The Well Written Story v The Good Story - Page 7


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Thread: The Well Written Story v The Good Story

  1. #61
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    I dunno, the top piece is clean, immersive, and honest. The second section has a mind reaching for the aromas of ground coffee, of pedigree cats, of woollen jerseys ‘like the fishermen outside.’ Wealthy slug-author types dripping superior enlightenment, the world seen through windows, and spectacles, and not quite Venus in my opinion. Or too Venus, actually...

  2. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Matchu View Post
    I dunno, the top piece is clean, immersive, and honest. The second section has a mind reaching for the aromas of ground coffee, of pedigree cats, of woollen jerseys ‘like the fishermen outside.’ Wealthy slug-author types dripping superior enlightenment, the world seen through windows, and spectacles, and not quite Venus in my opinion. Or too Venus, actually...
    Yeah and I would also want to clarify: I'm not saying there isn't a place for basic writing styles, there is.

    All I am saying is it doesn't seem as though there should be a stark a difference between most genre and literary books given it is possible to write genre fiction that feels literary. Ray Bradbury does this quite well. So does Orwell, arguably.

    But these feel like exceptions, certainly nowadays. "Literary horror' is such a niche people almost treat it as a contradiction in terms.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  3. #63
    Yes, there is a "movie star handsome" in the Atwood passage. "Felt skirted, miniskirts & pants" sentence does the same thing. They are cultural images that not only tell the reader what's going on in just a few words, it evokes an emotion. Atwood does it better. To a reader that doesn't know what movie stars, pompadours, felt skirts, miniskirts or girls wearing pants mean, they're just meaningless words.

    I think the Atwood passage is stripped of almost everything it doesn't need and contains everything it does. It's efficient. It flows. It's well crafted. It pushes the story forward on more than one level. It gives insight to the location, the character, how it impacts on POV character and the characters state of mind. It sets the mood.

    The Sawyer passage only gives facts. It tells us the two are friends. It gives us names and descriptions. It's sparse rather than efficient. It does nothing to connect the reader to the location, sets no mood and other than establishing the fact the two are friends, tells us nothing about anyone's state of mind.

    Each passage has a different mission.

    (Just as I think there are literary novels not worth reading, I think there are Hugo winning stories not worth reading. Again, which are and are not is subjective.)

  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    "Literary horror' is such a niche people almost treat it as a contradiction in terms.
    Hmm... Shirley Jackson, maybe?


    Genre readers often spend their time critiquing books based on stuff like tropes and plot alone. So it's no wonder most genre-writers default to basic prose.
    Last edited by EternalGreen; December 28th, 2020 at 08:53 PM.

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by EternalGreen View Post
    Hmm... Shirley Jackson, maybe?
    Yeah, Shirley Jackson...who died almost sixty years ago.

    There are actually some modern examples. Sarah Waters, Stephen King at times, etc. But it's rare. Don't come across too many literary romances and almost no literary science fiction. Just no real market, I guess.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    Writing styles change over time - a lot of modern readers find Great Expectations, Moby Dick, and the like hard to get through. The cause of this may be that we have a shorter attention span these days.
    Length of attention span is can't be the issue -- I can read a book for hours, but I have trouble paying attention to that first paragraph by Shelly.

    Could it be that the paragraph I cited is difficult to pay attention to, because the grammar is dense? And that we have invented ways of writing that make comprehension easier? Inventions to make things easier have been popular for thousands of years. BTW, I guess that one reason Dickens was popular was that he found a way of writing that was easier to understand than Shelly's.

    Of course, it's also difficult to pay attention to because nothing is happening. We avoid that too in modern writing, usually.
    Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools not Rules is finally published and available for $3 Hidden Content . Should be mandatory for serious writers, IMO. Italics, Fragments, Disfluency, lists, etc. But also commas and paragraph length. Discussed use of adverbs, and ends with a chapters on the awesome moment and the grammar of action scenes. Description at my Hidden Content

  7. #67
    A saying I heard many years ago - we each dip our tongue into a different well of words.

    Long ago, when I was still in secondary school, our principal could read and speak in 'Old English' - that's what he called it, and I have no idea from what era it comes. He read a bit to us one time, and I couldn't understand a single world.

    Perhaps, over time the common vernacular shifts? English is a HUGE language, and a shift from normal verbiage could throw us for loop.

  8. #68
    Wiki says this of Frankenstein; a modern Prometheus:

    Despite the reviews, Frankenstein achieved an almost immediate popular success. It became widely known especially through melodramatic theatrical adaptations
    The second sentence is what would be expected from a very good story not especially well-told. And look at what you say:

    Quote Originally Posted by Llyralen View Post
    .... and her plot is much more exciting . . . . but his work does not address ethics and morals to the degree she does and his questions are not as big or persistent. Mary Shelley really had vision... I'd say she wins out in the area of providing new ground-breaking and persistent questions over writers like Charlotte Bronte, but Bronte's style is probably better.
    You also say nice things about her writing style. I am trying to imagine you liking that style, and I think I can do that, but it's difficult. Is it any different than anyone else from that time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Llyralen View Post
    I do want to read Mary Shelley's other works because she was only I think 18-20 years old when writing Frankenstein
    Were they similar? Did you ever read Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus?
    Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools not Rules is finally published and available for $3 Hidden Content . Should be mandatory for serious writers, IMO. Italics, Fragments, Disfluency, lists, etc. But also commas and paragraph length. Discussed use of adverbs, and ends with a chapters on the awesome moment and the grammar of action scenes. Description at my Hidden Content

  9. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Yeah and I would also want to clarify: I'm not saying there isn't a place for basic writing styles, there is.

    All I am saying is it doesn't seem as though there should be a stark a difference between most genre and literary books given it is possible to write genre fiction that feels literary. Ray Bradbury does this quite well. So does Orwell, arguably.

    But these feel like exceptions, certainly nowadays. "Literary horror' is such a niche people almost treat it as a contradiction in terms.
    Can you write genre fiction that feels literary? Yes.

    The question, however, is should you write genre fiction that feels literary?

    Unless your name is F. Scott Fitzgerald, I'd seriously recommend you didn't.
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    "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.

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  10. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    I'll counter this argument by saying that genre fiction often explores controversial subjects - racism, intolerance, totalitarianism, ... the list goes on. Science fiction especially does this - reminder that the first interracial kiss on television was on Star Trek, not Masterpiece Theater.
    Heinlein's Farnham's Freehold is a good example of your point. It's a very strong lesson on racism, which is often misunderstood by some later readers. The MCs son is a racist jerk, and acts like a racist jerk at every opportunity. The misunderstanding comes in analysis of the author decades later, when "critics" point out the racist in the book and ignorantly assume it's the author's PoV.

    What it was, released at a tense time in the Civil Rights movement, was masterful use of the "negative example". Heinlein had a black character introduced with admirable traits, and the racist son had terrible things to say about and to the black character. Reading at the time and reading for 'pleasure'-- not as critics--sympathy fell to the black character as the reader rejected the attitudes and behavior of the jerk. It's a sub-conscious education for the reader.

    When I read the book as a teen, I rejected the racist son. When I read it many years later as an adult, I understood why, and how deliberately Heinlein created that effect.

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