Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » What Is the It of It?

   
Author Topic: What Is the It of It?
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's a Muddle

Why I stew here,
Brokenhearted,
Harshly started,
I dip in
Once and once again,
Study, wonder, ponder,
What I'll give ---
All but my Soul ---
Maybe --- No ---
What it takes,
What It is
Matters a Sawbuck
Or an Eighth Bit
To fit in
Over Yonder.


(Ars poetica, doggerel)

I studied deep and hard, light and soft, adrift or certain, abandoned or dedicated, still study, what the motherloving perdition they desperately want: screeners, editors, publishers, Readers, to read.

Craft, voice, and to a certain degree of competency, some semblance of accessible and smooth mechanical style; language, art, persons, settings, ideas, structure, events, timeliness, and credible, logical, emotional appeals.

Craft structure and aesthetics: a plot that follows a cultural coding convention expectation: a beginning, middle, and ending; a dramatic five act structure -- exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement; causation, tension, antagonism; and other curiosity and empathy invoking suspense, and a satisfyingly emotional journey with a satisfying payoff finale.

Voice, an attitude toward a topic, emotionally stimulating, fresh, accessible, lively, sharp, bright or brittle, both at once, a shared journey of personal discovery.

Surprise, too. Pleasant surprise.

Subtext, too. In the short and long, accessible depths, situational and extended.

Originality, too. A fresh voice, fresh ideas, fresh personas, fresh perspectives, visionary, mystical, stimulating, novelty.

And an opening sentence that promises I know what I'm saying herein.

[ November 23, 2011, 09:24 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 3533 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I feel more and more as time goes on that the quest to figure out what editors, or whoever else, want is largely pointless. We're still going to engage in it to some extent, myself included, but its very much like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

The reason for that being, people are different. People want different things, like differently things, are interested in, drawn in by, emotionally invested by a wide range of different things.

So basically unless you know a given editor/slush reader/regular reader or whatever personally and have intimate familiarity with their specific tastes, it is in the end largely a shot in the dark. And even if you do know a person that well, there will still be things they like you'd never think they would and things they dislike that you'd assume they love.


The one thing you do know is what you love, what is important to you, what interests you, what excites you, entertains you, holds your attention and all the rest. So that is why, for the most part, I simply tell my stories, in my way and with my voice. Stories that I myself would enjoy reading, whose style and subject matter are pleasing to me. I thrown in things or modify things slightly here and there, in some cases, based on generalities of what many people tend to be drawn to or expect or to make concession to current trends. Sometimes I even attempt to write for a specific market I'm very familiar with, as much as an exercise as anything else.

But for the most part, I feel the obsession with figuring out what editors, or whoever, want, what the standard of quality is, for the magic bullet, is largely a bane to creativity and in some cases to our sanity. Just as in life nearly the only thing we have any measure of true control over is ourselves, the only mind we can really know and the only person we can consistently knowingly set out to please is ourselves.

Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philocinemas
Member
Member # 8108

 - posted      Profile for philocinemas   Email philocinemas         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am beginning to think that deciding what you like to write and finding the market that best complements you is the best way to go.

I find it interesting that when I compete in Hatrack challenges, and write what I think the people here would like, I do fairly well. If I write in a style I feel is more representative of pro markets, then I don't do well. Now, my perception of pro markets could be off, but either way, my perception of Hatrackers is usually right on.

I often wonder if delving more deeply into a specific publication would bring me success. I suppose that is what many of us are trying to do with WOTF. However, at the same time, is it wise to put all of one's eggs into the same basket? Either way, I should write and submit more, but I do not, partially out of insufficient time, or use thereof, and partially out of feelings of inconsequentiality.

Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
About delving into a specific publication...I've done a bit of that also, mostly with Beneath Ceaseless Skies. A goodly percentage of my writing is secondary-world fantasy, so I've been submitting to them since their inception. They always send personalized rejections, usually with quite clear indications of what they did and didn't like about a piece, so I've taken that information and two or three times written pieces specifically "for" them, and kept them in mind with almost every genre-appropriate piece I've written...and so far, I've had no success.

The story I'm writing right now...again, I'm keeping them in mind but...I feel more and more that if none of my specific efforts have worked, it may well be a waste of my effort to worry about it too much.

But from what I've seen, I believe that most famous authors did not try to "write to market" or anything of the kind. They wrote their stories...the ones in them that they wanted to write...and eventually, they found the right outlet and with it came success. It's a frustrating thing to come to terms with but I believe a great deal of it comes down to what I will call for lack of a better term "luck."
Edit to add: philo, I also feel it very important to say this: it is my strongly held belief that no act of creativity is ever "inconsequential." I believe creativity is a large part of why we are here, or at least why many of us are here, and if that is true of you, if you have that drive to create, following it will always have, in the end, positive consequences.

Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Of the several rhetorical appeal principles is audience. "All rhetorically oriented discourse is composed in light of those who will hear or read that discourse. Or, in other words, rhetorical analysis always takes into account how an audience shapes the composition of a text or responds to it" (Burton).

Writing what one wants to write that appeals to an audience is complex. Even a carefully defined audience of one. Yet that's what publication is. Plus decorum and kairos, which are nonetheless audience-related rhetorical principles.

Burton, Gideon O. "Audience," Silva Rhetoricae. Rhetoric.byu.edu. Online.

Posts: 3533 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The second factor is that one knows that onself isn't going to be the only person who will enjoy ones work.

When I speak of writing for yourself, of course I realize that if you have any intention of sharing your work with others, as I think all of us do, then the audience becomes a factor. However, it's largely an X factor, because you don't know anything about most or sometimes all of your audience...except what you know by virtue of us all being people and by virtue of the knowledge that while everyone is themselves and unique to an extent, I know that chances are if I enjoy something, at least some other people are going to as well.

But, no matter what you do, there are always going to be some who don't like it. There is no universal formula that works for everyone. What I'm talking about is acceptance of that fact. It seems like a lot of folks get caught up in the quest for a "magic bullet" of audience appeal, some way to make every story appeal to and engage every audience all the time.

It doesn't exist, in my opinion.

So I feel if one takes what one knows of life, the world and people and uses that knowledge when giving your stories shape, then it will find an audience. But nothing is ever loved by everyone.

Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have no delusions that everyone will like any given narrative. I'm a toxic personality to begin with. I know not being liked. Too well to my undying misery. C'est la vie. I used to blame others for my social isolation.

Lately, I realized a signficant measure of the responsibilty is mine to own. So I do, and use that knowledge and ownership for my writing, where my sole ambition is to find whatever small measure I can of belonging and being owned in the sense a welcoming audience owns its artists.

To that end, I now study audience as well as the plethora of other essential features that literature's opus and culture influence and reflect. And expect. And respect. And crave.

Wanna figure out what they want? Work on it. It will pay off.

Posts: 3533 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
But the question is, which audience to study? And how much time and energy to spend on doing so, which might be spent in actually telling your stories?

Each of us has their own methods, and I'm not trying to put yours down. Indeed my initial comments especially were more general...I see in many of the writers I know, especially in this community, a strong desire to find that "magic bullet" and a lot of frustration stemming from its unattainability. I see people giving up, or assuming it must be that their work isn't "good enough" when that really has little to do with it.

I guess for me, personally, "studying audience" is just a natural outgrowth of...being in the world. I always love to learn about people, and to me its all part of the same thing. I'm not one with a lot of trust in demographic studies and such...usually, in my experience, attempts to purposely gauge the "will of the people" shall we say seem often to not work out that effectively.

Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
For me, figuring out my audience niche and its attendant appeals and desires was problematic. I like to read about most anything because my passions and interests are broad and deep. My writing reflects that eclectic variety.

So I spent a great deal of time figuring out what a particular market's publications have in common. I forensically dissected dozens of their short narratives. The first one, most recent at the time, was exhaustive. I marked down the structure, voice, motif, setting, character, theme idea, and event features that stood out. The next one was easier. If I didn't locate something that was in the first one, I scratched that item out. And so on. I had a theory within a handful of narratives, though kept going until I was left with a few basic principles.

In the end those few principles told me what the digest's creative and intellectual slant was. Its audience appeal. They're pretty basic, as first principles are wont to be. One, they want narratives that appeal to readers who dwell in, or want to, large metropolises. Two, they want intellectually stimulating content, but not so challenging it makes readers feel dumb. Three, they want humor, misery, sympathy and/or empathy, accomplishment, problem-solving, inspiration, and revelation. Beyond well-crafted narratives, that's about all they have in common. The first one, though, about living in a metropolis, that's what makes that digest unique and appealing to its audience.

And frocking darned hard for me to access because I'm a ruralarian by sensibility and averse to mass crowds. However, I think I can reach that audience now I know it.

Now I don't have to go to those lengths with any given digest or audience. Once and done. Read a digest. Barb's your aunt. I get it. But writing to that audience niche still means I have to narrow my writing focus further. To a carefully defined audience of one.

Posts: 3533 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
History
Member
Member # 9213

 - posted      Profile for History   Email History         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've been chastised for it, but I write what I like.

And I write whatever length the story I find requires (often too long for nearly all markets).

Therefore, at least when it comes to my writing, I'm completely undisciplined and unprofessional. [Smile]

I do follow guidelines for contests, anthologies, and challenges (here at Hatrack and elsewhere), but I too often find these stories are less likely to work.

This in part may explain my 1% by word count publication success to date (though 22% success by story--seeing the glass half full [Smile] ). Though this is also in part explained by my not being persistent in submitting stories.

I've decided I would like to have more of my work published, but I don't have much angst about it. I enjoy trying to write something worthy of being publsihed far more than the drudgery of the business of getting published. I do need to get more motivated in this.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Posts: 1419 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tiergan
Member
Member # 7852

 - posted      Profile for Tiergan   Email Tiergan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have given up writing for editors. The main reason is everytime I try, I never finish, and what I do I dislike. I have come to the conclusion that I really just need to for the present just write what I feel, when my emotions take control, those are always my best stories.
Posts: 1130 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Reziac
Member
Member # 9345

 - posted      Profile for Reziac   Email Reziac         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by History:
I've been chastised for it, but I write what I like.

And I write whatever length the story I find requires (often too long for nearly all markets).

Therefore, at least when it comes to my writing, I'm completely undisciplined and unprofessional. [Smile]

"No one else was writing what I wanted to read, so I had to write it myself." -- Samuel R. Delany
Posts: 665 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Long ago, I tried to match what I wrote with what an editor wanted. I don't think I was ever savvy enough to tailor something to a specific market, though.

Gave it up, though...I don't want to go on another long and lengthy rant about editors not buying my stuff and why...but in the end, I went with what satisfied me as a writer and (to an extent) as a reader---then sent it on to them on the basis that a lot of 'em said "Don't judge what I will and won't buy."

Posts: 8275 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm learning interesting things from this discussion. The direction went differently than I thought it would go. That's what's making it interesting. How the Hatrack writing community considers audience's influence on each's writing. More data points, please. Thank you for participating.

I won't be diligent about participating the next couple days though. I'm traveling for the occasion, technology in hand so I can check in once in awhile.

Best holiday wishes to you-all and yours.

Posts: 3533 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Uley Bone
Member
Member # 9696

 - posted      Profile for Uley Bone   Email Uley Bone         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Heh-he, okay, I give. Who's "they"?

Uley

Posts: 21 | Registered: Nov 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philocinemas
Member
Member # 8108

 - posted      Profile for philocinemas   Email philocinemas         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Uley Bone:
Heh-he, okay, I give. Who's "they"?

Uley

"I studied deep and hard, light and soft, adrift or certain, abandoned or dedicated, still study, what the motherloving perdition they desperately want: screeners, editors, publishers, Readers, to read."

Are you referring to this statement? If this is so, your answer is in the last six words.

Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
History
Member
Member # 9213

 - posted      Profile for History   Email History         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
" How the Hatrack writing community considers audience's influence on each's writing. More data points, please. Thank you for participating."

Hmmm.
(1) Age--I have edited swear words and excluded stories with more adult scenes/themes from WOTF consideration; thus I do consider the age of the audience.
(2) Knowledge--or lack thereof. Most of my stories require research for historical, geographical, and cultural accuracy. Everything from medieval eastern Turkey (my current story) to present day Boston and ancient obscure Jewish mystical texts (in my KABBALIST tales). I consider how to include these "naturally"--i.e. so they don't interrupt story flow yet add depth to the tale (as well as education). I love learning new things, so I am inclined to believe everyone does. The trick is to entertain without being pedantic.
(3)Religious/Ethnic--I find I write about Jewish themes even when I am not specifically including Jewish beliefs, folklore, teachings, language, and culture--and I assume much of this is unknown to the majority of my audience. Again, I attempt to include the audience, making what is unfamiliar seem familiar, naturally. Or including brief translations [of Hebrew and Yiddish] in the story in a manner that does not detract from the story flow.

I guess this is the bottom line: Writing what I like while considering (and being considerate) of others.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Posts: 1419 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Owasm
Member
Member # 8501

 - posted      Profile for Owasm   Email Owasm         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I echo Extrinsic's Thanksgiving wish.

As far as writing for a market, that's why I've turned to self-publishing. I'm more of a novel guy, but I've written my share of short stories and will publish my own anthologies. If they sell, swell. If they don't, then at least I gave the teeming millions with e-readers a chance to look at my work. Better that than staring at an ever-growing pile of rejection letters and emails.

As it turns out, I don't read short stories anyway.

I have uncoupled my "It" from pleasing editors to pleasing myself. You can't develop a fan base from a book of rejections, only from something that you've written and have foisted upon the public at large.

In my opinion, self-publishing represents freedom from the oppression of the 'man' or, if you will, 'woman'. Just remember to get all of the spelling, grammar and clunkiness out of your writing! Not having an editor go over your work is a bit like base jumping. The risk goes up.

Posts: 1595 | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philocinemas
Member
Member # 8108

 - posted      Profile for philocinemas   Email philocinemas         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In all honesty, my writing is constantly being changed by my audience.

Let me give a related example as to why I say this. I grew up in Virginia, and my family is southern. However, I have a very midwestern (almost Canadian) accent - I blame this on Sesame Street. Now, my accent does drift south or north depending on friends and associates, and I do this consciously at times, as well as unconsciously. People tend to be more accepting of those that sound like them.

I have recently tried to do this more in my writing as well. I believe it is an aspect of "voice". My first inclination is to overwrite with flowery words when narrating, but this is a mistake. Now I try to consciously envision who my audience is and conform my narrator to my audience's expectations. This might be a dialect, but more likely, it is a matter of vocabulary, tone, and sentence structure. These can be used to create a personality. Winning entries in Hatrack's first 13 challenges have distinct characterization and voice (personality).

This is not always (possibly not even often) the case in first 13's of professional publications. Some of these are more focused on technical jargon, some more on finite details (uber-reality), and some more on societal implications. Whatever their slant is, beyond the first 13, they all still want a distinct voice/personality.

The greatest problem with this is that we are on an uneven playing field. Name recognition is still the greatest seller. If something Asimov wrote at 15 was found by an editor, no matter how bad it was (prior to editing), it would get preference over anything any of us sent in this month. I know that is an extreme example, but it rings true all the way down to the person who won WOTF ten years ago. There are other writers more well known than him/her, and they probably would have precedence, but that WOTF winner would still trump you in an even contest.

The way I see it, there are only two ways to break into the pros. First, you can write something that greatly surpasses everything received by a publication that month. Voila, now you have name recognition in that publication, and it will be easier for you to get more things published in the future. The second way is to compete on an even playing field, like WOTF. However, either way, what you write needs to be great.

Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
When you-all do consider audience, when do you consider the readership? And what readership niche do you target?

When: Prewriting? Planning? Drafting? Rewriting? Revising? Finalizing?

Genre and marketplace readership target: Age? Gender? Lifestyle? Socioeconomic status? Identity? Personality? Premise? Subject? Topic? Motif? Trope? Theme?

[ November 25, 2011, 06:58 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 3533 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am the audience. And I don't just mean, "I write for myself." I've read and loved fantasy, science fiction and horror literature all my life. Therefore, I am the audience. By writing what I like, as someone who loves those genres, I know or at least feel that other people who like those genres, those kinds of stories, will enjoy them as well.

As I've said, I'm not a fan of demographics, or of labels, niches or anything of that sort. People of all ages, genders, lifestyles, socioeconomic statuses, "races", religions, nationalities and everything elses all like a wide range of types of stories.

I suppose the closest I come to any of what I guess your talking about (since I'm not really sure I understand a lot of what you're saying) is in realizing that I, as a reader, am rarely if every negatively affected by what I consider stylistic stuff like tense, person and that whole concept of "experiencing" the story rather than "being told" the story...as a reader my near-sole interest is in the story, what its about, the content and subject matter. However I realize that right now a lot of people (especially in the writing community, which includes editors, who are basically the only audience that actually has any effect on selling your material) are quite hung up on these stylistic things, so I do try to take that into account as I write, since those things aren't really a big deal to me one way or the other.

Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Then your audience, reading and writing, might be the self category of idealized or imagined audience.

"Self as audience (self-deliberation) When a rhetor [writer] deeply considers, questions, and deliberates over the content of the ideas they are conveying, it can be said that these individuals are addressing the audience of self, or self-deliberating. Scholars Chaim Perelman and L. Olbrechts-Tyteca, in their book The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation, argue that the rhetor “is in a better position than anyone else to test the value of his own arguments." The audience of self, while not serving as the ends to all rhetorical purpose or circumstance, nevertheless acts as a type of audience that not only operates as a function of self-help, but as instrument used to discover the available means of persuasion" (Wikipedia: "Audience").

Posts: 3533 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Um. Ok. If you say so. That (from what I can tell) isn't really what I meant. And I still don't understand what rhetoric has to do with anything. I'm not talking about arguments or debate, I'm talking about stories. There can be similarities, but they aren't interchangeable.

I also don't understand the need to apply technical terms to everything.

All I mean is, if I like a story, then there's a good chance that other people with similar tastes will like it as well. As I'm a fantasy fan, if I write fantasy stories I like, other fantasy fans are likely to enjoy it also.

I think you make things a good deal more complicated than they need to be.

Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rhetoric pure and simple is the art of persuasion. For creative writing, the least of which persuasion is stimulating readers' emotions. Ahh. Stimulation.

I use as precise a terminology as possible because written words are all we have in an online writing venue to express ourselves: no verbal intonation, no nonverbal expression, no in-person personal interaction, all of which speak volumes but are unavailable to writers, though paramount for oral traditions, yet an artful writer manages to show them anyway.

I am complicated. This is me: I am an editor by education, training, and profession. Proofreader, copyeditor, developmental editor, published editor. All I have for doing my work is thoughts and words that can be communicated in writing to express oftentimes complex rhetorical writing principles.

Posts: 3533 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Using precise terminology isn't very helpful if no one else understands it or how it applies to the subject. I still don't get what rhetoric has to do with storytelling...or what persuasion has to do with stimulating emotions, for example.

You cite a passage about rhetoric and arguments, but a story isn't an argument, it's a narrative.

And the weird thing is despite all the complicated and often seemingly unrelated language and terminology the simple stuff...like the fact that most of that doesn't end up applying to why people like what they like, doesn't seem to stick.

I just think you...like a large portion of the folks here...worry way too much about all this stuff, especially the "audience" thing. I just don't personally get it. Write your stories. Submit them everywhere you can. And if they are going to stick, they will...and if their not, they won't. Instead of trying to figure out who your audience is...just let the audience decide whether they're yours or not. Very simple.


quote:
Craft structure and aesthetics: a plot that follows a cultural coding convention expectation: a beginning, middle, and ending; a dramatic five act structure -- exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement; causation, tension, antagonism; and other curiosity and empathy invoking suspense, and a satisfyingly emotional journey with a satisfying payoff finale.
None of these are universal principles...lots of published stuff ignores any number of these. Not every story...especially in short fiction...has a five act structure...in fact a lot of stuff I've read recently appears to have no structure at all. And, they are all subjective. What invokes empathy for one person will repulse another. And I just don't buy the idea that you can get around that by targeting some specific "audience" or demographic because I don't believe, in the end, that people are shaped primarily by things that can be observed like age or gender.

It's just a little frustrating for me cause I'd like to be more helpful...and could probably be more helped by you...but I'm an intuitive. I deal and communicate best with thoughts and feelings...but you never just say what you think or feel, so I don't really know what the question is and can't really help come up with an answer or advice, other than just quit worrying and tell your stories.

Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Let me see if I've got this right: What I have to share isn't always meaningful for you. Does that mean you're not my audience?

We are cut from different cloths. I'm not seeking help with my writing. It's clicking anyway because of my studies of rhetoric, linguistics, semiotics, and narratology, among others. What I wanted from posting this topic is a sense of whether audience considerations are part of the writers' processes here.

I recently read for evaluation purposes a short story collection by a writing mentor of mine. The first read was okay. But upon reflection, I've determined what to say to the writer, who expressly requested my opinion. It's largely a collection of setting and character sketches, anecdotes, and vignettes. Nothing shortcoming-wise, per se, in any of those forms.

The author wants to know what I think about why the collection's sales perfomance didn't meet anticipations. My answer is pretty succinct. Artful writing; however, the structures and payoffs leave me emotionally unsatisfied. There's little to no change in them.

They are snapshots of periods of time for persons in insuperable circumstances that resolve themselves without any personal growth or decline or situational change or transformation of setting, theme, character, or event. In short, their plots are incomplete.

Artful, yes. Stimulating, yes. Thought provoking, yes. Satisfying, no. They don't leave me wanting more. They leave me wanting answers that aren't provided or accessible, and unsettled and adrift and wanting to forget. "Oh?" the writer said, "I guess that's what I was going for." "Artful," I said.

Posts: 3533 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
What I have to share isn't always meaningful for you.
I don't know, because I only understand about half of it. I'm no slouch in the vocabulary department, but it isn't always just an issue of not knowing the meanings of the words, it's the knowing of the purposes or thoughts behind them, and also the usage. I know what "rhetoric" means I just don't understand it's bearing on storytelling.


quote:
We are cut from different cloths. I'm not seeking help with my writing. It's clicking anyway because of my studies of rhetoric, linguistics, semiotics, and narratology, among others. What I wanted from posting this topic is a sense of whether audience considerations are part of the writers' here processes.
Trouble is, I don't know what that means, or what you mean by that.


quote:
What I wanted from posting this topic is a sense of whether audience considerations are part of the writers' processes here.
For what purpose then?


quote:
I recently read for evaluation purposes a short story collection by a writing mentor of mine. The first read was okay. But upon reflection, I've determined what to say to the writer, who expressly requested my opinion. It's largely a collection of setting and character sketches, anecdotes, and vignettes. Nothing shortcoming-wise, per se, in any of those forms.

The author wants to know what I think about why the collection's sales perfomance didn't meet anticipations. My answer is pretty succinct. Artful writing; however, the structures and payoffs leave me emotionally unsatisfied. There's little to no change in them.

They are snapshots of periods of time for persons in insuperable circumstances that resolve themselves without any personal growth or decline or situational change or transformation of setting, theme, character, or event. In short, their plots are incomplete.

Artful, yes. Stimulating, yes. Thought provoking, yes. Satisfying, no. They don't leave me wanting more. They leave me wanting answers that aren't provided or accessible, and unsettled and adrift and wanting to forget. "Oh?" the writer said, "I guess that's what I was going for." "Artful," I said.

This is kind of what I mean...I have only a small idea of what your talking about, and not a clue what it has to do with the current discussion. You give examples where explanation is needed and streams of jargon where examples would be helpful.

But this is probably quite pointless. I can't really say any of what I mean without it just being interpreted as an attack on how you communicate so I guess I'll try and save it for those times when I'm reasonably sure I understand what you're getting at...

Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sounds like a good idea to me, Merlion-Emrys.
Posts: 8029 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2