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Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 10 Jul 2010 16:05
by Robspierre
Dukester, I think that Keith is incapable of writing fiction. He spent twelve years as a technical writer and it shows in his fiction writing, that is why he can only tell.

My Language Arts Methods professor was the same way, she knew academic writing but was incapable of producing or discussing any other type in a manner that was appropriate for the classroom. She also didn't know jack shit about YA fiction. I pissed her off when I politely informed her that her "interpretation" of a novel was completely wrong and showed why based on what the author herself had said in many interviews, not to mention at the bar after a lecture :cylon101: I really do miss going to Comicon, but the crowds and the movie industry idiots are just not worth dealing with.

Rob

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 10 Jul 2010 20:20
by SandChigger
Another nice one, Rob. :D

Often when you have a writer who produced higher quality work early in their career compared to later published material, one will often find that the writer has become lazy

I'm assuming Anderson's early work was only mediocre at best. Which doesn't say much for what he's producing now in his "Fat-ass Lazy" period. ;)

(You think maybe all the dictahiking hype is his Ander-bizarro-zone attempt to counter any accusation of laziness? "How can you say I'm a lazy writer?! Look how I hike and scramble about when I'm writing! I'm FULL OUT, dammit!" Classic obfuscation? ;) )

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 11 Jul 2010 05:33
by Serkanner
This is rapidly becoming one of my more favourite topics to read.

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 19 Jul 2010 22:33
by Robspierre
The value of Outlines.


Sent 68-page (90 chapters) outline of SISTERHOOD OF DUNE back to Brian Herbert for his last revamp. We should start writing this weekend.



Today we will utilize the twat by KJA as the basis for our discussion.

There are as many types of outlines as there are writers. David Drake, of Hammer's Slammers fame, is on record saying he needs very detailed outlines when he is working on a book. That means before he sits down to write, he maps out all the details he needs to get the reader from point A to B in detail. In other words, he has everything worked out before hand. This means that he spends a large amount of time planning what he is going to write, working out all the details concerning characters, background, etc., before he commits himself to writing the narrative of the work he is working on. Drake has posted in the past that he has spent months even years working out books before he writes them, like most successful writers, he works on multiple projects, moving between them to keep his interest up and the paychecks coming in.

Then we have Keith. On July 15 he posted a blog about brainstorming with Brian Herbert. Today, the 19th, he sent of an outline. In less than two weeks the "Writing" team has produced a 68 page outline covering 90 chapters for the upcoming book.

That is 1.3 chapters per page. Flesh them out to three or four pages and you have the average page count for a Herbert/Anderson work. I bring this up because based on further reading of Keith's blogs, his background, and the extremely simple plotting employed throughout the books, that this outline is all the "writing" Keith does. A KJA book reads like a dry, bland piece of technical writing, no surprise there, he spent twelve years as a technical writer and editor at Lawrence Livermore. Looking at his past twats about "editing" further reinforces this belief. He does not edit, he does line passes. Odds are, he takes chunks of "story," goes over the chunk makes a few technical corrections and that's it.

It shows in the quality of work that eventually is published. Reading KJA is like finding a choose your own adventure book and discovering some one has done all the work for you. Boring as hell. No depth, no opportunity to ponder, a complete lack of detail. The same happens when you watch the Transformers movies, Optimus Prime is good, not because of his actions, but because we are told he is good.

What does this have to do with the outline KJA sent off? Well, he finished the outline in four days. He took the brainstorming idea's, and cranked out the story of the creation of the Bene Gesserit in four days. That is extreme arrogance. Under Frank Herbert, the Bene Gesserit resembled, in part, the Jesuit's. Under Keith and Brian, they were female Jedi with magical powers.

KJA has repeatedly shown that he is not a writer on par with many in the field, he has grown arrogant and lazy, and
his ego has taken over to hide his insecurities. This paint by numbers approach to his outlines translates over to the books, resulting in published writing that is an embarrassment. The only resemblance to Dune KJA and Brian's writing has is the massive DUNE on the cover.

Rob

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 01:00
by SandChigger
Another good one. :clap:

And as I have just pointed out in a Twit of my own, at no time has KJA mentioned FACT CHECKING with FH's Dune books or even their own earlier books, during the "brainstorming" process or the outline augmentation.

And if he doesn't mention it, you can be pretty damned sure he isn't doing it! ;)

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 02:48
by merkin muffley
Robspierre wrote: Reading KJA is like finding a choose your own adventure book and discovering some one has done all the work for you. Boring as hell. No depth, no opportunity to ponder, a complete lack of depth. The same happens when you watch the Transformers movies, Optimus Prime is good, not because of his actions, but because we are told he is good.


:clap:
This is a great thread to have here. I would like to take this class (I guess we're all auditing right now).

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 02:49
by TheDukester
Auditing? I was kinda hoping it was for credit ... I'm just sayin'.

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 03:28
by Serkanner
TheDukester wrote:Auditing? I was kinda hoping it was for credit ... I'm just sayin'.


I will put this class on my resume, it being official or not.

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 19:46
by Robspierre
TheDukester wrote:Auditing? I was kinda hoping it was for credit ... I'm just sayin'.



Just remember, credit will not be posted until payment has been received (A sixer of quality beer in lieu of cash will be accepted.)

Rob

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 19:48
by Robspierre
I think Chiiger and I hit a nerve.


Last time I went camping, I plotted LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON. I remember watching DVD of Last Days of Pompeii in the tent, for research.
about 2 hours ago via web


Rob

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 23:03
by SandChigger
Pshaw, man! He never reads anything we write! Pshaw!

;)

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 21 Jul 2010 02:31
by Serkanner
Robspierre wrote:I think Chiiger and I hit a nerve.


Last time I went camping, I plotted LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON. I remember watching DVD of Last Days of Pompeii in the tent, for research.
about 2 hours ago via web


Rob



Wait, wait, wait ... he watches a DVD for research? It isn't even a documentary right? Besides ... why didn't he read the original book by Edward Bulwer-Lytton? Sorry ... he doesn't know the movie is based on a novel!

Research my ass!!!

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 21 Jul 2010 04:01
by SandChigger
The man's a joke. :roll:

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 21 Jul 2010 08:04
by Nekhrun
Serkanner wrote:
Robspierre wrote:I think Chiiger and I hit a nerve.


Last time I went camping, I plotted LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON. I remember watching DVD of Last Days of Pompeii in the tent, for research.
about 2 hours ago via web


Rob



Wait, wait, wait ... he watches a DVD for research? It isn't even a documentary right? Besides ... why didn't he read the original book by Edward Bulwer-Lytton? Sorry ... he doesn't know the movie is based on a novel!

Research my ass!!!

Come on now, cut him some slack. How would you plug in a book while camping? It's much easier to haul in a DVD player and television and some type of power source. He probably hooked it up to the camper he was in a tent next to. It's like a little kid with a chair fort.

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 21 Jul 2010 10:05
by SandChigger
Nekhrun wrote:He probably hooked it up to the camper he was in a tent next to. It's like a little kid with a chair fort.

ZING!!! :laughing-rolling:


(For the record, I have never tried plugging a book. Gotten a bit "frisky" with some pictorial magazines on occasion. But never a book. :shifty: )

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 20:39
by Robspierre
Maps & Legends by Michael Chabon


This collection of essays should be part of every writer's collection.

Rob

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 21:55
by Shaitan
Excellent thread. I'm definitely going to bookmark this one for my efforts to hone my skills in preparation for delving into what ai hope will become my life's work.....

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 21:56
by Shaitan
SandChigger wrote:(For the record, I have never tried plugging a book. Gotten a bit "frisky" with some pictorial magazines on occasion. But never a book. :shifty: )

:lol:

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 16 Sep 2010 02:31
by Serkanner
Robspierre wrote:Maps & Legends by Michael Chabon


This collection of essays should be part of every writer's collection.

Rob


Winner of the Pulitzer, Sidewise, Hugo and Nebula award ... you read that correctly Keith: WINNER!

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 16 Sep 2010 19:32
by Robspierre
Serkanner wrote:
Robspierre wrote:Maps & Legends by Michael Chabon


This collection of essays should be part of every writer's collection.

Rob


Winner of the Pulitzer, Sidewise, Hugo and Nebula award ... you read that correctly Keith: WINNER!


Also, a very down to earth friendly gentleman.

Rob

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 17 Sep 2010 11:26
by grandmastercrafter
Fantastic thread. Very very well done. Valuable resource, and I love the way you state the case - superb... :clap:

oh - and please keep it coming!

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 05 Oct 2010 14:51
by Shaitan
Absolutely great thread. Tons of material that I will be drawing inspiration and guidance from as I undertake what may be the riskiest, most emotionally vulnerable, and ambitious project of my life -- a creative magnum opus without waiting years or decades more to work my way through lesser endeavors and get the inevitable missteps out of the way first.

I've already spent most of my life psyching myself out about undertaking "The Series" (it has other names but I'm still not satisfied with them, so I don't use them) for one reason or another -- it's heavily rooted in the current state of cosmology and quantum physics, M/Brane Theory, etc, so I frequently revise major story elements to comport with the latest advances in the various Theories of Everything; I just recently grappled with the notion that the Multiverse may not be "shaped" like a deck of cards, loaf of bread or oriental fan, but rather more like a family tree, branching out through connecting pairs of black holes and Big Bangs -- and I am now determined to stop letting that push my deadlines indefinitely into the future. That means accepting that there may be flaws in the scientific underpinnings of the storyline.....but the technological/organizational nature of what I intend to build is that it isn't just the product of the "author" but rather derives from the collaboration between a central creative mind and the input/collaboration of the entire fan community. Plus, the idea here is to allow the story to be revised even after it's been officially "published" or even for factions within the community to "fork" the story if need be and maintain potentially conflicting versions competing for my blessing as the current "official" storyline.

Complex and rife with potential issues, of course....but it gives me an out, a way to change my mind later if I decide that something isn't satsifactory. There is of course the risk that the story will never be "finished".....but that's one I'm willing to take if the alternative is falling short of my ambitions for this project.

Obviously, all of this is very important to me and I've given it years of intensive thought. Hopefully that will be enough to ensure that I don't find myself on my deathbed having failed to share with the world the fullness of what has been lurking in my heard and my heart since I was a toddler....and this thread has been an immense help in moving me forward!

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 05 Oct 2010 15:13
by Freakzilla
I've never "finished" a project, only stopped working on it.

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 06 Oct 2010 01:16
by SandChigger
I never stop working on them, just devote less and less time to each as new ones are added. :P

Oh to be one of the Vigilance! ;)

Re: The Craft of Writing (Work in Progress)

Posted: 06 Oct 2010 15:27
by Shaitan
Freakzilla wrote:I've never "finished" a project, only stopped working on it.


All too true.