You are viewing mild_guy

Mon, Oct. 19th, 2009, 03:56 am
Because we are Dreeeeeam Warrrrriorrrrs!

There's less than 2 and one half months left in the year, and I'm having a hard time deciding what to do with them, fan fic wise.

I've been a bit squeezed for time this year, (a sick cat, lifestyle changes, spending more time in the gym, searching for other jobs, etc.) and haven't accomplished as much as I wanted. What else is new.

I have 2 long-short stories ready to post, but I'm tempted to hold them back until 2010. Smart move? Should I spend the rest of the year revising old material or trying to write new stuff?

This year I have been closely studying stories I admire, using them as models for my writing. Looking upon my rough drafts and my 3rd drafts, I have never felt so much contempt for my own efforts. So much hatred for the fruits of my labor. I have never edited and revised and edited my own material the way I have this year. That's slowed me down as well. I'm learning so much, but I worry it'll never be enough.

One of the problems I'm dealing with now has come around because I’ve spent more time revising than creating new material, to the point where I've become afraid to produce another story. Because that will mean confronting another rough draft that is a failure.

For the longest time I've dealt with the fear of failure in my writing by reciting the mantra that failure is how we learn. And besides, it's just fan fic, right? I still believe that, but damn if the fear hasn't got me pinned down anyways. "You always have the rewrite later on to get things right," I've told myself in the past. It gave me the courage to plunge through the rough draft. Get it done before the doubt could catch up to me.

I used to enjoy rewriting. And oftentimes it's still fun. Yet, I get tired of having to write entire new chapters or redo chapters (yet another drag on my productivity). Nothing worth doing comes easy I guess. Just a font of platitudes, ain't I?

I have got to overcome this, but when deciding on which new projects to pursue, other considerations make this even more intimidating.

Most of my projects have been free-written. Free writing is the opposite of plotting and outlining one's story ahead of time. Writers who are outliners often have fewer revising drafts to complete before their story is publishable. Yet I've never enjoyed sitting down and plotting out a plot on paper. It feels like plucking arbitrary plot elements out of the air and using them to fill in the blanks, like those booklets of ad lib scripts that used to be so popular. It's seems so contrived.

"Okay. Sonic is snogging Peach behind Mario's back. When...I need a complication here...Peach and Sonic both catch a Shadow Bug-based STD planted by the agents of Tabuu, and now a turning point uhhhhh, Mario's long lost 2nd brother returns and demands money. Wait, what?"

Hey, that's not terrible. Maybe I'm just a moron when it comes to design and logistics.

Free writers, which for the longest time is what I thought I was, come across our best ideas and writing by going in with no plan at all. Oftentimes I don't really know what my story is about until I've finished the rough draft and then re-read it. Discovery is what free writing is all about. We make a mess and then build something up from the chaos.

Often times my approach has been a slight mix of the two. I keep a rough sketch of story goals and an abridged "movie" of the plot in my head as a write a story, ususally at least a couple of chapters ahead of where I'm currently writing. The goals, or the point, of the story don't always come through so clear to me though. I get a bix mixed up, forget things. So this method has produced rather mixed results.

I seem fine with free-writing story events, plot, and details, through often these will need to be cleaned up and reordered and clarified. Hench the whole "I have to finish a story to know what the story is," thing.

My free-written character development sucks, however. Now I'm trying to outline my characters before writing. Figure out who they are at the beginning, and what they show themselves to be at the end. Determine their goals, their conscious and unconscious goals, and desires. Their worst fears.

Hard work, and I'm not sure I've got the hang of it yet. All this falls under the umbrella of crafting characters instead of using their inherent appeal as pre-existing intellectual properties as a crutch, which as been one of my biggest weaknesses to date.

Then there's the issue that I want to write something big, something that comes in multiple installments. The video game fanfic equivalent of a long running manga or comic book series. But I don't want to still be writing fan fic five years from now. And the fan fic readership on the Internet seems skewed towards shorter, stand-alone works over doorstopper serials. Not that I blame readers for this. It's easier on the eyes, for one thing. More about this in a future post. Needless to say, I believe there's a sliding gradient of diminishing returns the more ambitious a fan fic project becomes. Until you move outside the text medium, that is.

Dear oh dear. What to do, what to do…

I don't think I'll be doing NanoWriMo this year. I've still got so much to revise, and the new stuff I want to write is either projected to be far less or far more than 50K word count scale. Then again, it’s an excellent motivator.

I never got around to blogging about NaNoWriMo. I'll put that off yet again.

If only there was some way to squeeze a novel's worth of content and emotional impact into a novella-sized serial. I wonder.

Edit: oh, all my problems with character development would not exist if only I'd been able to listen to the King Of Fighters movie cast's views on character deveolpment. I am so angry right now. All those wasted years! Kaaahhhnnn!

Tue, Oct. 20th, 2009 06:47 am (UTC)
psychox

"I don't want to still be writing fan fic five years from now."

That sounds familiar.

Outlining always seems to be a problem to people who are just naturally inclined toward free-writing. The reverse is true for people who are good at outlining. But each method has its advantages and drawbacks, so I think that if you are good at free-writing, you can probably learn some things when you try to outline. After you see a few projects into completion, I think you may end up settling down to a compromise between the two, in a proportion that works for you.

It's interesting that you want to write epics. I always try to scale things down as much as possible, even when it kicks me in the teeth in the end.

The only thing I learned this year was how to view the piece as its own thing and to try to do what works for it, rather than have it be all the things I want it to be.

I hate November specifically because of that nananano...how does it go again? I was making the joke elsewhere that I could probably surpass the 50,000 mark if I took all my long ranty posts from the various forums I'd troll this November and combine them all into one entry.

Good luck on your re-writes. When all else fails, remember those wise words from the King of Fighters trailer. "...It's like, this thing...."

Tue, Nov. 3rd, 2009 08:29 am (UTC)
mild_guy

That sounds familiar.

You're giving me a cold shiver down my spine here. Hence, I've set solid goals, and once I've checked those off, I move on to the next stage. Or so that's the plan. Not getting any younger here...

It's interesting that you want to write epics.

Interesting you say? This deserves its own blog post, but the short of it is this: Epics and long-running sagas fascinate me. Both their structure, what makes them tick; and how they so often fail or disappoint. Or how often the creator of said epic breaks down and crashes and burns. The successful epics are scaled down when you really look at it. Beowulf isn't that long by modern standards, Lord of the Rings was originally one big book before publishers split it into 3 moderate-sized books for increased profit and printability, and many recent successful and satisfying series are trilogies as well, or mostly episodic in nature (monster of the week format, with maybe a few long term developments sprinkled throughout).

With me, I see all these great characters, and a crappy or underdeveloped world setting that begs for expansion, and I want to go nutszo. A huge cast, with many protags and antags getting fully fleshed out. Huge arcs that develop and change characters, arcs that eventually, in a way that surprises and delights readers, combine into a much larger myth arc. Plot twists and Wham Episodes a-plenty, and an apocalyptic climax that will change everything forever.

And then I realize I should really save this decade-worth load of writing effort for original books. It'd all go to waste on fan fic sites. I mean, how many fan fic readers would follow a series like that? The medium doesn't favor it, unless I make it a troll story and it ticks a bunch of people off. Then it will stay immortal forever.

And by the time Captain Falcon and Samus and Snake underwent all those changes I might have drifted too far from canon for most readers to be happy about it. And why shouldn't they get upset? They're here to read about the characters they love, not my twisted parodies.

Since studying literature to further my own writing, it's become increasingly obvious to me that most writers, whether they consciously admit it or not, are taking their favorite characters from childhood and adolescence, and reimaging them into their own canon sues "original" characters. Why shouldn't I do the same for my favorite VG characters, esp. if I want to change them up so much anyways? And there'd be no pesky pre-existing canon to get in the way.

Do you see what I'm talking about here?

I always try to scale things down as much as possible, even when it kicks me in the teeth in the end.

See above. What you might be doing is sparing yourself greater miseries. Seriously. Many writers do not change for the better working on a single project for a quarter or more of their lifespans. (And in the beginning, most of them no doubt told themselves they'd have it all done in 3 or 4 years. *Shudder*). Better a shorter story done well and finished than another bloated shipwreck. Or so I keep telling myself.

And yes, the NaNoWriMo detractors make many excellent points, mostly in that it isn't a one-step magic bullet miracle cure that will turn your ass into a literary genius within 30 days. It's better as an exercise for intermediate writers looking to challenge themselves. I found it was great to get so much done in so short amount of time, but it left me no time to ponder and really imagine what was happening in my story and what might happen next. Sometimes this hurt the material, and sometimes it didn't.

Good luck on your re-writes. When all else fails, remember those wise words from the King of Fighters trailer. "...It's like, this thing...."

Totally.

Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 08:56 am (UTC)
psychox

"Do you see what I'm talking about here?"

I think so. The source material provides the initial push, and your imagination tries to carry on the momentum. But, if you're not careful, the system speeds past the boundaries of what is recognizable. In writing someone else's canon, there's always this conflict between what is theirs and what is yours. It's a gradient, not a clear-cut either/or.

I guess I'm just surprised you want to write epics because you yourself admit that they often fail. I do see the appeal of long sagas, but that requires me to think back and remember how I liked them when I was a kid. As things stand now, my attention span is shot, as is my spare time. So I don't have the stamina for epics. It's similar to how I play games now, I guess. I prefer the short ones over the long-term commitments.

So, I guess what I'm basically saying is that you're looking into something that you'll be married to for a time; I just hit it and quit it.

"And by the time Captain Falcon and Samus and Snake underwent all those changes I might have drifted too far from canon for most readers to be happy about it. And why shouldn't they get upset? They're here to read about the characters they love, not my twisted parodies."

I've had similar thoughts. I've also read stories that did just that; they become engrossing if they're well written, and they hit you with major change after major change, and that's what makes it exciting. But, in the end, you may look back and find that the piece has strayed too far. Then you're just a little too disconnected from the source. This is when you may realize that the whole thing jumped the shark thirteen chapters ago.

The thing about fanfiction is that, since it is taken as a given that the reader is already a fan, it can become self-indulgent. Okay, to be brutally honest, all fanfiction is a form of self-indulgence; so it takes very little to send something off into the deep end. When this happens, only the readers' commitment as die-hard fans will keep them going. All other sane parties have already vacated the premises.

They can be done--epics, I mean. But it isn't easy. You're the type that loves a challenge, aren't you?

For me, this: "They're here to read about the characters they love, not my twisted parodies," is a consideration from the first sentence, given the yaoi thing. So the push for me to get back into originals has always been there.

Sun, Jan. 3rd, 2010 09:54 am (UTC)
mild_guy

I think so. The source material provides the initial push, and your imagination tries to carry on the momentum. But, if you're not careful, the system speeds past the boundaries of what is recognizable. In writing someone else's canon, there's always this conflict between what is theirs and what is yours. It's a gradient, not a clear-cut either/or.

Yes, this is the fear that's crept over me, more and more as I've come to realize I never really had much inclination from the beginning to write "original flavor" as the kids call it. No, that's not entirely true. I do want to stay true to the characters and the inherent themes and ideas behind the canon. For example: I like keeping Mario a decent and all around good guy. A hero with a strong sense of justice, as he is in the canon. But what about giving him a personal flaw so that he isn't one-dimensional? And then the setting of the Mushroom Kingdom. I look past the pastel color palettes of more recent games, look askew at the whimsy, and find myself attaching to the more non-sensical nature of this universe. The hills have eyes. There are pipes that violate space and time. And in the earlier Mario games, it seemed Bowser's minions really did want to kill you. So I go for a dark fantasy or a mind screw approach, something Nintendo doesn't, and never really did, go for in Mario (at least not most of the time).

Yet, you can see (I hope) that I've tried to build my new, "twisted parody" from the building blocks supplied by canon, instead of coring out the original and placing my own material inside the hollow skin. It's still self-indulgent, I'm afraid, but I do hope that readers will find the original in there somewhere, and see it in a new light. The reviews seem to indicate my readers enjoy my angles, but I know better than to judge the degree of my success on reviews posted at fic archives. There's a big "say something nice or STFU" vibe going around. I know I've falled victim to it before.

Perhaps I'm just fooling myself on this point, but I cannot remember you claiming that I've "drifted too far" away from canon in your reviews, have you? I haven't read them in forever...

Sun, Jan. 3rd, 2010 09:55 am (UTC)
mild_guy: Part 2

"Do you see what I'm talking about here?"

My original point with this remark, however, was more along the lines of this: Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Breakfast of Champions that we write best in the language of our childhood, the language we grew up with. A boy raised in Ireland may have a more melodic or, well, Irish turn of phrase or sound to his writing. Kurt confessed that growing up in south Indiana, a place where people talking sounded like circle saws gnawing into wood logs, that influenced the voice he wrote in for the rest of his life.

So it is with characters. A kid growing up reading Lord Byron stories will likely produce characters with Byronic undertones, or they may even write their own versions of the same characters. People read Lord of the Rings and play D&D as kids, it's no surprise when, if they write fantasy, they write about the same kind of characters they enjoyed in their youth. Even if those characters end up being reactions to, or subversions of the tropes those originals represented.

Real people in writer's lives, their parents or teachers or friends, will get dissected and rearranged into "original characters" for their novels.

A vast bulk of the western comics industry is now run and written and drawn by old fans. The lunatics run the asylum!

tl;dr: It's not unusual for Conan fans to write about barbarians of their own. And the sun is hot and water is wet. No duh, Mild. Language, and I suspect characters as well, spring from what we absorb earlier in life. But I fear I might be writing my own Samuses and Snakes and Dr. Wileys someday (characters that are themselves fairly blatant pastiches on still older characters).

I guess I'm just surprised you want to write epics because you yourself admit that they often fail. I do see the appeal of long sagas, but that requires me to think back and remember how I liked them when I was a kid. As things stand now, my attention span is shot, as is my spare time. So I don't have the stamina for epics. It's similar to how I play games now, I guess. I prefer the short ones over the long-term commitments.

And I can offer no logical reason why I would be tempted, either. I too, enjoy shorter games nowadays. I still sneak in the occasional grid-based RPG, but I never seem to finish them now.

I've had similar thoughts. I've also read stories that did just that; they become engrossing if they're well written, and they hit you with major change after major change, and that's what makes it exciting. But, in the end, you may look back and find that the piece has strayed too far. Then you're just a little too disconnected from the source. This is when you may realize that the whole thing jumped the shark thirteen chapters ago.

But there you go. If the writing is good enough, people will forgive the writer for damn near anything. I'm not sure as many readers look back, as you describe it here, as we fear they do. But I have no hard data whatsoever. There are probably a few people who give Alan Moore shit about the changes he made to the old Victorian characters in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but most people crawl over each other to compliment him on his searing genius. That was M-rated fan fiction done right (the comic books, not the crappy movie).

Sun, Jan. 3rd, 2010 09:56 am (UTC)
mild_guy: Part 3

The thing about fanfiction is that, since it is taken as a given that the reader is already a fan, it can become self-indulgent. Okay, to be brutally honest, all fanfiction is a form of self-indulgence; so it takes very little to send something off into the deep end. When this happens, only the readers' commitment as die-hard fans will keep them going. All other sane parties have already vacated the premises.

And here is one of the central issues with fan fic. It seems we can't have our cake and eat it too, at least not totally. Most successful fan fics (or adaptations/revisionings as they're called when it's legal and mainstream) usually have a compromise. Some characters are themselves, tweaked and adjusted to the changes in tone, genre, and setting. And other characters in the same work are manhandled into almost totally new entities, usually to fit the needs of the narrative.

For me, I worry more about preserving the characters and what makes them up at their cores, rather than keeping a setting or tone or genre in line with the original.

They can be done--epics, I mean. But it isn't easy. You're the type that loves a challenge, aren't you?

Oh sure, challenges are just dandy. Until they blow up in my face. I'm still working on your requests, but I've had to scrap what I've done so far because I hated what I came up with.

For me, this: "They're here to read about the characters they love, not my twisted parodies," is a consideration from the first sentence, given the yaoi thing. So the push for me to get back into originals has always been there.

For what it's worth, I think there's nothing wrong with yaoi-fying hetro (or ambiguous) video game characters. Esp. those FE guys. Their canon even gives you prompts, for chrissy's sake! It's what FE is famous for, among other things. I mean, if every other screwball can revision Mario as a drug addict, or Samus as a doe-eyed Shoujo-beat manga victim, your versions come off as rather ace to me. You're not committing a crime (well, technically we all are in copyright terms, but that's besides the point) by writing dark fic or fabricating sex lives for fictional characters who have none. It's what original writers do all the time. They're just more clever about hiding their sources.

Mon, Jan. 4th, 2010 06:49 am (UTC)
psychox: Re: Part 3

"Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Breakfast of Champions that we write best in the language of our childhood, the language we grew up with."

That's interesting. I no longer speak in the language I grew up with.

"For me, I worry more about preserving the characters and what makes them up at their cores, rather than keeping a setting or tone or genre in line with the original."

That's a smart move. The thing with fan fiction is that it is predominantly character-driven. Fans are most often fans of the characters first, and everything else is secondary. It's what drives the creation of games like SSB in the first place. It would be a silly idea for a fighting game, and it wouldn't have sold well if it didn't use well-known Nintendo and third party characters.

I wonder if growing up with characters and stories makes us more inclined to write about them, rather than create our own. I wonder, also, if there's something like that in the backgrounds of most writers (or genre writers at least). Writers were readers first, after all.

Mon, Jan. 11th, 2010 09:19 am (UTC)
mild_guy: Re: Part 3

That's interesting. I no longer speak in the language I grew up with.

Well, I didn't mean language as in English or Mandrian or Italina, but rather the...forget it, you know what I mean. Word choice, cadence, vocabulary, improper grammar, inflections, accents, tone, etc.

I'm curious though how being fluent in your native tongue currently influences your writing. I imagine it must have some impact. I remember you mentioned on one of your journal posts that when you read engrish you understand the thought process of the person struggling to change Chinese into English.

I wonder if growing up with characters and stories makes us more inclined to write about them, rather than create our own. I wonder, also, if there's something like that in the backgrounds of most writers (or genre writers at least). Writers were readers first, after all.

I remember that in grade school, most kids wrote some kind of fan fic based off movies or cartoons they'd seen for school writing exercises. That stopped completely in later grades, but I think self-insertion fantasies and Mary Sue fantasies are pretty common when kids start out writing. Also, many writer memoirs I read detail how they began writing by creating some fan fic, or original fiction ripping off their favorite characters (of course, they never call it fan fic, and neither did the kids at school). And that got me thinking. As I get older, and more jaded and more exposed to a wider range of material, I notice more and more how most people create their characters, no matter how original, off a preexisting template or type. I've not read Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, but I understand that it's the most widely read book on this subject out there. With genre writers, there's archtypes and mythic parallels driving a lot of character creation. And stereotypes, if the writer sucks. With traditional or mainstream Literature, you still have the above influences (though I'd guess they're more likely not to admit it), but they're also more likely to base their characters off people they've known, or well documented historical figures.

And this process isn't always a conscious one. When something original pops into our brain, does it really spring, whole and complete from the mysterious ether of another dimension, or is it really all the junk we take in during our lives floating back up to the surface?

Re-reading my rambling here, it strikes me that this might come off as some kind of self-serving justification for me to pass off blatant rip offs off as original characters. That hasn't been my intention.

No, for me, I do want to write original characters, but I know they'll reflect what interests me, what has inspired me in the stories that I love. I think there's all the difference between riding another's coattails for easy success, shameless theft, and working hard to craft something that's your own, even if it's human nature to repeat and repackage what has come before.

Boy, do I sound full of myself or what? This reads like some kinda pretentious college paper that lacks even the veneer of over wrought formality.

Tue, Jan. 12th, 2010 10:04 am (UTC)
tashiro_hyozo: Re: Part 3

"Well, I didn't mean language as in English or Mandrian or Italina, but rather the...forget it, you know what I mean. Word choice, cadence, vocabulary, improper grammar, inflections, accents, tone, etc."

Yes, I was just trying to give you a hard time. I learned English with the help of those cheap paperbacks you'd get at the grocery store. It was all true crime or crime fiction, usually about creeps and serial killers and thugs and cops, all of it written with the grace of a B-rate slasher flick.

And that's where it began.

"I'm curious though how being fluent in your native tongue currently influences your writing. "

Well, to be honest, I'm not fluent anymore. But even so, my English is still like the practiced English you learn through work and books rather than in conversation. Certain turns of phrases don't roll out of me naturally. I think I learned to speak by watching news reports on TV. The overall effect is that I can be hyper-conscious of what I say and how I say it, and I always had a habit of putting careful thought into which prepositions went with which words. But I can't say that a native speaker isn't also just as hyper-conscious, especially if we're talking about writers.

For example, I used to avoid phrases like: "Outside, the rain kept on." This is because if someone had said that to me when I was a kid, it wouldn't have made any sense to me. The rain kept on...going? Missing word? Sure, I would have figured it out eventually, but I would have had to think about it. For a long time, I didn't use phrases that couldn't be directly or literally translated. When I use them now, I tend to be keenly aware of it. The same goes for cliched sayings.

"I remember you mentioned on one of your journal posts that when you read engrish you understand the thought process of the person struggling to change Chinese into English."

Beware! Monkey steal your thing!

Here's another example. A community organization sent a message thanking people for their donations: "We at ____ would like to thank the contributors for all their supports." Because, you see, you have multiple contributors sending multiple donations. Each donation is a "support." Therefore, support is plural. Right?

Well, no. Because, apparently, multiple contributors, contributing to the same cause, are all a part of the same support, even though they weren't working together when they sent their donations. Because "support" is a unified whole, a singular concept, and never plural. (No, I don't know why that is.)

"I think there's all the difference between riding another's coattails for easy success, shameless theft, and working hard to craft something that's your own, even if it's human nature to repeat and repackage what has come before."

There seems to be a certain desire in people to hear an old story again and again. It may be because certain stories have their roots in cultural significance, stuff that lingers in the collective subconsciousness. Those stories are told again and again because there seems to be a need to hear them, because they play to some of the most basic fears and desires in a culture and/or a society.

That you bring up literature is interesting. I think there's a divide between "story" and "literature." The difference may be that one was born at a prehistoric campfire, and the other didn't come about until writing tools were invented. The approaches are different. Stories can be told in the format of literature, but literature isn't always about stories.

"Boy, do I sound full of myself or what? This reads like some kinda pretentious college paper that lacks even the veneer of over wrought formality."

It's a contest. You're up against me, so you'd better step it up a notch. Throw in more long-winded passages.

Sat, Jan. 23rd, 2010 08:02 am (UTC)
mild_guy: Re: Part 3

This is fascinating. I don't often hear the other side of the story from people who did not grow up with English as their first language.

But even so, my English is still like the practiced English you learn through work and books rather than in conversation.

You know, I think you impress, and maybe even intimidate, most others on the fan fic sites, at least in the SSB section, because of this. They're not used to someone comfortable with grammar, with phrases and word choice carefully selected. That's not the only thing people like about your writing, but it certainly hasn't hurt your fiction. Dialogue is a whole separate challenge from narration and description though, isn't it? I know it is for me.

Did you ever have your work workshopped or critiqued? And if so, did they mention that you didn't read as a native English speaker? When I first read you material, I just assumed, without thinking about it, that you were a fluent native English speaker. Maybe that's kinda culturally insensitive of me, but the brain is lazy and will make assumptions wherever possible. I try not to think about people's gender or nationality or native tongue when I read their words online. Not until they give me some indication or reason to consider it.

The approaches are different. Stories can be told in the format of literature, but literature isn't always about stories.
And that's what trips a lot of people up when it comes to genre vs lit debates. Does literature, as you define it here, still get to call itself fiction if it's not telling a story of some kind? Or is it that the story, or the plot, is incidental to the work? The latter is always the impression I get from these discussions, at least from the blowhards and those at the more extreme ends of the spectrum. There is this unspoken assertion that goes around that caring, feeling suspense, about what happens next in a book is somehow more base, lower brow, uncouth. That artists in prose are above such things. Perhaps it's all in my head, eh?

Sun, Jan. 24th, 2010 10:14 am (UTC)
tashiro_hyozo: Re: Part 3

"You know, I think you impress, and maybe even intimidate, most others on the fan fic sites, at least in the SSB section, because of this."

I should probably stop bullying little kids. That's just mean.

"Did you ever have your work workshopped or critiqued? And if so, did they mention that you didn't read as a native English speaker?"

Yes, and no, they didn't say that.

"Does literature, as you define it here, still get to call itself fiction if it's not telling a story of some kind? Or is it that the story, or the plot, is incidental to the work?"

I'm too tired for that question (and/or I've had too much cognac).

I think there are different ways to invoking either an emotional or an intellectual response. Story is one way; the other thing (whatever they call it) is another way. Art and entertainment use different approaches; that's because the audiences have different expectations of both.

What people get their balls all twisted up about is that the medium is the same. So everyone hates getting lumped in with someone else. And, yeah, it goes both ways in the genre vs. lit debates.

"There is this unspoken assertion that goes around that caring, feeling suspense, about what happens next in a book is somehow more base, lower brow, uncouth. That artists in prose are above such things."

Is it more low brow? Maybe it is. And I guess that makes me low brow then.

I think the designation comes from, again, approach and audience expectation. Entertainment builds up suspense and mystery, but in the end it reveals its hand--completely. And the audience gets to bask in the warmth of the experience, even though they didn't necessarily have to do much work to get to reach that resolution. The insides are laid bare during the conclusion.

I see nothing wrong with this. But some people won't be satisfied with it.

For some people, art is about moments that are hard to define, the spaces in between important events. It tries to give voice to something that doesn't have a defined shape. For example, no one can directly watch a spirit break. But you can trap a spirit in a rock and shatter it.

You can trap it in a person and shatter that too.

I think this is why when genre writers/readers read literature, they complain that nothing happens and there isn't any resolution. But the resolution is there, it's just that the story doesn't resolve until you figure out what the resolution is. The author's intent comes out during the process of you figuring it out.

In case it isn't obvious, I stand right in the middle of the genre vs. lit thing, and I don't care. It's going to be a problem later, but I'd rather not think of either one being "lesser" than the other. I think if people keep doing what they want to do with their art or their entertainment, they will likely find an audience for it. Those audiences won't necessarily overlap, but that's besides the point.

I think it's funny that this thread looks like I have split personalities. Well, they can't be split if they both think so much alike, now can they?