The Mountain by Meghashri Dalvi

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kailhofer
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The Mountain by Meghashri Dalvi

Post by kailhofer »

It feels a little strange to critique someone who appears to have had more success than most of us, but I've seen Ms. Dalvi online a lot. I know what it's like to crave feedback--any feedback.

I felt the writing was done with professionalism. It was easy to understand, and I never caught myself stumbling over any word choices or horrendous grammar issues.

Myself, I prefer strong world-building. I like concrete settings with interesting details worked in. I like descriptive phrases staggered throughout dialog and exposition. I like to see all the sensed engaged. I like to feel like these are real places I'm reading about.

In those terms, this one came up a little short for me. None of the settings felt real. He crossed vast, flat terrain marked only with occasional shrubs. But was it prairie grassland, desert/scrub, or something else? The village near the mountain I got no sense of. Where were all the animals that produced the milk and curds? What did the villagers work at, that kept them away all day, but was close enough they could commute home at night? What aromatic herbs did he smell in the house?

On character, I like people who act like real people, or at least, in believable ways. I like characters to show who they are by how they act. I also look for characters to grow and change over the course of a story. In these respects, I thought all of the "natives" acted believably. Prama was the soul who had to go climb a mountain, but wouldn't give up on his loyalties to the people back home. Real people act like that, and I liked that.

I had a much harder time believing in the "overseers". They lacked motivation, and seemed wooden to me. Also, unless they changed often or these people had a very short lifespan, this would be one darn boring job. Scientific curiosity can only go so far.

On plot, I have to check for a "gut feeling" on whether or not a story rings true to me. Prama seeking something out... that I have no problem with. The guys in the pyramid bothered me, as I mentioned above. Honestly, what I didn't like most about the plot was the lack of conflict. Prama never struggles (at least, not much) with whether to stay or go, whether or not to climb the mountain, or doubts himself in any way. Since no one else tries to stop him, not even the elements, the conflict had to be within the main character. Yet he goes on, never giving his doubts more than a sentence or two. Overcoming some kind of conflict is what makes a story strong, in my opinion, so this came off as weak to me.

On dialog, I like different characters to sound different. I prefer it when I can almost tell by just the words used who is talking, as if the identifying tags weren't there (but the tags should be there anyway). Prama says he had trouble understanding the younger workers, but then why did all of the older ones sound the same as him? Weren't they all from different parts of the world?


To summarize, I thought this was an ok story, but one that lacked a strong conflict & resolution that would have made it better. Setting could have been more concrete. Some of the characterization was good, but I didn't care for the scientists or whomever they were at the end.

Nate
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kailhofer
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Re: The Mountain by Meghashri Dalvi

Post by kailhofer »

Hello Gerry, and welcome to the forum!

Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on October 24, 2007, 06:21:38 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Mountain by Meghashri Dalvi

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

I would suspect that the world (or at least the part of it that Prama's stay-at-home people have heard about) is either very "old" (geologically stable for millions of years, so old mountains have eroded, and no new mountains have formed), or entirely artificial. It would be interesting to analyze the climatological and watershed aspects of a land mass so nearly flat ... presumably, the only variations in solar absorption and re-radiation would be due to the composition of the ground and ground cover (no variations in temperature and air density due to mountains (except for The Mountain)). We didn't hear anything about large bodies of water...

Of course, it could be that the observers at the Mountain peak control the weather to ensure that precipitation occurs in a way that makes survival possible in relatively small clusters of villages. Maybe if Prama reaches the peak, he will find out.

RM
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Re: The Mountain by Meghashri Dalvi

Post by Megawatts »

The Great Pyramid? Or one of the many others that sit in the jungles, deserts or underwater. Pyramid are fascinating structures: Their place in aesthetics is well established, and in mathematics their dimensions, slopes, lengths, positions, and alignments are still investigated as they have been for hundreds of years. Yes, a Pyramid is a fine focus in which a story can be built upon.  And this story was no let down, for it captured the mystic of a pyramid.

The writing good, character development Okay, and word choice, sentence length and use of grammar also very good.

I wonder why Prama was the first to climb the Pyramid?  So many others from different regions had visited the site, and within those groups someone would have attempted a climb, since the Pyramid had been known about for years. I can’t believe only one person has ever wanted to climb the unique monolith that has inspired so much astonishment in the inhabitants of that planet.

The aliens at the end could be the ones watching us! And wonder when we will reach the stars and finally meet them!!!

Good story!!
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