NVDT #61 – Make Sense, Goddammit

Mr. Huston has provided a tasty meal made from the half-baked, moldy victuals he collected from this site. Thanks Phil.

Not Very Deep Thoughts

 I was going to put this off, but it’s time for another discussion of mechanics. If only for me.

I complain a lot about scene-setting. And paragraph construction. What I’d like to do is what we did back in freaking high school. Dissect a passage of literature to discover its mechanics. Most people I engage with these days have no idea what I’m talking about. “Show Don’t Tell” with stilted, unimaginative call and response dialog is the main topic of discussion. Or compositional cut-and-paste sectionality. That’s a made-up word, sectionality. I figure it’s okay because the other day I watched a video where a hotshot DJ demoed a piece of software. He used a made-up word for a feature that’s been around longer than he’s been alive. If someone more literate, or even one working off phonics, went looking for that feature? They would never find it. Never mind. I…

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6 thoughts on “NVDT #61 – Make Sense, Goddammit

  1. Here’s a universal puzzle for you. Why do people’s attitudes get between their ears and their brains? Why is discussing the mechanical process so personal? Listen – I have never said “I am above thee, swine. Kneel and grovel.” Nor, “I am the way and the light.” Or even “Write like this.” Much less contemplate your navel before committing words to paper or screen. There are many variations of ‘write hot, edit cold’, and that’s all I’m sayin’. It doesn’t matter what or how you write, you gotta do the work. You do the work, pretty soon you find yourself doing less of it. Once you understand the mechanics you can plug anything in. Once you understand them you can hot-rod them to your own ends. No one needs to write like anyone else, but everyone should learn some mechanics if only to help them open up their vision. Don’t write like me or Simonson or Hemingway, write like a (skliiful) you. The more you understand your palette, the more colorful your painting. All I really want is for everybody to get better. Like I told Duke, if you don’t give it your best shot, you’re dissing the muse. Get your mechanics in order, and adjust to taste. The freedom is magic, and that can only come from understanding what the fuck you’re doing, which is where we all want to be. What follows is the spirit of real creativity. Nothing personal, Herbie, don’t play the butter notes. Nothing personal George and Mole, don’t play the butter notes. force yourself to get it better than you get it now. That’s all I do, and all I offer. I know you guys love my music analogies so dig this. If you don’t get it from this, go put your head in an oven. Seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m down with all this. Been traumatic, at times, getting used to your teaching methods…

        I believe this latest lesson contains one of the best, for me at least, “clue-ins” thus far. In fact, I’ve been thinking of scenes and wondering what is the core feature that I’d like to express about “x” and how should I go about presenting it?

        I saw an old man in London’s underground sitting with a box of ashes. That was the core, the seed. What did I want to do with that? Last night’s missive got close, some inside out sentences still, but at least I went with the recently learned notion of purposeful intent.

        … feels like a breath before a deep dive. Focus, breathe, go.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jesus, that was deep! I’ll actually save his post on my hard drive, right next to YOUR post that he’s ripping apart, and read them, together, slowly, until I get it. I’ll also visit those books he mentioned on Amazon and read the intro’s and try to get it. My thought is, he may be right, but if I followed his advice, I’d spend hours “meditating” on the opening lines and would never write anything! Sheesh. And I really wonder why, of all the thousands of bloggers on WP, he keeps conjuring me and won’t leave me alone…”Mole is like the curious to be better version of George and I try to help but for some reason it doesn’t stick…”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Okay, I’ll read PHs post. Might comment, might not. But I’ll probably–reluctantly considering the source–learn something. “He means well.” That’s what I said about my wife as the sheriff dragged me off to Jail. Sensitive? Yeah. Can I get over it? I dunno. I’m not here to please PH, but if he’s right, he’s right. Has he, in fact, ever published a book or is he the permanent WP genius?

    Liked by 2 people

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