Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 12, 2015 - 8:34pm

Here's a little one!

Only say "started" when a process that continues as other events unfold begins. Otherwise it's unnecessary, probably passive, and otherwise blehck.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 23, 2015 - 4:13pm

Here's one:

I think when alpha/beta-reading someone's work, it's important to know where they are in terms of drafts, and even their styles. This will make helping them a lot easier. If it's a first draft, for example, for some panster, you'd probably want to focus more on the big plot, the characters, etc. If it's a few drafts in with an outliner, thigns like passive voice are going to be more important than earlier, and hopefully the plot is solidifying much more, the characters are more fleshed out, etc.

It doesn't make sense to tear apart a first draft because the author is being overly descriptive. A quick note like "be sure to trim this down in next draft" will suffice. If it's nearing the end drafts and there are adverbs everywhere, it's time for some red ink.

Context here is key.

_'s picture
_ January 18, 2016 - 8:10pm

Memory is a good editor.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 19, 2016 - 10:58am

^

Stephen King said he detested notebooks, called them a graveyard for bad ideas. The good ones are the ones that stick.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel January 19, 2016 - 11:14am

^

And if I were Stephen King, I would absolutely follow that advice.

The only time I take a notebook with me is if I'm out drinking. I always wonder what kind of crap I was up to.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things February 25, 2016 - 7:04am

Wisdom me. Need to write the Spotlight soon.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 25, 2016 - 12:16pm

Did Michelangelo love marble? Or did he love what he could do to the marble? Did Leonardo love paint? Or did he love what he could do with paint? Sure, all the great artists wouldn't work with just any block of marble, or use any paint. So, in their choosing and selecting with great care, one could say that it was a form of nurturing and love. But was it their love of the paint and rock, or was there something much deeper going on that made them great?

I hold that anyone who says writers must have a love of words and sentences doesn't know what they fuck they're talking about. I said it. Maybe way too harshly, but whatever. The medium an artist uses should be chosen with great care, but it is not what drives a person to create. Nor does it lead to a great work of art. It merely helps in the process. What the artist must love is what they are going to do with that medium.

Perhaps that is over simplifying what is meant when someone says that writers should love words and sentences. I will grant that. My purpose here is not to offend. It is to get people to push their understanding further than what is meant when someone regurgitates that writers should love words and sentences. I want people to actually push beyond what is provided. Do not worry so much about gaining a love or words or sentences. Gain a love of what you are going to do with those words and sentences.

Sure, you love the car, but it's the idea of what that car will allow you to do that really breathes life into it.

 

Or some shit like that. o7

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal February 25, 2016 - 11:46am

^

I'd add an "especially big/fancy words" to that. And complicated sentences. Personally, I never use them. Maybe efficient to write, but not to read.

XyZy's picture
XyZy from New York City is reading Seveneves and Animal Money February 26, 2016 - 12:37pm

Did Michelangelo love marble? Or did he love what he could do to the marble?

I applaud your project here; we should absolutely challenge our assumptions, and I agree that writers must love words is one of those assumptions we have in our present culture. But I feel it important not to challenge unexamined assumptions with other unexamined assumptions. So as I poke holes in your argument, please be mindful that I do so in the spirit of your project.

Michelangelo, by all accounts I could find, actually did love marble: "with my wet-nurse's milk, I sucked in the hammer and chisels I use for my statues". He spent eight months quarrying the stone for Pope Julius II's tomb, and only stopped because the commission was pulled because he took too long quarrying and had no results to show. He initially refused, and later tried to get out of, the commission for the Sistine Chapel because he insisted painting was not his trade. A man who claims a resonance with his craft from near birth, spends longer finding the right piece of stone than some of us spend finding a spouse, and had to be dragged back to Rome by what amounts to a Papal warrant for his arrest "by fair means or foul" because he wasn't given the commission he wanted, strikes me as precisely "a form of nurturing and love" for his medium. He at least doesn't strike me as a good example to support your argument... unless you want to make the claim that what Michelangelo really loved was Jesus, and naked men.

Now granted these are all inferences that I have to make based on the scant information we have (hence no direct examples for DaVinci), but that's a danger that works both ways; what information do you base your inferences that these long dead artists didn't love their mediums?

And indeed, how do you account for writers that do proclaim a love for their medium?

Words should be an intense pleasure, just as leather should be to a shoemaker. If there isn't that pleasure for a writer, maybe he ought to be a philosopher.

--Evelyn Waugh

I fell in love--that is the only expression I can think of--at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy. I tumbled for words at once. . . . There they were, seemingly lifeless, made only of black and white, but out of them, out of their own being, came love and terror and pity and pain and wonder and all the other vague abstractions that make our ephemeral lives dangerous, great, and bearable.

--Dylan Thomas

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music the words make.

--Truman Capote

Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

I end with Rilke, because it is between him and Goethe from which we get this idea that writers must love words and writing. That love is a necessary part of the artistic endeavor is a fairly superficial, romantic notion that comes to us in the 19th century, but it is a notion that comes to us from artists. That love is a necessary part of the creative endeavor comes to us from creative people, saying 'yes, express yourself in the medium you choose, but that choice comes from a type of love.' And perhaps it is too romantic and too simplistic to simply say "writers must love words" but what else aside from a love of words could explain why some creative people choose words instead of paint, or marble, or music, or math, or architecture, or accounting? Your choice of renaissance men as your examples is somewhat ironic: Michelangelo could paint, was an architect, played music, wrote poetry, but what he loved and what we recognize him for was his sculpture. He chose marble, above all others... until death did they part.

For me, that's the biggest hole in this argument. If not love of the medium, then what? Maybe there is a better phrase than "love of words" for spending lonely, sleepless hours crawling through manuscripts, dragging our eyes across the words over and over, trying desperately to get caught on each misplaced comma, pronoun, adverb... to find the "right" way to say something never before said. To face the desolate expanse of a blank page, again and again, and finding hope each time in defiling such endless potential, that this time we'll write something worth reading. All with the virtual guarantee of poverty and insignificance as rewards for our effort.

Perhaps mental illness. But the mad genius is an even more dangerous romantic ideal, grounded even less in reality. I agree that you don't have to have a love of words to be an artist, but if you choose words as your artistic medium, what are you basing that choice on if not love? And I don't mean that rhetorically, there very well could be a better word than love, but what is it?

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 26, 2016 - 1:36pm

Just to get this out there before I form a proper defense to your well-written post.

I think the issue is that I think I took a misstep in the idea that I could remove one from the other. There is of course the love (we'll come back to the word in a bit) that we have for medium. And there is a love for what we do with the medium.

I think I was coming at it with a thinking from something along the lines of Nietzsche. (And I hate to bring him up because a) he would hate being used to further an argument, and b) too many people understand jack about Nietzsche.) But, he wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra about the camel, the lion, and the child. As an artist, we first must immerse ourselves in a culture. We must learn everything about it. We must accept all the pleasure from being a part of it, and accept all of the bad associated with it. It is in this instance that I think people belief they fall in love with their mediums. They grab a hold of them, throw them around, play with them, use them in everyway. We go so far as to hold them to such esteem that we carry the burden (camel) of defending their very existence (word/grammar nazis). This can also be the time that people would call it falling in line with the Greek chorus, in that we lose our individuality in order to fully become a part of what is going on.

Then, when artists begin to move on in their craft, they must take on the task of becoming a lion. They must be a destructor. The lion does not eat the antelope whole, he takes that which nourishes him and discards the rest. And so the artist must too learn to take that which is useful and good for him, and leave the rest. This is where, I think, artists talk about "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." (P. Picasso) Palahniuk asked us in one of his craft essays to not use thought verbs for six months. That was the time of the camel. We take that burden. Then, after that six months, we can discard the restraint, the burden, and take the aspects we felt helped us, and we can dismiss the rest. This is the time of evaluation and contemplation. It is the planning.

Lastly it is the time of the child, the creator. The artist, much like a child, must come into the world and find a way to make sense of it. We categorize, we put things in their place, we are creating from those the tools we have at hand. It is the time of discovery, journey, pure joy in the simple being in that which we love. We organize block to build towers or spell words. The artist takes those that which he has gathered in the first two processes and makes use of it. This is the time where we are the true artist. It is not to say that it is the only time where we truly have pleasure and love for the craft, the entire journey is the point, but this is the moment that we have a chance to create something that the rest of the world may consider great. Thus, it is this moment when we can become a great artist.

After the process is done. The child must eventually grow and move on. The child returns to being a camel and the process repeats itself. We return to carry a burden, we must eventually shed that burden and take what will nourish us, then we must create something from that consumption.

So, when I hear people say that a love of words is necessary to be a writer, for me, it's too simplistic and fails to account for so much more than what it is all about. The love of words is a small part of the whole. The love of marble, of paint, of words is meaningless if it does not come with everything else that goes into becoming an artist. The artist must love life, and people, and destruction, and creation, depression, joy.

If we are to have a discussion about becoming great in writing, let us throw our whole being into its depth. Let us talk about it as if it were the most precious part of our lives. And those that come here and copy/paste love of words and smile, let us press the issue to see who wants to really do this.

 

But of course, this is a nice bullshit argument that can be dismissed simply by saying just because I write a lot, and bring up some dead guys, doesn't mean I know shit about what I'm talking about. I have an ideal that I try to live up to, and when I think about art, writing, the craft of becoming, I become insane with thinking about every aspect. So, when I hear the copy/paste words, and I try to learn more and get more understanding of that person and their beliefs, as well as desiring more information that will help me on my journey, and I get a shrug of the shoulder, I write stuff like I posted.

Or some shit like that. o7

 

I'll try to reason out a better argument later. Thanks for stoking the flames.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated February 27, 2016 - 6:45pm

Well guys... that all sounds like lies.

We write because we are writers. We'd stop if we could. No one keeps going because they want to after the millionth word that we write and immediately hate, the endless time away from loved ones and always reading wishing we wrote that well or reading knowing we are better writers but can't get published in a major deal. The fun of editing. Plus the constantly seeing friends go through the same pain.

In polite society, we call our obsessions hobbies.

― Stephen King

We might love the words, but the words will never love us back.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 27, 2016 - 9:07pm

Very well then. I lie.

I write, and because I write, I call myself a writer, which provides the leyperson a quick way to categorize me.

I do not find a label and do things associated with that label. I do things, and find that what I do has a label.

If I stop for a week, am I still a writer? A month? A year? A decade?

Of course, this discourse only leads to us not being anything and being everything, all at once and never. 

Ontology, existentialism, inductive reasoning, fasifiability of objectification, yada yada yada....

 

If I've learned anything, it's that all of this ^, doesn't make me a better writer. It just means I'm a person that read something and can reguritate the information on command. 

Therefore, I lie.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami February 28, 2016 - 3:17pm

Dont be afraid for it to be partially diary. Mine started out as a hybrid of those dark letters sent to friends and other aspects of my familiarity.

My mood improved, got out of an abusive hone, edited names and setting. Then added my gender issues and havent looked back.

Although its why I never promote. I feel like it brings back weird memories.

Now for a brighter future if middle grade adventures.

Remember your arent alone. So important as a writer. I believe in you.

XyZy's picture
XyZy from New York City is reading Seveneves and Animal Money March 2, 2016 - 10:27am

@J. Diaz:

Well, you have certainly given me much to think on here, and I do appreciate that. And there is a lot here to unpack, though perhaps not in this thread, so just to make a few quick points:

Be careful in trying to separate medium from... (I guess purpose?) that you don't run afoul of the neo-pragmatists and encourage their response that you can't separate meaning from intention, or at least have an answer ready for that... Likewise for the formalists who've pointed out that form and content are inseparable.

Also keep in mind two possible responses that jumped out to me: 1) "writers must love words" is a claim of necessity, not of sufficiency, so be careful not to prompt your interlocutors to thinking you have confused the two; 2) "love" is not a simple thing, so when a writer describes their relationship with words as a sadomasochistic love affair, as Dylan Thomas does, it doesn't serve your argument to say that it is more complicated than that, they just said it was complicated. At least not before taking on the task of defining love, which is not something you can do with these (in many cases) long dead authors. So to claim they are wrong because they are referring to your presumed "simple" concept of love that you can easily defeat, is at least uncharitable. Certainly, in one sense, I'd even be tempted to claim that love is too complex to be descriptive of the relationship, and what is really necessary is something like care... In a kind of Heideggerian sense of care. We take on the role of the writer when we have the sense that words matter, and we take on that mantle most authentically when we know how words matter to us.

However, it seems that you are more focused on the use of these platitudes, rather than their content, which is fine. We should be absolutely mindful not to let the adoption of ideals to replace our coming to those outcomes on our own. You are correct that it is not enough to assert a love of words to be a writer. But what response could you expect to get (or indeed give) to the question "what does it mean to love words" other than a shrug of the shoulder? We can describe this relationship as a love affair, or liken it to a craftsman, or refer to the "inner music"... but we can't give that relationship. We can't give meaning. And you certainly seem to be heading in this direction, it just seems a great deal of wasted frustration to say "Don't just say you love words, actually love them" to people when you are only presupposing that they haven't already ended up in that place and can only answer back "writers must love words." You know they can't bring us with them, we have to get there on our own... just don't get frustrated that all they can do is shout back garbled directions. I'd recommend saving your frustration for people who deserve it... like the neo-pragmatists... and people who demand all writers work down to their fifth-grade reading level... and grammar/usage pedants. 

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel March 2, 2016 - 11:32am

@XyZy

Thank you for your thoughtful response.

I agree that my argument is full of pitfalls. It is mostly due to a base understanding of the material and my penchant to run headlong until I hit a brick wall.

BREAK...

I was going to go on. I just received a rejection from Michigan for an MFA. My heart is no longer in this argument for the moment. Will return when I pick up the pieces.

 

XyZy's picture
XyZy from New York City is reading Seveneves and Animal Money March 2, 2016 - 2:58pm

Ouch. That sucks, man. MFA admissions boards deserve some frustration too.

But to offer some encouragement for when you feel up to coming back, I do think you are on to something with your Nietzschean schema... well, despite it being a Nietzschean-schematic :) and I think Picasso is a great example to follow with it: his early realist, middle 'blue' period, and later cubist work seem to map onto the structure quite nicely in the terms of camel/lion/child. Though, I would be careful of the "return" phase you want to insert after the child. I don't know if that is your idea or Nietzsche's (either way it strikes me as somewhat Hegelian, so you may want to brush up on your Hegel) but it seems not to follow in Picasso's case. He never returned to realist painting, so he never took on that original burden again, even after moving on from cubism... nor did he go back to another 'blue-period'. Some artists do, so I certainly see the appeal to making that part of the structure, but some artists also go back to their roots before ever finding a child-like appreciation of their media.

Ah... I could go on, but I won't overburden you with my own dialectical analysis of the crisis of modern art in the 19th and 20th centuries. My condolences. The only thing worse than a rejection from an MFA program is actually having to do an MFA... (or at least, that's how I console myself with my MFA program rejections.)

 

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel March 3, 2016 - 8:09am

Back to task at hand.

(And thank you for your words of encouragement. I went and had a NY Strip, triple baked lobster bacon truffle au gratin, and a couple beers. I'm back at ground zero, maybe just a bit above that.)

So, your #1: Necessity v sufficiency: "Writers must love words." I'm horrible with logic. But noted. It has always been the bane of my philosophical career that I am always too fast and loose with my words.

#2: Definition of love: I believe you are correct in that I was turning something that most writers, those that are informed and pursue the craft with passion and intent, have a more complicated understanding when they say they "love words." It is a bit dismissive and uncharitable of everything they have put into the craft. I do really like the way you brought up care instead of love, which may be more to the point, but it doesn't have the public-dazzling spectacle associated with the word love. Does that mean that many the great writers in question would be able to defend their use of the word love is pressed? I believe so. I believe they would make me feel beyond silly for even having this discussion with them when I barely know what I'm talking about.

#3: Save my frustration: You are correct. But what else would I do while sitting at work? Actually do my job? The nerve!

#4: Hegel and Heiddegger: These two are where I am most lacking in my philosophy. It almost seems that artists have to mention one or the other before they can refill their wine glass. As soon as I'm done with Russell's The History of Western Philosophy (awesome book, if you haven't you must), I will ... reluctantly ... slip into the stream. Most likely, I will be regurgitating them by the end of April. It's a good thing because I think my glass is empty.

#5: The circular nature of my Nietzschean ... progression, was not meant to state that it was a necessary transition, or an inevitable. Nothing in Nietzsche is inevitable. It is something that must be done with purpose and by using the Will. There is also a multiplicity to Nietzsche that is sometimes missed. I don't think Picasso made it to cubism and stopped. I think each of those periods has its own camel/lion/child movement. To be a realist, he must have done it. Then, he did it again to move toward the blue, again yet again to the cubist. It isn't that camel was realist, lion was blue, and cubism is the child. (I think that's what you meant, but I could be quite mistaken.)

If we are to talk about the revolution of the triad, then we must mention the eternal recurrence. This is another past, present, future, kind of thing. (Again with the 3s.) We have the burden of the past, which we use in the present, to create our future. We can never return to the past because we must destroy it to create our future. We can never know the future, for it has not been created yet, nor is there a teleology to follow. So, we are always using the past in the present to make our future which then becomes the past and so on forever.

So, Picasso could not go back to what he was doing. No artist can truly go back. I always think of it like musicians who produce this amazing album, truly mind blowing, and then a couple records later everyone is like....um, thanks but...yeah, then they try and go back to it, and it's never the same.

I will continue to try getting into an MFA. And maybe, somewhere along the line, I'll be able to articulate what I mean with all of this.

XyZy's picture
XyZy from New York City is reading Seveneves and Animal Money March 7, 2016 - 10:07pm

It almost seems that artists have to mention one or the other before they can refill their wine glass

Ha. Don't forget terms like dialectic, and discursive. There, now I've earned my lunch-time riesling.

The circular nature of my Nietzschean ... progression, was not meant to state that it was a necessary transition, or an inevitable.

Okay, that's fine, I was just prompted by the line:

After the process is done. The child must eventually grow and move on. The child returns to being a camel and the process repeats itself.

So probably it's just a matter of phrasing to clear that up... although, given some of the other things you've said, I think there is a danger here of prioritizing authorial intent... I'll have to think on it a bit more, but I'm struck by Tchaikovsky's hate for the Nutcracker Suite. So either we as a culture are incorrect about its affective power on us, or Tchaikovsky was incorrect about his own artistic endeavor? It feels like your structure wants to put us in a position to choose between the two... but it'll take me a bit to organize that line of thought... I'll return to it in a bit.

It isn't that camel was realist, lion was blue, and cubism is the child. (I think that's what you meant, but I could be quite mistaken.)

Oh no, that is exactly what I meant. But I'm not opposed to a simultaneous procession on these smaller scales to get between these movements. It's just that as you explicate this structure, and are looking for examples, I think Picasso, on this large scale, is very clear because we can see the progression playing out in his work. It's much more difficult to show where within his "blue" phase he was taking up the burden of producing "blue" work, had taken from it what he required (I like the digestive metaphor much better than simply calling it "destroyed", and especially on this scale) and played with it as a child until moving on to cubism. At least for me as primarily an outsider to visual art history. It just struck me as a clear (i.e. simplified) example that we could refer to. But if you want to restrict the movement of this schema to only within artistic modes, to get from realism, to "blue", to cubism, then you either need to make a study of Picasso's work to back up your claims on that level, or find someone's work that you already understand on that level that you can point out for us those movements.

We can never know the future, for it has not been created yet, nor is there a teleology to follow.

Well, a few things here. Yes, we generally like triptych forms, and I do think you could go pretty far along this line of reasoning, drawing history/present/future into a context with your schema. I'd be interesting to see what you come up with.

Also, just as a matter of contingency, we don't necessarily act in the world based on knowledge, true... but we certainly act in the world with expectations. With predetermined frames of engaging with the world. And it's a delicate claim to say that this isn't a type of knowledge of the future.

Similarly, the word teleology has a few connotations, but usually in these sorts of contexts, it basically means "intentional", or "purposeful". So while I think you're right to fight against a sense of predetermination in these regards (I've seen the definition that propoganda is just predetermined art...) that doesn't mean that it isn't intentional. I'm not sure you can have art that isn't guided by some sort of intention or aimed at some purpose. Even aleatoric music, which plays with randomness as a matter of form, still has a guided intention driving the work. The randomness itself is an intended part of the music.

Indeed, it seems that each movement in your scheme depends on intention. I'm not sure you can take on the burden of an artform unintentionally, or can take from it what is important for you as an artist without making a purposeful judgment about what is important for you, and to use those aspects for your own purposes as a child without having purposes.

Given some of the sticky connotations attached to teleology, I think you're right to try to stay away from the word, but I think perhaps what you want to eschew is actually predetermination, not teleological. If there is any aspect of the material world that can truly be said to be best described as teleological, it'd be human artistic endeavors.

I always think of it like musicians who produce this amazing album, truly mind blowing, and then a couple records later everyone is like....um, thanks but...yeah, then they try and go back to it, and it's never the same.

Usually, I think of artists like Ellington and Springsteen, who constantly push new territory. And when people ask why this album is different from their last, they say, "well, this is what I'm doing now," in a deal with it sort of way.

Oh, and congratulations on the MFA. I'm not enviously plotting your demise or anything...

EDIT: Actually, I take that bit back about 'teleology' only really meaning "intentional" or "purposeful". On further thought, it does often mean intention or purpose to an end, and sometimes a predetermined end. I still think that if anything truely is telelogical, it would be art, but it is one of those slippery words that changes meaning quite easily. I'll leave the rest of that passage simply as a stop-gap: yes, push back against predetermination, just be mindful not to catch up intention with it.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel March 8, 2016 - 6:52am

Haha, I made you say teleology. Drink!

It feels like your structure wants to put us in a position between the two...

No, I think there is a definite separation between authorial intent and what is inferred by the audience. Tchaikovsky may sincerely not have believed that the Nutcracker Suite was good. But just because he did not enjoy what he produced does not mean that the public has any obligation to concur. It is two separate arguments that are asking two very different things. Did Tchaikovsky produce what he intended? Does the public enjoy what Tch produced?

The stuff about Picasso....

Unless we have each and every piece that he worked on in practice and the completed piece, I don't think either one of us can say with any certainty that Picasso did not go through these movements, or whether he did. I only used it to illustrate that it is not a single long progression, but something that is constantly happening at various stages in our lives. Nietzsche was very influenced by Darwin's Natural Selection, and the eventual theory of evolution. It is just to show that there is a progression, and that the camel/lion/child is a good analogy to explain how it comes about.

Once again, I'm often way too loose with my wording. Forgive me, forgive me not.

Teleology stuff. (sorry, my work computer doesn't allow me to copy and paste quotations on this system).

Teleology brings up another huge ball of problems that I didn't want to get into, but since I opened the door...

In order to understand why teleology is not a good thing, we must bring in the Mind, Will, and Body. This will answer the question you have about intention, which I believe Nietzsche would call the Will. He believed that the Mind was really smart, but really prone to falling off cliffs. It would follow ideas to its own demise. It, if left to its own devices, leads to an ascetic ideal. One where a person would sacrifice everything to obtain more knowledge (in the case of the scientist/philosopher), to know the mind of god (for the religious), or to produce the greatest work of art (for the artist). The Will is the driving force behind everything. Actually, it is the Mind + the Will together that leads to the ascetic. In order to combat this self-destructive tendency, the Will must be attached to the Body.

The body recovers, it actively seeks to sustain its self. It will not allow you to die unless something overpowers it. To Nietzsche, we only have the one life, the one body, therefore we cannot sacrifice ourselves in the pursuit of what the Mind wants. So, to keep the Will in check, the Will and the Body must be tied together.

Note: The mind by itself leads to folly, it only seeks knowledge, the Will by itself becomes a tyrant, it only desires power, and the body by itself is nothing more than an animal, it only seeks to survive.

This all comes from the fact that teleology is an unknown. That we never know the ends. Can a person know the mind of god? Can an artist know what he will produce? For this one, he may have a plan, an idea, a path that he would like to follow, but it is no guarantee that what is sought after will be the intended result. And one cannot sacrifice their life to achieving this desire because there is no certainty that it will come to fruition. Over time our aim gets better, we get closer to the mark, but, just to open up another can of worms, we will never reach perfection for it does not exist. If what I produce is the only one, then it can neither be perfect nor flawed. The artist, like Tchaikovsky, must create, but then must abandon it and let the world decide. Whether he cares what the world thinks is another matter. Whether the world agrees with the artist, another still.

We have no guarantee, we can only create, destroy, or try and understand, but we have no guarantee. There are no ends. The ends, teleology, is a product of the Ancient Greek forms, stuff like Plato's Cave. It is purely a perfect thing that all others must be compared to to determine if something was a success or not. But it was just an idea that stuck. It has no basis in reality.

Was Tchaikovsky's work brilliant or a failure? Yes and no. It is based on your perspective, and we can see it from different people's perspectives. Also known an empathy or sympathy or compassion or understanding. Not to say we are that person or that perspective, but we can come to understand it. Are all Picasso paintings perfect? Did he produce exactly what he wanted? Did Tchaikovsky? Do I? Do you? If the artist creating the work is the only measure, then why display the work to the world? If it is only for the audience, then is the artist merely pandering?

Must the writer love words, or is there more going on that we often never get to? And thank you XyZy, for being willing to follow the rabbit hole. This argument is like the art we are talking about, something that is taking on the burden of understanding in the hopes of taking what we think are good for us, so that we can create better stuff tomorrow. But, will we ever come to a definitive end. Will we come to an ultimate conclusion? Maybe? I cannot know?

 

And thanks for congratulating me. I expect a great story on how you killed me to get my spot.

 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 18, 2016 - 8:24am

Did Tchaikovsky produce what he intended?

Wait I know this one! The answer is sort of. No one ever writes anything that is exactly what they wanted or totally not what they wanted.

 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal March 17, 2016 - 8:12am

Here's one:

When writing from one character's POV, it can help to at least plot out what the other character(s) in the scene are doing and thinking so their actions make sense. How things unfold should make sense from every POV.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal July 22, 2016 - 10:22am

Here's something I'm trying:

Different plot threads show progress at different times. So, say you have a mystery going along with your relationship thread and your mentor-trainee thread and your... Keeping track of it all so that it makes sense, and ensuring that the timing is good, can be difficult. Epecially when you the author have re-re-re-re-rewritten it so many times.

So I'm going through the whole thing, taking out all the relevant parts for a certain plot thread, and putting them one after the other in a separate doc to see the progress play out in order. 

...hope it works.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal August 9, 2016 - 12:31pm

I just heard a really good idea somewhere on youtube...

 

Have someone else read your dialogue outloud. Do they sound like what you want the characters to? Emphasizing certain words, etc.? Do they get tripped up, and if so, is it because the dialogue doesn't sound/feel right or make sense?  Does it even make sense to you hearing it out loud? And so on.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel August 9, 2016 - 1:29pm

^ That requires knowing people willing to do things for you. waa-waaa

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal August 24, 2016 - 12:59pm

Ooo, this one is Orson Scott Card by way of Brandon Mull, and I really like it.

You can describe the junky cab, but what matters is how your character reacts to the junky cab.

 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal August 31, 2016 - 10:55am

Discovery writers: loosely outline what comes next or what you've written if you're stuck.

Outliners: leave a little room for discovery and suprise if things feel wooden.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 31, 2016 - 5:52pm

@Jose - Bribes man. Bribes.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal February 23, 2017 - 11:14am

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please."

-Mark Twain

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 24, 2017 - 7:23am

"The man who refuses to read has no advantage over the man who can't read."

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal February 24, 2017 - 10:50am

EDIT

never mind

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal May 28, 2017 - 10:31am

Every time I try to figure out my plot by writing it out, and it becomes a few thick paragraphs of "blah blah is going on" like some kind of boring-ass synopsis, I scrap it. But I don't delete it. I just write something else, where the character is doing something, and drop all that info as it becomes relevant during the action.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal June 26, 2017 - 9:39am

I think at least half of the wooden dialogue I've come across has been bad for this reason: the author has an objective for the dialogue above all else. It has to advance a romance, explain something, world-build, whatever.

when that objective is first in the author's mind, it ignores the more important aspects. Like, is it realistic that a character would actually say this? Or actually have this reaction? Or actually be talking about it right now? If you ignore any of that character stuff just because "this scene has to do x or y" for the sake of the plot, the dialogue comes off as fake.