Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Tuesday October 28, 2003. I didn't get "The Caterpillar on the Leaf" finished in time to include it in my First Draft zine. I included what I had -- along with critiques and mailing comments -- and got the zine printed out. [First Draft is a by-mail writing group in apa format.]

I wrote the following for my own use. However, I decided that other people might find it useful and might have useful comments on it.

Concentrate on what interests me, and what I think is important. Which, to a large extent, means the marketplace of behavior and symbolic interaction.

And certain kinds of change.

Give description as the viewpoint character would see it. This character may be an authorial persona, rather than a character in the story.

Use synesthesia -- not as a goshwow exoticism, but as something ordinary for the viewpoint character.

These are the kinds of description I know about, so far:

Sensory description: How things look, sound, feel, smell, taste, etc. Flaubert advised using at least three senses in each paragraph; this is probably unworkable for short paragraphs.

Different senses are important to different people. For much discussion of this, google on "learning styles." (Note: There are people who have very little sensory memory.)

Process description: This is how it works, this is what it does.

Note that "How it works" means at least two very different things. 1) When you push button A, you will see a mango on the screen. 2) It operates according to the theory of holistic mangoism, whose basic theorems are.... I would count only the first as process description.

Pattern description: This is the pattern the viewpoint character sees. Most humans have a part of the brain which specializes in recognizing faces. (I've read that some auto buffs use this area for recognizing cars.) Other kinds of pattern recognition, which aren't hardwired, vary wildly. Some people literally see mathematical processes, for example.

This is not abstract understanding of patterns; this is _seeing_ the patterns. (Or feeling, hearing, etc.)

Abstract description: Some amateur erotic fiction describes people's bodies in terms of measurements, more than describing how those bodies look and feel. Some people think that way; to them, the abstract is more real than the sensory.

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