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C11P50 – Lower Town

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My thanks to everyone that posted their encouragement to last Friday’s announcement regarding the upcoming March break. I think that the story, and my mental health, will be better for it.

Over the weekend I took my first crack at tackling the problems in the script and discovered they were even more extensive than just the empty suit character I’d spotted. They do all revolve around this empty suit character, but they were actually larger than just the lack of personality and history in this character. Almost like the blank space warped the script around it, as too much exposition and unnecessary material manifested around the empty spots to try and compensate. Cory went through it with me with a machete, and boy did it sting, but I think once I figure out how to get the essential pieces, and only the essential pieces, smoothed together, the story will be so much stronger.

I’m learning that anything that feels clever is probably the most suspect. If the only reason something is present is because, “it’s cute,” or, “that bit of dialog was slick, wasn’t it?” then it’s probably in actuality garbage. Mostly because it serves no purpose beyond its own sake, and often must necessitate forced actions or situations to frame it. One “clever” line can create pages of set-up to shoe-horn it in, and even then it often is still out of place. Of course, since these kinds of lines make me feel smugly smart to write, they’re often some of the hardest to let go.

Good writing is not meant to serve the ego. If anything, the best writing exists to break it down.

And even on the most superficial level, it’s no fun to admit that maybe, just maybe, I’m not as clever as I’d like to think I am. Although, I suppose very few people are. Except for maybe Mark Twain. Or Oscar Wilde. They always seemed to have incisive things to say that seemed exactly as clever as they thought they were.

So I guess it’s okay to admit that I ain’t no Oscar Wilde. I think I can live with that. 🙂

Who is your favorite too-clever-for-their-own-good person from history? What’s your favorite snappy quote?


Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

Robert Heinlein. And while it probably wasn’t terribly snappy at the time, it certainly gives that now – his ‘Specialization is for Insects’ quote has always been my favorite.

Cory is a huge fan of Heinlein and has been introducing me to his books. The mad had an incredible efficiency of language to his style.

Agreed XD I’ve been reading his work since…probably since I started on chapter books. There’s one thing I’ve discovered – if one of his books doesn’t appeal to you now, set it aside for when you’ve grown a little more. He wrote for a wide range of audience types, and as long as you never stop learning about life, eventually the one you set aside will have appeal. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls bored me silly every time I tried to read it – until this past month, when suddenly it sucked me in. Which ones have you read so far?

I’ve found a good rule of thumb for snappy quotes is that if you are deliberately trying it’s probably not that good. The funniest things are the things that strike you just at the moment they go into the story.

Of course, then there’s the ones you can have your characters (or your readers) legitimately going “you have been waiting forever to set that up, haven’t you?” that can still be funny, but they have to be perfect.

Exactly. Going through and cutting things out, I’m seeing that the pieces that I genuinely found funny are still good. It’s the pieces I thought were clever or cute are suspect. Good thing for me to watch out for in the future.

Funny story about that. I was writing really late at night one time, and I put something in that I thought sounded witty and sarcastic in context.

Came back a few days later and realized it came across, even in the context of how it was being presented (as a stab at what this one group might think of some people) as…. really problematic and insulting.

I put a stopgap in place to fix up the scene so I stop being embarrassed at sending around the original draft to people and am planning on completely scrapping and rewriting the scene it showed up in (which was really awkward anyway) from scratch.

I think that the present crop of republican politicians are pretty funny, considering how they keep trying to get the entire population of this country to buy into their delusions. Amazing how blatant most of their lying in the 21st century is.
As to quotes, dunno where I read it, but I’m partial to “I don’t believe in Anything to excess, especially moderation.”

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