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Do You Feel Lucky?

I have a big pile of workshop feedback on my latest story that I haven't been able to get around to reading yet. However, I did get the biggest point during the class discussion itself, and it's one more reason I'm glad I took this class. Not only have I learned something about the craft of writing, I've learned something about myself as a writer that explained a fair bit.

I've often explained my large-scale switch from prose to poetry some (dear lord, four?) years ago with a little cliche about "I only write poetry when I'm in love." While this was true to an extent, and really quite aptly sums up most of the time since then, it misses something.

I've taken a lot of my writing cues from the ridiculously long and epic series that I read as a matter of routine, like Lord of the Rings and Song of Ice and Fire. The main thing I've drawn from them is my compulsion for worldbuilding and detailed background settings in general. When I try and write short fiction, I have to compromise between the exposition necessary to make sense of the story, and the actual story. (Either that, or it's fanfic, and the audience doesn't need as much exposition in that case.)

As an example, the setting document I've been using for Eulogy and Sundering, even if you strip the RPG rules from it, is something like 3500-4000 words long, and could easily grow like a tumour if I actually included all the extra details I would have to come up with to make it comprehensive (admittedly, most of that document is about a city that doesn't exist quite yet in the Eulogy/Sundering timeframe). Eulogy itself is under 500, and Sundering is under 3,000. Something has to give. In the two stories mentioned, it was the exposition, and such was the point made in class Tuesday, when I managed to confuse the entire class through trying to do my exposition subtly and largely failing. :)

I suppose I subconsciouly realised this a long time ago. The reason I stopped writing prose then was because I didn't have (or didn't feel like making) the time to write the kind of stories I liked and thought I was suited to. One wonders if I ever will really have the time, but I think I'll try and be more diligent about making it. Though not anytime soon: I have far too many papers I need to get a start on. But if I ever do finish a novel and get published, you're all on the list for signed copies. Especially you, thirdgrade, since you asked so nicely last class. :P

Comments

( Walk among 3 shadows — Cast a shadow )
andur
Mar. 18th, 2007 06:55 am (UTC)
If you do want to make a setting document explode into a tumour... I've been thinking a lot of turning the mysterious "Project F" from a pure fighter to a mini-rpg. So if you want to lend any writing or setting expertise, we need to talk sometime :)
paleshadow
Mar. 18th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
This would require you to actually divulge information. Can you LIVE WITH THE SHAME?
andur
Mar. 20th, 2007 05:46 am (UTC)
Divulge information?¿? But I like the sense of mystery... Actually I'll be doing some serious looking into setting up a proper website and such for such divulgent matters.
( Walk among 3 shadows — Cast a shadow )