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Thread: The Importance Of Meaninglessness

  1. #11
    Off Topic:
    Oh I am burned. That all you got, sunshine? Cheez. Thanks for exhibiting your close connection to meaninglessness. Always knew you had it in you. You can keep your number. I got it when you arrived.

    Yeah. I can infer that the rest of your piece is absolutely clueless and not-bizarro by your clearly whitebread-oh-I'm-so-clever premise. You're quite the piece of work.
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  2. #12
    MODERATOR NOTE:

    Okay guys.
    Let's get back to the topic at hand please.
    It's an interesting topic and it would be a pity to lock the thread due to a personality clash.


  3. #13
    So my question: How do you avoid including unorthodox character traits or subject matter in work, issues which may be relevant, without making such traits and issues a focus of the work? How best to incorporate something unusual or controversial without risking people think it is trying to say something about That? How do you create meaninglessness in an aspect of the story?
    This is a tough question. But I am basing some of my characters on the bad character or personality of one of my family members which is alien to me. I was extremely negative based on what people in my family said about members. Which is a a way to supposedly also characterize in a story. But I consider it the only way for you to write such a character. I wrote on my family member who has a big reputation in the family. If you meet such a minority before, you need to think really hard what people said about them. That's your memory.
    Ways of presenting a character but imo it helps in some ways which I will say personality of a real person is something you must learn.
    http://udleditions.cast.org/craft_el...erization.html

    • Tell the reader directly what a character's personality is like: ...
    • Describe a character's appearance and manner: ...
    • Portray a character's thoughts and motivations: ...
    • Use dialogue to allow a character's words to reveal something important about his or her nature:
    My approach may be different but I wrote about the personality from my perspective on my family. Reader expectations are everywhere on this because of being politically incorrect.

    There are many belief systems on people who identify as homosexual. To describe a personality I know requires knowing a person who has once or twice talked with you once. I recall a character who was inside my therapy group who talked with the therapist. The person was a lesbian with all due respect given to their community. If you say for example, which I did on one occasion say I enjoyed listening to music from Tchaikovsky. She came off as feeling that I was making fun of her (I said Tchaikovsky's music is something I listen to relax as music relaxes people with depression). She was in my view not approved by her parents because they thought she was doing this on purpose, and she defended herself by beating up some children. She was in the therapy group for a reason. One person called her dumb for instance. I don't want to say much but she came off as obnoxious because of the people taunting her. She hated to be called by the name, and to quote with shame called it "a disease." This is the personality of her I have in my mind. She was tall, and exercised a lot. Her response was to beat people up to get revenge on them for the name calling.

    So yes I have experiences I could share based on living in the united states. She is the entry I remember the most. She called herself an overachiever. I don't know if she ever spoke the truth on some things.

    I think memory is key, how to make meaninglessness out of it is to probably create a distant narrator. I read philip lopate, I will share some of my quotes. I think it implies treating characters with respect.
    https://www.amazon.com/Show-Tell-Cra...s%2C498&sr=8-3
    So now that you have sketched to your reader as a person of a certain age, sex, ethnic, and religious background, and region, possessing a set of quirks, foibles, strengths, and peculiarities.

    There is also considerable dimensionality to be derived from opinions, prejudices, half-baked ideas, provided you are willing to analyze flaws in your thinking and to consider arguments against your fixations. (example of an argument I conceive on mother nature, that it will make many people poor).
    Finally personal non-fiction writers would do well to follow another rules of nonfiction writers, who tell you if you want to reveal a person’s character actions speak louder than words.
    Consciousness can take us only so far, give your character something to do.
    It is often liberating to have the character step beyond the observer role and be implicated in all the action.

    There is something off-putting about a nonfiction story is more sinned against that sinning. By showing our complicity in the world’s stock of sorrow, we convince the world more of our reality and even gain his sympathy.

    There are hard choices to be made when a person is put under pressure, and it is having made the wrong choice, curiously enough that we are made all the more aware of our free will and humanity. So it is remorse is often the starting point for good personal writing whose work brings out the necessary self forgiveness (not to mention self-amusement) that is necessary to help us outgrow shame.
    To make a personal essay appealing you must appear unbiased. So therefore, no shame in representing what you write, and treating it with respect and researching the arguments. (the same goes for stories )

    It thus means you have achieved sufficient self-distance from yourself from the narrator, a necessary precondition to elevating the ego. At least writing personal nonfiction can touch other people.
    In writing memoir, the trick is to me to establish a double perspective that will allow the reader to participate vicariously in the experience as it was lived (the child’s misapprehensions and confusions).
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  4. #14
    I've encountered this type of thing in my own writing and I fall into the "So what?" camp. In a scene in my abandoned second novel a main female character from the first was talking to another woman with whom she jointly ran a business, so they had a close relationship. It was after normal working hours and initially it appeared that they were speaking on the phone, but then it was revealed that they were not just in the same place but in the same bed. I wasn't sure where my mind was taking events but from the conversation they evidently cared about each other's welfare in a personal way. Had they been a married man and woman such a conversation last thing at night would have been a natural opportunity to pass information to the reader without any need for actions to show it, but because they were both female more was implied. I wondered whether I had implied too much, more than simply how close their relationship was, but I felt that if there was more to it than the story needed then that was irrelevant.

    During their conversation it became evident that they lived together in a small cottage, so it quite likely only had a single bedroom and their sleeping arrangement may just have been a practicality. While her partner fell asleep my main character thought on. To me that in itself showed the closeness of the relationship. Isn't falling asleep in the close company of another person a clear indication of one's trust in them? My main character put her arm around her partner, who didn't stir, emphasising the extent of that trust. As they lay there the conscious one's thoughts wandered to personal ones about another woman with whom they worked, not the one she was embracing, but she was also falling asleep and allowing her mind freedoms that she didn't when fully awake. That was what the story required, that she be shown to be in a vulnerable state and open to influences that her mind might normally reject. The scene was set for the real action in the story to continue.

    I myself was puzzled by the scene at the time. It fulfilled the requirements of the story, so was justified, but this main character had only been depicted as clearly heterosexual in the first novel and the first half of the second, so implications of bisexuality changed the reader's perceptions and even mine. From what I had written I couldn't judge how far the relationship actually went and I felt that the reader couldn't either, although they might jump to conclusions about what my intentions were. Ultimately my feelings were "So what?" and I never completely wrote the story anyway, so it didn't matter.

    We just write stories. What readers read into them to satisfy their own minds is up to them. What they can't do is read our thoughts though, even if they think that they can. The writer that they perceive behind the story is a fictional person of their own creation, just as the real world that they perceive is to some extent fictional. Sometimes the question is not why something is included in a story but simply why not. I am not a minimalist. There are things in my home and my life that don't need to be here, so why not in my writing as well?
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by JustRob View Post
    Had they been a married man and woman such a conversation last thing at night would have been a natural opportunity to pass information to the reader without any need for actions to show it, but because they were both female more was implied. I wondered whether I had implied too much, more than simply how close their relationship was, but I felt that if there was more to it than the story needed then that was irrelevant.

    During their conversation it became evident that they lived together in a small cottage, so it quite likely only had a single bedroom and their sleeping arrangement may just have been a practicality. While her partner fell asleep my main character thought on. To me that in itself showed the closeness of the relationship. Isn't falling asleep in the close company of another person a clear indication of one's trust in them? My main character put her arm around her partner, who didn't stir, emphasising the extent of that trust. As they lay there the conscious one's thoughts wandered to personal ones about another woman with whom they worked, not the one she was embracing, but she was also falling asleep and allowing her mind freedoms that she didn't when fully awake. That was what the story required, that she be shown to be in a vulnerable state and open to influences that her mind might normally reject. The scene was set for the real action in the story to continue.
    I read into this more a platonic relationship. Again, biases, but two women sharing a bed/hugging seems different than two males raising a child as a couple, in terms of polarization. Not splitting hairs, it just seems that your situation had more capacity and license to be read in multiple ways and be less a point of fascination or read as social commentary. Still, interesting point of view. Thanks Rob.


    We just write stories. What readers read into them to satisfy their own minds is up to them. What they can't do is read our thoughts though, even if they think that they can. The writer that they perceive behind the story is a fictional person of their own creation, just as the real world that they perceive is to some extent fictional. Sometimes the question is not why something is included in a story but simply why not. I am not a minimalist. There are things in my home and my life that don't need to be here, so why not in my writing as well?
    Ah, I don't know. The whole 'what readers do is none of our concern' argument sure sounds good, but in practice writing is primarily about communicating an idea (or a collection of ideas), right? In order to effectively communicate it seems one must (or should be) invested in reader perceptions. Otherwise how do you measure the worth of your work?

    I also don't quite agree with your philosophy re minimalism. I don't consider myself a minimalist either, but I do consider fluff to be fluff and fat to be best served trimmed. Why confuse the reader with ancillaries?
    Last edited by luckyscars; April 16th, 2019 at 08:57 PM.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I read into this more a platonic relationship. Again, biases, but two women sharing a bed/hugging seems different than two males raising a child as a couple, in terms of polarization. Not splitting hairs, it just seems that your situation had more capacity and license to be read in multiple ways and be less a point of fascination or read as social commentary. Still, interesting point of view. Thanks Rob.
    Is it down to one's precise choice of words then? Does your phrase "as a couple" cause the polarization here rather than the phrase "raising a child"? Maybe, in answer to your original question, you should avoid such loaded phrases to avoid the polarization in the reader's mind.

    Ah, I don't know. The whole 'what readers do is none of our concern' argument sure sounds good, but in practice writing is primarily about communicating an idea (or a collection of ideas), right? In order to effectively communicate it seems one must (or should be) invested in reader perceptions. Otherwise how do you measure the worth of your work?
    I value the fundamental story far more than the way that I present it. To my mind a good story badly presented has far more merit than a mediocre one honed to the extreme. Maybe that's why I am not a "serious" writer although I give serious thought to what I write. I also believe that the journey for the reader is discovering what the story really is rather than being told. Showing rather than telling is merely an invitation to the reader to create their own perceptions, which may deviate from one's expectations, hopefully without serious consequences.

    The best beta reader that I had for my novel wrote down what he was thinking as he read each chapter, so I could see where his perceptions were wandering too far from my intentions and how long it was before he got back on my track. A writer is much like a good tour guide who wants his group to see the things that he considers important and get to the planned destination but also wants to give them the opportunity to explore for themselves without getting lost. Maybe in your case a subtle warning to the effect "Don't go there," is necessary. In my novel I included characters thinking about situations that might happen and then putting them out of their minds in distaste simply to tell the reader that the story wouldn't be going in that direction and neither should their thoughts. How do you feel about using characters as reader surrogates in this way?

    I also don't quite agree with your philosophy re minimalism. I don't consider myself a minimalist either, but I do consider fluff to be fluff and fat to be best served trimmed. Why confuse the reader with ancillaries?
    So, as I have already observed about your text here, is the phrase "as a couple" distracting fluffy fat to be trimmed away? Is either of the men the child's biological father, in which case much as with my two women their cohabitation and joint care of the child may be circumstantial and imply nothing more. You asked how to avoid saying anything about "That" but also seem to want to steer clear of ambiguity. Surely the ambiguity itself implies that "That", if actually a reality, is not highly relevant to the story.

    On our holidays we have more than once encountered, to our minds, obviously gay couples and chatted with them about life in general as well as specific issues, but our perception of them has never been relevant because we are not bothered about such things. Why should a reader be afforded more insight into the characters in a story than they would get in reality? We are all continually forming perceptions and a writer cannot avoid that happening, only guide it.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by JustRob View Post
    Is it down to one's precise choice of words then? Does your phrase "as a couple" cause the polarization here rather than the phrase "raising a child"? Maybe, in answer to your original question, you should avoid such loaded phrases to avoid the polarization in the reader's mind.
    I must stress I don't know for a fact if it would be polarizing as nobody has read it except me, however I don't buy the 'well who cares?' thing because I consider myself intelligent and rational enough to have a relatively clear head about my work and its potential 'issues'.

    I don't mention them as a couple. I don't need to, it's obvious, everything about their relationship mirrors a conventional heterosexual relationship - except that they're gay. As to whether its an issue of words - well yes, probably it is an issue of words being that it is writing but which words I am unsure of. I suppose I could try to bleach the relationship to make it ambiguous. But I guess that just seems at best like it should be a non-issue and at worst downright unethical/cowardly. Can't have everything I suppose?

    So, as I have already observed about your text here, is the phrase "as a couple" distracting fluffy fat to be trimmed away? Is either of the men the child's biological father, in which case much as with my two women their cohabitation and joint care of the child may be circumstantial and imply nothing more. You asked how to avoid saying anything about "That" but also seem to want to steer clear of ambiguity. Surely the ambiguity itself implies that "That", if actually a reality, is not highly relevant to the story.
    Fair point. It's not that its irrelevant to the story, it's just that it's not *about* gay marriage.

    For example, take your average Grimm's fairy tale or really any mainstream book. Take Harry Potter. Those books have (straight) married couples in them, but the stories are not about those marriages anymore than Hansel & Gretel is about woods or breadcrumbs.It's part of the story, but it isn't a theme or feature of interest. Scenery, if you like. That's allowable because, well, straight marriages aren't particularly unusual. Not dispensable exactly (not without some weaving and inevitable loss-of-a-good-character) but not integral either. And that's sort of where I'd place this. Except I don't know if I can place it there, because it's inherently polarizing to many/most...

    My trouble, in case it was not clear, is how to make the scenery of a gay marriage very clearly and functionally scenery in a situation where that scenery could become distracting because of its cultural context. If the witch in Hansel & Gretel was a brothel madam that would raise the profile of 'setting' above that of even the creepiest old forest and there's no way to make it a non-issue, it seems. My question is, is this effect inevitable, or is it treatable?
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

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