Are We Too Suspicious?

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by oldhousejunkie » June 2nd, 2011, 3:20 pm

Sommer Leigh wrote:I wonder if we are all talking about the same forum, because the forum I fled before finding the Bransforums also made me feel like I wasn't worth anything because of my newness.
The only reason I wandered over to the "other" forum is because they have genre specific boards. Maybe we could look at implementing something similar here?

I'm glad that I'm not an anomaly; it seems that the prevailing opinion here is that we should be helpful no matter what.

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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by danielle100 » June 2nd, 2011, 4:05 pm

My thoughts exactly! I have been having a bad experience with another forum too. Which brought me to seek other forums out there. Having posted here for the first time yesterday, I was amazed at how kind everyone was. So, I am back! And I can definitely feel Nathan's philosophy here! Can't you?

I figured there was an unwritten rule that we should all be respectful, but I found that not to be necessarily true. I guess it kind of goes back to the old adage, treat others as you would want to be treated.

I figure the writing world is give a lot, take a little. Not the other way around. Giving praise and positive words is part of that factor.

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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by polymath » June 2nd, 2011, 4:10 pm

My experiences with genre specific forums is they tend to be hidebound, which isn't good for creative originality. While convention-based genre have genre specific conventions, expectations, I believe mastering craft and voice for any given genre category universally translates to other categories.

Convention-based genre, besides their genre-unique motifs, conventionally follow a simple plot. Not a simplistic or fomulaic, per se, plot, but a plot with one central goal, central antagonisms and complications, and central outcomes. In other words, conflict resolution outcomes.

Mystery's central attribute, and central dramatic question, who done it. Thriller's why is it done. Horror's will they survive it. Romance's will they do it. Western's will the rugged individual bring down the prey. Science fiction's range across an exotic proxy reality fulfilling escapist desire conflict resolutions. Fantasy's exotic proxy reality wish fulfillment conflict resolutions. Fantastical fairy tales and fables also. And overlapping crossovers everywhichaway between.

Besides subtext depth, literary genres and literary crossovers with convention-based genres have complex plots. Not complicated, per se, but incorporating an anagnorisis (abrupt, profound revelation of circumstances) or peripetia (abrupt, profound reversal of circumstances), or both, sometimes in the same context measure or scene. Those are the proverbial high magnitude plot twists of which cinema artists speak and seek. Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, 405 BCE, is a seminal and signal work exemplifying a complex plot. Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery," Roald Dahl's short story "Man from the South," and O Henry's short story "Gift of the Magi" are more recent narratives that also exemplify complex plots.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by Mike R » June 2nd, 2011, 4:24 pm

I think genre-specific forums tend to divide the members into groups and that's no help. The person best able to help you may not visit the fantasy forum because they write romance. Writing is writing and most of the craft crosses genre boundaries.

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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by oldhousejunkie » June 2nd, 2011, 5:53 pm

polymath wrote:My experiences with genre specific forums is they tend to be hidebound, which isn't good for creative originality. While convention-based genre have genre specific conventions, expectations, I believe mastering craft and voice for any given genre category universally translates to other categories.

Convention-based genre, besides their genre-unique motifs, conventionally follow a simple plot. Not a simplistic or fomulaic, per se, plot, but a plot with one central goal, central antagonisms and complications, and central outcomes. In other words, conflict resolution outcomes.

Mystery's central attribute, and central dramatic question, who done it. Thriller's why is it done. Horror's will they survive it. Romance's will they do it. Western's will the rugged individual bring down the prey. Science fiction's range across an exotic proxy reality fulfilling escapist desire conflict resolutions. Fantasy's exotic proxy reality wish fulfillment conflict resolutions. Fantastical fairy tales and fables also. And overlapping crossovers everywhichaway between.

Besides subtext depth, literary genres and literary crossovers with convention-based genres have complex plots. Not complicated, per se, but incorporating an anagnorisis (abrupt, profound revelation of circumstances) or peripetia (abrupt, profound reversal of circumstances), or both, sometimes in the same context measure or scene. Those are the proverbial high magnitude plot twists of which cinema artists speak and seek. Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, 405 BCE, is a seminal and signal work exemplifying a complex plot. Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery," Roald Dahl's short story "Man from the South," and O Henry's short story "Gift of the Magi" are more recent narratives that also exemplify complex plots.
Polymath, I am now convinced you are a college or university english professor. :-)

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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by polymath » June 2nd, 2011, 6:06 pm

Not quite a professor. Maybe in a few years I'll have the credentials, after then paying some dues teaching basic composition to community college freshmen. And meeting the publish or perish paradigm of tenure track academia. If I'm still interested and not on a publishing or editing track or breaking ground with a promising writing career or all of the above.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by dios4vida » June 2nd, 2011, 6:57 pm

oldhousejunkie wrote:Polymath, I am now convinced you are a college or university english professor. :-)
I think you missed out on that thread. We've deemed that Polymath is the personification of Google. Because if Polymath doesn't know it, it probably ain't worth knowin'. ;)
Mike R wrote:I think genre-specific forums tend to divide the members into groups and that's no help. The person best able to help you may not visit the fantasy forum because they write romance. Writing is writing and most of the craft crosses genre boundaries.
I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. Some of the best writing advice I've gotten on this forum has come from people who write very different genres than I do. We're all writers. We do the same thing, just with different twists.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by cheekychook » June 2nd, 2011, 7:07 pm

Suspicious? Us? What do you mean by that?






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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by maybegenius » June 2nd, 2011, 8:01 pm

I'll come at this from a slightly different angle. I'm on another forum (not writing related) that has a very large group of posters (like, several thousand). This forum has been around for many years, and as such, some of its members have become very familiar with one another, our posting styles, and friendships have formed. On this particular board, there used to be a section for "swapping," which I suppose is sort of like critiquing, but with actual goods in exchange for money or other goods ;)

We eventually had to do away with that section because newer posters would come into this very generous, giving community and "swaplift," or integrate themselves just enough to get someone to send them something (or in a few rare cases, LOTS of things), and then they'd cut and run. After that, it was still a generous community, so if someone was having troubles, many times people would converse via PM and send them care packages. But then we'd get new members coming in and posting a sob story, trolling for goodies. It completely ruined the ingrained trust of the board and made older members instantly wary of new posters with certain styles -- posting too much personal information too quickly, jumping into established topics without properly brushing up on the culture of the forum first, not getting to know anyone before trying to buddy up to the "oldies" and expecting special treatment, using phrases or terminology that isn't approved of (phrases like "that's gay" or "that's retarded" are severely frowned upon there, so if someone drops either, there's a crapstorm).

Anyway... what I'm trying to get at is that boards that have been around a long time and have very established members DO tend to be very wary of "newbies" for a number of reasons. There's usually a lot of history, fair or not, behind it. A lot of people join writing boards for a quick critique that they never return, or they spout off an opinion that the board as a whole generally disagrees with and they get pounced on for it. It's something the "oldies" have seen time and time again, so they tend to think the worst and expect to be proven wrong. Or someone asks the same question that others find annoying and have answered a thousand times, so they get snarky, even though the person didn't really know better. Which isn't fair, but that's the mentality. Generally speaking, lurking and learning the culture and general stances of the board is a good way to go. Start small and safe, build up a post count, get to know the members. Baby steps.

All that said, it's still not really an excuse for people to be outright nasty. I think this community is wonderful about being considerate about the way they phrase things, even when they don't agree with what's posted. I hope that we can continue along that line, even as we become the "oldies" and newer members join the board.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by Chantelle.S. » June 2nd, 2011, 8:39 pm

oldhousejunkie wrote: Maybe I'm old fashioned (ok, I am) but I consider it a compliment to be asked (either directly or indirectly) to help another writer.

I would love to hear some opinions from you all. What's your policy? Has a specific incident caused you to be more reserved or are you just in general? No judgment, of course!
I get asked quite frequently for my opinion on someone else's work and do consider it an enormous compliment as well.
I'm coming from the other side of the tracks regarding this, though. I asked someone to be my beta reader once, they accepted my work, and I never heard from them again. Ever since, I find it hard to trust people with my work (or even just my plot bunnies), and I'm not very forthcoming with sharing it with anyone I haven't known for at least a couple of years.

So I've shifted myself onto the other side of the wall so that I'm the one receiving requests for help and giving the help as I see necessary. Not that it's any easier - I'm a writer, too, so it often crosses my mind 'how can this person trust me so readily with something that is practically part of their soul?' I've had writers who are FANTASTIC ask for my critique, and I can't put into words how nervous that makes me. I think I'm probably more nervous about critiquing their work than they are of getting the crit. Then there are the writers who ask for help, but it turns out all they wanted was blind praise and they short of destroy your rep on a forum because they weren't happy with the crit you gave them.

I take my beta-reader duties very seriously. In all honesty, if you're a writer who is asking for a beta reader, whether you're new or old on a forum, any decent beta reader SHOULD jump to your aid. I'm talking fist-fights between a whole horde of betas to be THE ONE who helps you out kind of jump. ANY person who doesn't do that and instead berates you on dropping in out of the blue, is either on PMS or is some sorry smuck who just wants to wear the 'beta-reader' badge so they can look down on you. In which case, you wouldn't want to be sharing your work with that person anyway.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by Claudie » June 2nd, 2011, 8:52 pm

dios4vida wrote:
oldhousejunkie wrote:Polymath, I am now convinced you are a college or university english professor. :-)
I think you missed out on that thread. We've deemed that Polymath is the personification of Google. Because if Polymath doesn't know it, it probably ain't worth knowin'. ;)
I missed out on that thread, and that is hilarious. I give it my seal of approval. Because I am so important. Yep.

More on topic, though, I love the atmosphere we have here. I always do a lot of lurking on forums before I post anything. It's half wariness, half thinking what little I have to add isn't worth it. I find that taking that first step -- that first post -- demands a lot of energy. Once it's done and I have a good reception, though, I start posting a lot more.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by medussa74 » June 3rd, 2011, 1:19 am

Ok...I have a stupid question. What exactly do you guys mean when you say "beta reader"? I get the idea that it's someone that reads and critiques your work, but at what stage in your writing do you seek one out? Once you have a completed first draft? As you're writing?

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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by Quill » June 3rd, 2011, 1:27 am

medussa74 wrote:Ok...I have a stupid question. What exactly do you guys mean when you say "beta reader"? I get the idea that it's someone that reads and critiques your work, but at what stage in your writing do you seek one out? Once you have a completed first draft? As you're writing?
Whatever works. Some people exchange first drafts, others later drafts. Personally I'm not looking for critique on my current manuscript till it is more or less as good as I can make it, that is, it conforms to my vision for it. Otherwise the beta reader would be pointing out stuff I already know needs fixing, hence I'd be wasting their time. So yeah, whatever works, and it depends.

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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by maybegenius » June 3rd, 2011, 1:40 am

There are a few terms used... an "alpha reader" is usually a close writing/critique buddy that reads your very first draft or reads as you're writing. They function as a cheerleader and first eyes on the work, to give you a heads-up if you're floundering or leaving big plot holes. A "beta reader" is someone who reads the work in its entirety after you've completed it and gives you a general critique of the manuscript as a whole. They read it like a reader. They comment on pacing, plot, characters, things that didn't work for them, etc.

At least, that's how I work. I have a writing partner who I trade chapters with as we're writing, and we keep each other going and give detailed critiques chapter by chapter. Then I have a second series of readers that I'll be giving my manuscript to when it's complete, so they can read it all in one fell swoop and give me their "big picture" viewpoints.
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Re: Are We Too Suspicious?

Post by medussa74 » June 3rd, 2011, 1:51 pm

Ahhh...ok, that makes sense. Thanks guys!

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