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Clench Million
Charles

Apr 3, 2006, 3:17 PM

Post #101 of 235 (2768 views)
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Re: [jstgerma] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Well it seems our feelings are quite mutual.
I pointed out your hypocrisy and dishonest replies several times. You used some big and impressive words in your ad hominems.

Lets just call it a day, as this I'm sure this is terribly boring for anyone reading.


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Apr 3, 2006, 3:20 PM)


andfw


Apr 3, 2006, 3:26 PM

Post #102 of 235 (2757 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Agreed.

In Reply To
Lets just call it a day, as this I'm sure this is terribly boring for anyone reading.



__________



Apr 4, 2006, 4:24 AM

Post #103 of 235 (2690 views)
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Re: [jstgerma] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeebers...

You guys appear to misunderstand each other. Or is it the editing?

Best I can tell, Podunk U will be recognized as a "better school" once it has a proven track record of talented students and a great faculty. Iowa doesn't strike me as very cosmopolitan. Neither does Alabama. Both are now "better schools". So I find that comforting. Plus, any school with great funding will become a top school--just look at the Michener program.

There may be scads of problems with the Ivies in concept. 'Reputation' can indeed be a lame, self-fulfilling prophecy. Still, I think it's reasonable to expect a more able peer group, writing-wise, from a 'better' school, if only because that school has hundreds of applicants, and can be more selective.

On the other hand, nothing says a room of slam-dunk writers will help you more than a class of equally motivated, but less able, peers. In my experience, it doesn't really hinge on motivation, either. (I got the best comments from a lazy business major). All things equal, I'm going for schools with good funding and a solid publication record by students with similar styles. I think this means 'better schools', but not in any snobbish type way...


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motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Apr 4, 2006, 10:07 AM

Post #104 of 235 (2662 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Or is it the editing?



Yes, that's the problem with having the ability to edit. Once you've done that, even if it's only to correct a spelling error, you've compromised to one extent or another, the integrity of your argument.

If someone edits their original post, how can they reasonably complain about a response? When someone edits numerous posts, how can they expect their perspective to be taken seriously at all? If one decides to almost completely re-write history, they probably shouldn't expect to be viewed as a person of integrity.

Let's face it, who can or even wants to have any kind of meaningful discussion with someone who's just trying to gaslight you....




Clench Million
Charles

Apr 4, 2006, 11:13 AM

Post #105 of 235 (2640 views)
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Re: [motet] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

I see no problem with editing posts quickly after one posts.

It only becomes a problem if one edits a post after the RESPONSE to the post.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 4, 2006, 11:57 AM

Post #106 of 235 (2620 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Still, I think it's reasonable to expect a more able peer group, writing-wise, from a 'better' school, if only because that school has hundreds of applicants, and can be more selective.

On the other hand, nothing says a room of slam-dunk writers will help you more than a class of equally motivated, but less able, peers.


And the first part was all I was saying. Better schools are more selective and more desired by writers. We can pretty safely assume writers will choose the better schools over worse ones when they have the option (at least assuming there aren't big funding discrepancies) and that better schools, due to their applicant pool, can pick a more talented class.

As to the second part, no doubt nothing is gaurenteed, but I think most writers are inspired and moved by the talent in others. I know I get insipration from reading amazing books and amazing authors move me to write.

Will they help you in the sense of provide good critique and smart edits? Here a bad school might be just as good as a good school. However, there is no reason (that I can think of) to think that people at top schools would be worse at critiquing so at worst we can assume they are at least as good as the peer groups in bad schools. OTOH, schools do pay some attention to LOR, transcripts and essays (at leas I applied to a few schools that made me turn in an essay), so there is some reason to believe a top school will have better students in the academic sense as well.


bighark


Apr 4, 2006, 12:02 PM

Post #107 of 235 (2618 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the issue, Clench, is that you routinely edit with moments of posting. I've actually responded to some your initial drafts only to see an edited version after I've hit "Post Reply." As I'm sure you can imagine, this can be a little unsettling--especially if the edit renders what you've just been writing moot.

Edits aren't such a big deal most of the time, but when you're engaged in an argument, they are. Because you argue a lot, I would suggest drafting your responses in a word processor before you commit to the website, or to avoid editing in favor of posting addendums in the form of new responses.

That, I think, would help.


sarandipidy


Apr 4, 2006, 12:10 PM

Post #108 of 235 (2612 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

<<On the other hand, nothing says a room of slam-dunk writers will help you more than a class of equally motivated, but less able, peers.>>

That was pretty much my point.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 4, 2006, 12:13 PM

Post #109 of 235 (2611 views)
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Re: [bighark] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

bighark: the only time that happened was your flippant "coulda fooled me" response earlier here. I only expanded my post, so what you responded to remained in tact.

Personally if I notice an logical error in my argument or realize I"ve misquoted the other person, I'd rather fix it quickly before anyone can reaspond than do what some others do here and leave their misrepresentations and fallacies intact for everyone to read. It both makes said poster look foolish (straw men and word twisting aren't what I'd call an argument integrity) and risks tricking casual viewers into thinking the other person really did say those things.... of course, maybe that's the point for some people.



Anyway, all my edits here were done within a few minutes of posting and all long before jstgerma responded, likewise his/her edits were long before I responded, so no Junior Maas, misunderstandings weren't because of the edits.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 4, 2006, 12:19 PM

Post #110 of 235 (2607 views)
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Re: [sarandipidy] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, your earlier post really sounded like you thought the students would be better writers. If you only mean they won't necessarily be better critiquers, I think that makes a little more sense, but I still think as a general rule better schools will have better students overall.

Again, programs do pay some attention to essays, LORs and transcripts. It is my understanding that much of what they look for there is how well you work in a workshop setting and how you do as a student. (They don't care if a LOR says how great your writing is, they already know what they think of that, they want to hear what your professors think of your ability to work with others and such)

So on that level, we can assume they probably will be able to help you more. I also wouldn't be surprised if brillant writers are better critiquers.


bighark


Apr 4, 2006, 12:27 PM

Post #111 of 235 (2600 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

My "could of fooled me" post was in response to a post where you said that you werent' interested in arguing. "Flippant" is the word you use to describe it--I would have used "witty." Anyway, your edit voided my response precisely because you added to what you had originally written.

I stand by my advice, Clench. If you're going to argue with someone, take care of your misquotes or errors in logic before you commit something to the site. That's not asking a lot. Besides, you have a twenty day record here of engaging in back-and-forth arguments over writing workshop mechanics, the state of publishing, and the nature of talent and composition. We'll forgive you if you wiff at somone's strawman every now and then.


sibyline


Apr 4, 2006, 12:40 PM

Post #112 of 235 (2596 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I also wouldn't be surprised if brillant writers are better critiquers.


I agree with Clench here. Or, more than that, I'm more prone to respect a critiquer's perspective if I like their work. The only problem I've encountered with writers I admire in workshop is when their attention is pulled in different directions and they get busy, which means they spend less time on your manuscript. Otherwise, I tend to get what I perceive to be the best-quality feedback from writers whose work I also admire.

Oh, and Clench, I think part of the reason you make statements like "That's all I'm saying" a lot, is because a lot of your arguments tend to sound caustic, so people react to that instead of what you may actually be saying. One thing I've noticed on the Internet is that because we don't have body language and physical expression to soften our words, I try to make my writing less aggressive than when I'm actually talking, since the person doesn't have the benefit of seeing how goofy I look.


sarandipidy


Apr 4, 2006, 1:10 PM

Post #113 of 235 (2583 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

<<Or, more than that, I'm more prone to respect a critiquer's perspective if I like their work.>>

I just think that this mentality is a little flawed, unless you plan to keep your writing within the incestuous 'community of writers.' I have found myself in that situation before: almost subconsciously disregarding the advice of those whose work I didn't find to be 'good.' It's an understandable reaction. But your readers are not all writers; some are people who simply appreciate literature. For example, many literary scholars can't write a word.

One example: an online friend of mine attends a pretty prestigious MFA program (the most expensive one--can you guess?). He had reluctantly showed a poem to an old woman on the subway who had asked to see it, and she gave him some thoughts. Interestingly, she found something in his poem--saw something working in it--that not one person in his workshop had noticed. This lady on the bus who had never stepped foot in an MFA program herself.

Of course we should take the mathematician's advice for a math problem. But this is art. Sometimes people without breathtaking artistic talent can have really important angles to add to your work. In many cases, those people--accountants, high school English teachers--will be your readers. Likewise, someone in your workshop whose work you don't admire might still be giving you better advice than the more admirable one. My workshop always had lots of disagreements between writers with different levels of talent. I agreed with both camps at different times.

It's also dangerous to always take the advice of someone you admire. That's why people come out of programs writing exactly like their professors, instead of themselves. My two cents.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 4, 2006, 1:22 PM

Post #114 of 235 (2572 views)
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Re: [sarandipidy] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

I would caution you from conflating literary criticism with workshop critiquing.

Yes, many great writers aren't good theorists or literary critics, and vice versa. But a workshop isn't asking for criticism ala Harold Bloom. They are asking for more craft tips and suggestions.

its more akin to working on a painting and wondering if you are using a good brush technique. Do you go ask an art theorist how to mix your colors better or do you ask a painter?


sarandipidy


Apr 4, 2006, 1:23 PM

Post #115 of 235 (2571 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I think I misunderstood what you meant by 'top program.' I thought you were referring to those few schools--similar to Harvard, Yale, Princeton--and not, say, approximately 30 schools. I do think that the more selective schools will have "better" writers (though there will always be exceptions) than those who accept, like, 80% of their applicants. And yes, I was talking about the workshop environment--feedback--and not personal skill.

But I also don't like blanket statements such as, "It's important to attend a top program to have a good peer group." You never know until you go. Some people at top programs will dislike their peer groups no matter how talented most of them might be. Lots of talented people will give poor advice, especially if there is a *stylistic* difference involved.


sarandipidy


Apr 4, 2006, 1:28 PM

Post #116 of 235 (2568 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

I wasn't conflating literary criticism, I was using that as an example of readers. Similar to the lady on the bus who may not know a thing about theory.

I would ask a painter for brush technique. But there is much more to writing than craft, and interpretive feedback from a reader, and not a writer, can yield unexpected angles and perspectives on your work.


sibyline


Apr 4, 2006, 1:54 PM

Post #117 of 235 (2554 views)
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Re: [sarandipidy] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you're conflating two arguments here. My comments were confined specifically to a workshop environment. My family reads my work on a regular basis, as do various friends and pretty much whoever feels like reading and giving me ideas. So what I'm really talking about is the specific feedback one tends to be looking for in workshop.

I stand by what I've said. I obviously wouldn't ignore someone's feedback just because I don't like his or her work, but in my observation, I tend to gain more from people who are able to apply some of the lessons they dispense to their own writing. Often, these are not people who write like me. Actually, they tend to be people who are doing things with their fiction that I like, but find difficult to do in my own work for whatever reason.


__________



Apr 4, 2006, 2:19 PM

Post #118 of 235 (2540 views)
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Re: [sarandipidy] Grad school [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmmm...two interesting points to latch on to:


In Reply To
Lots of talented people will give poor advice, especially if there is a *stylistic* difference involved.



Do you mean to say that, the majority of the time, we give advice that is only suited to a style similar to our own? I'm still wrestling with this one. I think it makes sense to find people who share your sensibility--a group that writes wacky, postapocalyptic fabulisms, if that's your thing. But on the other hand, in my own limited, undergrad experience, I often got the best advice from students with an opposing sensibility--in my case, those who stressed plot and character, clear, simple writing, and a slew of 'traditional' things I still tend to look down on or not entirely understand. That criticism worked kind of like a governmental checks and balances system; it tended to round out my work with insights that my similar minded peers could not provide.

Still, I don't have a clue how much I should let this stuff guide my decisions.



In Reply To

But there is much more to writing than craft.



I'm tempted to say that any effect can be quantified. Otherwise, we're dealing in mysticism. Everything is bound up in words, right there on the page. You might say it's all craft.

What makes a reader sad, angry, or hopeful, gives the impression of 'genius' or 'a born writer' or 'artist' vs. 'hack',--isn't it all reducible to style, to diction, syntax, and the like? Isn't a 'true artist' just someone who makes good, consistent choices?





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sovietsleepover


Apr 4, 2006, 3:00 PM

Post #119 of 235 (2524 views)
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Re: Troll feeding [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe we're due a reminder on here that, while argument can be useful, engaging in long debates over semantics & minutae isn't constructive for anyone. In five months Clench Milton will have a loving community of writers whose own minutae he can nitpick on. For now, let's not feed the trolls unless they actually have something to say.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 4, 2006, 3:17 PM

Post #120 of 235 (2514 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] Troll feeding [In reply to] Can't Post

If you actually red the thread soviet, it would be quite obvious that it was others nitpicking what I was saying and trying to play semantics games. Whatever my faults here, nitpicking semantics and minutae are not among them.

But thanks for adding so much to the subject at hand, you clearly have so much to say...


Quote

I'm tempted to say that any effect can be quantified. Otherwise, we're dealing in mysticism. Everything is bound up in words, right there on the page. You might say it's all craft.


I think I agree with this. What is there to writing other than craft? I'm guessing the answer will be some vague concepts that can't fully be explaind. It is like when people speculate on what a writer was "feeling" at the time they wrote a book, as if a writer's emotions were static over the months and months the book was written and edited. Writing is talent/genius expressed through a craft. A feeling on the page is something crafted through words.


I also agree with Junior Maas that writers, at least writers worth their salt, are able to judge a piece based on what it is trying to accomplish. A good writer can respect writing not in their style. Surely we all read and love work in a variety of styles.



HopperFu


Apr 4, 2006, 3:33 PM

Post #121 of 235 (2507 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] craft vs. art, criticisms vs. critique [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote

I'm tempted to say that any effect can be quantified. Otherwise, we're dealing in mysticism. Everything is bound up in words, right there on the page. You might say it's all craft.


I think I agree with this. What is there to writing other than craft? I'm guessing the answer will be some vague concepts that can't fully be explaind.



I'm an advocate of craft, but the reality is that the difference between good writing and great writing is in that area that transcends craft. If every effect could be quantified, and it was all craft, it would simply be a question of working dilligently and we could all put out works of universal genius. Almost anybody can become an excellent housepainter if they really want to learn how. Almost nobody can become an excellent writer.
Of course the answer to what is there other than craft is a vague concept that can't fully be explained. If it could fully be explained then MFA programs would offer "genius writer or your money back" offers.
As for critiquing in a workshop: a good critique is one that takes into account the work itself and what is required to make that work better within the framework of the particular work and what can and should be accomplished by the story. That is critique. If your comments are on the basis of not liking that particular style (as opposed to thinking the particular style is not correct for the story), it is just criticism and not critique.
As the writer, however, one of the most important things you can do in a workshop is to carefully filter all of the comments on your story. (Though it's a good bet that if 10 out of 10 people in the workshop don't get the story, it's not 'cause you are super brilliant, it's 'cause it's confusing or poorly written).


sibyline


Apr 4, 2006, 3:37 PM

Post #122 of 235 (2501 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Troll feeding [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
But thanks for adding so much to the subject at hand, you clearly have so much to say...


I don't agree with Soviet in thinking of you as a troll, but I do wish to point out that I interpret comments like these as clearly inviting an angry response. So I wouldn't call you a troll, though I would probably describe you as trolly in certain circumstances.


Clench Million
Charles

Apr 4, 2006, 3:41 PM

Post #123 of 235 (2497 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Troll feeding [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting. I would interpret it the opposite way, that soviet's comments were inviting an angry response.
In most internet forums, calling a person a troll is considered unacceptable and is immediatly deleted by moderators. Popping in with nothing to say at all with the subject at hand, but only posting an ad hominem is pretty much the definition of trolling and certainly hopes for an angry response.


HopperFu


Apr 4, 2006, 3:49 PM

Post #124 of 235 (2491 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Troll feeding [In reply to] Can't Post

Clench Million: you seem to engender a hell of a lot of angry responses. Do you really think that it's all about the other people all the time?


sibyline


Apr 4, 2006, 3:53 PM

Post #125 of 235 (2489 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Troll feeding [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm trying to help you out here. The problem as I see it is that soviet has been a longtime poster to this board and I've seen many of his/her posts from the archives. Pretty much all of them have been reasoned, and did not provoke any angry responses. The fact that s/he called you a troll is a matter of perspective. But it does seem suspicious that you've gotten into a lot of arguments with people here who are not normally prone to argument. It could be that we're all wrong. But chances are, we all perceive the a similar kind of belligerent vein in your writing style that prompts these kinds of responses. If this is not what you intend, the onus is on you to modify your style to suit the board, rather than expecting a whole group of people to read between the lines and interpret your words as benign when a lot of us are clearly interpreting them as overly aggressive.

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