Writer’s Log: 2182

I’ve been reading a few writer’s craft books. One recommended by our favorite Writer’s Grinch, The Lie that tells a Truth. The other is the Twelve Key Pillars of Novel Construction (links below).

The first so far, feels like being tormented by my personal writer’s cheerleading demon. “Write this, write that. Come on Duffy, get off your arse and write me a scene about how your characters would react to seeing a fruit-stand purveyor being gang raped by a band of capuchin monkeys.”

The other, the 12 Pillars one, provides a holistic approach, a “You gotta start with a concept with heart, a protagonist with cajones, a theme with a big-hair metal-band rhapsody.”

I’ll get through them and I suspect, learn a bit along the way.

What I’ve noticed, in the interim, is that I’ve tightened my whole mental process of words to paper. I’ve adopted the, readers are smart, just tell them the bare minimum approach. And this works well. My stories speed up. I have to write less to get my ideas across. I get to rip along with plot. In general, and in tribute to our Grinch, less is more.

Nuance rules.

What’s more important to recognize is that this metamorphosis has taken roughly five years to accomplish. Five painful years to learn that the heart of the story must not be obscured with needless decoration. Story essential comes home to roost.

Marjorie sighed.
Clayton touched her arm. “That bad?”
She scratched a fingernail across the worn arm of her chair. “Worse.”
Her husband stood and gazed out the window. “It’s done then?”
“Unless you cut it off completely.” Marjorie pulled a loose thread, let it drift to the floor.
“I can’t,” Clayton said.
”Then, neither will I.”

 


18 thoughts on “Writer’s Log: 2182

  1. Hey, writing workshop guru, go here –
    [audio src="https://richarddeescifi.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Life-and-Other-Dreams.mp3" /]
    listen as long as you can with all that thin it out, get to the point, write an orderly scene stuff fresh in your mind and get back to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like HGWells and and some Victorian, effusive, non-essential description that I’d probably shut the book on had it been the opening. Could be cut by half and become more compelling.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aha! And elliptical as hell. Pretzel Logic? That was pretzel construction! I thought maybe it was just me. The guy says he’s got like 13 books out there, can’t get a publisher to bite. Imagine that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “You gotta start with a concept with heart, a protagonist with cajones, a theme with a big-hair metal-band rhapsody.

    Well that says it all. But the magic trick of course lies in finding and creating the original concept with heart, the protagonist with cajones, and a big-hair metal band that flows naturally as light closes the dark of night and gives us the bright light of a new world and a new insight. With this the reader’s heart and mind can soar, and the world will be a bit richer for the gift given from heart to heart and mind to mind, and therein lies the majesty and magic.

    On Fri, Mar 6, 2020 at 8:14 PM Anonymole – apocryphal agitators wrote:

    > Anonymole posted: “I’ve been reading a few writer’s craft books. One > recommended by our favorite Writer’s Grinch, The Lie that tells a Truth. > The other is the Twelve Key Pillars of Novel Construction (links below). > The first so far, feels like being tormented by my persona” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “that flows naturally as light closes the dark of night and gives us the bright light of a new world and a new insight. With this the reader’s heart and mind can soar, and the world will be a bit richer for the gift given from heart to heart and mind to mind, and therein lies the majesty and magic.”

      Echo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s about some lacy napkin fru fru shit right there. Show us something. Apply Lanham to that, keep the gist, drop the filigree.
        Try this – No emotion in the writer = No emotion in the reader. Write like you mean it. – Adding “so the readers will get it/feel it/join in/suspend disbelief is superfluous. Because that’s the intent.
        In this instance ‘Cut the Crap, tell the story’ would also work save for those poetic minded souls who need British accents in travel and expensive car commercials!
        Glad you’re working Dufresne. When he gets to assembling a scene from two people to two people in a situation it’s worth the price of admission. You could also read the beginning of “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” and break that him and her scene from the doorway to the water glass down into insert tab A into slot B scene diagram.

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        1. Hello again.

          Except that that whole scene, which I could read through Preview, was chock-full of extraneous setting and instructional feelings of the man. Maybe if I were a 75 year-old woman in a wheelchair with nothing to do all day except worry about why my children don’t visit I might be entertained by such an exchange. Me? No thanks.

          Liked by 1 person

              1. You’re still on content. Think meet, distraction, intervention, tension, release. Set it up like a diagrammed sentence and it’s plug n play. Not all that different than Hans Solo in the bar or the ever popular disease of the week doctor show. Structure. Content, when it’s not yours, is not relevant.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Okay. Now, if you can state that just now, and I understand it, and realize that sentences and paragraphs should be intentionally designed to affect such an impact how can you say that learning fiction tactics, which this is, is hooey? Learning something like this takes time and concerted effort, often with critical advice from others. And if so, something like a workshop where one can learn such things is useful. It’s not all just sit, “be there” then write.
                  You give nothing but shit about identifying technique and trying to figure out how to learn them. When here you are teaching technique. You gonna give me some credit or just deny what you just wrote is fiction tactics?

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                  1. Fiction tactics and what amounts to critical dissection of literature is on thing,. I busted you, and would continue to but it’s pointless, for attempting to rewrite the wheel with a bunch of confusing, personal take bullshit mixed with a cafeteria style some of this skip that methodology i.e. bullshit factology. “What I learned at Summer Writing Camp” personally filtered is perpetuating the “you don’t need to know that” syndrome which is why so many who whine can’t see their own amateurism for their lack of knowledge. What works for you, yeah. Until the next time you step on your dick and discover, oh wow, there’s that! And what, you rewrite the course? Man, the skill development tools are out there and some of them have been there since before Aristotle. Words are just like paint. This and that make sky blue with a yellowish tint. You have to know that shit. THEN you take that and apply it to whatever you choose to put on the canvas. The same is true with anything from signal flow to high diving to music. It’s best to learn the skill before you decide to jump and jam on your way down. I promise you, if you were conducting pulling them out of your ass seminars on brain surgery you wouldn’t go to one of your doctors, would you?

                    Liked by 1 person

        2. YOU: “Think meet, distraction, intervention, tension, release. Set it up like a diagrammed sentence and it’s plug n play. ”

          Looks like you like to play both sides of the field: Teaching tactics and proclaiming it’s all bullshit.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Semantics, but – I expose discoveries made by reverse engineering, literary analysis, a whole of list things. I am not a teacher, I am opinionated, an$ offer discoveries. We can read, study, be taught. If I were to teach anything it would be critical analysis as thought process. For this, writing, it would be a study of form. How the hell did they do that? Get a decent vocabulary of how the hell, and pretty soon “listen to your story” gets easier and thinking about all the dash of this and dash of that nonsense is gone. I urge depth, of study, understanding the ins and outs of a craft. In music now you can buy the perfect clip art and assemble it. That’s where the superficial silver bullet falls apart, though. Because if you don’t know how a song goes, if you don’t know how your story goes, you’re screwed regardless of all the rules and books and quality information and misinformation available. And the only way to fix that is work – practice – as applied theory, as directed. Until you see past the veneer and discover practice it’s ALL bullshit. “Art in performance happens when technique becomes invisible.” One will never achieve that without technique. But technique is NOT the goal, it is merely the tool. And there’s always more tools. Like I said, I expose discoveries I’ve found helpful, none of it is etched in stone because tomorrow may rain and I’ll step in the mud again.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks for that. That was excellent. I wish more of your comments followed that pattern.
              It is a learning process. And all of us start from ZERO. In my defense, I’m just trying to help those at that level. Sure it’s primitive and fraught with inconsistencies, but it does help. These guys with whom I get together are stumblingly thankful.

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