1. Monosmith

    Monosmith Member

    Dec 10, 2011
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    Knowing Your Story: The Fundamental Principle of Outstanding Literature

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Monosmith, Dec 15, 2011.

    This post was a giant essay, but it has been cut out for two reasons:
    1. It occurred to me that I don't want to officially publish it on a web-site, because it was good enough to use later if edited enough. I think it might actually be used when sending samples of my writing to colleges I'm applying for.
    2. Not wanting to be hypocritical, I noticed that I mentioned the value of keeping the audience in mind and that a formal, third-person essay does not appeal to a forums community.

    However, if I may express the basic principles that I set forth in a non-formal manner:

    - Stephen King's Golden Rule: "Read a lot and write a lot."
    - This is an exercise for a writer's ability to intimately understand their own works and see it for what it is. "Know your story."
    - Writers should consider all the elements of the story in the big picture. To use basic science terminology here: "How do you define your system?" Also, taken to the extremes, where is the place of your writing in the world?
    - The story will necessitate a certain narrative, and that narrative will give the story its own voice. This is not to be confused with the author's voice.
    - The story is its own entity with its own identity, yada yada yada...
    - Art is defined as arranging material to provoke the senses, mind, or emotions.
    - Success is when the story has fully realized its identity and provokes people in the way the author intended.
    - Writers must learn how to see their works for what they are.
    - And this all reverts back to the Golden Rule.

    This topic may be used to discuss the merits of such an outlook toward achieving better writing quality, because we all know how to write a story, we just don't all know how to write a good story, and I believe this is how. If anyone here can expound on these ideas and give advice on how to better understand your own literature, please do so. I look forward to getting wiser.
  2. arron89

    arron89 Banned

    Oct 10, 2008
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    The fact that you begin with a Stephen King quote probably doesn't bode well for an outline of what is apparently a guide to 'outstanding literature', whatever that means. Besides which, it doesn't really even apply to Stephen King's writing practice, which emphasises a minimum of forethought and planning. I think fundamentally your assessment of 'success' is fair, but not particularly insightful, and certainly not helpful in determining great literature from crap. Presumably all published stories are considered fully realised by the author, which according to your logic must mean that all books are successful, which is clearly not true.

    You touch on some potentially interesting ideas about assessing a work of literature, but I think you need to develop these a lot more fully before it will be of any practical use.
  3. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    sorry to say i have to agree with arron, in toto...

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