This is the first writing by Kafka I’ve read that I haven’t been impressed by. And unlike the Trial, when they say it is unfinished, they really mean unfinished, like it cuts off in the middle of a sentence. I don’t understand why this was published, or why people continue to read it today.
The story is about ‘K’, who arrives in a nameless town, and at the center of this town is a ‘the castle’ which may or may not be an actual castle, but contains offices and officials who may or may not have influence over people in the town. K wants to get into the castle for a reason we never learn, and makes nearly zero progress toward this goal for the entirety of the writing.
I think the point of it was the paranoia and confusion of impenetrable bureaucracy, but I’m not totally sure. Similar to The Trial (which also features a character called ‘K’) K is overwhelmed at every step by incomprehensible rules, but unlike the Trial, in which he is trying to find out what he’s been accused of, or at least be done with his trial, in the Castle we have no idea what his objective is other than ‘get to the castle.’ We have no idea who he is or where he came from, what was his life before.
The only part of the book that I really liked was when the story of Frieda’s father trying to remove what he sees as a ‘black mark’ on his daughter because she did not meet an official who asked her out for a drink. After she does this, every wrong thing that happens to the family, he perceives as being because the officials have them on some kind of the list. He expends all his energy trying to contact these officials in the castle (which he, like K, cannot get into) and spends all his money trying to bribe them, all when they have not even confirmed that the family has any black mark at all.
In the end, I wouldn’t recommend it. There was too many long, seemingly meaningless conversations, and not enough of K being foiled to make it as claustrophobic as The Trial was. Mostly I was just bored.
I sent The Observer on it’s first journey to an agency. They give a 12 week window for response. So, now to try not to think about it for the next months…
Rejections are easier and easier to deal with, it’s the waiting that is hard. Because the longer they take, the more hopeful you become. Then the inevitable no is all the more painful when it finally arrives. Though, now that I’ve sent out my own share of rejections at Lucent Dreaming, I know that sometimes they just take a while to get to, and read, and think about. There’s just no getting around that wait time, is there? Unless you’re a really awesome place like Clarkesworld, then it’s only a few days or less.
It really is terrible, though… the waiting… the waiting… the torment of hope…
As some of you may know, I write short stories. I’ve got quite a few that no one has read, and they just sit around doing nothing. So, I’ve decided to start posting some of them somewhere they might actually get read. Maybe…
Wattpad is a social writing site? Or something? All the youth are using it, and it looks to be a fairly active writing community–which is terribly hard to find in itself.
It may(read: will) all likely come to nothing, and after I get no views and am still posting stories into a silent void, I’ll probably delete the profile. But for now, it’s here:
There is one story there now, but I’ll be adding some others over time.
Check it out!
I’m still flipping slowly through the dictionary, and am still, as you see, in the A’s. I came across another one I like quite a bit, and will probably use:
Amaranth: A flower that never fades,
Which leads to Amaranthine: Undying.
Those words are both ear-catching. I love the shape and sound of them.
Words are like finely crafted little puzzle pieces that fit with each-other in a myriad of ways. Each new piece you add to your pile expands the pictures you can create..
A brand new year! Feels just like the last one, doesn’t it? That’s because the difference is completely arbitrary! So keep doing what you’re doing, keep working toward your dream, and don’t give up because you didn’t make some fictitious deadline. Write on!
When in the process of splashing out words for a new story, we all find ourselves writing words we don’t need, repeating words, and being hacks in general. I’ve composed a list of these ‘filler’ words that I’ve found most often in my own work. Search for, and delete!
Very: Delete any that aren’t in dialogue.
Almost: Delete unless it is specifically necessary for a thing to almost be, instead of just being.
Nearly: same as above
Really: Delete if it’s being used as an adverb, unless in dialogue.
Still: When used to show something is continuing, you can delete it 90% of the time. To show something is motionless, often you can use a better word. (I bet you’ve used ‘still’ a dozen times for that already.)
Toward: Can almost always be changed to ‘at’ or ‘to’ or be removed.
Turn: My characters are constantly turning this way and that (even turning toward things!) and most of it is unnecessary.
Feel/felt: Jane felt the water lapping gently at her feet. versus The water lapped gently at Jane’s feet. The only reason to say feel/felt is if the character wasn’t feeling it before and now is, otherwise it is sort of taken for granted that they can feel it…
Watch/see/saw: Same as above. Unless there is a real need to make it clear that the something is visible to your character, it is kind of assumed that the viewpoint character can see what you are describing. Jane saw and heard the waves splashing, and felt them lap her toes. Seems silly now, right?
Writing a story is like having sex… exciting, fun, heart-pounding, sometimes messy and awkward, but always enjoyable when there is passion involved.
Then, editing is like raising the child…