February 17, 2020, 10:22:54 AM

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Re: How does the writer impact the story?
When you find a message in a work that the author didn't mean to put there, you're not wrong. You just discovered something about the way the authors mind works that he wasn't aware about himself.

No. Not so much. You've discovered something about yourself and your own biases, and now you're projecting what you want to believe onto the author.

That sounds an awful lot like solipsism, which to my mind directly contradicts the literary experience. Literature is a communication medium. It is a way for the author to immerse a reader in a piece of their own mind. Communication can fail at both ends of this and reveal the shortcomings of either party. An author can reveal more than intended just as a reader's own worldview can be challenged.

No, it's a repudiation of the idea that interpretation is the same thing as understanding. Attributing meanings and motives to an author based on your interpretation, and then treating those interpretations as a credible and factual thing, is just absurd; as if simply by coming to a conclusion about another person, you have gained a factual insight into that person's character. You might be right, you might be wrong, but to assume you know the parts of the author's mind that the author does not recognize him or herself, is not only arrogant, but a critical failure in the art of communication.


To me, this desire to insert meaning into an author's work, and then to attribute it to a failure on the author's part, or on her inability to overcome her own bias, reeks of fanaticism. It reeks of the desire to discredit and destroy for the sake upholding one's own beliefs above that of any other.


Amen. I had a college literature class that I had to suffer through because of this. The whole point was to apply different "theories" to interpret the author's work. Like feminist theory, queer theory, Marxist theory, etc., regardless of whether or not they were actually applicable to the subject matter. So essentially it was a class on how to look for things that just weren't there and try and make stories seem to be about things that they aren't.

Hey, we're doing that! I find it fascinating. If someone sees it, that means it's there at least for them.

Yeah and a pink elephant flies over the gas station down the street. Well not really, but it's there for me at least. [Insert Face-palm Meme]


April 25, 2016, 03:16:27 PM
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Re: How does the writer impact the story?
Amen. I had a college literature class that I had to suffer through because of this. The whole point was to apply different "theories" to interpret the author's work. Like feminist theory, queer theory, Marxist theory, etc., regardless of whether or not they were actually applicable to the subject matter. So essentially it was a class on how to look for things that just weren't there and try and make stories seem to be about things that they aren't.

Yeah, I was mostly thinking of academia in my response, haha. I remember one class in college, we read Death Comes for the Archbishop and it seemed that the answer to every analytical question one could muster came back to the professor saying, "Well remember, there's a good indication that Willa Cather was a closet lesbian."

"Why do you think she decided to write about a white bishop in the American Southwest?"

"Well remember, there's a good indication that Willa Cather was a closet lesbian."

It always amazed me that he could not only connect two unrelated points and always make it about her sexual orientation, but that he would do it while being completely uncertain on whether his claim toward her being gay was true. At some points, I think it was just an easy answer for him, rather than actually having to do some critical thinking.

And these people are actually paid to teach this crap. I enrolled in a class at college that was all about Hitchcock films. I was really excited until the first day when I realized that it was basically taking Hitchcock and filtering his work through a feminist lens. It was a long quarter to say the least. I mean there is making observations based on gender, and there is making observations based on gender that are so outlandish that you don't know how the person teaching the class can keep a straight face. I can entertain the former but not the later.

Never ceases to amaze how people can ruin culture by making it all about political ideology and not the craft itself.

April 25, 2016, 03:22:28 PM
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Re: Chapters Write the chapter at the full length and then read it back and see how it feels. You might find a sweet spot where  it's best to wrap things up at and get ready for the next chapter.
April 27, 2016, 05:32:28 PM
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Re: 2016 Hugos
Quote
Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)

The cover for that book is pretty damn funny.

Awards shows/events are just a load of meh. It's who you know and who you blow, just like everything else in entertainment.

April 28, 2016, 11:59:06 AM
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Re: Chapters In the end it either works or it doesn't. The only way to find out is to experiment and learn from your victories and mistakes. Don't forget you are developing a skill set.  ;)
April 29, 2016, 01:49:11 PM
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Re: Music?
When I play music while writing, I often like to listen to a Danny Elfman soundtrack.  Just sets the right mood...   :)

Do you start picturing Johnny Depp in the lead role?  ;D

May 07, 2016, 06:55:34 PM
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Re: Culture in worldbuilding As far as I'm concerned the language police and the politically correct cry babies can go to hell.  Not worth living in fear over what someone might say about your writing.
April 27, 2017, 08:54:11 AM
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Re: Culture in worldbuilding
As far as I'm concerned the language police and the politically correct cry babies can go to hell.  Not worth living in fear over what someone might say about your writing.

On the other hand, if your aim is to get published then it is well worth bearing these considerations in mind, as publishing houses are increasingly reluctant to take on projects that are tone-deaf when it comes to cultural sensitivity. Of course, I'm not saying that you should attempt to write what you think other people want to read rather than what you want to write. But I think there's a difference between trying to write what you think other people want to read, and trying not to write something that you think other people definitely won't want to read.

The thing is, there will always be someone that gets upset by something someone else writes about and will make a big stink about it. It's practically the cultural norm these days in America. Fake outrage is the national sport. I don't think many authors are trying to be malicious and denigrate people intentionally with their writing.

In the series I'm working on I have the prototypical European setting, but I also have other continents and cultures that are based off of African, Middle Eastern, and Asian civilizations. No matter how hard I try to portray these groups fairly, I can guarantee you that someone will call me a racist and accuse me of cultural appropriation because I'm white and I wrote about another ethnic group in my story. I can't worry about whether or not this will happen and become paranoid about every word I type because it might trigger someone's emotions.

Even if it means I have to self-publish, I'm not going to compromise what I do just because a handful of people might get upset and cry about it. That kind of person will always exist and will always be there to give you a 1 out of 5 star rating and write a nasty review of your work, even if there is nothing that is offensive in it.

April 30, 2017, 11:36:30 AM
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Re: Are taverns overused? I think how they tend to be depicted might be a bit overused, as well as not entirely accurate. Too many end up more like a western saloon than a real medieval inn.
June 21, 2017, 10:51:57 AM
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