Showing posts with the label Literary Analysis/Commentary/Interpretation

Critics and Creators

This piece of wisdom popped into my head the other day, "Creators don't write for critics. Critics don't write for creators." I posted it on my Facebook page and got a few comments. The more I thought about it the more I realized the truth and importance of that statement.

My Aunt Karen made a comment about it being true. Since I had been thinking about it I felt like articulating a bit more, so I did.

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Jeff - I was just thinking about how when I write articles about books or movies I don't intend those for the creator at all. I intend them as part of a discussion to learn from for people that either want to appreciate and have a deeper understanding of the work, or for people that want to learn from the work so that they can create their own things. When I write something I don't think about any critics at all. I think about the reader at times, but as the person experiencing the work, not commentating on it. Creators and critics are usually see…

John Galt, Harry Potter, and Hero Problems

There is a problem with heroes. Today we will not solve this problem, but we will look at two examples, John Galt and Harry Potter. Articulating the problem is often half the battle.

"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand is one of the most polarizing books ever written, people usually either love it or hate it. The book is about the slow fall and collapse of American society. John Galt is the hero, although we almost never see him, and even hear very little about him. He's a genius that created a way to generate unlimited free power, but because of the systemic corruption in the society he walked away from the entire society and started his own. (Atlas was the Titan that was punished by being forced to hold up the sky, although he's usually depicted as holding up the world. Ayn Rand states that the story is really a closer take on Prometheus. Prometheus is the Titan that stole fire from Olympus and gave it to man. For that he is chained to a rock and his liver is eaten every …

Why is Slytherin House Bad?

Is Slytherin house bad? Should they be bad? Why?


There are four houses in "Harry Potter": Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. Each is associated with certain psychological traits and attributes. Gryffindor is associated with bravery, Ravenclaw is associated with intelligence, Hufflepuff takes everyone but is most closely associated with friendliness and loyalty, and Slytherin is associated with ambition.

Slytherin is not presented as all bad in "Harry Potter", but they are presented as almost all bad. This is not particularly popular because many people are in Slytherin. But, there are good reasons for this. (Also, it's important to point out that no one is a pure fit for a house. Some of the characters in "Harry Potter" even seem to be a bit of a contradiction.)

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I did one test where it gave you the percentages of which house you would fit in. I was rated 43% Ravenclaw, 26% Gryffindor, 19% Slytherin, and 12% Hufflepuff.


What Makes Voldemort, Grindelwald, and Slytherin Bad?

Voldemort was an evil wizard. Grindelwald was a bad guy. Slytherin was a big meany. Why? What makes them so bad?


First, Slytherin. Salazar Slytherin was one of the four founders of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Each of the four houses at Hogwarts is named after one of the founders: Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. Each is associated with specific psychological attributes. Ravenclaws are intelligent, Gryffindors are brave, Slytherins are ambitious, and Hufflepuffs are everyone else (they're mostly known for being nice). (Ravenclaw is also known for eccentric people. Eccentric is code for weird. They are obviously the best house. I'm Ravenclaw.)

This is at a time when witches and wizards were being persecuted by muggles. Muggles are people that don't have magic. Muggles were hunting and killing witches and wizards.

It's possible for a witch or wizard to be born from two muggle parents, or a mixed couple. The idea that muggles h…

One Instance of Horrible Wisdom - Rectified

There is some wisdom that is good, but there is also bad wisdom. Today we shall take a look at the bad.

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Once upon a time there was a king who had a son. He wanted his son to have the best of everything, including education. But, the time of kings and princes is very limited. The king decided that he needed the best education for the prince in the shortest amount of time. He assembled a great many of the learned men in his kingdom and set them a task, reduce all of the knowledge that they had into as short a time as possible for the prince. They set about their task. It was a large endeavor. They wrote, discussed, debated, and rewrote textbooks. Finally, after 4 years of effort they came to the king and said that they could teach him everything that there was to know in 16 years.

The king was upset about this. "My son, the prince, will be 20 in 16 years. He cannot be reading textbooks still! He must be leading my armies along our borders by then. You need to do bette…

Patrick Rothfuss, George R. R. Martin, and the Speed of Writing - Part 1 of ?

Every time you see George R. R. Martin mentioned there is a long list of people complaining about how slowly he is writing the A Song of Ice and Fire series. It annoys me, so I'm going to do some comparing.

First of all, we have to figure out what we're doing, and then how we're doing it. I'm going to mostly use for book lengths, and if I need to. I think good metrics would be words per day and years per book.

I imagine that Mark Twain's short story The Death Wafer (or Death Disk) is going to be our slowest rate, because it's a very short story and it took him 12 years to write. But it was worth it, it's good stuff. Let's look at Twain first, then we'll dive into epic fantasy.

I did a simple word count of the story and came up with 3,358 words. That's 0.77 words per day (I rounded up), and one short story per 12 years. I think that's going to be our slowest rate no matter what else we look at.

I'm also go…

The Evaluation of Writing and The Deconstruction of Creation

Creation and deconstruction are two sides of the same coin. Stephen King recommends that you put as much time into reading as you do into writing. I put way more time into the reading portion, but I don't do it in a particularly critical or systematized way. I want to change that.

When I first started public speaking my ability to give a speech evaluating someone else's speech lagged behind. I went to another member of my Toastmasters group that is a professional speaker and teaches college courses on public speaking. He gave me a format to use that was both flexible and gave structure to my evaluations. That is what I am looking for in evaluating writing.

The first thing that we all evaluate is whether or not we like a work; whether or not we think it is good. We don't always, and probably usually, know why we like or don't like something, but it is important to recognize the emotions we are experiencing because of a work. Trying to make that process conscious will al…