Kindle Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
2,276 Posts
Ian Fraser said:
The brandy-soaked Churchill had some good quotes, but he's hardly a shining example to writers. He was also an Imperialist in the true sense, doing everything possible to hang onto England's colonies, without any interest in what the oppressed people thought about it.
That's definitely relevant. I also think Hitler's love of dogs should be counted in the assessment of Mein Kampf.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,276 Posts
Churchill's politics might well be relevant to you. But they aren't to whether he was a good prose stylist. I can admit that Marx was a good rhetorician without endorsing the death toll that his skills brought about.

As for the poised gas business, Churchill argued that tear gas was more humane for pacifying rebellious tribes for much the same reason police forces currently use it to pacify uncivilized mobs. Seems like a better idea than killing them. I don't know for sure that Churchill asked his war planners to consider mustard gas, but it wouldn't really surprise me. I think we find it more brutal because we know what it feels like to choke, but not what it feels like to get shot. Were we as familiar with the latter as the former, we'd probably see no difference between them--i.e., they'd both be perceived as painful deaths.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,276 Posts
MPTPGV said:
Sadly if given the choice between having the success of Ralph Ellison or the success of EL James, I'd take EL James, I believe in fast writing, great stories, and hefty amounts of editing making every sentence flow in the sense of the story. I believe in good writing. But, I never let good writing concern me over that of a good story.

Personally, I'm an aim for the heavens and fall to the stars type person, I strive to write like Faulkner, but am happy when my writing's as good as James Patterson.
Like others, you assume a distinction can be drawn between writing and story. Most of those who disagree with the "fast writing school" do not believe there is one. The difference between Faulkner and Patterson, for example, isn't fast and slow but something like baroque literary prose and tightly written genre fiction prose.

In simpler terms, some of us just don't believe in the creature called "the poorly written good story."
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,276 Posts
CraigInTwinCities said:
Well, that's the thing... some authors are very transparent about their agenda. It only took one mystery novel for me to know where Sellers stood politically.

Yet her novel was well-executed.

John Irving is one of the few who really alientated me, eventually, though.

I knew where he was politically, based on the first novel I read by him. (World According to Garp.) However, I stuck with reading his earlier stuff, through Hotel New Hampshire, and even A Prayer for Owen Meany.

But Owen Meany was what soured me, because he became too transparent and preachy. Weave a world view into a compelling storyline, and I'm fine. But Prayer for Owen Meany went on long, 20-page political jags that did nothing to advance the story, it was just the author venting on politics... I tolerated it because there was a moving story of self-sacrifice buried under all that jangle... but it also forced me to just stop reading him. I wasn't willing to do it anymore.

So by the time he reached Cider House Rules and all that came after it, like A Widow for a Year, it was with one less reader willing to go for the ride with him.

But generally, unless it's really transparent like that, I'll stick it out if the novel's well-written.
As much as I hate preachy books, I always get a kick out of the preachy bits because-for reasons I can't explain-the characters that utter these parts always sound to me like Meathead from All in the Family. Yes, every time I read these parts I hear Rob Reiner whining in my mind's ear. Weird, eh?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,276 Posts
jnfr said:
Just to get back to DWS and his take on not rewriting, he often quotes Heinlein's rules for writing. And the third rule from Heinlein is actually this:

Rule Three: You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Except to Editorial Order

Now, Heinlein was writing in a time where you couldn't publish without submitting to publishers, who would then have an editor tell you how to fix what you wrote. And while DWS himself does advocate writing fast and publishing quickly, I don't think his regular references to Heinlein's laws back up the idea that he means "never edit yourself".

But then I fall into those sort of pantsers who have to write to find out what I'm saying, and then go back afterwards to make it make sense.
This is it, now isn't it? Heinlein's context counts. He was writing short SF for the magazines of his time. No one but editors saw everything he wrote, and they picked and chose it for him. He was not self-pubbing everything and using the public as his editors.

I really cannot fathom why people can't see what a self-destructive idea it is to apply this to self-publishing. Your first 200 pieces of crap will sink your reputation. And if you publish under pen names, you've lost any chance of selling the rest on the off chance you produce a good one.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top