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Green Room - Week 26 - Weekend Edition

I don't really like this article: https://writingcooperative.com/modern-literature-is-nothing-more-than-an-anti-intellectual-word-salad-6952a0f5b759

The structure is all over the place and the message seems to jump to follow.

But, like everything - there *is* some good in it. Mainly moralizing in narrative form and how much is too much - and how your personal politics impacts your writing.

You tend to see a lot about what someone values in their writing, even with fiction. But does your values drive the story or does the story drive itself? Can you pick the two apart at any point, or are they tangled together?

***

While you are thinking about that - there's an entry due on Tuesday - so make sure you are writing it! http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/1035875.html

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
ryl
Jul. 30th, 2017 05:34 pm (UTC)
I looked up "hot mess" in the dictionary and it linked me back to that article. Then I looked up "pretentious over-politicizing bs" and the definition was "see hot mess."
messygorgeous
Jul. 30th, 2017 06:28 pm (UTC)
Bwahahahaha!
messygorgeous
Jul. 30th, 2017 06:29 pm (UTC)
Wait...was that comment too political?
xo_kizzy_xo
Jul. 31st, 2017 01:28 pm (UTC)
I just read it for kicks...and yep, yep yep :nodding:

I have to admit that she knows how to toss a masterful word salad.
halfshellvenus
Jul. 31st, 2017 06:19 pm (UTC)
Hahahahah! Best comment every! \o/
murielle
Jul. 30th, 2017 07:18 pm (UTC)
My writing process is too new for me to do much in the way of deliberately forming a story around any of my personal issues, unless I am attempting non-fiction and even then I'm just trying to tell the tale with as few writing mistakes as possible. When the aim is fiction it's not so much about creating something as much as being pulverized by an idea that hits the page in front of me -- SPLAT! It's exciting, but also terrifying. Where do these stories come from? Sometimes what I write is so far out there away from me that I am astounded. For instance the story I wrote about the women in prison--where in the blinkering blazes did that come from?! I rarely do more than a couple of drafts, and only a few times have I started out with one idea and switched to another. Still, I'm sure as alien as it feels there has to be something of me and my beliefs and personal politics in what I write. There has to be, right? It may be a subconscious thing, but it's got to be there, somewhere. But to be perfectly honest, I'm not someone who likes being indoctrinated, period. Why then would I do that to anyone else?
bleodswean
Jul. 31st, 2017 12:15 am (UTC)
Wow, that article. And now I've tumbled down a bad, bad rabbit hole. I am slightly perplexed - do you think she's taking the piss? Because nothing, and I mean NOTHING, about that essay, or her website, or her fiction has me thinking of her as an intellectual powerhouse penning a 21st Century War & Peace and finding it rejected by agents/publishers who are looking for...exactly what she's writing. I'm confused by this tirade.

First, I disagree with her premise...or what I am assuming is her premise because I'm confused by her use of the term "postmodernism". Postmodernism is EXACTLY WHAT SHE'S DESCRIBING. That's what it is! So, she doesn't want that genre to be what it is? Or she doesn't like the fact that we are assigning merit to it?

Anyone who can trash Cormac and Annie as bad poetry with no substance? Well, that is ludicrous and laughable. And not because those are two of my favourites whom I value very highly in a literary sense, but because their work isn't so glibly and easily dismissed. You don't like vernacular, you don't like symbolism, you don't care for archetype? That's fine, drop it back through the slot in the library door. But to reject it, nay INSULT it, because it's not some bizarre unicorn that you want to be riding? I don't know.

Maybe if her argument made more sense, or she had some examples of work she actually feels is worthy of her time, then the article and her criticism would have merit.

It has none.

As to contemporary literature not being intellectual or British novelist or experimental enough? That's hogwash. I could list thirty titles JUST OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD that counter such silliness. We are in a deeply experimental stage of fiction writing and it's HIGH TIMES indeed for those who are readers and writers.

As to your question, G. I'm not sure it makes a difference. Of course a writer's skill should lie in making a reader think, feel, mull, but how can one do that without putting forth some sort of value? If the reader finds herself bristling against the perceived "message" or the story feels to "moralistic" then that's just proof that the reader has been successful in communicating something or other. Isn't it?

I'm not sure I read or write from any sort of compass point.
penpusher
Jul. 31st, 2017 12:15 am (UTC)
The problems with this article are legion, beginning with the author's name: Kitten Holiday. Since when do kittens take a holiday on the internet? They're in every feed of every social media site I visit, mewing, purring, sleeping, eating, pawing some unsuspecting other animal, or getting pawed, or getting wet or getting someone else wet by avoiding getting wet.

Then there's the descriptive that goes with the author's name, and I quote: "Kitten Holiday is a mix of Camille Paglia, Cameron Diaz and Mae West." That's a whole big mess right there. Ms. Paglia is the one of those three I've actually met, a big fashion industry and feminism commentator, but hasn't really been noted or quoted recently. The same could be said about Cammie, who hasn't made a film in three years, and hasn't appeared in a good film in a lot longer. And then there's Mae West. Do Millennials even know who that is, and even if they did, would it matter to them?

But that's all the appetizer. Let's get to the meat of the article, an assumption laden, definitive statement of how moralizing is destroying the writing form and that pontificating on the world you want is getting in the way of an actual story.

To answer the question Gary puts forward here, that question being:

"Does your values drive the story or does the story drive itself?"

That's an easy one. The story never drives itself. As writers, we are Gods. We create characters, we toss them into specific circumstances, complicate those circumstances even further, give them help and support before snatching it back away and making things even worse.

If you are writing something it should have some sort of agenda. Politics is probably going to be baked in, to a degree. How you see the world is going to get in there, because your POV is from where you're writing! Can they be separated? Yes, but that requires active work to do that. You would have to specifically think about avoiding or changing those elements to get them out of the way or provide a different context.

It all depends on what the message is, what the agenda is, what kind of statement you want to make with the story. If it's political, it'll be in there. If it's not, you can avoid it all, but depending on how immersed you are, could require a rewrite to be certain it's been purged.

And now that I've written an essay, I'd better write an essay.
xo_kizzy_xo
Jul. 31st, 2017 01:34 pm (UTC)
OK, I read that horrible word salad and got the political message fairly quickly.

Then I asked myself, WTF? If you [the article writer] pull apart every single piece of postmodern literature for its political message, you're looking for a fight, not an intelligent discussion on "why postmodern literature sucks today". It almost sounds like sour grapes in the "Waah, why is X published and not MEEEEEEEE?"

I've never looked at anything I've read as making a political statement unless, of course, the story involves something political. I want a good story. Teach me something. Tell me something weird that's actually happened. Make me care about your characters, what they're saying, doing. I want to be able to sit there so enthralled that I won't put it down until I'm done. THAT, IMO, is what writing is about.

j0ydivided
Jul. 31st, 2017 06:14 pm (UTC)
...okay, the writer loses whatever credibility they had when they say that they follow Vox Day in an essay about how we need literature to be less "political" and "proselytizing". How about no.
halfshellvenus
Jul. 31st, 2017 06:18 pm (UTC)
I can't say it better than ryl did!

I understand criticisms of word-salad, and of the lack of desire to see original stories or creativity. It's the same problem film and television are going through, with sequels of sequels and putting out shows and movies that are similar to something else that was a hit, so surely this will be too?!?

But none of that has to do with liberal or conservative bias, nor does it need to! With the circuitous style of repeatedly coming back to the political slant on writings styles, and the lamentations of Loss Of Art (except when it's egghead art, in which case it's pretentious and annoying), and What Is The World Coming To, I started to get dizzy.

Logical, honed arguments and discussion, what AM they? This is like focal-point salad!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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