How would (or is, if you have a specific example) sincerity be conveyed in a sci-fi/fantasyish story?
>inb4 trying to be sincere makes you insincere
Really, it comes down to: I'm trying to write a series of stories, but it's hard for me to get past the notion of "muh world building". The world-building aspect is necessary, as it leans farther toward fantasy than, say, Infinite
Memeand doesn't have such a direct "ENTERTAINMENT IS KILLING US" allegorical connection to the real world.
It's easy to conceive of being sincere in nonfiction essays, but this is my first foray into a fiction that deviates pretty far from the real world, and I'm deathly afraid of ending up writing something that feels dishonest.
>Worldbuilding is overrated shit.
Fair enough, my concern is that there's still inevitably going to be some of it, and I don't want the story to devolve into a wowsocoolman description-fest.
Maybe it has something to do with not having an actual "arc" plotted out at this point; I want the character(s) to exist in this world that has a lot of history already, and even though the characters themselves have their own fears and desires it's nothing compared to the High Drama that preceded them.
So if you have a premade setting, make use of it. But keep the focus on what the protagonist is aftet, not all the high drama. Leave that for implication.
I think a book that does good with this is The Lies of Locke Lamora. Theres defintely some extensive backstory on the world, but its hardly showcased snd the action is always on Locke and Jean
Don't focus on how all the details of your world work, focus on how they affect people- be personally honest even in your fictional setting. Have you watched The Wire? You should. The Wire paints a careful picture of how a human city works, and how it affects its inhabitants. It's a picture that would be interesting, intelligible, and feel sincere even to an alien caveman. The Wire could, accordingly, have been made about aliens and it would have felt sincere to us, because it focused on how the setting impacted its inhabitants personally.
If I've understood your problem correctly.
Read anything by Peter S Beagle.
I'm being fucking serious too.
Cool, great suggestions. I'm looking into the longer works mentioned by other posters here, but in the meantime could anyone point to some short stories that do a good job of what I'm after? Since I'm starting out with writing a short story and moving from there, and because I have a long reading queue as it is.
Can I suggest reading some Richard Brautigan? That guy is so sincere, like he's bearing his soul to you without pretense or adornment and only the slightest artistic embellishment necessary to tell a well-crafted story.
I'm actually writing a series of flash fiction vignettes tentatively titled 'New Sincerity', trying to build on what Brautigan did in 'Revenge of the Lawn'.
Not quite sure how this'd tie into Sci-Fi/Fantasy though.
I would say that sincerity within the realms of sci-fi/fantasy would imply something completely different from what it implies with regards to literary fiction/nonfiction.
I would say that a "sincere" fantasy series would simply be a return to the bare bones of the genre, basic D&D type stuff with spartan prose that isn't afraid to embrace the "fantasy" aspect wholeheartedly.
Yep, apologies for the confusion. I meant sincerity in the literary fiction sense, and the scifi/fantasy elements simply in relation to the world that it's set in. I'm not well read enough, or enough of an aficionado, to presume that I'd also be able to pay homage to a genre.
>Sincerity can only be found in nonnarrative fiction.
You mean in pure world-building, a la Borges? Whether that's even true, I'm not skilled or developed enough to do that well. I'm much more interested in wrestling with characters and human-condition-ish questions, just without letting their stories/conflicts/what-have-you play out in too coincidental a world.
i.e. Tolkienian worlds just beg for a Ultimate Good vs Ultimate Evil type of biblical climax. A more scifi-ish setting with artificial intelligence basically lets me know from page 1 that I'll be Learning a Lesson about the Nature of Souls/Humanity, or something to that effect. You get the idea. I have a world but I don't want the "big themes" (even though I'm trying not to be explicit about them, they can obviously be read into the text) to lead to some inevitable story trajectory. That's what I think would make it dishonest for me.
>came to thread expecting discussion on new sincerity movement
>it's just OP asking for help for his shitty writing
damn it /lit/
I don't write this mind of thing, but I've read enough to see that you need not describe more than you would if it were deal, eg) if someone lives in a fantastical skycity, they don't care, they live there. Just describe what's pertinant to the character and the action. Analogy is a low order of fiction btw, so be originally fantastic.
I don't think that having a setting of that style is insincere. In Infinite Jest, the world is clearly designed as a setting ideal for the author to talk about addiction, isolation, and the pitfalls of these things. However, it's also not that different from the real world. You could believe that people go through similar problems in real life.
If you design the setting just to subvert your own premise for the story you will just be misleading the reader. The setting is a tool to have the reader understand how life normally is in that world, so they can measure how characters may deviate from the norm there.
my understanding has largely been framed in terms of the essay "David Foster Wallace and the New Sincerity in American Fiction":
Of course the idea of sincerity applies to more than just DFW, but he's memey enough to be a signpost of the movement. The classic one-liner, penned by DFW himself, is that the writer is unconcerned with postmodern wankery and cynicism, but rather with "single-entendre principles".