Forum Replies Created
May 14, 2019 at 12:16 pm #89478
Well, G. K. Chesterton’s character Michael Moon, in Manalive, says “Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline”. I haven’t exactly experimented myself — maybe it’s a bit hyperbolic, considering that at least some people are called to celibacy, see also 1 Cor. 7? — but it’s an interesting analogy.
Jenny Freitag, an excellent writer, and herself married, has good thoughts on romantic love (cos we agree guys and girls can love each other as friends, and as family, right?) and marriage here: http://www.thepenslayer.com/2012/10/between-music-and-lyrics.html and here: http://www.thepenslayer.com/2013/07/slips-and-suitcoats.html and here: http://www.thepenslayer.com/2012/05/oh-darling-lets-run-wild-together.html.
Perhaps the best nonfiction book about the distinctions between kinds of love is Lewis’ The Four Loves. Chesterton has some great examples of all kinds of relationships in various of his works, but they’re less a how-to than “this is how these two unique people get along within this category” and it’s usually awesome.April 18, 2019 at 12:35 pm #86926
@sarah-inkdragon She’s a girl. Okay. But she’s also. . . a human being. The differences between guys and girls (fictional or otherwise) aren’t big enough to turn them into two separate species. You can write human beings, obviously, because you’re comfortable writing guys. So. . . instead of focusing so much on what makes her a girl, for the moment, focus on what makes her human. The list of traits the Fledgling Artist suggested might be a good place to start, as, while we often associate being gentle or attentive to beauty with girls, they’re good traits for guys too. That’s because they’re good human traits. (Well, it’s also good when angels and animals are gentle, but I digress.)
The suggestion that her lack of family makes it harder to see her humanity, because of a lack of ties, and the possibility of losing someone she loves non-romantically, is a good one. Dorothy Sayers’ detective Lord Peter Wimsey isn’t your average guy with a quirk who walks onto the scene and solves the problem and walks off again, perfect and also cardboard with no inconvenient ties — he’s got a massively inconvenient family, and even has to investigate his own kith and kin for murder at one point. That goes far to making him human and not “a detective”. So maybe throw an inconvenient family member in and see what results from the mess.April 18, 2019 at 12:17 pm #86923
@seekjustice Girls or women going bareheaded. Unless it’s set after 1950-something (and even then some women still wore hats for special occasions), ye need to cover yer hair. There have been tiny slivers of time and place with exceptions to this rule. But still. If you’re writing a novel set during the Norman Conquest of England and your hero falls in love with the heroine based on her shining auburn hair or whatever, and he’s not spying on her in her bath (which, ugh) — I’m going to count that an impossibility. Similarly, nineteenth-century grown women with their hair flowing all over the place. Not going to happen. Even poor women had more than two hairpins apiece.
Also medieval women characters: “I’m not allowed to do anything! Men get all the fun!” Whine, whine, whine. Do your research.
Also the choose-your-poison thing where your options are “this was set before the French Revolution, so everyone’s a superstitious (because of religion, natch), super-religious frownyface who simultaneously has ten children and never has any fun” or the only slightly better researched “we know they made bawdy art, so here’s a story where even the superficially religious characters are all irreligious all the time”. (These usually come from an authour with a deep misunderstanding of the dictionary definition of religion.) I’ve gone on rants all up and down the margins of my classmates’ stories that way.March 30, 2019 at 12:47 pm #84544March 29, 2019 at 2:24 pm #84481
@selah-chelyah and everyone: G. A. Henty is good at plotting. Admittedly, he put a lot of work into making one plot, which he then used for every single book of his, but he wouldn’t be the only writer to do that. Once in a while he’s not terribly bad at characterization. However, his historical accuracy is conspicuous by its absence, as a professor of mine says of students who don’t show up to class. His books are not good references for historical accuracy and have no place in that kind of bibliography.
In any case, it is always best to use primary sources for any period, and a work of historical fiction, however well-done, will only be a secondary source at the very best. If it has a good bibliography you can certainly use it as a starting point for further reading, but that’s not quite the same.
Do your own research and don’t believe the English of the 11th century (however good their textiles actually were — and they are amazing) had access to velvet, that delightfully anachronistic material.
(It wouldn’t be invented for another few hundred years.)March 27, 2019 at 1:29 pm #84353
@valtmy Ahh. In that case, never mind. Historical fantasy is a different animal — sort of a chimera. But since you hadn’t previously claimed that genre, and popped into a historical fiction thread to express a conflicting set of principles, I was confused. In context it makes sense.
Yes, the difficulty with accurately telling a story about people who aren’t Christians is how to avoid uniformly unhappy endings without being false about what actually brings about flourishing.
By the way, today I read a good historical fantasy, name of The Castle Behind the Thorns, by Merrie Haskell.March 26, 2019 at 12:17 pm #84169
@valtmy. . . if you don’t care for historical accuracy, why are you writing things set in a different time, in the first place? Why not write fantasy instead? If you claim to tell a story about a particular era but don’t portray it as it was, readers who don’t know better will walk away from your book with a false picture of the era in mind. That doesn’t do anyone any good. Characters are key to a lot of things, but it’s not an either-or question: you can absolutely have historical accuracy, right down to people thinking about things differently from us, and excellent characters, both at the same time.March 12, 2019 at 10:41 am #81832
@mickinley Historically there’s never been anything girly about being a bard (or singing poet if you prefer). Any more than singing bass is more manly than singing tenor. We need all kinds. I would actually like to read a story with a guy who’s not typically “manly” without him being portrayed as weak.January 28, 2019 at 4:57 pm #74571
@Michelle I can recommend the OYAN blog’s resources on historical fiction (https://clearwaterpress.com/oneyearnovel/?s=historical+fiction), and I recently did a blog post of my own compiling links to things I’ve found helpful (https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/historical-fiction-resources-online/), including but not limited to how to go about questions like “how was X-group-of-people treated in Y-time-or-place?”.January 28, 2019 at 1:36 pm #74523
@Rochellaine, @eden-anderson, I wrote an American Civil War novel some years ago, in which a somewhat important plot point was the heroine’s needing to get married, despite not being very excited about it or in love with anyone. I collected quite a few sources on love and marriage during the war. If anyone wants them, I can dump links in the thread. . .January 24, 2019 at 6:21 pm #73894January 24, 2019 at 4:20 pm #73874
@daeus-lamb, “sometimes no answer is an answer”. Yes! Otherwise known as Till We Have Faces and A Grief Observed. Often this is life — often we don’t get the answers until near the end, if then — and it’s so, so important to acknowledge that and not brush it off as flippancy. Often no answer *is* the answer. At least if you want to have a book of a manageable size. I’ve found it encouraging at times where I’m afraid I’ve lost the answer: it’s okay, you can hold on even without the answer — look, C. S. Lewis did it, for one. And then eventually the answer will come.
By the way, I saw your question about the INTP’s song and I wondered are you still looking for thoughts? Because I have quite a few on what it means to be an INTP but I don’t want to dump them on you if the song’s past the feedback point.
@jane-maree, a lot of “Christian Fiction” of the preachy insipid kind is written by people who are “committed Christians” and who desire nothing more than to glorify God. . . that doesn’t mean they have any kind of skill in writing. They mean well, they have the right “heart”, you could say, but the techne is lacking to bring the reality of their book up to the ideal (no doubt good) they had for it. Or their education in the art of writing has been so limited or warped that the best they can do is a sugar-sweet romance with an allegory tacked on and a sermon thrown in for good measure. These books do not move or challenge or enlighten in any deep way — do they glorify God? I very much doubt it.January 17, 2019 at 12:23 pm #72253
The bad news: the paper does not have a copyeditor and is not looking for one, and the hiring manager was Out. I was given to understand that he is usually Out.
What kind of self-respecting newspaper (and this is more than the paper; it’s a publishing company, albeit very small, but most of its business is the paper) simply doesn’t have a copy editor? It would be like a factory manager saying, “Welp, sales are down, better lay off the quality control folks; who needs those anyway?” I might try to convince the man of the multitude of good reasons for having a quality control person around, and then introduce my credentials at the psychological moment :p. Somehow. I haven’t thought all the way through a strategy yet.
The hunt continues. . .January 16, 2019 at 10:54 am #72023
If y’all would pray I get this job I’m after that would be great. . . I need at least 30 hours a week more than what I’ve got right now and in less than an hour I’ll be walking into the nearest town’s newspaper office and asking if they want me for a copyeditor. . . the evidence strongly suggests they do, but they haven’t put out a hiring ad. Which means they may not want anyone at all, much less a kid who looks like she’s about fifteen, has only just graduated college, and has the sparsest of résumés. But my options are limited and editing is a thing I can do.
And seconding continued prayer for the Wescos. The pastor of my church went to school (I think) with the pastor they went over to help.October 29, 2018 at 11:52 am #56125