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Old 04-26-2013, 04:54 PM View Post #21 (Link)
Spacepirate (Offline)
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Originally Posted by Spiders View Post
Topical: http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-n...-to-avoid-them

Particularly No. 3. As a young writer using the 'story-first', I don't ignore the craft. I don't know it yet, and I'm not going to pretend that I do or that reading articles about it will impart the knowledge of the craft to me. I'm learning the craft, but putting the story first. You can craft a good story in a story that's good to read. But you can't get a story that's good to read without a good story in the first place.
Aren't you shooting yourself in the foot with that article a little?

Up to now, if I understand, you've been espousing the idea to not worry about the 'craft', and just write the 'story'. And then you link to an article that says when writing a story, you should be thinking of craft. Not to mention reading articles are helpful because often they are distillations of what previous readers have read, summarising it for your benefit - all the 'rules' of writing come from other people putting in the hours to analyse what is good, what is bad.

What I don't understand is why you can't write a good yarn AND do it tastefully at the same time. Progressing as a writer should involve simultaneous improvement, on every front, not just a jolted assembly line (one after another) of processes. In fact there's been a whole lot of backlash against projects like NaNo, and probably soon NaPo, by people who believe that shit is still shit no matter how fast you churn it out. And no doubt writing 50,000 words is helpful to some people, but you must wonder what kind of a 'writing process/ethos' you're creating by exploding out a novel that is essentially literary diarrhoea.

I think the article you posted sums it up best:
This piece of advice on how to not write a novel applies whether you finish your first draft or not. It’s the cry of the artistic rebel who will go to the grave denouncing rules and techniques and anything that gets within a hundred yards of structure.

This does create a very good feeling, like you’re the king of the world. You can completely ignore all of the storytellers who came before you (be sure to call them hacks or sellouts). The fact that you’ll most likely not place your book anywhere shouldn’t hinder you from your intractable writing course.

The misdirected scribes who actually sell their books and build readerships take the craft of writing seriously. They study it without apology. They have people give them feedback—editors, critique groups, trusted and objective friends—and they read countless novels and examine what’s going on.
  
						Last edited by Spacepirate; 04-26-2013 at 05:06 PM.
					
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:13 PM View Post #22 (Link)
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^ I assumed that he was directly disagreeing with the article, specifically because it sort of goes against everything he's been saying up until now (assuming I understand what he's saying correctly). Either that or he completely missed the sarcastic tone of the article.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:44 PM View Post #23 (Link)
Spiders (Offline)
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I think this discussion is assuming that neither I, Dabs, or Spacepirate also put great care into our stories, but just write for what other people want to read.
Oh, no, I'm not assuming that.

(I'm assuming you're arguing against this article in my next responses)
And I'm not arguing against the article. I'm all for it.



Aren't you shooting yourself in the foot with that article a little?
I thought I'd get a response like that. It's why I posted the article.

I care immensely about the craft, and all the influences the article mentions - editors, critique groups, friends, novels - but note that nowhere does it say to take other people's rules. The 'craft' of writing is an individual thing, in tandem with the rest of the world. For me the craft of writing is about self-study, sharing my crap with the world and getting advice back.

This is probably all very confusing, but maybe that's a good thing. The mind of a writer, heck, the mind of anyone shouldn't be straightforward.



The wording of this really weirds me out. Can you reword this to get your point across more effectively? Because right now how I'm reading it is "if your story is good its good, but if your story is bad it's bad" which seems like a no-brainer to me.
Sorry. I meant that if your story is great but it's written badly, you can shape it into something fantastic. But if you're story's written fantastically but the story itself is terrible... you're up the infamous creek without a paddle, IMO.



Okay, I understand what you're saying, but I think it's silly to say that your method is exclusively oriented toward "story-first"
It's just a title. And I don't feel everyone writes like that. I find a lot of people worry more about how their story will read/sell than what the story actually is. A lot of young writers who come by the other forum I posted a link to often get the same advice - stop worrying about how it's written etc., just write the darn thing. Close that door, you're still in the middle of your WIP.

That said, I don't think that your way necessarily averts the rules I've posted; you just utilize them at a different point.
Sorry, but I still don't edit with rules like those you posted. I edit with people - their responses are geared towards the whole effect of what they read, while a rule is just thinking about a specific part.

If we are to agree that there are exceptions (I just picked up a few new books from my local library which are also exceptions), then would it not be best to present a rule-breaking piece of work to someone, rather than edit it beforehand because it's rule-breaking? How would you know if you've come across an 'exception' - possibly one that could make you stand out as a unique writer?

Maybe I'm an optimist, but I think that rules exist in writing and art not to limit you, but you help you reach a place where you're not limiting yourself, where you can readily split your ribcage open and bleed your beating heart over the page.
Nice imagery.

I think I've come up with a better way of saying how I feel about rules, of any kind, in writing: There are rules, but there are none worth talking about.

Each writer has his own rules, and some have similar rules, but there are no universal rules, so I feel the best advice for a young writer is to just write, discover your craft, style and voice, and run with it. Make mistakes. Have people laugh at you. But don't let someone else's craft shape your own, or you'll never reach you true individual potential.

I think.

I'll get back to writing my novel and see if this door-closed thing properly works.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:50 PM View Post #24 (Link)
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What I don't understand is why you can't write a good yarn AND do it tastefully at the same time. Progressing as a writer should involve simultaneous improvement, on every front, not just a jolted assembly line (one after another) of processes.
Personally, I believe you do all things simultaneously, but as a writer you should focus on them one at a time.

Maybe it's just that my head works a little differently. The world is full of different kinds of thinkers. You know, I can't revise in silence. It does my head in. But my RE teacher insists it's 'the best way to revise'.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:57 PM View Post #25 (Link)
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If someone's in the middle of their WIP, then obviously they shouldn't be focused too much on rules. I'm a believer in "turning off your editor" when working on a first draft.

I understand what you mean when you say there are rules, but they're not worth talking about. I'm a passionate individualist, relativist, etc. I like that people have different processess for creation. That said, I think it's important to talk about rules and conventions, to be aware of them, to understand what's generally effective and what isn't, so that you can know if your piece demands a typical structure or if it should avert typical structure.

Originally Posted by Spiders View Post
If we are to agree that there are exceptions (I just picked up a few new books from my local library which are also exceptions), then would it not be best to present a rule-breaking piece of work to someone, rather than edit it beforehand because it's rule-breaking?
If you're knowingly breaking a rule to achieve a certain effect, then I don't see what the problem is. It feels like you're not hearing me when I keep insisting that every rule has an exception. I'm not against breaking rules. I'm against unawareness of them because of how they represent/articulate conventions within our craft.

There are ways to make these "do-nots" work. Always. Inexperienced writers, however, typically don't know how to make them work, mainly because, when I see inexperienced writers using openings about the weather, or just describing their protagonist, they're basing these introductions off of movies, older novels/narrative styles, anime, video games etc. Are there ways to translate these other forms of art into literature? Yes, but that requires knowledge on how the mechanics of literature work, as literature isn't a visual medium, and it's changed a lot since the 19th century.

Originally Posted by Spiders View Post
How would you know if you've come across an 'exception' - possibly one that could make you stand out as a unique writer?
I suppose I'm making the assumption that people who like to write also like to read. If you read, I don't see how you can avoid noticing conventions within different novels, genres, and literature as a whole. If you're aware of the conventions, you're aware of what rules you're breaking.
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Old 04-27-2013, 03:52 PM View Post #26 (Link)
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I see inexperienced writers using openings about the weather, or just describing their protagonist, they're basing these introductions off of movies, older novels/narrative styles, anime, video games etc. Are there ways to translate these other forms of art into literature?
Then perhaps, is the problem not that they're breaking the associated 'rule', but why they're breaking it?

The reason I'm against rules like those you posted is that they cut back, rather than build up. Granted, sometimes you need to clean up the crap before you can get to building a good craft, but I still think that positively orientated advice always trumps negative rules and 'do-not's. 'Do's eventually iron out the issues in a writer that cause the 'do-not's. Stephen King's advice, 'Read a lot, write a lot' comes from the concept of 'doing' rather than 'not doing'.

I suppose that at the start of posting in this thread, I had a bone to pick with the first line of your OP; 'Many of the regulars probably know this. Many newbies do not.' It majors more on the rules being solid than there being exceptions, which (though put in bold and underlined), doesn't feel like the big thing it should be.

It might be worth providing exceptions to the rules. I think it might help young writers see how and why writers break the rules and how and why they are successful in doing so. I could create a thread to show them.

I also think that, after reading over the rules posted again, a lot of them are just general tips for writers that Strunk and White's The Element's of Style holds host to. The others are based upon Strunk and White's rules, but that isn't too clear.
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Old 04-27-2013, 05:24 PM View Post #27 (Link)
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I agree completely.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:38 PM View Post #28 (Link)
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The difference between a professional writer and a beginner is that the professional can use those openings but with creativity. Actually they choose those particular openings. The choice is deliberate. They know all about the craft of writing and the right way to write the opening of a story. On the other hand, a beginner uses such openings unconsciously, mostly because he/she doesn't know how the beginning should be written.

That doesn't mean you should worry about how you begin your story before you've even started it. Not at all. Write whatever comes to mind. Write everything. Throw all the thoughts and ideas you have onto the paper or screen. Right now, you're just practicing the art of writing. Your still learning. And you're bringing out the story. Later, when you've written enough or when youve finished the first draft, you can go back and decide what the beginning should be.

but at this stage, don't worry about it. If you must start with the weather, do so. Write as much as you want about the weather, the scene, the character description, etc. etc. All this will enable you to "learn" your story. after all, you need to know the story if you're going to be able to tell it to others. You need to know everything about the characters and scene and plot if you're going to write it well.

So while it's true that your beginnings should be such that drive the reader in and make him/her continue reading, but that doesn't mean that is how you must begin writing your first draft!!!!!

Also, in the first draft don't worry about sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, etc. Don't stop to correct your mistakes. Otherwise you'll hinder the thought flow. In the first draft, just continue writing without stopping. After you're done, go back to revise and edit, remove things that don't belong in the story, add other things, etc.
  
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:49 PM View Post #29 (Link) Hello.....
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I'm new in writing, trying to compose something good... this discussion is truly appreciable
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:34 PM View Post #30 (Link)
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Originally Posted by huntsman View Post
I'm new in writing, trying to compose something good... this discussion is truly appreciable
I find this really interesting too. Not because I will necessarily do or not do something discussed here, but it's really good for me to start thinking about the experience the reader has while still considering authencitity and originality.
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