August in the Vanishing City (novel)

I said “oppression” not “occupation”.

Precision is important. It’s not “whatever word you want to use” but that which is actually meant. Again, “allows for” is different from “causes”. Look at the definitions of the words, and you’ll see why I’m not convinced, yet.

  • “to allow for” - give the necessary time or opportunity for
  • “to cause” - make happen

A shooter is there; Petros is there. This is allows for the conflict. Why is Petros there? Why is the shooter there? What reason does the shooter use in justifying his attack? The answers to these questions will give the reason for the conflict.

I agree that they do not show that the Past must be used, but they also do not show that the Present must be used, either, which was my point. They portray only Universe, nothing more.

Yes, but I won’t without an answer.

It’s supposed be a complete story (i.e. not a cliffhanger). But it’s not “resolved” in the sense that the basic circumstances of occupation etc. are still in place.

I’m having a hard time answering this one – I don’t know how you ignore the history of the occupation. Maybe I’m not understanding the question.

There a specific thing having to do with Joanna’s mother and her past that would have revealed that Joanna’s family was not as idylic as she wanted to believe. There’s other information having to do with Petros’ family that’s lost.

I have trouble with final drivers. Provisionally I want to say it’s the sinking of the raft.

When I am able to read the book, I will be reading it with the past being very important, ongoing, like a colored lens. First, we have the enthralling forward about Greece and Cyprus and Aphrodite’a birthplace. Then some pages in, Petros is thinking about how the warriors of ancient times were always heroes, and how it was not that way now, etc. The great city states of the Ancient Greek culture we had studied in school came to mind, along with their stories of courage and different philosophies, comparing that to today’s soldiers’ needs and orders.

When I continue reading, that will always be present, if that means anything to the storyform. I will always think about him asking questions about past hero warriors in relation to today’s (with a possible change or acceptance of the way things are and what he had to do). When the story ends with him getting Aphrodite, I took it to mean they would create past heroic honor …if you get my drift… a cool metaphor.

1 Like

Yes, that’s what I am thinking too. The raft sinking (whether Decision or Action) is like the final nail in the coffin of the Goal.

I was going to answer the same way. It seems like if you ignore the history, there is no book, no story at all. At least nothing that makes any sense. The best I can come up with is “a guy goes into a war zone for no reason at all.”

1 Like

both of these apply. Being in Varosha puts Petros within range of enemy rifles, handguns, and grenades allowing for him to be shot at.
Being in Varosha, by virtue of being in a place where he is seen as the enemy, causes him to be shot at. If he were digging up the past in another area, digging up the past would not cause him to be shot at.
It’s not just process leads to conflict. There are many different and yet equally accurate words to connect process to conflict.

To show Joanna that, while Elias would not go back to Varosha for her, he, Petros will. [quote=“Hunter, post:161, topic:2324”]
Why is the shooter there?

Because the Turks are occupying the land and keeping the Greeks out.

He tries to justify not attacking by saying he’s not supposed to be there and he will get in trouble. I believe he is later told to get rid of Petros to get rid of a problem the higher ups don’t really know what to do with either.

i’m missing something here. To me this played out with you saying the past had to play out in exactly one way in order for the argument to be made, then I said it didn’t have to play out in exactly one way, and now you’re saying that you agree and that that’s why I’m wrong?

My answer is they seem fairly subjective and I don’t know your precise meaning of those words. And also that my subjective experience of the novel while reading has no bearing on the storyform.

Past would look like the major characters going into a restaurant and the waiter saying “you guys lost the battle, we don’t serve losers here, get out.” In this case, having a past “losing the battle” leads to present conflict. Or maybe someone who’s never battled for Greece not being trusted within the army.
Or there is a moment where Petros uncovers the past about his family’s inheritance causing turmoil for Petros. But i’m pretty sure that falls more under Learning for Petros.

Past would look like having been somewhere you weren’t supposed to be causing you conflict.
Present conflict would look like being somewhere you’re not supposed to be causing you conflict.

Past would look like uncovering the Past leading to being shot (I know, sounds super close, right? Except Petros is searching for the photograph of the past for Joana…the MC throughline…and he’s not doing it to uncover the past, but to show Joanna that he will do it where Elias wouldn’t, that he’s not a coward).
Present would look like going into a dangerous area and being spotted the enemy.
Past would look like honoring the dead kids memory leading to conflict (“stop honoring dead kids and live in the present, Petros! Look to the future!”)
Present would look like fulfilling someone’s last wish (Hey, you can’t put that flag there! Someone shoot him!)

1 Like

They are, and in this case, that’s the point. Still waiting to hear your actual answer.

That sounds like an (Dramatica) Event level analysis, as opposed to a (Dramatica) Plot level analysis to me.

On the other hand, looking at the gists vs the discussion in this thread, I’m inclined to believe that there is an argument to the effect of The Present. So, there’s that…

So, at this point, I don’t believe there’s any more outside arguments or reviews that I can make. Thus, I will return with my impressions later.


I really don’t know. Probably weighty at times, museful at others. I’d say probably more museful because of the musings about what life might be if they were able to return home, musings about being with Joanna and whether Petros would be happy with her, etc.

It’s roughly 3/4 of the book.

Why Petros doesn’t just leave after visiting Joanna’s house the first time:

He drinks some water, contemplates the idea, and then dismisses it. He has not come this far to leave without seeing the home of his parents—the home he would have been born in if the Turks hadn’t come.

Why Emre doesn’t call for help:

The problem is that Emre, while still officially an officer, has been an outcast for over a year, an outcast ever since someone found out that his older brother had become a raging leftist.

He forces himself to think about how the Greeks were in Cyprus, how they planned to exterminate the Turks, how they were exterminating the Turks before the 1974 peace operation came. He reminds himself: this boy would kill me if he had a chance.
It’s time, he thinks. It’s time to see what Greeks and Turks are made of.

Regarding this:

Neither of those examples is looking at the source of conflict. The question is, why are you (or were you) somewhere you’re not supposed to be? Is it because you’re trying recover or uncover the past? Or is it because you’re trying to survive, or have a good time, or stay in touch with current events?

I’m not sure I agree with this; part of Jim’s mentorship program specifically trains you to identify Domain & Concern by feel.

1 Like

So, a quick drop in after reading the first two chapters:

I skipped the historical note on purpose and jumped straight to Chapter 1. Thus far, every problem portrayed is driven by something in the upper left. (Conceptualizing, Understanding, Memory, or The Past) The history of Turks and Greeks drives their attitudes toward one another, the imagination of Petros running wild drives his own actions, as do the memories of a non-existent relationship, and the lack of understanding found throughout.

I could sense four throughlines, but I have yet to fully identify them. Petros as MC, probably, the Turks vs Greeks as OS, and the RS looks to be the (non-existent) relationship between Petros and the girl that’s “not supposed to be there”. I’m iffy on the IC, but otherwise, it seems I’m in agreement with most of the posts from @Lakis and @mlucas from just the first two chapters. As a corollary, this means I also have not yet identified the domains.

Of course, as early as it is, it means I could still change my mind on some of this. Though, I’m having a really tough time seeing how any conflict in this story would be driven from anything but the upper-left.

That’s it for now.

1 Like

Hey @Greg, I know you’re probably tired of this thread and everyone picking on you :slight_smile: but it’s been bothering me too that we haven’t been able to reach consensus here. And a thought struck me today. You know how you said this about the old Beauty and The Beast thread?

So, I think that’s related to how, in this AitVC thread, you’ve mentioned a couple times about 3/4 of the plot being very present-based:

But if we actually look at those last 65% of chapters and scenes, what do we see? Yes, there is a lot of action and conflict happening inside Varosha just as you describe. But we also see many pages devoted to Petros exploring past locations, reading diaries, etc. And beyond that many more pages devoted to the narrator (Petros, even sometimes Emre) recounting past events.

Now my sense (@Lakis correct me if I’m wrong) of all these flashbacks / past-narrations is that they are describing what Petros is thinking as he’s going through Varosha. So even though the actual events may take place in the backstory, before the First Driver, they are still part of the main story (GAS) and its conflict in that they are describing what is driving Petros as he goes through Varosha – i.e. the past, his understanding of it and how he relates to it.

This is a very different technique than just showing a flashback chapter, something that took place in the past, without making it seem as though the POV character is reflecting on it. The reflection is done subtly in this book, so may be easy to miss. (I hope I interpreted correctly.)

I feel this is very similar to Belle’s singing – a narrative technique that shows what is driving Petros, and what is causing his inner turmoil. And if you look at the book, a very large portion of it is devoted to this kind of thing.

Could that change the way you see the narrative, @Greg?

1 Like

Yes, that was the intent. Even the diaries would have no meaning if Petros wasn’t reflecting on them or they didn’t in some way inform his present thinking (though maybe this is too subtle). I can say this for sure because in previous attempts at writing this novel I treated the diaries as a completely different story (flashbacks) and it didn’t work at all because it wasn’t informing the present. I currently have about half a draft of a second book that deals with those characters that I still haven’t figured out how to finish :slight_smile:

By contrast if I wrote a story about a group of tourists who took a wrong turn and ended up stuck in Varosha trying to survive for three days, I could see that story being a concern of the Present. (But as I imagine it it occurs to me that they would have to get stuck there on page 1 for the story to work).

Me too! But I wonder if we’ve reached diminishing returns trying to convince each other without some further outside perspective? Greg, I just want you to know that I appreciate you surfacing the novel and your contributions to this discussion even if we’re not (yet) agreeing on a storyform.


Just read this part last night. I would say that’s how the characters view the problem. However, I think the real source of their actions there comes from an author-noted, subconscious feel that they have lost their hangout, an important place from their past. This is especially easy to see if we ignore Petros here.This restaurant had once been their place; their history, and that now means nothing. The complaint about “now” would not exist here otherwise. Of course, I may be interpreting something @lakis never meant, but I felt like that idea shined through the text.

Thus far in my reading, my feeling is that the story form in this book is very much in the subtext, and much of the storytelling relies on the dynamic pairs of the concerns of the form. The truth is, though, I’m not sure whether I can agree with the domains, yet. Too much to go through still, and I could be seeing PSR-level conflict in locations where I differ.

Are you reading my mind, @mlucas? This happens even in the first four chapters, before he ever ends up in Varosha. It’s why I’m convinced that the upper-left concern is correct, even if I’m not sure whether I agree on the domains as of yet.

It is subtle, very subtle. But, I wonder if that might have been your intent, as well, at least subconsciously. Sort of a meta-message of “even when we believe we know what’s driving us, we might not always see it?” Also, I like subtle. This has been a really cool story so far.

By the way, I’m around 22% finished, according to Amazon.

1 Like

Thanks! I eagerly await your thoughts as you get further along.

Maybe, you have a series of books, novellas, short stories, etc. going on, with the characters each having their own separate story?

1 Like

Well it is a series. There’s supposed to be a third book too.

But I think the big problem with the second book was structural – now that I understand Dramatica I think it will help. (As soon as I have time to get back to it!)

1 Like

It doesn’t seem to, no. And I really want to be on the same page as the rest of you, but try as I might, I can’t make sense of those Concerns.

I’ve gone back over several parts of the book with all of your ideas in mind and despite all the memories and talk of the past, none of it looks like the source of conflict to me.

Why can’t they return home? Because they were attacked twenty years ago? How is that stopping them? If the Turks had attacked and left would they still be unable to return? No, they’d just go back. The presence of Turks still holding the city is what’s keeping them out.

Why is Petros there? Because the Turks robbed him of his Past? To dig up the Past? No. He’s there because he wants to do for Joanna what Elias wouldn’t and he wants to have the experience of seeing his old home and father’s hotel again. He’s not trying to understand anything, just to see the place and to make Joanna happy. It just so happens that both of those things has some history in the storytelling.

What plans does Elias make that influence anyone? How does he deal with conflict due to seeing how things fit together? Doesn’t his influence come from lying about knowing the kid that got shot in order to get a better idea of who the kid is? From telling others to pretend not to be able to speak English so foreign girls will think of them as more exotic or whatever? He doesn’t even seem to always have a plan, often making it up as he goes because he wants to know how far he can get someone to go by making suggestions and having deceitful ideas.

And the relationship between Joanna and Petros. There’s a past, they have memories. But where do these things push or pull at them? Isn’t the relationship more affected by Joanna considering Petros to be too young? By Petros being conscious of how Joanna used him to hurt Elias?

I already know how you guys feel, so no need to answer. That’s all rhetorical. Just showing why I still see it as I do and how asking Why and finding it by feel only make me feel stronger about it.


To be honest, I’ve tried my hardest to change my mind. If Jim comes along and says I’m wrong, it’s definately a Past story, I’m afraid I’d just have to shrug and say ‘oh well, looks like I’m not going to get it with this story’. And that’s fine as long as I can get
a little closer on the next one.

Hey, I appreciate you sharing the book! It was a great read. I don’t tend to branch too far out from my specific tastes, so it’s always great to find something new and exciting to get into that doesn’t feel like I’ve read it a million times already. I loved it and can’t wait for the next one!


This one statement is the crux of why we see it differently. I don’t see this story as the characters being problematically driven to gain the ability to return home.

I see it as characters who are problematically driven to want to return home. But not just to return – to recover the past that they lost there.

It’s that wanting what was lost that is the real problem, not being prevented from regaining it.

I could see the story ending in Failure even if the Greeks rose up and drove the Turks back and regained Varosha. (It could also end in Success in that scenario too, but Success/Failure would be driven by how they came to terms with their past. Did they recover something of it, or did they discover that after all it could never be recovered?)

1 Like

If this were true he would’ve gone home after he got the photograph! Instead he stayed in this dangerous place for reasons of digging up the past – TWICE! (first to go to his family’s home, next to go back to his father’s hotel)


You mean when he goes back to the hotel to…gather information? :grin: