Sunday, August 31, 2008

If you want to break every rule in the book

You have to do it this well.
No exceptions.

17 comments:

DeadlyAccurate said...

Wow. Bleary-eyed, ready for bed, and yet I still couldn't stop reading until I got to the end.

Sam said...

Wonderful and scary.

Conduit said...

Excellent story.

Steph said...

Gripping & powerful.

1. What rules were broken?
2. And is it necessary to know "the rules" to write an effective story or does a writer have an intuitive sense of what works and what doesn't?

Jolie said...

Ooh. That is just fantastic. Chilling.

My opinion on Steph's second question: I think I produced some good writing before I learned more "rules," but my writing is certainly better now for my knowing those rules--whether I follow them or not. The knowledge has sharpened my skills while keeping them unique to me. I still rely often on intuition.

Steve Stubbs said...

Superbly well writtem but it left me with a question that I am sure others share. (So if you have a moment, please enlighten us.) What rule did this writer break? It looks flawless to me.

This is a Mormon story, so if he was aiming to write another "chloroform in print" thing the way a certain other Mormon did, he missed the target. I like this better anyway.

Annette Lyon said...

He was obviously shooting for Mormon, but he got so many elements downright WRONG that it's laughable to me (a life-long Mormon).

Yes, the writing itself is very good, but I'd have preferred he use a pretend relgion instead of him pretending he knew anything about the one he was trying to write about. He doesn't. The only thing that resembled the real thing was a few terms and names thrown in for good measure. Such inaccuracy makes it hard to enjoy the story.

Jolie said...

I'm no expert, but I would assume that there are many different ways to practice the Mormon religion, just as there are in any other religion. The story was describing a small, isolated community. Is it possible similar communities exist in the real world? Am I way off base in my assumptions?

Also, does anyone know if there are religions other than Mormon that might come close to what we see in the story?

Bobbie said...

I didn't think he was shooting for Mormon. I thought he was shooting for the "Fundamentalist Mormons," as they call themselves, right? The Warren Jeffs brand of religion, even if not specifically the Warren Jeffs sect. There are certainly enough of these offshoots to choose from in the West. And since those sects are so closed off to outsiders, who knows what he got right and what he didn't?

I think he was going more for effect than accuracy anyway, which can be an entire topic on its own: how far from the truth is fiction allowed to stray? Or rather, how close to reality is it allowed to be? Had he given the women less "mormony" names and set the story in outer space, we may all still automatically assume "Mormon story" b/c that's our closest historical context to the events.

Annette Lyon said...

Bobbie's more on target. There could be some off-shoot group like this, but anyone actually on church records would be excommunicated if they lived like this (plural marriage, for starters). So no, there are no active and practicing Mormons who live like this--only splinter groups.

Which is why these kinds of things drive me crazy--it's the only view of Mormonism most people get. There are millions of Mormons worldwide who live very normal lives by any standard, but you say "Mormon" and readers immediately imagine Warren Jeffs and his ilk.

Accuracy in writing is a tough issue, though. This piece is very well done--and yet. I don't see this as being in the same category as getting the right clothing styles in a piece of historical work. It's more along the lines of perpetuating prejudicical myths.

Taymalin said...

Annette, I think you're projecting a bit. When I read it I didn't think Mormon, I thought 'religious cult'. Since this author didn't state that the people were Mormons you might be worrying over nothing.

Re: accuracy, I don't want stories to be realistic. That's why I read, to escape reality, not to get hit over the head with a big dose of it. I want extremes in my fiction, not normalcy.

B

Kristin Laughtin said...

I'll agree with Bobbie here and say that the author was probably shooting for something like the Fundamentalist Mormon sects that have made the news for polygamous marriages involving underage girls. It could even be a fictional extreme off-shoot of any Judeo-Christian church.

Perhaps that's the rule that was broken? Writing a little too close to real life?

Annette--I understand your frustration, but as a non-Mormon, let me assure you that when I see these types of stories, in real life or in fiction, I know that the majority of Mormons do not live this way, and are actually excommunicated by the official LDS church. (It's the same with any religion, really--the extremist groups get all the attention and cause the stereotypes, when in reality, most members are normal people leading normal lives).

I don't often squirm when I read stories, but I did the whole way through this one. Very chilling. Wow.

danceluvr said...

While I enjoyed this segment, I'd get tired of the short sentences real quick if all the book was written in this manner.

jwhit said...

wow. I wanted this to be a book.

Chef said...

Damn, that's good.

Creative Clusterer said...

DARN!!!!!!!! if i have to be this good, janet will never represent me. And I was just getting ready to screw up the courage to query her.

Dwight's Writing Manifesto said...

Uhm.... "Children in peril?"

Should we have Ponytail Pete and the FinePrint crew start checking for pods?