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Would You Like a Reading?


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#11 Rufus Tullius

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 02:23 PM

Master Plots and Genres
 
The Protagonist and the antagonist. 
 
The hero's journey (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings) and a stranger comes to town (Cat in the Hat). 
 
Master plots are recurring story types like the old rags to riches tale told over and over. These are called cultural myths or master narratives. Only the story patterns change. They are universal and tend to go in and out of style as culture dictates. Master plots look at cultural practices and historical trends. Discovering and re-discovering universal truths. At the very beginning of a story the reader will be thrown off balance and taken on a journey or introduced to a strange element or figure. A destabilizing event is the antagonist that begins the adventure. 
 
Master plots are not necessarily literately in nature. They can be framed in any genre. A genre is todays critical term defining a type or category. They also extend out into other media and ideological forms. Fiction and non-fiction are the two basic distinctions. Nonfiction gives us the facts and tells the truth. Fiction puts the reader in touch with their emotions and can enlighten all our efforts in learning the larger truths of life. Fiction provokes thought by delving into the universe and discovering old plots and re-writing new ones. Finding a larger story and framing a plot to make it interesting to the reader.
 
Genres are usually in opposition to each other. Or at least they're supposed to be. Westerns are not horror stories and science fiction tales of fantasy are not legal thrillers. Right? Well, sometimes it doesn't work out that way. It really doesn't have to. The master plot will tell the moral of the tale if it's told well and with an interesting framework. Crossing the lines and stirring the pot by mixing genres together is a common practice. Try this little trick when picking up an unfamiliar book at the library: Read the first sentence and try to guess the genre or do it without looking at the picture on the cover or reading the blurb in the back nor any of the reviews to give it away. Can you guess which genre? Titles and authors can be a dead give-a-way so just pick a book at random and see if you can guess the type of story by playing that little game. 
 
In closing, here are a couple of questions to ask about some of the books you've already read:
 
How many stories in any genre follow the pattern of 'the journey' or the 'stranger'?
 
What are your favorite examples of these two forms of Master Plot? 
 
...till next time...
 
:Flying:

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#12 Rufus Tullius

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 11:34 AM

All the above questions and elements in story telling give us the tools to add to our fun when reading a short story. They also provide us a basis to explore longer novels. Today's focus will be on pre-reading to help readers choose books to purchase or read from the library. 
 
Walk into any book store and what do you find? People perusing the isles pre-reading blurbs, looking at covers, trying to decide on what book to buy.
 
An artful reader knows what to look for when it comes to authors and characters, but what about the structure of the novel? I think I've mentioned a few good questions to ask yourself on some of the previous posts.
 
Short stories are good for a single sitting read through as they never take much time to read. They focus more on one or two characters with action inside a limited space of time. They hardly ever include sub-plots. A short story is like a good song.
 
Novels take a while to read. Sometimes days and even weeks. They have multiple characters and they allow an author to flesh out the roundness of the main players in greater detail. Narration can be devious and filled with devices to put a little meat on a flat character or two. Novels can have an almost unlimited time span. Main characters can be seen from birth to death and beyond. Novels offer multiple plots and sub-plots and sound like a full fledged album of music.
 
Pre-reading at the library or bookstore helps to pick out which book you might be interested in. Pictures on the cover and blurbs on the back are never enough for a pre-read. Notice how advertisers use genre and the names of authors to draw in a reader. Look inside and see how many parts is it divided into. Do any the chapters names catch your eye? When you begin reading a novel spend at least half an hour on it and ask a few questions: 
 
Can you find a master plot? 
Are the characters and settings drawing you in? 
Is the narration first person or third?
Does the first sentence give away the genre?
 
Those are just a few questions to ask yourself. You'll find many more when you explore the art of reading. Here's a few more questions to ask yourself when choosing a new book (or an old one):
 
Would you read a badly reviewed novel from a popular author or a perfect short story?
Would you rather read a classic novel or a modern one?
Would a recommendation from a teacher, librarian, or a friend make difference in your choice of book?
 
:Flying:

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#13 Rufus Tullius

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 03:26 PM

Chapters, parts, and patterns...
 
All fiction and non-fiction today is divided up into parts and chapters. It gives long works structure for the narrator to describe the scenes chained together within chapters. Chapters give breaks to the reader and a chance to go back and re-read a section of interest. Maybe even begin asking the myriad of questions described in previous posts and coming up with a few of your own.
 
Ever ask questions like why are some chapters small and others large? Are there any rules or a general consensus as to how chapters should be formed? 
 
Yes: It's best that an opening chapter(s) in a book should be short to introduce the main character and describe setting and scene then end with a disrupting event. This gives a reader a clue into what to expect.
 
Coordinating and arranging chapters and parts is a thoughtful arrangement and skill by any author. Style always plays a heavy part in this process. Sometimes chapters are even and sometimes clustered about. 
 
Let's take a look at where the idea of chapter and verse division comes from. Of course, it's the Bible. Originally it wasn't divided in any way at all. It's thought it was preceded by the use of epigraphs. Only later commentators put them into verse and chapter when they copied them. 

Stephen Langton (c. 1150 – 9 July 1228) was an English Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop of Canterbury between 1207 and his death in 1228. The dispute between King John of England and Pope Innocent III over his election was a major factor to the crisis which produced Magna Carta in 1215. Cardinal Langton is also credited with having divided the Bible into the standard modern arrangement of chapters used today.
 

 

 

They did this to keep an order of reference for themselves and those around them. Later, other writers began mimicing this style and by the 19th century our current form of reading and writing styles are currenty established in our own modern society.  
 
In those days books weren't usually printed whole like they are today. Publishers had better ways to market a tale. They were published in installments and chapters. Later releasing them in larger parts. Charles Dickens was one of most popular authors who used chapters to tell a story to the public. They were released in installments with a couple of chapters each week. 
 
How would an author keep his readers interested in a long work when it's presented like that? That's where chapter formation and main characters come in with major events to change the scene to another part. Major twists, revelations, or other character shifting events are what gives the story a beat. Look for major event chapters. These lead to another part in the story. Sometimes the beat is strange and unorthodox. Modern writers like to play around with these structures giving us a myriad of formation and pattern twists. I hope this post gives you some reference into what to look for in refining your own artist sense in reading. 
 
:Flying:
 

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#14 status - Guest

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 03:37 PM

It takes alot of listening to read good.


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#15 Rufus Tullius

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 03:40 PM

It takes alot of listening to read good.

 

:chuckle:

 

I see what you did there.

 

When you read a line that is so well-written you just close the bok and stare at the wall for a minute.


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#16 Feathers

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 03:51 PM

I like how you imply that reading a good book is like listening to a great symphony. All the parts and pieces coming together to form a coherent listening experience. Rhythms and structures are what constantly drives us forward. Let's hope the stories told in the future will have a patient rhythm to tell the story of our present. Our media tells them so fast the beats per minute make it difficult to keep up.
 
Just a question but I was wondering why people can listen to a song over and over again but find it difficult to re-read short stories and books the same way?

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#17 Feathers

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 06:21 PM

Book reports are great devices to practice writing and analyses. It helps to find patterns in any given material and identify your reactions and interpretations to the work. You might want to consider these major aspects when analyzing literary work in the future.
 
Number 1 is the plot: the sequence of events.
 
Look at theme: those are central ideas in the work.
 
Character is important: Traits and actions of the people.
 
Keep in mind the structure: how the parts of whole relate to one another
 
Look at the setting: the times and places, etc.
 
Point of views should be noted: 1st, 2nd, 3rd person. Narrators, main characters...
 
Style or fashion: how the words and sentences are presented.
 
Imagery: what kind of pictures get created in your head.
 
What is the tone of the work: what are the attitudes of the author and how are they directed to the reader. Use imagery to ask questions.
 
The ever present symbolism: what are the underlying meanings below the surface.
 
All the rhythm and rhyme: is it good to dance to? Beats, meters, and repetitions.
 

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#18 Rufus Tullius

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 01:19 PM

 

I like how you imply that reading a good book is like listening to a great symphony. All the parts and pieces coming together to form a coherent listening experience. Rhythms and structures are what constantly drives us forward. Let's hope the stories told in the future will have a patient rhythm to tell the story of our present. Our media tells them so fast the beats per minute make it difficult to keep up.
 
Just a question but I was wondering why people can listen to a song over and over again but find it difficult to re-read short stories and books the same way?

 

 

I think it might be the electric ear worms. They travel really, really fast...

 

:chuckle:

 

Reading books has its own sense of syncopated beats all layered inside. I guess a reader has to slow down the BPM a bit to really listen to the symphony within.

 

My last post looked at chapters and how they provide structure and pace throughout an entire book. We've already caught a glimpse of chapters as clusters filled with scenes and summaries from that post. Today we'll bring the microscope in and look inside a chapter and see what makes it tick and pulse.
 
Scenes are influenced by the dialog. A reader can feel like they're watching the characters without any filters from the author or narrator.
 
Summaries are comments by the storyteller that set the scene, analyze a character, and the tell general surroundings.. Summary activates the readers senses as it conveys a lot of information by using a few short sentences and paragraphs. Summary describes what the characters are doing and not saying in the dialog. Try replacing summaries with scenes of dialog and see what happens. Can a description be conveyed by using dialog along? Dialog gives us the characters direct reason for action. Especially during long discourses between characters. Tension builds and summary is used to release it. Summary breaks the dialog into beats, or stages and allows the reader to stop and think about the characters actions.
 
Ever notice how dialog and summary have their own kind of beat going on inside a chapter? Each chapter is like a song in a concept album...
 
:Flying:

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#19 Rufus Tullius

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 04:00 PM

Modulations in language
 
Behind, between, and beneath the dialog. Scenes are built with it. It's about bringing the depth of the dialog to the surface using subtext. Exposing the tensions and interplay between the characters. Would you rather see a character completely transparent from the start? Characters are built using subtexts and summaries in conjunction with one another. Noticing these things can be appreciated more on second and third readings of any work. Consider these questions:
 
How does the scene get it's legs going, and how does the characters development build throughout its course? 
How can we tell if any underlying stakes are involved, and what can be learned about the relationship between the characters over the course of scenery already seen? What do characters have in common? Does a character know what he/she wants to achieve? 
 
Subtexts in scense
 
All characters enter into scenes for a reason. Not every character knows what he wants. Hidden goals are revealed through the sub-text. There might be a good chance for misunderstandings and communication breakdowns to occur. This is where twilight language gets involved. It's all in the sub-text.
 
Look for diction changes, tone modulations, and rhetorical devices in scene dialog. What underlying sub-texts in the language can be seen? Pay attention to words. What kind of words is the character using? What kind of differences in timber (or mode modulations) does a character use to get what he/she wants? Use a poker scene as an example. All the interactions in dialog along with some summarizations in body language can make subtle sub-texts stand out.
 
Narrators count on the reader to find the subtexts.
 
tumblr_nijccsWUIG1rhdyfso1_540.gif
 
:Grin_Jump3:
 
:Flying:
 
 

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#20 Ghosty McFly

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 05:31 PM

Five star thread Red!

 


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