The absolute-end-all cardinal rule of writing. [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Nephilim
01-19-2005, 20:12
A writing professor years ago told me "Its all been done. Be unique or I'll fail you." This was the same professor that said "If I have to read another god damn love poem, you're all failing."

His advice was well taken.

It -has- all been done. There are only so many basic story lines to go around. When calling on the basic components of a story, or a poem... the key is uniqueness. Poets, playwrights, and authors have been writing about love, death, birth, tragedy, comedy, war, passion, and every other aspect of humanity for well over 2,000 years now.

When you write... exist constantly in this frame of mind:

How is this experience unique to me? How is this experience unique to moment, to the reader, to humanity? How can I convey this moment to the reader in a way that no one has before?

Glennbo
01-26-2005, 00:49
I write horror short stories. I've had seven of them copyrighted. I sent off three different stories to three different magazines. Now, I've read a TON of horror and SF and these stories are very original. Anyway, I got three rejections. That doesn't bug me that much...you should pretty much expect it. The irritating thing is they do you the "favor" of telling you why. One said, "tells me nothing new". It was completely new! The idea had never been done before! I'm sure of that. Another said, "the characters don't change during the story". The story is only four pages long; what are they suposed to do...go from heterosexual to gay? One of them dies. How do you change more than that? I think these low-level editors are all frustrated writers, and don't know what they're talking about. Just say you don't like it, but if your reason is bogus, keep it to yourself. I'm going to keep plugging away, but if I write a story about a wombat that chews a hole into the moon, and uses it as a gun to shoot four leaf clovers into a blind cab driver's coffe mug, DON'T tell me it's already been done.

inafist
01-28-2005, 13:56
I'm a journalism student from Atlanta and mainly write about life experiences and seeing the world through different peoples eyes. I think comparing and contrasting the different points of view of an event is about the most interesting thing you can read or write. Seeing the same event through the eyes of a bunch of different types of people and not only seeing it, but understanding what they're thinking and why. Actually examining different thought patterns under the same circumstance... Has that ever been done before? I'm sure it has somewhere along the line.

--CO

uscmas412
01-28-2005, 22:43
One of my English professors required the students to read a book that addressed this very point. All works of fiction are "circular" to some extent. Although it would be impossible to say that 100% of a work was pre-existant, it is more than safe to say that this particular work compares with thousands of others. It is for this reason that people still read Plato, Shakespeare, Twain, Hemingway, etc. No matter the culture, language, or heritage the issues they addressed are still relevant today.

FATSEXY
02-02-2005, 06:43
Originally posted by Glennbo
I write horror short stories. I've had seven of them copyrighted. I sent off three different stories to three different magazines. Now, I've read a TON of horror and SF and these stories are very original. Anyway, I got three rejections. That doesn't bug me that much...you should pretty much expect it. The irritating thing is they do you the "favor" of telling you why. One said, "tells me nothing new". It was completely new! The idea had never been done before! I'm sure of that. Another said, "the characters don't change during the story". The story is only four pages long; what are they suposed to do...go from heterosexual to gay? One of them dies. How do you change more than that? I think these low-level editors are all frustrated writers, and don't know what they're talking about. Just say you don't like it, but if your reason is bogus, keep it to yourself. I'm going to keep plugging away, but if I write a story about a wombat that chews a hole into the moon, and uses it as a gun to shoot four leaf clovers into a blind cab driver's coffe mug, DON'T tell me it's already been done.

You sure respond well to criticism!

Heretic
02-02-2005, 18:17
Originally posted by inafist
I'm a journalism student from Atlanta and mainly write about life experiences and seeing the world through different peoples eyes. I think comparing and contrasting the different points of view of an event is about the most interesting thing you can read or write. Seeing the same event through the eyes of a bunch of different types of people and not only seeing it, but understanding what they're thinking and why. Actually examining different thought patterns under the same circumstance... Has that ever been done before? I'm sure it has somewhere along the line.

--CO

I believe the story was called Ran... It was framed in Feudal Japan about the rape of a woman. The story line was repeated from the different perspectives of each of the participants...