1. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    Microwave Writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by soujiroseta, Mar 31, 2008.

    i recently came across a concept called microwave writing which im in two minds about.

    you want to roast a chicken. you can turn on your oven, let it heat up, stick in the chicken and wait an hour until the extreme heat makes the changes that turn it from a raw chicken into a cooked one. or you can put it in a microwave at the right setting and in 20 minutes you have a roast chicken. the oven a long time and wasted alot of energy to do what the microwave did in a short time. the oven needs to heat and cool down. the microwave is on in an instant. a story can either be the oven or the microwave.

    it's basically saying that there is no room for those distractive narratives or dialogues in a modern novel which i totally disagree with because sometimes you need the reader to forget about something and im not sure of any other way to do it.

    any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.
    thanks in advance:)
     
  2. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Why write in a microwave? Usually living organic material ah... explodes.

    PS. I'd liek to know the answer too.
     
  3. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    Chicken in a microwave has no taste it is rubbery and has no colour.

    Chicken in an oven has the smell of flavour, has lots of juicy bits and has a lovely golden brown colour. Something you can savour.

    I'll take the oven over the speed any day.
     
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  4. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Sometimes you need speed though. In an action/fight scene you need to have it over with before the reader becomes bored. At the same time, the times leading up to the fight need to be taken slow, to build suspense and so that when the fight hits the sudden change in speed shows the chaning situation.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm with lessa on this one. It sounds like a recipe for dry, unappetizing, and flavorless. It could just be a bad metaphor, though.
     
  6. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    i hate to admit it but lordofhats makes the point ive been trying to get through to my buddies...who're now discussing the tenderness of steak. (they're not writers:))
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Pacing is definitely important. The pace should be consistent with subjective time for the characters. When the characters are being hurtled along by the action, the writing should reflect that rush. Conversly, when they have time to observe details, the writing should follow a more leisurely pace and stretch subjective time as well.
     
  8. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    cogito is correct, "pace should be consistent with subjective time". one of my buddies argues that the microwave theory is what works best because people these days want to eat fast food and don't have time to sit over a three course meal, so waiting an hour for a chicken which can be done in 15 seems a no brainer for him.
     
  9. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I'm personally with lessa and Cogito on this. The oven and microwave should be combined, and when we need to cook it well and bring flavor and crisp, i.e. give detail, it turns into an oven and when the action is up we oughta bring the microwave and skim through the scene.
     
  10. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    I'm a vegatarian myself, but I get the drift. Microwave? Oven? I think, generally, that pace dictates style. Always a student, though, I've come to appreciate the power of less when it comes to conveying the desired message. In saying that, I accept there must be room for exceptions.
     
  11. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    I'm going to say the metaphor is accurate, because what do you have without dialogue and narrative what do you have? Because it certainly isn't a novel.

    It's like dry tasteless chicken and a melted styrofoam plate filled with condensation. And a sense of emptiness and the feeling you should really fix the stove before having to spend another night eating this crap.
     
  12. nicthechick
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    nicthechick New Member

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    Depends if as a reader you can be bothered to read the 'oven style' build up or if you prefer to get right into the action 'microwave' style. As writers we must not forget that in order to be successful you need readers, whether you think oven or microwave is the way to go is irrelevant. Long winded build ups are drab unless you have a great, hum dinging spicy chicken to back it up.
     
  13. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    I believe the concept might have come from this author:

    http://www.caroclarke.com/microwavewriting.html

    I think we're taking the metaphor a little too far. I get what Clarke's saying here--if you're writing a thriller, there's no use for a bland behemoth of purple prose. I think the purpose of "Microwave Writing" is to satisfy your reader's craving of "chicken" by zapping it quickly in the microwave, as it were, without having them wade through a three-course meal.

    However, I agree with Cogito and the others in that a whole novel shouldn't be written in this style. It's just a way to get at the heart of the matter, since you plan later to fill in the other necessary organs. It all depends on style and purpose.
     
  14. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    yeah you got that link too. she's got some good advice that lady:)
     

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