1. Ghosts in Latin
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    Ghosts in Latin Senior Member

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    Consise. To the point...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ghosts in Latin, Feb 20, 2009.

    Agh! A horrifying thought just came to my attention.

    Are we standardizing writing too much, thusly diminishing the variety of distinguishable styles? Not necessarily in terms of perspectives like 1st Person, 2nd Person, and 3rd Person, but moreso the way these are written. One of the beauties I find in writing is the infinite amount of varying style with which it can be done. My kitten cannot drink water without getting it all over his kitty chin hairs.

    I come here for hopeful reassurance that this is not true!

    (I think a part of this may be the fact that, when I began to enjoy reading and writing, it started with the 1800s.)
     
  2. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Yep. I think we tend to over-standardise somewhat.

    But the thing is... a writer should have a very firm grasp on the basics before worrying about style, IMO. If you don't know how to write properly in a simple voice, then you probably won't have much success in pulling off a unique voice or style. It's like trying to compose on par with Beethoven before learning how to play.

    Build a solid house, then worry about decorating.

    One step at a time.
     
  3. TwoToTango
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    TwoToTango Member

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    Distinguishable styles are still there. But there's a distinguishable difference between different styles and good and poor writing or what is the proper word for something.

    Like...kitty chin hairs are called whiskers. Not kitty chin hairs. :p

    That and, you shouldn't take everything said in these forums as a fact. It's somebodys opinion which may or may not be of grander quality than your opinion. So if you think yours is better, go for it.

    You want freshmaker chocolate sauce with that?
     
  4. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    I think that a writers do standardize their writing too much. But I also agree with what Kas said about having the basic skills necessary to writing down pat prior to becoming concerned with style.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There is plenty of room for diversity without having to violate the guidelines. The guidelines exist to help writers avoid the mistakes that make writing dull, confusing, or tedious to read, not to constrain anyone.

    When you first begin wilderness hiking, you are well advised to stay on the marked trails. Only when you become experienced enough to recognize and avoid hazard should you consider striking off on your own. It's much easier to get into trouble than you expect.

    Most beginning writers go through a phase in which they think that breaking all those pesky rules is what will make their writing stand out. Ironically, it makes tyeir writing more like the majority of the manuscripts that never leave te slush pile except to end up in the recycling bins.
     
  6. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    Well I can agree that creativity seems to be disapearing a little. Publishers are trying to make money. I believe something may be written well but if it won't sell then why publish it.

    The reason i say this is because that is how video games work. There are sometimes few new Intelectual Properties in video games cause they are trying to make money. Books could be the same way.

    I also believe things just go in cycles. To me it is funny how many takes there are out there of the vampire novel right now. When you think about how long it takes to get a book published you realize that they were sitting on the publisher's desk at the same time to be printed.

    After this cycle there may be a cycle of new high fantasy properties or the way things are going new Superhero novels, or urban fantasy. Just keep hope alive. We the consumer dictate what is written by what we buy. Remember that.
     
  7. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    I think part of the problem lies in the fact that formulaic genre novels seem to sell well - one hand feeds the other, so to speak. Some people find comfort in familiarity, some stick to what has been proven to work, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

    There will always be writers who explore new ways of telling a story, experiment with voice and style etc - sometimes to great effect, sometimes...not so much, but even the failures are likely to eventually have a hand in creating something that succeeds at feeling 'fresh'.
     
  8. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I saw this post as not talking about the basics/guidelines (such as grammar and spelling and basic sentence construction), but as talking about how certain things in writing are frowned upon just because they won't sell as well as what shows up in all the bestselling books out there. Things that aren't WRONG, but just aren't PROFITABLE. Not about "breaking rules" but about challenging standards that are in place just because they make more money.

    That being said...

    IMO, yes.

    But the unfortunate fact is that publishers can only afford to go where the tried and true money is. Publishing is about making a profit. There isn't much leeway for writing styles that might not make as much money as what's known to sell well. For this reason, many styles of writing will be frowned upon as "unsellable" even if they aren't technically wrong. My work is unsellable because it regularly runs over 100,000 words...not necessarily because it's lousy or anything. (I couldn't say for sure about the quality, but the length alone is reason enough for publishers not to want to touch it.)

    This is one of the reasons I'm not bothering seeking publication. I want to entertain people, not have my work rejected outright because it's too long or it's not enough this or whatnot, because it won't make ENOUGH money. I don't want to be a cash cow. I'm not in it for the money. I just want to entertain people.

    Publishing, however, is a business, and is in it for the money, so it goes where the money (standardly) is. That's the way it is.
     
  9. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Tehuti, are you really sure that's a problem? If you could link some resources to confirm this I would appreciate it...

    I'm under the impression that you are talking about novels. And you think that 100k+ words is too much to get published. As what? A new writer? Are you referring to size contraints within your demographic or genre?

    I ask this because I know there are many heavy books published by unknowns... I've picked up a few myself in the past. I tend to just grab whatever catches my eye - and those meaty tomes stand out:p. And popular writers can publish anything. To Green Angel Tower was one of my favorites and was about 520,000 words. Yep, it had to be split in two parts to physically fit in a book. But that still leaves you with an average of 260k words in each. If your own is less than half of the size, why wouldn't publishers consider it?

    I realise that a heavy book from an unknown author will go straight to the garbage bin in some cases. But to me this is more a matter of finding the right publisher, and taking the right approach with it. I certainly hope so 'cause I don't think I can write a book with less than 100k words!:(

    If you're writing YA the word count average is supposed to be around 80k. But Twilight is well over 100k, so is this really such an issue?

    I thought the thread was more about standardised storytelling, which often leads to cliches...
     
  10. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I looked up how many pages, approximately, 100,000 words is, and it amounted to roughly 350 pages.

    So, wouldn't 150,000 to 200,000 words be more appropriate? Something six-hundred pages or seven-hundred pages is much more -- fulfilling -- than a mere 400 pages.



    That aside, with all of the stories like this:

    A twelve-year-old brat who is disrespectful to his parents and hates the world in general discovers that he is unreasonably important and has powers/crawls into another world. Let the magic begin!


    that are ostensibly selling so well that they are made into movies, it appears the old cliche' bus is still running strong.

    We creative people will, I suppose, be forced to wait until people grow weary of these trite stories before we have our chance.
     
  11. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    To Kas and Atari--published writers and agents on another forum regularly make a point of saying how anything over, say, 150,000 words (and often over 100,000), by an unknown, is virtually unpublishable except in certain genres such as fantasy. And my work is WELL over 150,000...or 200,000, for that matter. :redface: Far too long for a novel, and incapable of being properly split into more than one book (seeing as they're "serials" and have sequels of their own). Another thing heavily frowned upon from newbie writers, series books that can't stand alone. Each of my serials can stand on its own, but if split into more than one they couldn't. I adore long stories to death, but many publishers and other readers don't, based on what I've been told. I've had people here and elsewhere automatically assume that since my work is so long it must not be any good and they would not read it, based on that alone. That's their choice, since we can't all make the time to read such things, but it's sad when EVERYONE is urged not to try the styles/lengths that suit them best because it's not marketable. (And when a long story is assumed to be lousy based on length alone!)

    I saw the original post as being about standardizing styles, which IMO includes how lengthy/wordy certain works are (re: the thread title, "Concise. To the point..." and the advice to "Write tight"--I agree that books shouldn't meander pointlessly, but writers are urged to be very sparing and to cut anything and everything even if, to them, it serves a purpose--what about people who just have a more elaborate style?--I myself see no need to agonize over every single little word choice, and based on what I've seen, non-writing readers often won't care that much either), but as I'm not the OP I guess I couldn't say.
     
  12. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I know what is popular now is dropping and a lot, something I think Marina dislikes.

    She was cold, lost, lonely.

    I was reading Octavia Butler's Lilith's Brood (freaking awesome,) and she does this, it seems to me, at least once a page.

    As far as the 1800's, I'll pass, lol.
     
  13. vlwood
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    vlwood New Member

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    I'm so glad I'm not the only one that senses this - I think most writers realize it is the authentic voice of the writer that gives the writer's words heart. I believe, amoung writers - there is a mafia like group of wordsmiths that doll out lashings to writers as a means of - well - I guess that is what they write - lashings - comments to conform, to get in line and take a number. if I read another line of your writing - I'd know it was you writing it - even if I didn't know your name. People always tell me that
     

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