A View to an Individual

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orbivillein
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A View to an Individual

Postby orbivillein » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:14 am

Which of these do you prefer to read:

1) An individual present and looking in and looking out: subjective observer, actually an objective persona of a subjective nature
2) A narrator looking in from a distance, non participant -- somewhat omniscient, as objective as practical, though no more or less subjective for it
3) An individual looking out and looking in (may be first or third person, maybe second) -- subjective participant

"Objective" and "subjective," in the above, to mean, respectively, perception absent personal sentiments, mostly unbiased, and perception subject to personal sentiments, more biased.

However, an objective character, according to one narrative theory, is an observer-reporter, like a lens is an objective part of a viewing optics, and may be impersonal, unbiased, or personal, biased -- objective or subjective by the former meaning.

A subjective character, same theory, is a subject observed by an objective character.

Another type is an influence character, one who dramatically influences others and self.

Of course, any one could be part objective, part subjective, and part influence, just one, or at times only one or another. Because dramatic movement is needed, the influence persona is maybe most central, influential.

And a character or observer need not be a person or even living being. Any number of objects or immaterial ideas could be character-like. A video recorder could be an objective character, or subjective, or influence. A natural force could be any type, say, a tornado personified. Likewise, spiritual and paranormal forces. Places, times, social, cultural, and spiritual values and beliefs, too.

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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby amoskalik » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:57 am

To paraphrase Discordianism, everything is subjective.

ALL THINGS HAPPEN IN FIVES, OR ARE DIVISIBLE BY OR ARE MULTIPLES OF FIVE, OR ARE SOMEHOW DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY APPROPRIATE TO 5.

The Law of Fives reveals that we can see anything we want to see if we try hard enough.

In other words, the human mind sees everything through a filter. You can change what you see by changing the filter but you can never truly be objective, because you can never remove the filter.

That being said, I prefer to read deep point of view, fully immersed in the POV character's perspective and biases. This makes it easier to differentiate between my own (reader's) biases, the author's biases, and the character's biases. If what I am reading attempts to appear objective, these biases still exist but are obscured and harder to parse out.
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby orbivillein » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:08 pm

Discordianism is I guess a congruent of Pluralism. Objectivism and its attendants believe human experience is universal. Subjectivism and its attendants believe human experience is unique to individuals. "Believe" -- therefore subjective. Yet human experience is as much universal as unique to individuals. Romanticists generally believe in a "both/and" scenario duality; Transcedentalists, both/and/and and more; neither either/or polarities; Pluralists, either/both/and/or. Discordianism is a fallout of Pluralism.

Governance relies on assembly-line efficiencies that are one standard fits all and want zero-defect outcomes -- self-governance projected outward and external governance imposed inward. Easiest to set one standard, usually the one that most fits a standard setter's interests. More than one standard treats unique and conformist individuals unequally, though is an unequal difference regardless. Yet more than one standard appreciates that one standard does not fit all.

"Special interest" group consensus lobbying asserts empowerment rights, entitlements, and privileges, and are easily dismissed by governance, by the powers that be, for selfish self-interest. Never mind an entrenched status quo likewise asserts special interests, like preservation of the status quo.

Pluralism appreciates more than one standard fits all. Outliers, for example, are agents of change, for good or ill, or good and ill and more. Navigating and negotiating the deeps and shoals of a pluralistic society's needs and problems is supposed to be governance's function. However, self-interest and lazy habit corrupts governance and follow-ship. If only each appreciated individually each's responsibilities to the whole -- a corrupted and misused term illustrates: know and keep to thy place (mindful thy place is subject to vary) -- each could then appreciate the privileges and rewards of meaningful participation and contribution.

I also favor close and deep viewpoint character stories. I care least for detached stories. They tend to look down the nose from a hypocrisy height. Do as I say, not as I do. On the other hand, the Old Journalism-like objective story type sets out more or less the pertinent facts, if fictitious and as well subject to interpretation, from which readers draw their own conclusions, develop their own judgments, assume their own opinions about. Which is the more persuasive form? Depends on the intent and the available interpretations. Intent and interpretation.

Overt intents make me uncomfortable. Therefore, I favor close viewpoint stories that covertly express their intents; therefore, I favor the "Villain of the Piece" types that at least show misguided intents. Villains of their own creation -- not true monsters, which will always be with us and draw suitable correction, even unto the ultimate correction.

Maybe such stories won't persuade readers to change their viewpoints, probably not. However, such stories at least show how intents go awry and imply and covertly persuade sympathy that "there but for the grace of Providence go I." Anti-hypocrisy tableaus interpretable as here's So-and-so individually and universally and more, and warrants informing, cautioning, adjustment, correction, castigation, and opportunity afforded to find those aspects in the self first, then advised, then pressured, then imposed, as suitable, if not.

At the least, all subversive persuasion aside, a close viewpoint perspective story centered around that kind of drama stays close to the viewpoint person's cause of problems, cause of wants, resolution of wants and problems, and overall central involvement with a story's movement. On the other hand, readers more often than not favor stories that pit external forces of good against external forces of evil, and good prevails. That type, though, appeals from ample internal discourse, though isn't per se internal conflict. Whatever "good" and "evil" are to the reader group's subjective and objective values and beliefs.

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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby storysinger » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 pm

Whoa, that's deep man. wotf003
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby Ishmael » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:04 am

If we accept the maxim 'Perception presupposes experience', then the filter to which Aaron refers is threefold.

1. It is misleading to say we all have the same senses. Our senses tend to be stronger or weaker, for example, depending on how frequently and for what purposes they are employed. My optometrist tells me that my long sight is improving at roughly the same rate my close sight is worsening, for example. I blame the computer for the latter.

2. Cultural differences create (often subconscious) inbuilt preconceptions because we assimilate much culture before we are of an age to make rational choices and we don't realise we are prejudging; hence for example divergent attitudes to animal slaughter, art etc.

3. Our personal experiences are entirely individual and they put a unique slant on to our attitudes. Having ridden
in more than one hundred horse races over fences and ridden at speed cross -country in the hunting field I like to think I can write with greater insight about horses than someone who has only ever experienced them from a distance.

There is additionally the likelihood of interference affecting the perceptual process, eg. noise with hearing.

So if we consider perception to involve A (the external thing) - B (the transmission / reception process) - C (our perception of the thing) we realise the potential for big discrepancies between A and C. In some cases these will be total, for example bees see ultra-violet light and humans don't, dogs hear audio frequencies humans don't and so on.

It took Descartes quite some argument before he even concluded there was such a thing as external truth that could be perceived. Even if we accept that there is, to decide upon the nature of external form by way of the above process is only ever going to be relative (to us personally) and approximate (relative to humans in general). Consider whether the true nature of the surface of a wooden table is the smoothness perceived by human sight / touch or the mountains and valleys perceived via a microscope.

So when we say we are speaking the truth what we mean is we are describing our experiences as we experience them, not externally reality as it actually is. We have no access to external reality as it actually is.

That is before we get started on all the problems of memory.

A very interesting study was done of the testimony of John Dean at the Watergate hearings. It was generally accepted that Dean spoke the truth, but the subsequent emergence of the tapes made for fascinating comparisons between 'true memory' and 'actual recording.'

This means our point of view can only be objective in the very general sense that you would expect people with roughly similar faculties, cultural background and personal experiences, standing in the same position, to perceive something reasonably similar.
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby Ishmael » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:51 am

I should possibly add that being equipped with relative sensory organs rather than absolute ones can be quite useful. It is more convenient to be aware that a certain horse is galloping towards you than to know the absolute shape etc. of the horse.

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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:06 pm

Ishmael wrote:I should possibly add that being equipped with relative sensory organs rather than absolute ones can be quite useful. It is more convenient to be aware that a certain horse is galloping towards you than to know the absolute shape etc. of the horse.

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I think you may just have a point there. An obscure one mayhaps but still one to pounder.
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby Ishmael » Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:00 am

LDWriter2 wrote:I think you may just have a point there. An obscure one mayhaps but still one to pounder.


It is quite remarkable how we take for granted the correspondence between our relative perceptions and an absolute reality. This is, after all, what we mean when we use the word truth or objectivity.

It turns out that we introduce all sorts of assumptions to make sense of our perceptions. Some are based on experience, some on rationale, some on culture etc. For example you and I were brought up in a culture where most traditional buildings are rectangular. An artist exploits this when on a two-dimensional canvas he creates a three-dimensional scene, relying on the brain of the observer to make the correction which we call perspective. This cultural filter leads us into error when, say, we take two equal parallel lines and add inward V-shapes to the ends of one and outward V-shapes to the ends of the other. Ours brains use the perspective illusion and tell us that the lines themselves are no longer the same length. Research has shown that people whose culture has circular huts have far less of a tendency to experience this illusion.

Sometimes we are conscious of the adjustment the brain makes. For example, if you and I sit at opposite ends of a long table, I will see my end as wider than yours whilst you will see your end as wider than mine. Because we are familiar with perspective, when asked we will both reply that the table is rectangular, despite the fact that what we actually perceive is not. When asked to justify our claim, we might argue that a person suspended in the air directly above the centre of the table top would correctly perceive it to be rectangular. Our inquisitor might then point out that we are still both mistaken because such a person cannot see the table's legs and hence cannot perceive the fact that the table exists in three dimensions as a rectangular solid. In all three cases the viewer has only a relative view but makes assumptions based on experience about what must be there in order for us to have such perceptions.

This is what makes it possible for two witnesses to an incident each to describe their experience as truthfully as they can and yet disagree as to what happened. It is important for investigators to understand that such a discrepancy need not be the result of one (or both) of them lying.
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby orbivillein » Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:59 am

Sensation is all relative, even efforts to sense absolutely are relative. A table top's surface feels smooth if it's intended to be smooth to the touch. A table finisher possibly can detect a degree of smoothness more than a general consumer. A shipboard table benefits from a degree less smoothness than a landside table, so place settings don't slip off during average sea conditions. The tablecloth pulled out from under place settings gag relies on a smooth table surafce. Yet too coarse a table surface allows bacterial growth -- a food sanitation concern.

Likewise, a table maker recognizes a table's dimensions, mass, and functions, regardless of optical illusions, that general consumers might not. If not, then uses measuring devices as needed and to the degree of accuracy wanted for the situation.

Intent and interpretation determine degree of sensation relativity. The table is a relative conversation between maker and consumer's intents and interpretations.

Likewise the horse. That the horse approaches is a matter of intent and interpretation; therefore, direction is as much a concern as shape, as mass, as posture, as texture, as velocity, and a near-infinite quantity of other instantaneous interpretations and intent interpretations. Does the horse approach to beg a treat? Does the horse intend attack? Is the horse an inflatable sham carried along on a breeze? Does the horse present peril or delight or general indifference?

Use of, perhaps abuses of, intent and interpretation is a method for inclusion, exclusion, manipulation, and persuasion for good or ill. People conceal true intents so they get their way. People also are immune to and vulnerable to intents and interpretations.

Though the original question is which viewpoint type do you prefer to read and write about: 1. subjective participant, inside looking, sensing out; 2. objective observer, outside looking, sensing in; or 3. a detached god-like omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence?

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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby amoskalik » Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:37 pm

For writing, the subjective viewpoint, because it is more informative. When the POV character experiences his world, the words on the page reflect both what is there and how he interprets it, thus revealing something about his character and his mood in addition to the setting.

The objective viewpoint is better suited for movies where the camera supplies a viewpoint outside of any one actor. Mood is supplied by music and lighting rather than perceptual interpretation of the outside world and character is supplied by the artistry of the actors.

The omniscient viewpoint is best used for non-experiential writing like nonfiction, much like many of the posts on this thread, where we jump from concept to concept as we build up an argument, but are not trying to establish a mood or introduce a character.
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby storysinger » Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:55 am

The book I'm reading at the moment started out as third person.
In the second chapter it switched to first person.
The story keeps going from one viewpoint to the other.
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby Ishmael » Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:45 am

orbivillein wrote:Though the original question is which viewpoint type do you prefer to read and write about: 1. subjective participant, inside looking, sensing out; 2. objective observer, outside looking, sensing in; or 3. a detached god-like omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence?


My suggestion is that 2 and 3 are the same, since only the deity is capable of observing objectively as strictly defined. However that is not really what we mean when we use the term. Even when we resort to measuring devices we rely on our perceptions to create, read and interpret those devices. I was thrown out of my schedule yesterday by relying on a clock which was ten minutes slow.

I posted a story on Baen's Bar that was written from the POV of an imaginary omniscient, impartial historian. The readers jumped all over me as though I had no understanding of my craft at all. Only rank amateurs write like this. If you don't have a more personal POV we can't engage with the actors / experience the events ourselves. And so on. Allegedly.

Sometimes I wonder whether would-be writers have not become so indoctrinated by stylistic teaching that they can no longer read the way an amateur reads. I wonder if they can ever enjoy the likes of Jane Austen without being tempted into constant criticism of omniscient viewpoints:

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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby orbivillein » Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:33 am

Options 2 and 3 are to me quite distinct; that is, 2 is a bystander-participant-observer in a story's setting and invested in the action, inside the Tang jar, so to speak, and 3 is a distant observer, outside the Tang jar. Jar of Tang is a Turkey City Lexicon term for a particular shaggy god-type story, in which the Tang jar milieu is discovered at the end. Or aquarium, terrarium, rat maze, or Sisyphean labor, etc.

I have personal experience with readership preferences, workshops and composition instruction settings where personal sentiments were more numerous than craft commentary. Austen's writing and most everything written pre Modernism and quite a number since do not satisfy or interest general mass-culture readers. Too erudite, too existential, too hard, too moralistic, too . . . for a fun reading experience. Generally, such writing is close to option 3 and similar to Scriptures -- Tell. Assign blame to technology innovations, mass production, that put books in a price range of most everyone and content that adapted to the audience, which trends toward options 1 and 2, regardless of if first or third person.

amoskalik puts a finger on the pulse of mass culture viewpoint preference, option 1 for prose, option 2 for film and theater, and option 3 for instructional content. Generally. Though since the mid twentieth century an explosion of boundary cross-genre forms emerged and ever more distinction and blur between forms, option 1 remains the favorite overall, savvy readers no less favor 3 for its remoteness and looks down the nose into the Tang jar.

My interest for the topic question is how the options break out for WotF culture in general and writers submitting to the contest in particular, to see if they align with society overall. Yes, I've read many of the anthologies. Option 1 prevails though outliers abound and within stories as well as from story to story, as storysinger notes: changes in viewpoint and narrator perspective.

To me, those viewpoint switches seem somewhat awkward at times, kludged. Like the Brontë sisters' prose does, multiple narrators and viewpoints that switch so action that takes place is the priority rather than a single overall perspective, real writer shines forth. Like a journalism objective, after the fact report, when all relevant detail is known to a narrator, one narrator, not happenstance and awkward implied and real writer intrusions into a narrator or viewpoint persona's experience -- New Journalism's method and one that borrowed from prose and prose borrowed back.

Another method and structure might function better, stronger, clearer than happenstance viewpoint switches. Generally, the kludge is a consequence of a too realistic approach that preserves an inspiration's real-world model and misses fiction's flexibility. Not to mention, some stories manage viewpoint switches masterfully. Nonetheless, I still favor option 1 because it preaches less than option 3, and option 2 when its preaching is as covert as option 1 could be. So, yeah, subjective generally for its private, individual, intimate expression of a single viewpoint persona's personal, life-defining experience that becomes transcendentally larger than life, in that the experience is larger than the self, as large as its audience.

I sense that a story, even a short story, could use options 1, 2, and 3, and still be a single persona's viewpoint. The structure, though, is barely glimpsed in my mind and would need to be clear as such; therefore, transitions need to be set up, stepped, and followed through.

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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby amoskalik » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:04 am

I think of all these viewpoints as tools. A story should accomplish three things to give its consumer satisfaction. The first is transport. Not just transporting the reader into the world of the characters, but successfully take the consumer from the beginning to the end with as little effort as possible from him as possible. this is the lowest level of story and must be in place for the higher levels to have success.

The second is emotion. The consumer should be made to feel or the story will not be remembered five minutes after it is experienced. Again, this is a prerequisite for the third level.

The third level is the engage the consumer on an intellectual level, to make him think and maybe even create a lasting impact upon him. This is where story derives its power. Without this, story is mere entertainment, which is OK, but not what we should ultimately be striving for.

Right now, as a writer, I'm competent at level 1 but am still working hard at level 2. I do not feel I've had much success yet, but I'm making progress. Level 3 is where I want to be though. I want to "say" things that will have lasting impact and I do have things to say if I ever find the voice.

But to get back to viewpoint, the type 1 viewpoint is a useful technique for creating emotion and perhaps that is why I am fixated on it at the moment. Once I have that in my back pocket, perhaps I can start sprinkling in type 3 observations like Jane Austen and get away with it.
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby Ishmael » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:25 am

It is probably less than smart for a tyro author to engage in public debate with an editor on these matters. Nevertheless, those who follow the Universe Annex slush forum on Baen's Bar may have noticed that some of us just can't resist a good philosophical imbroglio on literary style.

I am beginning to form the view that omniscience used as a viewpoint criticism is in fact an accusation masquerading as an analysis. Since everyone who teaches creative writing has decided that a deep personal viewpoint is good, it axiomatically follows that any fiction not written thus is bad.

This is self-evidently invalid logic. The existence of a specific good is not evidence that any alternative quality is bad (or good).

With any method of storytelling, the methodology is subordinate to effectiveness. However, a problem certainly arises where a readership has been conditioned to expect a particular methodology. I usually write a deep viewpoint but I do find it rather trying that whenever I try something different I am immediately criticised for doing so.

I wonder whether writers are the best critics of other writers who are attempting something out of the ordinary, whether that means trying something new or reverting to something old.

Are the general public quite so judgemental?
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby orbivillein » Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:39 pm

Baen's Bar contributors tend to disparage literary style and its supposed crucible, the writer workshop college model, MFA in particular, which, having been at both, Baen folk tend to misunderstand that the college model creative writing curricula resolves a majority of time upon a studio model more than a classroom model. Undergraduate creative writing introductory survey courses are prone to a more classroom-like model, though, not for BFA majors. Workshop "instructors" generally are facilitators and moderators more than instructors.

That, actually, is both a benefit and a shortfall of the standard workshop model. I've yet to encounter a creative writing instructor who appreciates the most fundamental parts of a well-crafted narrative, let alone teaches what can be taught about them. Plot, for example, which a cadre of instructors refer ironically to as a unforgiving tyrant and few can define usefully. Not to say that many writers or workshoppers really do know to much of a useful degree. Ones who do are the few who enjoy career success. They would rather write than teach though.

On the other hand, the studio model is akin to a focus group that "tests" a product's suitability for consumers. the audience, so to speak. However, much has been said about the fickleness of writers assessing writers' works. The model is a double-bind, and more, of subjective and objective parameters. Individual sentiments and sensibilities prevail and craft takes a back seat. Also, the subjective approach of a writer's topics, genres, and such draw negative criticisms if they don't align with a reader-responder's sentiments -- subjective piled onto subjective and confusion in a trackless dark reigns.

A dynamic workshop leaves personal sentiments at the door and focuses instead on "what works and what doesn't" for an assumed target audience, not the commentor's sentiments. How many times have workshop writers heard the preface, "Not my genre; however . . . " and then a commentor expound unintelligently about a genre's customs they don't know. Romance, science fiction, and fantasy draw those types of responses more than other genres. However, the craft basics and genre customs are universal and teachable to degrees and learnable to degrees. The onus, though, is on any given writer to self-teach and learn what works and what doesn't for an ideal target audience, in part by workshopping before a non-ideal target audience, largely, though, on the writer's initiative.

Omniscient viewpoints are one of many contemporary customs much maligned across writing culture. A sticking point of substance is the god-like lecture nature the form might take, a hypocrtitical or hegemenonic position that dictates conduct and brooks no defects.You must abide or be condemned. These types of narratives assert moral laws that are subject to question. They are largely do as I say, not as I do tableaus. And yes, they are accusations that masquerade as analyses, as well that criticisms of them are accusations that masquerade as analyses. Speaking of hypocrisy.

Artful omniscience, on the other hand, ironically uses unreliableness to pose the questions of personal and subjective morals. Actually, the narrator also takes a stand, asserts a moral law position, probably flawed, is emotionally invested in the action, and is affected by the action and outcome. Even if the narrator is not a character of the story. Actually, such a narrator is three distinguishable dramatic persons: narrator, implied writer, and real writer, each from a distinct voice, based upon attitude.

A real writer, for example, might express justified outrage about immoral conduct. The implied writer then might express doubt about the real writer's sanity and be open to finer, grayer scales than just ignoble and noble polar moral values. Maybe what's good is partly bad, too, and vice versa. Probably is. The narrator then might moderate between the two voices, or take a congruent though disparate position.

Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions partly uses that voice distinction mannerism, plus, the Vonnegut persona is also a distinct character of several voices for the novel's latter parts. "This is an" excretory orifice: * That comment is a real-writer self-effacing observation, by the way, (that "I" am an excretory orifice and all that idiom entails,) another custom of contemporary, well-crafted omniscient viewpoints: strong emotional attitude directed -- physician heal thyself-like -- to the self of the writer.

Good and bad are a polar duality of black and white categorization based upon absolutes, a one-size-fits-all versus an otherwise no-fit-at-all, get-ye-gone-right-now paradigm. Omniscient viewpoints aren't per se good or bad; done bad, done good, to degrees, yes. However, audience niches approve or disapprove by default based upon culture customs and vogues they might be aware of rather than what works and what doesn't for whomsoever the possible real audience target is. Not for every real reader, nor for every workshop mate, nor for critics, nor for culture dictators, for an assumed target audience -- implied readers.

The general public are not so judgmental as writers; the public relies upon the culture's arbitrators to compose, screen, publish, and promote to their tastes and sensibilities' preferences. This is partly Hans Christian Anderson's "The Emperor's New Clothes." Supposed experts say these clothes are so and good, yet a measure of common sense and subjectivity prevail, eventually. The emperor is naked, not clothed, after all.

However, writers and such know a degree more about story craft than the general public generally does. A distinction of note is how a given method or device, part, parcel, or whole works or doesn't work, for individuals and audiences in general.

One of the more common shortfalls of the "tyro" writer is first person viewpoint. Which workshoppers might or might not, probably not, be able to more than say something's off or on, doesn't like first person anyway, works or doesn't work-wise, then pick on subjective sentiments that are contrary to the commentor's.

A first person challenge is the form's strength: personal intimacy and individual subjectivity, yet many first person narratives dwell too close personally and too objectively. Such a narrator closely mediates the action and opens first person's default close distance. For example, : _I saw_ James fire the cannon that then killed Melissa. Then _I saw_ her head exploded into a million shatters. Okay maybe for dialogue -- dead prose though, emotionless.

Bertolt Brecht's Distance Effect estranges readers from a narrative's up-close-and-personal immersion spell, for a questionable though justifiable function; that is, a device in clumsy hands for explanation of the action. In masterful hands, the method shows hidden intents. A viewpoint character comments parenthetically to readers as if the comment is a nonvolitional thought expressed to the self, raised by the immediate circumstances, for example. Among other stream-of-conciousness and similar dialogue methods. Net effect, though, is of reader immersion through opened distance.

Harold Pinter's Immersion Effect in masterful hands likewise immerses readers though through close distance artfully managed. In clumsy hands. Immersion Effect unnaturally expresses emotional texture, so-labeled melodrama for solely plot movement. The much misused sigh, for example. I sighed . . . then the cause of the sigh is given, inverted causation, and the cause of the sigh assumes readers react to sensations the same one-size-fits-all way. The setup is skipped altogether, like that she sighed because Melissa was guilty of mass murder, the sigh taken to mean disgust and horror rather than, what, guilty satisfaction? Emotional texture missed altogether.

Immersion Effect, Distance Effect, and omniscient viewpoint go hand-in-hand-in-hand when subjective-objective attitude management and emotional texture are foreground and masterfully crafted. Such a story doesn't call undue attention to the god-like lecture of a moral law message, not moral or message or method, personal discovery and both and and.

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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby Ishmael » Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:43 am

I appreciate this depth of analysis. It is valuable to all of us.

I have had a frustrating few days of criticism. Recently I received a rejection that took the form of quotations from various slush readers' comments regarding a horse racing story. I do not expect the average reader to have the in-depth knowledge of horse racing that I have following a lengthy career as an amateur jockey. I did my best to make the story intelligible and accessible. In this case however I wrote deep personal from the jockey's viewpoint. One of the responses read as follows: "Sorry, I don't support horse racing."

I suppose this critic to imply an inability to identify with any deep personal viewpoint with which he / she disagrees, irrespective of the merits of the tale. And oh dear, we know where that attitude leads us!
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amoskalik
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby amoskalik » Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:12 am

Ishmael wrote:I appreciate this depth of analysis. It is valuable to all of us.

I have had a frustrating few days of criticism. Recently I received a rejection that took the form of quotations from various slush readers' comments regarding a horse racing story. I do not expect the average reader to have the in-depth knowledge of horse racing that I have following a lengthy career as an amateur jockey. I did my best to make the story intelligible and accessible. In this case however I wrote deep personal from the jockey's viewpoint. One of the responses read as follows: "Sorry, I don't support horse racing."

I suppose this critic to imply an inability to identify with any deep personal viewpoint with which he / she disagrees, irrespective of the merits of the tale. And oh dear, we know where that attitude leads us!


I find that reader's response baffling. I've read and enjoyed many stories about people doing things I wouldn't, based on my personal ethics, do myself (I wouldn't horse race but that is not a matter of ethics for me, but rather cowardice).

In fact, I've written stories where my main characters do things that are beyond what I would allow myself to do. That to me is one of the main purposes of reading and writing fiction, to expose oneself and the world to other viewpoints and explore other ways of being.
Last edited by amoskalik on Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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orbivillein
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby orbivillein » Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:46 am

Interpreting reader responses is a skill set itself as difficult to master as writing the work to which the responses respond.

"Sorry, I don't support horse racing." Is easier to interpret than many, is a passive-aggressive opinion position opposed to animal exploitation. What or whether to reconcile that position with a story that doesn't yet is harder to figure out. Sports narratives especially challenge writers of them.

A narrative about horse racing from a jockey's perspective? Been done a few times, to show transients' hardships of the animal circuits, or the corrupted culture of horse racing, and both. A clear and strong narrative implies what it's really about human condition-wise, no matter the obvious topics, say of sports or animal competitions to entertain humans. Never mind horses thrill to race as much if not more than spectators and riders.

At root, though, at least a nod to horse huggers and might use a satire approach for best and widest reasonable reader effect, if not an outright exploration of the conflicts between horse huggers and horse exploiters and the oblivious public. Horse racing social settings are ripe and fertile for satire. What's the central point, though? Glorification of the sport? Glorification by itself is too little for drama's needs and likely to raise the kind of protests a submission decline expresses. Satire, though, fits the bill: reveals social settings' human vices and follies.

Horse huggers exploit animals, too. They get emotional satisfaction from projected personification of things, albeit the things are living cuddly creatures with endearing personalities, many, anyway, some as ornery as proverbial donkeys. Such a satire would reveal the hypocrisy of accusing others of exploitation, in part, and part glorification of animal rights activism. Not to mention, horse racing culture's exotic likewise vices and follies, glories and hypocrisies, and drama.

An overall narrative point of view could then center on a human condition contention rather than glorification of horse racing -- hypocrisy gone to the races? Characters' hypocrisy degree the race contest of the Who can be the most hypocritical without actually appearing to be so? This supposed story's writer, of course. My subversive wickedness trumps your wholesome heart's wickedness and you and your obliviousness to indifferent animal cruelty, you blagorn do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do hypocrites? Never mention the word hypocrisy, though that's the center. Like never use the word irony to call attention to irony; show it timely, clear, and strong.

The adage slay your darlings also means, quite subversively, by the way, treat concepts and circumstances, things loved and favored, with a blunt and "objective" scalpel, shrewd observation that everything has a flaw, which only makes a thing more precious than supposed and impossible flawless ones.

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Ishmael
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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby Ishmael » Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:19 pm

There was never much danger of my encountering the glory of the sport, though I learned a lot about hard work and hard knocks.

Strangely enough I believe I also gained an insight into anorexia. I am really far too big for the sport. To prepare for the racing season I would reduce my weight from my normal 173 pounds to a point where I could weigh out for a race (with my saddle etc.) at 157. This may not sound like a lot, but it completely altered my attitude to my own body, such that I could occasionally hear those siren voices suggesting that I should really try (quite unnecessarily) to be even lighter.

If I had retired while I was still young I would have escaped without any really serious injury. Of course that would have involved good sense and when you're talking about your passion that is not always in adequate supply. It wasn't racing against jockeys young enough to be my sons that did it - it took even longer than that. Eventually when people would ask whether I didn't regret being unable to ride racehorses any more, I used to explain that I could still ride 'em perfectly well - I just couldn't fall off 'em the way I used to.

So when I decided to write a horse racing story, you may be assured I was pretty well equipped to portray the life warts and all!
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Blog The View From Sliabh Mannan.

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Re: A View to an Individual

Postby orbivillein » Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:25 am

I guess many writers have broken bodies, maybe minds, too, from our misspent youths and jobs and lifestyles. They are complicated and complex health concerns, too.

Jobs and sports which require meeting weight targets, not me, though they cause health concerns, serious for sure, and down the road manifest emotional well-being concerns, too. Napoleanic height challenges, though, for me. For me, my first career pathway ruined my health; a number of concerns persist: osteo, metabolic, and emotional. I'd be a laborer radical but for becoming instead a subversive -- one of my writing ambitions of substance: satirize worker abuses.

Frankly, I believe many stories are possible about that vocational paradigm of work that causes harms, somewhat self-involved, and not realized by or are indiifference from robber baron lairds. The independent film El Norte, director Gregory Nava, 1983, Brassos fuertes, strong arms, is about that and about migrant labor and illegal immigration. Timeless and relevant today about Syrian refugee migration. Oh my. The Golden Glorious West.

Now, science fiction or fantasy or contemporary, what, fictions of real-world-like alternate history, perhaps with a futuristic bent, what about that and satire about worker abuses, with a skew? I'm reading (studying) Eric Flint's 2001 The Philosophical Strangler, a warped contemporary fantasy tale of abuses, some worker, of a historical era, medieval milieu, yet contemporary relevant. Not quite about worker abuses though an adventurous vocational-life nature.

Stories generally resolve upon one or more of five common, central types of social interactions: family life, spiritual life, public social life, vocational life, and romance life. Vocational life is less represented than the others, except in science fiction and fantasy adventure, where circumstances summon a heroine or hero to save niches or all of humanity. Heroic workers who balk and rebel about their jobs' corruptions -- plenty of ripe and fertile fodder for dramatic narratives. And several publishers say they want more vocational-life stories, less ennui and angst, more hope and optimism. The times being what they are -- such is life.


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