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06 May 2004 @ 03:44 am
Nobody figures like, you figured me out and  
Aside: It's pretty ridiculous that I'm posting retarded amounts a day now that I have literally no time, but I think it's a function of the fact that I spend so much time on my computer doing work, and when the words start to blur together into something meaningless, I'm like, "Aiight, let me LJ up a little somethin' somethin'."

But maybe phrased differently.

Main action of the post:

I've been thinking a lot about storytelling lately, and the way I go about it, as a function of the fact that I'm hip-deep in literature analyses, and you know, my own writing. Essentially, my writing style is incredibly influenced by my background with poetry and also with the oral storytelling tradition, both Southern and Irish. Those are the components that work their way into how I go about structuring my own stories, which is part of why I'm so envious of the slick, fast style of writers like Tom Robbins and Norman Mailer.

Often, my stories tend to start with an image rather than idea -- for example A Pale Distance started with an image of Clark looking up at the moon, and Backlit started with me thinking about the two boys silhouetted against the sun. Those stories tend to come to me more quickly, probably by the strength of the imagery that goes with them in my head.

The stories that start with *ideas*, though* are somewhat harder for me to muddle through. For example, Caliban was written primarily as a means of trying to explain how Lex was pushed to the psychotic disassociation which created Louis. I'm pretty happy with how it ended up turning out, though I think I could have done more with it in some ways, but writing it was like pulling my teeth out with my toes.

I worry about being not subtle enough with those types stories -- articulating ideas through fiction can be a delicate thing, especially when you're finding your feet as a writer, as I still feel I am.

Stories that start with both an image and an idea? Drive me absolutely insane, which is why the two stories I'm currently working on are, like, kicking my ass. One in particular I feel has to have a structure that mirrors the content, and while I'm begining to feel more and more comfortable toying with the structure of my stories (Arise, You Sleeper (I Am Your Dream) being a prime example of that, and damn, if I'm not ridiculously pleased with that story, still) I continue to feel oddly hesitant about it.

In some ways I worry about too experimental a structure being off-putting to the reader, because even if you are trying to get across some kind of quasi-philosophical point, in the end a story needs to be just that -- a story. It needs to entertain, titillate and engage, and you can't do that if your structure alienates. At the same time, though, structural choices can often make *all* the difference -- for example cesperanza's due South stories rely heavily on toying with structure, as does one of the most amazing SV fics I've read, spike21's The Witness Tryptich.

So I'll open it up for discussion here: How much do you consider structure when you're writing? Or when you're reading -- how much alienates, and how much helps? Do you have the same worries? Talk to me, my lovely writery darlings.

Also, for anybody out there still interested in my business, Lyra asked me to do the Title meme, so here you are:

Will to Bend -- It's sort of a play off of Nietzche's Will to Power, and yeah, so Clark's going to be Superman, but I feel like Nietzche is so much more a Luthor-thing than a Clark-thing. Here Lucas' will to live is strong enough to make him bend his own rules a little, make him do things he doesn't want to. So, you know. That's where that came from.

A Formal Feeling Comes - Stolen from a line in an Emily Dickinson poem...or at least my memory of a line. *laughs* The line is something like, 'after great pain/ a formal feeling comes", and that's a sentiment I find to be more true than not. And, in all honesty, I feel like that would be more true than not for Clark in particular -- a sort of hollow sense of formality and politeness. But then, that's just how I see my boy.

Forge - The idea was that this action, the destruction of Lionel's parents was what created Lionel and Morgan into whom they would become, that the fire that burnt down the building they lived in was the forge that shaped them. I'm still not terribly into the title, I feel like I could have played it up more in the fic. *shrugs* I dunno, I guess it's fine.

Moonlight Ladies - Heh, okay, so this and all of the headings for the sections in this fic were taken from James Taylor's Sweet Baby James. I was listening to it as a I wrote, and honestly, even though it's not really a song about parenting, for whatever reason it always seems to be that way to me. *laughs* It's just such a tender song! And besides, I feel like these women are all kind of ethereal and isolated in their own ways, incapable of being themselves until night falls.

Boxing Clever - Oh, man. Okay, yet another song title here -- it's from Placebo's Pure Morning which in my mind is just the most definitive Lex/Victoria song there is out there. Besides, I think that it's just a really good description of the way they are with each other -- each word is a parry or a jab. It's like a very delicately choreographed fight of a relationship, fierce and weirdly violent in their interactions. I love it.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
CJ Andrecjandre on May 6th, 2004 03:47 am (UTC)
I read something once that I always keep in mind when thinking about structure - I THINK it was from Orson Scott Card: Among characters, story, setting, and structure you can have one or two really strange and off the wall and still be accessible to most reader, but not all four.

Science fiction has generally got strange settings and either strange characters or a strange story - thus the narrative structure is generally ver traditional. It is rare - but not impossible - to have a science fiction story with a really unusual narrative structure. when that happens it is often because the characters are archtypes, or the setting and story are in someway very predictable.

So when I write I tend to think about that I am trying to balance the four elements.

In fanfic, because the base characters and setting are so well known to the target reader it is easier to experiment with structure, and story. You can get really wild with it because most of your readers have rock solid pictures of the characters and the settings. something which you really can't count on in original fiction.
celli on May 6th, 2004 04:39 pm (UTC)
Gah. I've been thinking about this all day and I still don't know.