1. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Are we truly being craftsmen? No, Ginger. I will not say Craftspersons

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Garball, Jun 19, 2013.

    Maybe that is exactly what we are being; turning out page after page of what we hope an unknown judge will not deem drivel.

    Preface:
    I read post after post about how this should be that and that should be this according to some unseen Oz we nominate as sellable or the regurgitations of the daily lessons of the high school teacher who is but a stone skipping across the fathoms of literature. We use words like craft and craftsmen, art and artisan. We play the same plays that made the ones before us good. We place our favorites on high pedestals and marvel at their skill and uniqueness, but daren't tread upon their majesty. No, that hallowed ground was for them and them alone. Yet, even today, an author will cast down the bulky confines that limit his craft (again, sorry ginger and maia for using masculine) and present to us another bestseller or question maker.

    Meat of the Matter:
    Are those new, groundbreaking authors telling the readers to go fuck themselves?

    No! They are showing, not telling.

    They are telling a compelling story that stands out from the rest of the confined, homogenous blob of what writing should be.
    Spoiler alert: I hate to break it to you, but living amongst the poor and downtrodden citizens of Lafayette and Yocona (pronounced Yok-nee) counties in Mississippi; Faulkner's stories could have passed for newspaper articles. His dialogue is not unique; it is real.

    One of my favorite shows to watch as I fall asleep over my half full cocktail, of which I wish I had the alcohol to use the following night, is The New Yankee Workshop. I could learn to emulate everything Norm Abram has to teach me if I had roughly $37,532.57 to spend in equipment, right?. Probably not.

    The real question, though, is would I want to.

    If all I do is copy Norm, does that make me a master?
    If all I do is write like Keats, does that make me a master?

    Plato did not reason like his teacher, and his student did not reason like him. Who do you know best out of the three?

    Conclusion:
    Of course there are certain rules you have to abide by as an author: syntax, tense, POV, etc.
    It is your unique ability to apply those rules (not all are always applicable) and create your own story. Don't copy. Don't replicate.
    If all writers on this site are craftsmen, then the person replicating table after table at the Wal-Mart woodshop are craftsmen as well. Take your teachers' lessons with a grain of salt and apply; never copy.
     
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  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Wow! All that just from one rejection letter?

    I'm impressed.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    writing is certainly considered an art form by most, along with painting, sculpture, photography, music composition, etc.

    but i consider myself merely a writer, not a craftswoman, not an artist... just a writer...
     
  4. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    Very compelling, Garball. To me it is about developing some reliable equilibrium as a writer and endlessly striving toward it. Yes, I must remain true to the forebears of this art form (I do believe it is a deeply profound art form, writing), even paying homage to some of the authors that influence my own development; yet I must also remain committed to pushing boundaries and putting my own signature on my writing in the face of that "unseen Oz", that omnipresent hand that seems to push us with or without our consent. It is remaining true without always imitating, pushing the boundaries while still respecting the tenets of writing, that makes this equilibrium so difficult (impossible?) to achieve.

    Phew. Chalk that long-winded response up to your thought-inspiring post.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Nice vent. I should only like to point out that I take issue with a couple assumptions.

    Why do you grant such powers to the unknown "judge"? And why grant them also to people writing post after post here? I hope you're being more selective than that and only soaking up the advice or feedback that makes sense to you. I don't know your experience with formal teachers but mine has been mixed on that front as well.

    If this post is the result of that "first rejection letter" I'm wondering if that couple of cocktails and a half ;) have loosened your thoughts on the letter's words? If it was a more than a form rejection, it's my understanding that's a positive sign. If it was a form letter, then from whence does all this particular venting come? How does "copying" come to play such a center role?


    I think Walmart tables are made by machines.

    [sidetrack] I'm pleased I made enough of an impression on gender neutral language to be cited, but find it interesting it was forgotten that I also said it was my choice but I had no reason to insist anyone else make the same choice. In this case, it's my philosophy that my personal effort to use gender neutral language adds to the collective change. I'm not disappointed that such changes take time to become the norm.

    Since you were aware that you referred to 'we' and 'all writers' as 'men', it's only one more step (solely up to you) to replace craftsmen with 'writers', 'artisans', 'masters of the craft'; or, if you prefer, just drop the "we". :) [/sidetrack]
     
  6. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know if it was intentional, but this really strengthens my original point
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    We're all just crafty machines? ;)
     

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