Pulling Punches vs. Raising the Bar - Page 2


Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 33

Thread: Pulling Punches vs. Raising the Bar

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack of all trades View Post
    Characters better loved by fans than their authors : Sherlock Holmes, Hercules Poirot, the Hardy Boys, Harry Potter(?), just to name a few.
    Sorry but no idea what your point is. Even if you could quantify love (and you can't) being close to one's characters - in the sense of understanding them & their motives & the full weight of their actions as it relates to the story's intent - has nothing to do with any sort of affection.

    Many of my characters are mentally disturbed in some way and I often find them and what they do ghastly. Yet as their creator I am nevertheless closer to them than some psychopath who might casually read the story and find them enjoyable. See what I mean?

  2. #12
    In this instance, I feel that holding back early on would likely work better, but it can still sing with hints and allusions if well written. Indeed, it is possible to strengthen the piece by what you don't say, so long as the allusions work well.


  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Sorry but no idea what your point is. Even if you could quantify love (and you can't) being close to one's characters - in the sense of understanding them & their motives & the full weight of their actions as it relates to the story's intent - has nothing to do with any sort of affection.

    Many of my characters are mentally disturbed in some way and I often find them and what they do ghastly. Yet as their creator I am nevertheless closer to them than some psychopath who might casually read the story and find them enjoyable. See what I mean?
    My point, for anyone that truly missed it, is that it is possible for readers to enjoy and understand, or think they do, characters and stories more than the author/creator. It happens. Maybe it hasn't happened to you, and maybe it never will. Maybe you'll always be so enthralled by your creations that no one could love them more. But that doesn't make it universal for all authors.

    I've been producing much output in the joint writing of screenplays over the last five, almost six, years, and I am less emotionally attached to new pieces than I used to be, and am surprised by how much I've forgotten in the older ones. My fictional worlds are ever increasing, and changing. I simply cannot be that attached to all that output.

    I read, once, that humans have a limit of being able to be attached to only 250 people. After that, new attachments replace older ones. It was an article about expanding your business, and stressed the importance of selecting managers that build attachments to employees, rather than narcissists.

    Singers have favorite songs that are different than their fans' favorites.

    My point, in case it is not clear, is that sweeping generalizations are always faulty. (Which is a sweeping generalization, so it's faulty. Meaning ...ah, well.)

  4. #14
    If every scene is written to achieve the maximum amount of impact possible you run the risk of morphing drama into melodrama, characterization into caricature, passion into porn, and impactfulness into hyperbole. The reader will become jaded.
    Last edited by Terry D; January 10th, 2019 at 06:30 PM.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack of all trades View Post
    My point, for anyone that truly missed it, is that it is possible for readers to enjoy and understand, or think they do, characters and stories more than the author/creator. It happens. Maybe it hasn't happened to you, and maybe it never will. Maybe you'll always be so enthralled by your creations that no one could love them more. But that doesn't make it universal for all authors.

    I've been producing much output in the joint writing of screenplays over the last five, almost six, years, and I am less emotionally attached to new pieces than I used to be, and am surprised by how much I've forgotten in the older ones. My fictional worlds are ever increasing, and changing. I simply cannot be that attached to all that output.

    I read, once, that humans have a limit of being able to be attached to only 250 people. After that, new attachments replace older ones. It was an article about expanding your business, and stressed the importance of selecting managers that build attachments to employees, rather than narcissists.

    Singers have favorite songs that are different than their fans' favorites.

    My point, in case it is not clear, is that sweeping generalizations are always faulty. (Which is a sweeping generalization, so it's faulty. Meaning ...ah, well.)
    It's just not the point I was making.

    Closeness has nothing to do with affection/love here. It simply means that what the writer thinks is being delivered when they write a half-baked or "toned down" scene is often going to read as even more undercooked through the simple mechanics of what is lost in translation. Just like it's usually not a good idea to mumble or fabricate weird accents when you play telephone and it's usually not a good idea to hold back in scenes for the sake of it.

    I know you think the idea of readers enjoying things more than their creators is a thing, and maybe if we are talking Harry Potter or Stephen King or whatever that might be true. I think, though, for the vast majority of authors simply keeping a reader invested enough to buy and give their story a whirl is a challenge. Readers read for entertainment. Therefore it is simply common sense to hold back scenes UNLESS you are completely sure you know what you are doing with it and have a good reason - such as avoiding the fatigue of a third death scene in quick succession as Terry alluded to.

    Not sure what you're talking about with generalizations - I did not make any generalizations. I used the word "tends" to avoid that.
    Last edited by luckyscars; January 10th, 2019 at 06:41 PM.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    It's just not the point I was making.

    Closeness has nothing to do with affection/love here. It simply means that what the writer thinks is being delivered when they write a half-baked or "toned down" scene is often going to read as even more undercooked through the simple mechanics of what is lost in translation. Just like it's usually not a good idea to mumble or fabricate weird accents when you play telephone and it's usually not a good idea to hold back in scenes for the sake of it.

    I know you think the idea of readers enjoying things more than their creators is a thing, and maybe if we are talking Harry Potter or Stephen King or whatever that might be true. I think, though, for the vast majority of authors simply keeping a reader invested enough to buy and give their story a whirl is a challenge. Readers read for entertainment. Therefore it is simply common sense to hold back scenes UNLESS you are completely sure you know what you are doing with it and have a good reason - such as avoiding the fatigue of a third death scene in quick succession as Terry alluded to.

    Not sure what you're talking about with generalizations - I did not make any generalizations. I used the word "tends" to avoid that.
    That seems a little different than what you originally wrote. Accepting that this was your intended meaning, pacing and avoiding melodrama are two good reasons to avoid pulling out all the stops. If you need to hit your reader over the head with a two-by-four to get your meaning across (the general "you" of course), then either quit writing or work on the subtle allusions.

    I think Terry said it well, so I'm quoting him here :

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    If every scene is written to achieve the maximum amount of impact possible you run the risk of morphing drama into melodrama, characterization into caricature, passion into porn, and impactfulness into hyperbole. The reader will become jaded.

  7. #17
    The OP, as I read it (when I could stop mentally swapping out Kyle for Charlie and Sunny for Janet) was addressing the emotional stakes of the scene rather than the quality of the writing. Of course we should always be doing everything within our power as writers to execute the scene we conceive to the best of our abilities, but sometimes that means exerting the same amount of creative energy and craft to describe a romantic dinner, as we do when we write the scene where the protagonist jumps out of a helicopter into a burning building to save his wife. Everyone knows that we need to pull-out-all-the-stops during the writing of the rescue scene, but, when we choose to write the dinner scene, we should: 1) ensure that it is necessary to the story; and 2) since it is necessary to the story, we should put all of our skills to work to make it the best damned romantic dinner at Subway we can write. We just might not want to have ninjas dropping out of the ceiling onto the meatball sandwiches.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack of all trades View Post
    That seems a little different than what you originally wrote. Accepting that this was your intended meaning, pacing and avoiding melodrama are two good reasons to avoid pulling out all the stops. If you need to hit your reader over the head with a two-by-four to get your meaning across (the general "you" of course), then either quit writing or work on the subtle allusions.
    :
    I'm not sure where you thought I was recommending hitting anybody over the head or being un-subtle. Competency is competency.

    It almost seems like you are trying to construct an argument for the sake of it. I mentioned pacing in that same first post you referenced. I very clearly said that it is (one of many) potential factors why you might decide certain things at certain points. I also said there are exceptions to be made. You probably don't want to introduce a graphic sex scene in your first or second chapter, for example.

    The OP's question, as I understood it, was whether when there is an even choice to be made between a powerful moment and deliberately avoiding it/toning it down out of some notion of "Ooh that's good, I'll save THAT for later!" (as might a child put a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich in their pocket) which is the best way to go.

    Allowing that there are various factors and possible exceptions (apparently I have to keep saying this?) I think holding back for no other reason than some notion that saving-the-sandwich-for-later = a better result probably is going to backfire a lot of the time. We all know what often happens is the kid forgets the sandwich is in their pocket until laundry... or the sandwich simply goes stale. We all know what usually happens when runners get complacent midway through the race.

    But of course some runners are talented enough they can get away with doing just that and some sports don't require constant exertion anyway (or much at all) to win, and some sandwiches do taste better with time. Even so I think for most ordinary people to succeed in most things most of the time involves relentless effort, taking every opportunity possible to maximize the entertainment in their story, in whatever way the author thinks best: If now seems a good time to have a gunfight have the friggin' gunfight.

    Hopefully this is clear now.
    Last edited by luckyscars; January 10th, 2019 at 09:40 PM.

  9. #19
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    In a far-distant otherworld.
    Posts
    3,609
    Blog Entries
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    If every scene is written to achieve the maximum amount of impact possible you run the risk of morphing drama into melodrama, characterization into caricature, passion into porn, and impactfulness into hyperbole. The reader will become jaded.
    Precisely this. But let's step away for a sec. Holding back - well, what does it mean? We haven't really defined it. Janet and Charlie, what d'you mean by it?


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous

    *

    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!





  10. #20
    Alice: "Excuse me, I couldn't help overhearing."

    Charlie looked up at her, annoyed.

    Alice just plowed on. "There's no reason that first touch can't be powerful." She lightly placed her hand on Janet's shoulder; Janet took a quick breath. "You should have great scenes long before you even get to the first kiss."

    Janet looked up at Alice. "That's what I was trying to say." Alice gently squeezed Jane's shoulder, and they held each other's gaze a second too long.
    English is a good language for people who like to be creative and expressive, not for people who want words to fit into boxes and stay there.

    Hidden Content -- Hidden Content

Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.