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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » A War of Tea and Flowers (SF/Adventure) (Page 3)

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Author Topic: A War of Tea and Flowers (SF/Adventure)
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by Will Blathe:
Kathleen, you're way too sensible.

Part of my job. [Smile]
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Jay Greenstein
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Will, 99% of hopeful writers would have taken what you were given at the start of this thread, made small changes, and let it go at that, only to drift back into existing habits within the week.

I've been playing on various writing sites since AOL was all text, and that's been pretty much the rule. But by going from your initial posting to what you last presented in so short a time shows both a dedication, and a willingness to learn that's highly unusual.

In these days, when anyone who has a keyboard is a "writer," finding someone who is willing to "become." is refreshing.

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Will Blathe
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H Reinhold: Thanks for saying my perseverance is inspiring, but I wonder if you should substitute stubbornness for perseverance!

I'm going to try Scene/Sequels & MRUs for various points in the story to see how it feels. It's a way of writing that is still not very intuitive for me.

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Will Blathe
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Jay Greenstein: I appreciate your words. They are a real boost to my confidence.

The criticisms leveled at my writing take a little getting used to, but once I did, I got so much out of them.

I'm still going through the thread to pick out more ideas.

I think extrinsic's posts are going to take the longest to work through, partly because they are so thorough, but also because the concepts are more difficult for me to grasp.

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H Reinhold
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Another hint, Will: sometimes at this stage it can help to look through feedback on other people's openings. Try browsing through some of the older threads here on Hatrack's Fragments and Feedback sections. I've often found that it's easier to figure out what people mean in critiques by looking at someone else's work than by looking at my own, simply because there's some more emotional distance. And while different people (of course) make different mistakes, there's often quite a bit of overlap.
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Will Blathe
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H Reinhold: I'm going to do that. It sounds like a really good idea.

I have to be careful not to procrastinate too long by reading all those old threads

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H Reinhold
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quote:
Originally posted by Will Blathe:
I have to be careful not to procrastinate too long by reading all those old threads

Yeah, that's the danger...
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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One thing that might help is just looking for topics in the Fragments and Feedback areas for work done by people you recognize.

You might even want to add your own feedback.

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Disgruntled Peony
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quote:
Originally posted by Will Blathe:
I have to be careful not to procrastinate too long by reading all those old threads

I think I looked through about five or six when I first joined and then started leaving comments on newer threads. There's a couple of newer/currently active threads in the short story section you could leave feedback on, if you are so inclined.
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Will Blathe
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I've started leaving a little feedback here and there, mostly about my reaction to text rather than how to improve one's writing.

I'm still not comfortable moving to far beyond that.

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extrinsic
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Responses to fragments at Hatrack are not subject to critique. That's the law. That, too, allows latitude for free reins, within respectful reason, of constructive criticism. Ergo, regardless of merit or not, validity or not, "truth" or not, responses are subjective -- of a personal sentiment -- and subject to trial and error. Nothing teaches serviceable language skills and second-nature acclimation of skills more than heuristics: a skill and knowledge development aid of experimentation, discovery, learning, problem-solving, etc., especially through trial and error.

Workshop critique is unique among the human conditions in two regards, that it benefits from a human frailty; that is, we observe the expression faults of others more easily than of ourselves; and that language arts and skills benefits accrue as much if not more to a critiquer's works than to a writer's work critiqued -- often more for critiquer. Plus, that reducing thoughts, feelings, and reactions to other's writing into words advances grasp of language topics the mind can only hold in vague and jumbled content and organization.

Workshop affords ample, safe opportunity to try the concepts learned from study and experimentation, say, from Dwight Swain's motivation/reaction units and Jack Bickham's scene and sequel. And therefrom, add to understanding, add even to their modest efforts.

No matter how comprehensive an expression topic's writing is, book length discussions of causality therein, the explication can only be a summary explanation of a rather complex topic that is only scratched at the edges of. Causality is such a topic. Both those writers barely touch the surface of it. Their take approaches the topic from an oscillatory duality, an either-or, where, otherwise, causality comes in a number of axes for prose. Simultaneous, contemporaneous, sequential; single-point perspective, one-point perspective, and multi-orthogonal perspectives.

Plus, causality by itself is a vacuum without likewise antagonism and tension axes. Bickham and Swain's causality approach is a single-point sequential perspective. Though they scratch at the edges of multiple perspectives and additional contributory forces of antagonism and tension. So do Aristotle and Freytag in their signal dramatic theory treatises: Aristotle's on causality and Freytag on tension's emotional force. No one yet has done much with antagonism, though, again, scratches in the wilderness at the edges of the idea. The sole antagonism concept on the horizon is give a viewpoint persona a want and make it a problem to resolve.

Antagonism is a crux of effective drama. It is complication; it is want-problem disruption that wants satisfaction -- not per se resolution; it is motivation, the forces that compel proactive action. Give a viewpoint person reason to want, this is the start of an action. Make the want problematic to satisfy. Or, alternatively, give a viewpoint persona a problem of victimization. The persona then wants to satisfy the problem. Not solve or resolve, per se -- satisfy.

With antagonism's want-problem and causation's cause-effect in dramatic multi-oscillatory movement, tension more or less falls into place. Tension, in literary terms, is the emotional texture of antagonal causality, reader empathy or sympathy with a persona's unmerited misfortunes due to a self-error plight, and suspense's curiosity of what will happen. And one or more persona and the self in antagonal-causal-tensional contest with the viewpoint persona.

Thus, want is foremost for motivation, motivation itself the foremost dramatic feature, stakes' conflict risks' attendant attachment, and together form a synergy of emotional tension. Antagonism, Causality, and Tension, or ACT. Act out, up, on, and through the sacred page. Rather than bombard city hall with opinion editorials and letters to the editor, complaints, yada, or lead and heavy metal, or anywhere else public or private, put it onto the page.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

[ June 08, 2017, 10:10 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Will Blathe
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extrinsic: the workshop critique has been intense for me over the --holy mackerel, a few days short of a month! It's been a phenomenal help that I'd have a difficult time finding elsewhere.


Scene/Sequel & MRU; now Antagonism, Causality, and Tension. . .

Tools for my own utility belt.

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extrinsic
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This thread's one month span compares to one month of an undergraduate creative writing concentration program's curriculum, sans weekly prose reading and response assignments, sans monthly form and method research and response assignments, sans daily quizzes. The referrals to narrative theory texts in the thread, though, are for more focal and intensive content than the more survey-like method reading assignments of typical studio workshop courses.

Some graduate programs delve into narrative theory treatises more intensely than this. From the MFA at UNCW, fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry MFA Reading List (PDF). John Gardner's The Art of Fiction, on the list, is standard across much of the U.S. for high school, BFA, and MFA writing programs, especially the Northeast. A more comprehensive reading list is the bibliography of Wayne Booth's The Rhetoric of Fiction, also on the UNCW reading list. Damon Knight's Creating Short Fiction, not on the list, is more standard across Western MFA reading lists.

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Will Blathe
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extrinsic: I have The Art of Fiction from a course I took just after the third mass extinction. I should hunt it down. That class didn't do me much good that I remember. I suspect it was my own immaturity at fault.

I'm going to delve into the pdf link you posted.

[ June 15, 2017, 02:55 PM: Message edited by: Will Blathe ]

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extrinsic
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My first two reads of The Art of Fiction were unproductive. After reading a gamut of theory texts and testing test bench narratives from that informed perspective, Gardner's theories opened up. And each opened up the others.
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Will Blathe
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extrinsic: time for me to dig that book out again.
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