Mythic Scribes Writing Jargon?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Devor, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Devor

    Devor Staff Moderator

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    Hey Scribes,

    I was wondering if there were words or phrases that you use to help you write or that might help others learn how to write a better story. I'm referring to words like "Hook" or "Pinch Point" or "Activate Your Verbs," or possibly tropes like "Lampshade" or "McGuffin."

    But I'm also looking for words that might not be so common. In particular, Mythic Scribes members have coined words like "info-littering" and "waypoint writer." Are there others that I've missed?

    I ask because I'm thinking about whether it would be helpful to put together a tightly trimmed glossary or other materials that might help to push our collective understanding of the writing process.

    Thanks Scribes!
     
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  2. I talk about Suspension of Disbelief a lot. As well as Rule of Cool, which is related.

    Uhhhhhh

    I know there are a bunch of tropes that I talk about all the time...
     
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  3. FifthView

    FifthView Dark Lord

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    "Waypoint writer" was a great one.

    I think I've recently coined "lure" and "double-narrator" but I have a peculiar way of looking at things, sometimes I stretch when trying to explain what I have in mind, and I think that there might be a danger in codifying what is merely personal and perhaps not fully baked.

    There's a recent thread about cliffhangers that links an article which seems to redefine cliffhanger or else coopts the term for any sort of ... heh, chapter-ending lure. I don't have a problem w/ that per se, because I thought all the examples were great things to consider, but I think this gets at the problem of codification. The traditional view of cliffhangers was a very particular sort of thing and redefining it might cause confusion for those who haven't/don't see the non-traditional definition.

    I look at tension differently than some, I think, and wonder if sometimes this word can cause confusion in a similar way. What do we mean by ____________ [fill in the blank]? Even now when discussing prologues I wonder if there's a difference between the standard chapter-like prologue and other material that merely frames a story. When someone thinks of "prologue," what is the first thought that comes to mind?
     
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  4. FifthView

    FifthView Dark Lord

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    But in the spirit of things, I'd nominate "make it worse" for the list.
     
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  5. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    In my online & live crit groups, I use the term "Unnecessary Precursor". By that, I mean lead in words for a POV character's perceptions that usually aren't needed.

    For example, if my character is looking at something, an unnecessary precursor might be, "Eva saw the red stains seeping through and spreading over his white cotton shirt..."

    The unnecessary precursor there is, "Eva saw". I say unnecessary because if the author instead simply described the stain, without writing "Eva saw", the reader would innately understand that the POV is seeing this.

    "A red stain seeped through and spread over his white cotton shirt."

    Other examples might be, "He began" where just showing the character take action tells the reader the character began some task, without having to say so.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
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  6. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Grandmaster

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    I think that also qualifies as "filtering". I like your term better.
     
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  7. Russ

    Russ Dark Lord

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    That is indeed filtering.
     
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  8. Devor

    Devor Staff Moderator

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    I like "unnecessary precursor." Big words, but they're to the point. "Filtering" is a little high-concept. But maybe "unnecessary" isn't strong enough because those phrases add a distance that isn't just redundant, it can actually hurt the prose. Maybe a "distancing precursor"? (Not to intrude on your writing groups, of course.)

    "Rule of Cool" is a good one. It's one of those basic storytelling tropes, not one of those super-specific ones like "Chosen One" or "Dark Lord." "Suspension of Disbelief" is one of those that has got to be in any writer's lingo.

    I like "make it worse," but doesn't that come from Maas? If so, I think that's okay to use, but it's got to be credited where appropriate.

    What do you mean by Lure and Double-Narrator, FifthView? I must've missed those discussions.

    I forget who coined Waypoint Writer, but that's easy to look up. "Ghost" coined Info-Littering, but I don't think she's around anymore.
     
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  9. FifthView

    FifthView Dark Lord

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    Yeah, I think "make it worse" is from Maas. I picked it up here, principally during this conversation: https://mythicscribes.com/forums/writing-questions/16501-how-can-get-any-worse.html

    Lure and Double-Narrator are too vague at this point to be of much use perhaps.

    A Lure is something like a pithy turn of phrase, unusual or odd statement, vivid metaphor, what-have-you that leads a reader to keep reading onward for the next few sentences or paragraphs; I'd used it in contrast to "hook," although some use "hook" to mean just this sort of thing at the beginning of a book. (So this goes back to that issue of redefining terms.)

    I'd used Double-Narrator to describe that blending effect of having a narrator who is not the character and a strong character voice, for instance in a close third person limited, so that the two often become barely distinguishable. This also sometimes happens with omniscient third narrators who "ventriloquize" a character voice during narration (although this point wasn't raised in the same discussion, I think.)

    But I think that these two may still be idiosyncratic at this point.
     
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  10. Russ

    Russ Dark Lord

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    I am pretty sure that goes ways back before Maass. Chandler articulated it as "when in doubt have someone walk through the door with a gun in his hand" and Elmore Leonard and other guys articulated the same thing in different ways.

    And I don't think Maass will mind if we use it.

    Personally I use filtering and hear it used quite often among writers. I think it is better than "Unnecessary Precursors" because it is more specific. There are other kinds of UP's in my view of writing, such as what I like to call "Weasel Words".

    Edit:

    It does indeed appear that the make it worse idea goes way back before Mr. Maass:

    “The writer’s job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them.” - Vladimir Nabokov,
     
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  11. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Chesterama, or "Chessie" was the waypoint writer I think. I liked that too.

    Lure was from a massive "hook" discussion we had a while back. You could search my post "casting the lure: what bait to use and how to use it."

    And double narrator was from a POV discussion we had recently had about third close vs. Third omni.
     
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  12. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    More often, I think, I've seen these called distancing verbs, or simply "distancers". Filter also, but I think distancing is really an accurate description.

     
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  13. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    I think waypoint writer was mine seeing that it is what I am. But I could've stolen it, or it could be a creation from multiple points, nothing's truly original.

    The first mention of lures as mini-hooks predates the most recent big hook/lure discussions by quite a while, I think. Months, I think. Later it caught on.

     
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  14. Devor

    Devor Staff Moderator

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    It was Dem (see below). But speaking of Chessie, what happened? When I searched for Waypoint Writer, I noticed it looks like her account was deleted.



     
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  15. Devor

    Devor Staff Moderator

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    @Russ,

    For sure the idea goes back quite a ways before Maass, but I think using the actual phrase comes from him. Although I doubt it's a real issue.

    What do you mean by "Weasel Words"?
     
  16. FifthView

    FifthView Dark Lord

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    I remember introducing it here: https://mythicscribes.com/forums/wr...s-first-five-pages-post268042.html#post268042

    But that discussion wasn't long after you posted your book's prologue in Showcase, I think. I remembered saying I wasn't quite hooked by it...then gave a description of a fish intrigued by it, keeping it in view, heh. During the conversation linked above, I coined "lure," still remembering my feeling during that conversation about your prologue. Maybe the term was used before and something in my brain recalled it, I don't know. I do think that previous discussions before all this may have circled the idea of "mini hooks," or maybe it was your mention of mini hooks that prompted my brain to think "lure." :confused:

    Edit: So I could see the entry following the format Lures (aka Mini-Hooks) or else Mini-Hooks (aka Lures) heh.

    Maybe some of the others, like filtering, could have various aka's.

    But all of this combined with the "codification" and idiosyncracy issue leaves me wondering if the guide to the jargon ought to be cast as a Translation Guide for Understanding the Inmates sort of thing, heh.
     
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  17. Drakevarg

    Drakevarg Lore Master

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    I think Chandler's Law (as TVTropes calls it) is more of a way to jump-start things when you start running out of ideas. Whereas the "make it worse" concept was more along the lines of "more misery = more interesting." Debates on that were kinda why that thread exploded.

    In the spirit of a jargon glossary though, what the heck is a waypoint writer?
     
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  18. Devor

    Devor Staff Moderator

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    In between a pantser and an outliner, a waypoint writer figures out the big plot point but wings it in between.
     
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  19. Drakevarg

    Drakevarg Lore Master

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    Pretty much how I write then, since I'm one of those writers who thinks of characters as being largely autonomous from my plot needs, so I can't necessarily predict what they'd do. Stems from getting my start in tabletop gaming, I suppose.
     
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  20. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    You formalized it, for sure, LOL. Pretty sure the connection between hook and lure goes back a ways, might've been bait mentioned too, LOL. But I could be confusing other conversations not on MS.

     
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