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Old 03-05-2005, 09:59 PM   #1
zefrank
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lets get some thematic material together

i'm open to any sort of process on this...feel free to suggest ways of going about this.

i want to write about a divorce from the perspective of a child
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Old 03-05-2005, 10:44 PM   #2
trisherina
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How small of a child?
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Old 03-05-2005, 10:45 PM   #3
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hmmm...4 foot something?
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Old 03-05-2005, 10:46 PM   #4
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Heh. So an elementary school aged child? Say, grade one two or three?

eta: I have a child abduction scene that I wrote in my head some time ago, in there waiting for use. It's from the pov of the child, but the child is quite small in the current in-head version, preschool. So I'd be really pleased if the story featured an abduction of some sort (possibly by a desperate parent).
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Old 03-05-2005, 11:12 PM   #5
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Oh great. Nothing like writing from the heart.
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Old 03-05-2005, 11:18 PM   #6
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how old? or do you want collaboration on that?

from a three year old- great because it's really the first point that kids define a sense of self

four year old - sense of self with higher level of vocabulary and reasoning abilities

five year old- all that plus an emergence into larger society (usually school)

six year old- a point that some psychologists claim the personality is pretty well established for the rest of the child's life.

after six/seven years old, it's a head-long collision course to puberty, which can come at any second, ending childhood and adding a whole new layer of complexity to the individual's existence.

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all that aside, what do you want to do here- do you want to come up with a strategy for writing a particular story? or for all the stories in the collabortive story section of the fiction project?

You may end up going around and around in circles trying to set up rules that either a.) turn people off or b.)interest people who want to participate but don't understand rules on how to do so. Or even worse, the group spends more time trying to define the rules than actually writing the story.*

Take, for example, communal haiku. I love it because the "rules" are well-known (5-7-5 or 3-5-3). And contrary to popular opinion of "limiting creativity", they are really just pretty containers to pour our ideas into to create complete new works. Yet, the rules are commonly known and straight forward- it's not very often you have to tell people "hey bub, keep it down to 5 syllables." Those times do come on occasion, and it's kind of awkward for everyone involved, because hey, it's art. Go with it. But it's supposed to have STRUCTURE- that's what makes it pretty and fun and enjoyable to read.

However, it's infinitely much easier to enforce a quanititative rule (such as a number of syllables) than it is to enforce a qualitative rule ("that passage really sucked, can you rewrite it?")

Bottom line, from what I can tell, if you are going to create rules for creativity, it's good to have the collective participants know as clearly as possible what the hell is going on. If not that, then something else (or someone) has to take the lead.

*actually, good stories do have well-known, well-traveled structure outlined by Aristotle in Poetics back in the day of marble seats. We owe a lot to trial and error at the expense of sore Grecian asses.
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Old 03-06-2005, 03:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amanda

all that aside, what do you want to do here- do you want to come up with a strategy for writing a particular story? or for all the stories in the collabortive story section of the fiction project?

You may end up going around and around in circles trying to set up rules that either a.) turn people off or b.)interest people who want to participate but don't understand rules on how to do so. Or even worse, the group spends more time trying to define the rules than actually writing the story.*

Take, for example, communal haiku. I love it because the "rules" are well-known (5-7-5 or 3-5-3). And contrary to popular opinion of "limiting creativity", they are really just pretty containers to pour our ideas into to create complete new works. Yet, the rules are commonly known and straight forward- it's not very often you have to tell people "hey bub, keep it down to 5 syllables." Those times do come on occasion, and it's kind of awkward for everyone involved, because hey, it's art. Go with it. But it's supposed to have STRUCTURE- that's what makes it pretty and fun and enjoyable to read.

However, it's infinitely much easier to enforce a quanititative rule (such as a number of syllables) than it is to enforce a qualitative rule ("that passage really sucked, can you rewrite it?")

Bottom line, from what I can tell, if you are going to create rules for creativity, it's good to have the collective participants know as clearly as possible what the hell is going on. If not that, then something else (or someone) has to take the lead.
i look forward to your suggestions on a rule base that might work here. we could begin with highly structural rules for a first draft...then revisit it by editing the piece with a different rule set.

i'm not looking for mass participation...only looking for a few people who are familiar with some of the dynamics of community based fiction to try and attempt something more challenging and hopefully in the process find structural components that might make this work.

its too easy to predict failure based on past experience.

how about we write the entire story in its most basic elements first:

for example we sum up the entire story based purely on plot points...i.e. dan's parent's argue. dan picks up a broken watch. dan falls asleep on the neighbor's lawn.

his could be restricted to a structural rule (one or two sentences at a time...doesn't matter if there is redunancy, mutual exclusivity, etc...)

based on the community thinking we trim this down...then write a paragraph that tackles thematic relationships, then the back story on characters...

i don't care how long it takes. dammit.
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Old 03-06-2005, 04:36 PM   #8
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Well, when I write, I scratch out the various scenes that will be necessary to get to where I'm going. This sounds not unlike what ze is suggesting. With such an outline, people could go away and write the scenes that really appeal to them. That said, plot and structure are not my strong points. HFox is pretty strong there, for instance. I ask only that my squid overlords try to fit in something like an abduction scene (I suppose it could be morphed into a bit where the little guy hears his parents fighting late at night.)
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Old 03-06-2005, 04:36 PM   #9
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I would be interested in writing it from the point of view of a 4-5 year old - that's how old I was when my parents split up, so I could provide some first-hand experience - my mom explaining what was happening, the strangeness of living with her and a man who had been our family friend and who now seemed to be my new "daddy"; seeing my dad for the first time in two eternal weeks after seeing him every day in my short life; his attempt to inspire loyalty by showering me with gifts and a trip to Disneyland... it would be interesting to really try to get inside those situations again - possibly theraputic.
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Old 03-06-2005, 11:19 PM   #10
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k. what should i do?

create a plot outline thread?
and a theme thread?

how about a general scene sketch thread?

you name it...hell...you start it.
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Old 03-07-2005, 03:26 AM   #11
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I feel so out of touch with this story. I have no idea how to approach it from a child's perspective...although, I have a friend at work and although she flirts with every living male in the office, she talks about her ex like he's the new love of her life and tries to dodge the crap we give her about her not taking off her ring. I don't remember...at what age to boys and girls begin to notice eachother? Cause if I had an idea of that, I could translate it, I'm sure.
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Old 03-07-2005, 05:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zefrank
i look forward to your suggestions on a rule base that might work here. we could begin with highly structural rules for a first draft...then revisit it by editing the piece with a different rule set.
you'd make an excellent dipolmat.

instead of going through the motions of reinventing the wheel, perhaps just using the inherent rule set of a basic story- three acts moving in an arc of crisis, climax and resolution. It sounds like you have a basis of a crisis in mind (a divorce). Perhaps the rest of us can fill in- what is the incident that gets the plot rolling? Is it the divorce itself? The aftermath? The custody hearing? The day Dan scrapes his knee on the pavement and can't have mommy kiss it better because mommy is living across town?

you've got it below...

Quote:
i'm not looking for mass participation...only looking for a few people who are familiar with some of the dynamics of community based fiction to try and attempt something more challenging and hopefully in the process find structural components that might make this work.

its too easy to predict failure based on past experience.
true that, captain. but, as I am sure you are keenly aware, it does help to use the knowledge gained from "failures" (I'm not sure what you constitute as failure here... but I'll run with it.)

Quote:
how about we write the entire story in its most basic elements first:

for example we sum up the entire story based purely on plot points...i.e. dan's parent's argue. dan picks up a broken watch. dan falls asleep on the neighbor's lawn.

his could be restricted to a structural rule (one or two sentences at a time...doesn't matter if there is redunancy, mutual exclusivity, etc...)

based on the community thinking we trim this down...then write a paragraph that tackles thematic relationships, then the back story on characters...
I like this... it gives a chance for folks to pick and choose to focus on their strengths in the story creating process (as trish mentioned about an outline).

I think it can be both thematic and plot outline thread... I'll go and start one....

Quote:
i don't care how long it takes. dammit.
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Old 03-07-2005, 03:14 PM   #13
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I remember thinking 'thank fvck for that' when mine split up, I was four.


My, how useful I am.
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Old 03-05-2005, 11:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zefrank
i'm open to any sort of process on this...feel free to suggest ways of going about this.

i want to write about a divorce from the perspective of a child
Reminds me: Did you ever read A Late Divorce by A.B. Yehoshua?

Yehoshua is a well-known Israeli author. This is my favorite of his that I've read. Each chapter is told fromthe POV of a different character in the story, and Chapter One is from the POV of a small child. (A little hard to figure what's going on if you're unaware of that until you hit Chapter 2 and it changes voice.) The "Look Inside" link on the Amazon link above gives the first few pages of the chapter written from the child's POV, if you're interested.
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Old 03-06-2005, 03:23 AM   #15
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Though it often is, divorce doesn't necessarily have to be unhappy. A couple I know are divorcing because though they're close friends they've driven each other nuts for a long time. Their high school aged kids are happy they won't be causing each other so much unhappiness; the younger one is mainly concerned that he'll be able to see them both.

There won't be a nasty lawyer-escalated property division phase... there won't be a nasty custody battle... he's getting an apartment nearby so he can stop by for dinner. But it doesn't really make for particularly interesting writing.
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