Derik Badman's Journal

2020-08-06 11:55

I have not been keeping up with this well at all. Mostly, though, due to working on my stories, the two currently in progress are at a rather good draft stage, which is somehow the hardest stage for me. I'm not sure where to go to make them better. I know there is tons of room to make them better, I'm just not sure how. Because in editing, for writing, is often where you start to get down to style. I can just write and not worry about style, and my natural (???) style will just come out, but when I'm editing, then I'm thinking about style and I'm less sure. It's almost the opposite of drawing, where almost immediately style is a question that needs answering. Though in both cases, perhaps the place where I have the most trouble. I never felt like my drawing style ever become my own or distinctive or interesting, and I'm not even totally sure how to think about writing style as opposed to things like narrative form which I'm more knowledgeable about.

But I'm not unhappy with either story, which is certainly a good place to be. I think both need a bit more specificity (which means either research or just making stuff up) and probably a lot of syntax and diction cleanup (I'm sure I'm repeating the same locutions repeatedly without thinking about it). I'm finding dialog is a hard thing for me to write, I'm not one for giving people voices and ways of talking, but also just narrating conversations can seem weird. I need to find a midground I can work with.

I read Brian Attebery's Strategies of Fantasy from 1992. It's an academic text, though not a really dense one, about fantasy, mostly working to justify fantasy as a valid source of study, much like the so many articles and books arguing that comics are art/literature. In the end, I'm not sure it told me much. I think his analyses of fantasy works (with a heavy emphasis on Tolkien) are often too divorced from comparison to non-fantasy works and why anything he says is any less appropriate to other types of literature. He posits a sliding scale between the mimetic and fantasy modes but then I felt like his analysis all just sit in one place without a lot of concrete comparison to others. Much of what he talks about could be relevant to non-realistic fiction that is still not fantasy by any real sense of the term. For instance, a lot of Queneau's novels are set in the contemporary (to him) world, but have events and plots that aren't exactly "things that would really happen". It's fiction and he's not stuck on the idea of only writing was is real/possible/probably, but it's definitely not fantasy.

Or maybe I just shouldn't read academic books before bed when I'm sleepy.