[Crit] and discussion -- My Other

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Capuchin

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Dec 13, 2021, 9:58:18 PM12/13/21
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Something I'm trying to work on, but doubts keep overriding my
efforts:

*****

The blackjack dealer slid a card from the shoe to the square in front
of me and then took one for herself. My other knew I had a queen and
she a six, but to maintain my disguise as a normal person, I lifted
the corner of mine for a quick peek. The next cards, dealt face up,
were an eight for me and a jack for her.

I felt a sinking disgust. My other knew the next card in the shoe was
a three. If I took it, I'd win with twenty-one. But who hits on
eighteen? If I passed, her sixteen became nineteen, and she'd sweep my
bet from the table.

I waved off another card and sat back, waiting for the inevitable.
Technically, I was ahead, but only about two thousand for almost an
hour of bad hand after bad hand that nothing could make right.

My other knew four face cards waited to be dealt next, another push,
taking more minutes to neither win nor lose. I could force my other to
see the cards beyond that, to see if there might be a streak of good
luck waiting, but even after all my practice in front of a mirror, I
always look like I'm constipated when I do that. Instead, I pushed a
fifty dollar chip towards the dealer, downed the last of the melted
ice in my glass, stood, smiled, and picked up my rack of chips. "Maybe
tomorrow," I said and walked away without listening to her reply.

The only way out of the casino was past the craps tables and row after
row of slot machines. Since they relied on last-moment chance, rather
than being preordained, both were immune to my other. I could know
only things that were, not things that will be.

*****

I don't want to capitalize 'other' or call it 'the other' because that
seems trite. Does it work this way?

I also don't want to do an "as you know, Bob" about its traits and
peculiarities, and/or what he does to keep it hidden. Is the idea here
as plain as I would like to think it is?

What would you do different?


Dorothy J Heydt

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Dec 14, 2021, 9:51:00 AM12/14/21
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In article <8a1grg1jfad685lml...@4ax.com>,
Well: is this the opening of the story, or an extract from later?
If it's an extract, perhaps you'd want to introduce "my other" in
some not-too-explain-y way. Appparent they can sense predetermined
order, which exists in the present, but can't predict random
actions that will happen in the future? (This almost makes
sense.)

I am handicapped in this discussion by knowing damn-all about
blackjack--it is blackjack, isn't it?

Possibly an opening paragraph might help, on the order of

"We walked into the casino, my other and I. I heard the rattle
of dice, the nervous chatter of voices, smelled high-quality
booze and cheap perfume. But my other fed me the order of cards
in the deck, one deck becoming clear as it finished its last
shuffle, and [whatever else the other can see because it exists
in the present.]"

But it's an interesting concept. Go with it.

--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
Www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/

Capuchin

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Dec 14, 2021, 11:27:31 AM12/14/21
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On Tue, 14 Dec 2021 14:38:58 GMT, djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J
Heydt) wrote:

>In article <8a1grg1jfad685lml...@4ax.com>,
>Capuchin <Capu...@jymes.com> wrote:
>>
>>The blackjack dealer slid a card from the shoe to the square in front
>>of me and then took one for herself. My other knew I had a queen and
>>she a six, but to maintain my disguise as a normal person, I lifted
>>the corner of mine for a quick peek. The next cards, dealt face up,
>>were an eight for me and a jack for her.
>> [Snip]
>>
>>What would you do different?
>>
>Well: is this the opening of the story, or an extract from later?
>If it's an extract, perhaps you'd want to introduce "my other" in
>some not-too-explain-y way. Appparent they can sense predetermined
>order, which exists in the present, but can't predict random
>actions that will happen in the future? (This almost makes
>sense.)
>
>I am handicapped in this discussion by knowing damn-all about
>blackjack--it is blackjack, isn't it?
>
>Possibly an opening paragraph might help, on the order of
>
>"We walked into the casino, my other and I. I heard the rattle
>of dice, the nervous chatter of voices, smelled high-quality
>booze and cheap perfume. But my other fed me the order of cards
>in the deck, one deck becoming clear as it finished its last
>shuffle, and [whatever else the other can see because it exists
>in the present.]"
>
>But it's an interesting concept. Go with it.

This is the opening.Yes, it's blackjack. You draw cards until you're
as high as possible without going over 21, and then whoever has the
highest hand wins. In casinos, the dealer has to stand on 17 and above
and draw on 16 or less.

One problem I've had is making sure there's no hint of another
person/body involved, as in "significant other." I've learned that if
a reader gets an idea there are two people, nothing will shake it
loose. Even when told, by other characters' statements/actions they
see only one person, the reader will still think there are two, but
maybe one is a ghost, or invisible, or . . .

I considered: ". . . My other way of seeing showed I had a queen . .
.," . . . "My unseen other eyeball looked through the cards . . .,"
and . . . "My magic-induced other sight showed . . .," but nothing
along these lines feels right.

That he only sees things that are fixed adds, I think, on two
different levels. It prevents him from being omniscient (and leading a
perfect life), and it makes him wonder if there are people whose
others can see the future (he doesn't know the source of his 'gift').

There might be a later scene with him in a non-casino card game. He
knows the next card will give him a full house, but what he's dealt is
different. He instantly knows his opponent is dealing seconds, but he
can't call him out on it ("I psychically knew what my next card would
be" won't win you any friends at the poker table) .

Dorothy J Heydt

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Dec 14, 2021, 12:05:02 PM12/14/21
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In article <b6fhrg5tsdjvvp3ms...@4ax.com>,
No, I don't think so. I think your phrase "my other" works in
part *because* your viewpoint character doesn't specify what
their other is; we only see it doing its thing.

I still think a very short introduction showing the other doing
their thing, observing the present of one or more card decks
before the protagonist is in the throes of the game, might make a
smoother entrance into the story.

Or maybe not. There have been stories before about people with a
personal other, but this is a whole 'nother take. You do you.

I'd like to see other people's take on your opening, but rasf-c
has been moribund for a long time.

(Maybe I'll post a note on rasf-w, suggesting that others take a
look here.

Don

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Dec 14, 2021, 12:29:42 PM12/14/21
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Capuchin wrote:
> Dorothy J Heydt wrote:
>>Capuchin wrote:
>>>
>>>The blackjack dealer slid a card from the shoe to the square in front
>>>of me and then took one for herself. My other knew I had a queen and
>>>she a six, but to maintain my disguise as a normal person, I lifted
>>>the corner of mine for a quick peek. The next cards, dealt face up,
>>>were an eight for me and a jack for her.
>>>
>>>I felt a sinking disgust. My other knew the next card in the shoe was
>>>a three. If I took it, I'd win with twenty-one. But who hits on
>>>eighteen? If I passed, her sixteen became nineteen, and she'd sweep my
>>>bet from the table.
>>>
>>>I waved off another card and sat back, waiting for the inevitable.
>>>Technically, I was ahead, but only about two thousand for almost an
>>>hour of bad hand after bad hand that nothing could make right.
>>>
>>>My other knew four face cards waited to be dealt next, another push,
>>>taking more minutes to neither win nor lose. I could force my other to
>>>see the cards beyond that, to see if there might be a streak of good
>>>luck waiting, but even after all my practice in front of a mirror, I
>>>always look like I'm constipated when I do that. Instead, I pushed a
>>>fifty dollar chip towards the dealer, downed the last of the melted
>>>ice in my glass, stood, smiled, and picked up my rack of chips. "Maybe
>>>tomorrow," I said and walked away without listening to her reply.
>>>
>>>The only way out of the casino was past the craps tables and row after
>>>row of slot machines. Since they relied on last-moment chance, rather
>>>than being preordained, both were immune to my other. I could know
>>>only things that were, not things that will be.
>>>
Your first "my other" made me anticipate another person. Your second and
subsequent "my other"s made it clear there was no other person.
"My other" counter-intuitively works for me despite my instinct to
use "Other." All in all, your prose works "as is" for me.

Danke,

--
Don.......My cat's )\._.,--....,'``. https://crcomp.net/reviews.php
telltale tall tail /, _.. \ _\ (`._ ,.
tells tall tales.. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'


Titus G

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Dec 14, 2021, 12:59:44 PM12/14/21
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For me, yes.

> I also don't want to do an "as you know, Bob" about its traits and
> peculiarities, and/or what he does to keep it hidden. Is the idea here
> as plain as I would like to think it is?
>
> What would you do different?

Nothing. It worked brilliantly for me on first read.

Capuchin

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Dec 14, 2021, 7:27:22 PM12/14/21
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On Tue, 14 Dec 2021 16:51:45 GMT, djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J
Maybe . . .

The thing, to me, is it isn't all that extraordinary. Not like
transforming into the Hulk or turning into a pillar of fire. It's just
limited precognition. As such, it isn't exciting to read (or write)
about.

Also, Watching card games isn't particularly interesting. Yes, I know
there are popular reality shows about poker, but in those (I
understand) they focus on the interaction and tension between players,
not just on which cards are flipped.

Just a sudden thought -- if you mean opening in the viewpoint of the
other . . . I don't see the other as an entity in and of itself. It'd
be on the level of showing what his liver is thinking and doing about
the anticipation of handling the cheap vodka he'll be drinking.

Capuchin

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Dec 14, 2021, 7:32:14 PM12/14/21
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On Tue, 14 Dec 2021 17:29:40 -0000 (UTC), Don <g...@crcomp.net> wrote:

>Capuchin wrote:
>> Dorothy J Heydt wrote:
>>>Capuchin wrote:
>>>>
>>>>The blackjack dealer slid a card from the shoe to the square in front
>>>>of me and then took one for herself. My other knew I had a queen and
>>>>she a six, but to maintain my disguise as a normal person, I lifted
>>>>the corner of mine for a quick peek. The next cards, dealt face up,
>>>>were an eight for me and a jack for her.
>>>> [Snip]
>>>>What would you do different?
>>>>
>> One problem I've had is making sure there's no hint of another
>> person/body involved, as in "significant other." I've learned that if
>> a reader gets an idea there are two people, nothing will shake it
>> loose. Even when told, by other characters' statements/actions they
>> see only one person, the reader will still think there are two, but
>> maybe one is a ghost, or invisible, or . . .
>
>Your first "my other" made me anticipate another person. Your second and
>subsequent "my other"s made it clear there was no other person.
> "My other" counter-intuitively works for me despite my instinct to
>use "Other." All in all, your prose works "as is" for me.

Thanks!

I suspect this is going to be one of those things that either totally
works or totally fails, depending on the reader.

Capuchin

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Dec 14, 2021, 7:34:09 PM12/14/21
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On Wed, 15 Dec 2021 06:59:39 +1300, Titus G <no...@nowhere.com> wrote:

>On 14/12/21 3:58 pm, Capuchin wrote:
>> The blackjack dealer slid a card from the shoe to the square in front
>> of me and then took one for herself. My other knew I had a queen and
>> she a six, but to maintain my disguise as a normal person, I lifted
>> the corner of mine for a quick peek. The next cards, dealt face up,
>> were an eight for me and a jack for her.
>> [Snip]
>> *****
>> I don't want to capitalize 'other' or call it 'the other' because that
>> seems trite. Does it work this way?
>
>For me, yes.
>
>> I also don't want to do an "as you know, Bob" about its traits and
>> peculiarities, and/or what he does to keep it hidden. Is the idea here
>> as plain as I would like to think it is?
>>
>> What would you do different?
>
>Nothing. It worked brilliantly for me on first read.

Thanks! On the positive side, no one so far has said it's word salad .
. .

Dorothy J Heydt

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Dec 14, 2021, 8:30:01 PM12/14/21
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In article <nsdirg5mbr2ffnvkk...@4ax.com>,
Oh, no. It's perfectly intelligible prose.

Now go write the rest of it.

Capuchin

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Dec 15, 2021, 5:00:23 PM12/15/21
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On Wed, 15 Dec 2021 01:20:23 GMT, djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J
Heydt) wrote:

>
>Oh, no. It's perfectly intelligible prose.
>
>Now go write the rest of it.

Thanks for the kind words.

The next bit is a little tricky. I've started it several times and
have been increasingly unhappy with each one.

Next scene:
When he leaves the casino, he's walking down the street and sees a car
door open right in front of him. The problem is, it's his other that
sees it half a minute before it happens. That's not right. He first
confuses it with what he's actually seeing, then realizes the door is
still actually closed. For his other to see it, it has to be a fixed
event, not something subject to human or electronic intervention.

He's so confused by this, he almost runs into it when it does open. A
beautiful woman apologizes as she starts to get out, while his mind is
still turning over why someone would put a door on a mechanical timer.

Writing confused/befuddled character thoughts is not one of my strong
points. In fact, on a normal scale of one to ten, it ranks as an
irrational negative number.

Sometimes it turns out as word salad. Other times like an excerpt from
a tech manual on magical curses, their care, methodology, and
breeding. In the end, it always needs a certain touch, and I need to
keep searching for that elusive wisp.

It doesn't help that I insulted Erato when I wouldn't put in a pun
which required familiarity with Greek Mythology, Norse Rune, and the
third episode of Firefly, so she's off in a snit and won't help at
all.

BCFD36

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Dec 15, 2021, 7:27:10 PM12/15/21
to
On 12/14/21 09:59, Titus G wrote:
> On 14/12/21 3:58 pm, Capuchin wrote:
>> Something I'm trying to work on, but doubts keep overriding my
>> efforts:
[stuff deleted]
>>
>> What would you do different?
>
> Nothing. It worked brilliantly for me on first read.
What he said.

But I would mention that the game is Blackjack. You don't have to
explain the rules. I think most people are at least familiar with them.
Not all of course, as we have already seen.

--
Dave Scruggs
Captain, Boulder Creek Fire (Retired)
Sr. Software Engineer - Stellar Solutions (Definitely Retired)

Capuchin

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Dec 15, 2021, 8:03:27 PM12/15/21
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On Wed, 15 Dec 2021 16:27:05 -0800, BCFD36 <bcf...@cruzio.com> wrote:

>On 12/14/21 09:59, Titus G wrote:
>> On 14/12/21 3:58 pm, Capuchin wrote:
>>> Something I'm trying to work on, but doubts keep overriding my
>>> efforts:
>[stuff deleted]
>>>
>>> What would you do different?
>>
>> Nothing. It worked brilliantly for me on first read.
>What he said.
>
Thanks!

>But I would mention that the game is Blackjack. You don't have to
>explain the rules. I think most people are at least familiar with them.
>Not all of course, as we have already seen.

The second word is blackjack, so I thought I had it covered.

I do have this nagging feeling that I should somehow explain why
'nobody hits on eighteen,' for the sake of those who don't play, or
why the dealer might not stand on sixteen, but putting that in an
interesting, terse, and un-lecturing way is beyond my skill level.

For that matter, I'm self-conscious about how many people might not
know what a shoe is or why the dealer is pulling cards from it. ;)

Gary R. Schmidt

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Dec 15, 2021, 9:11:06 PM12/15/21
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Different casinos and clubs in the real^Wrest of the world have
different rules about what the dealer does, so the explanation is not
wasted.

Works fine for me, too.


Cheers,
Gary B-)

Dorothy J Heydt

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Dec 15, 2021, 9:15:01 PM12/15/21
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In article <6bokrgdo53a5tqdev...@4ax.com>,
Capuchin <Capu...@jymes.com> wrote:
>
>It doesn't help that I insulted Erato when I wouldn't put in a pun
>which required familiarity with Greek Mythology, Norse Rune, and the
>third episode of Firefly, so she's off in a snit and won't help at
>all.

I've got 1 and 2; I'd have to ask my daughter about Firefly,
which I never watched. (Cowboys in Spaaaaaace do not tempt me.)

Titus G

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Dec 16, 2021, 4:18:07 PM12/16/21
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On 15/12/21 2:20 pm, Dorothy J Heydt wrote:
> In article <nsdirg5mbr2ffnvkk...@4ax.com>,
> Capuchin <Capu...@jymes.com> wrote:
>> On Wed, 15 Dec 2021 06:59:39 +1300, Titus G <no...@nowhere.com> wrote:
>>
>>> On 14/12/21 3:58 pm, Capuchin wrote:
>>>> The blackjack dealer slid a card from the shoe to the square in front
>>>> of me and then took one for herself. My other knew I had a queen and
>>>> she a six, but to maintain my disguise as a normal person, I lifted
>>>> the corner of mine for a quick peek. The next cards, dealt face up,
>>>> were an eight for me and a jack for her.
snip

> Oh, no. It's perfectly intelligible prose.
>
> Now go write the rest of it.

I would be interested in reading more.


Capuchin

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Dec 16, 2021, 5:35:33 PM12/16/21
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On Thu, 16 Dec 2021 13:10:19 +1100, "Gary R. Schmidt"
<grsc...@acm.org> wrote:

>Different casinos and clubs in the real^Wrest of the world have
>different rules about what the dealer does, so the explanation is not
>wasted.

Oh, great, another thing to worry about!

Capuchin

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Dec 16, 2021, 5:37:16 PM12/16/21
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Thanks!

All I have to do is learn a new way to write, get the muse talking to
me again, and keep my computer from dying unexpectedly, and I'm good
to go for another thousand words or so.

Joy Beeson

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Dec 18, 2021, 10:48:02 PM12/18/21
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On Tue, 14 Dec 2021 17:29:40 -0000 (UTC), Don <g...@crcomp.net> wrote:

> Your first "my other" made me anticipate another person. Your second and
> subsequent "my other"s made it clear there was no other person.
> "My other" counter-intuitively works for me despite my instinct to
> use "Other." All in all, your prose works "as is" for me.


Ditto.

--
Joy Beeson
joy beeson at centurylink dot net

Capuchin

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Dec 22, 2021, 7:00:16 PM12/22/21
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On Sat, 18 Dec 2021 22:48:00 -0500, Joy Beeson
<jbe...@invalid.net.invalid> wrote:

>On Tue, 14 Dec 2021 17:29:40 -0000 (UTC), Don <g...@crcomp.net> wrote:
>
>> Your first "my other" made me anticipate another person. Your second and
>> subsequent "my other"s made it clear there was no other person.
>> "My other" counter-intuitively works for me despite my instinct to
>> use "Other." All in all, your prose works "as is" for me.
>
>
>Ditto.

Thanks!

It's so hard for me to know what'll work and what will leave readers
scratching their heads wondering if there's going to be dressing with
the word salad.
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