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25 April 2005 @ 03:50 pm
In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back  

I have just started reading The Da Vinci Code. I'm about ten years behind the rest of the world, I know, but I've been harbouring some class of mental block against it and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell -- this is the third or fourth entry I've made since Christmas saying how much I still haven't read that book. Summer project pending, methinks.

I don't like Dan Brown's style of writing in the least. I think it's lugubrious, over-dramatic and heavy-handed. I've been spoiled by fandom, I reckon -- not to mention that I want to kill Brown, repeatedly, with a blunt object preferably, every time he shucks in those horrific mixtures of ellipses and hypens. I think he thinks that's emotive writing. BZZZ -- wrong. Like I said, I've been spoiled by fandom; the best stream-of-conciousness stories I've read are from here and Brown cannot hope to compete.

All the same, he packs a plot punch. I've noticed that in fandom too -- sometimes people are such good writers that I can ignore the wilful disregard for the basics of punctuation -- eg, closing quotation marks. This clearly presents a large obstacle to some people ... maybe I'm speaking from a sheltered position; I've been typing since I was ten and am one of those fast, don't look at the screen, still get it right typists. It's one of my few achievements.

Anyway, my point was not that Brown is a good writer -- he's not. You don't have to be to be an author, sad but true. However, I'm interested in the story, mainly because of the Catholic Church aspect. His characterisation leaves a lot to be desired, such as new characters. 

Some of the things he mentions -- not the Opus Dei thing, although blackmailing of UCD students by that society was a news article only last year -- just the little things, are making me angry at being a Catholic. I wasn't exactly ambiguous to begin with but I am seriously starting to resent having been baptised into this disgusting, misogynistic, narrow-minded organisation. It's not so much that I mind these factors, it's that the Church is masquerading under the pretext of being in existance to spread the Word of a loving God. More than anything else in the world, I detest lying and deceit and the Church now pretty much exemplifies those. Jesus was probably a pretty cool t00b; the point, though, is that the Church is filled with very uncool t00bs and I no longer would like to be in their number. The saints can go marching in and leave me to dance to the beat of my own drummer, thanks all the same.

I'm just going to wait and see does this book tell me anything I didn't already glean from reading The Turin Shroud. Well -- 'smatter of fact, The Turin Shroud never mentioned da Vinci's gaysexuality, but I learned that from A Cultural History of the Penis last year, so it's all the one.

I was also thinking about my writing and the writing of other people in the fandom.

I'm really envious of people who can carry off the emotional-focus aspect -- inside the head and skin as opposed to a play in prose, which is what I feel I do most of the time (He walked there. Then he sat down. Then he said this). I know I can't do 'feelings' very well. I strive to emulate the techniques of Pterry -- mainly in extending metaphors so much they could be used as rubber bands. However, I find I can't copy his disinterest in the nitty-gritty of relationships, both in the emotional and sexual aspects. Which is not to say I write porn. We find it too generic, me and Barry. We'd only do it if we thought we could write something mind-blowing and history suggests that mildly amusing is the best we'll get.

I'm also amazed by this idea of 'plot'. It appears that people actually plan these before they start writing! All I can do is tumble over in awe. I just start writing something because one of three things happens.

1. The weather. It either shines or rains and I think: 'I want to write about sun/rain'. And I end up writing about two boys having it off with one another. One day I may write about sun or rain. But I doubt it.

2. I hear something -- an advertisment, a snippet from TV, a conversation on the bus -- and I see the characters in them.

3. I read a word -- just one word, like 'boundless' -- and get an urge to include it in something I'm writing. Again, it usually turns out that the poor word never gets a look in, but there you go. Barry's a git.

Music is important to me when writing -- it's the only time I ever listen to music with my eyes open. I think music videos are the biggest contradiction in terms ever, not to mention an utterly useless gage of the quality of a song, by the way. Ever since I did ballet when I was seven or so and had to bring home the music to practice to, I've found music puts me in a sort of trance wherein I can visualise things much more clearly. I acted out whole ballets in my head to those taped rehersals. Now, I put music in my computer's CD tray and don't even hear it when I write, but I'd find it extremely hard to write otherwise.

It felt nice to write all that irrelevant, highly dull stuff. I think I may do it more often. Wait, I already do, don't I? *sighs* Still, no one has to read it -- that's a given. I'm hoping it will inspire me to write more of my latest project, which shall probably be inflicted on all of you over the summer. kabeyk , has letting off steam helped you any? (Please say yes!)

 
 
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: That song by Tim McGrath
 
 
 
...: SBP // teh_indychowburger on April 25th, 2005 09:00 am (UTC)
"A Cultural History of the Penis"
*raises eyebrow*

I'm also incapable of doing anything even vaguely creative without music in the background. This includes Irish essays, maths questions and all that jazz, as well as drawing and whatnot. I just think I don't like silence. Not conductive to thinking. I need stimulation to get my brain working.
...: style // chowburgerchowburger on April 25th, 2005 09:06 am (UTC)
And OMGYOURICON! I love that cat - way too cute!
(no subject) - scoradh on April 25th, 2005 03:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 25th, 2005 03:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
kabeyk on April 25th, 2005 09:19 am (UTC)
I actually feel loads better after my rant, especially about the boyfriend thing, and the writing-Remus-as-myself thing and all that. DD is even getting better!

But wow, are you in my head today or what? I'm definitely a big Dan Brown-sceptic, and am possibly the only person in the history of reading to have started and not finished The Da Vinci Code, because I disliked his writing style and because a few things about the beginning of the book annoyed me so much that I couldn't be bothered.

Having said that, I constantly fill sentences with mixtures of hyphens and ellipses (especially when writing out conversations because one thing I need to do in my writing is try to have people picture the scene and hear it properly), and I like it that way.

And misogynistic and narrow-minded is exactly the way I'd describe the Catholic church, but then I've never been very big on organised religion and most religions have values that would fit into both those categories.

Also, I must write similarly to you; I can't describe well, I hate stream-of-consciousness(well, mainly because I can't do it, I don't mind reading it when it's done well), and I'm not good with emotions. I completely spack out when I get to a part of a fic that needs some angst/internal monologue about emotions. And much as I admire Pterry, that is one thing I've never understood about him - I was actually surprised at Susan and Lobsang even mentioning stuff like that because I thought he wasn't going to bother.

But I do plan plot sometimes. I get an idea from something similarly stupid to your list and usually let it spin from there, but especially with DD I realised that it had got out of hand (the entire fic was supposed to be short and silly) and that I needed some sort of plan if I was going to continue it.

And music! What a good idea! I'll stick some Radiohead on and let Remus have an angst-fest. Thank you!

kxx
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on April 26th, 2005 03:00 am (UTC)
Yes; his dramatic bits were EXTREMELY poorly paced and he made the whole flagellation thing actually dull. Not good.

Yes, but I've never seen you do this: ' -- blah blah ... blah blah --' OMIGOD AWFUL. And he uses ellipses all the time, for example when he should be using COMMAS or SEMICOLONS. Why?!!

I mainly hate the fact that I can never escape from the Church's clutches...

I love well-done stream of conciousnesses. I can't define when I don't like them, but generally when I find them over-dramatic or something. It really is something I never got a handle on.

I think 'Even with nougat, you can have a perfect moment' is quite a romantic line; but then again I never liked the whole hearts and flowers folderol.

Radiohead? Umm... yes. Although I could see Remus angsting to Leonard Cohen.... I hope you do get through it soon, because I can't wait to see where you'll end us up with the UST! UST ROCKS.
(no subject) - kabeyk on April 26th, 2005 03:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 26th, 2005 01:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kabeyk on April 26th, 2005 03:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 27th, 2005 10:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kabeyk on April 27th, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 26th, 2005 03:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kabeyk on April 26th, 2005 03:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 26th, 2005 01:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kabeyk on April 26th, 2005 03:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Insufferable, man.: bitch - wastedfairycynicalpirate on April 25th, 2005 10:04 am (UTC)
'I want to write about sun/rain'
Sun/Rain - The wildest, hottest, wettest pairing ever!

I was about to read The Da Vinci Code (after Life, the Universe and Everything and The Bell Jar). I wasn't very interested in it; I don't like reading books that everyone loves - I will NOT read The Other Boleyn Girl, no matter how good it is. Ditto The Lovely Bones. Well, maybe The Lovely Bones. - but my mum (who does not read) recced it. Now I'm not so sure I want to. I might just read it for the Church slander, though.

Who plots in this day and age? I never do. I can't do... that... forward thinking thing. Can't see the consequences of my actions. Yeah.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on April 26th, 2005 02:56 am (UTC)
Yep. One day, one day. :)

I've not heard that the Other Boleyn Girl was critically acclaimed -- did you know Ann Boleyn had three breasts? I didn't want to, but my history teacher told me anyway.

The Lovely Bones would have been great if she could have decided what style she was writing in -- a horror thriller or Rushdie-inspired random mysticism. Although perhaps I shouldn't be so critical of someone who was actually raped...

If you want a better factual account of why the Church is so full of shit, I'd recommend the Turin Shroud. Can't remember who wrote it but it proved that da Vinci painted that Shroud they all bellow about and that they've hidden the fact for years. Also a lot about the Knights Templar, a cult that believes John the Baptist was the Messiah, Jesus' children with Mary Magdalen etc etc.

I don't like the Masons though, I don't CARE.

Who wrote the Bell Jar, btw? I saw it on 10 Things I Hate About You, but that's it...fie, for I am a pleb.

HAAAHAAA GRYFFINDOR~! You are so like my Harry.
(no subject) - cynicalpirate on April 26th, 2005 10:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 26th, 2005 01:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lord Marmaduke Newbrycatsmeat on April 25th, 2005 10:11 am (UTC)
Save me, Michael Chricton!
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on April 26th, 2005 02:51 am (UTC)
TIM HENMAN!!!
(no subject) - catsmeat on April 26th, 2005 05:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 26th, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - catsmeat on April 26th, 2005 02:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 26th, 2005 02:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - catsmeat on April 29th, 2005 01:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 29th, 2005 04:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - catsmeat on May 1st, 2005 07:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on May 2nd, 2005 10:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - catsmeat on May 3rd, 2005 02:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on May 3rd, 2005 01:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - catsmeat on May 4th, 2005 12:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Minnow: boyloveminnow_53 on April 25th, 2005 10:32 am (UTC)
Mmm, random inspiration... How about a fic based on your wallpaper? If that's the right word for the two guys doing lots of stuff all around me? :D

I'm not a guy (I hope!) but I always put in the names of cars. Mind you, apparently you stop doing that when you've been driving a while.

Sorry, another crap post. I'm just restlessly revising the new fic. Difficult.

^_^xx
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on April 26th, 2005 02:51 am (UTC)
How about a fic based on your wallpaper?


You're very evil, do you know that? You've set off two others on that tangent too!

Yes, but you don't tell the name, model number and year of EVERY SINGLE CAR mentioned. It wrecks my head like whoa! :(

Yes, I'm doing the same. It's horrible, I keep thinking I should just give up and DIIIIE.
(no subject) - minnow_53 on April 26th, 2005 04:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
balfrog on April 25th, 2005 10:38 am (UTC)
You plot. Er, thought you plotted. Maybe it was just the sun/rain. Ooops. And meant to leave yay!feedback at skyehawke for the H/D with the cool thunderstorm!fic. mmm... nice! (Like a big crescendo orchestra at the end with lightning and kisses)

Oh, and I second whoever up there mentioning you should fic your wallpaper.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on April 26th, 2005 02:49 am (UTC)
(Like a big crescendo orchestra at the end with lightning and kisses)



That's a gorgeous description -- better than any I've written! Me, plot? Fie, never!

OMIGOD WHY DO YOU WANT PORN FROM ME? IT WOULD BE... REALLY BAD.
Jax: boo heeimadra_blue on April 25th, 2005 11:14 am (UTC)
Plotting and planning are two separate things. I am winging it on my Snupin novel. >.> Planning extensively goes against my Gryffindor anture. Plotting goes with my Ravenclaw nature. So, there, we have J. winging it. Then I expect my beloved betas to tell me what I screwed up on and go back and fix it. Ah, I am my most creative when I wing it.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on April 26th, 2005 02:49 am (UTC)
I am trying to wing it. Then I end up writing whole paragraphs about spots and turning Voldemort into something VERY ODD INDEED. You will see.

You sound like you're really enjoying your Snupin! Did you get my beta? I really like the start, I think it's among the best things you've done.
someone's always looking for DB Cooper: mizukicatholic by _lmn_iconsnumena on April 25th, 2005 11:51 am (UTC)
I like Dan Brown. In that I think he's a not-so-very-good writer who, it just so happens, writes the perfect books to read on those really long plane rides when they screw you by not offering a movie and you're stuck sitting next to some overly talkative 50 year old lady who wants to set you up with her son - never mind that he's 16 and you're 22, and the only way to escape is to bury your nose in a book and never look up. (I like the plots usually and overlook the rest of his writing style - that whole OMGWTFBBQMYLIFEISHORRIBLEI'MBEINGMURDERED feel that his books have - reminds me of livejournal's written by melodramatic 13 year-old girls who think life ends cause they got grounded.) Wow. I can't believe I just wrote a sentence that long. Eh, oh well. ):

As for the Catholic church...Hmm. I went to Catholic school and I went to church and now I'll admit to being a lapsed Catholic, but there's so much I don't like about their views and past actions that I've just walked away entirely at this point.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on April 26th, 2005 02:47 am (UTC)
I agree with you totally! His style reminds me a lot of the dude who wrote Nuremburg -- or at least I think that's what it's called, a AU future novel about a world where Hitler won -- or John Grisham. Interesting once, but there's nothing about the writing style, no great work there that would induce you to read it again once you'd found out whodunnit.

I'm finding the whole Sophie/Roger thing SO tedious. Roger should have been gay and that's all there is to it! Of course!

Yes, me too. The thing is, though, I'd love to get un-baptised or something -- but you CAN'T. Once they have you they have you for life; even excommunicated people are still listed as Catholics. That's what I hate most of all.
gabbysun on April 25th, 2005 02:39 pm (UTC)
Pfft. I actually managed to have a twenty minute discussion with a friend of mine on the failings of Dan Brown. Whereas I had read it — and barely made it through, she had read all the rest of his books. Apparently his high-tech scientific based ones have crap information. xD; I mean, if you're going to have information that's not widely known, you can't make it up; you have to know it because there will be people that know what you're talking about and where it is complete BS or not.

At any rate, I still maintain that the reason Dan Brown was so lauded is that he dared to mess with religion. And maybe darn good publicity.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on April 26th, 2005 02:45 am (UTC)
In fact, reading the Da Vinci Code has got me wondering how much of his information is actually true. It's intriguing stuff, but it lacks a punch if it's made up. I reckon half of it is just supposition... but then again the Turin Shroud was a factual books and it drew many of the same conclusions as Brown.

I think that's absolutely correct. The other books of his never made such high publicity which tells me a lot about them, anyway. Not that the Church couldn't use some messing with -- a lot of what he says skirts too close to the mindsets of the RL fanaticists. :)
(no subject) - gabbysun on April 26th, 2005 06:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on April 26th, 2005 01:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Caitcoralia13 on April 26th, 2005 04:33 pm (UTC)
It either shines or rains and I think: 'I want to write about sun/rain'. And I end up writing about two boys having it off with one another. One day I may write about sun or rain. But I doubt it.

HAHAHA!!

I love being introspective and figuring out why I do/feel things. It's so satisfying to know that somebody gets you, even if it's just yourself.

So, I am now the ONLY person in the world who has not read The Da Vinci Code, eh? One day, maybe this summer, I will desert the post. Until then, I will continue to bear our standard. :)

PS- I LOVE your writing!
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on April 27th, 2005 10:28 am (UTC)
Occasionally one does get these flashes of understanding oneself, but it is rare!!

I just finished it. Maaaan, what a let-down. I learned nothing I didn't know before, other than what the Mallus Maleficarium was (sp?), the list of burned witches. If you want to know about the 'hidden history' of the church, go for the Turin Shroud. Trust me. Brown can't characterise for toffee, besides. If it weren't for the religious controversy this would be slated as one of the weakest thrillers.

You do? *beams* I'm rather proud of meself for I have written two chapters of the Terry-thing! Featuring many many birds! I know not why!!
(no subject) - coralia13 on April 27th, 2005 06:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on May 2nd, 2005 10:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - coralia13 on May 2nd, 2005 10:45 am (UTC) (Expand)