The Importance Of Meaninglessness

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Thread: The Importance Of Meaninglessness

  1. #1

    The Importance Of Meaninglessness

    My WIP (completed draft, on rewrite) is a short I guess you might call it 'bizarro' horror/sci-fi story featuring a traditional American family who happen to be made up on a kid and two fathers.

    The story is not about gay parenting or gay issues whatsoever. I have no interest in that matter, nothing to say. I just happened to have two good parent characters come up, both of whom happened to feel 'male', so I wrote them that way because (1) Why not and (2) It's 2019. Hence any parallels that could be drawn to the issue of gay issues or alternative families more broadly is entirely accidental. More than that, I actively don't want that line to be drawn, lest the real message of the story is confused or botched. If it's about anything topical at all, it's about the perils of over-consumption of sugar. That is 'the point', for what point there is.

    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?

    I feel like the moment anybody reads this they're going to ask me why I chose to write a homosexual couple into what is otherwise a typical nuclear family (they're supposed to be entirely bland and ordinary otherwise, and they are) and that's a whole can of problematic worm-age I don't wanna get into. I suspect they will then start asking me What It Means and I will have nothing to say...because it means nothing, I was just writing a story and these characters were who entered the fray. But, at the same time, I can see why they would ask, because usually stories with this sort of thing would include it for some reason. I support equal parenting and equal rights generally, I just don't want this story to have it as any point of intrigue.

    I appreciate this probably doesn't come up much for most people, but if anybody can relate at all to the above...
    Last edited by luckyscars; April 15th, 2019 at 06:17 PM.
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  2. #2
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    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?
    Subjectwise, reminds me of one of my favourite short stories, Royal Jelly, by Roald Dahl (though I'm sure it's not derivative). To your q, I would say go for easy, gentle brush strokes with a view to doing the whole piece all the justice you can; be an artist. Centre-stage what you want focus on and relegate what you don't to the borders. While it's great that we live in a time where nonbinary families can pop up as a backdrop with no more prompting than a traditional setting, still the fact that you're asking this means you're cognisant of neither overegging it nor losing it to the mists of subtle implication so ... I mean, people will notice that the guy has 2 dads so maybe don't dismiss that fact but rather have perhaps a small bit of it as his history in your later edits: a one-liner about some bullying to give him some grit, or some other minor reference to the relative uncommonness of his situation. Outside of that just focus on the main story as it demands. It's an interesting question that touches upon the nature of crafting a story so well that you don't see the joins. Anyway, hope this helps. Good luck


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  3. #3
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    I've just had another thought actually: you could invoke a world where 2 dads, mum/dad, three mums, anything, is somewhat the norm, and go from there.


    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!





  4. #4
    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?
    LS, I think your best bet is going to be background info, as to how these three came together in the first place. You know, during WWII, so many woman coupled up and called themselves families from financial need more than anything. Woody Allen films are rife with entirely separate families living together in one house for one reason or another, and I've never seen any indication that anyone was thinking of "That" as the reason. There's also a time in our country's history where several generations lived in one large Victorian house! You get two widowers in that scenario, with a kid, and wah-lee-lah, you've got author, Luckyscars writing about it! LOL.

    But you are right - there is a tendency to assume there's a gay couple in the mix. So you write a book that includes none of that, just regular family life, and there will likely be those that see THAT anyway.
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  5. #5
    One suggestion: Don't directly say he has two male parents. (Just like you normally would not say someone has a male parent and a female parent.) If you directly state it, you tend to make it an issue you are bringing up. If you feel like you have to explain it, you have again made it an issue for you. Just write the book.So like they might both have male names, or he calls them both dad.
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  6. #6
    Bizarro is an actual subgenre. This isn't it.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by moderan View Post
    Bizarro is an actual subgenre. This isn't it.
    Based on what, moderan? Besides you knowing everything about everything, obviously...
    Last edited by luckyscars; April 16th, 2019 at 08:50 PM.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    One suggestion: Don't directly say he has two male parents. (Just like you normally would not say someone has a male parent and a female parent.) If you directly state it, you tend to make it an issue you are bringing up. If you feel like you have to explain it, you have again made it an issue for you. Just write the book.So like they might both have male names, or he calls them both dad.

    I don't think I do mention it directly. Then again, it's pretty obvious. Not sure I see how not mentioning it makes a difference?


    Quote Originally Posted by SueC View Post
    LS, I think your best bet is going to be background info, as to how these three came together in the first place. You know, during WWII, so many woman coupled up and called themselves families from financial need more than anything. Woody Allen films are rife with entirely separate families living together in one house for one reason or another, and I've never seen any indication that anyone was thinking of "That" as the reason. There's also a time in our country's history where several generations lived in one large Victorian house! You get two widowers in that scenario, with a kid, and wah-lee-lah, you've got author, Luckyscars writing about it! LOL.


    But you are right - there is a tendency to assume there's a gay couple in the mix. So you write a book that includes none of that, just regular family life, and there will likely be those that see THAT anyway.

    Hi Sue,


    Yeah, same page. The thing is it's not really a 'serious' book but a short story (first draft 5,000 words) so I have limited ability for backstory. I actually set out writing it about a hetero couple but changed it pretty early on after I felt the character of the mother felt 'male'.


    I have pretty much made it a non-issue, which I suppose is all I can reasonably be expected to do. I just worry about not addressing something as a theme that I, if I was reading, would assume to be a theme (largely out of preconcieved bias - most fiction with gay couples is trying to 'say something' would weaken the piece.


    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    I've just had another thought actually: you could invoke a world where 2 dads, mum/dad, three mums, anything, is somewhat the norm, and go from there.

    This is actually the direction I'm going, though at this point I have no idea how to construct that world, especially being its a short story. Being written in a rather surreal context helps.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Based on what, moderan? Besides you knowing everything about everything, obviously...
    Based on facts. What you've cited isn't very weird or out there -- it's a common concern. Bizarro is way out there. I've written it, published it. Don't believe me, read about it. Maybe in the 1960s, your idea would be outre. It would be a germ for a Twilight Zone episode. In today's climate, it's mild social commentary, especially compared to the work of Jordan Krall or Carlton Mellick III.
    I don't know everything about everything, obviously. I only speak up when I actually do know something, or someone else does, and I want to learn (or I want to draw attention to idiots). I realize this runs counter to the sitewide trend but it is what it is.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by moderan View Post
    Based on facts. What you've cited isn't very weird or out there -- it's a common concern. Bizarro is way out there. I've written it, published it. Don't believe me, read about it. Maybe in the 1960s, your idea would be outre. It would be a germ for a Twilight Zone episode. In today's climate, it's mild social commentary, especially compared to the work of Jordan Krall or Carlton Mellick III.
    I don't know everything about everything, obviously. I only speak up when I actually do know something, or someone else does, and I want to learn (or I want to draw attention to idiots). I realize this runs counter to the sitewide trend but it is what it is.
    Yes, you're right, 'what I've cited' isn't very weird or out there. That is because what I've cited is not the story but a mere detail in a part of it, a part I wanted to discuss. It's obviously nothing to do with the story - that's kind of the point of the thread. This thread is literally about making sure things that aren't anything to do with the story don't get misconstrued as being part of it. Looks like you're Patient Zero...

    I certainly didn't mention anything else about the plot, characters, anything. The family I am talking about could be a family of chimpanzees or smegma cells. You have no idea. And yet you pretend you do. So no, Your Honor, you don't have any facts. What you have is opinions and presumptions. Opinions and presumptions together with a strange need to start an extremely trivial argument 100% unrelated to the thread and/or bolster an ego. But what else is new around here? Snore.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

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