Random Written Word thoughts

Post your thoughts on books, short stories, comics, or any other form of written word.
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clintmemo
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Re: Random Written Word thoughts

Postby clintmemo » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:25 am

tombombodil wrote:
clintmemo wrote:While "getting kids to raed" may not be it's primary purpose, to dismiss it as an advantage is wrong and elitest.


I'm not saying they everyone needs to start with Machiavelli; there is TONS of absolutely fantastic fiction written for kids and targeted at that reading level. I've read lots of it. I'm talking about books I consider to be the literary equivalent of junk food. Junk food isn't a gate-way drug to a balanced diet, and reading and re-reading derivative tripe (which kids will absolutely do instead of moving on to other books) isn't going to effectively graduate kids into reading stuff that's actually fulfilling and enriching, or even just well written derivative pop-corn novels.


You are speaking in absolutes and generalities.
The facts are that some kids do start reading with books like Harry Potter and do move on to bigger and better things. (I'll ignore that bigger and better things just invites the argument of subjective vs objective in art.)

And even for those kids that never read anything else, we are better off with a world where 500 million people have only ever read Harry Potter or Twilight or Percy Jackson or The Hunger Games or whatever else you want to name, than to have a world where those 500 million people have not read anything at all.

Because being proficient at reading is objectively better than not being proficient at reading.
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Re: Random Written Word thoughts

Postby zircher » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:16 am

Interesting challenge, I'm trying to write a little story that's scary and I can't seem to do it. I can write all the stuff leading up to it, the calm before the story thing. But when the tension is supposed to turn up, I got nothing or bits that don't connect with the lizard brain.

Any suggestions or resources that I can check out that might help?

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Re: Random Written Word thoughts

Postby tombombodil » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:01 pm

zircher wrote:Interesting challenge, I'm trying to write a little story that's scary and I can't seem to do it. I can write all the stuff leading up to it, the calm before the story thing. But when the tension is supposed to turn up, I got nothing or bits that don't connect with the lizard brain.

Any suggestions or resources that I can check out that might help?


Writing a story that's actually scary to read is so absurdly difficult that it kind of baffles me. I've never seen anything resembling concrete advise as to how to accomplish it, because it's all so contingent on nuance and subtle details etc.

I like to think that I could accomplish just about any non-physical task if I sat down and really put my mind to it (because most of the time I can), but writing a fiction that had the potential to genuinely frighten someone who sat down and just read it (not have it performatively read to them etc) is something I'm not so sure about.
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Re: Random Written Word thoughts

Postby tombombodil » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:15 pm

clintmemo wrote:
tombombodil wrote:
clintmemo wrote:While "getting kids to raed" may not be it's primary purpose, to dismiss it as an advantage is wrong and elitest.


I'm not saying they everyone needs to start with Machiavelli; there is TONS of absolutely fantastic fiction written for kids and targeted at that reading level. I've read lots of it. I'm talking about books I consider to be the literary equivalent of junk food. Junk food isn't a gate-way drug to a balanced diet, and reading and re-reading derivative tripe (which kids will absolutely do instead of moving on to other books) isn't going to effectively graduate kids into reading stuff that's actually fulfilling and enriching, or even just well written derivative pop-corn novels.


You are speaking in absolutes and generalities.
The facts are that some kids do start reading with books like Harry Potter and do move on to bigger and better things. (I'll ignore that bigger and better things just invites the argument of subjective vs objective in art.)

And even for those kids that never read anything else, we are better off with a world where 500 million people have only ever read Harry Potter or Twilight or Percy Jackson or The Hunger Games or whatever else you want to name, than to have a world where those 500 million people have not read anything at all.

Because being proficient at reading is objectively better than not being proficient at reading.


Eh, Alright I'll grant that nearly any book that has functional grammar and teaches no abhorrent life-lessons (I don't think you would stick to your argument if the book in question was My Awakening) has value as a technical practice book, since reading it probably makes you more capable to read English words and so makes you more proficient at reading legal documents or work related crap in the future.

Although I would maintain that practice doesn't make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect. And it's very possible to practice something incorrectly which makes it harder for you to actually become proficient at it in the long run.

Also way too many people get into the subjective objective thing with entirely the wrong perspective on it. It's not that some criticisms are objective and some are subjective, ALL criticisms of art exist on a continuum between these two extremes and NONE of them are purely one or the other.

Too many people just dismiss qualitative examinations of a work of art because "well it's not the fundamental laws of physics therefore it has no objective grounds to stand on" and that's BS. All good criticism is rooted in a studious examination of the work, and if someone disagrees with your conclusions about it without being able to back up their opinion with similar examples and examinations then their opinion is more subjective than yours and vice versa.

Note that this was more of a side tangent and not an implication that anyone involved in this discussion was doing this.
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Re: Random Written Word thoughts

Postby clintmemo » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:35 pm

Criticism on any form of art that take the form of "Exhibit Y is an excellent example of style X, (which is generally agreed upon by experts and popular opinion to characteristics of Ax, Bx and Cx) because of details Ya, Yb and Yc" is perfectly valid. Criticism that says that "Exhibit Y sucks" is really not.

Plus, the whole point of art is evoke an emotional response from the person experiencing it, usually an intended response from an intended audience. You might argue that you could use that response from the intended audience as an objective measure as to whether a piece of art is successful or not. How well did it do the job it was trying to do? If you make a horror movie and scare everyone, then you have succeeded.
Unfortunately, people are different and change over time. Movies that scared people in the 1950's might be viewed as laughably campy now.
Humor is probably the hardest hit by this. Think of how much humor from decades ago is considered unacceptable now and vice versa.
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Re: Random Written Word thoughts

Postby tombombodil » Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:20 am

clintmemo wrote:Unfortunately, people are different and change over time. Movies that scared people in the 1950's might be viewed as laughably campy now.
Humor is probably the hardest hit by this. Think of how much humor from decades ago is considered unacceptable now and vice versa.


Its kind of weird. Humor is both hit by it the hardest and is similarly the most timeless depending on a bunch of subtle things.

Like, Much Ado About Nothing and Blazing Saddles are both still hilarious despite having many trademarks of things that should feel horribly dated (in very different ways). Part of it is the strength of the writing and raw vibrancy and competency of the craft, but that can't be all it is.
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Re: Random Written Word thoughts

Postby zircher » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:36 am

My wife and I can still laugh at the Three Stooges, but seeing a modern take on the same slapstick routines does not carry as well. Strange but true. We need a new Jackie Chan. :-)

Looks like I get a small reprieve on my horror deadline. Got until the 7th to finish my #SGAM2018 week one challenge.

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Re: Random Written Word thoughts

Postby McNutcase » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:56 pm

I can't think of a better way to honor Stan Lee's memory than going to the comic store and blowing nearly a hundred bucks on comics. Which doesn't buy all that much these days, a couple Hellboy trades, a lovely hardcover collection of past FCBD specials of Mouse Guard, some My Little Pony for the kid, and a new Asterix is it.
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Re: Random Written Word thoughts

Postby Glenn » Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:22 pm

If anyone is interested in reading Robert E. Howard's Conan short stories.

Blackgate.com is doing a kind of reading group series on a selected list of Howard's Conan series.

Starting January 7th each week they have a modern sword and sorcery author/known enthusiast write an article on each story and try to argue why it is the best. They assigned stories randomly to each person. I've read most of these, but its been long enough that i can't remember what some of them are about.

Being able to follow in a series always helps me get more enjoyment out of what i'm reading. Here's the list of contributors and selected works"

Rob Derie – The Phoenix on the Sword

Fletcher Vredenburgh – The Frost Giant’s Daughter

Jason M Waltz – The Tower of the Elephant

John C. Hocking – The Scarlet Citadel

Deuce Richardson – Black Colossus

Morgan Holmes – Iron Shadows in the Moon/Shadows in the Moonlight

Jason Durall – Xuthal of the Dusk/The Slithering Shadow

David C. Smith – Pool of the Black One

Bob Byrne – Rogues in the House

Dave Hardy – The Vale of Lost Women

Scott Oden – The Devil In Iron

James McGlothlin – The Servants of Bit-Yakin/Jewels of Gwalhur

Keith West – Beyond the Black River

Fred Adams – The Black Stranger

Steven Silver – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula/Shadows in Zamboula

Keith Taylor – Red Nails

Gabe Dybing – The People of the Black Circle

Ryan Harvey – The Hour of the Dragon

Jeffrey Shanks – A Witch Shall Be Born

Patrice Louinet – Queen of the Black Coast

Mark Finn – The God in the Bowl

Woelf Dietrich – Wolves Beyond the Border


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