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Fantasy Writers

Friendly debates here!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 92 total)
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  • #145034
    Crazywriter
    @crazywriter

    Anybody have some debate topics?

    #145058
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    I have a whole list of “worldview questions” that would make great debate topics, but here are a couple interesting ones:

    How does/should one decide what is acceptable to read or watch?

    Is cussing acceptable and/or beneficial in fiction?

    Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literat

    #145067
    Crazywriter
    @crazywriter

    @r-m-archer

    thats a great one!

    I may choose to answer your second question before the first.
    Many Christian authors and readers will rush to say “no!”
    I would agree with them, but I shall give more of a theory and a solid logical argument, and not just sentiment.

    From a biblical standpoint, I see no place for cussing in Christian lifestyle, let alone books. That being said, so I consider it a worse sin than others, or one that is unforgivable? Not at all. I simply can’t reconcile writers who try to appeal to the secular audience and basically try to draw them into the kingdom by presenting a book, that doesn’t really accurately represent the kingdom. Colossians 3:8 is a verse that I think cuts it pretty clear.

    However this argument will not satisfy many. So I shall try to present a logical argument.

    I have read a book, that I shall not name, by an author, that I also shall not name, but the author strived to present the darkness of the evil world by adding expletives and sexual innuendos. Or at least that’s what I gleaned from the description. But, it said, it’s all for a purpose. It’s all for a reason, to bring great glory to God.

    Now by no means do I like to put down another writers work. But this book….was a unspeakable tragedy. What began as a desire to portray God as greater by displaying the darkness of human depravity, evolved to be cussing in almost every other sentence, and a few major sexual scenes. The result was not glorifying God, but simply displaying the depravity of man(not necessarily in a bad way either). God was mentioned maybe a handful of times throughout the book, and needless to say there are books written by secular writers and atheists that I would sooner read to children. It had no gospel picture evident, and seemed more likely to stoke carnal desires than desire to glorify God.

    Now, I confess, there were more books. Perhaps the series redeemed the first book. I do not know. All I know is that excessive cursing makes a book unenjoyable, and distasteful.

     

    That is my take on it, but I would love to hear anyone elses

     

    #145130
    Denali Christianson
    @denali-christianson

    @r-m-archer, @crazywriter

    Oh, these are awesome topics! I’m excited…

    I’m going to add my own two cents to this argument. To begin with, @crazywriter, I agree with what you’ve said so far. (some debate this makes lol)

    I think that cussing in books by the worldly standard, i.e. by using known expletives that I will not name because I’m a Christian and we all know what they are anyway, is not helpful to the story.

    I don’t enjoy reading cussing in books, but I’ll often skim over it if the book is fiction. I actually am going to look at another facet of this as Peter already brought up the first reason why I don’t support cursing, which is the Christian faith.

    As you may have noticed above, I specifically said “fiction.” In books that occur in this world, things like cursing aren’t enjoyable to read, but their retraction from the book is minimal. However, cussing in fantasy, specifically high fantasy, in my opinion, is absolutely unacceptable, and here’s why I say this. (prepare yourselves for a really long rant. :D)

    1) It happens in a different world. Okay, great, who cares? Well, here’s why. The point of creating another world is to show parallels between that world and this one, not make it identical to this one. Granted, there are many things that bleed over into fantasy, like the law of gravity and swords, but in my opinion, cussing should never be one of those. First of all, it’s usually understood that the people in the book are speaking a different language. Second of all, not even our whole world uses these typical words. If the characters are speaking a different language in a world entirely removed from ours, why would they be using expletives that come from the US? That’s just…. illogical, and it leads me to my second point which is that of…

    2) Lack of creativity. Like I mentioned above, this is a different world, right? Which means that it’s the author’s job to make that world unique and fresh. They have the burden of creativity, and I see cussing as a direct violation of this responsibility. If you must have characters using expletives to express their feelings, at least make up your own already! I usually don’t have a problem with fantasy characters saying things like “dragon’s breath” and “blizzards” if they’re angry. Even though those are typically thought of as “expletives,” they are creative and they fit into the world from whence they come much better than bad language from our world. If, on the other hand, an author uses expletives from our world in dialogue taking place in a fantasy world entirely removed from ours, then there is nothing to be gained from using expletives. If any of that didn’t make sense, tell me because when I start ranting I stop being coherent! XD

    3) It subtracts from the story. This is kind of going back to Peter’s point of detraction. If, especially in fantasy, a character is excessively using expletives, even fantasy ones, it distracts from the plot and the dialogue. Everything about the world is going to become tainted. Have you ever noticed how when you watch a movie or read a book with lots of language, that tends to be one of the main things you remember from the book or movie? I think you know what I mean. I’ve watched movies with lots of extremely off-color language, and that’s how I remember the shows. I don’t remember them by their plot or their characters, as should be the case, but by the content. That’s not appropriate, and the same thing occurs in books. If you want to write a compelling fantasy novel, you better pull back on the language. If you really want people to remember your plot and characters and beloved world that you spent half your life creating, you can’t accomplish that through violent and obscene content. It has to be created through skill.

    4) It cheapens it. This is actually just a summary of my last point, but language cheapens everything about the book, whether it’s fantasy or not. When people don’t know where to send a plot or how to develop a character, they throw in content. That’s frankly very annoying, and I admire authors who write books with absolutely no content. This is one of the main reasons why I love The Lord of the Rings and The Wingfeather Saga. Both accomplish an epic saga without a bit of content. There’s nothing bad in either of them, and because of this, the story and the characters stick with you without a bunch of extra baggage, allowing you to contemplate the meaning within the book.

    Wow. That rant got really long… I’m so sorry y’all and you deserve a medal if you read all that! 🙂

     

    "The light perceives the very heart of the darkness." -Haldir

    #145132
    Crazywriter
    @crazywriter

    @denali-Christianson

    Wow. Like really all I have to say. Wow.

     

    That argument was much better built than my own.

    Again, one more time I say, Wow.

    Ditto. What she said.

    #145133
    Denali Christianson
    @denali-christianson

    @crazywriter

    Well now. I did not expect that reaction. Glad to impress you! XD

    "The light perceives the very heart of the darkness." -Haldir

    #145134
    Crazywriter
    @crazywriter

    Alright here’s one. What is the advantage of getting super detailed into a book project, like Tolkien, who basically devoted his entire life to one series, as opposed to someone who puts in detail and effort, but not to that umpth degree, and is able to write more books, like CS Lewis did?

    #145135
    Denali Christianson
    @denali-christianson

    @crazywriter

    Oh this is interesting. I’m going to have to think about it. I mean, I’d say there’s advantages to both, and personally I support what Tolkien did with his extra extreme detail, but I’ve already written one rant today, so I’ll spare you. 😀 I do have some thoughts though. I’d love to hear yours too!

    "The light perceives the very heart of the darkness." -Haldir

    #145138
    Crazywriter
    @crazywriter

    I’m honestly someone who is fascinated by the amount of detail evidenced in LOTR. I do aspire to learn what I can from Tolkien, and have been intrigued by the making of languages, and want to do so for my book, as shown in my philology page.

     

    Honestly I see the benefits of both, but I think, especially nowadays, it is better for Christian authors to err on the side of more detail, simply because it is imperative that we be more careful with what we put out for the world to read, and examine it to see if it truly glorifies God. Now, that doesn’t mean it has to be explicit pictures, or that the gospel pictures should be spelled out, but there should definitely be some. And that requires careful, deliberate writing.

    that’s my short take on a very extensive topic

    #145146
    Denali Christianson
    @denali-christianson

    @crazywriter

    Yes! I completely agree with you!!!!

    Oh, I can feel another rant coming…

    I don’t have time right now.

    I’ll be back… 😀

    "The light perceives the very heart of the darkness." -Haldir

    #145149
    Emily Waldorf
    @emily-waldorf

    @crazywriter, I think personalities have to be taken into account. I think Tolkien had a strain of perfectionism, and was a “panster” style of writer, (as well as having a family), while Lewis must have had a very different, diligent, and energetic style. Plus, one’s mind and fingers may work faster than another’s.

     

    On a side note, how do y’all pronounce “Tolkien”?

    Your life is not your own so keep your hands off it. ~Sherlock Holmes

    #145150
    Crazywriter
    @crazywriter

    @emily-Waldorf

    for sure! Personalities vary, thus do writing styles. Still, careful, deliberate writing can be involved in any style, at least I think.

     

    To answer your other question, before I watched the movie Tolkien, I said it, “Tol-ken” and I still do a lot, but now I know it’s “Tol-Keen”

    #145152
    Emily Waldorf
    @emily-waldorf

    for sure! Personalities vary, thus do writing styles. Still, careful, deliberate writing can be involved in any style, at least I think. To answer your other question, before I watched the movie Tolkien, I said it, “Tol-ken” and I still do a lot, but now I know it’s “Tol-Keen”

    You’re probably right, I don’t know. 🙂

     

    Goody, another person who says it right. See, Tolkien is a German name, I believe, and the when an i/e or e/i is together, you say the second one. I’m glad the movie got it right. :)))

    Your life is not your own so keep your hands off it. ~Sherlock Holmes

    #145182
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    Re: Cussing in books

    I generally gauge the use of coarse language by Ephesians 4:29,

    Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

    This precludes cusswords 99% of the time, because it’s extremely rare that they’re useful for edification. However, I do think that they can be used sparingly to show character or contrast. I don’t think they should just be used willy-nilly, nor do I think you need to flood your book with them to make a point. (The book @crazywriter referenced sounds highly imbalanced. :P)

    I totally agree with @denali-christianson’s first two points on cussing in fantasy. If you’re going to have your character cuss in fantasy then make up your own words. With a couple of possible exceptions, a real-world cuss is going to sound out-of-place. The characters in a fantasy I read once used “hell” as a curse and I immediately stopped and was yanked out of the story because it felt too real-world-specific, especially when the bulk of the religion of the fantasy world had been so well-thought-out. Surely there would have been an alternative in that world.

    Have you ever noticed how when you watch a movie or read a book with lots of language, that tends to be one of the main things you remember from the book or movie?

    I actually tend to have the opposite problem. Unless it’s a lot of strong language (or I’m reading fantasy and the cusses feel out-of-place), I tune it out and forget about it.

    4) It cheapens it. This is actually just a summary of my last point, but language cheapens everything about the book, whether it’s fantasy or not. When people don’t know where to send a plot or how to develop a character, they throw in content. That’s frankly very annoying, and I admire authors who write books with absolutely no content. This is one of the main reasons why I love The Lord of the Rings and The Wingfeather Saga. Both accomplish an epic saga without a bit of content. There’s nothing bad in either of them, and because of this, the story and the characters stick with you without a bunch of extra baggage, allowing you to contemplate the meaning within the book.

    Hm. Yes and no. Generally speaking, I agree. And I definitely agree if the content is there out of laziness. But there are situations in which content can be used sparingly and/or tactfully to strengthen a story’s point. Lord of the Rings and The Wingfeather Saga didn’t need mature content to make their points. Many books/series don’t, and I don’t think it should be added if it’s unnecessary. But I’ve read other books where the content was necessary and was handled well, as well as books that were too squeaky-clean for the stories they tried to tell.

    So I think it’s a matter of balance, and the balance should definitely tend toward no content, but if content is truly necessary and the author can handle it well then I think it can have a place. But I think that those stories where it is necessary are much fewer than the stories where it’s not, and a lot of prayer and thought should go into deciding what to include or leave out if you think something might be necessary.

    Alright here’s one. What is the advantage of getting super detailed into a book project, like Tolkien, who basically devoted his entire life to one series, as opposed to someone who puts in detail and effort, but not to that umpth degree, and is able to write more books, like CS Lewis did?

    I think we need authors who do both, as well as authors who fall in the middle. The world needs more quality Christian art, period. So we need authors who can write a lot of quality ficti0n in a shorter span of time, along the lines of Lewis. (Emphasis on quality. I’m not saying we should have authors shooting for quantity over quality; I’m just pointing out the authors who can manage both at once.) But the world needs more quality Christian art, and a lot of authors take a longer time to produce a quality piece of content. I tend to be more in the latter camp.

    I also think that it’s possible to fall in the middle, to focus your energy in one or two areas and still finish a good number of projects. If you write fantasy, pouring your efforts into a whole world that can support a myriad of stories allows you to focus your attention, build up one cohesive world, but not limit yourself to a story or two. (The challenge there is not getting stuck in the worldbuilding stage but also writing stories as you go, lol.)

    On a side note, how do y’all pronounce “Tolkien”?

    TOL-kee-en. The last two syllables aren’t quite that distinct when I say it, but I pronounce both sounds.

    Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literat

    #145212
    Crazywriter
    @crazywriter

    @r-m-archer

    these are good points as well.


    @denali-Christianson
    @r-m-archer @emily-Waldorf @joelle-stone

    Anyone have any theologically related debates ideas?

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