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A Study in Loss & Hunger
A Study in Loss & Hunger
Published by In A Dark Light
4 Weeks Ago
A Study in Loss & Hunger

Me again. Well, you know how it is...you wait for one publication then two come along at once. My story 'A Study in Loss & Hunger' was published by the Horror/Crime magazine 'Yellow Mama' today, and can be read by clicking the link below.

In spite of these recent publications, I do feel I'm still some considerable distance away from being an even half way decent writer (I would have changed that dreadful title for a start). Still, I present the story here for your reading 'pleasure', as I believe it has some minor Ligottian elements to it. (On the plus side, this does represent the very first time I've had my work illustrated.)

Loss and Hunger
8 Thanks From:
Doctor Dugald Eldritch (4 Weeks Ago), Kevin (4 Weeks Ago), miguel1984 (4 Weeks Ago), Mr. Veech (4 Weeks Ago), Robert Adam Gilmour (4 Weeks Ago), Speaking Mute (4 Weeks Ago), xylokopos (4 Weeks Ago), Zaharoff (4 Weeks Ago)
  #1  
By Robert Adam Gilmour on 4 Weeks Ago
Re: A Study in Loss & Hunger

Read and enjoyed your three stories here tonight.

I'm not a writer and this may not be helpful but I'll suggest wariness of using words too familiar in this genre, like: stygian, arcane, obscene, singular, decadent, foetid, abyss, misshapen, etc. Not that you should never use them, just careful about it.
Easier said than done, because if I were writing I'd want to be as sinisterly ornate as possible and its very easy to gravitate to familiar evocative words to achieve this. I'm not taking issue with the stylistic direction, keep going that way.

But sometimes I'm not entirely sure about what I've just said, maybe I should revel in the familiar words a little more, because they can be still quite suggestive and powerful . I guess there's a healthy balance to strike.
Although I do feel certain Lovecraft and CASmith used their favourite words too often.

Looking forward to more.
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  #2  
By Robert Adam Gilmour on 4 Weeks Ago
Re: A Study in Loss & Hunger

I really liked the second last paragraph of this story.
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  #3  
By In A Dark Light on 4 Weeks Ago
Re: A Study in Loss & Hunger

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
Read and enjoyed your three stories here tonight.

I'm not a writer and this may not be helpful but I'll suggest wariness of using words too familiar in this genre, like: stygian, arcane, obscene, singular, decadent, foetid, abyss, misshapen, etc. Not that you should never use them, just careful about it.
Easier said than done, because if I were writing I'd want to be as sinisterly ornate as possible and its very easy to gravitate to familiar evocative words to achieve this. I'm not taking issue with the stylistic direction, keep going that way.

But sometimes I'm not entirely sure about what I've just said, maybe I should revel in the familiar words a little more, because they can be still quite suggestive and powerful . I guess there's a healthy balance to strike.
Although I do feel certain Lovecraft and CASmith used their favourite words too often.

Looking forward to more.
Many thanks for taking the time to a) read the story, and b) offer your analysis. I'm positively open to criticism from anyone who frequents this forum, as I trust in their ability to differentiate between 'good' and 'bad' weird fiction. Family and friends will often offer up only empty platitudes when asked for feedback.

I certainly take your point regarding the overuse of certain 'genre-specific' words, and did actually consider my use of the word 'Stygian' when writing this piece, but as this was a deliberate attempt at a somewhat Lovecraftian voice, I decided to roll with it in the end. Certainly, I'm someone who groans when a writer uses an obvious cliché in their prose (for example - 'at the end of the day, 'when all's said and done' etc), so I'm very keen on avoiding them in my own work. While reading and writing often inform one another, and a writer certainly needs to read copiously in order to develop, the two are ultimately very different disciplines. Like looking at a maze, it can appear obvious what route one should take in order to escape if you're looking down upon the maze, but it's a hell of a lot harder to work that out when you're actually the one inside of the maze.

Even after its publication, I've immediately picked up on changes I would make now, which weren't obvious when editing the piece. The word 'materialise' when referring to an incoming tide, for example, seems woefully misplaced at the end of its sentence, while I also appeared to miss a lot of 'it's' which should have been corrected to 'its'. Still, I'm very much in the juvenile stage of my attempts at writing fiction, and I can only hope to learn from my mistakes and, hopefully, improve upon them.

Once again, many thanks for taking the time to offer a critique of my story. It really is most welcome; and if the story succeeded in entertaining you even a little, then I hope I have managed to pay you back in kind .
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  #4  
By Mr. Veech on 4 Weeks Ago
Re: A Study in Loss & Hunger

I enjoyed it immensely. I thought it was deliberately written as a traditional piece with elements of both Lovecraft and C.A. Smith. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. It's quite common for writers to pay continual homage to one another. After all, Lovecraft deliberately wrote like Poe. Ligotti, especially in his first two collections, deliberately wrote like Lovecraft.

I don't mean, of course, to refute any of Robert's suggestions.
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  #5  
By Robert Adam Gilmour on 4 Weeks Ago
Re: A Study in Loss & Hunger

"Stygian" is a great word, so it's understandable. "Abyss" is difficult to replace.

I'm kind of glad I'm a drawer/painter instead of a writer because I don't know how many ways I could describe darkness.

Was this story at all inspired by the future visions in House On The Borderland?

"Down" and "An Infirmity Of Stars" have an inescapable pattern and location. In this story the spider eventually escapes them but maybe the dreamer doesn't?
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  #6  
By Robert Adam Gilmour on 4 Weeks Ago
Re: A Study in Loss & Hunger

Actually the girl in "Down" should also escape by dying.
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  #7  
By In A Dark Light on 4 Weeks Ago
Re: A Study in Loss & Hunger

Mr Veech - Many thanks for your kind words. As I stated earlier in the thread, it really does mean a lot to receive feedback from the members of this forum, who, I suppose, are ultimately the very people I am aiming my fiction at.

I'm very pleased that the homage to both Lovecraft and Smith came through in the prose. It's not a style I intend to adopt going forward, but I'm pleased to hear it was at least somewhat successful in this instance.

Robert Adam Gilmour - I've often wished that I could be a painter/artist. A picture does paint a thousand words after all (what was that I said about clichés earlier on?), and there's something about the immediacy of capturing a single image which appeals to me greatly (not that I'm suggesting being an artist is in any way easy). Unfortunately, I am pretty much the only person in my family who has no artistic talent whatsoever. No one else in the family can write for toffee, however, so perhaps it balances itself out.

This story wasn't actually inspired by 'The House on the Borderland', as it was written several months before I got round to reading that particular book. Where it was inspired, however, was in the works of Tolkien. Specifically the image (see above) of the giant spider 'Ungoliant', whose hunger was so great that she was believed to have eventually consumed herself. I merely built upon this outline of an idea and attempted to take it in my own direction.

In terms of a theme running through both 'An Infirmity of Stars' and 'Down', it is a theme which would undoubtedly appear to be there, though was not put there intentionally. If I were going to psychoanalyse my own writing in any way (blimey), then I might be tempted to think that these themes of ever decreasing patterns which may be only be escaped by descending into darkness, might be a reflection of my suffering from Fibromyalgia, in which case my body would be caught in the ever decreasing pattern of persistent pain and fatigue, with, perhaps, sleep offering a sense of respite.

Of course, it could all just be a coincidence and I could be talking utter drivel. But I have often wondered if my interest in the theme of entropy, including outside of my own work, might not reflect the nature of the illness from which I suffer.
Last edited by In A Dark Light; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:43 PM..
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