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CN"S Guide to Writing
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AskMeAboutOrcs
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

glitchcraft wrote:
AskMeAboutOrcs wrote:
glitchcraft wrote:
Aiieee. Crying or Very sad I was about to make a joke like "how did he write it then?" when I saw he had no arms, but I read the rest of what happened to him and now I feel bad.
That's amazing, though, that he was
A) able to create such a good story without having the ability to physically look at it and revise it
B) communicate his story at all to anyone who would write his idea for him, given that his methods of communication had become... umm... severely limited.


Are you kidding?

About what?


He didn't physically look at it and revise it because it's a novel, written by an author whose body was intact? Smile
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vulpeslibertas
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to get on your case too much, haiku, I do value your opinion, but knowing what you're talking about always improves your writing. Razz Sorry, double entendre, the luls made me do it.

Just to recap, CasualNotice isn't stating the unbreakable Rules of Time and Space, just what experience has taught. Haiku's said that passion is at least as important than research. Nobody has contravened this: we just haven't conversed about passion yet. We can assume that most people reading this thread are pretty passionate about their comic.

I hope we can all agree that if you are writing about something, that you should at least know the basics. If for no other reason than to know what to blatantly make up (which is ok and makes for some good writing sometimes). The more you know, the less likely you are to shove your foot in your mouth.

And since we are on the topic of detail vs understanding, I would like to clarify that these are two completely separate things. I have power tables indicating the exact amount of energy my supernatural characters can use and complex laws of physics for how things work. That is understanding. None of this will ever appear in my comic. As far as my readers are concerned stuff happens, 'nough said. That is detail (or lack thereof). Having understanding that I never detail for my readers helps me write better. (Realism, also, is different than understanding. Vampires don't exist: I'm blatantly disregarding this fact. The fun of my comic is that it does violate reality.)

I think that this is important. Having knowledge doesn't mean that you dump it on your readers. Your character bible should ideally contain a lot of information your readers will never directly know. Your subconscious awareness of these facts will come out in your writing. You don't need to have PhD understanding of everything about everything, but generally speaking you should have a modest working theory about everything you depict and a good idea of what lies just beyond your audience's vision.

What you write doesn't have to be realistic. It doesn't have to be detailed. You do have to know what you are writing about. Bla de blah garbledegook, and then he shoved peas up his nose with a casting iron.
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Doogl McDoog
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

..


Last edited by Doogl McDoog on Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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haikucomics



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vulpeslibertas wrote:
Just to recap, CasualNotice isn't stating the unbreakable Rules of Time and Space, just what experience has taught. Haiku's said that passion is at least as important than research. Nobody has contravened this: we just haven't conversed about passion yet. We can assume that most people reading this thread are pretty passionate about their comic.


I feel like I'm beating a dead horse at this point, but I understood that no one was saying passion was unimportant. What I said from the beginning was that if I was going to give advice, I probably wouldn't talk about research, but talk about passion. Of course I realize that other people think that passion important too, but it wasn't mentioned at all in a section that was referred to as "Basics. Definitions. General advice." I simply think passion is a "basic" and research is a subtopic.

I also do not think that it is easy to figure out what you're passionate about. I think admiration for the work of others is often mistaken as passion. Sometimes things we even enjoy as a hobby is mistaken for something we should work on in our art. It is possible to love science fiction novels and never really desire to write one. It is possible to detest romance novels but feel compelled to write one. It is confusing. So I thought it was worth bringing up.

vuleslibertas wrote:
And since we are on the topic of detail vs understanding,


Detail in art was being used as an analogy to research in writing. That is, what was being said was that to draw a pair of pants, one needs to understand how different types of fabrics fold, where seams are, etc., just as to write about a car engine dying one must first understand how an internal combustion engine works, what belts do, and what the purpose of the various fluids are. My point was that the degree of understanding can shift, and one can draw an aesthetically pleasing pair of pants without much understanding the difference between cotton and silk fabric folds, or write about a car breaking down in the desert without knowing what happens when a car runs out of oil. I was not trying to get into how much detail the artist showed in the final picture, but to instead say that one group of artists probably needs to know less about such things than the other group. If you're going to be a realist, showing how silk fabric is different from cotton or polyester might be important, but if you're drawing stick figures a la Don Hertzfeldt, it really doesn't matter. Knowing more isn't not necessarily better, unless it works for you.
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Chilari
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps not, but if you're writing about a main character who's a mechanic, then you need to know enough about cars and problems the character might come across to write it well. Similarly, if you're writing a story set in a clothing shop, you need to have at least a basic understanding of how clothes look when hanging up or folded, and probably some reference photos too, in order to draw it convincingly. I think this is when everyone has been getting at: a basic understanding of this stuff is okay if that's all you need, but if you need the detail and make it up instead, unless it's obvious it's not meant to be real - like, say, Miyazaki's flying machines, to use an example I've experienced recently - then it's going to fall apart under even casual scrutiny.
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haikucomics



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anezka wrote:
Perhaps not, but if you're writing about a main character who's a mechanic, then you need to know enough about cars and problems the character might come across to write it well. Similarly, if you're writing a story set in a clothing shop, you need to have at least a basic understanding of how clothes look when hanging up or folded, and probably some reference photos too, in order to draw it convincingly. I think this is when everyone has been getting at: a basic understanding of this stuff is okay if that's all you need, but if you need the detail and make it up instead, unless it's obvious it's not meant to be real - like, say, Miyazaki's flying machines, to use an example I've experienced recently - then it's going to fall apart under even casual scrutiny.


We are agreed. If you need specific details about something and the details need to be realistic, then research will make your work better. If you do not, it will not. I have never said otherwise.
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Casual Notice
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, let me make a simple declarative that anyone can understand. Passion keeps you going. That's all. Passion does not plot your story, nor does it make anyone care about your characters. Passion makes you sit down at the computer and write up your script every day. It makes the artist sit down and draw. It doesn't provide them with skills and techniques that are useful in the craft.

And you have to have those skills to make that passion useful for anything other than just forcing yourself to sit down at the workstation. Tchaikovsky was passionate but he knew a hell of a lot about music. Adams was funny, but he did massive research and had a pretty solid understanding of the state of cosmology, physics, and philosophy at the time the Hitchhikers' Radio show was first written.

This guide isn't about the art of writing. It's about the craft. Just as you wouldn't argue the benefit of passion in a tutorial that discusses brush control and the importance of sketching using primitives in art, passion has no place in this discussion, because it doesn't improve your technique.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

haikucomics wrote:

Detail in art was being used as an analogy to research in writing. That is, what was being said was that to draw a pair of pants, one needs to understand how different types of fabrics fold, where seams are, etc., just as to write about a car engine dying one must first understand how an internal combustion engine works, what belts do, and what the purpose of the various fluids are.


See, I think you're reading too much into this "research" thing. Nobody is saying you need to know how an internal combustion engine works in order to write about a car dying in the desert. What they are saying is that you ought to have some knowledge of what being in a hot car that's not going anywhere feels like. Nobody's saying you have to know the difference between cotton and linen to draw a pair of pants. But if you put the folds every which freaking way, it's not going to look like a pair of pants. That's true whether you have four lines or fifty.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual Notice wrote:
Passion keeps you going. That's all.


Passion is what makes great art. To remove passion from any discussion about art is to ignore what is fundamental to art. Craft how passion is applied. There is no point in discussing craft without acknowledging why it is necessary in the first place.

Craft must be applied to something. How does one know what that something is? To me, this is fundamental to any discussion about craft, because one's need of craft will vary depending upon the answer.

munkymu wrote:
See, I think you're reading too much into this "research" thing. Nobody is saying you need to know how an internal combustion engine works in order to write about a car dying in the desert.


Casual Notice wrote:
You don't get to write a space opera without understanding at least the basics of Newtonian physics (actually, you'd be better off fully understanding Newtonian physics, with a basic grounding in Quantum physics and some small grasp of String and Chaos Theory).
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munkymu
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual Notice wrote:
You don't get to write a space opera without understanding at least the basics of Newtonian physics (actually, you'd be better off fully understanding Newtonian physics, with a basic grounding in Quantum physics and some small grasp of String and Chaos Theory).
[/quote]

I think CN's full of it there. I don't think anyone needs to have any grasp on String Theory, possibly including the physicists. Although I think Stephen R. Donaldson did get a bunch of mail about his terrible science in The Gap Cycle so YMMV.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

munkymu wrote:
Casual Notice wrote:
You don't get to write a space opera without understanding at least the basics of Newtonian physics (actually, you'd be better off fully understanding Newtonian physics, with a basic grounding in Quantum physics and some small grasp of String and Chaos Theory).


I think CN's full of it there. I don't think anyone needs to have any grasp on String Theory, possibly including the physicists. Although I think Stephen R. Donaldson did get a bunch of mail about his terrible science in The Gap Cycle so YMMV.


Like I wrote before, I agree with most of what you have said on research. Research can help a lot. Heck, I do tons of it. But I have also realized that research can get in the way of doing good work. That sometimes better to just leap off the cliff and go for it. The advice stated in CN's guide says otherwise, and that is what I have been responding to.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

munkymu wrote:
I think CN's full of it there. I don't think anyone needs to have any grasp on String Theory, possibly including the physicists.


I said you'd be better off with a some knowledge of those concepts. What I said you have to have a basic understanding of was Newtonian Physics. Seriously, I don't expect anyone to hold a doctor of Physics, but it helps improve a story if the author knows that pushing forward pushes you back.

haikucomics wrote:
There is no point in discussing craft without acknowledging why it is necessary in the first place.

Well, now, there's a comment I can take hold of. Since that is your belief, then why don't you just shut the hell up and start your own thread where you dispense advice on how to become and remain passionate about your work.

I honestly don't give a rat's ass about somebody else's passion. I don't care if people make the jump from proficiency to greatness. This guide is about making the jump from crap to acceptable.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

haikucomics wrote:
Passion is what makes great art

That I disagree with. Passion is what makes art enjoyable to the creator, instead of a chore. Having passion does not necessary improve the art, just take a look around (not on this forum obviously Razz ) at the innumerable horrendous webcomics, all produced by passionate but incompetent artists.

On the other hand, it is quite possible for a skilled artist to create great art without being the least bit passionate about it. Michelangelo did not want to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. His true love was sculpting, not painting. He was originally commissioned to create a monumental sculpted piece for the Pope's tomb, but later roped into painting the ceiling instead. He hated it so much that he ran away midway through the project, and had to be brought back to Rome by force to finish the painting. He likened the process of painting the Chapel ceiling to being skinned alive - the flayed skin of St Bartholomew in the Last Judgment was Michelangelo's self-portrait. Even with all that no one would dispute that the Sistine Chapel ceiling is one of the greatest pieces of art ever made in human history.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual Notice wrote:
Well, now, there's a comment I can take hold of. Since that is your belief, then why don't you just shut the hell up and start your own thread where you dispense advice on how to become and remain passionate about your work.


Ah, see, this is the problem we were having before. You have posted your guide in a discussion forum. It will be commented on. Not everyone will share your point of view. You do not need to agree with me, nor have I ever encouraged you to stop posting because you do not. Nor have I questioned your ability to understand simple concepts because you have a differing point of view. In fact, I have said that I think what you are doing is great. I think it's very useful. And I hope you keep it up.

So I would appreciate it if you would be nice. There is nothing dangerous or threatening about my point of view. It's just different. My posts have been on topic and my statements have been substantive. I'm sorry that you find it disappointing that I do not agree with you.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Koad wrote:
On the other hand, it is quite possible for a skilled artist to create great art without being the least bit passionate about it. Michelangelo did not want to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. His true love was sculpting, not painting. He was originally commissioned to create a monumental sculpted piece for the Pope's tomb, but later roped into painting the ceiling instead. He hated it so much that he ran away midway through the project, and had to be brought back to Rome by force to finish the painting. He likened the process of painting the Chapel ceiling to being skinned alive - the flayed skin of St Bartholomew in the Last Judgment was Michelangelo's self-portrait. Even with all that no one would dispute that the Sistine Chapel ceiling is one of the greatest pieces of art ever made in human history.


This is a tricky area. I have seen the Sistine Chapel in person, as well as his Pieta and Moses. Personally? I connected a lot more with the sculptures. The Sistine Chapel is a technical marvel, but I was not that moved by it. But maybe that was from all the docents that constantly shushed for quiet, or the incredible crowd of people that filled the room. Who knows? However, I could use my ambivalence towards the ceiling to say that something more comes through in Michelangelo's sculptures, but that isn't necessarily true for anyone but me. But I would be willing to say this:

Craft can make one's failures seem less obvious. Technical virtuosity can help distract from other failings in a work of art. But craft itself should not be mistaken for art (it frequently is).
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