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F L Burrows
 14 Sep 2011, 15:22 #129853 Reply To Post
I wonder. Does writing have a sell by date?

Some folks on here speak of some writing being old fashioned. Is there such a thing?

Are the new ways of writing which have come along over time really 'improvements', or are they simply additional layers of the possible?

Or are they maybe the fashion of the day, thus being something that will date even faster than the hits of JLS?

Thus, must one write in a particular fashion in order to be accepted – or even acceptable?

I'm not sure whether I view an old book as old fashioned.
Although I do recognise different styles, language and attitudes – even pace.

And I think we all know of the present day obsession with the immediate hook, whereby the entire book's essence is supposed to be crystalised within the first ten pages, or the Titanic has to sink, or a full scale thermo-nuclear war ensue, or the president of the US has to strangle a white house intern with his bare hands...

The pace must be breathless. It must be a 'roller coaster ride'. The language has to be as crisp as though it's been freshly deep fried. There are to be no – or at least very few - adverbs, apparently.
And it's supposed to be something between Grisham and, well, someone else.

Personally though, I believe some subjects are better handled in an old-fashioned way. Not everything needs to be written in the latest form.
Sure, if you're writing a book on spooks hunting Al Qaeda, I'd not expect the approach to be anything but contemporary.

But if it's about crusading knights, genteel ladies taking tea in 19th Yorkshire or Cortez conquering America I'd expect a different approach. It needn't only be the case with the historic. Could just as well apply to science fiction or fantasy. And I can well see a courtroom drama being couched in slower paced, old fashioned ways, rather than the usual CSI Derbyshire.

I guess I'm just not sure whether I'm that sold on the Meccano set approach of how-to-write some folks seem to believe is the right way (as in, the only way).
Perhaps I just like being an old fuddy-duddy.

In fact I just re-read the first effort of one of my favourite authors. Given that it was composed in the late eighties, it seemed remarkably unconcerned with the dos and don'ts of modern publishing and instead just concentrated in telling a story the way the author wanted to see it told.
The start was slow, the hook for what I can tell was non existent. But the language and charm of the piece drew you in.

Most of all, it seemed to have been penned by an individual. That's something I like in books.

Whereas from what one picks up, one might think books ought to read as though they've been written by the Borg; some sort of homogeneous authordom that sounds the same no matter what story it tells.

Anyhow, I simply thought that, since we've now established beyond reasonable doubt that I'm right regards complaining about reviews, we may move onto something else and talk a little about writing.

So I just thought I'd toss this into the ring and see what you made of it. Possibly so I can prove you all wrong on this subject also...
mkrobinson12
 14 Sep 2011, 16:19 #129857 Reply To Post
Quote: F L Burrows, Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 15:22
I wonder. Does writing have a sell by date?

Some folks on here speak of some writing being old fashioned. Is there such a thing?

I'm not sure whether I view an old book as old fashioned.
Although I do recognise different styles, language and attitudes – even pace.


As far as historical fiction goes, Patrick O’Brian springs to mind. His language oozes old-fashionedness. About 5% of his text is virtually unfathomable to me. In any other author, I would stop reading. But the 95% I grasp makes me want to discover what the hell he’s talking about in the other 5%. He says things like, ‘The rum-looking cove was sprawling upon a mule, an unusual sight in and English hunting field.’

NB: For those born after 1899, a rum-looking cove is a rogue.
Peridote
 14 Sep 2011, 16:35 #129858 Reply To Post
F L - You are my hero. Down with literary homogenization.
Don't worry if the world's coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia ...
Talking Horse
 14 Sep 2011, 17:03 #129860 Reply To Post
Fashions come & go I say.
sulcus
 14 Sep 2011, 17:06 #129861 Reply To Post
Quote: F L Burrows, Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 15:22
I wonder. Does writing have a sell by date?

Some folks on here speak of some writing being old fashioned. Is there such a thing? Yes. As great as the classic Victorian novels are, I would never read one as they don't speak to me of my life and times.

Are the new ways of writing which have come along over time really 'improvements', or are they simply additional layers of the possible? the latter. Language and idiom are constantly shifting. Metaphors constantly being reformulated, epistemologies coming along that can enable new ways of seeing/expressing things in the world. Quantum novels anyone?

Or are they maybe the fashion of the day, thus being something that will date even faster than the hits of JLS? see above

Thus, must one write in a particular fashion in order to be accepted – or even acceptable? No, one must write what moves you to write and hope you find some like minded readers

I'm not sure whether I view an old book as old fashioned.
Although I do recognise different styles, language and attitudes – even pace.

And I think we all know of the present day obsession with the immediate hook, whereby the entire book's essence is supposed to be crystalised within the first ten pages, or the Titanic has to sink, or a full scale thermo-nuclear war ensue, or the president of the US has to strangle a white house intern with his bare hands... Gee thanks Hollywood... Who's that geezer who wrote a scriptwriting bible? Apparently you have to have a twist, or something happening 35 minutes in and then something 35 minutes from the end for a successful movie. Formulaic writing if ever there were such thing and now it seems to have leached into fiction.

The pace must be breathless. It must be a 'roller coaster ride'. The language has to be as crisp as though it's been freshly deep fried. There are to be no – or at least very few - adverbs, apparently.
And it's supposed to be something between Grisham and, well, someone else. will Grisham be another one to stand the test of time? Again I have my doubts

Personally though, I believe some subjects are better handled in an old-fashioned way. Not everything needs to be written in the latest form.
Sure, if you're writing a book on spooks hunting Al Qaeda, I'd not expect the approach to be anything but contemporary.

But if it's about crusading knights, genteel ladies taking tea in 19th Yorkshire or Cortez conquering America I'd expect a different approach. It needn't only be the case with the historic. Could just as well apply to science fiction or fantasy. And I can well see a courtroom drama being couched in slower paced, old fashioned ways, rather than the usual CSI Derbyshire. save us from courtroom dramas. And personally save me from HF, but I don't disagree with your point about HF being written in a style suggestive of its era

I guess I'm just not sure whether I'm that sold on the Meccano set approach of how-to-write some folks seem to believe is the right way (as in, the only way).
Perhaps I just like being an old fuddy-duddy.

In fact I just re-read the first effort of one of my favourite authors. Given that it was composed in the late eighties, it seemed remarkably unconcerned with the dos and don'ts of modern publishing and instead just concentrated in telling a story the way the author wanted to see it told.
The start was slow, the hook for what I can tell was non existent. But the language and charm of the piece drew you in.

Most of all, it seemed to have been penned by an individual. That's something I like in books.

Whereas from what one picks up, one might think books ought to read as though they've been written by the Borg; some sort of homogeneous authordom that sounds the same no matter what story it tells. the invisible hand of the market (Adam Smith) has produced writing by number by bots... The readers have spoken. The only thing I'd posit against that is the deluge of self-published writers is hardly conducive of clone writers. Poor and untested writers possibly. Actually creative writing courses have a lot to answer for re cloning authorial styles

Anyhow, I simply thought that, since we've now established beyond reasonable doubt that I'm right regards complaining about reviews, we may move onto something else and talk a little about writing.

So I just thought I'd toss this into the ring and see what you made of it. Possibly so I can prove you all wrong on this subject also...


This post was last edited by sulcus, 14 Sep 2011, 17:10
"A,B&E", "Not In My Name" and "52FF" (flash fiction anthology) all available on Amazon Kindle

"How a psychopath makes sweet love. I can get you ringside. Royal box even."
Talking Horse
 14 Sep 2011, 17:08 #129862 Reply To Post
I dont think if you approached that man in the Lamborghini who ran over the squirrel (featured on You Tube) and addressed him in terms of 'fear Sir, stout yeoman, bequeath to that squirrel a life...' you probably wouldn't get far past a publisher's reader - nor an agent. I liked the remark about the US president strangling an intern with his bare hands......


Fashions come and go I say.

Use your own idea re: if you're in a bookshop and opened a page of a book would you keep reading?

Chuck Buckner
 14 Sep 2011, 17:19 #129865 Reply To Post
Quote: F L Burrows, Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 15:22
I wonder. Does writing have a sell by date?


A better question might be: Does writing have a read by date?


...
notleyab
 14 Sep 2011, 18:08 #129870 Reply To Post
Would you want bands to keep repeating the Beatles?
They wrote popular music of their time - and it's still popular with millions.
Ditto Dickens, & other Victorian book writers.
Language, like music, is changing, even if it is at a slower pace.
If you want the sort of style they wrote in there's thousands of books from that era to choose from.
But no sound reason that I can see to keep writing in the same style.
Zuckerberg Shmuckerberg, Starbucks Sucks
sulcus
 14 Sep 2011, 18:48 #129874 Reply To Post
Quote: notleyab, Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 18:08
Would you want bands to keep repeating the Beatles?
They wrote popular music of their time - and it's still popular with millions.
Ditto Dickens, & other Victorian book writers.
Language, like music, is changing, even if it is at a slower pace.
If you want the sort of style they wrote in there's thousands of books from that era to choose from.
But no sound reason that I can see to keep writing in the same style.


David, not a single abbreviation in above post! have you turned over a new style?
"A,B&E", "Not In My Name" and "52FF" (flash fiction anthology) all available on Amazon Kindle

"How a psychopath makes sweet love. I can get you ringside. Royal box even."
notleyab
 14 Sep 2011, 21:53 #129885 Reply To Post
Quote: sulcus, Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 18:48
Quote: notleyab, Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 18:08
Would you want bands to keep repeating the Beatles?
They wrote popular music of their time - and it's still popular with millions.
Ditto Dickens, & other Victorian book writers.
Language, like music, is changing, even if it is at a slower pace.
If you want the sort of style they wrote in there's thousands of books from that era to choose from.
But no sound reason that I can see to keep writing in the same style.


David, not a single abbreviation in above post! have you turned over a new style?

If you don't count the ampersand.
Beleive it or not, I seriously don't do it to piss pple off, just for the ? of speed.
Zuckerberg Shmuckerberg, Starbucks Sucks
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