The Magical Midpoint - Page 3


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Thread: The Magical Midpoint

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Why would any plumber of sane mind (and I was one) have a fall in a drain pipe towards a house? Common sense would surely dictate that water must flow away from the residence. In almost a decade of plumbing I have never seen, or heard of, a drain pipe doing anything other than falling away from a house. To violate that rule would be an act of idiocy.
    A need to ignore that heuristic might occur because the path the pipe should follow (away from the house) is obstructed.

  2. #22
    If we follow that law, we can have a fall in the sewage pipes towards the house. Does that sound practical?

    You remove the obstruction.
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    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  3. #23
    WF Veteran Gavrushka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Rocket View Post
    Some people pick up a deep, intuitive grasp of the technical aspects through reading an awful lot of novels. That's a hit or miss approach which can take a very long time and a lot of work. Worse, you may not know when you understand the technical aspects well enough (which is why many professional authors describe the first novel they wrote as 'unpublishable'). A more direct and aggressive approach is a systematic scholarly study of what has worked in the past. Another way to describe this is a study of the technical aspects of writing. This is what I recommend.
    My first three novels were unpublishable, and the fourth lies on the cusp. - I had huge fun writing them and, in due course, I'll have almost as much fun rewriting them in a benign fashion.

    I will concede the journey to today has lasted over four years, and the first three of those were a meandering affair. Around a year ago, it did start to click into place, but I'll concede I'll be clicking for some time to come. - Yes, diverse reading does help too. I do tend to gravitate towards authors I can learn from now too.

    But no, I'm not going to change my approach now. Perhaps it would have made more sense to adapt this strategy four years ago, but I doubt it now.
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  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    If we follow that law, we can have a fall in the sewage pipes towards the house. Does that sound practical?

    You remove the obstruction.
    We're getting off topic, so this is the last post I'll make on plumbing.

    Sometimes it isn't practical to remove the obstruction.

  5. #25
    Plumbing....you're talking about 'fall'- the use of gravity to direct water flow (in this case the disposal of wastewater) Okay, using fall, there are times when some sort of extra 'machine' (is this the right term?) is used...as when the structure is built on a plot (of land) below the 'proper' level might require a pump('sump'-pump) to levitate the wastewater to a position where it can fall to the desired connection. So an absolute rule is broken or... modified using a creative contrivance, though eventually the rule is again followed.

  6. #26
    I suspect this is the type of thing one "learns through doing". I have never been any good at following formulas for anything, my husband watches me aghast as I merrily chuck ingredients in to a bowl whilst the scales sit neglected in the cupboard. I snigger at his obsessive need to get everything exact down to the last gram. He is meticulous with measuring and following instructions, I chuck things in and mix them together until they "look right". We both produce lovely dishes.

    I am a pantser, totally and utterly. Down to each individual scene. Oh, I've tried, I sit there with pen and paper and attempt to plan a scene in advance - nothing happens. Every time I start a scene I know only the beginning and the end, it's not until I start actually typing that the middle presents itself. It may seem haphazard but (for me at least) this is when the magic happens. Just last week I wrote a scene in which I needed a bit-part character in order to prompt the others into action. As soon as I gave the character a name she started doing things I hadn't anticipated, but ultimately ended up not only resolving the problem of how to get from A to B within the scene but nicely tied up a story thread that was dangling. In a macro sense, I am writing the entire novel this way. I know where I am, I know where I need to get to, I know roughly the main incidents that will happen along the way, but if I sit around trying to apply a formula I will end up never writing the damn thing.

    Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. But for me it's the only way to actually get it written. At the very least, I will have a body of work to try and rewrite into a saleable structure rather than a story that exists only in my head. I have several protagonists and several realms, trying to write it in a cohesive way is pretty challenging but I'm forging ahead, learning as much as I can about the craft en route. I'm winging it, essentially. I figure that I can always apply formulae if needed in the rewrite. I could be entirely wrong, but we learn from our mistakes

  7. #27
    Rewriting, which is what a lot of pantsers have faith in to fix structural mistakes, is a lot of work.

    I sometimes find that solutions to tricky problems emerge as I'm writing (the pantser way). Sometimes, the solution emerges through analysis and my knowledge of the science of structure (the planner way). Often, I benefit from both working together (my subconscious knows the science of structure and is better able to resolve problems). A writer can only benefit by mastering all the tools available to him.

  8. #28
    I think you've just hit the nail on the head right there. Both working together is the ultimate goal. A bit like driving a guess. I think about turning right, I don't think about all the technical details required to do this (slowing down, indicating, changing gear, turning the wheel) I just DO them because they are innate. But I wasn't born knowing how to drive, I worked and worked and failed (three times!) before it became instinct. Yes, I think the best writing comes from consciously letting the words flow whilst having enough acquired skill and knowledge that one is in fact applying technical knowledge without even realising it at the time. Sometimes people look at my work and say things like "oh, I love how you've built the suspense up here, or, you've used a clever device there" - I nod and smile but I didn't actually notice when writing it, or do it intentionally.

  9. #29
    We don't rewrite. We edit.

    Humongous difference.
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    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  10. #30
    WF Veteran Gavrushka's Avatar
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    Is there a full list of tools? And do all writers employ them all?

    This thread was about certain techniques that can be used to address a specific problem. - I'd not known there was a potential issue until I'd read the solutions!

    I can accept that when a writer faces an issue, he may turn to the technical handbook.

    And the other thing, doesn't technical advice sometimes conflict? I.E. different tools offer different solutions. I'd be wary of learning too much, and maybe that is my own intellectual limitations.

    Of course, I may think differently when I confront an issue that can't be solved by a thread on Writingforums. (The best tool any of us has, in my opinion!)
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    On my ninth novel, and I think I'm just starting to get the hang of this writing thing...

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    Self-promotion: a necessary tool for those who cannot find others willing to sing their praises.


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