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sunandshadow

I Challenge You!

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Ok forum members - your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go to the library, locate one book on writing theory, read it over holiday break, and tell us all what it said. Who dares to accept the challenge?!?

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Well, I just can''t seem to find the time to do anything. The only books I will be reading are on physics, social studies, math, and english (for school of course).

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Actually I don''t have the ability to make you moderator for a day. I can certainly recommend a book though. What subjects are you interested in? Logic, semiotics, memes, narratology, classical poetics and catharthis theory ala Aristotle, reader-response criticism, myth analysis, fiction and the unconscious ala Freud and Jung, metafiction and self-referentialism, ...?

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Do those books have pictures in them...

Seriously though, I wouldn''t have the patience to go through one of those books, unless I was purely interested in learning the theory.

Anyway, not to contradict what I said above, I would be interested in Myth and creative writing books that are "readable", so any recommendations?

*********-.o-**********

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I''ve just finished "Writing for interactive media" by Samsel and Wimberley which was a good introduction. They say its a complete guide - which it isn''t. But as a starter in this area I found it had some useful ideas and it certainly taught me a lot.

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quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
Actually I don''t have the ability to make you moderator for a day. I can certainly recommend a book though. What subjects are you interested in? Logic, semiotics, memes, narratology, classical poetics and catharthis theory ala Aristotle, reader-response criticism, myth analysis, fiction and the unconscious ala Freud and Jung, metafiction and self-referentialism, ...?


This is actually all literary theory...not writing theory. They also have almost nothing to do with writing for interactive media, well except for maybe ''myth analysis'' and metafiction. Unless you''re asking for a headache, I wouldn''t recommend any of this reading to anyone. Well, unless you plan on pursuing graduate work in some aspect of literary studies.

If I may, I would highly recommend reading anything by Chris Crawford, anything by Joseph Campbell, and explore some of the reseach being undertaken by members of the MIT Media Lab and by Raymond Kurzweil. The latter two are more interesting if you''re interested in media communications theory, and while you''re at it you should pick up some McLuhan.

R.

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I''ve been feeling under the weather lately. Feeling for what, you ask? Oh, I''m sorry. I thought you asked that. As I was saying, or rather, as I was about to say, I''ve been feeling odd. I would be inclined to see a doctor, except I''m not sure whether I''m really sick or not. Can anyone suggest a good metaphysician? :O

Jonathon
quote:
"Mathematics are one of the fundamentaries of educationalizing our youths." -George W. Bush

"When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish." - Lao Tzu


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Writting is not a problem to me, or something that I feel I should read about, instead I read books that would help sustain a plot like conspiracy theory books, scientific books on topics like Hyperspace (Michio Kaku''s Hyperspace is great), time travel (currently reading Clifford A. Pickover''s Time, a traveler''s guide), lately I have been also atracted to Tesla''s patents like Death rays, and others.

With the "Practical" knowledge of how some things are posible, and the reasons why some "forces" or "entities" dont want to give the world free unlimited power supply, you just need a character to uncover the plot as your story advances

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Most of the responses on this thread read like entries to a comedy sketch.

"You Might be a Real Amateur if..."

* ...you think that learning a skill isn''t necessary for using that skill.

* ...you think "theory" never meets "practice".

* ...you think you know all there is to know.


Take the challenge sunandshadow presented. Broaden your horizons and your view on the world.

A good place to start is any of the "Writers Digest" books. Pick one up at your local library or bookstore (they''re cheap).

This is, after all, a forum about writing. Let''s try and treat it with a bit of respect and not assume we no longer have anything to learn.


DavidRM
Samu Games

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Jesus DavidRM, at least be open to other people''s opinions about things if we have to put up with yours. I happen to be a professional writer with a degree in literature, and if I express my belief that reading literary theory is useless if you''re trying to learn to write for games, it''s because I''ve read a lot of it. I''m not saying reading theory isn''t great for your personal edification, and it''s certainly a good intellectual exercise (keep a bottle of tylenol handy), but this is a forum about writing for games, at least that''s how I understood it, not writing academic papers on post-colonial literature or about how the psychoanalytic school of theory pertains to anything at all.

My original post wasn''t meant as a jab at Sunandshadow or anyone else...and I apologize if anyone took it that way. All I''m saying is that for the majority of people their limited time could be better spent reading something else.

R.

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o_O Hmm, well first let me say I gave a list of literary theory topics because I learned a lot more about how to write fiction than from any of these froofy "how to write books", and I've read quite a few books from both categories. Literary theory can be just as easily applied to creating fiction as it can to dissecting and discussing fiction, and it's especially applicable to theorizing about what will best satisfy your audience. I wasn't going to recommend any books that gave me a headache. _The Meme Machine_ for example is a pure pleasure to read. On the other hand, I am a natural theorist so I probably enjoy this sort of thing more than the average person. Also I'm a structuralist so the books I recommend will be those that don't conflict too horribly with structuralism. If I WANTED to give people headaches I would recommend semiotics and transformational generative grammar.





If you want to read one of the earliest and most foundational things written about writing, read Aristotle's Poetics and learn about catharsis theory.

If want a book that's specifically about how to write science fiction the only 2 I actually liked are:
_Aliens and Alien Societies_ and
_World-Building_ from the "Science Fiction Writing Series"

If you want to read about myth analysis... Well the historical progression of myth analysts went something like this: Muller (myths are allegories of nature), Lang (myths are protoscience), Smith (myths are encodings of rituals), Malinowski (myths teach social charters), Propp (myths are all generated on one basic pattern), Freud (trauma and repression), Jung (archetypes and the collective unconscious), Levi-Strauss (sociology), and then various postmodernists but they suck. Personally I would with Propp but if you're more of a mystic you would like Jung better. Jung is also the most likely of them all to have pictures. Although Levi-Strauss has some.



So allright, what non-literary-theory topics might be useful to this group? How about personality theory, the birth and evolution of societies, any introduction to psychology... I have a book here on getting computers to generate fiction but I can't recommend it because I haven't read it yet. The only other non-fiction I've read enough of to recommend is philosophy, and that's not relevant here.

Edited by - sunandshadow on December 14, 2001 4:31:19 PM

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Quote sunandshadow:

"The only other non-fiction I''ve read enough of to recommend is philosophy, and that''s not relevant here."


- I would have thought philosophy more relevant than most, since the art of writing and inspiration come from understanding society, and our place in the world, as well as ethics and religion. What better way of learning to write for humans than by learning exactly what makes them tick?

...don''t mind me though I''m just babbling...

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I wasn''t even aware that there was such as thing as "Writing Theory" until just now.
Wow.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Vetinari
What books would you suggest on Metafiction and self-referentialism?

Mike


Hmmm... Well I have one here called _The Meaning of Metafiction_ that I haven't read yet but should get to in a week or so. amazon.com lists 24 matches for 'metafiction', several of which look interesting - you should see what your library has. A university library is probably a better place to look than a public library unless it's a really small or non-liberal arts university. _Fool on the Hill_ is a rather interesting example of metafiction, but not a theory book so it doesn't count for this challenge. Self-referentialism originated as a pop art thing and only migrated into writing since the 1970s (earlier in french literature), though there are sme really old historical examples that originated independantly. Self-referentialism comes in two main flavors, authoritative (omniscient) and self-denegriating, the latter of which is linked to the punk aesthetic movement. Self-referentialism can be viewed as a response to the performativity paradox - this is the idea "how can you tell the dancer from the dance", or the idea that knowing a theory means you automatically see reality as supporting that theory, while if you knew a different theory you would interpret the world entirely differently. All of this is related to the psychological phenomenon 'the placebo effect'.

Some terms that are relevent to this area: recursivity, recursive paradox, catch-22, endless loop, breaking the fourth wall, authorial intrusion, simulacrum.

Oops, this post is by sunandshadow

Edited by - sunandshadow on December 15, 2001 1:32:33 AM

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Actually they''re so closely related it''d be hard to research one without researching the other - metafiction is usually self-referential, because meta-fiction is essentially fiction that admits it''s fiction (a simulacrum created by an author), and if you''re willing to admit your work is fiction you''re probably also willing to put yourself as author into the piece of fiction. And mentioning in your fiction that your author character is writing some fiction with the same title as this work of fiction is a bit of humor that goes along with the whole area. So, a book about metafiction will likely discuss self-referentialism.

http://cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/hayek-tim.html try this article

Douglas Hofstaedter: Goedel, Escher, Bach: the Enternal Golden Braid I haven''t read this one yet but it''s gotten tremendously good ratings. It''s primarily about self-referential systems like dna rather than literary self-referentialism though.

The other main place to look for self-referentialism is Habermas, but he''s not very easy to read because he''s mostly writing in response to other people. That''s all the refrences I could find - it seems self-referentialism is a simple enough concept that people don''t bother writing whole books about it, only articles and chapters of other books which are more difficult to locate.

There is a slightly related object that you may want to know about though - the self-rererential aptitude test. This is a test in which all the answers can be found in the structure of the test itself. Sample questions might be: how many questions have the answer ''b''? What was the answer to the previous question?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I would HIGHLY reccomend Metamagica Therum, I quote "A questing for the essence of mind and pattern". Just read it! It brings up recmarcable concepts, that some of are even funny in a way (just read it, as you see, I need more books on writing theory!)

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