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Offline Woody

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« on: February 25, 2010, 07:51:15 PM »
mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 07:38:55 PM by Woody »
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Perception is nine tenths of the look. Brave Dave the Feather in Caribbean Conspiracy

Offline Ed

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Re: Understanding
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2010, 02:59:41 AM »
I think it is, to some extent, but other issues factor into the equation. For a start, some people are more experienced and thus more skilled readers than others. The chances are that most of the people you and I know are not.

Another thing that happens is everyday people become more critical when they find out that you wrote the story and you want them to tell you what they think about it - I think they automatically assume there must be something wrong with it because you're just playing at being an author, rather than being a household name. Either that, or they say "it was nice" or something equally unhelpful, and when pressed for more info, they don't know how to articulate exactly what they thought was wrong with it, or they just can't put their finger on it.

The other issue is with the writing itself. It's not as easy as everybody seems to think it is to sit down and write compelling fiction. Woolly, wordy sentences, poor structure, incoherent plots, erratic pacing are just a few of the issues there might be. Everyday people might not be able to put their finger on the exact problem, but that doesn't mean there isn't one. Maybe they know something's gone awry, but they don't know any better than the author of the piece what it is.

That's why it's good to get decent feedback from a professional writer/editor - they know what works for them, and how to articulate the problems in a way that you can understand them.
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

Offline delboy

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Re: Understanding
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2010, 03:14:43 AM »
One of the hardest things for me as a writer is to ensure that all the images, thoughts, and actions that are in my head and that I want to get across to the reader find their way on to the page. Because, as a writer, we're seeing the scene inside our head it's sometimes easy to assume that others are privvy to all of it, too. Which, of course, isn't the case. However, if people are retracting their criticism once they've had a bit of guidance then it would suggest the problem isn't this, and that it is indeed part of the modern 'soundbite' culture and the associated need to get data across very quickly.

My job involves a lot of business writing and I've learned that brevity, clarity, and ease of access and message are all key to getting people to read and understand what I write. Wording it nicely with a bit of style and presenting it well are all important - but the bottom line is get the message across.

Most people in this day and age aren't readers. The young generation - including those now several years into their working lives - have been brought up on music videos, computer games, SMS, Blackberries, chat rooms and messaging and are able to juggle all of those simultaneously. But they have no interest in reading more than a paragraph of text. Such interactive communications will only become more common and widespread across the entire workforce as the years roll by. Simultaneously, longer intelligent and well rounded prose will become less and less important. Or, at least, less and less read.

Derek
"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
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Offline Frank Menser

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Re: Understanding
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2010, 01:46:40 PM »
Unfortunately I have to agree with delboy. The situation is not helped by the reduction of Humanities programs in schools. It is true that what we don't get exposed to we do not develope a taste for. Today so much is about fast food entertainment. Few seem to enjoy the slow cooking and spices that make for great fiction. Instead there is a "give me the fast thrills so I can go to the next," mentality.

It leaves you with a question as a writer. Do I write crap that I can sell...or do I write what I think is my best and risk tons of rejections?

Welcome to the modern world.

Offline Woody

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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2010, 08:14:01 PM »
mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 07:38:29 PM by Woody »
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Perception is nine tenths of the look. Brave Dave the Feather in Caribbean Conspiracy

Offline Grillmeat

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Re: Understanding
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2010, 08:30:42 PM »
Quote
It leaves you with a question as a writer. Do I write crap that I can sell...or do I write what I think is my best and risk tons of rejections?

I have always thought it odd that people even consider this a question.
In my mind, there has never been anything but to write a piece the best I can as I have envisioned is from first thought to final edit.
Some (maybe many) will not like it. It may not sell for much, or it may not sell at all but it will be the piece I wrote given to others as I saw it.
Anything less, IMO, is a betrayal of yourself and your own ability-others be damned...........

Of course, one probably won't feed one's family with an attitude like that..................... :scratch:
OMG!! Soylent Green is people!!!

Offline Woody

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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2010, 08:54:33 PM »
mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 07:35:10 PM by Woody »
___________________________________________________________
Writers Anonymous(http://www.writersanonymous.org.uk)-a source of sinister anthologies
Perception is nine tenths of the look. Brave Dave the Feather in Caribbean Conspiracy

delph_ambi

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Re: Understanding
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2010, 03:21:03 AM »
Quote
It leaves you with a question as a writer. Do I write crap that I can sell...or do I write what I think is my best and risk tons of rejections?

I have always thought it odd that people even consider this a question.
In my mind, there has never been anything but to write a piece the best I can as I have envisioned is from first thought to final edit.
Some (maybe many) will not like it. It may not sell for much, or it may not sell at all but it will be the piece I wrote given to others as I saw it.
Anything less, IMO, is a betrayal of yourself and your own ability-others be damned...........

Of course, one probably won't feed one's family with an attitude like that..................... :scratch:

With you 100% on this one, Grillmeat.

Offline Ed

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Re: Understanding
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2010, 04:31:59 AM »
I always think of OMD when this question arises. Their first two albums were well received and many of the songs from each went top ten in the pop charts, then came the third album, which was full of the music they said they wanted to make from the beginning. It bombed - nobody liked it - not the loyal fans - not the music press - probably not even people who like weird music.

I think you can get into a bubble where you create something, be it music or literature, that is the result of a unique journey. By the end of the journey it makes perfect sense to the people who make it, but if as an outsider you lack the reference points the creators had along the way you have no way of making sense of it. Just like it is with an inside joke.

A lot of people bemoan the fact that they have to conform to a certain way of writing in order to get published, but it's not as narrow a remit as you might think it is. The reason I said what I said above...

 


That's why it's good to get decent feedback from a professional writer/editor - they know what works for them, and how to articulate the problems in a way that you can understand them.
I believe that the professional writer/editor, as a way to receive validation for ones writing is an anti-aphorism, for want of a better word, particularly because "they know what works for them". This regime is a disclusive regime that allows a self defined clique to define, IMO, certain diktats that rule, in a dictatorial way, any new writer/author. This type of belief perpetuates the incorrect unwritten lore that the professional writers and editors came into being at the behest of a superior being and never have they had to struggle to get to the position they have achieved - we are all capable of this and in my opinion all it boils down to is the wherewithal to achieve this status.



...is they write in disparate styles - some are wordy, some are frugal with words. What works for one might not work for another, but from talking to them you can get at the core elements of successful writing and gain an understanding of the vital elements, like finding your voice, how to create drama, how to keep a story on track instead of dissipating into a mess of inconsequential trivia. There's a lot of disinformation on internet writing forums, and you can end up with this prisoner mentality, where you see nothing but rules to be followed. The classic one is the show/tell thing - if you misunderstand it you end up trying to tell a story while afraid to tell your reader anything. At that point you might as well give up and take origami classes instead. So you have to be discerning - think about the advice that's offered to you and ask yourself whether it applies to your writing and whether it makes sense to follow.

The thing is, there is no big conspiracy to keep 'new writers' down. The simple truth is they have not yet mastered their craft - not even close, and that's part of the reason they're not getting published. Quite a big part of it, too, because even if they managed to clear all the hurdles on the way to getting their MS under the nose of somebody who's in a position to publish it and pay them real money, they would be rejected by the time the publisher had read to the end of the first page. The longer I'm doing this, the more obvious it becomes. When I first started writing I couldn't see it. I couldn't see anything wrong with the stories I wrote and how I wrote them, but over the years I've gradually learned more about the craft of writing, and I see the overused tropes, the bad grammar, the gerunds, repetitious sentence constructions, the minutia, endless adverbs, poor speech tags, etc., etc., etc. I wouldn't say I've mastered it, and probably never will, but the first step on the path is to learn the basics, and hopefully I've done that :scratch:
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

delph_ambi

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Re: Understanding
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2010, 04:57:31 AM »
Yes.

I agree with all of that too.

(Must be in an agreeable mood this morning.)

Offline delboy

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Re: Understanding
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2010, 06:11:22 AM »
I agree with Delph.
"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
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Offline delboy

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Re: Understanding
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2010, 06:15:43 AM »
Quote
The thing is, there is no big conspiracy to keep 'new writers' down.

Read this yesterday from an interview with William Goldman:

Quote
Chat Participant: All things being equal, is it easier to sell a great screenplay or to get a great novel published?

William Goldman: I can't answer that because there is such a hunger-both the book business and the movie business are in terrible trouble these days-and the hunger for material has never been as strong. The problem is, they may be looking for "Lethal Weapon 6", and you have written something about the human condition.
 
"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
Robert B. Parker

Offline Woody

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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2010, 11:26:22 AM »
mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 07:37:59 PM by Woody »
___________________________________________________________
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Perception is nine tenths of the look. Brave Dave the Feather in Caribbean Conspiracy

Offline fnord33

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Re: Understanding
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2010, 04:52:50 PM »
With the rate at which information can be transmitted increasing exponentially since the advent of the radio, it's not surprising that we have finally reached a point at which our means for exposure exceed our brain's ability to process and store it. I think that bad sitcoms are the only think keeping stupid people's heads from exploding. The human brain needs a little bit of time every day to melt into a nice little puddle and just be, but nobody has time for that anymore. If I have a little free time (which i never do) I'm much more likely to play xbox than I am to go sit on my porch and watch the chem trails evaporate. I think the general trend towards an inability to concentrate is a defense mechanism that our brains came up with to keep from melting down. Eventually, either the collective consciousness of man will crack under the pressure of constant and absolute bombardment with meaningless and conflicting information or information overload will force the brains of future generations to evolve into more efficient processors. Maybe text slang (IMO, lol, etc..) is an early form of mental evolution rather than the plague on the English language that many believe it to be. Maybe the gradual phasing out of slow beauty is a natural process that is necessary for mankind to move on to it's next phase. If that is the case I hope that there's something equally beautiful to replace it. Just a thought.
Life is an entanglement of lies to hide it's basic mechanisms. - William Burroughs

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