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Member # 9148

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Here is a link to a new Daily Kick In The Pants by David Farland.

Title is "Taking It Up A Notch "

He has four points dealing with "Treatment", "settings", "Characterization" and "Plot". It is all easy to understand and is short enough to not take long or be boring.
I have seen some of that advice before and not just from him. I think it sounds good, so I thought I would share it.

I believe it will help most writers who read it. I have tried to follow it--as I said I have read it before--even though I seem to have problems doing so. Then again I have had problems following the advice of fellow hatrackers who were kind enough to crit a WotF failure so I'm not a good example, but as I said most writers will get what he is saying.

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Member # 9345

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His items #1 and #2 don't really ...say... anything (tho I think he's trying to say: don't write in a flat reporter voice and expect people to stay interested), but #3 and #4, yeah, I've seen too much of that.
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Treatment: as Farland intends to mean is voice, discourse generally, not style, which is grammar and rhetoric. Farland struggles to clearly express and distinguish those principles. Not diction and syntax, but all the principles of narrative point of view and discourse generally. Those style topics for studying, too, are available: a comprehensive dictionary, dictionary of English usage, grammar handbook, a style manual likewise comprehensive, and a comprehensive rhetoric resource fulfill the style aspect.

For discourse, narrative point of view specifically, Percy Lubbock's The Art of FIction, For discourse generally, Seymour Chatman's Story and Discourse and Wayne Booth's The Rhetoric of Fiction.

Setting: what Farland struggles to explain there is reality imitation. Developing the illusiuon of reality spell through written-word imitation--Chatman and Booth delve deeply into reality imitation from sundry methods.

Characterization: Also related to reality imitation but more importantly tension, the one of three narrative axes that's about readers' emotional responses to a narrative: believeability, empathy or sympathy and curiosity arousal; readers suspensefully caring and curious about what will happen to a likeable and trustable cast of agonists. This is simply a matter of developing natural characters naturally reponding to antagonizing circumstances, counterposing noble and ignoble moral value clashes, and when and what readers know about an unfolding drama. The Poetics of Aristotle and Gustav Freytag's Techniques of the Drama, more directly the latter, cover tension's principles. Actually, the central thesis of Freytag is tension's principles, conventions, and influences. Also, dramatic irony is a point of access for developing when and what readers know.

Plot: Antagonism, causation, and tension. Antagonizing events arise in antagonizing settings for antagonized and antagonizing agonist characters. Also Aristotle for causation and tension. Freytag for causation and tension as well. Both hint at antagonism, but scrape at the edges of the idea. Antagonism is plain and simple antgonizing events that cause empathy-worthy and curiosity-arousing wants and problems wanting satisfaction.

I sample Farland's Kick in the Pants episodically. I find his argumentation and content and organization and points to be underdeveloped and off target, missing points, confused, and often "begging the question."

For example, the "Taking It Up a Notch" essay misses the single most important and often underdeveloped dramatic effect most needing a kick it up a notch: event, which is antagonizal, causal, and tensional, and should be included in the essay. Event is altogether missing.

I often suspect writers writing about writing hold back their "secrets", and send ambitious writers down wild goose chase paths, so they can protect their marketplace standing by detouring the pendent competition. Artistic and professional jealousy reversed. I cannot know what is in Farland's head in those regards, nor any writer's. I do find a few who are more obviously holding back or detouring ambitious writers than others. That suspicion will never go away.

[ April 19, 2014, 03:25 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Member # 9148

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My viewpoint of this is that he has seen various problems with the stories sent to WotF and as he has done before, he gave some advice on fixing those problems. He has given writing advice in general this it is specific to the WotF contest even though it is also for general writing.

I have seen other writers mention some of these before as being important. Setting is one of those. Treatment, however, is a new term for me in writing, but I think I understood it from what he said.

Dave offers online classes and even though I forget for sure possibly a couple in person workshops.

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