1. finnmaccool
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    finnmaccool Member

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    Conventional Prose?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by finnmaccool, Mar 22, 2008.

    Is there something wrong with not following the conventional guidelines usually assigned to prose?

    For example: not using quotations, switching tenses, purposeful confusion of narrator vs speaker etc

    Half the people say they like it, the other half don't really like it. Only reason I'm bringing up is that it seems like this is a big issue for people who don't like my writing.
     
  2. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I do it a lot, despite the fact some people dislike it. Unless someone would need a genius mind to figure it out, you might as well use it. Nothing more to say, sorry.
     
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I went over one of your pieces so I could see what your style is. I'm going to pull a few lines from Hospital Mania, Hospital Hysteria, Hospital Suicide to serve as examples.

    Quotation Marks are used to seperate the spoken word and the written word. Now since we are talking about writing, its all written word. However, you put quotations around something to make it clear to your reader what is said, what is thought or description.

    Here is an expert from the above mentioned piece.

    This is clearly dialogue. That is clear even without quotation marks. However, even with Quotation marks, this is really bad writting. We have no description, no sense of character, and no idea what is going on other than that there is a gun to his head and he's talking to somone.

    Take this rewrite for example:

    With the rewrite the characters have voice because I've made a clear difference between spoken words and unspoken words. It adds character by giving them a voice. Its not done for no reason. There is an effect to making clear differences between different kins of written words. The Quotation mark tells everyone "This is what I'm say!" so they know that this is a voice in written form. There is a psycological effect to it, and it is a sign everyone recognizes.

    Add to that that if you were to actually put some, Descriptions, into these lines, you enhance the story.

    The Quotations second purpse is to make a clear difference between dialoge and description. Any reader can probably tell the difference without a pair of quotation marks, but having them there makes it all the more clear and obvious what is being said and what is not being said.

    Switching Tense:

    You start with past tense and then switch to the present. I wouldn't do this just because it doesn't sound good when I say it. It disrupts the flow of the dialogue and is something that will coommenly force someone to read something again, which is never a good sign.

    To keep your reader occupied and engrossed with the story, you need good flow. The slightest disturbance can send the reader for a loop and remind them they are reading a book. Swithcing tense will disturb the flow. its like a bump in the road. Also, I just don't know why anyone would want to do it.

    Try this rewrite. I'll stick to past tense since its the first tense you used:

    It just flows better. It maintains the consistency of the writing, thus keeping the reader involved.

    As for confusing the narrator and the speaker. Why? What purpose does this serve other than to cause... well confusion?
     
  4. finnmaccool
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    finnmaccool Member

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    This thread was not intended to be a critique of my work. I can quite understand why some people, like you Lordofhats, wouldn't like the way I write. That doesn't mean that all writing has to follow the conventional standard that was set by other writers.

    By the way, do you realize how annoying it is to be told my writing is bad, especially when my writing specifically isn't even the topic?

    As for your question, yes theres obviously two distinct voices.
     
  5. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I did not mean it to be a critique. I wanted to use examples of your own work to explain my points figuring that an example would best serve to answer the questions and that an example of your own work would be a perfect example to use.

    I apologize for the bad writing bit and I'll leave it at that.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you are writing for yourself, and yourself alone, there is no reason to follow conventional guidelines. If, however, you wish other people to read yoru work, you need to at least know how to write well while following those conventions.

    Once you can write well within those conventions, you may know enough to violate them to produce an effect, to make the writing speak in a new way. But just breaking the riules to be different is not different at all. It is either laziness to take a shortcut around learning, or arrogance to think your writing will shine so brightly that decades of writing wisdom don't apply to you.

    I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but I would not be doing you any favors by soft-selling it.
     
  7. finnmaccool
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    finnmaccool Member

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    I used to write more conventionally but I got bored of it. I read some authors that influenced me a lot like Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk. To me, if people don't have a problem with reading these authors, they shouldn't have a problem with reading me.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    So, I take it you weren't actually looking for anyone else's opinions.
     
  9. finnmaccool
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    finnmaccool Member

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    What is that supposed to be suggesting? I was merely explaining my feelings on the subject after you told me that I was arrogant for not following the conventions.
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Finnmaccool,

    Your original post asked for opinions.
    Members offered them (opinions), going into detail to explain their view. And your response is to get upset (or annoyed) and lash out? I guess they fell in the 1/2 mentioned that don't like the structure, or lack of it and conventions such as use of qutations, apparent random switching of tenses, etc. that you employ in your writing--that have issues with it.

    This, you want to argue and disagree? Okay.
    This tells me, as it did at least one other member, that you weren't looking for opinions that stated they took issue with the writing style and structure. (Were you only seeking agreement or praise?)

    Plus, your statement implies your writing is on par with Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk. I've not read Welsh, but I have Palahniuk. I took a look at the links earlier to your work. In my opinion, it isn't quite there. Not meant as an insult, and it shouldn't be. Palahniuk's work is pretty darn good. And maybe that is why writers have issues with your writing--the gap.

    Also consider that even good authors like Palahniuk aren't for everybody. Hey, I don't care for JK Rowling's works, but there are more than a few who would disagree with my opinion...and that's an understatement.

    Folks who hang around long in the writing field eventually develop a thick skin. There will always be critics (and rejections). Who's to say they're all wrong--or right?

    Terry
     

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