Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Fascinating Writing Discussion o' the Day

Elizabeth Bear compels you to compare and contrast John Denver and Gordon Lightfoot YouTube videos and then apply the results to a discussion of genre conventions. The comments are also fascinating and gave me several moments of "ow, my head hurts" and fond memories of the days when I just heard a song and liked it cuz it was catchy and all thinking stopped there (those days started to end when my grandmother wouldn't get me a Milli Vanilli tape because of the song "All or Nothing"; they breathed their last gasp when I heard "All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You" and my brain couldn't process the persistent attempts of the pop culture world to make that a sweet, mushy love song).

As for the bit about examining genre conventions, I think you can only question a certain number of them at a time. Otherwise, your novel becomes less about telling a story and more about the mechanics of telling a story. The latter are often hard to read and assigned to annoyed students for the purposes of writing long essays about the plight of the common man or somesuch.

Also, there's a certain power in writing a nothin'-here-but-us-tropes story: Everyone can access and understand it. In that case, it's up to the writer to wield the tools of theme and character development appropriately to provide depth in the construct of those facile genre conventions. But I suppose it can be argued that shallow themes and flat characters are part and parcel of certain genre conventions, so that having a layered, difficult theme and textured characters immediately means you are examining genre conventions and giving the hard answers.

D'oh! Now my logic's all twisted into a pretzel.

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