the nightmare and leave us anticipating the righting of the balance left lingering from the wrong.

It had a great rhythm when I read it aloud and every word feels in it's place. The only three I get caught up on are sauropod, practically and enough. Sauropod comes out of the blue, catches me by surprise and then I wonder what kind of it is. I like how "were practically" sets up the not quite perfect which "grows more perfect". It just disrupts the beat I hear when I read everything else. I find it again when I put "seemed' in there. ONE-TWO-THREE (This is a story) (About a tree) (and its hole.) ONE-TWO-THREE (From the beginning) (They seemed made) (for each other.) Enough works well and has a nice rhythm. You just have such amazing economy that it doesn't feel like "Given time" is worked on enough by ENOUGH to give it that feeling of necessity every other word has. That's all the thought I can offer as payment for such a cool read.

Thank you for making me explore what it's like to be a hole in the ground.
This is really helpful! I made some edits to make your observations into account. Did it improve the rhythm? I made myself pick a sauropod, too, although it's always hard to narrow it down to just one. Someday I'm gonna write a drabble with I just list 'em off, and call it brilliant. :wink:

And thanks for the kind words. I wrote while thinking about the pleural cavity in the human body of all things, which is a potential space between the membranes around the lungs. The cavity only exists when something's gone terribly wrong. I like the idea that absences can sometimes be presences, like a black hole, or like grief.
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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Lovecraft-ish)

Post by the-hest-of-hale » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:19 pm

I just spent a good chunk of time writing a reply. When I clicked preview, it asked me to log back in and refreshed the page, leaving an empty, white screen. So, the telegraphic condensed version.

1) Telegraph: Clear image now. Love the Apatosaurus. Didn't know Bronto.

2)
Varda wrote:a union which grew more perfect with each passing year.

Consummate love.

It came to a sudden end one day when a hungry Apatosaurus tore up the whole tree by its roots and devoured it.


Telegraph: Old version better. Passing year, one day link conceptually. Plot comes to rest, action starts again. Exhale, inhale. Perfect Union. Consummate love's a hiccup. Revert, revert. Damn my advice!

3) Telegraph: Economy of words yield difficult times. Read, Re-read, no space for more. Ah, ha! Found one gap.
Varda wrote:when a hungry Apatosaurus


Between hungry and Apatosaurus, two words. Twofold effect: clearer image. make Apato a baddy. chisel toothed? whip tailed? Hard to balance the sounds. Sure you'll find the perfect words.

P.S. More ink please. STOP.

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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Lovecraft-ish)

Post by Varda » Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:27 pm

Hey, double feedback? I like you! Stick around, please! :D There's a fresh shipment of ink headed your way. Don't concern yourself too much if it's reddish, and turns brown after use; that's just magic, color-changing Drabbleink. I swear all the pros use it.

I'm upgrading "hungry" to "ravenous" in hopes the extra assonance with the vowels in "Apatosaurus" gives it a little more pop. Perhaps I'll move those remaining two words to-wards the end. Something like: "It waits for the murderer to return. To stumble."

Next time I see that tar pit scene in "Fantasia", I'm gonna applaud. It's high time we stopped feeling so bad for tar pit dinosaurs, methinks.
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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Lovecraft-ish)

Post by the-hest-of-hale » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:42 pm

Huzzah for tar pits, the inter-species go-between for millennia. Need an introduction? Then, fall right in! We'll make sure you get there despite massive extinctions.

"Ravenous Apatosaurus" rocks it! It gets the assonance and puts a splotch on the otherwise innocent herbivore.
Varda wrote:It waits for the murderer to return. To stumble.

Given time, it can devour things too.
Stumble gives the apatosaurus a more active role. If it stumbles, then it's really the agent of its demise rather than the empowered pit. Waiting is so passive that it sets the bar really low.

Other places I can now see to fiddle in two words:

1.
Varda wrote:This is a love story about a tree and its hole.
You could attribute the story to a source: "Desert wise women tell a story..." "Recently found petroglyphs record..." However, I'm not sure that's the tone you want. "This is a story.." sets a definite feel.

2.
Varda wrote:for the murderer to return.
Between the and murderer. However, I like the economy of the sentence as it stands already.

3.
Varda wrote: It waits for the murderer to return. To stumble.
What about "It waits for the murderer to return. Ever yearning."
You get the dual sense of hunger to devour and longing for a lost love. It seems like it comes close to the edge of saying too much that you've left unsaid.

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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Lovecraft-ish)

Post by Varda » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:10 am

Hmm. How do you like this:

"It slumbers. It waits for the murder to return."

Or perhaps, "It schemes."

This may end up being one of my leanest, meanest drabbles ever! :twisted:
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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Lovecraft-ish)

Post by strawman » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:00 am

Don't want to over-it it.
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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Lovecraft-ish)

Post by Varda » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:52 am

strawman wrote:Don't want to over-it it.
... You're right. I didn't notice that. Dang.

Okay, let's look at modifying "murderer". How about "chlorophyll-drinking murderer" or "cellulose-rending murderer"?

But then again, I believe those would only count as 1 word, which means I still need to find a home for #100. Maybe I can modify "heart" as well.
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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Lovecraft-ish)

Post by the-hest-of-hale » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:08 am

If you were a hole who had lost your tree, how would you view living creatures? It is really tough getting into the mind of a hole.

How would a hole insult an apatosaurus? Air sucking? overstuffed? leaf bloated?

One of the tools I use sometimes when writing is the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA).
http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/

When I search for a wildcard adjective [j*] with murderer ( [j*] murderer ), the interesting results I get are: cold blooded, condemned, brutal, escaped, genocidal, ruthless, sadistic, and vicious.

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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Lovecraft-ish)

Post by Varda » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:16 am

Yowza! That website is a great resource. Thanks for sharing - will bookmark that for future use.

Hmm. I rather the ring of something like, "It waits for that murderous, leaf-stuffed bastard to return." :mrgreen: *makes edits*

Huge thanks for donating the synapses, once again. Hope I can return the favor. It was only yesterday that MonsieurMoustache and I were discussing how hard it is to get a good crit on a piece of flash fiction this short, and here you come walking into the forums like we spoke the forbidden words that summoned you. As it is Lovecraft Month, I say to you: May your reign of terror be long, brutal, and insanity-inducing!
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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Valentines Theme)

Post by Varda » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:17 pm

Bumped for Valentines Theme. :)
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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Valentines Theme)

Post by gunsofchekhovia » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:41 pm

Oh, I dig this. Missed it the first time around, glad you bumped it.

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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Valentines Theme)

Post by Scattercat » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:10 pm

Hell yes.

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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Valentines Theme)

Post by Algernon Sydney is Dead » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:42 am

Heard it on the 'cast. Great! Loved the love story, the verbiage, the plot and the twist.

Of course it's brontosaurus (and Pluto is a planet), dag blabbit! ;)

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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Valentines Theme)

Post by Varda » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:16 pm

Thanks, ASiD! :D I was always happy with the way this one turned out. Glad it eventually found a home on an episode.
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Re: Tar Pit: A Love Story (Valentines Theme)

Post by jeetkuneluke » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:35 pm

Heard this on the podcast. Love it! Fun twist. Not only is it the first time I've heard a tar pit personified, but it's also a brilliant explanation of where fossils come from. :-)

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