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Views of the Loch--game-meme sort of thing - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Views of the Loch--game-meme sort of thing
I'm reading The Art of Fiction (yes, sjepstein, I'm finally getting around to it), and Gardner gives a writing exercise about tone and details and so on. The exercise is to describe a barn from the point of view of a man who's just lost his only son, and to get it across without mentioning anything specific about the situation--just get the character across by the way he describes the barn. I don't know how it is as a writing exercise, but it sounded like a fun LJ-game.

So, these are the rules:

1. In a paragraph, describe the Hogwarts lake from the point of view of a canon character at some point in canon (or known canon history). Do not name the character or give any details about the situation. No, "It had been years since..." sorts of things, nothing that will nail the character down explicitly (gendered pronouns are all right if your character is one of the things on which the environment has a physical effect (eg, "the water ran over her shoes")). Do not use emotion words (eg, "The lake seemed lonely..."). The lake should be viewed at roughly the same time of day. (Yup, I'm taking away the "dark, stormy night.")

2. Repeat three times, with different characters in different situations. You may choose any season for the character to be viewing the lake, but the weather should be similar--if it's cloudy in one, it's cloudy in the others.

3. Let your f-list guess who's who, and when (and say why they think so). Don't confirm or correct.

4. A day later, post a follow-up paragraph to each that reveals the character and situation.

1. The wind danced with the surface of the lake, twirling and dipping it, kissing the water with reckless abandon. Trees chittered to one another on the far bank, sending leaves swirling out above the water, landing and traveling like green parchment boats. The squid, perhaps mistaking them food, waved a tentacle into the sunlight, sending droplets of water into the afternoon, and the grass at the bank whispered its quiet and eternal promises.

2. Wind-ripples crashed toward the banks of the lake, flooding the feeble grass that grew close to it. Cold tendrils reached for dry land, weaving around his shoes, not touching him. Across the water, the stern trees threw their leaves into the slipstream, watching them pull apart and scatter to the ends of the earth, watching them slip beneath the waves, abandoning them to the dark season of decay.

3. The castle hovered over the lake, far enough away that it was hidden by the loud flap of his cloak in the wind. The water crashed and thundered, the air cut and wailed. It all flowed from him and back into him, a great and frigid expanse with roots deep in the earth. It smelled of granite and rich loam, a heady, intoxicating, powerful mix. Small waves swirled up to him, as if the demons in its depths were paying obeisance to the day.
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a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: January 1st, 2006 12:57 am (UTC) (Link)
1) Harry and Ginny, late in HBP?

2) ???

3) Tom Riddle, possibly before he returns to ask for the DADA job.
a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: January 1st, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
After further consideration, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess Remus in the autumn of '96 for #2.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: January 1st, 2006 02:05 am (UTC) (Link)
1. Harry and Ginny.

2. Sirius, PoA.

3. Lord Voldemort
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: January 1st, 2006 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)
This is a lot harder to write than I thought.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 1st, 2006 05:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it's actually really challenging. I'm thinking about trying the exercise as written in the book (the barn, original character about whom we know nothing going in), but doing the three comparative ones was hard. And fun.
hymnia From: hymnia Date: January 1st, 2006 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
1. Harry or Ginny, around the time of their splendor in the grass - "danced", "kissing" and "eternal promises" suggest romance is on this person's mind.
2. I want to say Harry mourning Sirius in OotP, because of the images of loss and death, but since we have that scene in canon, I'm guessing it's not that. I don't know who else it could be.
3. My first guess would be Snape, because he seems like the sort of person who would notice the smell of granite and rich loam; he might also think in terms of power and demons. I can't guess when this would take place, though.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 1st, 2006 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
1) Harry and Ginny, the walk around the lake during "several sunlit days" from Harry's perspective.
The tone of the paragraph is giddy joy. The use of "them" shows that there were at least two people present.

3) Tom Riddle, first sight of Hogwarts in his first year. The tone is ominous but also shows "delusions of dark grandeur" on the part of the subject.

2) This one is harder. It could be Remus Lupin right after the Potter's deaths . We don't know where he was the night the Potters died but he could have been at Hogwarts. The feeling is of abandonment and the world being pulled apart and scattered. He thinks that three of his friends are dead and that the other one is their murderer.
It could also be Harry, following either Sirius's or Dumbledore's deaths. Perhaps it is more likely Harry because we know that he was at Hogwarts after both of these deaths.

barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: January 1st, 2006 09:22 am (UTC) (Link)
1. Albus Dumbledore, after Harry's sent to the Dursleys
2. Snape, after Dumbledore's first injury
3. Voldemort, as Tom Riddle, after he's killed the Riddles
From: mrs_muggle Date: January 1st, 2006 10:06 am (UTC) (Link)
1. Ginny, late in HBP.
2. Snape, after making the Unbreakable Vow.
3. Tom Riddle, after Hagrid's expulsion. (Unless it's Gilderoy Lockhart.)
cyndisuesue From: cyndisuesue Date: January 1st, 2006 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was very hard! I've changed my answers on each twice! I'll now go with:

1) Ginny. After Harry leaves her at the DD's funeral. First, I too, though "Sunlit Days", but now I'm not so sure. While romance is in the mood and tone, it is also so...sad.

2) Snape. The feeling here is of Gloom. Darkness coming and unavoidable. Maybe after DD's hand was "saved".

3)Tom M. Riddle. After his first Horcrux, the Diary, was created! I sense something "snake-like" in the sense of smell!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 1st, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
1. Luna. Not sure wen, or why I think so...it just 'feels' like Luna to me.

2. At first I was thinking Harry, at some point of grief - likely Dumbledore's death rather than Sirius's, I think, although it could be either...it's the sense of abandonment that makes me think this. When I reread it, though, I'm not sure I can see Harry thiking about "feeble grass", for some reason. So my second guess would be Snape, although I think he'd be most likely to feel this way just after Dumbledore's death, and he's no longer at Hogwarts then...

3. I had really no idea, but I like someone else's suggestion of Tom Riddle, either when he comes to ask for the DADA job, or possibly when he's younger and has just opened the Chamber.

~Jme13 (from the Quill)
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: January 2nd, 2006 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
So, do we get answers soon?
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