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On Writing: Making a Point vs. Telling a Story
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September 26, 2010
2:26 pm
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The Gnoll Credo front coverFrom an offline discussion about my novel The Gnoll Credo:

"There's a lot to be found in very few words inside The Gnoll Credo—and that is precisely because I didn't set out to write something deep or profound. I simply wrote down everything I knew about Gryka's life, and how knowing her affected me—which gives the narrative a richness and verisimilitude totally lacking in polemics like (to pick two opposing examples) Ishmael or The Fountainhead.

"When an author sets out to make a point instead of telling a story, their characters are immediately demoted to the status of objects: bricks to construct…

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November 19, 2010
12:31 pm
Darren
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I just discovered this fact after three published novels and a fair amount of success. And it's not just simply telling a story vs. making a point, though that is a very valid observation. There is also abandoning experimentation with form in favor of experimentation of perception and what is possible in reality. Ricker says that transrealism fiction is the most valid type of fiction, because it essentially mimics life more realistically by adding more dimensions in terms of what is and what could be possible in terms of human achievement, perception and our transreality. I read the first few pages of your novel and liked it very much. I will pick up a copy.

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November 19, 2010
1:10 pm
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Darren:

You are absolutely correct that this essay only covers one axis of variation in the continuum of possible approaches to writing, which is multidimensional.

Damien Broderick has also pointed out to me that the transrealists use a similar approach—allowing plot to flow from characterization—and I've seen similar sentiments from Ray Bradbury. I believe that anyone who writes unforgettable characters must allow this to some extent, although I often read books where the narrator/protagonist is very real but the rest of the characters are yanked around like stage props. It's much more difficult (and rewarding) to have two or more people in your head.

I've got a lot more to say about the similarities and differences between my approach and the transrealist approach (and the fiction that springs from it), but that will most likely become another essay in itself.

Thank you for your comments, and I look forward to your thoughts on the book! (Feel free to register for the forums: I love talking about writing, and these comment threads actually live in the forums.)

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September 20, 2011
8:30 pm
Ben
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I enjoyed the few pages I saw and will buy the book, but I really prefer to have a kindle version, as I carry this around holding hundreds of books etc..can you say if or when you will market this in Kindle format ?

regards
BT

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September 21, 2011
4:31 pm
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Ben:

My publisher and I are considering it, but there is no firm release date.

JS

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October 20, 2012
7:36 am
Marile
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I don't remember how I found your blog but I'm so glad I did. I ordered and read The Gnoll Credo this week. It is so clear. I have been systematically reading through your blog. Good stuff!

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October 22, 2012
10:32 am
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Marile:

Thank you!  

As I've said many times, it's Gryka's book: I just wrote it down.  I hope I've been able to communicate my own thoughts and ideas as clearly and bluntly as hers.

JS

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