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Old 11-11-2011, 02:50 PM   #91
M T McGuire
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Not for me: I learned from reading everyone else's work while honing my own. If I was going to pick particular writers, I might go with Arthur C. Clarke and Lester Dent, who taught me two extremes of writing that I try to meet in the middle.
That's interesting. Because while I read loads of books it is only very recently that I've been able to actually see how they do achieve the effects I admire so much. I still don't read other people's work as a process of conscious learning, I just try and try and try to write with skill. How to books make sense but they don't help either.

When I'm 'in the zone' so to speak, I actually prefer to stop reading things by other authors until I've exorcised whatever it is that's burning up my synapses that week. However, once I've finished writing a book it may be six months of chilling out, reading and listening to music before I want to write again or before another idea floats to the surface. I used to use that time painting but the artistic creativity gets sucked into other stuff these days.

A friend sent my book to an agent and in his refusal letter he suggested "a book in a year" which I have thought I'd read.

Cheers

MTM
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:38 AM   #92
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Though it was never a "conscious learning" thing for me, I essentially retained certain literary moments over time and re-reading, so when I found myself doing a scene, I would recall that this book handled that scene this way, that book did it that way, but that book did it most effectively this way. Likewise, in blocking scenes, timing devices, atmosphere, dialogue, etc, I was able to recall bits and pieces of things that I thought worked especially well, and use those as guidelines for my work. Eventually, my adaptation of those bits and pieces became my own style.

I don't have a problem reading other writers' works as I write, but I tend not to, just because I'd rather work on my story than read others'.
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:43 PM   #93
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Still impressed you retained them... I lay bets I do exactly what you do but when the solutions to my literary problems present themselves I've no clue where they come from!

Cheers

MTM
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:43 PM   #94
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Still impressed you retained them... I lay bets I do exactly what you do but when the solutions to my literary problems present themselves I've no clue where they come from!

Cheers

MTM
When I was 16 or 17 I considered myself a genius for a couple of weeks. I had written a wonderful poem and I was in awe of its beauty. Then, reading one of my favorite poets (Luis Cernuda), to my consternation I discovered that the best verses of my poem were taken directly from his work. I've been very careful since then of thinking too highly of myself.
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Old 11-18-2011, 04:41 AM   #95
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When I was 16 or 17 I considered myself a genius for a couple of weeks. I had written a wonderful poem and I was in awe of its beauty. Then, reading one of my favorite poets (Luis Cernuda), to my consternation I discovered that the best verses of my poem were taken directly from his work. I've been very careful since then of thinking too highly of myself.
Mwah ha ha haaargh! Certainly, very little of the stuff in my book is original. But then I'm sure there are only a finite number of stories and it's the way you present them that counts! Says MTM hopefully.

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MTM
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:41 AM   #96
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Still impressed you retained them... I lay bets I do exactly what you do but when the solutions to my literary problems present themselves I've no clue where they come from!
Well, I don't mean to suggest that I specifically remembered a line from, say, I, Robot and used it in my novel here. Just that certain turns of a phrase or description of an action have become part of my personal lexicon, and I use them where appropriate. If you singled one out, chances are I couldn't quote you where I retained it (though there are a select few that I'm sure I could).

It's like anything else that you seek to do by finding the best way to do it. In Worldfarm One, I describe a woman who chose the last name of Mazaña when she immigatred to Brasil, but because of being well-endowed, unfortunately became known as "Manzanas." (Look it up.) The description I just provided was rather dry. But in the book, I gave a description that was much more interesting and funny, and based on descriptive styles I picked up largely from Lester Dent, but seasoned with a bit of Arthur C. Clarke:

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It was commonly said around Worldfarm One that when she came to Brasil, Linda Mazaña probably couldn’t speak Portuguese or Spanish well, if at all; and when she decided to change her name, as many immigrating Anglos did, she must have chosen a surname that sounded Spanish to her. The twist on her last name became inevitable, then, due in large part (pun intended) to her impressively ample upper body measurements. When men referred to her as “Manzanas,” they often held their hands chest-high and palms-up in that load-supporting pantomime that was universally understood by men... though they generally did it only when other women, especially Linda, weren’t around. Add to that the fact that the rest of her was as beautiful as her breasts were ample, and it meant that wherever she went, Linda usually had a small entourage of hopeful suitors nearby.

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 11-19-2011 at 10:52 AM.
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