I’ve noticed a lack of descriptions in print published fiction lately. Maybe they are already trying to write the screen/ script version of their story and expect descriptions of places and people will be covered by the set designers, costume designers and so on. The lack of descriptions is disappointing. Yet, it fits with the disposable, temporary and fast fry sort of culture we have these days.
I can remember reading descriptions I sank into, as a fiction reader. Descriptions which bloomed into an entire story, not just the background or setting for the events taking place. Characters who really had character rather than fast paced, smart-mouthed dialogue.
So, when I read this post about flash fiction I did not expect to see poetic descriptions encouraged. But, I was very glad to read it and pass along the advice.
A good, poetic description is not wordy. It’s wordful – think mindfulness for words.
Poetic Descriptions Save Space
Poetic skill is a great tool to have in your arsenal. With it, you can capture memorable moments in a few words, while simultaneously conveying deeper levels of meaning. The English language is filled with nuances and subtleties that even the best poet can’t get a handle on. Take a chance and write some poetry in your pieces.
Source: Flash Novels: The Future of Fantasy Fiction?
Write a great description. Pick something ordinary or fantastical and see if you can find the words, while avoiding long sentence length.
We all know that…
That phrase really bothers me. I don’t like the cajoling, persuasive feeling of those words. I don’t like the assumption that there is a “we” and that I have anything in common with whoever is speaking or writing those words.
Yet this phrase comes up so often. Why? It’s so phony. So irritating and so slimy! I change my mind about whatever “we” are all supposed to know or think or feel as soon as I see or hear that. I have a mind of my own, thank you! I don’t have a love of all popular culture, the entertainment industry and I don’t own a mobile phone. I’m an independent, free thinker as often as I choose to be.
So, whatever you think “we all know”… I’m just offended and contrary enough to unknow it on purpose!
The other phrase I just can’t stand is anything referring to people as “guys”.
Hey you guys…
Obviously you are only talking to the men because I’m not a guy. I never have been and don’t intend to change that.
Why, when the media is so heavily pushing transgender issues are we also all being called “guys”? Why ask people which pronoun they prefer when you call them all guys and think it’s ok?
Both of these phrases offend me. I hear (or see) them almost daily in advertising, online media and casual conversation.
In short, keep your little marketing hands and small marketing mind to yourself. People are don’t come out of a box each morning – we are unique individuals and we are not all men.
Are we too impatient to write and too impatient to read?
In our culture we want things quick, short and to the point. That doesn’t work well for fiction writers. Fiction readers may still want a book with depth, character development, rich descriptions, fully developed thoughts and a storyline. However, that takes time to write. Time to craft, plot and rewrite.
A writer gets an idea for a story. It can be written out in a few sentences, just enough for them to come back to later and flesh it out. Or, those few sentences can be shared as they are, instant gratification. The reader will have the idea, but not the story. Would they have taken the time to read it anyway?
I’ve been reading older books, written in the 1800’s. I can see a different writing style in them. Different cultures, different readers and different writers give a book the flavour of the time period it was created in. The story telling is influenced by the culture of the times.
This can work against the story, the book. Some of them are a lot of reading with old fashioned words I have to look up in the dictionary, or just ignore and assume I have the general idea. Descriptions can be endlessly long, at least they seem that way to me, reading them now. The story may wind far off track and give a lot of information which seems unimportant to me, as a modern reader of the old tale.
How will our books seem to future cultures? Even now, in our own time, how much of the richness and depth of the story are we losing?
Don’t think it’s just readers who expect a short story. How often as a writer have you cut things shorter? How often have you not had the patience to let an idea grow and evolve before posting or publishing it? We get an idea and push it out there. We rush our stories. We cut our stories down to size, not just because readers are less likely to read them, but we ourselves are less likely to write them. Move on to the next quick post, the next idea, the next project rather than let the current one take up too much time.
This was a short post. Did you read it all, or skim most of the way looking for bolded text to sum it all up?
The best way to make your site international is to have access to a translation application visible. I don’t do this myself because I keep a translator from Google in my Chrome web browser. A simple solution. People who only know one or few languages should be prepared to encounter other languages. It is then their choice to translate, run away or ignore them. Of course, it depends on how interesting and well put together the site looks, that first impression.
Trying to cater to multiculturalism, global protocols, and international readers is a good thing, in moderation. But, you can’t possibly include everyone.
Instead, identify your own location. Show where you are from and who you are. Some of your readers will be happy to find they have something in common with you (at least geographically) and others will be interested to know more about your culture, history, traditions and point of view.
The advice given with this post (link below) is mainly cosmetic. Design and colours can make your site have more international or global appeal but I don’t think keeping it neutral is really in your best interest. Boldness, drama and colour will do more for your site than becoming neutral or bland.
Source: Think Global: 3 Tips to make your websites Internationalized • Inspired Magazine
We look at Medieval science as barbaric and backwards. We think of their culture as unwashed and religious based. They believed the Earth was flat. But they thought they were just as advanced and right as we see ourselves.
Every present science looks good to those living in that time period. Medieval scientists would have had many of the same thoughts as current scientists, but filtered through their culture, knowledge, beliefs, and science.
If you were writing Medieval science fiction what would it be like? How would you combine the Middle Ages into a story about cloning, for instance?
How would you write Medieval science fiction?
io9: Science Fiction That Gets Medieval on Your Ass
Each culture (religion and civilization) has their own ideas about how the world began. In modern times, many of the stories have become mythology as science gives us new theories to consider. But, the old creation stories have a lot of character, detail and history.
A creation myth is a symbolic narrative of how the world began and how people first came to inhabit it. While in popular usage the term myth often refers to false or fanciful stories, formally, it does not imply falsehood. Cultures generally regard their creation myths as true.
Source: Creation myth – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Decide on a culture (one you know well) and write a theory of how those people came to exist. How did the animals, plants, sky, (and everything else) begin for that culture. Don’t get stuck being too factual. Exercise both sides of your brain to merge fact and fancy. How would you like the story to go, based on some of the facts as you understand them.
How many people use their regional spelling on their sites? That is a Canadian thing for me. I’ve had to (or been expected to) adapt my spelling for other sites and schools. I never like doing so. I prefer to keep Canadian spelling, to promote and maintain my culture, history and communication rules.
It’s all English (unless your site isn’t in English, of course) but there are small differences in spelling for each country.
Source: #ACanadianThing hashtag on Twitter
Most predictions of life in the future expect increased life spans where people live to be over 100 years old. However, we have a culture oriented to being young. What will all these old people do and how will they fit into our culture? How will it feel to live an extra 20, 30 or so years, on the sidelines of life?
Watch commercials, TV shows and other media. Young people involved in the plot, central to the action. Notice people over 45. Mostly they are extras or being sold insurance policies in commercials. Seldom are older people seen as important or vital.
How will the future be when we live a lot longer?
You can find my posts on Squidoo. I like to write about art, culture and technology. Some book and product reviews too. At Squidoo I am currently level 64 with 89 published posts (lenses) and 48 badges. One badge was added just after I took this screen capture and another went missing about a month ago (a glitch). I took the screen shot because of the missing badge, partly. It is silly but I like the badges. Where ever I am in how ever many years, it might be nice to see and remember them.
I’m watching a Godzilla movie, made in Japan, originally spoken in Japanese. I especially like watching the Japanese Godzilla movies because I get snapshots of their culture, their humour and their lifestyle. Also, the language and how huge the translation really is.
When you hear the line “What the hell are you doing here?” Do you really think that was exactly what was said in the original Japanese? I doubt many people in Japan have grown up with the Christian religion. If there is a version of hell it would have it’s own word.
So, this got me thinking… What would Godzilla say? What are the real words used in the original Japanese version of the movie? How much of their own unique culture is lost in the translation?