authorial intention

@clakreqriffin: lmao true, still better approach than telling us we’re seeing things that aren’t there

It’s true. I’ll give Jason that. Like, I think he thinks he’s trying to be our advocate by saying what he did in that interview. He’s trying to let us know that there IS something there, but he’s playing it also like there might not be, just because he’s trying not to spoil where he’s heading with the story. 

The dude, however, lacks serious game when it comes to wooing his audience , and yeah, the way he talked about it… it definitely makes it seem like he doesn’t have authorial intent with Bellarke’s feelings which is TERRIBLE because they’re the heart of his show. How could he NOT have strong authorial intent, and if he doesn’t, then his narrative is SCREWED. 

I just hope he was trying to be tricky and wasn’t being serious, because if he was serious about not “taking sides on it,” then yeah, we’re fucked. lol. 

anonymous asked:

Hi ! After knowing harry's meaning of SOTT what do you think of it? Honestly that's not what i was thinking... like i never thought it would be a perspective of a mother dying. all the interpretations everyone's made idk harry is so difficult to read what are your thoughts?


The Rolling Stone/ Cameron Crowe interview was quite a nice bit of theater this morning, wasn’t it?

On the one hand, we have Harry state in radio promo interview that SOTT was his most literal and personal song on the album. On the other hand, he offers an interpretation of a mother dying in childbirth and urging her child forward. He paints quite a dramatic tableau– but if it’s personal/ literal, which one was Harry? The mom? Or the child?

Was the dying mother the one shouting, “We’ve got to–away”? Because she, this dramatic character, wasn’t going to make it. Or was it the baby talking to– the neonatal intensive care unit staff?

Then we have contradicting versions of how the song was written. A prior interview had said Harry sat down at a piano, thrummed out some chords in the rented Jamaica house that ended up being the opening of the song.

The Rolling Stones interview says, “The song began as a seven-minute voice note on Styles’ phone, and ended up as a sweeping piano ballade.”

So which one was it? A spontaneous improvisation on a Jamaican piano, or a voice note?

I think the clue to these contradiction lies in the one true thing Harry said:

“Like, fuck, I don’t know what Prince eats for breakfast. That mystery … it’s just what I like.”

I was talking to @lawyerlarrie about the French deconstructionists, Foucault and Derrida. Deconstructionism is a movement of literary criticism which focuses on literary texts to the exclusion of authorial intent. “Pride and Prejudice” means something because of the words (the text) themselves, not because of what Jane Austen wanted them to mean. In this school, it doesn’t really matter what Austen wanted. What we have is the text.

Similarly, when songs are written, they acquire an existence of their own, regardless of what the songwriter wants them to mean.

You can carry this to an absurd end, of course. Other ways of interpreting are valid, including a psychosocial reading connecting the song to a songwriter’s biography. For example, we now know that Stevie Nicks wrote “Sara” about her abortion of the baby she conceived with Don Henley. That fact is relevant to the song, no matter what the literary interpretation is.

SOTT’s lyrics describe separation and oppression; a promised end that never comes; a relationship in which one person has been given reprieve/ freedom while the other person is left behind. It is about false reassurances, about someone giving comfort despite knowing that a situation is hopeless. It’s a song about an impossible escape. And about the guilt of the person (the singer) who has been given the freedom. The cost of his freedom was pain to the person he loves. That meaning is unarguable.

These words have meaning, no matter what the writers want them to mean. A mother dying is one way to express this situation. But a mother dying is a metaphoric representation of the situation. In other words, it can’t be literal– not for Harry. The literal meaning is hidden. Harry didn’t say it; he didn’t want to say it.

So much is left unsaid or obfuscated in this interview. I (with some discomfort) admire Harry the Escape Artist. He has left just a smoky outline of himself on the page. There’s an irony in his honesty. “I’m honest because I’ve told no lies”; this isn’t the same as “I’m honest because I’m telling the truth.”

We say he’s “swerving,” but I don’t think that’s a great description either.

I think the whole solo promo has been about creating another theatrical persona for Harry– one who is a hip, down-to-earth, creative, sweet, genuine, charming, HONEST musician who doesn’t get many dates, and whose heart is broken over and over by intense (heterosexual) love affairs, which are then converted to art. And who, finally, gets to do exactly what he wants– so it’s all above ground and transparent, right?

Wrong. It’s all illusory.

Harry has created an iron curtain between his public and private lives, which no one but family are privy to. I’m not just talking about his sexuality, but the whole question of his privacy. The iron curtain deflects peskier personal questions and allows him to work. It separates his celebrity status from his artistic achievements. Not that he’s above using celebrity to promote his art– why else would he do the interview? Of course he’s going to use his celebrity when the occasion arises. But he’s treading a thin line.

The iron curtain lets him swim in the private cove of his Jamaican imagination without being under public scrutiny.

The ocean doesn’t care who he is. It doesn’t care whether he was in love with Taylor Swift. It is big enough for him to disappear in.

So if his whole album is filled with love songs dedicated to female pronouns, so be it. He has raised the wall.

“The mystery … it’s just what I like.”

Mythic Context Is Everything

Sometimes a myth plays out a certain way because that’s the way certain aspects of our world seem to play out (The Eleusinian mysteries).

Sometimes a myth is a reflection of the societal norms of the culture that created it (sexual coercion of mortal women by gods).

Sometimes the author of a particular myth wrote it the way they did because they had a personal investment in writing it the way that they did (Ovid was known to exaggerate the brutality of Hellenic myths in his retellings).

Sometimes the myth doesn’t seem to line up with the cult practices of the culture in which the myth originates (Homer’s treatment of Zeus vs the Greek’s absolute adoration of Zeus).

Sometimes particular myths are taken as rote fact despite contradictory myths from lesser known authors (the birth of Aphrodite as extolled by Hesiod, Homer, Apollodorus, and Cicero).

Sometimes a myth just happens to be the one that survives the passage of time.

Sometimes a myth is used to teach a mortal lesson (literally every instance of a mortal being punished for their hubris).

Sometimes the translation of a myth reveals a quality not intended in the original work (the rape vs the abduction of Persephone).

Mythology is a product of humanity attempting to find its place in the universe. Taking every myth at face value, without considering allegorical symbolism, authorial intent, societal prejudice, or contemporary mythologies is a mistake many newbies make, and is certainly one that will bar most from coming to a wider understanding of the figures, lessons, and themes behind the myth.

Masterpost -- Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century

The series is now complete!

Here’s what we learned from Graham Robb and his brilliant book:

1) What ACD said about Oscar Wilde, how do you know if you have homosexual “characteristics”, and why the colour green is gay

2) Turkish bathhouses, the Achilles statue, and my dear boy

3) Lifting the veil, coded meanings, and red neckties/handkerchiefs

4) Gay marriages took place in secret in the 19th century

5) Knee gropes and “crude symptoms of physical sexual sympathy”

6) Homosexuality in Victorian literature, Part 1

7) Homosexuality in Victorian literature, Part 2

8) Sherlock Holmes and Victorian Homosexuality – original post

9) Sherlock Holmes and Victorian Homosexuality – with extended material on ACD, authorial intent, and Hellenic influences on 19th century gay culture

10) Link to purchase the book from

anonymous asked:

how the fuck do you even build an emf meter what kind of brain does it take to make something that advanced? and it works too, shit. it's been 12 years and i still can't get over that fucking meter because without youtube tutorials or whatever it is kids use these days, probably without a computer at all he just figured it out. damn. maybe form books he's never read. probably

I have no fuckin idea dude. I was on the robotics team in high school and we had shitloads of help from a bunch of professional engineers, and that was just making robots with basic sensory cameras that could kick a ball…

I mean, he built it out of a fucking Walkman. You know how many parts and factory functions a Walkman has that can be used for measuring environmental information and outputting that data in a usable fashion? Basically none.

Some people just take to this engineering/programming shit like fish to water. They just get it somehow. I bet Dean is one of them. He just doesn’t happen to really need computers for his life’s work so he isn’t putting it to any disciplined use. You know, the kind of person that’s a genius at shit to the point where they have so many talents that some of them just have to fall by the wayside in terms of developing potential.

I mean. Look at this. Look at this definition of EMF from the official website:

Electromagnetic field meters (also called EMF detectors). Meters that measure the derivative (rate of change) of the surrounding magnetic field; thus, these meters are sensitive to changing magnetic fields (fields with a frequency above 0 hertz). Most EMF meters are most sensitive to frequencies of about 30-10,000 hertz, while some have a wider response. Paranormal investigators and ghost hunters use EMF meters while conducting investigations. Unusual activity in the form of high readings on these meters signifies that there is some type of paranormal activity, such as the presence of a ghost or other supernatural creature.

Forget just the programming and engineering. This is actual, hard science. Dean knows enough about fucking magnetic fields to create devices that not only measure them but that are tuned to tell the difference between regular and supernatural occurrences. He’s clearly created prototypes and gone through testing to figure out what works and what doesn’t. It doesn’t just beep when it hits a certain level, he has a sliding scale that he can use for analysis.

This means that this isn’t just about “Dean being good with his hands” like people dismissively claim, Dean is a regular Science Man™. Dean’s superior ability for pattern recognition isn’t some kind of one-use talent, it’s evident of an analytical mind that can put together abstract data with ease.

Maybe it doesn’t sound like a huge deal at first, but you’re right that Dean had no formal education in this crap. High schools don’t teach this. Average kids don’t just figure this shit out on their own no matter how many books they have at their disposal, and I’m willing to bet Dean didn’t have any kind of mentor in the field. An EMF meter is not a baby’s first. Like… At all.

Hell, the wiki says he’s still using that thing all the way up in S7. Shit wasn’t a cute little science project, it was built to last, not just in how sturdy it’s built but in how accurate it is. You would usually expect things built by characters back in S1 to be completely obsolete by S7, but that’s not the case here. It’s just that good.

It’s also proof that we aren’t blowing smoke. If something happens in the first season and is never mentioned again, it might be dismissible, but when it’s still brought back 7 seasons later what you have is authorial intent.

anonymous asked:

Do you ever think people examine Shakespeare too closely? For example, reading into every line of every character, or every individual word of a sentence to gain deeper meaning, when its likely that Shakespeare himself didn't intend most of the things we attribute to him? I understand that readers give books meaning beyond what the author intended, but sometimes I feel like people take analysis way too far in a very reverent way when it comes to his writing. Do you think this is dangerous?

Do they? Sure. People do that to pretty much everything ever written. But here’s the key that makes it somewhat defensible (and I’ve addressed this in an earlier post about the idea of authorial intent, which I think you should read): Sometimes authors themselves don’t even know what they intend. Speaking as an author, there’s all kind of weird attic shit piled up in my subconscious that probably manifests itself in my writing that I don’t fully understand. True of Shakespeare also? Who knows. But here’s the other thing: What a writer wrote and how various different cultures at various different times respond to it are in some ways equally important, because how we interpret a piece of art says a lot about who we are. Criticism of Hamlet from, say, 1942 is going to be wildly different from criticism of Hamlet from last year. And those differences are hugely valuable, because they show us how culture is evolving. Food for thought. 

anonymous asked:

Legit confused anon, I know Bitch Hartman tends to be a bad writer but what else has he done to scare the fanbase so badly?

Alright dear anon, sit down, Grandpa Leo is going to tell you a little story about the Olden Days.

You know how hellish the SU fandom is with their shipping? Remember that drama the GF fandom had regarding authorial intent? Imagine that but with a creator that’s actually homophobic and actively antagonizes and aggravates the fanbase.

Basically, way back in the early 2000s, Hartman was (from what i recall) somewhat active on certain forums, where most of the Danny Phantom fans hung out (Danny Phantom’s original run was 2004-2007 if that gives you an idea of what The Internet was like back then. Facebook was just starting to get popular, smartphones weren’t really a thing yet, etc).

So at some point, someone asked him how he felt about fanfiction, because these were Dark Days when people plastered disclaimers all over their fanfics so they wouldn’t get sued (you know, that thing that you youngsters keep complaining about whenever you find one in a particularly old fanfic: It’s there so we don’t get sued), and knowing where a creator stood on these issues was Important Information.

Now, I wasn’t old enough to be online unsupervised yet (I was nine when Danny Phantom first came out and my parents were strict) and I took the whole ‘you must have your parents permission to make an account’ thing very seriously so it wouldn’t be until about 2007-2008 until I discovered the concept of fandom (during my Speed Racer phase) and by then the Danny Phantom fans were already in the thick of it. I don’t recall exactly what he said, but the gist of it is this:

“I don’t mind fanfiction and fanart as long as no one’s gay”

This, naturally, caused a Ruckus (they were called ‘ship wars’ at the time, I don’t know if the term’s changed or not but boy was it Bad), for multiple reasons, the most important of which being: many actually LGBT people view the show as a metaphor for a closeted gay kid who’s afraid to come out to his parents, which is why the revelation. 

This was about the only valid viewpoint in the whole debacle.

It wasn’t the popular pick.

I’d say something along the lines of “fans can write their fanfic as gay as they want it to be” but, to be honest, fanfic is not the guarantee we think it is. A lot of people take their creative freedom for granted these days. The idea of fanfiction existing as it is now was unthinkable back then. No one would have said anything even close to that.

No, the Sides in this ruckus weren’t so noble.

See, almost everyone who was mad at each other over this was straight.

These were Homophobic and Proud Straight Fans fighting with MLM-Fetishizing Yaoi Fans.

It was a vicious cycle and both sides were as wrong as they were right. (Put down your pitchforks I’ll explain in a sec)

On the one hand, the Homophobic and Proud straight fans would cite authorial intent and ‘moral superiority’ as reasons why fanfiction Shouldn’t Be Gay.

On the other, MLM-Fetishizing Yaoi Fans correctly called foul on Hartman’s homophobia, but in response flooded deviantart and ffn (AO3 didn’t exist yet) with yaoi.

Now, for those of my followers who are too young to have really seen Danny Phantom, here’s a tidbit of information:

Danny Fenton has two best friends (Sam and Tucker), a sister (Jazz), a clone-sister (Dani), and another main friend who sometimes wants to kill him but when he’s not a ghost she wants to smooch him (Valerie. It’s hard to explain). Excluding the sister and the clone-sister, that leaves Sam Tucker and Valerie as the main potential love interests, as they are all reasonably attractive, form close bonds with the main character, and are all Danny’s age (remind me to go into detail on the Fandom Hierarchy of Attraction later).

So naturally, most of the Homophobic and Proud shippers shipped Danny with either Sam or Valerie, both of whom got some nice canon interactions. It should be noted that Valerie is black and for some reason more people ship Danny with Sam, who is white but also Early 2000s Jewish, which is to say: you would never know she was Jewish unless you watched the holiday episode, so she’s at the very least white-passing. Read into that what you will.

So you’d think that the MLM-Fetishizing Yaoi Fans would have adored Danny and Tucker right? Wrong. Tucker is also black, therefore, no one really shipped him with anyone (sometimes Valerie, sometimes Dani, who is biologically about 12 but also a clone so she’s actually maybe about six months old). Nah, the yaoi fangirls just loved shipping Danny, a 14 year old, with the main villain, a man named Vlad who is literally old enough to be Danny’s dad. Vlad’s entire character arc revolves around him trying to kill Danny’s actual dad, marry his mom, and become his new dad.

Essentially, all the actually gay people in the fandom got pushed to the sidelines as any cries of homophobia from our supposed ‘allies’ were met with ‘you literally ship a 14 year old kid with a 40 year old man and we’re not listening to you.’  so excuse me for not liking incest shippers who do the same thing

This lasted for years. I think it finally died down around 2010, 2012 maybe? It went on for a while though.

And it all started because Hartman couldn’t keep his homophobic mouth shut.

Basically, as much as I complain about Hirsch and the GF fandom and the SU fandom, you couldn’t pay me to go back to the phandom during that nonsense.

The relationship between misogyny and romance: a SJM study

Why female desire* isn’t problematic, but A Court of Thorns and Roses is.

In which I wade into an issue in depth, praying that the flame war gods do not strike me down.

**Please note that this essay discusses only the misogynist elements of SJM’s writing in the ACOTAR series. There are obviously other problematic elements that require acknowledgement, but this is the one I feel confident in addressing. I haven’t read any of ACOWAR yet.** 

*also, female desire in this instance refers to the desire of the presumed female reader of romance. The reading of romance and YA is obviously not exclusive to women, although a lot of the assumptions of SJM’s work ascribe to the concept of a binary gender.

Keep reading

Anders is sometimes accused of being a terrorist, which is interesting, since the game provides multiple examples of actual terrorists as a counterpoint. I don’t think the idea is entirely the fault of the audience, as Bioware is clearly aware of the current cultural association between exploding buildings and terrorism, and I know some of the writers made comments in that direction. But if that’s what they were going for, it’s one of those places where authorial intent failed utterly.

They seem to have forgotten that the defining feature of terrorism isn’t violence (although of course by its very nature it is often violent) but fear. It’s right there in the word, but even so.

When Anders blows up the Chantry in Act 3, it is not meant to inspire fear. It’s not a threat: ‘Let us go, or this is what we will do to you’. If it were, it would be a pretty bloody useless one. Though, of course, magic is used to light the fuse the primary weapon is gaatlok – gunpowder. He is incredibly secretive about the formula – even Hawke, helping him, doesn’t know he also needs charcoal – and has no expectation of surviving the act. Repeating it would be a pain in the arse. Anybody who wanted to would have to start from scratch.

Rather, it is a public demonstration of the helplessness of the mages. He commits a very public crime. And it immediately becomes clear that no authority figure is even slightly interested in dealing out justice. Hawke can kill him, if they are so inclined. But if they don’t, no one is going to force them to. You can be a completely pro-Templar Hawke and waltz into the Gallows with Anders in your party to participate in the Rite of Annulment, and the Templars do not call the whole thing to a halt – because, hang on, here is the actual perpetrator.

It is an excuse to do what they were planning to do anyway. They’d find an reason, one way or another, regardless of Anders’s actions. But this one is handy. Meredith claims that her hand is forced because the city would demand vengeance. Would it? Maybe. We never find out. It does, however, tell us how Meredith plans to spin the attack. The mages were always going to be victims of her fear and her power grab. This just makes it visible.

The people who really do deliberately inspire terror in Kirkwall are the Chantry. Meredith has been ruling the city through threats of violence for decades:

Meredith’s message was clear: remember who holds the power in Kirkwall. Remember what happened to Threnhold when he overreached. To drive home her point, she presented Marlowe with a small carven ivory box at his coronation. The box contained the Threnhold signet ring, misshapen, and crusted with blood. On the inside of the lid were written the words ‘His fate need not be yours’.

World of Thedas II

She’s also practising on the mages in the Gallows – three Starkhaven mages are made Tranquil at random, just to demonstrate to the prisoners in the Circle that it is within her power to do this. By Act 3, of course, she’ll have expanded her reach further, using her Templars to harass and assault Kirkwall’s citizens.

But, until Act 3, Meredith is something of a background figure. The ultimate villain lurking behind the scenes. The clearest foil for Anders is Petrice.

Here, then, is our actual terrorist. Petrice’s end goal is violence: she wants the people of Kirkwall to take on the Qunari. Of course it wouldn’t end there. There would be a war, and an Exalted March and (in her head – almost certainly not in reality) the crushing of the Qunari by the might of the righteous Chantry.

And her method is inspiring fear. Her assaults are relatively small, but calculated to make each side think of the other as violent, dangerous and evil. She’s arranged for the murder and mutilation of Qunari before: the bodies left for Arvaarad to find, so he would think Hawke and the Saarebas were responsible. She’s used poison gas on her own people (it would have been blackpowder, had she been able to get her hands on any) in an attempt to frame the Qunari. Here, she has arranged for the torture and murder of a Qunari delegation, to demonstrate to the Arishok how far the ‘faithful’ will go to be rid of the Qunari. Eventually, she will have a high-status Qunari convert murdered so she can use his death as propaganda.

Everything Petrice does is designed to frighten people. There’s a threat behind every strike: If we don’t fight the Qunari, look what they'll do. Each act of violence is aimed at inducing a panic response – in the full knowledge that, eventually, people will be frightened enough to make war.

The contrasts are numerous: Anders is a commoner, a Fereldan (in addition to the whole mage thing), and at present living in the sewers. Petrice is apparently of noble Orlesian stock (so says The World of Thedas), and belongs to the most powerful institution in Kirkwall. The first quest actually makes a point of this: while the people of Darktown rally around their healer and Anders is quite at home there, Petrice, a Chantry sister supposedly responsible for the wellbeing of Kirkwall, is painfully out of place even in Lowtown. Moreover, whereas the underground falls apart around Anders, Petrice is a rising star – a Sister when Hawke first meets her, a Mother by Act 2. Where Anders’s plan requires that he take the blame for his actions, Petrice does everything she can to shield herself – she always works through agents, and here she sells out her own accomplice.

The common ground is a fervent belief in a cause, and at some stage (right off the bat for Petrice; in the endgame for Anders) a belief that violence is the only way to move forward.

And in the cause lies the important contrast.

Anders’s plan is only of value if he’s right. He’s not trying to inspire fear. It’s knowing that the fear is already there that prompts him to act as he does. If he’s wrong and the Circle and Templars are not oppressive institutions designed to control and brutalise mages – then he gets hauled off to prison (and no doubt subsequent execution), and nothing happens to the other mages. Once the Chantry blows up, he can’t lose. It doesn’t matter whether he lives or dies. It doesn’t matter whether Hawke saves the Circle or helps destroy it. The Templars do hold innocent mages accountable for something they had nothing to do with. The word goes out that the Annulment of the Kirkwall Circle was unjust. The Templars impose harsh restrictions on mages of other nations, who had even less to do with all this than the Kirkwall mages – and Fiona seizes her chance.

Point pretty well made.

Petrice, though, is trying to control people’s actions through fear. She is trying to make the people of Kirkwall think the Qunari are a terrifying threat, while still making them think they can take them in a fight. She is using fear to manipulate people, without any regard for the truth. By the time the Qunari uprising begins, Petrice is either dead or disgraced, making her a personal failure. But the uprising itself demonstrates how painfully wrong she was. A small, depleted Qunari force takes control of the city in a matter of hours. No fight, no war, with the Qunari is ever going to be easy – and one that started in Kirkwall would almost certainly result in the loss of the city. It turns out that the Qunari were easy prey for her before this because they didn't want to fight.

And that shreds her other argument. She has been depicting them as unthinking savages. Terrifying in their brutality, yes, but so inherently less than Chantry folk (specifically humans), that they cannot help but lose. But the truth is that they have thought about this. The Arishok has been trying to avoid bloodshed. The Qunari troops have resisted provocation to a heroic degree. The Qun is what it is, and certainly no better than the Chantry. But the Qunari – the horned people who make up the majority of its adherents – are not monsters, just people like any other. Big, strong people who could have wreaked havoc a hell of a lot earlier, had they not been trying to keep the peace.

It’s easy to make people afraid, particularly if you’re willing to lie and kill to do it. But if that’s all you’ve got to work with, you’re pretty well screwed. And, well, there you go. Terrorism. Inspiring fear in order to achieve political ends. That’s Act 2′s story.

The best moment of being an English major is when you realize that authorial intent literally doesn’t matter and that it’s all based on textual evidence and critical theory and if you can prove a theory with the text it’s essentially canon and then you realize that the discipline of literary studies is just a bunch of book nerds wanting to theorize about head canons they got too obsessed with.

The hotel pool

Dean says he took a dip in the pool.  Sam asks if he brought a suit.  Dean says no.  Sam grimaces.

And I thought, hotel pools always have an attendant on duty when the pool is open (in case of mishap and subsequent lawsuit). Hotel pools have rules about swimwear (to prevent random fibers from clogging the filter). This was described as a three-star hotel, so if Dean went swimming it was in hotel-issued loaner trunks.

I thought that was Dean cheerfully announcing he’d gone commando in another man’s fatigues, and Sam wincing at that.  

Taken with the previous episode’s bit about Dean multiple-reversing his underwear, we’re being repeatedly directed to consider Dean’s shorts, and the literal/ritual uncleanliness thereof.  

anonymous asked:

Dear Duke, I have noticed something about my writing: I do not know how to conduct a dialogue. I do not know how to add an emotional "burden" to the discussion. It does not sound believable what I write. To me, it seems more like a lecture than a simple conversation. I just wanted to write engaging more with the emotional side of my characters than with the intellectual. How can I do it?

Hi! You’re in the right place because dialogue is actually my favorite thing to write and any book of mine you pick up will probably be like at least 40% people talking. Idk if this is because I did so much theatre or because I just can’t shut up, but it’s high time I did a real post about it, so:

Advice for Aspiring Authors: On Dialogue

  1. You need it so don’t resist it. Books that are just huge chunks of prose are exhausting, and if you never use dialogue you’re either (1) summarizing or (2) writing a really boring book, and either way the the result is the same. Your reader is going to be bored. Choosing the right scenic mode is important and sooner or later people are going to have to speak in the moment. 
  2. Don’t stress about speaker tags. Putting this at the top because a lot of new writers seem to get hung up on it. But I’ve already addressed this, so read this post here. Pro-tip? If you’re writing a conversation between two people or even three, you often don’t need speaker tags at all. I recently wrote a conversation that takes place over the phone which consists of about 25 lines exchanged and didn’t use a single speaker tag because it was, in all instances, obvious who was doing the talking. Later in the same MS I have a really chaotic hospital scene where like twelve people are yelling at the same time and interrupting each other and there are no speaker tags because idgaf if anybody knows who’s saying what. It should feel like chaos. (If you want a really great example of this, pick up a copy of William Faulkner’s Sanctuary and read the funeral scene.) Readers are smart. They’ll figure it out.
  3. Different people speak in different ways. Who a character is will often determine how they speak. For instance, Theodore von Wammelspout, Crown Prince of Prosenstatz, is probably going to have a very different dialect than Paw Paw O’Halloran, Louisiana shrimp fisherman. (If you want a better example of what I’m talking about, watch the movie Kingsman and pay attention to how and when Eggsy switches dialects, or read the prologue to The Taming of the Shrew and pay attention to the immediate tonal shift in Christopher Sly’s dialogue when he wakes up from a drunken stupor thinking he’s a lord.) Think about a character’s origins and upbringing and backstory when deciding how they talk.
  4. But stay away from writing dialect unless you really know what you’re doing. Don’t try to phonetically write a character’s accent or dialect unless you’re a linguist, because a lot of dropped consonants and deliberate misspellings can be really difficult to read, come out like you’re trying too hard, or even end up looking vaguely racist. If a character has an accent, find a way to tell us they have an accent and then spell all their dialogue correctly. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule–i.e, if a phonic misunderstanding is crucial to the story. But basically, unless you’re writing Trainspotting, don’t do this. What’s much better and much more effective is to describe how a character says something or what their voice sounds like. What’s the texture? The color? The temperature? A warm, rough, slow voice belongs to a different character than a cold, high, slick voice does. Or maybe the same character can switch from one to the other. Give your character’s voice the same attention you would give their body or their habits or anything else.
  5. It’s a character speaking, not the narrator. Each character should have their own voice, in the same way that each story will have a slightly different narrator, even if it’s a neutral third person narrator. Writing is all about voice and style, and part of the challenge is that you as the writer have to be a mockingbird and be able to speak in as many different voices as you have characters. It will take practice. It will require a lot of questions asked, such as “Who never says a bad word? Who swears like a sailor? Who talks in a constant, uninterrupted stream and who hardly says a word?” For an exercise, write out a plain uninteresting sentence like, “He was on his way home from the store when he got a flat tire,” the way the narrator would say it, and then rewrite it in every character’s voice. Because one character might say it just like that–”I was on my way home from the store and I got a flat tire”–and another might say, “You’re not going to fucking believe this. Okay, so I’m on my way home from the store, because we’re out of beer again, because Steve was supposed to go get more and he didn’t, the dickhead–and what happens? Well, obviously, because this worthless excuse of a city can’t be bothered to keep the roads clear, I drive right through a patch of broken glass and BANG! Blow a tire. Swear to God, I thought it was a gunshot, I nearly ran my car into a telephone pole.” If all your characters sound alike or sound like the narrator or (worse) sound like you, it’s time to stop and reevaluate. 
  6. Characters don’t speak for you. Look, unless you’re writing a really boring story it’s going to have a bunch of people in it with a bunch of different ideas and some of them should believe things that you don’t agree with or speak in a way you find objectionable. Characters are sometimes going to have to say things you find morally deplorable and they have to say them with conviction. I recently wrote a scene where my FMC’s boyfriend and her dad argue about what they’re going to do about her, like she’s not a grown-ass woman who can take care of herself. And they both say things that are utterly atrocious and that if I heard a man say in real life, I would probably punch him in the face. But that’s important. In fiction, you gotta tell it all and tell it like it is. Fiction isn’t true but it should be honest. Not every character can agree with you or with each other. (This is a big part of the reason that authorial intent is a flawed concept. An author who depicts something isn’t necessarily condoning or endorsing it.) You should be writing about difficult shit and writing about it from every vantage point and using dialogue to do that. You don’t need to agree with angelic equality crusader Nancy and homophobic Uncle Jeff equally but they need to be equally convincing. Write disagreements. Write arguments. Let characters fight and get pissed and tell each other to fuck off. It’s honest, and it’s interesting. Conflict is good.
  7. Incomplete sentences are your best friend. So are run-ons. That scene I mentioned that was 25 lines with no speaker tags? There’s also not a complete sentence in that whole exchange. We rarely speak in full correct sentences, even if we know perfectly well that what we’re saying isn’t grammatically perfect. So something like this: 
            “Seen my keys?”
            “In the basket.”
    Totally acceptable. People are lazy. They talk in fragments. Dialogue doesn’t have to be correct, because it often isn’t. Stick commas and dashes wherever the fuck you want to mimic the pattern of speech. Worry about what’s natural, not what’s correct. Sometimes what goes unsaid is just as interesting as what does get said. For instance, if Joe turns to Carol and starts to say, “Have you ever thought about–” and then never finishes the sentence, that’s going to keep a reader wondering. Has she ever thought about what? In much the same way, you can have a character ramble for an entire paragraph in an epic run-on sentence if that’s the way they talk, or if they’re distressed or upset and trying to get the words out. The last book I finished has a chapter at the end where one character literally talks without interruption for nine pages. And as insane as that sounds it’s actually totally necessary because she’s telling a story that’s important for the readers and the other characters to hear but it’s a hundred times better to hear it in her own voice, grammatical correctness be damned.
  8. Don’t try too hard to be eloquent. How many people do you know in real life who spout off perfectly articulate declarations of their feelings? Probably none. They ramble and stall and repeat themselves. Real-life conversations are not movie conversations. They’re not smooth. They’re not perfectly timed. A character just saying “Fuck me” because they have no idea what else to say is perfectly plausible (and also a great opportunity for comedy). Here’s an exercise if you’re having trouble: Make two columns on a page, and on one side write out what this character is trying to say (i.e, “I love you.” “I’ve been trying to tell you for years.” “But I’m afraid you don’t want me to.”) and on the other write out what they actually say (i.e., “I really hope you’ll stay.” “You know you’re always welcome to stay.” “I don’t want you to feel like you have to stay. Just that you can. If you want to.”) Sometimes the juxtaposition between what we’re trying to say and what actually comes out is so important. So don’t worry about perfect articulation or doing justice to the “emotional burden.” Worry about the intent and the impact and how those two things align–or don’t.
  9. Read it out loud. This is one of the most important things teachers in playwriting workshops will tell you to do. Read it out loud. If it feels awkward or unnatural, it probably is. Thus also to dialogue in prose fiction. Even better option? Get a couple of friends to read it for you. This will work wonders for helping you figure out what feels awkward.
  10. HAVE FUN WITH IT. When I say dialogue is far and away my favorite thing to write, I’m not kidding at all. You can learn so much about a character or how two characters interact by how they talk to each other. Do they tease, do they nag, do they finish each other’s sentences? Do they use slang, do they slur, do they talk about celebrities they’ve never met as if they’ve known them for years and they’re the best of friends? Let their personalities shine through, because when characters speak is the only time they’re not getting filtered through a narrator, even if that narrator is themselves. Dialogue provides some of the most poignant moments of characterization you’ll ever get. So play with it. Try the same line fifty different ways until it feels right. Let your characters speak for themselves.

Good luck! Go forth and write great dialogue and have a blast doing it.

The Iterations of Arya Stark

Within A Song of Ice and Fire, there are a number of Arya proxies you can find, both by look and by personality. I think it’s interesting to study them side by side to see what the characters have to say about her as a person, as well as the authorial intent, parallels, and possible foreshadowing. There was Lyanna, a wild beauty by most standards; Ygritte, the fiery first love; Meera, the ever-protective sister and huntress; Margaery, the cunning pretender; Jeyne, Lady of Winterfell; Leaf, a small vessel of old magic; Willow, a fierce little girl who acts as a queen; and finally Alys, the grey northern girl with a frosty winter crown. 


“Lyanna might have carried a sword, if my lord father had allowed it. You remind me of her sometimes. You even look like her.” (Arya, A Game of Thrones)


Something about her made him think of Arya, though they looked nothing at all alike. “Will you yield?” he asked, giving the dirk a half turn. And if she doesn’t? (Jon, A Clash of Kings)


Jojen was so solemn that Old Nan called him “little grandfather,” but Meera reminded Bran of his sister Arya. She wasn’t scared to get dirty, and she could run and fight and throw as good as a boy. (Bran, A Clash of Kings)


A few days past, he had taken Ned aside to show him an exquisite rose gold locklet. Inside was a miniature painted in the vivid Myrish style, of a lovely young girl with doe’s eyes and a cascade of soft brown hair. [..] The maid was Loras Tyrell’s sister Margaery, he’d confessed, but there were those who said she looked like Lyanna. (Eddard, A Game of Thrones)


The girl was slim, and taller than he remembered, but that was only to be expected. Girls grow fast at that age. Her dress was grey wool bordered with white satin; over it she wore an ermine cloak clasped with a silver wolf’s head. Dark brown hair fell halfway down her back. And her eyes…

That is not Lord Eddard’s daughter. (Reek, A Dance with Dragons)


A cloud of ravens was pouring from the cave, and he saw a little girl with a torch in hand, darting this way and that. For a moment Bran thought it was his sister Arya…madly, for he knew his sister was a thousand leagues away, or dead. And yet there she was, whirling, a scrawny thing, ragged, wild, her hair atangle. Tears filled Hodor’s eyes and froze there. (Bran, A Dance with Dragons)


Gendry was the closest thing to a man grown, but it was Willow shouting all the orders, as if she were a queen in her castle and the other children were no more than servants.

If she were highborn, command would come naturally to her, and deference to them. Brienne wondered whether Willow might be more than she appeared. […] Brown hair, brown eyes, skinny….could it be? Arya Stark’s hair was brown, she recalled, but Brienne was not sure of the color of her eyes. (Brienne, A Feast for Crows)


The girl smiled in a way that reminded Jon so much of his little sister that it almost broke his heart. […] The snowflakes were melting on her cheeks, but her hair was wrapped in a swirl of lace that Satin had found somewhere, and the snow had begun to collect there, giving her a frosty crown. (Jon, A Dance with Dragons)

some bullet points to describe my general feelings of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ at the acowar criticism
  • if it seems like I don’t want to be critical of acowar in the next few days and week…
  • you’re right, i don’t. 
  • well, i do, but not in the way that is negative
  • but in the way of hey, this could have been done better
  • and i want to meta about it and
  • think about the plot and how this will work for the spin offs
  • and me NOT wanting to be super negative all the time
  • does not mean that i missed certain things that all you more educated readers picked up on
  • negativity does not mean you are more engaged in media criticism than i am, or more aware
  • it just means that i have a really wonderful capability to be reading a book, enjoying said book immensely, see something i dont love in said book, shrug, flip the page, and move the fuck on
  • it doesn’t mean i didn’t see the problems. it means that i didn’t care about the problems because it’s a fictional fucking world and unless it absolutely ruined my reading experience i am gonna find a way to be okay with it
  • it also means
  • that i read to enjoy things
  • and i am tired of this hellscape of a website making me feel badly for what i read
  • no sjm and romance novels and paranormal romance are not “trash books”
  • no i am not going to feel badly for liking things like them
  • yes i do think that sjm is a brilliant writer in some aspects. in others, nope. but in certain things, she is amazing. why else are y’all here. 
  • i literally do not give a shit about whether or not a book checks boxes on tumblrs list of things that make a book OKay and Good And Unproblematic
  • also hi when you are doing literary crit what the author (sjm) intended for you to think does not matter. authorial intention isn’t getting you anywhere. it will get you a failing grade in your college english classes though.
  • im not going to engage in criticism that beings with well sjm did x and i cant believe it
  • nah, you interpreted what these characters did in this book to mean x, and you dont like what you think it means, and so you’re blaming the author, even though you have no fucking clue as to what the author really intended for you to think the characters meant. and yeah, ultimately these things all originate from the author but there’s no way to know what the author was really trying to get you to think so it’s useless to criticize the author on a personal level 
  • leave the authorial intention alone and move along. 
  • *~*~this blog is a textual criticism only space*~*~*
  • also
  • there is little space in literary criticism for if you liked it or not.
Destiel and editing

@obsessionisaperfume here’s the Kuleshov Effect post I talked about. Hopefully it is sufficient.

TL;DR: Editing is probably the most powerful tool film has and how it’s used tells the story. Literally. In the case of SPN, there is a lot of instances that can be read as destiel riding in on a giant brick.

Ok, so preamble for those who don’t know what it is: The Kuleshov Effect was named for Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov. It deals with a “mental phenomenon by which viewers derive more meaning from the interaction of two sequential shots than from a single shot in isolation.”

The original test that coined the name was a short series of clips showing an actor in a black and white film with a stoic expression, intercut with various images. It’s about 50 seconds, have a looksie.

The short was built to see what meaning people would give to the man’s expression and as Kuleshov expected, they reacted accordingly based on what shots were intercut. So the stoic face was read as hungry, lustful, sad, whatever by most people even though it was all the same expression.

You can invoke this effect without both pieces ever seeing each other. You can create a vast head space for a character that the actor may never see by intercutting the actor with something like… war stock footage. We can understand what the character is going through without it ever being spoken and without the actor saying or sometimes really doing anything in relation to it.

That isn’t to say that actors aren’t important, of course they are. But a lot of understanding a filmed work look to the editing. The same way books look at word choice, sentence structure, etc. Editing is the last stand of “authorial intent” (as a nebulous term. Not by a single person) between the production and the audience. It’s the syuzhet, the filter of bias that sets the tone and the pace and the narrative and almost no one is truly privy to it until all of production is over.

Now, directors, producers, various others depending on the work often help dictate the editing to an extent. They decide what version of shots to leave in and give an idea of what they’re going for. Some take a much more active role and are part of the editing process to a great extent. Sometimes it’s just the director helping, sometimes it’s like… 8 other people in production. Sometimes a film studio drops all their footage for their several million dollar property off at a trailer house and says “panic number’s on the fridge, I’ll be back in the morning.” and expects the final edit not to suck.

Editors exist for a reason and it’s not just to cut the film to an edible size, set pace and presentation. “When to cut” and “how to think like an editor” are important to the process on their own and they are their own people.

Authorial intent is honestly kind of hilarious. Especially in works with multiple “intenders”

But let’s poke the intent bear anyway, shall we? ‘Bunch of examples under the cut.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

" the way you all treat content creators and this absolutely backwards “creative works belong to the audience not the creator” nonsense we like to pretend is good on here" you say as you demand shit from Michael Chu in the exact same way. Fuck off you hypocritical ass.

I think you may have misunderstood me here. I’m not saying that fans have no right to an opinion on a creative work, and no right to demand better from a creative work.

I’m saying that a creative work belongs to the author more than it belongs to the audience. For example, Harry Potter belongs entirely to J.K. Rowling and she can do absolutely whatever she wants with it, for better or worse. J.K. should be the one who gets the credit when the series is good and she’s the one who should get the blame when the series is bad.

The fandom came up with this concept of “black Hermione.” It’s a beautiful concept, and a better narrative than the one she wrote and it’s clear she knows that because she’s embraced it, but the fact remains that she doesn’t get the credit for that because she didn’t put it in her book. If, tomorrow, she said “actually Hermione is incredibly white and your headcanon is absolutely not a valid interpretation,” she’d have the right to do that, and we as the audience would be right to think it sucks now.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t accept people who say “Katniss Everdeen is a canonically aromantic Native American woman,” because I feel that’s giving Suzanne Collins credit for something that wasn’t actually in her book. Same reason I hate when people throw insults at J.K. Rowling for writing James Potter as an abusive stalker who forced Lily to date him: you are blaming her for something she did not write.

Then there’s George R.R. Martin, who I constantly see people yelling at for not working on his new book enough or not releasing his new book fast enough, not just making joke posts on their blog, actually harassing him about it directly like he genuinely owes them a new book.

So yeah, there’s this attitude on Tumblr that “creative works belong to the audience” as though authorial intent is irrelevant.

Take “Sherlock.” The authors’ intent in that case was never to put Sherlock and John in a romantic relationship. The “show belongs to the audience” attitude is the one that still insists the show depicts a romance between the two because that’s the preferred interpretation of the fandom, and gives undeserved credit to Moffat and Gatiss. The “show belongs to the author” attitude is the one that says “wow, these writers sure screwed up, they could’ve made the show good and then they didn’t” and gives no undeserved credit and all deserved blame to the authors.

In the post you’re referencing, I mention Leonard Nimoy, an actor who faced incredible fan backlash including threats and stalkers for playing parts that weren’t Spock, and for not taking time out of his day when spotted by a fan to answer all Star Trek questions as though he actually WAS Spock. His fans has this idea in their heads that because they love Star Trek and love Spock, that it literally belonged to them and that the creative team was betraying them by working on other projects

So, in Michael Chu’s case, yeah, I’ve got my headcanons and I’ve got my ideas on how he can make things better and I’ve got my expectations and frustrations, but if he does stuff I think is bad I’m gonna do one of two things:

1. Say I think it’s bad and that I wish he’d do better on my own personal blog where he’ll only see it if he goes looking for it
2. Maybe stop consuming his work if it gets to be something I dislike more than I like

What I won’t do is:

1. @ him repeatedly on twitter
2. Harass him in real life
3. Talk as though he’s obligated to write works that align 100% with my headcanons
4. Act as though he owes us anything out of his work other than what he’s promised or teased
5. Give him credit for headcanons that are better than his work (like “Genji and Lucio are dating” or “Pharah is part First Nations Canadian” unless and until that’s explicitly confirmed)
6. Blame him for headcanons that are worse than his work (Gremlin D.Va, “the timeline makes no sense” even though it honestly does make sense)

That’s what I’m talking about. Overwatch as a story? Doesn’t belong to me. Steven Universe? Not mine. I can talk all I want about how I wish they’d do better but at the end of the day it’s the author’s right to create absolute crap, same as it’s the audience’s right to complain or stop consuming their work. It’s not the audience’s right to harass the content creators directly over trivial shit (obv there’s an exception for stuff that’s overtly offensive) or to give them credit or blame for stuff they didn’t write.

Also, you really couldn’t have picked a worse example, I really enjoy the majority of Overwatch’s story content, by and large I think Michael Chu has done a great job even with the characters I don’t care about, I just wish his bosses would let him do a great job more often and about more characters

mild-lunacy  asked:

I have a question I think a lot of us in fandom struggle with: how do you manage to ignore not just the *specific* things Moffat and Gatiss say about John and Sherlock, but the overall idea they have always suggested that they genuinely didn't mean to write Sherlock as in love with with John and vice versa? Obviously, they *have* indeed written it regardless, but how does one integrate their constant denials with that? Aside from dismissing the importance of Authorial Intent entirely, I mean?

I’m afraid that’s not a path I can go down. I continue to admire these writers and what they’ve created, though I don’t understand why they would discredit a perfectly valid reading of their story. I stand by the reading I see, and while you and they are welcome to decide that I am too fanciful, overthinking things, or am seeing what I want to see rather than what’s actually there, I am confident that what I see in the story is defensible as a reading, backed up by textual evidence perceived through reasonable eyes. I’m happy to continue interpreting and re-interpreting that evidence here among other fans, being influenced by others and tweaking my views on this story in perpetuity. The evidence exists to support these conversations and interpretations, and frankly that’s enough for me.

As you know, I have never predicted that any particular ending was inevitable. Stories have patterns, but stories are engineered by human beings and are not predictable. But ships cannot be killed by creators; they only get more interesting the more obstacles get thrown in their way. I object to all attempts to control a fandom through creator edict. 

Stories are always collaborations with the reader, or in this case, the viewer. I reserve the right to interpret as I see fit. What I will not do is insist that the writers see it the way I do, defend their choice to write a story different than the one I would write, or question why they do what they do. None of us can guess at that. You can spin any theory you like about why this or that pressure from there or whatever is the cause, but I won’t follow you there. I don’t write meta about human beings, I write about fictional people. Fictional people can be fully known and dissected; actual people, you, me, the writers, cannot.

We may never know the answers to your questions, and we have to accept that. We aren’t owed the inner thoughts of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. They are free to say what they like.

To me, the story stands alone, and the story is generous with its evidence. I’ll stick to that.