Log in

No account? Create an account
bear by san

March 2017



Powered by LiveJournal.com
can't sleep books will eat me

the moon is yellow silver, the things that summer brings

Pursuant to a discussion in chat on how our tolerances have changed as we've learned how to tell stories, apparently what happens to people when they learn to write is sort of odd.

One learns that it is actually functionally impossible to get all the details right, and so (while one becomes ever more meticulous about the fact checking in one's own work) when one catches another in a factual error or a continuity goof, one stops worrying about it much. I mean, okay, blow a character's eye color or a detail of police procedure?

Who cares! It's so minor it's not even on the radar, and you've done it a thousand times yourself. You shrug and move on. Nobody can be an expert on everything. (This doesn't stop you from wanting to die when you do it yourself, of course.)

On the other hand? You become an absolute Nazi about narrative structure and characterization and narrative drive.*

Because that stuff? Is important. 

Whether Mary Sue's eyes are green or violet is so far down the page it's hard to even remember to care.

In other news, I should be working on Chapter 26. And I am just too tired to care about that also.

I think that means I'm officially sick. And won't be staying up.

And this blog has gotten really freaking boring. Man.

*Also, if you ask a room full of writers, "Hey, is this a plot hole?" they will have seventeen different explanations for how it could have worked.

Because, um. That is how we have our fun.

That, and solving whodunnits in the second reel based on the camera angles.


It's been a really slow weekend. Go to bed. We'll be here when you get back.
take two cliches and blog me in the morning.. I jus found out that this spell check doesn't recognize the word "blog"... duh...
"Hey, is this a plot hole?" they will have seventeen different explanations for how it could have worked.

Yes, that was last weeks MA workshop. Luckily it wasn't my turn. It is this week and I thank you for setting up novel_in_90 daily. At least I'm plugging away.
Oh, that's funny. Because I was actually thinking that when I finish Carnival I should maybe blog about how I think that book is perfectly brilliant, and yet there are all these stupid little things that bother me--things that, frankly, I wouldn't have even noticed if I hadn't sat through a writing workshop a few months ago. (Well, but that's the opposite of what you're talking about, isn't it? Because these really are all stupid little things. Not only are they NOT IMPORTANT, I actually suspect that trying to fix them would be WRONG.)
And I probably disagree with you, anyway. *g*

That's actually the stage before, when you find you can't tolerate anything about anybody else's writing, because it all bugs you. I did that for about two years.

The bad part is when you never get past that. It means, I think, you are stuck at the micro-steering level, and not actually learning to drive.
Well, of course I expect you would disgree...

The thing about workshops and writing pointers and critiquers' Lexicons is they are very, very good at giving you comprehensive lists of What Not to Do; it's rather more difficult to explain the je ne sais quoi that makes something brilliant. Because "brilliant" a coming together of many different things? Because there are an infinity of combinations that might work, but ten times as many that won't? Or maybe because some of those combinations will involve dragging out a threadbare cliche, or overdescribing a purple-eyed Mary Sue, or blatantly breaking some other a workshop taboo.
Oh, I should say: the typos are part of my, um, charm. Sorry.
Oh, the lists of what not to do are bullshit. That's the problem.

They're made up for amateurs. And if you listen to them, you will be stuck making cowardly choices as an artist all your life.

There are no "don'ts." There are only techniques that work, and techniques that don't work. And a lot of the time what happens is that apprentice writers are presented with these lists of things that they shouldn't do because an instructor has a pet peeve or a literary twitch or because she has seen it done badly too often, or because those things are out of fashion or hard to do well.

And the thing is, every writer does stuff wrong. Every writer has weaknesses. I have a ton.

You can't actually be world class at everything. (Although it is expected that one will *try,* at least in my circles.)

And here's the other thing. The flaws? Are the thing that establish a writer's voice and style. (When you pastiche somebody, you copy the *quirks.*)

And nobody in the Real World cares what a book does wrong *as long as it does enough right.* Which is what I think you mean by "brilliance."

And then the apprentice writer gets hung up on "not doing things wrong." But that means not taking chances. And that means not growing as a writer.

And it also means abandoning some incredibly powerful narrative tools.

I mean, we could talk for a week about everything Rowling does wrong, but it doesn't matter, because of everything she does right.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing what I did to piss you off. :-)
Oh, yes. Yes. Yes.
...Hang on, that stage ends? And it's supposed to end? Awesome.
Yes. It does eventually go away, I think if you're Growing As An Artist.

Or, I mean, I stopped being Mikey, eventually.
Oh, which is why I say that the opinions of writers who are still in the intermediate stages of learning their craft are entertaining, but pretty much useless most of the time. Because at that stage one gets very fixated on certain things, and usually they are the things that one is working on not doing wrong one's self.

So like, I had a period of about two years when I could not read fiction. Literally. Not even my comfort books.

I had to relearn. And now I read it very differently than I used to.

I blogged about this somewhat over at storytellersunplugged.com on the seventh.
*g* Oh, this is meant to be commiseratory, not dismissive.

I just reread, and realized it could be taken that way.

I'm trying to say I have been there. :-P
S'okay, understood. (And I do realize that a lot of it is useless, and I'm actually... annoyed that it IS bothering me. When it didn't before, and when I suspect that it is useless.) (But you won't stop me from blogging about it. Oh, no!)
You become an absolute Nazi about narrative structure and characterization and narrative drive.

...or not.

That, and solving whodunnits in the second reel based on the camera angles

OK, you're right -- that's fun.

I think that means I'm officially sick. And won't be staying up.

Feel better, Bear.
first person you.*g*
*Also, if you ask a room full of writers, "Hey, is this a plot hole?" they will have seventeen different explanations for how it could have worked.

I do that about TV shows. Retconning both in fandom and just randomly about any problem someone talks about. I have friends who find it amazingly frustrating. They'd rather I just admit that it was a problem and move on!
When I first joined the workshop, I didn't know a lot of the mistakes writers could make. I was definitely in the beginning stages.

Once I learned about all of the mistakes, I'd go over my own drafts something like a million times trying to fix all of them. Then I'd still have errors left over. So when I'd read my favorite writers, I'd see all the passive sentence construction and the little quirks and I'd get hung up on that.

Now I read just for the story someone else is telling, to enjoy the general idea of the points they're making and sometimes to lose myself in the richness of their writing. I've moved past focusing on the micro-issues and it's fun to read again. It's fun to write, too, because I have fun challenging myself to go through my own writing and pick up all those little flaws. I know I can't catch them all, but I like to try.

This blog post made a lot of sense to me, obviously. It's a pretty good description of me.


I'd say, anyway, he has pretty good odds.
There was that guy who cut off his own arm after getting it stuck while mountain climbing. Pretty amazing story, actually.
Ahhh, so I just need to find a bunch of writers and ask them about my....well, not plothole, but more my "OK, why the hell is he doing this, again?!?!" issue. Since the action of the entire thing revolves around this issue.....yeah, it's something of a problem.