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inspiration! Orson Scott Card

We all need a bit of it in these strange times...

RK Capps

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Something @MattScho said resonated with me and encouraged me to buy the kindle version of Ender's Game. So, I've just started rereading it and this bit from the introduction is too good not to share (I didn't know this, but he was a playwright before an author):

People came to my plays and clapped at the end. I learned – from actors and from audiences – how to shape a scene, how to build tension, and – above all – the necessity of being harsh with your own material, excising or rewriting anything that doesn’t work. I learned to separate the story from the writing, probably the most important thing that any storyteller has to learn – that there are a thousand right ways to tell a story, and ten million wrong ones, and you’re a lot more likely to find one of the latter than the former your first time through the tale.

Ender's Game (The Ender Quartet series) (p. xii). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.
 

MattScho

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Something @MattScho said resonated with me and encouraged me to buy the kindle version of Ender's Game. So, I've just started rereading it and this bit from the introduction is too good not to share (I didn't know this, but he was a playwright before an author):

People came to my plays and clapped at the end. I learned – from actors and from audiences – how to shape a scene, how to build tension, and – above all – the necessity of being harsh with your own material, excising or rewriting anything that doesn’t work. I learned to separate the story from the writing, probably the most important thing that any storyteller has to learn – that there are a thousand right ways to tell a story, and ten million wrong ones, and you’re a lot more likely to find one of the latter than the former your first time through the tale.

Ender's Game (The Ender Quartet series) (p. xii). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.
I love that quote, and I love that thought. It's also the sort of thought that drives us to madness. Still, a thousand right ways should give us hope.
A dear friend and longtime writing coach and editor of mine back in the 90s used to phrase it "Writing ain't writing. Rewriting is writing."

The counter to the point, however, is also strong, and probably best seen in Camus' The Plague, in which the writer Grand obsesses over the opening sentence of his novel, literally while the world around him dies. He writes"
“One fine morning in the month of May an elegant young horsewoman might have been seen riding a handsome sorrel mare along the flowery avenues of the Bois de Boulogne.” He rewrites and rewrites, leaving out the word handsome, changing the street, etc, all in the hope that the editors of Paris will read it aloud at what he assumes must be a regular meet-up, hear the perfect sentence then stand as one and proclaim "hat's off."
This gets at the futility of search for the perfect word, the perfect sentence, and leads into the Patton quote that is fundamental to American business strategy "A good plan violently executed today, beats a perfect plan next week." Or, as US marines train people to shoot, rock and fire. Your brain will in an instant calculate a pretty good (good enough) aim, and while you can probably take your time and hone it towards perfection, you might be dead by the time you reach that point. of course, they also estimate that for every 1,000 bullets fired in battle, something less than 1 hits a target.
 

James Marinero

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@RK Capps It certainly makes you think about the process. I liked the story from Camus/ @MattScho . I think that writing is like a curve which tends to a limit, the trick is knowing when the deltas of improvement are not worth the extra effort. After all we all have new books to write and a closing window of opportunity.

I have a few of Scott Card's books on the shelf above my berth. There are some gruesome episodes in his writing - I've always liked the idea of tree planting. 'nuff said!
 
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Robinne Weiss

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Alan Baxter (Australian speculative fiction author, martial arts instructor, and author of Write the Fight Right) says that the first draft should be 'you telling the story to yourself'--just get it out, in whatever way you can, then go back and fix it. Add emotions, senses, and whatever else you missed in your first draft, cut out places where the story drags, tighten up fight scenes so they move quickly, add foreshadowing so readers think you're amazing because you knew on page 10 what would be happening on page 310 (when in fact, you had no idea what was going to happen on page 310 until it spilled out of your brain onto the keyboard in that first draft).

Litopia's own Carol Rose also talks about 'layering in' emotions during the editing process.

Yeah, editing is seriously where it's at. I love editing--when you rewrite something you've written wrong the first time and it just clicks, or when you drop a little grenade early in the story, knowing it will blow up later--gives me shivers. I'm sure there are writers who can do all that stuff in the first draft, but I'm not one of them.
 

MattScho

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I love Orson Scott Card. The Ender series, and also Alvin Prentice.
A maybe spat of which i had been unaware between Card and the writers for HBO's version of GOT (a moment they went beyond Martin in an interesting way). Card at one point criticized their version of the story. The legend (maybe true, maybe not) is that as a response, the TV series took a tossaway notion of a character in the books, named him Orson Lannister and had Tyrion monologue (while drinking with his brother) about the capricious nature of fate. Orson, he explained, was a bit dim, and would spend his days in the garden smashing bugs with a rock.
Tyrion relates that as a young man he ascribed great meaning to these actions and spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out the reasoning why his dim cousin obsessed so over smashing bugs in the garden. Tyrion wonderied if it was the notion of seeing the world of bugs as a god would see our lives, and handing out the appropriate justice, or at least making them fear their god. he compares the fate of these bugs to his own, at the time he was facing death for a crime he didn't commit, surely the act of a cruel puppetmaster.
In the end, however, Tyrion decides the motivation was simpler. Orson was a bit odd and just liked smashing bugs.
if this is true it becomes one of my favorite pen fights. It is tough to match the Wodehouse v Milne back and forth, with Wodehouse's creation and repetition of "Lord Whimsy" being a perfect response to Milne's more high brow attacks, the legend goes, as part of his effort to finally be taken seriously and remembered for more than a boy and a bear. Of course, Milne had the whole Lord Ha-ha scandal to anchor his attacks, and the legend goes Wodehouse blamed the spat for his exile to New York. But Wodehouse's answer was the Rodney character, and in my way of thinking it was a game, set and match response: "Do you know where Rodney is at this moment? Up in the nursery, bending over his son Timothy's cot, gathering material for a poem about the unfortunate little rat while asleep....Horrible, whimsical stuff, that....Well, when I tell you that he refers to him throughout as 'Timothy Bobbin,'"
Anyway, sorry to ramble
 

gbhunt

Geraldine Briony H
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@RK Capps It certainly makes you think about the process. I liked the story from Camus/ @MattScho . I think that writing is like a curve which tends to a limit, the trick is knowing when the deltas of improvement are not worth the extra effort. After all we all have new books to write and a closing window of opportunity.

I have a few of Scott Card's books on the shelf above my berth. There are some gruesome episodes in his writing - I've always liked the idea of tree planting. 'nuff said!
Yes, the trees have stuck with me hehehe
 
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