The best “how-to” writing articles of the week, compiled by robert.
We’ve all been there. Despite your meticulous outlining, you find yourself stuck in your story and have no idea what your protagonist does next. How do you advance your plot?
Fear not. This is something every writer has to wrestle with. Even the pros admit to hitting an occasional road block. So whether a best-selling author or lowly scribbler, you have to deal with the occasional plot snag somehow. So I’ll share what I do.
My approach is two-fold: First, go back to your protagonist’s basic motivation. What does he want? Then imagine the worst that could happen to prevent him from achieving his goal. Throw that at him, and watch what he does. If you understand the protagonist’s history and heartfelt desire, you should be able to visualize how he’ll respond.
Read the rest at Alice Osborn’s blog, where I’m guest blogging today.
Annette Hassell “John Uskglass the Raven King”
click to enlarge
Today’s Remodern Review blog features a post on an exhibit of the works of Phoenix-area Remodernist painters. The exhibit’s theme is “works inspired by favorite books.” These paintings revive the artist’s role as a visual storyteller. Unlike post-modern painters, Remodernists reject the nihilism that an inaccessible elite insists is the proper focus of the “true artist.” Instead, Remodernists seek to recapture art’s primary purpose of stirring the imagination of the general public and inspiring an appreciation of classic ideals of nobility, courage, and beauty.
Joseph Pearce explores Tolkien’s reverence for language and heritage:
This deep understanding of language is analogous to an understanding of history. If we want to understand where we are now and where we are going, we have to understand where we have been. And what is true of history in the broader sense is equally true of the history of words. In order to really speak well, write well, or think clearly, we need to use words correctly. We need to know linguistic tradition. We need to be linguistic traditionalists. We have to be in touch with the language, its roots, and its heritage. We need to become linguistic tree-huggers! We do not necessarily have to speak very quickly; we have to speak well. We have to speak accurately, with a precision of meaning. Contrary to Peter Jackson’s tragically abusive presentation of the Ents in his film version of Tolkien’s epic, in which they appear to be dim-wits who are outwitted by the smartness of the hobbits, we know that when Tolkien’s Ents come to a decision it will be the right one, because they have been absolutely precise in the way they have used their words. They think and speak definitely, in accordance with precise definition. They define their terms and they know their meanings. They are the opposite of postmoderns and nihilists who see no meaningful roots to the cosmos because they see no meaningful roots to words.
Modernism, argues Pearce, is vandalism that fancies itself to be liberation from a constraining past. Indeed, it celebrates the murder of authenticity, as it demands that all heritage chains down the individual. Of course, what actually happens is not a glorious jail-break from nature and history, but alienation from those things Charlene Spretnak has identified as the prime Modernist targets: “the knowing body, the creative cosmos, and the complex sense of place.” If we lose those things, then we are unshielded from today’s manipulators of language and value who profit by convincing us that our identity is discretionary, and can be as sleek and desirable as the Gap jeans and Zappo shoes they urge us to buy.