September 16, 2009

Writing = The Exploration of Truth?

I rarely take the philosophical route. I'm usually more of a "logic" guy. But today, I'm offering up a recent thought that I had in regards to writing. If it's terrible and you hate it, tell me why. If you love it and want to endorse it (re-tweet, maybe?), tell me why. I'm sure it has been said before, whether by a lunatic or a genius, I don't know. But, the thesis for the day is:

Writing is an exploration of Truth.

Yeah, I'm throwing the capital "T" Truth out there. As writers, isn't our goal to replicate life? Even ridiculous stories featuring talking toys or cartoon animals attempt to draw inspiration from real life. Don't writers, then, seek to understand life in such a detailed way that it becomes a pursuit of the Truth? We draw intricately crafted character bios and backgrounds. We research setting, culture, and history. We walk readers down a plotted path that must be, if not logical, feasible. Right?

If a character murders another character, don't we have the obligation of explaining the factors that led up to the killing (if not through the main story, at least through the backstory)? What Truth led to the killing? Perhaps jealousy? Perhaps anger? Perhaps spite?

Take jealousy, for example. Do all jealous people kill? No. What factors in a person's life would lead them to kill out of jealousy? Once we move down this path, aren't we exploring the Truth behind human emotion and the implications of human behavior?

I think we are. The Truth might be stated in the negative (as in the jealousy example), or it might be stated in the positive, but either way, we are exploring Truth, right? Aren't we exploring principles that would lead us down a path that quests for the underlying Truth?

What do you think? Is there any truth (pun intended) to this idea? If so, does this apply to any other forms of art? If not, then what are we doing? What is writing all about?

September 03, 2009

Comics vs. Novels

Today's topic: comics...or novels? Statistics, which I don't have references for, tell us that the predominent readers of novels are...middle-aged women. I haven't seen the same statistics for comics, but if you've ever visited a comic book store, I think a quick visual poll reveals that it's mostly younger males.

Much of that spread likely has to deal with the way women and men function. Men are generally more visual. Women are generally more of (for lack of a better term) "feelers." Women can immerse themselves in the words while men like to be "Oooo-ed" and "Aaahhh-ed" by steriod-injesting men and well-endowed women. Again, we're speaking in generalities. Of course men like to read novels, and of course women read comics, but I'm just speaking in overall terms.

So, I have two questions for you...
  1. What do you primarily choose to read? (and let us know your gender - we'll do a quick pole)
  2. If you also write, what kinds of implications do these (vague, unproven, and untested) statistics have on your writing?

As an aside, here are some suggested reading materials/people to follow/places to visit. Enjoy!

  • Jospeh Petro's "Standing Next to History" (an excellent memior about his time as an agent in Ronald Reagan's secret service detail)
  • Lajos Egri's "The Art of Dramatic Writing" (a great, thought-provoking exploration of the writing process)
  • (and follow @pulptone on Twitter)
  • People to follow on Twitter: @nscheck (illustrator for @pulptone (creator of Sergeant Zero) @bobbynash (writer) @jamesscottbell (writer)
  • And of - new episodes every Monday and Thursday!