• Vera Mont
    3.8k
    I'd like to go into both stories in more detail, but it's 5 am and I'd like to get back to bed, and I need some sleep before I can think clearly.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.3k


    Thanks for the feedback. That's exactly the stuff I like to hear! That's why it's rough, not so much not having been edited for grammar, but I'm thinking I may need to break up the exposition. The main critique I've always heard of Bakker is that there is too much exposition up front. Same for Game of Thrones, I found the whole first book to be a bit sloggy. But I can turn the exposition into dialogue easy enough. I've been rereading the Black Company because I think Cook does a good job at this, even though his story and setting are much less complex.

    It's the second chapter, (really third, since I do interludes between each chapter), because it's a bit more abstract, less "grabby." But it's the one chapter where magic is front and center because the Refuge is the one place in the world where its common. I think I said the entire HRE stand-in has about 8 million people and can muster 1,600 sorcerers of varying ability in an earlier chapter, so fairly uncommon elsewhere, 0.02% or so.

    In any event, I'm sort of paused on this project because I started another one about people living for generations in an infinite house (labyrinth of rooms in every direction), and searching for a way out, interspersed with some modern story lines. It allows for a lot more dialogue and humor, less "genre fiction," and so I figured it likely has the wider appeal.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    In any event, I'm sort of paused on this project because I started another one about people living for generations in an infinite house (labyrinth of rooms in every direction), and searching for a way out, interspersed with some modern story lines. It allows for a lot more dialogue and humor, less "genre fiction," and so I figured it likely has the wider appeal.Count Timothy von Icarus

    That's an intriguing concept. A little spooky, too. Could make a really good story, but I - and I assume many other readers - would be sore vext if it had no resolution.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.3k


    Right, and it doesn't have a good solution I can think of. That's part of the problem. I tried to lighten it by making the modern plotline about budget disinfo merchants full of levity, a bit absurd, but I don't know if it works. It makes for stuff that is more fun to write at times though.

    Well, if we need inspiration…

    She shuffled some books on her desk, found what she was looking for, a small rectangular package. The label on the front of the package was a gold on orange holographic image. From one angel it showed a muscular, bearded man in a toga, rolling a stone up a steep hill. Depending on how you tilted the package, you could make the stone roll up or down the hill, in endless repetition. But, if you tilted it far enough, a totally new image would appear, the face of a man, eyes comically red. Many customers didn’t know it, but this was the face of the French existentialist, Albert Camus. Above his face popped out the words:

    Absurdly Good Weed(™)”

    Then, below the face:
    “One must imagine Sisyphus stoned.”

    She opened the package and pulled out a joint.

    And what sort of story would a disinfo merchant fall for?

    Hilde looked back down at the books cluttering her desk. Her eyes locked on Plato’s dialogue on the immortality of the soul, the Phaedo.



    [/quote]

    Still, Chris wasn’t naive about what most people would say about their work. Purveyors of misinformation.Disinfo merchants. Propagandists. Liars. Trolls.

    Or, as one journalist for the Des Moines Register had put it, Nigel was “a rotund British cancer on the American body politic, not talented enough to metastasize, but hardly benign.”

    “Fucking self indulgent purple prose — who does this asshole think he is writing for?” Nigel had fumed, showing the article to Chris. “Not talented enough? I turn down bigger jobs all the time. I keep a low profile because I’m not a moron like this absolute pleb.”

    This had been during the phase when Nigel was using “pleb,” as his go-to insult. The insult held no classest connotations when wielded by Nigel. He frequently painted billionaires and officials in high office with the label.

    “Pleb,” for Nigel, was short for “plebian of the soul,” a term he had adopted after being turned on to the works of the ultra-conservative, caste-system-advocating, esotericist, Julius Evola. He had come across the facism-adjacent, wizard, or sorcerer, or what-the-fuck-ever people who do “magic” call themselves, via some godforsaken VR community that Nigel had been frequenting back then.

    Evola had convinced Nigel that he was an “aristocrat of the soul.” From that it followed that his enemies were “the plebs,” the low-class mob hoping to drag others down to their level of “spiritual mediocrity.” This was worse than Economic Marxism — worse than Cultural Marxism even — this was… Spiritual Marxism.

    Nigel had been particularly insufferable during this period, frequently accusing Chris of “Spiritual Marxism” and its attendant ills, whenever Chris had pushed back on his increasingly unhinged ideas. For Chris, the turn had been evidence that even his boss, so astute in fathoming the psychology of the masses, was not immune to the lure of intrigue, controversy, and self-flattery.

    It had also been a period of significant “biohacking,” Nigel’s preferred term. Biohacking was “the rational and intentional alteration of one’s own neurochemistry to help maximize productivity, achieve one’s goals, and fully realize one’s potential.” It was, “better living through science,” “the use of entheogens to achieve a fit-to-purpose physicochemistry conducive to the demands of the modern workplace.”

    Biohacking, per Nigel, was a premier example of “the application of Logos to Psyche,” the “triumph of Gnosis over Eros.”

    Chris had secretly thrown out the man’s cocaine stash, a key “biohacking reagent,” after he had, only half-jokingly, referred to it as “Aristocrat’s Powder.”

    In retrospect, this inflation of the man’s eccentricities had foreshadowed his downfall, the end of the first company, and his fourteen month, all expenses paid “vacation” to the Yazoo City Federal Corrections Complex. He had been a bubble ready to pop, destined for the “Zoo.”
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k

    That bides well.... given some previous framework and scene-setting. I do like the language and the insight. Even to the shades of Ayn Rand.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    What it means for an individual's sense of wellbeing if their beliefs are overturned. Personal, psychological and political. [ ... ] The short stories and fiction can raise philosophical questions in a more creative, perhaps acceptable way ...Amity
    I agree. We (TPF) benefit from both discussions and creative expressions.

    I think it would work really well as an 'episode' in a novel of linked short stories.
    :cool: Yes, I'd prefer a picaresque novel to a strictly progressive, bildungsroman-like form. Besides, I still have no plan for exactly where or how the characters go on.

    The mythology is interesting, though I don't quite follow all of it. There is some wonderful description and imagery.Vera Mont
    :blush: Thanks. I inagine there are other versions or interpretations of "the mythology" which probably have implications for other events or folk beliefs elsewhere in the setting. I still haven't decided whether or not the Old Man is a reliable narrator.

    I can definitely see this in a larger context - I suppose the novel would have to be about the adventures of the heroine and her mercenary, so this would be at the beginning.
    If it's an anthology instead of a novel, then "the adventures" (or "episodes") need not follow a linear plotline in sequential order. Maybe (a tighter) "Good Stew" is a flashback of the heroine years later during a lull in one of her "adventures" (as a frame). I'd have to write a few more, I think, before the shape of an overall tale – metaplot? – will suggest its structure.

    Is that nit-picking?
    Sure, but that's okay. I prefer characters who are essentially passive (or absent) to be named but two conversing protagonists, especially ones who are also quite familiar with one another, to be unnamed unless one of them calls the other by name (e.g. for emphasis). A (Beckettian) quirk I'm guilty of in other stories of mine.

    I've been rereading the Black Company because I think Cook does a good job at this, even though his story and setting are much less complex.Count Timothy von Icarus
    :up: I'm also a Glen Cook fan. If you've read him, what do you think of Joe Ambercrombie? His hardboiled, gritty fantasy seems like a blend of Black Company & Game of Thrones.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    If it's an anthology instead of a novel, then "the adventures" (or "episodes") need not follow a linear plotline in sequential order.180 Proof

    That makes me squirm a bit. I like to be able to follow a story without benefit of electrode implants. I don't mind the odd flashback or memory or dream, but when a story goes flashing back and forth and sideways, just as with multiply split screens, I get psychological epileptic fits and leave the room. It all depends on how it's done I guess.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    It all depends on how it's done I guess.Vera Mont
    Agreed.
  • Amity
    4.7k
    We (TPF) benefit from both discussions and creative expressions.180 Proof
    A Good Stew.
    I think it would work really well as an 'episode' in a novel of linked short stories.
    :cool: Yes, I'd prefer a picaresque novel to a strictly progressive, bildungsroman-like form. Besides, I still have no plan for exactly where or how the characters go on
    180 Proof

    'A Good Stew' of minds, memories, music and magic - to name just a few ingredients.
    The sense of serendipity and things coming together for rare "Aha!" moments.
    Like I had last night when I finished the audio version of 'Dandelion Wine' - Ray Bradbury.
    Thanks to @Vera Mont for the recommendation! I'll go on to read the hard-back treasure...

    The penultimate chapter or 'episode' in this novel of short stories is about a right old stew!
    I won't spoil it but imagine some well-intentioned meddlesome tidy and organised Aunt who visits Grandma's house. Her efforts to clean up will improve an already brilliant feast enjoyed by all.
    Or so she thinks...

    Aunt Rose with her need to house-keep, to control the ingredients of 'happiness'. The food was inedible, the family and boarders went to bed cold and hungry. The intuitive warmth of creativity was missing.

    [ An aside: it reminded me a little of TPF Categories - a place for everything and everything in its place.
    Here's the list and descriptions of each:
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/categories/all
    Where would you go to find a discussion like this? Or to combine creative ideas?
    The Lounge - 'Hang out, blether, talk about kittens'?! I don't think so!
    Far better, in my opinion, The Symposium with its more inspiring, already lively, creative sections. But do all the sections there go out 'live' to front page? Well, the Shoutbox does...]

    That's all I want to say for now. Gotta fly....
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    The Lounge - 'Hang out, blether, talk about kittens'?! I don't think so!Amity

    Hey! What you got against kittens? I have some pick-your-own on the back porch. Free, but wear work gloves.
    I have sometimes wondered where a thread went when it was moved to the Lounge, but now, I automatically look in every day. For one thing, there is more likely to be humour.
  • Amity
    4.7k
    We (TPF) benefit from both discussions and creative expressions.180 Proof

    That made me think of data mining.

    Online forums provide a wealth of publicly accessible data and have proven particularly useful for critical psychologists wishing to examine naturalistic data on a wide range of social phenomena. This article begins by considering the use of online discussion forums for critical discursive psychological research and outlines ethical debates regarding their use (particularly in light of past and current British Psychological Society guidelines). To demonstrate how such data can be used in critical psychology I provide an illustrative example of a discursive analysis of a single online discussion thread taken from a diabetes newsgroup that examines anti-social online behaviours in the form of “trolling,” “flaming,” and heterosexism.


    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282070655_A_Case_for_Using_Online_Discussion_Forums_in_Critical_Psychological_Research


    TPF a rich seam.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    I can see a future of online psychotherapy. You don't tell the bot about yourself and your problem; you just post links to your various forum exchanges and the bot diagnoses.
    (I like Beryl.)

    On a related topic, one of the books I edited was a collaborative effort at fiction. It started with an opening paragraph and the challenge to write the next section. We had a blast and it turned out a not bad story. There were four or five main contributors and of course we asked each of them for permission before tampering with the narrative and got their approval of the finished text. We continued to correspond with one of those people in the real world for several years after the site went down.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    I'm not 'meta' enough about TPF itself as a specimen of online social media.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    I'm not 'meta' enough about TPF itself as a specimen of online social media.180 Proof

    You're too damn cryptic to be any use at all. They'll have to edit you out.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    You're too damn crypticVera Mont
    :smirk:
  • Amity
    4.7k


    Perfect specimens. Pure gold. Makes me feel all...'zoomy'! Metazoomical.



    ***
    Apologies to @hypericin who started this thread a month ago. [*]

    I have sometimes wondered where a thread went when it was moved to the Lounge, but now, I automatically look in every day. For one thing, there is more likely to be humour.Vera Mont

    The timing of the move (3 days ago) is curious.
    We've perhaps become too 'chatty' and veered too much off-topic?
    Is this why an excellent topic is moved to The Lounge?
    @hypericin Were you informed of the change of venue and the reasons?

    [*]
    Literary Writing Process

    This topic stems from the recently concluded literary activity.

    I'm curious what people's writing process is. Mine may be unusual.
    hypericin
  • Amity
    4.7k
    Literary Writing Process

    Interesting to consider what music, if any, inspires a certain kind of story.
    What environment works best for authors at various stages of the writing process?
    Do you mix it up?
    Amity
  • Amity
    4.7k
    How do you write?hypericin

    This question works for both literary and philosophical 'pieces'.
    The way we think. Our different styles of communication to attract and keep a reader's attention.
    To seduce and escape to other possible worlds.

    I'm intrigued by how our minds forage and forge connections, creatively and analytically.
    Is it down to personality? Or what?
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    How do you write?hypericin
    This question works for both literary and philosophical 'pieces'. The way we think. [ ... ] Is it down to personality? Or what?Amity
    To start with, I suspect it comes down to each writer's practiced instincts for exploring ambiguity and for clarifying in spite of ambiguity, respectively.

    Iris Murdoch's differentiation of philosophical texts and literary texts, and the different implications for reading them ...180 Proof
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m47A0AmqxQE
  • Amity
    4.7k
    Re: How Do You Write? (Literary and Philosophy)
    The way we think - foraging and and forging connection. What is that down to?

    To start with, I suspect it comes down to each writer's practiced instincts for exploring ambiguity and for clarifying in spite of ambiguity, respectively.180 Proof

    'Practiced instincts' - I think that phrase says it all. It combines the discipline and the 'letting go' aspects.
    I have rebelled against regular practice as something only 'serious' writers would do. I've always felt my writing to be spontaneous - having to be in the right frame of mind. Wrong thinking!

    Having read some more on the subject, I find myself now agreeing with:

    My writing process is based on perseverance.javi2541997

    Yes, I think that's vital. Sometimes it doesn't flow - or even trickle; sometimes you have to wring out every word as from a heavy wet towel.Vera Mont

    Perseverance is not about success for me. It's a life-vest: I have to get something written every day, good, bad or lackluster - and it may well end up deleted on the next good day - simply in order to keep doing it.Vera Mont

    The flow seems to come and go. But it is more likely to arise if you already have the practice and experience of regular writing. No matter whether it's perfect - it's vital. A physical and mental necessity.

    I can give one tiny piece of general advice: It you want to improve your description, read Bradbury. When I was 19, my first chief tech gave me an old paperback copy of Dandelion Wine. It was a revelation worthy of a fanfare by the celestial brass. I still consider him the grand master of evocative description.Vera Mont

    Again, thanks for the recommendation. So poetic and descriptive...
    Recently, I discovered his 'Zen in the Art of Writing - Essays on Creativity'.

    From there, 'Becoming a Writer' - Dorothea Brande. Here in Ch 5 and 6, I am following some advice to 'harness the unconscious' and 'writing on schedule'. Fascinating. Discipline and letting go.
  • Amity
    4.7k
    Iris Murdoch's differentiation of philosophical texts and literary texts, and the different implications for reading them ...
    — 180 Proof
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m47A0AmqxQE
    180 Proof

    Thanks. The interview is fascinating. We can almost see or feel the thinking process.
    I am not sure I agree with everything Iris says but it is an authentic attempt to answer questions.
    In black and white, the world has moved on a little... here, it goes slow and careful...

    [...] exploring ambiguity and for clarifying in spite of ambiguity, respectively.180 Proof

    Yes. But first you have to be aware and notice them.
    Also any assumptions and bias we carry around. Examining our selves and questioning any fixed ideas. Like whot I had!
  • javi2541997
    5.3k
    The flow seems to come and go. But it is more likely to arise if you already have the practice and experience of regular writing. No matter whether it's perfect - it's vital. A physical and mental necessity.Amity

    Well said, Amity. I have been stuck in my imaginative process. I have been writing some stuff, but I didn't like it at all. This doesn't mean that I erased what I wrote, because it helps me to see what I am missing. I agree with @Vera Mont, flow comes and goes, and sometimes it takes a lot to catch it again.
    Yet, I love to write. Whenever I finish a paragraph, although it can be mediocre, I feel good with myself.
  • Amity
    4.7k
    Yet, I love to write. Whenever I finish a paragraph, although it can be mediocre, I feel good with myself.javi2541997

    And isn't that what it's all about - the Love.
    It's actually the final word in Bradbury's chapter - 'Zen in the Art of Writing'.

    The true test is in the doing. Be pragmatic, then. If you're not happy with the way your writing has gone, you might give my method a try.
    If you do, I think you might easily find a new definition for Work.
    And the word is LOVE.

    Your mind is a good one and you share your thoughts generously. Thank you.
  • javi2541997
    5.3k
    Your mind is a good one and you share your thoughts generously. Thank you.Amity

    I can only fully appreciate your kindness, Amity. Your mind and thoughts are very comfortable, and you always try to make us feel better with ourselves. I like to see that you are still flowing around TPF - although the literary contest finished a month ago - because you often leave TPF for months... :confused:
  • Amity
    4.7k
    I like to see that you are still flowing around TPF - although the literary contest finished a month ago - because you often leave TPF for months..javi2541997

    'Flowing around TPF' is at times a real joy and valuable. Other times not so much - but I wouldn't be without it - and like many others return after a break. To learn and discuss topics of interest, like this one.
    I was going to write: 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder' and then wondered as to its origin.
    And then, how true is it?

    The exchange here is quite fascinating, ranging from poems, songs, novels, Shakespeare, letters of Benjamin Franklin, and so on...

    https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/139744/who-is-the-author-of-absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    Discipline and letting go.Amity
    Yes – the late poet and critic (and friend in my bohemian 20s) Hayden Carruth had once described jazz that way. My daily habit of four-plus decades has also been, as @Vera Mont says, "my life-vest" despite drowning once or thrice.

    The interview is fascinating.Amity
    Did you listen to all five parts (video clips) of the interview? I've always admired her thinking and her essays but not so much her fiction even though Iris Murdoch was a fine novelist.
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