1. waitingforzion

    waitingforzion Banned

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    What I have realized

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by waitingforzion, Dec 21, 2017.

    I realize that often I have written prose with neither meaning nor clarity, because I have tried to write it with cadence before completing its sense. And this is because I have doubted that prose, if it be without cadence, can receive cadence, but now I realize that this must be possible, if prose can have it at all.

    So I admit that the members of this forum were right when they said I should first write a rough draft. Now some have said (unless I am mistaken) that I should not aim for cadence at all. That advice I reject, but from now on, if I write anything, hopefully I will follow the advice to write a rough draft first and revise it afterwards.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
  2. Earp

    Earp Contributor Contributor

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    Jesus, isn't zion here yet?
     
  3. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor Contest Winner 2022

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    This is a good post. It's completely right.

    The order is message, structure, style. These align with the Writer's Trinity.
    message = vocabulary
    structure = grammar
    style = rhetoric (delivery)​

    You're too concerned with the last one. It contains rhythm, cadence, flow, and all those details you appreciate. Grammar doesn't really care about delivery. It's like a bureaucrat obsessed with the rules but not the results. Style bends the rules to get the results. It's a beatnik washout who's about good vibes, man. The two are an odd couple using vocabulary as their medium.

    These show up in careful ratios. The trick is balance. (The author's voice decides the mix.)
    too much vocabulary == everything turns purple, the writing lacks sincerity
    too fancy a grammar == feels like imitation, the piece is overworked
    too thick a style == convolution, the author's overcompensating​

    Here's the thing. From what I've seen, you're good at two out of three. Relax a bit on the style. Be humble but trust yourself. Have confidence but not conceit. Wanting to know technique puts you on the path to learning it.

    And find yourself some writing books. They are more effective than forums, with far more breadth and depth. (Sorry, WF.) If you want recommendations. I have some.
     
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    This is a good realization. However, I believe that your conscious efforts at cadence are destroying any natural cadence that you may have. The post I am quoting has the earmarks of being edited by you, and it is much less graceful and less readable than the posts that seem less edited. I would like to see what its first draft looked like.

    To put this another way: You seem to be assuming that we're saying that your rough drafts are good enough and that you should avoid making them better. No. We're saying that your rough drafts are good enough and that you should STOP making them worse.

    Your conscious efforts at cadence are making everything, INCLUDING cadence, worse. Much worse. Whatever you are doing in an effort at cadence is much worse than useless.

    That is why you should stop with the cadence--because you are not, at this time, able to do it in an effective and non-destructive way. Maybe the day will come when you have learned more about other aspects of writing and you can resume thinking about cadence. That day is not here.
     
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  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    QFT
     
  6. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    It's been cancelled due to lack of funding
     
  7. Earp

    Earp Contributor Contributor

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    Damned Republicans.
     
  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The advice was not that you shouldn't have cadence in your writing,but rather that you attempts to aim for it consciously were ruining your writing and in fact making cadence worse
     
  9. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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  10. waitingforzion

    waitingforzion Banned

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    Was any part of my original post unclear?

    I didn't really do that much editing. I messed it up by editing, and then I just left it. This is what happens most of the time.

    And the posts of mine you find the most satisfactory are posts that I edit while writing, focusing on clarity and a natural cadence, instead of a poetic cadence.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    If that's true (and I have my doubts) why not keep using the natural cadence?

    Edited to add: for your original post, it certainly didn't flow, and my brain was saying, "Buh? Oh, ok, this refers to this, and he did a bootlegger reverse there for no reason, but he means..."
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
  12. waitingforzion

    waitingforzion Banned

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    I know my original post does not flow. It sounded off to my ear once I had written it.

    But as you have said that I have disdain for a natural cadence, it seems that you have disdain for a poetic cadence, because otherwise you would not insist that I use only the former, unless you believe I cannot use the latter.

    So why do you discourage me from aiming for a poetic cadence? because you believe that I cannot? or because you think that the natural cadence is so much superior?
     
  13. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    Because, so far, your attempts at poetic cadence show that you cannot do it well. Personally, I think you should focus on natural until you're a bit more advanced. Just my opinion, of course, so feel free to ignore and go on about your day.
     
  14. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    At this time, you cannot use the latter. The day may come when you've learned enough to be able to, but right now it's just not working. The King James Bible is beautiful. Much poetry is beautiful. But you don't START there. It's like picking up a violin and refusing to ever do anything but try, and fail, to imitate the most complex violin piece.

    You need to do a whole lot more reading and a whole lot more writing before you return to poetic cadence. Learning is not about failing at the pinnacle goal over and over and over. Learning is about slowly achieving lesser goals, on the way to that pinnacle. You refuse to start learning, because you refuse to pursue a lesser goal.

    Now, there's also the issue that you try to use poetic cadence on occasions when natural speech is much more appropriate--trying to play that complex piece for a square dance when a fiddle number is more appropriate. But that's not the primary point.
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The former - poetic cadence done well is great (although not appropriate to every circumstance), but you do it extremely badly, watching your attempts to use it in every possible circumstance is like watching a toddler who can't yet walk properly attempt to run a marathon.

    First you need to read

    then you need to learn to write well

    Only then do you need to start worrying about cadence

    (I'd also note that you've been a member since 2009 and have not in that time moved your writing forward one iota , because you continue to attempt things you just aren't capable of instead of achievements that are within your reach)
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
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  16. waitingforzion

    waitingforzion Banned

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    No, actually I haven't moved my writing forward simply because I barely write, and possibly because I don't read enough modern prose. And even when I attempt to write something, I don't persevere in polishing it, and for a long time I have refused to get my thoughts down in rough drafts before trying to achieve certain stylistic goals. Also, I was not keeping my syntax subordinate to proper grammar and clarity, and I was trying to use certain grammatical structures regardless of what the content was, and I was trying to make my sentences as long as possible without having figured out the things I wanted to say or in what order I wanted to say them.

    But you see my failure as purely the result of my efforts to achieve cadence, and as a thing I cannot help while aiming for it. And you draw this conclusion from examples of my writing which I have revised much less than you assume. And this is because I often write very small passages every once in a while, and then rush to post them online. So in reality, the passages which you think I put so much effort to, I really did not. The truth is that I barely write anything because I am so discouraged that I do nothing but procrastinate. It took quite some time before I realized that I could just write my thoughts down and polish the words later. And I am not even doing that now.

    But I have indeed been reading more, just not fiction.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
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  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'd point out that this site is called Writers forums .... if you aren't writing then you are wasting your own and everyone elses time .... may be you should find a different hobby, like one that you actually do ?
     
  18. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    People here have told you this dozens of times. How did you manage to block out every single one of those times?
     
  19. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor Contest Winner 2022

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    Be careful, that one will make writing tough. Asimov, who pretty much holds the modern record for word count, said to just get the words out there first. (Try writing a novel a month for the next forty years. Then you'll understand what he did!) Give yourself something to edit. Switch between projects if you're stuck. I know we don't all want to sound like him, but the guy was a true genius, and that advice won't steer you wrong.

    You can still edit deeper than average before calling your work a first draft. Look at free-write exercises. They might help you loosen up with ideas. You might also look at brainstorming techniques. Get your ideas flowing (the message/vocabulary), structure them (the grammar), and then shape them (the style/rhetoric). You want that order to be the baseline. Sometimes you override it, but if it's the norm, you're going to feel awkward, because you're writing backwards. (Avoid style before structure before message.)

    If I were you, I would get an epub of your favorite author, someone who understands the more poetic forms. (I like Cormac McCarthy, John Barth, Toni Morrison, and Salman Rushdie. Any of those are good choices.) You could probably even just grab excerpts online if you don't want to spend money. Grab a few noteworthy paragraphs and break them down into sentences. Then really analyze style and structures, word choices, imagery, and the thousand other et ceteras. Get yourself a few good books on grammar and on style so that you know what on earth you're looking at.

    From there you move to the big story structures, so that's not the end either.
     
  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    or here's a thought - if you desperately want to write in poetical cadence,you could just write poetry
     
  21. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    Same as @Judward - wrote prose, sitting in his bedroom crying stories, and walking to the shop [& back] grocery monologues, but was unable to capture mainstream or reading audience, if there is such a thing.

    Only with web-publication of 'No Milk In Fridge' did he find solace - on Blogger/Wordpress, I believe. He is about somewhere, I think.

    No milk in fridge
    No milk for my kids
    No milk for coffee
    no milk for cornflakes
    no milk for wifey
    chained to the radiator
    I hate her
     
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