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You are currently reading a thread in /lit/ - Literature

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Any in /lit/ have any advice for aspiring writers. Purple prose or beige prose? anything to avoid when writing a novel? Any other advice you may have? Picture related, he inspired me.
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Well I would say the first thing you do is to read the Beat poets. Kerouac and Ginsberg. I'm not suggesting this because they're good, but because they're the clearest examples of prose rhythm. Once you understand how the sounds work, then you move on to the images and structure.

Purple prose occurs when a person becomes unaware that he's hitching on the natural rhythm and sway of images in his own head. Purple prose sounds nice and looks cute, but does little else. That's why the editing process is important. You have to learn how to trade that for what's important.

Then again, some people, like Nabokov, are exclusively writers of decoration. They come up with the best images although, as a whole, their books are overburdened.

The most obvious answer is to have 'every line fit into the context of the theme you're getting it'. But that's easy to say and hard to execute. The only way to pull it off is to read a lot of other people as to how they do it right.
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>>7662600
Look up John Gardner's Art of Fiction for a good primery on writing literature, & then Art of Dramatic writing for strictly plot/character stuff, its written around plays but the same principles apply everywhere. (Immediate Fiction is like a quick & dirty version of AoDW but is missing the key component of establishing premise.)

Those should give you quite a bit to go over, but the important thing is to be practicing and willing to explore different avenues of reading and writing. Good luck bro
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>>7662600
If you're talking about fiction writing, I'd actually say ignore any and all advice until you've already written at least 80 thousand words or so of fiction.

You're never going to learn until you actually try it and getting a feel for what your writing is like is more important when you're starting out than just taking a bunch of advice that may or may not apply to your process or what you're going for. It's not as universal as a lot of people here will claim.
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>>7662617
Very good advice. That is basically it in a nutshell.

Can confirm Immediate Fiction is a very good quick & dirty resource if that is what you're looking for.
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>>7662637
I have already have the first chapter done. Although is littered with grammar mistakes, English isn't my first language
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>>7662615
>Purple prose occurs when a person becomes unaware that he's hitching on the natural rhythm and sway of images in his own head
I'm really trying to decipher this but I can't. What on earth does this mean?
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>>7662700
i believe anon was giving a contextually appropriate example of purple prose.
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>>7662700
He's pretending to be an expert on something he doesn't understand. At all.
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>>7662700
I'll give you two style of Romanticism from roughly the same period

The Scarlet Letter:

"In my native town of Salem, at the head of what, half a century ago, in the days of old King Derby, was a bustling wharf,—but which is now burdened with decayed wooden warehouses, and exhibits few or no symptoms of commercial life; except, perhaps, a bark or brig, half-way down its melancholy length, discharging hides; or, nearer at hand, a Nova Scotia schooner, pitching out her cargo of firewood,—at the head, I say, of this dilapidated wharf, which the tide often overflows, and along which, at the base and in the rear of the row of buildings, the track of many languid years is seen in a border of unthrifty grass,—here, with a view from its front windows adown this not very enlivening prospect, and thence across the harbour, stands a spacious edifice of brick."

Moby Dick:

"There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see?—Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster—tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?"

You'll notice that though they write the same style, and both talk about a harbor, Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter is less precise, and just lays image after image. Melville not only has a rhythm, but it's subjectivized, and feels as if Ishmael is right there introducing to you the scope of the harbor itself, not just describing, but asking rhetoric questions, and picking out the people relevant to him. Melville had it together, and was knowing what he was saying, waaay more than Hawthorne.
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>>7662718
melville is such god tier; it breaks my heart to know how his life ended up god fucking damn it
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>>7662731
Well, then again, if he was famous he probably wouldn't have written Bartleby, which Borges wrote as a tale that prefigured Kafka later.
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>>7662718
>You'll notice that though they write the same style

No they don't. You have no idea what you're talking about.
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>>7662718
I don't really think that the first is an example of purple prose though.
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Beginning writers' mistakes:
Affecting formal, poetic, or historical prose.
Posting a rough draft for critique. Learn to edit.
Providing no context.
Writing a piece as a riddle that needs to be figured out.
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>>7662751
>Affecting formal, poetic, or historical prose.
Can you explain this?
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>>7662750
Either way, I would still say Hawthorne let the sheer joy of description get to his head, without any significant payoff, moreso than Melville. A proof of a lack of precision.

The paragon of purplism in contemporary times would probably be Cormac McCarthy. Beyond the ending image and some scenes and dialogues, a lot of Blood Meridian just felt drawn out and plodding along because it was the same old hallucinogenic violence shtick along the way.
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>>7662751
>Beginning writers' mistakes:
>Affecting formal, poetic, or historical prose.
>Providing no context.
>Writing a piece as a riddle that needs to be figured out.

These things are only mistakes if you do them without knowing why or how. To call them mistakes under any circumstances is pants on head retarded.
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Any tell-tale signs of a Mary or Gary Stu?
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>>7663051
Most of the time its just when the character is just wading through the plot, not through their own decisions and will, but because the author wants them too, and coupled with them is whatever fetishes is on the authors mind at the moment. It can be positive or negative.

Some people would say that a character being super good at something or being held in high praise by others means they're a Sue, but that's definitely not the hard and fast rule and honestly just plain untrue in some cases.

You honestly want to watch out for bland/flat characters moreso than Mary Sues, most people with any sort of sensibility and talent naturally avoid the latter, but its dead easy to fall into bland characterization.
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>>7663064
What about a character that does above-average when compared to others? Not over the top like he is some god or anything, but makes him standout because of his background?
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>>7663069
Then that's just what they are, as long as you provide suitable backing for it and arrange some counters for him then its all good.

I'm gonna assume you might've read Berserk, Gutts is a very good example of someone extremely skilled but is very far from being a Mary Sue.
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>>7663074
Any more good advice? I thankful you are Helping me
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>>7663104
No problem dude. At the end of the day it all comes down to observation, practice and experimentation., Seeing what works and what doesn't. Start your writing today to get a better idea on what to focus on tomorrow, always be practicing and evolving.


The books recommended here >>7662617

Are all excellent starting points for more refined technique, but if you have any other questions I'll try my best to answer them.
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I don't know what to describe. I'd just write what the characters are doing and the dialogue, but the story moves waaay to fast that way.
How do you learn what descriptions add to the story and aren't just inserted to pump up the page count?
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>>7663126
lol if you're screenwriting that may not be a big problem, but think about your setting and point of view.

>Where are my characters? How does it affect them?
>What character am I looking through? Am I looking through multiple characters?
>What sort of details would my character notice in others and the world around them?

Use these sort of questions to further explore your setting and characters. That should give you the fuel of understanding what to put down, and who knows you can probably find more fun ways to develop conflict from these explorations.
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How would the average reader feel not knowing the main characters name? Would they accept it, be indifferent about it, or would they dislike it?
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>>7663308
I believe it would be fine if it doesn't make for awkward conversations or descriptions ("the boy with the spiky hair and overly long sword said," repeated over and over, to give a particularly bad example)
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>>7663308
Depends on how it fits with the rest of book. It worked in Notes From Underground. A good film example would be Falling Down.
>>7663126
Draft and redraft, eventually you will figure out what you want to say about your characters, your setting, whatever; that will inform your descriptions. Write and write and you'll figure out what you want to do. Read a lot and pay attention to how the descriptions fit with the rest of story.
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>>7662600
Remember: the idea is more important than how you say it.
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>>7663321
Ah okay, his name is a huge hint, for a plot point
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>>7663327
You should elaborate
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>>7663333
What makes a lot of authors acclaimed is their content. Gaddis, for example, doesn't write as intricately and beautiful as possible all the time; in the Recognitions, there are many sections with relatively simple language that are made powerful by the ideas they invoke. And that is what language is supposed to do--invoke; it isn't the bird or the sound of thunder; it is what invokes them.
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>>7663350
So the neither purple prose, or beige prose, matter. Only the idea behind the words
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>>7663397
Unless you are trying to express something through the way it is written, which is something many of the better authors do, I would say so.
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>>7663350
>invoke
go home you're drunk
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>>7663403
I think you are underestimating the importance of good writing. I agree that what is being written about is important, but quality writing can enable an idea to be drawn out more subtly or presented with greater vivacity.
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>>7663350
>implying words and ideas aren't indistinguishable
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>>7663407
I KNOW MY LIMITS.
>>7663410
I probably am, and I agree with your point.
Thread replies: 39
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