Archives for the month of: November, 2014

WinterForestIn his introduction to Story Trumps Structure – How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules, Steven James states, “the greatest storytellers aren’t afraid to break the rules”. Where, one has to ask, does he think these rules came from if not from studying stories by great writers? In other words, great writers, by example of their work, have made the rules that he suggests we break.

James would have you think your story must be liberated from structure or rules if it is to become “unforgettable fiction”. The way to do it is to adhere to a different set of guidelines, his

But after telling writers to break the rules for writing fiction, assuming you know and adhere to them, the author then writes a very detailed book about the same rules he says you should break.

James takes well-known literary lessons and, more or less, renames them. His “organic writing” is no more than going where the story leads you, something most writers have experienced and adhere to.

Or, as Norman Mailer put it, “Until you see where your ideas lead to, you know nothing.”

Though I doubt a seasoned writer will come across any writing epiphanies, Story Trumps Structure is extremely thorough and is “how to” explicit on almost every story situation imaginable. The book is well conceived, designed and readable and would be a good resource book.

Can creativity be taught? If you could apply all the conveyances in this book will you become a better writer?

Maybe, but as T.S. Eliot says,

“Between the idea,

And the reality


Between the motion,

And the act


Falls the Shadow.”

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My new novel, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic is now available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00LTXGD58

Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

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WearyWinterWillowSo why do I write fiction?

Is it because, as Betsy Lerner, the author of The Forest for the Trees, An Editor’s Advice to Writers, claims, “the world doesn’t fully make sense until the writer has secured his version of it on the page.” Similarly, Anaïs Nin says “one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live.” Gloria E. Anzaldúa is more specific; “By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it.” Flannery O’Connor mirrors this sentiment by saying, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

Sounds rather high-minded to me. I don’t write for any of those reasons.

I think I have a pretty good “grasp” on reality, it “fully makes sense to me”, and frankly it’s a world I can live in. If I didn’t understand it how could I write about it? That’s not to say I don’t like learning about new things when I write, but I don’t have to create an illusionary world in which to escape.

One of the reasons I write is apparently the same reason George Orwell did, “There is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.”

This is, however, secondary to the satisfaction, the sense of accomplishment and the sheer enjoyment I get from writing. And when the characters and story take control it’s like being the conduit linking me to an unexplored parallel world.

And what about the reader? Where do they factor in on the question “why do I write fiction?”

Yes, that connection is significant since once I’ve finished my novel then, and only then, it becomes more important to “get a hearing”. I want to draw their attention to issues vital to me and maybe even influence a decision or two. I also seek validation from the reader that I have entertained them while at the same time expressed something they relate to and feel is worthwhile.

So there you have it. The reasons I write fiction are for enjoyment, for edification and to influence my readers with my view on issues. Not for money and not for fame, which is a good thing because I’ll likely have neither.

Now that I’ve figured that out I feel a whole lot less frustrated.

I also finally understand why trying to involve readers in my writing doesn’t work for me. This technique is the latest mantra of book marketing gurus selling publishing success. You must establish a “relationship” with your readers, to what end I’m not sure, but now it doesn’t matter anyway.

Why? Because they have no influence over what I write.

Would I really change a plot line because a reader (or many readers – I should be so successful) wanted me to? Would I change the setting, the theme or the characters? Would I change the title? Would I change even a single word?

No.

I am writing for myself not for an audience. Their approval is gratifying, but not essential.

I’ve already moved on.

30

My new novel, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic is now available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00LTXGD58

Read Reviews 

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/39014

 

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

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