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Info Dump versus Being Left in the Dark

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Old 12-31-2013, 09:58 AM
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The problem is that IQ is empty without proper nurture. Although there are exceptions, a brilliant mind, talented in a scientific or artistic et al area, may be shunted by a parent that either demands another occupation or merely sets an environmental stage that focuses on something else.

Those of us born in the 50's had no idea that nicotine causes behavioral problems and other nerve disorders. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and, more important here, Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder were not even in the books then. Domestic abuse can extend to inappropriate rearing methods, so a potential young Einstein winds up 35 years old before he knows it, subject to the assembly line and sports, if not pitchfork-and-torch, mindset and the resulting peer pressure. He or she may never realize their passion.

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Old 12-31-2013, 10:08 AM
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Funny my Gran born in 1907 knew she didn't like smoking it was nasty and when she was running a pub did everything she could to reduce domestic abuse.

Common sense prevailed with some people even then.
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Old 12-31-2013, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDumbOne View Post
I've heard of that. Now you've piqued my curiosity, darn it.



Poor communicative form. This alienates the reader because it comes across as a directive. In this case, since you aren't the boss of me, it is easy to interpret as rude.
Mike? Rude? No, he's just direct.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:42 PM
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Common sense prevailed with some people even then.
It still does. There are simply a lot more people on the planet, so, proportionally, more underprivileged.

I really think if we'd reverse the overshadowing of science and art by sports started back in the 60's, we'd find more readers hungry for enlightening fiction. What I like about information brought out in book, versus the movies, is the lower level or even absence of sensationalism. Perhaps a new species of fiction needs to be cultivated, without calling it info dump fiction.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDumbOne View Post
It still does. There are simply a lot more people on the planet, so, proportionally, more underprivileged.

I really think if we'd reverse the overshadowing of science and art by sports started back in the 60's, we'd find more readers hungry for enlightening fiction. What I like about information brought out in book, versus the movies, is the lower level or even absence of sensationalism. Perhaps a new species of fiction needs to be cultivated, without calling it info dump fiction.
But it isn't new - I already suggested Herman Melville and Victor Hugo. It's a very old form of fiction. It has fallen out of fashion because the vast majority of readers just skip the infodump as they move on to the story. Which is why taking the information and spreading it throughout the story is more effective even for the ones that want the accurate information. It gives them a context and makes it easier to remember. If they want to know then there is Google.

I mentioned the Mohne dam and the bouncing bomb in my story for example. It's just a few lines and wedded in context. None of my beta readers had heard of it before. Given the age of my character I still opted to leave it. And the readers had an image to connect it to.

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Old 12-31-2013, 01:21 PM
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Heh. I know what a bouncing bomb is. My grandfather was based in England with the Royal Canadian Air Force and piloted a Halifax bomber doing missions over Germany. Guy Gibson, the famous dam buster was supposed to be at the ceremony where my gramps got his wings -- but Gibson got drunk and didn't show up. He told that story a gazzillion times, but I always liked hearing it.
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Old 12-31-2013, 03:34 PM
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None of my beta readers had heard of it before.
I've had a lot of that in mine concerning Yellowstone Park Caldera being a dormant supervolcano, among other little fun facts, like harmonic tremors and the instigation of discord between the Galls and the Franks during the mid 7th century having been carried out by the Roman Catholic Church.
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Old 12-31-2013, 04:35 PM
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That's a great story Joe. There's a fab documentary about Dam Busters on YouTube Martin Shaw does it. (A TV actor in the UK)

I only really know it from the film but it is an amazing film. Part of me didn't want to know what Guy Gibson was really like or acknowledge the damage done on the other side (which was horrific). The documentary I found on YouTube was really good though.

My grandfather never acknowledged his part in the war (he was a navigator) - we've still got his war medals in the box and he never opened them.
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Old 12-31-2013, 04:58 PM
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The suggestion was made about an appendix and footnotes. Excuse me, but it's been done before. I think I have a fresh idea... sort of. How many have read "Up The Down Staircase?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_the_Down_Staircase

And remember Andy Kaufman...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Kaufman

and his character Tony Clifton...
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Old 01-01-2014, 12:42 AM
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[QUOTE=TheDumbOne;625229]YOU failed to accept its elegance .

No. There was no elegance. Only a clumsy facsimile of.


But to the matter in hand...

SF is different. Almost nobody likes an infodump... unless you're a fan of 'hard' sf (do such distinctions still exist?)

Hard SF - geeky, the science is as important as the story and by god you'd better get the science right or you'll be ridiculed by the geeks...

Soft or literary SF - the story is everything. Nobody cares if a left-handed gamma spline will really give a 7.8% increase in warpness over a right-handed one. They just want to get there.

So the answer is decide who you're writing for, and write accordingly.
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Old 01-01-2014, 03:26 AM
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Only a clumsy facsimile of.
Anyone who writes a GIGO clause like this shouldn't criticize others form. Even as a fragment, this is... pour L'toilet.
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Old 01-01-2014, 04:23 AM
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I don't think Mike is going for elegance. However the man knows his way round the English language and enjoys reading the pretentious literary crap that has lost the plot so clearly he recognises someone trying to be elegant.

If you're trying to do something that hasn't been done before it won't happen. Those that strive for originality tend never to achieve it. Whilst I am told I have with my stories I'm still not convinced (especially as two of my most "original" ideas came from 1980s He-Man cartoons)

Up the Down Staircase is an epistolary if memory serves? How would that be original?`
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  #73  
Old 01-01-2014, 04:57 AM
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Up the Down Staircase is an epistolary if memory serves? How would that be original?`
Perhaps someone learning from it.

Don't forget I mentioned Andy Kaufman/Tony Clifton. Kaufman didn't die a poor man. Clifton lives on. Loved or hated, both drew a crowd.

As for Mike, he needs to read the recent work I posted in the MO area, then comment on that. There the commentary is solicited. If someone asks to learn English better, then we are actually being courteous should we point out some flaws in a post. Unsolicited? That's baiting for flames.
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Old 01-01-2014, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by AnyaKimlun View Post
That's a great story Joe. There's a fab documentary about Dam Busters on YouTube Martin Shaw does it. (A TV actor in the UK)

I only really know it from the film but it is an amazing film. Part of me didn't want to know what Guy Gibson was really like or acknowledge the damage done on the other side (which was horrific). The documentary I found on YouTube was really good though.

My grandfather never acknowledged his part in the war (he was a navigator) - we've still got his war medals in the box and he never opened them.
My dad said that my grandfather didn't talk about the war for years. In 2000, there was an unveiling of a restored Halifax bomber in Canada and he went to that. Afterward, he began to open up and tell stories -- sometimes he'd get very emotional. I think he was proud of his service, not about the destruction and killing. At the time, they believed they were doing the right thing -- and while I think he felt bad about the lives lost, I don't think he felt the need to feel a lot of remorse for his role in hindsight. I believe it was at an air museum in England -- they put up a display that was basically an apology for the all the bombing -- and however it was worded, he felt it was disrespectful to the bomber crews and men who lost their lives. He didn't go into detail, but I know he wasn't very happy about it.
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Old 01-01-2014, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDumbOne View Post
There the commentary is solicited. If someone asks to learn English better, then we are actually being courteous should we point out some flaws in a post. Unsolicited? That's baiting for flames.
Like the time you corrected my spelling in the aliens thread?

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Old 01-01-2014, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDumbOne View Post
Perhaps someone learning from it.
I've written an epistolary. A horror from the POV of an eighteenth century priest going mad. What do you hope to learn from it? The idea of using a Captain's Log/Finding a video stream etc has also been done

Don't forget I mentioned Andy Kaufman/Tony Clifton. Kaufman didn't die a poor man. Clifton lives on. Loved or hated, both drew a crowd.
Who's Tony Clifton? The clue to why I only vaguely know who Kaufman is is in my details (check location.) I wouldn't expect you to know the ins and outs of Ronnie Corbett, Ernie Wise, Ken Dodd, Lenny Henry etc
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Old 01-01-2014, 06:10 AM
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Like the time you corrected my spelling in the aliens thread?
As I recall I requested clarification. The spell check was a byproduct. If you look at my run-of-the-mill posts, there's seldom any criticism unless I'm wondering what is really being said. If someone, such as Mike, has a style that makes me wonder about their mental health (no accusations, implied or otherwise), or effectively pushes my buttons, I usually mention the effects of the post. If it appears to be flame bait impetus, I stop responding to them and essentially hope others will let that poster speak in their own defense if I'm in the wrong.

Who's Tony Clifton?
That's why I provided the Wiki link for Kaufman.
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Old 01-01-2014, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeMatt View Post
I believe it was at an air museum in England -- they put up a display that was basically an apology for the all the bombing -- and however it was worded, he felt it was disrespectful to the bomber crews and men who lost their lives. He didn't go into detail, but I know he wasn't very happy about it.
Think your grandfather might be a little younger than mine was. Mine would be 110 this year. My Gran was furious with him going away to war because he didn't have to. He and an uncle signed up one day when they were drunk! Really, my grandfather was too young for WW1 and too old for WW2.

I think there is a line to be walked between recognising the bravery, necessity and sacrifice of those who went but also feeling a certain empathy/revulsion at what happened.

The difference between the US and UK is that we were also on the backside end of the bombs. Whilst my grandfather was off at war my grandma sat in a chair every night with a suitcase backed (she refused to use a shelter). As well as listening to my grandfather and great-uncles - I listened to my gran and great-aunts who were in Liverpool and London. Even in the 1980s as a child I remember walking past terraces with one missing or sites full of rubble that hadn't been fully cleared yet.

The Mohne dam was an amazing feat of bravery and engineering but it is also the reason dams and water sources are off limits in war. The effects were awful.

Listening to stories about Dresden is appalling. My German great-aunt escaped with my uncle after the war so I had first hand tales from both sides.

The church I grew up with had a gentleman who had witnessed Hiroshima from a ship at sea. He was a pacifist.

One of my great-uncles was also a pacifist. Interestingly he was a hunter so was the only one who had fired a gun before the war but he refused to carry a weapon. He went in the ambulance corps instead. He actually probably witnessed more horrific front line action than any of the others but he was the least effected and the most able to talk about it. He was the one I learned the most about the war from so it probably colours my views.
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Old 01-01-2014, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDumbOne View Post
As I recall I requested clarification.
It was in the form of a request for clarification. But there shouldn't have been any doubt based on context. Pretty transparent.
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Old 01-01-2014, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDumbOne View Post

That's why I provided the Wiki link for Kaufman.
I'm not finding anything revolutionary in the link or the one to the book.

Clarissa is an epistolary.

The idea of taking on a persona goes back to some really old stage posters. Dame Edna started when Andy Kaufman was 7.

How do you propose to use them to revolutionise your stories?
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Old 01-01-2014, 06:46 AM
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How do you propose to use them to revolutionise your stories?
Other than Kaufman's "Tony Clifton" character being experimental (keyword) audience interaction, as of this point, that's... mmmm... top secret.

Pretty transparent.
Then why were you so offended? If you have some serious problems, you might consider taking them to a PM, Joe. It should be pretty obvious from my posts that I'm a kind man, offering to help other writers succeed... even if that includes armchair psychology. When someone's posts toward me can be seen as mean spirited, I'll either try to see why, ignore them or both.
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by AnyaKimlun View Post
Think your grandfather might be a little younger than mine was. Mine would be 110 this year. My Gran was furious with him going away to war because he didn't have to. He and an uncle signed up one day when they were drunk! Really, my grandfather was too young for WW1 and too old for WW2.
Yes -- he would be 95 -- so that would make a difference. I guess my feeling is they personally shouldn't be expected to feel any more remorse than anyone else who fought. And like my dad said, anyone with any sympathy or conscience would have had to disassociate from what was happening in the ground. And it's my guess it got to them more than most of them would let on or perhaps even recognize.

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Old 01-01-2014, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDumbOne View Post
Then why were you so offended? If you have some serious problems, you might consider taking them to a PM, Joe. It should be pretty obvious from my posts that I'm a kind man, offering to help other writers succeed... even if that includes armchair psychology. When someone's posts toward me can be seen as mean spirited, I'll either try to see why, ignore them or both.
Who said I was offended? And "serious problems?" Please. Such drama. I was more amused than anything else because it was so pointless. It would be clear from my posts and the context that I didn't need the "help" and and you didn't need "clarification." I'm just recognizing it for what it was.

P.S. I have no reason to believe you aren't a kind man. Sometimes when people join writing sites, they think it might be clever to take a poke at someone by correcting their spelling -- because hey, it's a writing site! Get it? They usually learn pretty quickly that it's bad form. I just brought it up because I saw a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

Now get up out of your psychology armchair and have a good stretch.

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Old 01-01-2014, 09:55 AM
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Maybe I'm just not getting Tony Clifton but how was audience interaction a new thing/revolutionary? He was born in the 1940s according to the Wikipedia link so I doubt he was new - maybe he was new on American TV.

In literary terms Jane Eyre broke the fourth wall and I'm sure others even earlier did.

In my experience breaking conventions is far easier when you're not trying to break them.
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:41 AM
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It really doesn't matter. I get it. It's to my advantage that you don't.


Personally I get a release of dopamine when I prove the masses to be asses. There's an elite group of us out there who can do that effectively... People think they're normal, but they're usually just mediocre.
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:49 AM
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I know the sort that think they are superior and are proving the rest of us to be asses.

They tend to be in shock when I need to prove I'm not an ass. More than once I've left an odious prick looking like an idiot and unable to cope. Because I know when pressed they can only prove their superiority by using language they assume people can't understand. Just because someone doesn't speak like pedant does not mean they lack comprehension or an extensive vocabulary.

A very, very intelligent person who truly knows their shit can explain it at a multitude of levels and doesn't leave those who are less educated in an area feeling stupid - they leave the people around them enlightened. Even with my fibromyalgia and serious lack of brain power as a result I can usually spot the faking idiot from the intelligent.

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Old 01-01-2014, 11:56 AM
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Did I say I included you in the masses? Did I say I included anyone on this forum in the masses?

Remember: I'm the dumb one. Correct?

What I did refer to was that it didn't matter that you are having difficulty following the thought of Andy Kaufman's experimentalism where Tony Clifton is concerned, even though the wiki article provided a hyperlink to more information. I said it was to my advantage, same as if people have difficulty understanding my hunch about dark matter and the mechanics of the Higgs field. If I invent something either way, it reduces the chances of being simultaneously invented 3000 miles away. I may truly have a secret or eight.

I can usually spot the faking idiot from the intelligent.
... but not always. Sorry to hear about your nerve pain. I have neuropathy, so understand how that must feel. Lack of brain power? I must be too dumb to have picked up on that.

There are quite a few multifaceted, multitalented people out there in those 7 billion people. Some are celebrated. Some are unknown. Some really don't care.

What I care about is finding those of a like mindset. From the beta-reads I've had so far, it would seem that amounts to about 2000 or 3000 people. That's enough.
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDumbOne View Post
It really doesn't matter. I get it. It's to my advantage that you don't.

Personally I get a release of dopamine when I prove the masses to be asses. There's an elite group of us out there who can do that effectively... People think they're normal, but they're usually just mediocre.
When I first read this, I thought you must be joking. But your subsequent post indicates otherwise.

So you get a boost from proving you’re somehow smarter, more clever or know more than the “masses?” Proving it to them or to yourself? Either way, it seems a little sad. Perhaps a good example might be showing that someone didn’t “get” a somewhat amusing, running gag cooked up by a comedian 30 years ago? Yeah -- impressive.
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