The Well Written Story v The Good Story - Page 11


Page 11 of 24 FirstFirst ... 34567891011121314151617181921 ... LastLast
Results 101 to 110 of 238

Thread: The Well Written Story v The Good Story

  1. #101
    Member TheManx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    The no-mans land between the cold city and suburbia.
    Posts
    407
    Quote Originally Posted by EternalGreen View Post
    Very poetic. I'm still gonna go for it, though.
    Of course you should. Iíve read your work and I think you have a shot at it. Itís bizarre that anyone on a writing site would discourage you from trying to do otherwise. Oh well.

  2. #102
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    I don't accept that at all, it depends what you think gives superiority. For me it is a matter of accessibility. If something gets people reading that is great by me, a simple genre novel which is read and enjoyed by thousands of people or some esoteric piece that a small number get a sense of superiority from and countless students are bored stiff by. No contest.

    Improving our style is probably no bad thing, but the point of the thread is to discuss the relative merits of content and style. This is obviously still in contention. My feeling is that I don't care what people read, so long as they read. Chances are that they will pick something up from it, also that if they do they will try the experience again, that is what is important. If it's content is obfuscated by style and their enjoyment impaired or nullified they won't bother again. The minority who understand and enjoy really don't need any encouragement, they are already into reading.

    Try an analogy, is Coca-cola superior to water? It tastes good, but it contains caffeine which makes you pee more so it does not hydrate you as well and sugar which will rot your teeth and may bring on secondary diabetes, so in taste coke wins, but if I could only have one or the other give me water.
    I agree with a lot of this but I think it slightly misses the point.

    The problem is, there is an inconvenient but stubborn link between 'improving our style' and the relative merits of what we read. It's a highly unfashionable thing to say nowadays, in an era where most people are just glad that books still exist.

    I find myself sympathetic to it myself: Often I am so happy/relieved to hear that ordinary people still have a response to a question like 'What is your favorite book?' that I give almost no thought to whether the book(s) they are reading are actually any good. I am so happy to see somebody read a paperback on a train (as opposed to, say, a cell phone) that the book in question could be literally anything and it would not much matter. It could be raging trash and I would still, a part of me, want to hug them.

    But let's think about this dispassionately, alright? Alright. There are really terrible books out there. Yes, even now. There are books that are as 'bad for you' as, lets say, snuff movies or German torture porn. Absolute garbage that should not be written and exists for all the wrong reasons. We know there are books like that because there are certainly movies like that -- right? Content on TV, too. And we have no problem calling out trash in other mediums. We have a problem calling it out in books, though. Even mention that a book should not exist and you get called Hitler.

    Now, as it happens, I am not trying to say I don't think such books should exist. I am certainly not saying that is a fair characterization of genre fiction. What I am trying to say, is that the old axiom of 'I don't care what people read...so long as they read' while well-intentioned is a little bit naÔve. What if they are reading child erotica? Again, I'm not saying this is the case, only that it could be, so we need to be careful of the logic that says 'all books are equal'. Because it is self-evidently not the case.

    We need to be careful before fully committing to the idea that there is no such thing as 'superiority'. I would almost argue such a position cannot make sense on a 'writing discussion' forum because isn't the entire basis for discussing writing formed on the idea that, yeah actually, some writing is actually better? I mean, that's kind of the underlying assumption behind most of these threads, right? When we talk about "Avoid Deus ex Machina with foreshadowing" we are basing that on the assumption that everybody knows Deus Ex Machina tends to be inferior. When we talk about 'How to finish a novel" we are basing that assumption on the rather old fashioned belief that novels should finish a certain way, or finish at all! Why not have an unfinished novel? Is a finished novel actually superior to one that stops midsentence?

    Well, yeah, of course it is. And if some writing is better than others then it's reasonable (though not mandatory, I guess) to try to formulate some concept of where it can be found and how it can be created, and what its function is -- why does it matter?

    Regarding coke v. water...that seems to me pretty apt, then. High-quality writing is clearly water. It can be challenging to drink (in sufficient quantities, at least) and rather less delicious, but ultimately the superiority lies in the simple truth that it is better for you. The intellect demands it. Whether we feed that demand or not is up to us, but ultimately the outcome is a loss in intellectual health, not of simple replacement. The choice between coke and water isn't really a choice.
    Last edited by luckyscars; January 1st, 2021 at 06:39 AM.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  3. #103
    I've been trying to find quotes of the most exciting parts of The Count of Monte Cristo... my favorite is him meeting his fellow prisoner and then the escape where he switches bodies with the dead man. I got so excited tonight reading this over. Try 53/464 to start where he's been in prison for 5-6 years. I love it. It's a great exploration of the human condition, suspense, adventure, etc.

    http://msdl.cs.mcgill.ca/people/tfen...e%20Cristo.pdf

  4. #104
    I reckon that if someone has any sort of intellect they will end up getting bored reading 'Edge', or child erotica, or whatever rubbish they have been stuck in, and want to move on. Maybe not far, but they will move on, and when they do they will have had the practice that means they don't have to spell out the words.

    I am not convinced that absolute garbage constitutes books that are 'bad for you'. It is arguable whether they lead people into bad behaviour or whether they satisfy a desire without the necessity to actually indulge, and for those who do indulge whether they would have done so anyway. To my mind it is what people do that counts, only a tiny minority of those who read 'bad books' actually go out and kill, rape, and torture. I would contend that they are probably the ones who would have done it anyway, it is them. not the books, that are 'bad'.
    Hidden Content

    A whole swathe of entertainment, all sorts of lengths, all sorts of stories, all with that 'Olly' twist.

  5. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    I am not convinced that absolute garbage constitutes books that are 'bad for you'. It is arguable whether they lead people into bad behaviour or whether they satisfy a desire without the necessity to actually indulge, and for those who do indulge whether they would have done so anyway. To my mind it is what people do that counts, only a tiny minority of those who read 'bad books' actually go out and kill, rape, and torture. I would contend that they are probably the ones who would have done it anyway, it is them. not the books, that are 'bad'.
    No, I'm not saying that. But we can clearly distinguish between the kind of benefit that reading War & Peace could provide versus something like Fifty Shades Of Grey. That isn't to say that there's no place for Fifty Shades -- there probably is -- only that one will not become a better writer (or wiser human being) for having read it compared to War & Peace -- Fifty Shades is closer to Coca Cola.

    At a certain point (the child erotica level) we might even say that not reading at all might be better for you. I would not go that far regarding most genre fiction, I really wouldn't, but I would defend the judgment that really poor quality reading is probably as bad/worse as zero reading much like watching exclusively pornography is generally considered worse for the brain than never watching anything.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  6. #106
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    I don't accept that at all, it depends what you think gives superiority. For me it is a matter of accessibility. If something gets people reading that is great by me, a simple genre novel which is read and enjoyed by thousands of people or some esoteric piece that a small number get a sense of superiority from and countless students are bored stiff by. No contest.

    Improving our style is probably no bad thing, but the point of the thread is to discuss the relative merits of content and style. This is obviously still in contention. My feeling is that I don't care what people read, so long as they read. Chances are that they will pick something up from it, also that if they do they will try the experience again, that is what is important. If it's content is obfuscated by style and their enjoyment impaired or nullified they won't bother again. The minority who understand and enjoy really don't need any encouragement, they are already into reading.

    Try an analogy, is Coca-cola superior to water? It tastes good, but it contains caffeine which makes you pee more so it does not hydrate you as well and sugar which will rot your teeth and may bring on secondary diabetes, so in taste coke wins, but if I could only have one or the other give me water.
    I have a question for you. I've appreciated your comments wherever I see them, btw.
    I think I don't even think about what people should READ so much as I think there is a responsibility of what we should WRITE.
    I feel this way with journalism too. And basically with the whole Social Media problems that haven't even been named yet.... but when everyone is a town-crier, basically, then isn't the important stuff that as a society we actually SHOULD focus on getting drowned out?
    In the social media or journalism sense, when we give equal space or air time for someone to criticize someone's hair instead of talk about global warming then aren't we doing ourselves and especially the upcoming generation a huge disservice? Are we discussing Melania's Christmas decorations and not talking about kids in cages? Is this what our writing is like too? I mean... at every level there can be writing that does good things and helps direct thinking to things that are important. I'm thinking of Dr. Seuss level even. Horton Hatches the Egg is an important story. And even The Cat in the Hat helped me explore some emotions of fear when I was little..

    From a literature standpoint if we aren't directing attention or focusing on writing that can improve our world and make people ask all sorts of important questions about what is important, how to treat people, etc. then aren't we just perpetuating the noise? I mean.. some of the noise we need like comedy... we need comedy and play but I also think comedy can be really useful to society as I think I wrote earlier in this post. I think this year's Borat was a very challenging awesome work that could start conversations.

    What do you feel? What do you think? Yes? No? I actually think lack of critical thinking skills in the information-overload era might make dictators look more appealing to some and might produce more people who drink the coolaid. Although you might completely disagree with my political thoughts on all of this.
    Anyway... your thoughts?

  7. #107
    WF Veteran Tettsuo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    983
    Blog Entries
    10
    Bill Watterson:

    The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!

    Obviously, this is sarcasm from Mr. Watterson, in case you didn't catch it.
    Where you can purchase a copy of Fallen Sun, my second novel. Hidden Content

  8. #108
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    I don't accept that at all, it depends what you think gives superiority. For me it is a matter of accessibility. If something gets people reading that is great by me, a simple genre novel which is read and enjoyed by thousands of people or some esoteric piece that a small number get a sense of superiority from and countless students are bored stiff by. No contest.

    Improving our style is probably no bad thing, but the point of the thread is to discuss the relative merits of content and style. This is obviously still in contention. My feeling is that I don't care what people read, so long as they read. Chances are that they will pick something up from it, also that if they do they will try the experience again, that is what is important. If it's content is obfuscated by style and their enjoyment impaired or nullified they won't bother again. The minority who understand and enjoy really don't need any encouragement, they are already into reading.

    Try an analogy, is Coca-cola superior to water? It tastes good, but it contains caffeine which makes you pee more so it does not hydrate you as well and sugar which will rot your teeth and may bring on secondary diabetes, so in taste coke wins, but if I could only have one or the other give me water.
    I can relate with your post Olly Buckle. I won't digress. I simply have a viewpoint which I think I like literary with genre fiction.

    I think I will have to dig up my book by Terry Eagleton to continue this discussion of literary theory.

    However, does anyone think people should learn something when reading a story? That a world and a character changes for the better. I used to write for entertainment. But nowadays I write for social causes.
    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)

  9. #109
    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse View Post
    I can relate with your post Olly Buckle. I won't digress. I simply have a viewpoint which I think I like literary with genre fiction.

    I think I will have to dig up my book by Terry Eagleton to continue this discussion of literary theory.

    However, does anyone think people should learn something when reading a story? That a world and a character changes for the better. I used to write for entertainment. But nowadays I write for social causes.
    I have a similar view - but my writing goals are not to change anyone's mind, instead I describe the affect something has my my characters and leave it to my readers to form their opinions. I've written about intolerance, sexism, socialism, and injustice that springs from those trying to bring justice. Again, I just tell the story and do my best to not pontificate. I want my books to be about the STORY not the message.

    Who else remembers Dudley Do-Right cartoons? Too many novels these days have just about that amount of substance. As a reader, I crave something more, and I write what I would like to read.

    Is my writing 'literary'? I dunno, it's a work in progress. I do my best to write clearly and cleanly, give my characters depth and motives for what they do, and provide compelling descriptions of the world they live in. I think that's all that any of us can do.

  10. #110
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    At a certain point (the child erotica level) we might even say that not reading at all might be better for you. I would not go that far regarding most genre fiction, I really wouldn't, but I would defend the judgment that really poor quality reading is probably as bad/worse as zero reading much like watching exclusively pornography is generally considered worse for the brain than never watching anything.
    In grad school I took a course in pornography. I don't think it harmed me. I learned a lot by exploring that genre and I'm pretty sure my brain is still working properly. The intense course didn't change my morality in any way either. I dislike pornography (in particular the way some of it portrays women) and took the course to better understand why I hold my negative judgement of the genre and to see if I was right or wrong holding my opinion. It wasn't all poor quality writing either. I think my brain would have been worse off if I'd read nothing at all for that sixteen-week course and I'm glad I took the class.
    Free Download of My Chapbook: Flash Fiction: A Primer
    Hidden Content

    ďList Stories: Lists of the Literary Kind.Ē See my essay at Hidden Content



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.