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What's Your Ultimate Ambition With Your Writers Style? (1 Viewer)

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TheMightyAz

Mentor
I always imagined Clive Barker with a quill in one hand and a scalpel in the other. It's what drew me to him, and that was because it's what I wanted to achieve.

I want to roll in the filth while reaching for the heavens. I like the grub of ugliness coupled with the poetry of enlightenment. I want every sentence to take the reader on a journey, enthral them, hypnotise them with words alone. The broader picture is important too, but my main focus (and always has been) is to lift the mundane, bizarre, ugly, grotesque and make it something more than the sum of its parts. I want to be both cynical and optimistic, with no real separation of the two, to create a poetic ambiguity. Will I succeed? That's another question for another thread.

You could post, and probably will: I just want to write stories. That's a perfectly reasonable ambition but this is a specific question so I do hope we get specific responses. :)

So: What's Your Ultimate Ambition With Your Writers Style?
 

druid12000

Senior Member
I am also a huge fan of Clive Barker. I read 'The Great and Secret Show' and 'Weaveworld' and was blown away.

Then I read 'Imajica'. I almost stopped reading at about two hundred pages because it didn't seem to be going anywhere. I decided to persevere and within twenty pages the pieces started fitting together. I was hooked from that point on and couldn't put the book down. Two hundred pages to set up an epic tale. That's a huge risk. I personally know two people who got as far into the book and stopped. I suggested they try again because the payoff was monumental.

All that said, I just want to write stories :p

Kidding!

There isn't one all encompassing ultimate ambition for me, though. Well, except to be satisfied with what I've written. Put the finishing touches and finally say 'That works for me'.

I have too many different ideas for completely different genres that will take very different approaches.

I can say definitively that I will not be writing anything that takes two hundred pages to set up. I'll leave that to the master.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I am also a huge fan of Clive Barker. I read 'The Great and Secret Show' and 'Weaveworld' and was blown away.

Then I read 'Imajica'. I almost stopped reading at about two hundred pages because it didn't seem to be going anywhere. I decided to persevere and within twenty pages the pieces started fitting together. I was hooked from that point on and couldn't put the book down. Two hundred pages to set up an epic tale. That's a huge risk. I personally know two people who got as far into the book and stopped. I suggested they try again because the payoff was monumental.

All that said, I just want to write stories :p

Kidding!

There isn't one all encompassing ultimate ambition for me, though. Well, except to be satisfied with what I've written. Put the finishing touches and finally say 'That works for me'.

I have too many different ideas for completely different genres that will take very different approaches.

I can say definitively that I will not be writing anything that takes two hundred pages to set up. I'll leave that to the master.

That's a worthy objective. Isn't Barkers wordsmithing just wonderful though. I think for pure learning Books Of Blood is a good place to start but his later works, such as Weaveworld and The Thief Of Always, is the perfect balance. His poetry is in his sentence structure and the strange angles he comes at it, rather than pure metaphor such as Bradbury. I listen to both though for that perfect mix of scalpel and quill. :)
 

druid12000

Senior Member
I don't get scared by stories anymore, but some of Barker's imagery is so visceral it gives me goosebumps. There's a scene in 'The Damnation Game' where the Razoreater is having a tea party with a little girl...it makes me so delightfully squeamish! That level of mixing intensity and subtlety is something to strive for in writing.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I don't get scared by stories anymore, but some of Barker's imagery is so visceral it gives me goosebumps. There's a scene in 'The Damnation Game' where the Razoreater is having a tea party with a little girl...it makes me so delightfully squeamish! That level of mixing intensity and subtlety is something to strive for in writing.

It's such a long time since I read The Damnation Game. It was the second book I read of his, the first being Books of Blood. The scene I remember most is the scene with three buckets and a head. :) I think like that. Odd images I'd like to put in my stories one day.
 

druid12000

Senior Member
It's such a long time since I read The Damnation Game. It was the second book I read of his, the first being Books of Blood. The scene I remember most is the scene with three buckets and a head. :) I think like that. Odd images I'd like to put in my stories one day.

It's been a while for me as well, I may reacquaint myself with it soon. My favorite of his short stories is 'The Body Politic'. I know it's a horror story, and a damn good one, but I found it hilarious. Those strange angles :icon_cheesygrin:
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
It's been a while for me as well, I may reacquaint myself with it soon. My favorite of his short stories is 'The Body Politic'. I know it's a horror story, and a damn good one, but I found it hilarious. Those strange angles :icon_cheesygrin:

In the hils the cities is also a tour de force in imagination too. It's these little things, and the way he describes it, that sneaks into my writing. I don't copy, as I said before, just note the strange angles and begin experimenting with angles of my own. I get excited with words. It might be weird to some people but I don't care! lol. I've just written this for another story and I'm overjoyed and salivating ... No, seriously, I love words.

He did not see himself as a villain or a hero, just the conduit through which circumstance had written its story. A coin toss was all his worth.
 

EmmaSohan

WF Veterans
This morning, I realized that since my sentence ended a paragraph, it might work better with a dash at the end instead of a period, but when I made that change and read it, it gave the reader a warning about what was coming in the next sentence and didn't want that, so I changed it back to a period. I took the and off the start of the sentence, I think to decrease continuity with the previous sentence, and I thought the sentence was perfect, until I realized . . . there was another way of writing the same sentence, and that other way was more passive, and I really liked the passivity, leaving me with:

My eyes open.

Ahhh. I like even rereading that sentence. Of course, it might look somewhat ordinary out of context, and we all know no one will be impressed by that sentence even in context.

I think my ultimate goal (awesome question!) is to control my readers' experience so that it's what I want it to be; I will do anything I can to achieve that goal, including the sentence above.

I can make a lot of changes in style to achieve that, like creating long sentences to juxtapose against a short one. I literally practice different styles -- I read some of Lolita last week and immediately tried to write a short story in Nabokov's style, just for practice and to explore, so I will be ready if I might need that.
 
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TheMightyAz

Mentor
This morning, I realized that since my sentence ended a paragraph, it might work better with a dash at the end instead of a period, but when I made that change and read it, it gave the reader a warning about what was coming in the next sentence and didn't want that, so I changed it back to a period. I took the and off the start of the sentence, I think to decrease continuity with the previous sentence, and I thought the sentence was perfect, until I realized . . . there was another way of writing the same sentence, and that other way was more passive, and I really liked the passivity, leaving me with:

My eyes open.

Ahhh. I like even rereading that sentence. Of course, it might look somewhat ordinary out of context, and we all know no one will be impressed by that sentence even in context.

I think my ultimate goal (awesome question!) is to control my readers' experience so that it's what I want it to be; I will do anything I can to achieve that goal, including the sentence above.

I can make a lot of changes in style to achieve that, like creating long sentences to juxtapose against a short one. I literally practice different styles -- I read some of Lolita last week and immediately tried to write a short story in Nabokov's style, just for practice and to explore, so I will be ready if I might need that.

I love it, and fully appreciate that description of how you arrived there. Isn't the process just wonderful! It's like a puzzle to be solved and it's nearly always the difficult puzzles that give you the most joy, even if, out of context, the answer seems 'mundane' to some. I no longer feel 'alone'! :)
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
I think my goals are about content. I have ambition to get the reader thinking about how things could be and should be. I want to make them feel empathy for people and issues that maybe weren’t on their radar. If more people care and understand an issue that is one of those catalyst kinds of issues, then maybe we can all evolve and understand our human condition better. Maybe I can show them what certain normalities now will lead to if unchecked— what I see as possibilities, anyway.

I want them walking away deeply immersed in the ideas. It has actually not been my thought to want them walking away thinking about my writing style. Hopefully I can write well enough, get out of the way enough, to just make people feel.
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
To trade lies for money. Clearly.

The truth is a little more elusive. Broadly speaking, I want the sort of adventure stuff I used to read as a kid...but I want it driven by characters rather than plot, with some nominal real-world constraints and more grounding in a world that's familiar to me. I suppose you could say I want an action read with consequences.

I want to hear from the man on the ground. I don't care about government leaders, or making headlines, or even getting rich. I want a protag whose hard-earned victory isn't necessarily going to bring him fame and renown, to have that success driven by what experience has made him, who can allow that a quiet win is still a win. The reader may not want him for a neighbor, but when it's all said and done they'll know who he is - and why.

I want an adventure story that doesn't carry a century's worth of lazy Hollywood cliches around its neck.

If this is even possible...I don't know. But I think it's worth a shot.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
To trade lies for money. Clearly.

The truth is a little more elusive. Broadly speaking, I want the sort of adventure stuff I used to read as a kid...but I want it driven by characters rather than plot, with some nominal real-world constraints and more grounding in a world that's familiar to me. I suppose you could say I want an action read with consequences.

I want to hear from the man on the ground. I don't care about government leaders, or making headlines, or even getting rich. I want a protag whose hard-earned victory isn't necessarily going to bring him fame and renown, to have that success driven by what experience has made him, who can allow that a quiet win is still a win. The reader may not want him for a neighbor, but when it's all said and done they'll know who he is - and why.

I want an adventure story that doesn't carry a century's worth of lazy Hollywood cliches around its neck.

If this is even possible...I don't know. But I think it's worth a shot.

I like that idea and think it's possible. The quiet revolutionary is an interest of mine too, but it has never really featured in my stories. It would take many years and millions of people with buckets to move an ocean, but who was the first to pick up a bucket? That's a story to be told.
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
I like that idea and think it's possible. The quiet revolutionary is an interest of mine too, but it has never really featured in my stories. It would take many years and millions of people with buckets to move an ocean, but who was the first to pick up a bucket? That's a story to be told.

Don't get me wrong - there's a place for overt hero stuff, and my MC gets his chance now and again, but in his case tough has less to do with going ten rounds in the ring and more to do with getting by in a world that's indifferent when not outright hostile.

He's kind of the opposite of the Chosen One. Frankly, nobody expects much from him. When he does something worthwhile, most don't notice.

One of the fun side effects of an introverted protagonist.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Don't get me wrong - there's a place for overt hero stuff, and my MC gets his chance now and again, but in his case tough has less to do with going ten rounds in the ring and more to do with getting by in a world that's indifferent when not outright hostile.

He's kind of the opposite of the Chosen One. Frankly, nobody expects much from him. When he does something worthwhile, most don't notice.

One of the fun side effects of an introverted protagonist.

So, like the Arthur Dent's of this world? :)
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
He's not that far off...but he could have been.

Tyranny of low expectations, I suppose.

Beyond the character, what specific narrative tricks (be it grammatical structure, word choice) do you use to frame your objective? Is it ALL in the story and the character or do you take the time to consider how the tone, mood, pacing etc. can also reflect your ambitions?
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
Little of both. Character sets the story progression, but you move the narrative camera around that...if that makes any kind of sense.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Little of both. Character sets the story progression, but you move the narrative camera around that...if that makes any kind of sense.

Oh, it makes perfect sense. The character is pivotal to the scene setting for me too. How they feel about things is how I describe things, as if I'm writing in 1st person even though it's 3rd person. Having said that, I tend to like cynical/poetic narrative so inevitably I end up making my protagonist meet those standards. LOL. I let my protagonist fight me on it occasionally though.
 
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