Greetings, traveller. I am Charli800 and I welcome you to my home. Pray sit down and let me offer you something to drink. What would you like? I have butterbeer for wizards, nectar for demigods, river water for naiads, coffee (good coffee) for black ribboners and almost anything you could dream of.
Ah, yes. An excellent choice. Now, let me tell you something of myself. I hail from the planet Earth, within the Milky Way. Oh you know the place? Perhaps you know my country, at the tip of Africa? South Africa is my homeland. It's a wonderful place, where civilisation meets unspoiled natural beauty, but enough of that. You are here to discuss writing, are you not?
Ah, writing: excellent stuff. At times it's better than reading. You see my bookshelves, I hope. I have the collected works of Tolkien there - I'm particularly fond of his alliterative poetry - and alongside him is Jack Lewis. An excellent writer, that man; I don't believe you could find one better, unless perhaps it's Tolkien. I never can decide.
Yes, the Harry Potter books are there too. Rowling is an exceptional author, although I'm afraid I simply can't rank her with the very best. You'll find quite an assortment of fantasy here; feel free to browse through it at your leisure. I hope you're enjoying your drink? Excellent.
Hmmm, I see you've found the Asimov. You must agree that the Good Doctor was an astounding writer. He's known for his short stories, of course, but his essays are also facinating. His SF (you must know that neither he nor I are paticularly fond of "Sci-Fi") is just hard enough to be enjoyable. A remarkable author.
I'm afraid I'm boring you, so I'll point out my Discworld collection - and just mention Eddings' excellent work The Belgariad - and show you my desk. You are, I suppose aquainted with a girl named Mary Sue? If you see any sign of her here, please give her a hearty thumping. I'm afraid I find her quite nauseating.
No, that's not mine, I'm busy reviewing it. I really do believe that we should all contribute to one anothers' growth. Some of these youngsters need some help to fight off that dreadful girl, or even to make sense. They don't listen, you say? Well, some of them don't and some of them do. Don't tell me you disike getting reviews yourself; I certainly appreciate constructive criticism.
My stories? Go and read them for yourself! I'm afraid I wouldn't even know how to begin explaining them. You want to know about me? Well, that's complicated, you know. I'll soon be starting a degree in Biomedical Engineering; I lead a Children's Church group of eleven-to-thirteen-year-olds; I am reliably informed that I am a nerd; I love to teach; I love to write; I am a techie; I am myself. Does that satisfy you? Oh, you want to know about the 800. I suppose I shall have to explain.
You may know that numbers can be used to symbolise things: I'm not talking about such things as Arithmancy or fortune telling, but straightforward representations. Two is very complex: it is the only prime number that is also even. By extrapolating two into three dimensions one reaches eight. Eight is not, in my mind a particularly powerful number and so I mutiplied by tenfold the might of ten. Thus 800 is powerful complexity in three dimensions; ignore it if you prefer.
I have kept you long enough: you have been an excellent listener. If you would like to browse a little longer, my bookshelves are here, but feel free to leave if you wish. I thank you for your visit.
I have a dreadful habit of assuming that you will be more intelligent than me, younger than me or both. You will thus understand that 'youngsters' is a rather generic term and I would be well advised to use some other term.
The Bible ~ God The very best book of all
Mere Christianity ~ Lewis
The Lay of Leithian ~ Tolkien
A Wrinkle in Time ~ L'Engle Outstanding and unusual
Percy Jackson and the Olympians ~ Riordan
Masterharper of Pern ~ McCaffrey
On his blindness ~ Milton
The End of Eternity ~ Asimov
Night Watch ~ Pratchett
Twilight ~ Meyer Remarkably little substance, but great fun nonetheless, I feel
The Inklings ~ Carpenter
They shut me up in prose ~ Dickinson
Twelfth Night ~ Shakespeare
Pawn of Prophecy ~ Eddings Highly recommended; his characterisation is truly remarkable
A Short History of Time ~ Hawkins
and many, many more . . .
A note on my ratings:
'Keep writing' means that I don't think this is the greatest story I've ever read, but I think you have potential, I believe that a few stories down the line you could be getting the ratings at the other end of my list.
'Technical hitches' means I think you have a good idea and a storyteller's style, but you haven't been able to execute it perfectly.
'And then?' means you've got a good technical style, but your plot didn't hook me.
'Successful' means you've conveyed a message to your audience whilst keeping us entertained.
'Excellent' means that you've told your story well and have shown what I think is particular insight. Great stuff!
'Wow!' means . . . can you guess? I'm really impressed. Thanks for sharing your story with me,