Subjects you do and don't avoid - Fiction as Essay

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  1. Shaeor (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    @Revfitz, I do too. Thanks.

    @All Really good responses. Love it.

    Since I'm posting something anyway, I'll go ahead and answer my own questions.

    How it is you express your worldviews in writing.

    Pretty explicitly, I suppose. I think about this kind of thing a lot, which is why I had the idea for the thread. I'm very aware of how people's dispositions towards the world come through in their writing. So I consciously treat writing as exploratory, or expository, to a degree.

    What subjects have you consciously answered and avoided in your writing?

    For that reason, the main problem I strove to answer in Dirge WAS about people's basic dispositions towards life, in the form of Camus' three answers to absurdity, and their unspoken implications. As far as things I avoided, I was more sly about the subjects I didn't want to tackle, like social organization and pragmatic stuff, like what is 'normal' or acceptable, because on principle I consider that kind of thing to have its proper place AFTER the more... meta-ethical.

    What parts of yourself do you put into your work?

    A lot of my personality goes into the protagonist, very consciously. It's why I write 1st person, arguably why I write at all. That is, to imbue my problems into a little pseudo-reality and work through them. I would vouch for it.

    But for some specifics, my protagonists are probably just a little obsessed with their agency in the story. Doran was very manipulative, in a benevolent way, and never showed his full intentions. He was like an onion or something.

    An indomitable protagonist drudging on against the odds?

    Furthering that thought, this is definitely a thing I do. My first novella had a protagonist that I just drug through the dirt, but still half-dead found a way to control the scenario and win. Dirge did something similar. There were two timelines during that first story, one in the present and one in the past. The story was a lot about his self-hatred, in that he had done some things to survive that he considered cowardly, but were still clever to a degree. I would say trudging and fighting on is one of my favorite things to write, because it's how you figure things out. Carrying on.

    A misunderstood hero with good intentions?

    Yeah, probably. Doran's intentions were compassionate, but ultimately pretty bitter/tragic even to himself.

    What does your story say about the world?

    I think the constant thing I write about is identity like someone else said. But it's not about being who you want, or who people think you should be. It's more about a mythical true-self, and the various themes surrounding that. Discontentment, entrapment, disillusion, faith, and morality.

    If you had to be analytical, how much of your writing speaks directly about things, and is it a nihilistic attitude, a hopeful one?

    It's overloaded with symbolism. Even if you went by the character interactions, those ultimately come back to saying things about right and wrong ways to cope. I really approach writing as being intrinsically a moral expose'. Right? When our characters do something, there's action and reaction. And depending on the motives, the choices, and outcomes, inexorably what we show is what we think about the behaviors which are or should be punished by the world. And action and belief are infinitely linked. ! As far as my attitude goes, it's actually really hard to say. I think the ending note is typically hopeful, but there's a lot of uncertainty along the way. That's my dumb question though, everyone is going to be a spectrum in some part.

    Referencing the question from before, my blend of tragedy and hope in tone is consistently something akin to just fighting on. But I think most stories are about finding, winning, making, or saving something good, or the 'hope'.

    What preference between political, personal, and philosophical themes do you strike?

    I definitely tie the personal into the philosophical, per the reasons already stated. Politics same.

    So if you had to try and explain, if applicable and because I'm really curious, what are the attitudes your work put forward about the world?

    That... there's no escaping the conditions of living, and all the implications and the moral reaction to that. What is and isn't 'The Way'. Again, that's what I think writing inherently does, consciously or non. I wonder how much others think about that, whether they agree or disagree?

    That's all that comes to mind, but I might add more. I encourage others to bounce off each other's answers too and dissect the questions.

    EDIT: lots of edits. Post first and polish later is a bad llama. Okay.

    CHOSEN SHACKLES The screen is running static. Face your shadow.
    DIRGE The light is dying. Hold your breath and go gently.
  2. SovereignofAshes (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Much pardons, I understand this is a little bit necro'd. I just got back from a heavy 20-and-back mission laying some phat rings around Uranus. Shaeor, I saw this subject and just had to inject some meaty ideas at the end here.

    How is it you express your worldviews in writing.

    It entirely depends upon the project and whether the audience I would try to appeal to with it would appreciate me forcing my own viewpoints upon them.

    With the waffling out the way, here is the real answer...

    I write what I think and feel in the moment through my writing. I often dump a lot of my personal turmoils, emotional instabilities, and sense of current world injustices into my writing. I go nuts in the development phase dumping all of my personal shit into a given project I'm working on. Then, when I go back through it to refine it and actually commit the thing to a page, I tone that stuff right down. The ideas are mine, but the writing is for others.

    When it comes to my current project of the Vorrgistadt Saga, I'm dumping a lot of what I see as wrong with the world and society into the project. A world that is in its death-throes not because it's a broken world, but because everyone who lives there are a bunch of cowards who only care about themselves and can't stand up for the future. It's a world dominated by hidden 'elite' forces that are shutting the world down in the background, reaping everything for their own gain, and forcing those that live there to scrabble over the scraps remaining. It's a world that could ascend to the next state of human evolution, but instead descend to barbarism and violence because everyone just wants to make other people pay for the past rather than uniting and building for the future.

    What subjects have you consciously answered and avoided in your writing?

    Subjects that I've 'answered' by injecting them somewhere into the plan for the project are:

    - Environmentalism. Whether you agree with it or not, it's there. I've had eco-green people I've run ideas and future plots by support where I'm going. I've also talked to some anti-green and eco-skeptic people who support it as well. It's my job to explore the subject, it's up to others to integrate it in their own worldview as they wish.

    - Gender identity, preference, and roles. I come to the project from a historically aware, yet idealisitically humanist viewpoint. I also try to shove a bit of my own views of individualism into the whole thing. However, given the tribalistic and post-apoc nature of the setting, there is a lot of dynamic push with these ideas. There's nothing wrong with being homosexual in most the societies of my story. Quite a few characters will later be revealed to be bisexual, asexual, homosexual, or gender queer. I'm not forcing anything with those characters, they are just who they are. But I also have to be conscious of the world ending elements of the story and the more traditional characters/groups in the story as well. In a world without modern sensibilities or liberties, where the human race is dying off, where extreme violence is a daily occurance, who will create the next generations and how will those who aren't cis/normative be able to help out?

    As a very strained example: What happens when a particular type of important magic tied to a specific bloodline is running out? You're the last person to have that bloodline and you're gay? Would you be willing to force yourself into a normative relationship for a time just to keep that bloodline going? Would you be able to find someone willing to join with you for that? How would parental rights be affected by such a thing? Would you stick to your personal truth and let that bloodline fade out? Would you be willing to perform the heinous acts of lichdom to keep alive to keep that bloodline going on inside of you through stolen immortality? That's some of the heavier stuff that -might- be explored a bit later with care to the subject matter. This is a quandry that was proposed to me by several homosexual/gender-queer friends of mine when it came to a D&D game we set in a post-apoc world, so I thought I would try to explore some of those concepts in this project later on.

    - Religion and ethnicity. They're hot-button issues, but it will get brought up in the story very soon. I do my best to keep the religions and ethnicities 'scrambled' up in this project. I draw a bit from real world stuff for vague inspiration, but I intentionally remove it by several large degrees. There is not typically 'european' or 'arabic' kind of groups in my project. I scramble up the inspirations from history and try to explore new ways they could come about. As some readers have pointed out thus far, I have; "Aztec warriors who live in the arctic tundra and practice Buddhism." "Desert Vikings who are anarcho-socialists who practice the old Mongolian religion." Or even, "Babylonian/Egyptian/Greek hybrids who are nihilistic Luciferians." It's a simplistic explaination, but that's how some flippant people have described things thus far.

    One idea that I know I'm going to get flack on later on, but which a lot of beta-readers have enjoyed is a culture that will be exploring the idea of atheism as an organized religion. Yes, at first glance even that idea makes me cringe, knowing a lot of atheists, as I do. It's a lot more complex than that and I'm talking with a lot of atheists I know in active communities to hammer it all out. A concept that at its center is the avoidance from and destruction of all religious ideals, yet as an institutional entity operates the same as an organized religion. Even with witch-hunts to 'burn the heretics' who dare have faith in anything.

    - Conspiracy theories. I draw from alternative ideas when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy stuff. I'm a person that was raised on The X-files, Star Trek, Star Wars, The Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, and numerous alien conspiracy/paranormal things. It always creeps into my writing in one way or another. The possibilty of there being more than mundane, chaotic, and cynical reality is really appealing to me.

    I don't agree or disagree with any conspiracies, but I like including weird ideas to see how they might work. Some of the things I've included for the weirdness in the Vorrgistadt project are: - Flat Earth Theory - Reptilians/The Annunaki - Nibiru - Gnosticism - Luciferian/Satanist Cults - MKUltra Projects - Stargates - Aliens/Greys - Continuance of Government Conspiracies - Break-away Civilizations - Secret Space Programs - Simulated Reality - Atlantean Myths - And Pure Lovecraftia.

    In short, I try to appeal to and piss off everyone equally.

    What subjects have I intentionally avoided in the writing thus far?

    - Rape, sexual abuse, and domestic abuse. Being a survivor of such, being in a relationship with another survivor of such, and knowing a few close people who are also survivors of such, I'm very hesitant to explore that subject. That doesn't mean I won't touch it, but that I'm very cautious and empathetic to the ideas of it. I dislike it when other authors ham-fist the ideas, or drop the ideas in there to 'hardcore' a character. I can handle it in other stories and don't get 'triggered' by it at all. If it's done poorly, I just lose all respect for the author/creator that did it.

    - Current, contemporary, and real ideological or political situations. I'm honestly trying to get as far away from real-life in my writing as I can. That's why it's a fantasy story, after all. I'm not going to be dropping in any antifa/BLM/alt-right/4-chan shit anywhere in my project. There's enough of this shit saturating everything lately. I want to get as far away from it as possible.

    What parts of yourself do you put into your work?

    I try to put all of myself into my work. That doesn't mean I hammer my viewpoints into my writing at all. I know the difference between my own mind and the work I put out for others. I know what it's like to be misinterpreted by others and I work hard to keep things open for other people to come up with their own views of the work.

    I dump my personal interests the most into my writing. I draw heavily from my inspirations (Lovecraftian horror, D&D, Star Wars, Star Trek, and other writers).

    A few people close to me have stated that I'm dumping a lot of myself into one of the protagonists of the story, Ghelta. What is more accurate is that all the main characters I write about are reflections of myself and other people I've known over my relatively short life, all jumbled together.

    - Ghelta is a personification of my ambition when it comes to being a writer. She is how I feel writing this very project. An outsider who seems to contintually be held back. A person whose patience at other people being self-absorbed/cowardly/manipulative makes her act out irrationally. She wants to prove herself and her worth, yet it seems everyone around her discards her as garbage. Eventually, she learns not to trust anyone and to grow up rather quickly. She has to learn morality very harshly in the dichotomy between what she knows inside herself (a sense of honor and idealized stoicism (which she seldom acts on)) against how she sees the world (manipulative cowards who cannibalize each other for petty/fleeting senses of worth).

    - Leiros is the personification of my rational side when it comes to everything that isn't being a writer. He's detached, removed, extremely calm, and painfully polite to others. He eventually trips up on his own rationality and learns he has to become more emotional in order to feel invested in what life throws at him. His rationality falters when he doesn't get what he was promised (a destiny) and instead has to scrape a life for himself from ashes and the refuse of others. He eventually comes to learn that all of reality is severely flawed in that all those who have what they have never deserved it and need to be cast down, while all those that suffer and are forgotten are the true paragons of humanity. He has to temper his will between the judgment of those he sees as unfit, and the compassion to help those that need help.

    An indomitable protagonist drudging on against the odds?

    None of my characters are indomitable. They all falter and falter -hard-. Yes, the odds are all stacked against them, even the antagonists. There are no heroes or villians in this project. Percieved heroes soon become villians. Villians turn heroes. Some waffle as anti-heroes and are soon killed off.

    The ultimate point is, whoever you are and whether or not you see yourself as good... The entire world is stacked against you no matter how you might want to change it. No matter how 'big a fish' you become, there are always bigger horrors waiting to devour you. The more you force your will upon the world, the harder the world fights back to destroy what you've accomplished. Even if you try to save a group of people from jumping off a bridge, they will jump off the bridge all the more, simply because you bothered to show them a different way other than self-destruction and now they want to prove you wrong.

    A misunderstood hero with good intentions?

    Everyone is misunderstood, and not everyone has good intentions.

    What does your story say about the world?

    That people are flawed. That anyone can become the thing they hate simply by focusing all of their hate on others. The only difference between a moral person and a serial killer is a single bad choice (their own or someone else's). The world sucks. No one is a good person. Hell is paved with good intentions.

    Despite all of it, it's not a nihilistic pity-party though. Good people need to stand up for good. Evil people need to stop waffling and pretending to be good people and start worshiping evil 24/7. Nothing should be done in half-measures. There is always going to be good and bad in the world, but the point is to make the world a dynamic place where people can live the life they want to live and not be shoved into mediocrity and true nihilism.

    Stand up for what you believe in, whether that's a scientific utopian future for all, or a blistering hell of rot and madness. Commit to it completely and be willing to die for what you believe in, while not force others to die for what you believe in.

    If you had to be analytical, how much of your writing speaks directly about things, and is it nihilistic in attitude, or a hopeful one?

    I rely upon symbolism and (sometimes rather obtuse) metaphor a lot. I know I'm going to be accused of nihilism with this particular project, but that is not my intention at all. Those parts of the story I willingly let be nihilistic are there as cautionary/moral tales to make people think about how they act in reality.

    There really isn't much hope to the story at all. There is temporary hope, but nothing lasting. There is no 'saving the day and building a legacy.' I'm exploring my concepts of mortality and seeing the disposablity of creative endeavors in the world right now due to the Marvel-saturated Creative Apocalypse. No matter what someone creates, it always gets tainted or erased. We are all building sand castles upon the shore right before the tide comes in. All we can do is appreciate the temporary hopes we have and the fragile beauty we can create in the moment. Then it falls to us all to keep the world safe long enough that other generations can have their own hopes and dreams, no matter how long that lasts.

    Also, it's worth stating. My world ends. Violently. It's inescapable. No one wins. *shrug* But it does kick off another project for later on. ^_^

    What preference between political, personal, and philosophical themes do you strike?

    I'm a personal and philosophical creature. Diogenes for life! Politics can go suck Richard Nixon's rotted ass.

    So if you had to try and explain, if applicable and because I'm really curious, what are the attitudes your work put forward about the world?

    Watch the world, take in everything you can. Come to your own conclusions about what is happening. Think up some way to help other people and then give your life to that cause. Even if it's futile, even if you'll be killed. The world is dying in mediocrity and bullshit right now. We as creative people can create wonderful worlds filled with vibrant people. It's a possibility. We as people in this world need to bring that dynamism to real-life.

    Otherwise, we'll all die... And the only thing worse than if the world ends tomorrow, is that we continue going on in emptiness, all wanting it to end, but it never happening.

    I have stuff on here too! The Vorrgistadt Saga.
  3. JaveSnowborn (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    What I avoid?

    Mature stuff, (Curse words are allowed, though), cuz some of my friends and family are reading my webserial. Then..., anything I feel would be insulting to any sort of person, because it would be a hassle to deal with that. What parts of myself do I put in my work? Little to none, because the idea of sharing a bit of myself to the world is something I, for some reason, would avoid at all costs. What does my idea say about the world? Well, I'm not aiming for it to 'say' anything. I want to just be entertaining.My protagonist?He/Her would be nothing like myself, as I like to challenge myself with other perspectives. Overpowered? Nah, might feel cool, but there's another part taken away from the story when you go down that path. The attitude? I'm not really trying to put any attitude about the world. This is just meant to entertain. I'm gonna put pieces of myself in the story when I'm confident and experienced enough.


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