|Scrivener's Error||Law and reality in publishing (seldom the same thing) from the author's side of the slush pile, with occasional forays into military affairs, censorship and the First Amendment, legal theory, and anything else that strikes me as interesting.|
link to: 08:52 [GMT-8]
Rather a strange weekend around here, but that shouldn't surprise anyone.
The cause is the missing element in her essay. At various points in the essay, she discusses both character development and plot mechanics in some detail, and gives some passing attention to the influence of setting (as examples of setting's influence, consider The Left Hand of Darkness and 1984). But this is commercial fiction, so thematic material — especially thematic closure — can't possibly matter, right? Wrong. Ultimately, the difference between a great work and a lesser one is the integration of the four elements of fiction (character, plot, setting, theme); and the difference between a merely not-great work of fiction and a train wreck is usually the author's failure to match the thematic material — and, in particular, the pace of the thematic material's development — to the remainder of the work. "Pacing," after all, isn't just about plot; that's why we often criticize works for having "anticlimactic endings." All four elements need to develop throughout a work of fiction for it to be a successful work of fiction. That development won't necessarily be seriatim in equal increments... but at certain major points (e.g., the end of each volume of a multivolume work) they should be resynchronized, or pretty damned close to it.
The objection I can almost hear from the crowd is that "commercial fiction only needs to entertain, and doesn't need thematic elements." Leaving aside that "only needs to entertain" is a thematic paradigm, this objection mistakes what high school English teachers, and too many undergraduate instructors (especially those who have no understanding of commercial fiction), call "theme": The arch, high-falutin' stuff that is accepted by the Establishment, ordinarily restricted to the literary masters and testing materials, that usually ends up just short of pontification in contemporary works. After all, defining one's audience for that entertainment is also thematic material... and one will end up with vastly different works to entertain seventeenth-century, largely illiterate London playgoers and to entertain mid-twentieth-century Broadway impresarios. That's (part of) the difference between Romeo & Juliet and West Side Story.
Ritual disclaimer: This blog contains legal commentary, but it is only general commentary. It does not constitute legal advice for your situation. It does not create an attorney-client relationship or any other expectation of confidentiality, nor is it an offer of representation.
All material © 200313 except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. This blawg does not use the Creative Commons License, although I'm usually pretty good-natured about permissions for attributed reuse.
I approve of no advertising appearing on or through syndication for anything other than the syndication itself; any such advertising violates the limited reuse license implied by voluntarily including syndication code on this blawg, and I do not approve aggregators and syndicators whose page design reflects only an intent to use the reference(s) to this blawg without actually providing the content from this blawg.
Internet link sausages, as frequently appear here, are gathered from uninspected meaty internet products and byproducts via processes you really, really don't want to observe; spiced with my own secret, snarky, sarcastic blend; quite possibly extended with sawdust or other indigestibles; and stuffed into your monitor (instead of either real or artificial casings). They're sort of like "link salad" or "pot pourri" or "miscellaneous musings" (or, for that matter, "making law"), but far more disturbing.
I am not responsible for any changes to your lipid counts or blood pressure from consuming these sausages... nor for your monitor if you insist on covering them with mash or sauce.
Now live at the new site. I have arranged some of
infamous threads that have appeared here
by unravelling them from the blawg tapestry (and hopefully eliminating some
of the sillier typos). Sometimes, the threads have been slightly reordered for clarity.
Links of Interest
Links open in a new window.
Other Blawgs, Blogs, and Journals
These may be of interest; I do not necessarily agree with opinions expressed in them, although the reasoning and writing are almost always first-rate (and represent a standard seldom, if ever, achieved in "mainstream" journalism). I'm picky, and have eclectic tastes, so don't expect a comprehensive listing.
A blawg is sort of like a blog on legal issues, but usually has a lot more links to outside resources (other than other blogs) than does a typical blog. Scrivener's Error is a blawg, not just a blog. You can find other blawgs at < ? law blogs # >.