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    Notes on Style

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      Dune 7

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    Notes on Style

    Postby Drunken Idaho » 04 Nov 2010 14:21

    The purpose of this thread is to discuss exactly which elements of Frank's writing style made Dune what it is, and how we can apply those elements to the OHDC in order to make it as close to the real thing as possible. In addition to chapter structure, I'd like to discuss story structure as well. Just off the top of my head, there are also topics such as dialogue, inner monologue, and Frank's trademarks (woolgathering, etc). There's lots to discuss here, so this OP will by no means be a comprehensive start to this.

    But I'll begin with this important comment on plot:

    We've created this forum in an attempt to construct what Frank might have had planned for a Dune conclusion. This is largely an act of trying to predict where the story was going. Here's the problem with this: In each of the Dune books, I was never able to predict what Frank had coming in the storyline. He was always several steps ahead of the reader, it seems to me. He took the characters, the different factions, the different talents, and he turned them inside out on themselves several times over. it will be a difficult task to achieve this quality in the OHDC. Now, I'm not trying to discourage anyone... What I suppose I'm saying is that when it comes time to figure out an actual plot (once the issues have been debated and we've run out of consensii to vote upon), there will be room for a large amount of creativity. I advise that we don't shy away from taking dramatic twists with the plot, so long as it seems like the kind of twist Frank might incorporate (again, a hard thing to predict). The aim here should be to surprise the reader, not to give them everything they might expect.
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby SandRider » 08 Apr 2011 13:53

    the "inner monologues" were key;

    they were almost always extremely revealing on a number of levels;
    they indicated the inner thoughts of the character, and their private reactions to other characters,
    but also informed on those other characters' personalities, motives, and history ...

    as well as providing pieces of the history of humanity in Frank's Dune, in short, precise phrases ...

    this "tool of style" read well, was dramatic, and was a vehicle for passing on information
    in a subtle way (another hallmark of Frank's spoken dialog as well; I'm thinking of course
    here of my favorite, Mohiam's 2-sentence encapsulation of the Butlerian Jihad ...)
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby SandRider » 08 Apr 2011 14:14

    Drunken is also talking about "plot-twists" ... which doesn't seem like an adequate word
    for what Frank did ... a "plot twist" is you figuring out that Bruce Willis is dead about two
    minutes before he does ... the young hero who conquered the Known Universe in the first
    book getting his eyes burned out in the second and banishing himself to the desert to die
    is .... something else ...

    so what Drunken is saying is that the orthodox Dune7 plot-line will have to contain some
    major turnings-over ... of established ideas, philosophies ... relationships ... (after the
    wars between the sisterhoods in Heretics, one does not defeat and conquer the other -
    they merge into something different ...)

    I also still think a major "theme" in all the books is a single faction "teaching" humanity
    a lesson, and altering its' course .... forcing it to change to survive ... Leto on a greater
    scale than Paul ... and the Honored Matres taught the Bene Gesserit they also had to
    adapt to survive ...

    I'm still stuck on the Independent Face Dancers being the next teachers ... maybe they
    themselves are the next step in human evolution ....

    also perhaps a general rejection of prescience, another kind of Butlerian Jihad ....
    how much faith was put in Paul by the fremen because of his Vision, and did this
    substantially weaken them, as a people, compared to the people they were before ?

    also, three thousand years of a Tyrant who controlled every minute detail of human
    society, caused famines and sent folks hurtling out into unknown space to escape him,
    could sour the new generations on "prescient leaders" ...

    and maybe somewhere on a backwater planet, there's a little boy who sees dead people ...
    and the future ... and doesn't tell anyone ...
    ................ I exist only to amuse myself ................
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby E. LeGuille » 14 Apr 2011 12:33

    Like inner dialogue, vivid environmental imagery is what makes me remember Dune the most. When Frank described the very day-to-day life of even the Fremen, and the world he lived in... it brought a dimension inside the planet that completely overturned what I would normally read into a book's descriptive phrasing. To me, when I first Dune the thing that stuck out the most was his use of poetic description, and cultural identity to add life to the desert which we all love. In fact, reading Dune I discovered one of my favorite movies, "Lawrence of Arabia".

    Also, the multiple facets of societies' functions: Religion, business, exploration, survival; all these things were tied into every ounce of story by intertwining what happened, at every level, affect something within the subtleties and nuances of character traits.
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby dogbone » 14 Dec 2011 01:13

    i like the themes of lessons here. Maybe somehow related is the idea of "overreach." Ix lost control of their robots, The Bene Gesserit lost control of Paul and now it looks like the Tleilaxu lost control of their face dancers.
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 14 Dec 2011 01:19

    Ok, this time I'm going to be the one to bug you about Ix having robots. :wink:
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby dogbone » 14 Dec 2011 01:54

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:Ok, this time I'm going to be the one to bug you about Ix having robots. :wink:


    Oops, that ones my bad, in my head i was thinking of the Butlerian Jihad but then, i don't think Ix is ever mentioned beside it, just kinda made the assumption.
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby Serkanner » 14 Dec 2011 08:20

    dogbone wrote:
    A Thing of Eternity wrote:Ok, this time I'm going to be the one to bug you about Ix having robots. :wink:


    Oops, that ones my bad, in my head i was thinking of the Butlerian Jihad but then, i don't think Ix is ever mentioned beside it, just kinda made the assumption.


    Yeah it's fucking McDune messing with your memory. The atrocities can not be unread. I am so happy I have "only" read 6 of them. :puke:
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby SandChigger » 14 Dec 2011 11:19

    Um, this one isn't necessary McDune: Ix losing control of the super hunter-seekers and creating Arafel is something Leto II prevented, no? ;)
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby Freakzilla » 14 Dec 2011 11:33

    SandChigger wrote:Um, this one isn't necessary McDune: Ix losing control of the super hunter-seekers and creating Arafel is something Leto II prevented, no? ;)


    He doesn't specifically state that they were Ixian but you could assume that from the context of the conversation with Hwi.

    I just put two and two together; he tells Hwi the Ixians contemplated making such a thing in the past then Siona has a vision of something similar.
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby SandChigger » 14 Dec 2011 11:57

    Doesn't this clearly indicate that it was the Ixians?
    "Do not fear the lxians," he said, and he heard his own voice as a fading whisper. "They can make the machines, but they no longer can make arafel. I know. I was there."


    (And since, in dying, he is finally establishing the Golden Path once and for all, doesn't this quote indicate that the super hunter-seekers were an alternate world-line that was possible until that point? I think that's what Siona saw in her trance vision, not the vague, unspecified alternate world that Leto had prevented but told her about during their trek through the Sareer.)
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby Freakzilla » 14 Dec 2011 12:00

    I don't dissagree.
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby SandChigger » 14 Dec 2011 12:48

    :lol:

    I wish we had FH on tap... in the form of a Reynolds-style simulation, even. :)
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby Freakzilla » 14 Dec 2011 13:05

    I was going to comment further but I think we're straying from the topic of style.

    In that vein, we know that FH does not just tell us, "The extinction of humanity would have been caused by intelligent, self-improving, Ixian hunter-seekers but Leto's metamorphasis and subsequent long reign prevented that, thus Leto became humanities savior."

    That is his style, he gave us the pieces and we put them together.
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby SandChigger » 15 Dec 2011 09:29

    Bi-la kaifa. :)
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 15 Dec 2011 15:21

    SandChigger wrote:Bi-la kaifa. :)


    I was actually thinking about this the other day, not about Chapterhouse in particular, just wondering if FH got the idea from the saying that a work of art is never finished, it is abandoned.
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby Freakzilla » 15 Dec 2011 15:26

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:
    SandChigger wrote:Bi-la kaifa. :)


    I was actually thinking about this the other day, not about Chapterhouse in particular, just wondering if FH got the idea from the saying that a work of art is never finished, it is abandoned.


    BI-LA KAIFA: Amen. (Literally: "Nothing further need be explained.")?

    Is that the phrase you're thinking of?

    I don't think so. When I used to paint and draw (for fun) I'd always want to work on it more but sometime I'd think, "It's not the way I want it but If I add more I'll probably ruin it".
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 15 Dec 2011 15:37

    Freakzilla wrote:
    A Thing of Eternity wrote:
    SandChigger wrote:Bi-la kaifa. :)


    I was actually thinking about this the other day, not about Chapterhouse in particular, just wondering if FH got the idea from the saying that a work of art is never finished, it is abandoned.


    BI-LA KAIFA: Amen. (Literally: "Nothing further need be explained.")?

    Is that the phrase you're thinking of?

    I don't think so. When I used to paint and draw (for fun) I'd always want to work on it more but sometime I'd think, "It's not the way I want it but If I add more I'll probably ruin it".


    :oops: GODSDAMNIT! No, that's not the saying I meant, I had the wrong translation for bi-la kaifa in my head... and I'm not going to lie, it's been there for a while now...

    I meant the way of the knife saying in Dune (which is relevant to this discussion, part of why I thought of it when Chig posted that, I have no real excuse though) to me seems like the abandoned art saying we have in our society.
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby Freakzilla » 15 Dec 2011 15:46

    Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife--chopping off what's incomplete and saying: "Now, it's complete because it's ended here."

    :?:
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 15 Dec 2011 15:49

    Freakzilla wrote:Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife--chopping off what's incomplete and saying: "Now, it's complete because it's ended here."

    :?:


    Yup, I had it in my head somehow that bi-la kaifa meant this. :?
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby SandChigger » 15 Dec 2011 16:08

    It literally means "without nutmeg".





    ;)
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby Freakzilla » 15 Dec 2011 16:24

    People used to kill and die for nutmeg.
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby Mr. Melange » 29 Jul 2014 21:12

    Wow I'm so dissapointed you guys abandoned this topic...

    One interesting thing regarding the inner monolouges is how well crafted they were. You'de sometimes have a POV character at the beginning of the chapter, and then be completely objective by the end of the chapter without the original character even being present anymore, seemlessly. You wouldn't nessacerily know a characters exact intentions, yet you would still feel like nothing was held back from the characters thoughts, EVEN when information was actually blatantly witheld.

    A good example is Taraza, where we are given a lot of quotes right from her head, yet I'm not fully convinced her plan was "get HM to destroy Arrakis". At the same time, never once did I feel cheated by something I felt was only partial insight to her thoughts. I felt I knew Taraza without even knowing what she wanted.

    I always felt the hack severely over-played the whole inner monolouge thing, making for one of the core reasons I find the books so insulting to FH; it's almost mocking his style. Any novelist can include inner monolouges, but at a certain point inner monolouges can be too revealing and take tension out of the situation.
    "Imagine being told that the forging of the ring was really not a plan of Saurons, he just helped - and it was really for the good, because it was needed to defeat these mega-spiders which were somehow related to Shelob (in a way inconsistent with the Silmarillion)...
    Meanwhile, a hobbit named Norma becomes a valar because she dies horribly due to a spider-bite, returns to Middle Earth and walks around a bit, inventing everything interesting you ever hear of in LoTR."
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby Smiley » 25 Nov 2014 02:07

    Yeah, it is almost like unreliable narrator except that the narrator is just leaving things out instead of lying to you. I always liked that the characters had plans that you had to almost reread the book to figure out what the plan was, or how it was going to work.
    Kev and Bri have their characters just do stuff, for no reason and then hope it works out. They never understood the wheels within wheels approach or only let the villians use it.

    For instance, Tarza's plan was to provoke the honored matres into destroying Rakis. In that plan, she pretended to enter into an alliance with the Bene tleilax in an effort to learn thier secrets. She also used Sheena's miracles to start a religion of sorts, or a new messiah to be used later. The aims of her plans are not entirely apparent at the beginning, you are suprised on how it turned out, and the character seems incredibly intelligent.
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    Re: Notes on Style

    Postby pcqypcqy » 30 Jun 2017 01:12

    Some of the style aspects I always enjoyed about the series.

    SUBTLETY! Wheels within wheels, plans within plans. I swear I've read the series once a year for the last 5 years (after dabbling in it as a teenager), and I STILL don't know exactly what's happening, the full extent of Leto's Golden Path or Taraza's plan for the ghola and Sheena.

    Sudden shifts of story, focus. One thing I liked about Dune is how it plodded on a bit initially, we all know there's going to be a Harkonnen and Sarduakar attack, but when it happens the swiftness of it still takes you by surprise. Once you hit that point it's nearly impossible to stop reading until the end of that sub book, you then need to reread it all because it was so quick that you were just carried along and had to process the detail afterwards.

    It irritated me at first, but I also enjoyed the major changes between CoD and GEoD, then between GEoD and Heretics. There was no need to explain every detail in between, you pick it up later from everyone's perspectives. Again, it's subtle stuff.

    On the other hand, I might have read the McDune stuff just for shits and giggles, but after the first chapter of any of those books you know exactly what's going to happen to all the characters and how it will be done. It's not a bloody essay introduction, it's meant to be a work of fiction and surprise us ! Hacks.
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