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sunandshadow

Folk-tale Motif Index

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sunandshadow    7426
Cool thing I just discovered togay! Anyone interested in getting computers to generate fiction, you need to know this thing exists. A Folk-tale Motif Index is a 6-volume encyclopedia listing all the themes that occur in myths and fairytales from around the world. In 2 sentences this book gives you the set-up and resolution for an episode of a story, in general enough terms that most can be coherently combined into a larger story. Now if only I could find a good book about all the archetypes that have ever shown up in myths...

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sunandshadow    7426
The local university or research library would be your best bet. search: motif index or Aarne Thompson (those are two last names of the co-authors of the most popular one.)

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Bah! Nonsense!

Good writers don''t need to rely on obscure forms of mythology upon which to base their stories. The only way I agree that this method would work would be if the writer used a well-known story and uses the general premise to mock the hell out of it.

FF8 did that magnificently, to say the least, taking the British Lit icon Beowulf and making a contemporary equivalent of him, Laguna, completely skewing the general format in a way I consider to be quite homorous(and equally entertaining). Aside from that, I truly cannot recall a game where the writer pulled it off in entertaining manner.

Quality writers should filled with workable premises to the point where they know they can never begin to write all of them. If a "writer" doesn''t, I suggest they take out a C++ book from their local library or just throw the entire gamemaking idea to the wind and take a heap of finance courses in college.

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sunandshadow    7426
AP, you missed the point completely. If you saw an entry from one of these indexes you would realize that they don''t give enough detail to allow the writer to either copy or parody an existing story. An entry is something like "Ants ask god for wings - wind blows ants away." Further, a writer, just like any other type of artist, is a scavenger who gleans interesting bets of things from the world then combines and reworks them in interesting ways to create art. If some African storyteller had a good idea a thousand years ago there''s no reason I can''t use the same idea in one of my stories. One of the most powerful types of fiction is metafiction in which older stories are included and responded to or twisted to support a different philosophical position.

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Yes, and I still miss the point entirely, obviously. It just seems like a literary cheat sheet to me.

"If some African storyteller had a good idea a thousand years ago there''s no reason I can''t use the same idea in one of my stories."

That''s true. There is no reason why you cannot do this at all. It''s just sad that writers don''t value the idea of completely creating their own ideas from scratch. I mean, yeah, there''s nothing legally wrong with doing this, but when a writer sits down with a book to take an idea from a long since departed african storyteller then they''re essentially admitting that they lack the degree of originality to completely make their own stories.

It''s a REALLY bad habit current writers have gotten into. Stealing little bits and pieces from others because nobody will notice. No wonder so many instances of "creativity" written in the English language are complete garbage nowadays. There''s nobody out there saying "Hey! I write with my own pen! I don''t have to borrow anybody else''s!"

"Further, a writer, just like any other type of artist, is a scavenger who gleans interesting bets of things from the world then combines and reworks them in interesting ways to create art"

This is true, but I do not believe this sentence backs up your point in the post''s context. A writer needs to take interesting things from the world around them(and in the world in their mind), but I find it unethical for writers to dig through dusty old books for ideas to jumpstart, or even back up, their story.

Imagine if you wrote something completely original and a few thousand years later a no talent writer ripped the central concept of your story and tossed it in their own, still considering themselves original for unfathomable reasons. I''d be dead at that point, but I''d really look down upon the person who took my idea. I''d be glad to be of assistance to somebody so painfully lacking, but I''d also pity the fact that they''d need to take my idea because of their own inability to make up new ones.

"One of the most powerful types of fiction is metafiction in which older stories are included and responded to or twisted to support a different philosophical position."

This also has no bearing upon what we''re talking about. I do like the idea of satirizing things the audience can recognize. That way the point the writer was trying to make can be understood clearly by the readers(or at least those familiar with the subject matter). However, we''re talking about something entirely different.

This is taking elements from obscure stories that nobody would recognize and putting them into your own. Using these little plot tools to prove philosophical points is complete nonsense! If a writer has a philosophical statement to make then they should make up their own scenario in which to fuel their ideals.

It''s sad that I can find people to ACTUALLY advocate unoriginality in fiction. I don''t care if this is merely a videogame writing messageboard. This is an important lesson for all writers to learn. SOMEBODY has to come up with unique ideas. Ideas that were created solely by the writer and not taken from somebody else.

Oh well. I guess I''m just too damned old fashioned. I think the goal of writing should be for the writer to SAY something. True, something still would be said if their ideas were taken from some book they found in some library, but it wouldn''t be that writer saying it.

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ShadeStorm    122
I haven''t looked up the books discussed, but I see where the topic writer is coming from. I have to say, AP, that I thoroughly disagree with most of what you have said...(I''m assuming it is the same person.)

You, either specifically or collectively, are NEVER going to write a story, game, essay, whatever in which the theme is original. You will have Man vs Man, Man vs Nature, and Man vs Himself. Only the details will change. The important part of the story, the real "art" as it were, is in the WAY you tell it.

As to your assertion that (paraphrasing) good writers don''t rely on obscure forms of mythology...not true in the least, and that isn''t opinion. I can back that up.

Let''s look at horror since it more readily lends itself to this type of discussion. (Please bear in mind that we are speaking in global terms here, not individually.) There are several things that just scare the bejeesus out of a normal human, and these things are the same from one man to the next.

A room full of dead bodies is okay - not cool, but we can handle it. When they get up the ol'' blood starts pumpin''. I believe it is no coincidence that "Night of The Living Dead" is the most popular scary movie ever made.

Man has been afraid of the dark for eons, and any horror-suspense story that doesn''t use it will be neither horrific nor suspenseful. Ask Stephen King or Dean Koontz.

Nudity implies vulnerability. This is why the "possessed house" always attacks when the lady is in the shower. Also, look at "Psycho".

All stories of a given type or genre share elements. They have to connect to the audience on a subconscious level. If they don''t, you might as well have written a textbook. Even if the "good writer" doesn''t KNOW he uses these common elements, they are present, and I for one would rather consciously include them than accidentally write a good story.

As an aside, this has been a major problem with the game industry. Barring arcade style games, the most basic element of the game is the story. Many developers seem to forget this when it comes time to make a sequel, so the initial success looks like an accident. You know, many colleges require football players to take some kind of dancing/ballet and it really does improve their game. I feel anyone who wants to make games should spend some time just learning how to tell a story. It doesn''t matter if they are your stories or you are just reading to kids at the local library during summer. If you can''t tell a good story for 15-20 minutes, how are you going to tell one for the time it takes the player to complete the game?

Another use for a collection such as was mentioned above is for background research. If you are setting your political thriller in Africa, having a few obscure African mythological references thrown in will flesh the setting and be a reward for attentive players/readers.

A couple of Tibetan folktales can''t hurt when planning out dialogue involving the Dali Lama(sp?), now can it?


sunandshadow: The archetypes where the brain-child of Carl Jung. Any book on psychology will mention them, but a decent sized bookstore should have a fairly good book specifically on him and his ideas...and I would lay money down that any library will have something suitable. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is the "Pan/Goat-head-with-cloven-hoof/Satan" image.

ShadeStorm, the Day_Glo Fish

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Kylotan    10011
There''s no such thing as inventing something totally from scratch. Whatever you write is based on your past reading history, your life experiences, your beliefs, etc. Creativity is just the ability to rearrange existing elements in an interesting way. So there''s nothing wrong in studying more resources in order to give you some fresh ideas for the future.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost ]

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I did not mean to imply that one should not use basic human elements in their stories, instead coming up with entirely new concepts that have never been used before. Such a thing is unavoidable. Doing so would alienate the reader from the work on the personal lever, making it a work completely based in some fantastic unexplored mental region(although it''d still probably be interesting, the reader would have trouble understanding things). It is painfully obvious that all writers need to recognize and utilize these concepts or else there would be no point in writing in the first place, in my opinion.

What we''re discussing is needing to go through old books that detail mythological themes in order to steal them, more or less. I say, frankly, what the hell is the point. I did not for a moment say that the writer had to think up completely new themes in their stories. That wouldn''t work; all those bases are covered. I just think that it''s pathetic that a writer wouldn''t have the intelligence to find that path themselves, instead needing to look through sources to find ones because of their lack of creativity.

THAT is what I am trying to say. It''s a pity I have to spell it out in such blunt terms, but that''s it.

I am not for a moment saying that a person cannot take things from the world around them. I, for one, base my stories around my own existence, framing characters around people that I''ve met and mirroring my own experiences in a way that would be interesting for the reader to experience. I do not think that is bad at all, in fact, I encourage it. It makes the work more realistic.

But I do not give my consent to writers thumbing for old mythology books for things to put in their work. Look around the world for christ''s sake! We live in a deeply fascinating profound world. Even if the writer bases their material in a fantasy world, the things around them SHOULD inspire them enough to make connections between the real world and their fantasy world. And hell, most of my far-fetched ideas are just off the top of my head, indirectly inspired by something completely out of the blue to which the material bases absolutely no resemblance. And, as I''ve said before, one is absolutely NOT a true writer if they cannot do this. If a "writer" has to steal ideas from dead mythology freaks from many years ago, they are merely a glorified version of a fanfic writer, easily the most despicable form of creative writer in existence.

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ShadeStorm    122
Ok, you are entitled to your opinions. You sound like an elitist poseur trying to impress faceless forum members...and you aren''t very good at it. You stated most recently that you weren''t trying to say a writer must come up with completely new stuff yet in your entry before that you say EXACTLY that. You even used the word "completely". And you are correct - it really is a shame you have to point these things out bluntly. Future contradictions just aren''t that obvious to me.

I don''t mind differing opinions. I take offense when you get insulting. Who are you to call all those people who write fan fiction "despicable"? If not for fan fiction, there would be no Star Wars novels...no Star Trek books. AD&D would have died for lack of published adventures. The word of the day is "source material". Maybe you''d prefer "sanctimonious"?

ShadeStorm, the Day_Glo Fish

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It''s not my fault that you misinterpreted the meaning of my posts, mistaking my assertion that writers should not steal stuff from other writers for the erroneous idea that writers shouldn''t take things from the world around them. Perhaps it was my fault for assuming that the writers of this board AT LEAST would know something so basic and simple as this, considering they label themselves as writers. I apologize for assuming that writers know what it means to be original anymore.

Also, I disagree with you on the importance of fan fiction. In my opinion, writers of fan fiction are doing themselves a great disservice. Why stand on the shoulders of others in one''s writing when you can get to that same point yourself. I just don''t see the point. It''s just making yourself a mouthpiece for whoever originally wrote the material. Why? So what if the lifespan of Star Wars, Star Trek and AD&D is shortened. I''m a big fan of Star Wars and Final Fantasy, yet I''m not about to spend my life dying to emulate the every move of the series. Go out and make something that is completely yours, not based off some super geek''s ideas from way back when.

I mean, SOMEBODY has to make purely original material, right? Why just sit around being unoriginal waiting for somebody to make the next Star Trek?

I suppose I should bring my rambling to a close. It''s just that I read stuff from 200 or so years ago from various british authors and I wonder where we went wrong. I look at the state of contemporary writing(in america, at least) and I just frown. Writing used to be a source for not only entertainment but also for deeply profound methods of expression. Now it''s just entertainment with a few dashes of expression tossed in every now and then.

I recall an interesting quote from Percy Shelley saying that "poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world." (Poets, of course, meaning writers, as pretty much everyone was a poet in his time) When I first heard this quote, it really rattled me. Such a statement was true two hundred years ago, but nowadays it''s merely a far-fetched notion by some guy with a wussy name.

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sunandshadow    7426
I''d like to know exactly how writing fanfiction is a bad thing. (Having written 50k words of it myself...). I write original fiction too, but fanfiction is a fascinating genre because you get to be part of a dialogue community and participate in the fleshing-out of a big universe. I have also found creating fanfiction to be an excellent writing exercise because if the characters and setting are already created you can really focus on your plotting and on keeping your dialogue consistent for each character and unique between characters, or on introducing and thoroughly developing one new character. It''s parallel to the concept that creating fan art is a good way to practice your artistic technique.

Anyway, I''d like to point out that my original suggested purpose for a motif index is not even writing fiction, but writing a program to generate fiction. But assuming one wanted to use it as a source book for writing fiction, how is that any different from picking up ideas from all the other things you encounter while going about your life? Say I read the ants entry in the motif index and decise I want to write about people being given wings that they can''t handle. Or say I go to the local lookout tower and the wind''s so strong it almost blows me off my feet, and againg I decide I want to write about people being given wings that they can''t handle. What''s the difference? I can''t see any.

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Personally, I like the idea of literary individuality. It''s just as obvious in the game industry as it is in every other area that we need new ideas, not the same old, boring ones that are just used to make a buck. That''s cool if you don''t really care if you''re just one among hundreds that participate in the fan fiction deal. I, on the other hand, do.

I would personally like to see more writers go out there and write what comes to them naturally. I do not look upon writing as being an experience that is so literal an experience that one would have to go out and obtain their ideas. Inspiration should come from within; practically an out of body experience where you create your own world. I, simply put, look down on writers that need to rip ideas from things they''ve read(this is a rather broad definition, but I use rip meaning take ideas from obscure books with no intention of forming allusions of any kind). It goes along with my problem with fan fiction in that writers are selling a part of themselves for convenience.

I guess I seek more from writing than the rest of you all do. I guess that''s just my problem.

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ShadeStorm    122
"Personally, I like the idea of literary individuality."

Good for you...you will never achieve it if you don''t know that real authors research their subject before they write.

"That''s cool if you don''t really care if you''re just one among hundreds that participate in the fan fiction deal."

Hundreds? Try tens of thousands and you may be scratching the surface. You still haven''t supported the ''despicable'' label.

"I do not look upon writing as being an experience that is so literal an experience that one would have to go out and obtain their ideas."

............what?

"Inspiration should come from within; practically an out of body experience where you create your own world."

I thought you said they should get their inspiration from the world around them?

"I, simply put,..."

You have yet to put anything simply, but alright.

"... look down on writers that need to rip ideas from things they''ve read(this is a rather broad definition, but I use rip meaning take ideas from obscure books with no intention of forming allusions of any kind). "

Have you ever met a real author? Everyone who has ever read a written word has done this. As to the last bit, you apparently think a story MUST have an allusion or it is crap. Good for you.

"It goes along with my problem with fan fiction in that writers are selling a part of themselves for convenience."

Most fan fiction is not for sale, there, Spanky. It is written for love of the story, which I see as a purer kind of art than some abstract, social agenda pushing expose` into the human condition...which seems to be what you are pointing to.

"I guess I seek more from writing than the rest of you all do. I guess that''s just my problem. "

Now that was an poseur statement if I ever saw one. I bet we were intended to hear a patented ''artist suffering for his art'' sigh in there, too.

ShadeStorm, the Day_Glo Fish

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Shade Storm, I hate to be rude, but you are a complete moron. You took absolutely everything I said out of context, failing, yet again, to understand what I meant. In true High school english teacher style, let''s see where you went wrong.

1)
Me:"Personally, I like the idea of literary individuality."

You:"Good for you...you will never achieve it if you don''t know that real authors research their subject before they write."

I did not mean ignore the step of researching your subject if such a step would need to be taken. I simply meant that I like the idea of WRITING YOUR OWN STORIES and not spend all your time WRITING THINGS CONCEPTUALIZED BY OTHERS. This may be a complex notion for you but yes, it is possible.

2)
Me:"I do not look upon writing as being an experience that is so literal an experience that one would have to go out and obtain their ideas."

You:"............what?"

Figures you have no idea what I''m talking about here. Yes, I did word it in an odd manner, but I think that it was coherent enough for a reasonably intelligent person to figure out my point.

3)
Me:"Inspiration should come from within; practically an out of body experience where you create your own world."

You:"I thought you said they should get their inspiration from the world around them?"

You are a product of the world around you, whether you like it or not. When you look inside yourself for things to write about, you should see many reflections of the world around you. Maybe if you got out a little more, this would make more sense to you.

4)
Me:"That''s cool if you don''t really care if you''re just one among hundreds that participate in the fan fiction deal."

You:"Hundreds? Try tens of thousands and you may be scratching the surface. You still haven''t supported the ''despicable'' label."

Tens of thousands? Damn. The state of contemporary writers is worse than I had previously thought.

Also, you should by now have made the connection that by despicable I mean unoriginal. I want to see writers actually advance the writing field with the things they do. Not just step on the shoulders of others in a completely unrewarding venture. Unoriginality won''t do this. Just because you believe that Fan Fiction advances society and in addition to the pasttime of writing as a whole doesn''t mean I haven''t backed up my standpoint with a valid statement.

5)
Me:"... look down on writers that need to rip ideas from things they''ve read(this is a rather broad definition, but I use rip meaning take ideas from obscure books with no intention of forming allusions of any kind). "

You:"Have you ever met a real author? Everyone who has ever read a written word has done this. As to the last bit, you apparently think a story MUST have an allusion or it is crap. Good for you."

This is not true. Believe it or not, there are writers that do not spend a livlihood(or their hobby, for that matter) blatantly stealing ideas from the works of others. I say works from others. No matter what I say about this issue, you tend to blow it out of porportion and, more importantly, misinterpret it. I do NOT mean that a writer should not take things from inside themselves and the world around them. I just think they should introduce new subject matter into the literary realm. I cannot state this any simpler.

Also, I feel that the only ethical way to introduced used subject matter is to form an allusion of some kind. Nowhere have I said that every work requires it. Again, you completely failed to see my point.

6)
Me:"It goes along with my problem with fan fiction in that writers are selling a part of themselves for convenience."

You:"Most fan fiction is not for sale, there, Spanky. It is written for love of the story, which I see as a purer kind of art than some abstract, social agenda pushing expose` into the human condition...which seems to be what you are pointing to."

This shocked me. I said the writer is SELLING A PART OF THEMSELVES, not selling the work. There is a difference. I said that they''re "selling a part of themselves for convenience." It astonished me that you failed to make the connection.

I respect the idea that you love someone''s story enough to spend months upon months paying your respects to it, but I do not see how this can be more noble than making your own story. I''ll allow that little remark about the "abstract, social agenda pushing expose" simply because you have obviously never written anything original of any worth, thus you obviously have no idea what I''m speaking of.

Original writers for the most part, believe it or not, write for the sheer joy of creating something that is completely theirs. True, they may have some sort of social agenda, but that is typically not the primary factor behind the work being written. However, even if it was, that doesn''t make it crap. At least they were trying to do something significant with their work rather than just mimic the style of some sci-fi writer.

7)
Me:"I guess I seek more from writing than the rest of you all do. I guess that''s just my problem. "

You:"Now that was an poseur statement if I ever saw one. I bet we were intended to hear a patented ''artist suffering for his art'' sigh in there, too."

Say what you will, my statement is the obvious truth or else we wouldn''t be having this conversation. My definition of writing is different than yours, obviously. I look upon it as more of an intellectual and emotional process, whereas you look at it more as a method to formulate small cliques.


Looking back on it, I had a difficult time determining whether you were trying to misinterpret my words intentionally to make me look stupid or you truly had no clue what I was talking about. Either way, you have failed to address the assignment, misinterpreting it as you did my other post.

However, you did do a great service by informing me of the amount of fan fiction writers out there. Although this information has made my head hurt, I''m glad to have been informed.

Overall, a poor effort backed up by unrelated responses.

D-

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ShadeStorm    122
Heh. I really don't think you hate to be rude, but I'll accept that attempt to...what was that an attempt of?

You seem to be using a dictionary I've never come across. How could I have taken your satatements "out of context"? I quoted almost your entire message. If you meant to say I drew the wrong conclusions FROM that context, then I grant that is likely...well, I'll get to that. Please, forgive my not-getting-out-enough, moronic, never-written-anything-of-worth, not-reasonably-intelligent-self. Hey, you're really my landlady, aren't you?

You know, I can take insults as well as dish them. Unfortunately, you are only going to hurt your position if you make them about that which you have no knowledge. Granted, if you really believe the detritus you've been spewing, I can see how I wouldn't seem too bright to you. Again, we'll get to that.

What do you know of my life? You don't even know my name although, "Anonymous Poster", that probably doesn't bother you.

As to the whole "you're too stupid to understand me" thing, you admitted that it was an oddly constructed statement. I understood what you meant to say. I was making the point, Mr. Allusion, that you did not succeed at saying it.

Here's the payoff: If a writer fails to reach his audience, who's fault is that?

Edit: You know, I will use any and all means necessary to get whatever idea I'm writing about to my readers. If that idea is "I love Star Wars", guess how I'm going to do it. (That brings up a point. You said you are a Star Wars fan. Are you aware that Lucas took the entire idea from a grade B samurai flick? If you look at a synopsis, it is almost verbatim. Only the details changed.)

ShadeStorm, the Day_Glo Fish

Edited by - ShadeStorm on February 11, 2002 8:07:44 PM

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sunandshadow    7426
moderator voice

First of all, everyone please refrain from making personal attaks (e.g. you are a moron who couldn''t possibly write anything original.) Personal attacks constitute flaming and if flaming is going on I will have to close the thread.

/moderator voice



1)
AP: I did not mean ignore the step of researching your subject if such a step would need to be taken. I simply meant that I like the idea of WRITING YOUR OWN STORIES and not spend all your time WRITING THINGS CONCEPTUALIZED BY OTHERS.


Are we still even talking about the motif index? Because if we''re looking at the index itself, not the source myth, I don''t think the index entries count as ''things conceptualized by others'' because they''re too short to be conceptualized at all.


2)
AP:"I do not look upon writing as being an experience that is so literal an experience that one would have to go out and obtain their ideas."

ShadeStorm:"............what?"

AP: Figures you have no idea what I''m talking about here. Yes, I did word it in an odd manner, but I think that it was coherent enough for a reasonably intelligent person to figure out my point.

Now, a polite and amicable poster would have responded by rephrasing the statement, not by attacking the questioner''s intelligence. I myself happen to be one semester away from my BA in English, and I have an IQ of 150 (I offer this info merely as proof of reasonable intellegence, not because anyone cares) and I''m _still_ not sure what you were trying to say. Would you care to rephrase for us?

Or I can guess: Your basic opinion in this and other statements seems to be that the ''one true way to write'' is to be inspired in some sort of transcendental way and just let the original fiction pour out of you, and everything else is dishonorable or cheating or valueless for assorted reasons. Yet that would seem to contradict your statement quated above that "I did not mean ignore the step of researching your subject if such a step would need to be taken." Well, which is it? Is your opinion that research is ok if necessary but it really ought not to be necessary? If so, why?



4)
AP: ...by despicable I mean unoriginal. I want to see writers actually advance the writing field with the things they do. Not just step on the shoulders of others in a completely unrewarding venture. Unoriginality won''t do this. Just because you believe that Fan Fiction advances society and in addition to the pasttime of writing as a whole doesn''t mean I haven''t backed up my standpoint with a valid statement.

There are indeed tens of thousands of fanfic writers, many of whom will go on to become published writers of original fiction. Are you sure doing something ''despicable'' if writing fanfic builds up their skills to enable them to write the original fiction you are so concerned about?

I''m curious to know what sorts of things you think would advance the writing field, or which writers you think have succeded in doing so.



5)
AP:"... look down on writers that need to rip ideas from things they''ve read(this is a rather broad definition, but I use rip meaning take ideas from obscure books with no intention of forming allusions of any kind)."

ShadeStorm:"Have you ever met a real author? Everyone who has ever read a written word has done this. As to the last bit, you apparently think a story MUST have an allusion or it is crap. Good for you."

AP: This is not true. Believe it or not, there are writers that do not spend a livlihood(or their hobby, for that matter) blatantly stealing ideas from the works of others. I say works from others. No matter what I say about this issue, you tend to blow it out of porportion and, more importantly, misinterpret it. I do NOT mean that a writer should not take things from inside themselves and the world around them. I just think they should introduce new subject matter into the literary realm. I cannot state this any simpler.

AP: Also, I feel that the only ethical way to introduced used subject matter is to form an allusion of some kind. Nowhere have I said that every work requires it. Again, you completely failed to see my point.


Now, ethics is an interesting way to approach this. You say the only ethical way to include source material from another piece of fiction is in an allusion. Are you sure you want to say that? What about a parody that uses character names and lines of dialogue from a serious original? What about epigraphs, quotes used to introduce chapters? What if I want to mention that my character was whistling a particular pop song? I still don''t feel that use of a motif index in any way constitutes ''blatant theft'' or even just ''theft''.

Responding to ShadeStorm''s question, I know several published authors and they _all_ do some sort of research, although most will warn you that it is easy to get caught up in doing the research and forget to actually write anything. (This is referred to as ''cat vacuuming''.)



7)
AP:"I guess I seek more from writing than the rest of you all do. I guess that''s just my problem. "

ShadeStorm:"Now that was an poseur statement if I ever saw one. I bet we were intended to hear a patented ''artist suffering for his art'' sigh in there, too."

AP: Say what you will, my statement is the obvious truth or else we wouldn''t be having this conversation. My definition of writing is different than yours, obviously. I look upon it as more of an intellectual and emotional process, whereas you look at it more as a method to formulate small cliques.


Different != more, and ShadeStorm made it completely clear that he(?) felt that writing was an act of love, not towards a clique, but towards a story world and its characters, which obviously means that for him writing is an emotional process. The difference in your two opinions is that you AP, seem to think that originally is essential to a work of fiction being meaningful, while ShadeStorm and I think that fiction, fan and otherwise, can be meaningful for other reasons as well.

I would like to challange both of you to post some fiction you have written and read the other''s, and then maybe you will have more respect for each other as fellow writers and members of this forum. I will do the same if one of you requests it, although you may already be familiar with my writing if you have read through the thread archive for this forum.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
This conversation isn''t really getting anywhere.

We aren''t exactly seeing eye to eye because our approaches are so vastly different. I used to be a fan fic writer way back when I first started writing. I did a bunch of concluding chapters to Final Fantasy 7 and probably would have moved on to other things had I stayed interested in doing them. But I didn''t. I moved on to original stuff and found it infinitely more rewarding.

I look back on fan fics and I simply wonder why, as I''m sure you have deduced by now. I guess it''s because I read stuff from the Romantic Period and the Victorian Age of writing and wonder why things have changed for what I consider to be the worse. I suppose there are a number of things to blame, but unoriginality is one of the big things that I''ve labeled as a factor. I''ve had trouble expressing this because, on the surface, there is a very thin line between originality and unoriginality. What I consider to be unoriginal, others consider to be original and vice versa, I''m sure.

My problem is that I do not like where contemporary literature is going. I keep seeing the thought processes of writing more and more drained out. This may get to a point where the label writer is no longer valid(hell, we''re almost there right now).

I guess my main reasons for coming on here and generally being an asshole was in the hopes of delivering a shock to the system of a few writers. Recently, I recieved a similar shock, after taking a bunch of british lit courses at my university. After taking the classes, I put everything I had written and was currently writing under painful scrutiny. I realized that I didn''t truly like the writer I had become.

After reading all these authors, I realized that I wanted my writing to be an abstract reflection of my brain''s inner workings. Before, I was just writing, trying to get the plot and dialogue and shit to work out(although it was entertaining). Now, I am really finding myself wanting to say something with the things that I write, all the while trying to figure out myself through my words and, needless to say, make my works a thoroughly entertaining and intellectual experience.

I''m sure I''ll be greeted with harsh disagreement when I say that I do not believe it''s possible to truly speak your words through unoriginal expeditions such as fan fiction, but that''s what I believe. I just think that any writer that wants to write something should go through it the whole way, making up their own characters, stories conflicts. Taking ideas from others is simply cheating themselves more than anybody else, in my eyes.

I mean, yeah, stuff like Star Wars and Star Trek is cool, but I think a lot more fan fic writers would be happier if they were completely speaking their own words, rather than the words of others. Hell, let big wigs like Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas advance their own damn series. I tried, poorly I might add, to imply that writing comes from the heart, from within. It should be a reflection of what you''re thinking about and the kind of person you are, placed in the context of whatever era you choose.

I guess this has gotten off the initial topic of the folk-tale motif thingy, although I still think it''s somewhat related. Oh well.

At this point, I shall apologize for all the toes I stepped on in my posts. I was rude and inconsiderate in an attempt to make a series of points, which I failed horribly at doing. I guess I must recognize that writing will not change at all. Creativity has taken a big backseat to technology and convenience. It unfortunately has changed all our ideas and ethics, forcing every one of us into being a mere tool of the government, perpetually keeping a watchful eye on our digital watches.

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ShadeStorm    122
Now, see...I can respect that. I think your previous posts just felt too aggressive to me, and I responded in kind. I still think you are being too hard on fan fiction, but I can see where you are coming from.

Also, since you really DO believe these things, I''d like to apologize for the poseur cracks.

Anyway, I''m in the middle of packing for a change of residence. I''ll be all moved into my new house in the next week or so. As soon as I get to my notebooks I''ll post some of my material, if anyone is still interested.

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sunandshadow    7426
AP - Now that''s much better. Now we can have a meaningful conversation rather than an argument.

Brit lit as the pinnacle of writing, eh? Not an idea I would have ever come up with... I like Blake and T. S. Eliot but that''s about it. Well, Shaw and Wilde and associated satirists are cool... If I had to pick a pinnacle of writing I think I would say for sf/fantasy it occurred between 1970 and 1985, earlier for various other genres. I''m currently studying surrealism in general and shoujo manga/anime from the 80s because they do a lot of things I want to be able to do in my writing.

So what brit lit did you specifically have in mind, and what do you think is cool about it?

ShadeStorm - I always like to see what my forum members are writing, and I have extended an open invitation to everyone to post their stuff and ask for c+c.

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I actually find it hard to pin point why I like these writers, honestly. I guess the main reasons are that they could make their writings meaningful as well as entertaining at the same time. Elloquent, yet very passionate about what they wrote about. When I read those folks, I don''t feel like I, as a reader, am being cheated in any way possible. Lots of things from other periods I read seem to be dumbed down a little bit so the entertainment factor can slip through a little bit more. Or they try too hard to be intellectual, making them truly boring to read.

With british writers(I''d say from the early 1800s-early 1900s), I feel that you get everything writing has to offer. Yes, this is all a rather broad definition of the period, but it was a feeling that seemed to go through the heart of each of their writing styles. I really feel that they set an unreachable standard in terms of literary achievement.

The big ones that struck me off the top of my head were, as you mentioned Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw(gotta love those crazy socialists) and my other two favorites Robert Burns and Lord Byron. I know I''m forgetting a great deal more(for instance Robert Louis Stevenson who, although I''ve never read any of his stuff, wrote the original story from which my favorite comedy film, The Wrong Box, was based), but I sorta needed to keep it brief. I gotta be in my philosophy class in 5 minutes...

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