The SolAARium: Discuss the craft of writing - Alphabetical Index in the 1st Post

Storey

StoreytellAAR
7 Badges
Mar 16, 2001
5.975
4
Visit site
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • For The Glory
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • 500k Club
2Coats said:
For telling:

Adam stared wide-eyed at the scene playing out before him. Soldiers of the local lord kept the \0\0???K\0\0\0\0??0t bay, as each man, woman and child jostled for a better view of the upcoming execution. Adam's father, Owen stood tied to a thick post in the middle of the square, for all to see.

The above passage is telling rather showing right?

Sticking with the definitions as we’ve been using them, I would say yes this is telling the reader what is going on instead of showing the reader. There is no dialogue or interaction with any character in the story. You’re just telling the reader what is happening. I want to point out that there are times when the writer ‘wants’ to just tell the reader something. If I have my main character walk into a room and I want the reader to see what is in the room I might just tell him. I don’t want to spend a couple of paragraphs doing it so I would just drop a couple of sentences and describe the room. Your example is a good example of using just three sentences to set the scene on what is happening. Once you’ve done that you can then start ‘showing’ the reader what is happening.

Joe
 
Mar 14, 2003
10.029
0
Thx for the previous replies everyone. :)

I dont think I ever lost the definition of show/tell is but, Im thinking that the whole show vs tell stance is too overrated. Sure, nowadays everyone keeps saying that the story needs motion and the quickest way to get this is to show events through dialogue rather than exposition. However, I still think that a storyteller and a good one at that has the ability to paint a picture and setting the scene. For me, the only way to do this is to do so by description of the setting.

Now, I understand that getting the balance between show/tell is critical to keep your audience interested and that a good writer is able to blend the two seemlessly.

My question, is that: If the degree at which excerpts of telling and showing are included in a scene and they contribute to bringing that scene to life, how do these relate to the beats of the scene and how should map out the beats of the scene in order to get the right rhythm?

If you get my drift?
 

Director

Maestro
34 Badges
Aug 13, 2002
5.176
2.032
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
I think there is an unspoken assumption here that should be looked at more closely, and that is how the form of this scene relates to the rest of the work. If this is a stand-alone small piece, or a section of a larger work that is intended to be very different in tone from the rest of the work, then you may dwell, tell or show in as much detail as you like. If the section is intended to be part of a larger work then you must decide if the approach should be sharply different for emphasis or more kin to the rest of the material.

Rather than say that one approach is better or worse than another in some absolute sense I'd caution you to pin your style to the requirements of the story: who is involved, whether they are 'show' or 'tell' people, how this differes from other chapters, what degree of alienation you want your readers to have from your characters, and so forth.

Take for example a murder. Will you 'tell' it from a warm, sympathetic viewpoint of the murderer? 'Show' it as a reconstruction for a detective? Narrate somehow from behind the eyes of the victim?

Techniques are tools, and should be used as such. You can remove a screw with a hammer, but a screwdriver will probably leave you more satisfied with the result.
 
Mar 14, 2003
10.029
0
Excellent. I agree totally. What I havent been able to achieve as of yet is to compile a list of ALL the techniques that should be available to me, even a chronological list would be a start and then I guess over time, examples for each technique in the book.

Ill just make sure that Im asking, only for a list of established techniques and tools rather than examples of them.

Once I am aware of the tools at can be at my disposal I can begin to understand when and where I should use them.

If such a list exists that is.
 

Director

Maestro
34 Badges
Aug 13, 2002
5.176
2.032
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
Good news, bad news.

The good news is there is such a list. The bad news is it's called the Library of Congress. :p

Seriously, I don't know of any such list. If I did I'd have a copy glued to my wall by the terminal, instead of doing this by trial and error (writing is a trial; most of mine is an error).

I'm not even sure you could get instructors or authors to agree on what makes up a basic set. They certainly can't agree on what a novel is. And I'm certainly not competent to draw up such a list. My 'technique' consists mostly of writing by ear; I get an idea for how a piece should sound and then I write and then I edit, edit, edit. Why not instead make your own (short) list of things that would be useful to you right now and develop those two, three or four? If it reads well and communicates what you need the reader to know, will anyone but an academic kvetch that you allowed a little show in your tell or vice versa?

In the main what I recommend is to read everything: Manly Wade Wellman, Asimov, Henry James, W & A Durant, Hemingway, Stan Lee, H Beam Piper, Stephen Ambrose, Ogden Nash, PD James, O Henry, Samuel Eliot Morison, newspapers, manga, billboards, boxes of cereal... if you are what you eat, you write what you read, I think, so it helps to read a lot. And eat while you read. :cool:

Does it help to suggest taking a small scene and writing it from multiple points of view, in first, second and third person and in active and passive voice where appropriate? (A very small scene. ;) ) I think as an exercise it would be instructional though perhaps not fun. I suggested something of the sort to coz1 for a 'Guess the Author' subject but wasn't able to describe it very well. Or take a subject and write it as a newspaper clipping, a chruch bulletin, an advertisement and an O Henry story (put your own list here).

Or perhaps write a short (one paragraph) note on what you want the piece to accomplish, and staple it to your eyelids :eek: Well, no, not that. To the wall by your monitor, perhaps.


I believe - and this is rank heresy, nowadays - I believe prose should be functional, should exist for the function of communicating something from the writer to the reader, and all of its component parts and their order should serve that function. If there is a tale to tell and characters to characterize it, then everything should be added if it has a function and subtracted if it has not. Unfortunately I'm not yet disciplined enough to completely live up to this, so extranea do creep in, but it is an ideal to which I aspire. Need to develop a ring of authenticity? Describe in detail. Need to maximize the pathos of a denoument? Develop the character. Love a character who has no real function? Cut.

In the same vein, artificially restricted form can be of great help. "Write a piece of music" is terrifying; "write a march" or "write a waltz" or "write a pop song with verse-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus" is less terifying because it limits possibilities. Think of Gainsborough deliberately painting in blue just because he was told it could not be effectively done.

On this, have you read Iain Pears' 'An Instance of the Fingerpost'? The novel (mystery-spy story) consists of roughly the same events in Restoration England (Oxford, mostly) told from four different points of view, with each successive story completely upending everything you thought you knew from the previous one. As a book it is thick chewing unless you love the period, but as writing it is a magic act worthy of Houdini.


In closing (*wild cheers are heard in the background*) I'd like to say I enjoyed your HoI graphic novel and found it very entertaining.
 

Storey

StoreytellAAR
7 Badges
Mar 16, 2001
5.975
4
Visit site
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • For The Glory
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • 500k Club
Director said:
I believe - and this is rank heresy, nowadays - I believe prose should be functional, should exist for the function of communicating something from the writer to the reader, and all of its component parts and their order should serve that function. If there is a tale to tell and characters to characterize it, then everything should be added if it has a function and subtracted if it has not. Unfortunately I'm not yet disciplined enough to completely live up to this, so extranea do creep in, but it is an ideal to which I aspire. Need to develop a ring of authenticity? Describe in detail. Need to maximize the pathos of a denoument? Develop the character. Love a character who has no real function? Cut.


2coats the above is the hardest advice to follow, believe me I know because I'm still trying to do it. I don't remember if it was Hemmingway or Twain who said writing for a newspaper was a great way to learn to write because you had to tell the reader what was going on in as few words as possible. I really think that the best practice for learning to write isn't something as long as an AAR. It's better to write short stories. Try writing a story and limit yourself to 500 words then rewrite it in 450 words etc. I find this very difficult to do but a great exercise. You will be surprised at how much you put in a story that is not needed.

Joe

PS Oh and I'll have to agree for the second time with Director :eek:, read, read, read but read with an eye for what and how the author is writing the story.
 

CatKnight

Disciple of Peperna
85 Badges
May 20, 2004
4.558
9
  • Victoria 2
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Legio
  • Leviathan: Warships
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Sengoku
  • Sword of the Stars
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • War of the Roses
  • 200k Club
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • BATTLETECH: Heavy Metal
  • Diplomacy
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Dungeonland
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
Director:

HERETIC!!!!



Okay, I got that out of my system.

Director raises some good points. First, I doubt this list exists. I've seen so many writing styles at this point, some good, some not so good that any such argument is superfluous. The idea that you should always 'show' rather than 'tell' is incorrect .... though showing is definitely preferable.

I just got through reading 'And Then Thee Were None' by Agatha Christie. Murder mystery. Nuf said. She spends the first few chapters introducing all the main characters from their points of view. Indeed, throughout the book she only very rarely breaks from that: Part of her technique for withholding information and therefore generating suspense is to keep to the characters' views: There's a murderer out there, and they don't know who it is.

The last chapter she abruptly changes her stance. It is a letter written by the killer, and he 'tells' exactly what he did and why.

A lot of it's a matter of taste: For example, the above mentioned book is considered one of Christie's finest works, but I found the beginning slow and tedious. Many people here know I admire the style and detail of Patrick O'Brien, who wrote a twenty one (20.5) book series following two Royal Navy characters. But O'Brien tended to get prosy on topics that don't interest me, so I skipped entire pages.

As has been said, there's a balance game here. You don't want to 'show' so much you bog down and nothing ever gets accomplished. On the other hand, you don't want to 'tell' so much the scene is static and reads more like a Cliff's Notes then a story. Since everyone has a different idea of what the appropriate balance is, and worse their opinion might change depending on the author and the topic, I think you have to go with what you think best. Practice writing. Read who you admire. Steal liberally from their bag of tricks. Shoot it out there and hope for the best.

I may not be the best to advise you on inference, since I seem to lose some of my readers on a regular basis and end up explaining myself or adding a scene to pull them back in. Ideally, it is exceptionally powerful and in the right hands can be one of your most powerful weapons.

Think about it: Most readers in my experience, certainly the intelligent ones, like some sort of challenge when they read. In an AAR or historical fiction, part of that challenge can come from the scene itself: The customs, setting, etc. may be effectively foreign to us, so we're learning how life was handled back then. If we readers know a little about history we may start comparing it to our own knowledge of the setting to see how the author's doing. One of the reasons I loved the O'Brien novels is because, through mostly showing though with a touch of narrative telling, he taught quite a bit about early 19th century life, the Napoleonic wars, sailing, 19th century etiquette, and life in general. In other words, I had the challenge of learning just what his world was like.

Inference is different, in that here the challenge to the reader is putting together the clues you've left to figure out what will happen next. In my own AAR many of my readers do something like that after every post or two: They ask questions, then they make suppositions on what will happen next. (Sometimes they give me, the writer, some damned good ideas!)

I think it makes a reader feel more involved if they have at least some chance of putting together the clues (vs. simply telling them outright.) At least it does for me. A more involved reader is more likely to gloss over the inevitable error you'll make, as their 'suspension of disbelief' is more solidly in place. They'll be more interested in your story and characters. They will care what happens!

So...in my opinion, inference = good. :)
 

Storey

StoreytellAAR
7 Badges
Mar 16, 2001
5.975
4
Visit site
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • For The Glory
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • 500k Club
CatKnight said:
Inference is different, in that here the challenge to the reader is putting together the clues you've left to figure out what will happen next. In my own AAR many of my readers do something like that after every post or two: They ask questions, then they make suppositions on what will happen next. (Sometimes they give me, the writer, some damned good ideas!)

I think it makes a reader feel more involved if they have at least some chance of putting together the clues (vs. simply telling them outright.) At least it does for me. A more involved reader is more likely to gloss over the inevitable error you'll make, as their 'suspension of disbelief' is more solidly in place. They'll be more interested in your story and characters. They will care what happens!

So...in my opinion, inference = good. :)

Another type of inference is when I let the reader discover that my character is mad not by telling them but from a movement like having him hurl a glass against a wall. A slight gesture can allow the reader to 'read' what the character is thinking without spelling it out to the reader, which can be more satisfying for both writer and reader.

Joe


Joe
 

Director

Maestro
34 Badges
Aug 13, 2002
5.176
2.032
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
There is of course the danger that what is perfectly clear to you will be opaque to the reader, or worse have an utterly different meaning. Not to worry: one of the advantages of the forum's 'serial' format is that I get frequent, thoughtful commentary from people who are sometimes better writers than I am; Storey, coz1, stnylan and Stuyvesant come immediately to mind but I could list you dozens or more without much effort. (Stuyvesant is the best writer on the board who hasn't written a story yet :) ). We can all take greater liberties with inference here because we have nearly instantaneous, high-quality feedback.


I've said before (see the Gazette) that the 400-year EU2 AAR is a miserable medium; it's too long, involves too many characters, and frankly a lot of that 400 years is boring. I advocate playing the game, pulling out the good bits and heaving the rest on the waste pile; 'Bremen' was not much read or appreciated, but it was the most fun for me to write because it is a series of essays, chosen by topic and made as long or short as I wanted. No need to drum up something to say about the unhappy nobles, clergy or that blasted comet again!

I agree with Storey ( :) never make one post when three will do, eh, Joe? :p ) and with Catknight on everything that's been said. I do think detailed planning helps especially when one is light on experience or has tackled a difficult topic. Case in point: Here There Be Dragons. Plotted out in detail from the get-go, with independent plot-lines that run outside the game for the times that the game is dull. So what happens? Everything runs pretty much to form, except that plot requirements mean I don't need to play the game past 1600.

Of course, THAT is when that damnable polyglot collection of bankrupt Balkan bandit kingdoms started to BE FUN TO PLAY! AAAAAAAArrrrrgh. I have another century at least of GREAT GAME STUFF and no way to shoehorn it into the existing plot.

Was my advance planning wasted? Not at all, I think. I wanted to write a 'cautionary tale' in the spirit of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', about the benefits and perils of advancing technology, and about what it means to be sapient, and human, and why those are not necessarily the same. The game is only the medium to that end. Planning and plotting didn't save me from my mistake (I should have played out the game before I wrote the ending) but it DID enable me to write the @$#%$ thing at all.

So, I advise plotting everything out while leaving room for game events to change your mind, or best of all playing the whole game out before writing a word.

Oh, about your question: on this board, ask your readers for feedback on specific points and they will give you invaluable advice.
 

Amric

Hurricane Sergeant of Arms
2 Badges
May 4, 2003
5.643
1
Visit site
  • Europa Universalis III
  • 500k Club
I have to say that I do very minimal plotting. I have a basic idea and then I run with it. With my 'opus' Cyprus my entire concept was NOT doing a reconquest of the holy land but exploration and colonization instead. I did do the whole four hundred years, but I had a revolving cast of characters and glossed over the boring bits. I rarely even do character outlines. I kind of let them develop as they go along in the story.

I know, it sounds incredibly haphazard, doesn't it? Heck, I even mostly write in on PAPER first and then transfer it to Word, editing as I go. It seems to work for me. I never really know what direction the tale will go. It becomes as much as a surprise to me as it does to the readers. Now I WILL say that sometimes I get a story arc into my head and run with it for awhile, fitting it into the game as best I can. But I never let what the game does dictate how I tell my story.

Case in point, Cyprus again. Obviously the game doesn't model having a kingdom in the Winward Isles like I did. But it worked well for the tale, which is all that counts. Plus it got sort of boring telling how I wiped out all of the natives, over and over again. But by putting in something mysterious and finally showing it was another 'nation' the strange battles began to make more 'sense' to the readers.

I just came up with it out of mostly thin air. There is 'some' basis in alternative reality to it though. Had certain things happened, such a nation 'might' have come into being.

I've seen great work with wholly outlined plots and fully defined characters from the get go. I've seen great work from those, who like me, tend to wing it as they go. Which type is better? Doesn't matter.

What matters is which method works best for you, personally. If deep structure works for you, by all means do it. If basic rough outline works for you, then do that. Or do both. Whatever makes you comfortable.

As for feedback. It is critical, especially for new writers who are just getting their feet wet. But even for seasoned vets like Director, or CatKnight, or Storey it is great to have. I LOVE feedback. I even love the ones that point out errors that I have made.

Case in point. My Byzantine Khan had a scene by a lake. For some obscure reason<mostly because I was in a hurry and somewhat tired> I used the word water far too often within a paragraph. One of my readers caught that. I was sloppy. I admit it. But he pointed it out and I edited so that it wouldn't be like that. It made the scene a shade better and more 'professional'.

Some writers only want things like 'good job'. Nice update. Things of that nature, while others really love in depth analysis and even critiques of their work. Getting feedback is great. Giving it is also important. Those of us who are hoary old hands know this to be a fact. The more feedback you give, the more you are likely to receive.

It also doesn't hurt if you have a interesting premise and good writing if you are doing something other than a strict after action report. If you are doing characters and storylines then it has to be interesting. Or people are going to stop reading. But writing, writing, writing, and then writing some more will allow you to hone your skills. It will allow you the ability to 'shape' what you do so that you not only have people enjoying it, but you enjoy telling it.

If you aren't having fun, there is simply no point in writing it. You have to ENJOY writing. You all like feedback. I LOVE feedback. But even when things are slow feedback wise you are still in the end crafting a story for yourself.

I do have to add this caveat....I DO actually do a LOT of research about the time period I write about. The foods that are eaten and available. The seasons, dress, technology of the time. Things of that nature. At least as much as I can. I'd like to think that I do that part very well. At least I have had quite a few people mention how much attention to detail I put into those little things you don't generally notice.

Such as, and I wrote articles about this in the Gazette, what types of foods are available and where and when. Such as potatoes weren't available in Europe until after the Spaniards went to the new world. Plus that they weren't readily accepted ANYWHERE for a long time. German states during the 30 years war were the first area to really take to potatoes.

ONLY because the peasants were starving and grains kept getting trampled by marching armies that criss crossed the countryside over and over again. Potatoes, being in the ground tended to take such rough treatment better than wheat, oats, barley, and other such grains.

The French monarchy tried to get the peasants to grow potatoes. They just wouldn't do it. The Irish took to it big eventually. But then buggered themselves when they went with only ONE type of potato. When the potato blight came about they were devastated. There is a reason one should NOT wholly go into just one type of ANYTHING. The Irish, god bless 'em, made a horrific error.

I could go on and on about food, but the point still remains the same. Certain foods just can't become available until certain times. Of course if YOU get to the new world BEFORE the Spaniards and Portuguese then you could have potatoes. But it was considered unclean in many ways. Eventually considered peasant food as well.

Just as chocolate was only for the wealthy and well to do for a very long time. Chocolate candy? Not for a long time. Hot Cocoa was pretty much how it was done in Europe for a LONG time. First in Spain and Portugal. Then , oddly enough in England. From there it continued to spread.

Just like coffee originally comes from Africa. It was transplanted over to the Americas! To break the monopoly the Ottomans had on that market, of all things. Having the plants in the Americas pretty much made them impossible for the Turks to savage. They were quite adamant about keeping their coffee monopoly. But once it got out of their range of retribution, well...you all know how it went.

So in essence my style is winging it, but with an attention to detail on the little things and trying to be historically accurate on what kinds of tech would be possible.
 
Last edited:

Rensslaer

Strategy GuidAAR
26 Badges
Jun 24, 2004
7.720
3
www.orinthia.net
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2 Beta
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Crusader Kings II
  • 500k Club
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III
2Coats said:
I have another question though.... what power does and should inference play in scene writing?
I have seen authors -- even about these fora! -- do this magnificently!

It requires both, a talented writer, and a talented reader... and a writer with the patience to know that many readers will never catch on!

But I think it can be VERY powerful.

Rensslaer
 

coz1

GunslingAAR
29 Badges
May 16, 2002
13.798
490
hearthehurd.typepad.com
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • PDXCon 2017 Awards Winner
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • 500k Club
  • 200k Club
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • For The Glory
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Deus Vult
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
That's a very good point, Renss. No matter how hard one tries to "suggest" it will take the reader to make the process complete. A mistake has been made by the writer if the "clue" does not serve as such. Many writers believe that they have laid it out brilliantly, but what many of us forget is that we see it very clearly in our minds...because we thought it up. The reader is only going by what little info you have given them and their own flights of fancy. And of course, there is the way we post our work here. To remember a clue given three moths ago is impossible, even if updating everyday (and sometimes, especially). In fact, there are very few readers that have such a hold on the subject to be able to do that - Stuyvesant comes to mind easily.

I have another question though.... what power does and should inference play in scene writing?

I'm not sure I know what you mean by this, 2Coats. Are you just referring to the above, or did you mean something further?
 
Mar 14, 2003
10.029
0
coz1 said:
That's a very good point, Renss. No matter how hard one tries to "suggest" it will take the reader to make the process complete. A mistake has been made by the writer if the "clue" does not serve as such. Many writers believe that they have laid it out brilliantly, but what many of us forget is that we see it very clearly in our minds...because we thought it up. The reader is only going by what little info you have given them and their own flights of fancy. And of course, there is the way we post our work here. To remember a clue given three moths ago is impossible, even if updating everyday (and sometimes, especially). In fact, there are very few readers that have such a hold on the subject to be able to do that - Stuyvesant comes to mind easily.



I'm not sure I know what you mean by this, 2Coats. Are you just referring to the above, or did you mean something further?
I meant pretty much what has been answered above. Inference can be a powerful tool if used by a writer with patience. I specifically tend to use it at the end of a chapter in the hope that my audience will want to read on to find out if their take on what Im inferring is correct later on.

I think that having inference with a dual possibility is what Im currently trying my hand at. It can be bad, by confusing readers if done incorrectly, but if done well it can add a twist to the plot. This is something Im currently trying to adopt in some stories Im writing outside the fora. Yet, I will try to practice it when I finally begin my EU2 AAR.

I hope to use that platform to attempt to develop the techniques to help me with my writing. One idea that has come to mind when doing the EU2 AAR is to do something like Director suggested and write a series of short stories based on the events of the game. They wont be linked directly, but hopefully have a link at the top level of the plot. Hence the title name. Inbetween those short stories I was planning on having narrative where I think its needed and where I intend to practice my application of it.

Well thats the intention.
 

The Yogi

Evil Genius
37 Badges
Dec 16, 2002
3.283
25
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • 200k Club
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • For The Glory
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Darkest Hour
  • Diplomacy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
Inferrence, ah mined territory indeed.

I use it massively in the Fu Manchu saga but some comments by recent readers (I only understand half what is going on here) makes me think that it's perhaps not ideal in for the AAR format, which might span over months or (in my case :eek:o ) even years.

A case in point is the cruel fate of Henry Pu Yi in "Master Plan of Fu Manchu". What did any of you who happened to read "Master Plan..." think of it? I gave the hints that he was related to Fu (both of the Manchu Imperial House), that he would be instrumental to Fu's final victory over Japan and that he was altered by (unsedated! :eek: ) surgery...

Did it work?
 

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
124 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.973
3.657
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Deus Vult
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
A related point. Given that inference can often run afoul the time-delayed format of the AAR, what are the best ways to try and remind the readers of the relevant passages without being too blatant? Also, if as an AAR writer you feel something has been missed by your readers is it alright just to point it out in the comments, or should you try to link back in a further update?
 

Storey

StoreytellAAR
7 Badges
Mar 16, 2001
5.975
4
Visit site
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • For The Glory
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • 500k Club
The Yogi said:
Inferrence, ah mined territory indeed.

It’s something I stay away from in my stories. The problem with using inferences in this format is that you have varying amounts of time between posts so keeping everything straight is a problem for the reader. Combine that with the fact that most of us are reading several stories at one time and you can see how difficult a subtle inference can be. However there has been many times when another reader has pointed out something that I’ve missed so maybe I’m the problem not the writer. :eek: I do admit that it is fun when I discover one of these hidden gems. :cool:

Joe
 

Rensslaer

Strategy GuidAAR
26 Badges
Jun 24, 2004
7.720
3
www.orinthia.net
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Field Marshal
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Victoria 2 Beta
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Crusader Kings II
  • 500k Club
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III
stnylan said:
A related point. Given that inference can often run afoul the time-delayed format of the AAR, what are the best ways to try and remind the readers of the relevant passages without being too blatant? Also, if as an AAR writer you feel something has been missed by your readers is it alright just to point it out in the comments, or should you try to link back in a further update?
I'm considering adding footnotes! :rofl:


* For more on the subject of writing, refer to the SolAARium

Honestly, though... It might help, and that might not be a bad solution. But I can't imagine keeping track of the references myself!

Renss
 

Nil-The-Frogg

Big fetid toad
11 Badges
Aug 19, 2004
1.190
0
nilthefrogg.canalblog.com
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • 500k Club
I've just spent an hour gathering nectar throughout this SolAARium. This reading and many comments in various AAR take me by the hand and progressively accompany me to the realisation of something regarding both my writing and reading habits. I do everything based on instinct. I only seldom think about how to write things but rather struggle on what to write. In other words, my brain more often melts on the scenario than on the actual writing. Similarly, I tend to immerse completely in the text I read (provided it's well writen and interesting, of course) and forget the technical aspect in it.

Bad habits I shall try to fix, thanks to you all. Maybe it was a mistake to take my first try at writing in a foreign language though... :wacko:

I've no experience regarding inference. My first attempt at it seemed to have escaped my dear readAARs. I never relied on the hope they'd notice it though and just laid it on the way for fun (mine and eventually the reader's
recherche-loupe.gif
). That would be a possibility: laying clues while keeping in mind the intend (and necessity?) of making things clearer later on. If your readers find the egg, that's great, if they don't that's not catastrophic either...
.
.
 

coz1

GunslingAAR
29 Badges
May 16, 2002
13.798
490
hearthehurd.typepad.com
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • PDXCon 2017 Awards Winner
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • 500k Club
  • 200k Club
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • For The Glory
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Deus Vult
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
Nil - that's a good point. Sometimes, inferences/clues are not meant to be understood yet. As you said, if certain readers pick up on the clue, then great. if not, then it will be explained later. I suppose the only risk in this is that there may have been some things left out or too much time in between clue and resolution, thus the audience takes the revelation as somewhat of a shock, or do not understand it's importance.

As for the technical aspects, I would not worry too much if they are not readily apparent. I think most of us read and write very much in the same way. habits become ingrained. There are certain things that I make the point of working on from time to time, in order to help ingrain such into my practices, but it's not as though I go through every line of text and determine if it is somehow "technically" correct or some such. Hopefully it is, and when it is not, then I recognize it later and realize I need to work on that. But it's all a process rather than a scientific formula.