The Amazing Adventures of Sara Corel
A novel by Toomey

The Last Scribe
Sharon Best (the Last Scribe…)

      Very, very nice. I loved it. It is dark and moody and bleak, but the mood is perfect for the tale. Last of a race, unable to die, unable to be free — then, the fact that it's a tattered document found long after she's gone. I like the idea that Terrans rose up to destroy an Empire that the Velorians could not. Strength of arm is not the only strength, and those whom the gods choose are not necessary as strong as those whom nature chooses.
      The idea of writing verse purely to create mood and emotion has always been beyond me, but your poem really works to do just that. It creates a song in one's mind, a few phrases and the feeling persisting long after the reading is done. Sort of like one of those commercial jingles that you find yourself humming, but very pleasant. Which, of course, is what good poetry is all about.
      "The idea of writing verse purely to create mood and emotion…"
      Precisely the point, Sharon. I written before about writing efficiently, and there is no more efficient way to write than poetry. The principal reason for this is that poetry evokes a pre-determined response. You don't have to get into all the niggling little details — just push the right buttons and the reader does all the work.
      It's like painting a picture of a tree leaf by leaf. You end up with incredible detail, but — after all — each leaf really looks pretty much like every other leaf. An artist who slashes just the right shape and color across the canvas to suggest a tree evokes the memories of trees in the eye of the beholder — and it's even more effective because of the beholder's meaningful familiarity with perhaps a certain special tree.
      This short bit of doggerel could easily be expanded into a novel, or even a whole series of novels. But it wouldn't have any more meaning for the reader. I know that my intended audience already knows about all the details, so all I have to do is suggest a scene and it becomes reality in your minds, colored by your own interpretations and dreams. It would mean nothing to someone coming across it by accident from the hinterlands of cyberspace.
      If I described perfectly and in great detail the last hopeless stand of the Protectors of Earth, it would have no more impact on you than what you envisioned when you read that one verse, but only because you have already experienced such ultimate battles in all the myriad ways throughout the AU. The images come when called.
      Of course, in writing our novels, we break new ground. If we wrote prose as efficiently as poetry, we would produce nothing to be poetic about. There's a balance, though. I think the main criticism I have when I talk about efficiency is the failure to evoke the familiar when it would be appropriate. Alternating descriptive passages with evocative passages can be highly effective in drawing a reader into your dream. Even prose should, from time to time, sing.

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© Patrick Hill, 2000