• Vera Mont
    3.8k
    The other is a fantasy book where the different schools of magic roughly map to philosophical positions.Count Timothy von Icarus

    That sounds really intriguing! I would love to read it when it's done.
  • Amity
    4.7k
    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. Just so I won't throw the malformed, stillborn monster against a wall* (You can't do that on a computer. I quite miss the dark satisfaction of a sheaf of despised paper splatting against the wall and flying all over the room.) One novel took over 35 years to write, I gave up on it so many times, for years on end. My SO nagged me into reviving it after retirement, and I think it turned out better than it would have the first time.Vera Mont

    Your sharing - telling it like it is, with humour - means so much to me and others, Vera.
    So, perseverance keeps you afloat - to prevent drowning in an ocean of complications and dead bodies.
    I understand your dislike of zombies.

    From what you say, sometimes it's good to give one particular project a rest. Persevering in that case would not necessarily have produced the best result. So, there's a time and a place for persisting.
    The brain can work on it in the background until the moon and stars align.

    The other thing is, the last two novels were complicated SF; three very different settings and a huge cast of characters with different time-keeping and seasons; different cultures, funny names, so they absolutely required planning. I'm a plodder - that's what works for me. My SO is a seat-of-the-pantser. He doesn't outline anything: he has an idea, makes up a protagonist to carry itVera Mont

    I love the fact that you have different ways of creating. I understand the need for the careful planning of a novel. Is your approach to short stories the same? I imagine so. I read that you might 'build a poem' next time around. Structure and rules of engagement necessary for a firm foundation.
    Good to know about but I'm not very good at following rules. What needs to come out, comes out.
    As in my 3-liner 'Sempre'. A simple, even if ambiguous, expression of thoughts and emotion.
    Perhaps not even poetry.
    I enjoy the sense and quality of haiku but counting syllables...nah! Then again, the challenge is part of the moment, I suppose. And once you have the knack...

    I wouldn't recommend either method to other people, because everyone has to find out what works for them. But I can give one tiny piece of general advice: It you want to improve your description, read Bradbury.Vera Mont

    I agree. Writing is personal. For the experienced and successful, regular habits will no doubt have formed. They know what works to achieve whatever aim or goal. Some might keep the method but change the style. It's fascinating.

    Thanks for your advice. How could I resist after this:

    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

    I had a look on Amazon. Then purchased from its subsidiary, AbeBooks.

    * About volatility. I'm not gonna tell you what I threw against a wall. It was meant for hubby. I was young. We divorced.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    About volatility. I'm not gonna tell you what I threw against a wall. It was meant for hubby. I was young. We divorced.Amity

    So, like, he failed the frog-to-prince test?
    From what you say, sometimes it's good to give one particular project a rest.Amity

    It wasn't quite like that. I put it aside when I got my heart broken, and then again when I contracted to a reciprocal renovation project with the present Mr. Mont. That involved a mother, two children, two full-time jobs and five incompatible pets. Then we built a house (If you think hasty marriage engenders object-hurling occasions, wait till you live on a construction site for two years!), then we imported a family, then we went to LA for six months. I tried to pick up that novel at least half a dozen times, but something always came along to halt progress. When life finally settled down, I started a new one - which didn't turn out well, and immediately another, that I think did. Then we had other projects. Life gets complicated sometimes.

    And I've never had an overwhelming compulsion. More artisan than artist, me. Yes, I do consider the shape and pace of a short story, but they're more spontaneous. There isn't so much to remember over so long a stretch of time. I do look at the construction of poems, too. I appreciate Yeats and Eliot, but also admire the classical forms. You know, Lawrence, Frost, Dickinson and the even older guys. Worse, I'm kind of a stickler for cadence, aptness of language, consistency in an extended metaphor and that sort of thing. I don't write many poems anymore; it doesn't gush as it did in adolescence when I was given to passions and blank verse; it rarely even drips (amply compensated-for by other orifices). I suppose if I submitted a sonnet or ballad, I'd be booed off the thread.

    My most abiding Bradbury book is Death Is a Lonely Business; I reared it every couple of years.

    Talking about work when not working is fun. I guess that's why I watch Grand Designs.
  • hypericin
    1.5k
    The ideas that burst from my brain were circled, underlined, numbered, asterisked and arrowed. There has to be a better way.Amity

    I'm curious that you don't use a computer. I would find chaotic writing styles like ours very hard to manage with pen and paper.

    I think it is important that a story is enjoyed AND understood. Otherwise, what's the point?Amity
    I think this is a mental hurdle you have to get over. It is not actually essential that you be understood.
    Your brain made a thing and the reader's brain mingled with it, played with it, that's the sexy part.

    I have two larger projects that require this.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Hey, these both sound pretty awesome, tbh. You should participate in the next "contest".

    Read a lot.Tom Storm
    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

    This sounds awfully enticing. I'm starting to read again, after a huge dry spell. Because of @Baden's mention I'm reading Appointment in Samarra, great, great book, makes The Great Gatsby look like a limp dick. I'm putting Dandelion Wine next in queue.
  • Amity
    4.7k
    I'm curious that you don't use a computer. I would find chaotic writing styles like ours very hard to manage with pen and paper.hypericin

    Oh, but I was using my laptop. Until I couldn't type fast enough to hold the ideas!
    I didn't know how to keep track of tumbling thoughts. So, I grabbed whatever I could...

    I think it is important that a story is enjoyed AND understood. Otherwise, what's the point?
    — Amity
    I think this is a mental hurdle you have to get over. It is not actually essential that you be understood.
    Your brain made a thing and the reader's brain mingled with it, played with it, that's the sexy part.
    hypericin

    You are right, it is not essential that a story, or novel, is fully understood. The joy of reading (and discussion) is about how interpretations vary. Even on a re-read years later.

    I've also realised that an author's explanation for a story or novel is not always available or necessary.
    Why then, do TPF storytellers attempt such?

    An author's helter-skelter, labyrinthine sentence can be appreciated aesthetically. In and of itself.
    But as a puzzle, or a prompt to deeper thought, the reader's eye can be opened to aspects not previously considered. The shared or different life experiences; their own psychology or philosophy.

    Like you, I am grateful for recommendations made along the way,
    I'm inspired to read novels/short stories for an increased understanding. Models for how to write.
    I suppose that's 'reading as a writer'. A phrase I never understood until now.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    I'm curious what people's writing process is. Mine may be unusual.

    [ ... ]

    How do you write?
    hypericin
    Since my first bout of Covid-19 in early 2021, I have, for all practical purposes, forgotten how to write 'fiction'. I've had to relearn how to enter that headspace and stay there long enough either to put words to paper or rewrite what I've already written. I used to be a fastidious plotter and outliner from first paragraph to the last. I couldn't start without knowing the ending first. Since my second bout in late 2021,"long covid" manifests in me as chronic fatigue and persistent brain fog.

    I no longer read for pleasure or write confidently with ease. I have had to learn how to find (or receive) images which intrigue and then improvise with or around them, either singly or together, until something like a narrative takes shape. Then I have to follow that 'idea' blindly, ignoring cliches and my expections, groping for discoveries and perplexities, the more amusing the better. I don't know what I'm doing anymore with blank page; even less so when it comes to the real craft of rewriting.

    Perserverence has been mentioned – yes, that's all I've got now, mule-stubborness to finish. I rely on perserverence more now than I ever have ... to write less and less it seems. All the stories I've written since 2021, both submitted here and not, are still only first / rough drafts which need to be reworked and extended and polished and, in some instances, followed-up with companion pieces or inserted as chapters in unwritten novel(la)s. Even though I know what needs to be done, I can't do it, not yet at least. For the time being then, I perservere in conjuring up my occasional scribbles in order to have some skin-in-the-game during the round robin of readings and appreciating by TPF's community of writers.
  • Amity
    4.7k
    Everything you write here and elsewhere on TPF is appreciated more than you will ever know. Your open nature, sharing and patience in persevering with explanations. The way you articulate your thoughts. Your humour. I could go on but I'll spare your blushes and leave you with a simple:
    "Thank you!"
  • Amity
    4.7k
    I used to be a fastidious plotter and outliner from first paragraph to the last. I couldn't start without knowing the ending first180 Proof

    I have had to learn how to find (or receive) images which intrigue and then improvise with or around them, either singly or together, until something like a narrative takes shape. Then I have to follow that 'idea' blindly, ignoring cliches and my expections, groping for discoveries and perplexities, the more amusing the better. I don't know what I'm doing anymore with blank page; even less so when it comes to the real craft of rewriting.180 Proof

    That is quite the challenge.
    To re-learn ways of being or doing following 2 bouts of covid, now long-covid.
    The adjustments required. Take time, patience and perseverance.
    The passion for writing, though, never seems to diminish, even if not as confident as before.

    I wonder just how different your stories are, following your new way.
    I wonder how you learn to receive images. Or is it that your mind is more open to them?
    Duct Tape was written quickly, under time pressure, and yet it is one of the most thought-provoking and pleasurable stories. You only have to look at the lively discussion it engendered.

    You are marvellous. Keep on going on!
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    Now I think I'm forced to learn to write from somewhere else other than my head ...

    You are marvellous. Keep on going on!Amity
    Thanks so much for encouraging me. :flower: :hearts:
  • Amity
    4.7k
    Thank so much for encouraging me.180 Proof

    Ditto. :sparkle:
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    You're way too kind! I'm just groping for some human connection in these bleak and lonely years.
    (Oh, shit, that sounds pathetic! And false. I have a perfectly comfortable life, in a nice country, with a nice old spouse and lots of uncouth cats. Just miss social gatherings is all.)
  • Amity
    4.7k

    Not at all too kind. It needs to be said.
    I have an ongoing Love/Hate relationship with TPF.
    This kind of thing brings light to the darker moments. It's why I return. Thanks to all!
  • Eros1982
    104
    I have tried all kind of writings but movie scripts.

    I translated Kant in my language (it's going to be published next month), I have translated pieces from Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Tolstoy. I translated myself also :( I have written opinions, reports, papers, essays, thesis, poems, aphorisms, literary reviews, two novels, two plays and many short stories ugh All these in three languages, not in one lol

    Till now I have been praised for my novels mostly. What interests me is a main motive, the rest is just music for me. Hence, when I work for the government I like music that relaxes me (Jazz, Reggae, Classical), but when I write I listen only to music with tension (Rock, House, some Classical also).

    I don't like novelists who try to philosophize and educate you, with very few exceptions (like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Orwell). That's for the simple reason that I don't like to confuse genres, though many philosophers do that often (Plato and Nietzsche for example).

    Either you are a good artist, or you are a good philosopher. If you are both: you better try your hand in two different genres, instead of having professors praise your artworks for philosophical and psychological "achievements" bla bla bla Tolstoy, like a philosopher (in his work What is Art, let's say) was a total failure, but like a writer (let's say in his novella The Death of Ivan Illych) he is unbeatable.

    Today, you have these writers who try to educate you though they lack the credentials to do so. I am sure that 90% of writers I have personally met will fail in a Logic Exam, but that does not stop them from being "smart asses". This is a reason, also, why I do not bother to join forums for writers (but I do like forums for philosophers/thinkers). Just because they can imagine (like Hesiod, Ezekiel, and co did three millennia ago), they think that they are entitled to educate you and sell to you all that trendy/liberal/libertine/creepy/scary crap that comes in abundance nowadays.... since that's the trend and that makes a writer popular to a multicultural/global audience.

    To conclude, do not bother to try what other writers advise you. Most of them are products of the times we are living in (they are more mortal than my pets, since I am sure that my pets will be remembered by me and my kids :)

    Find a beautiful story to tell. If it is not beautiful by itself, you better read some good philosopher instead of wasting your time with writing. Put some tension and acts, cause only those things will make you a writer (I don't remember any novelist who became immortal through nice talking, but only those who put some great acts and great/believable characters in their novels). If your piece has no tension, no beauty, no acting, no humanism, you better try some other genre.... like philosophy let's say. Even if you fail with philosophy, you at least will know that you learned many things. But with literature, you may live in total ignorance and stupidity and at the same time cultivate all kinds of illusions in your brain lol

    I repeat it, though I love arts, I have come to the conclusion that philosophy can enlighten me much more. Literature has more audience, philosophy has more depth. Good luck to you!
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    Today, you have these writers who try to educate you though they lack the credentials to do so. I am sure that 90% of writers I have personally met will fail in a Logic Exam, but that does not stop them from being "smart asses".Eros1982

    That doesn't stop anyone from doing anything, because hardly anyone takes Logic Exams - or even cares what Logic Exams are for. However, many people who do know quite a lot about some particular subject are also competent writers, and some quite successfully combine entertaining narrative with informative content. From light reading, such as mystery novels, I have gained some superficial knowledge on a great many topics I would not otherwise investigate.

    I appreciate that some literature is art, but have no problem acknowledging its other roles as self-discovery, entertainment, insight into other cultures and mind-sets, and just plain recording of experience and history.

    Besides, aren't all philosophers and would-be philosophers also smart-asses?
  • Eros1982
    104
    Besides, aren't all philosophers and would-be philosophers also smart-asses?Vera Mont

    Go and try some forum with creative writers and you will see a different culture from this forum ;) I have been lucky to get to know (virtually and in person) both creative writers and philosophy professors/students and have come up with the conclusion that the second are a much better company.

    Why is that so?

    When I lacked any knowledge of philosophy, I tended to believe that philosophy and creative writing have many things in common. When I started studying philosophy (in my thirties), I came to see that creative writing and philosophy have very few things in common.

    Though many writers tend to philosophize and psychologize, they do it poorly. They always miss many details, or if they go to the details they become bad writers... since the purpose of creative writing is to beautify things, not to analyze and defend this or that proposition.

    Insofar as by their nature creative writing and philosophizing are two different processes, then very different is the writer from the philosopher. The writer starts always with some "finding", the philosopher starts with a question. The writer has always an "answer", the philosopher has a puzzle. Since the first is in the mood of "I know already", and the second in the mood of "I am not sure", then the writer tends to be egoistical, self-assured, eccentric, etc., the second diligent, hard working, honest, very focused, very detailed, etc.

    In short, I think Plato was right in assuming that writers are gifted people (I say: with niceties, good memory, good vocabulary and imagination), but if you are looking for really intelligent people you better look for a profession where honesty, focusing and diligence are a must. If writers have an answer (due the nature of their profession) on anything, they tend to be witty and egoistical, but not honest, self-sacrificing, etc.

    I am not sure what kind of intelligence it takes to be a writer nowadays. Some people have the gift to amaze and surprise you all the time and because of that they think that they are entitled to "educating" and "revolutionizing" you.

    Anyway, I may get many things wrong, but we live in times when people will keep writing even if they have nothing to say (nothing new, nothing their own). It is hard to see that in philosophy. If a philosopher has said something and there's nothing for him to ad, then he will stop writing philosophy. With creative writers it doesn't work that way. That's the reason, I guess, why there is so much hallucinatory crap in the book stores :)
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    Anyway, I may get many things wrong,Eros1982

    As do we all!
  • Amity
    4.7k
    Like you, I am grateful for recommendations made along the way,
    I'm inspired to read novels/short stories for an increased understanding. Models for how to write.
    I suppose that's 'reading as a writer'. A phrase I never understood until now.
    Amity

    Following a recommendation, I bought this:

    Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
    - Francine Prose

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading_Like_a_Writer

    It's so well-structured and a joy to read. Each of the 11 chapters covers a specific element.
    Words, sentences, paragraphs, narration, character, dialogue, etc.
    What is fantastic is that she includes relevant and loved examples from literature.
    Prose talks to you knowledgeably and conversationally.
    She carries you along with her enthusiasm and humour. There are no hard-and-fast rules.

    I had to laugh at her final inclusion of 'Books to Be Read Immediately'!
    Only 5 pages and alphabetically arranged by the surname of the author.

    Chapter One - Close Reading.
    Starts with the question: Can creative writing be taught?
    The way she answers this...is funny and insightful.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
    - Francine Prose
    Amity

    Wonderful name! I'm probably too old to benefit; doubt I'll embark on another big project. Anyway, my old Kindle won't hold a charge anymore, so I have to borrow his later model. I just downloaded two Bradbury novels, sequels to my favourite Death Is a Lonely Business. The few available paper copies were too expensive. I should probably replace the Kindle, but I so much prefer physical books, I hardly ever use it.
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
    - Francine Prose

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading_Like_a_Writer
    Amity
    Thanks for mentioning this. On my purchase / borrow list. :up:

    Kindle, but I so much prefer physical books, I hardly ever use it.Vera Mont
    :up:
  • hypericin
    1.5k
    Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
    - Francine Prose
    Amity

    On order!
  • Amity
    4.7k


    I have a Kindle for all the usual reasons but rarely use it.
    Recently, I've been ordering used, good hardbacks from abe.
    This one is a pure delight to hold, read, put down, savour and reflect on.

    Now on Ch7: Dialogue.
    It's beautiful.
    Hope you enjoy!
  • Benkei
    7.4k
    So I'm working on my book again since the last literary activity got my creativity flowing again and when wife pats the protaganist on his cheek, I'm like "hell no, it's not patronisingly but, since she's a woman, it should be "matronisingly", only to discover that's not considered a word. Really? Well, now it is.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k

    Now I'll have to! Watch it being sold out everywhere because of your endorsement.

    I'm like "hell no, it's not patronisingly but, since she's a woman, it should be "matronisingly", only to discover that's not considered a word. Really? Well, now it is.Benkei

    God on you! Can we borrow it sometime?
  • Benkei
    7.4k
    I don't think I can copyright that. :snicker:
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    I'll use it with the utmost delicacy and discretion - plus a *footnote credit.
  • Benkei
    7.4k
    God on you!Vera Mont

    Also, I hope God is a woman because I don't swing the other way.
  • Amity
    4.7k
    she's a woman, it should be "matronisingly", only to discover that's not considered a word. Really? Well, now it is.Benkei

    https://www.etymonline.com/word/matronize

    Just can't get enough of new words:
    https://www.etymonline.com/word/matroclinous

    Can you fit than in anywhere? Are you patroclinous or...?

    So I'm working on my book again since the last literary activity got my creativity flowing again and when wife pats the protaganist on his cheek,Benkei

    What book is this?
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    she's a woman, it should be "matronisingly", only to discover that's not considered a word. Really? Well, now it is. — Benkei


    https://www.etymonline.com/word/matronize
    Amity

    Well, there goes Benkei's $0.5 per annum royalties!
  • Amity
    4.7k
    Now I'll have to! Watch it being sold out everywhere because of your endorsement.Vera Mont

    Oh, Crikey, Crivvens Almighty! What have I done?!
    You could probably have written this book, Vera! But from your own readings, experience and perspicacious perspective...
  • Amity
    4.7k
    Well, there goes Benkei's $0.5 per annum royalties!Vera Mont

    Sorry, Benky! But thanks for the inspiration!
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