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Richard Norway

A Question of Tense Within POV

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There is a today-story of the protagonist with a flashback to the protagonist's grandfather who then has a flashback to the protagonist's great-grandfather...

No! Not the dreaded flashback-within-a-flashback trick! Yikes! Those drive me crazy.

I remember they did that in the Shia LaBouf movie Holes, and I started throwing things at the screen and cursing. (Luckily, I was in my own house at the time, but it was still embarrassing.)

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BTW, I was trying to think of noted authors who eschewed convention and broke all the rules. Aside from e e cummings, who always wrote in lower case and avoided some punctuation, I can't think of a lot of others. Anybody?

Faulkner, in Absalom! Absalom!, for example where the POV changes frequently without warning and sentences run on for pages. But it was a very difficult read.

Beckett, in Krapp's Last Tape.

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Faulkner is a good example (the opening of The Sound and the Fury comes to mind), and at times Roth and Heller and Irving and even Steinbeck.

I'm certainly not advocating breaking conventions just to do so. It's much more a case of presenting a story in the best way you can, and the way that also allows you to speak as creatively as you want. I agree that accessibility of the reader is important, but many writers ignore that and write only to stroke their own passions and satisfy their own muses. Are they wrong to do this? I don't think so. They certainly limit their readership, but that's their choice to make.

Music is much the same. Artists tend to create music that resonates for them, that soothes the beast inside them. Much avant garde music is absolute crap to me, but as I tend to run in an academic atmosphere much of the time, I've been to concerts where the very latest stuff is created and performed. At UC-? I've heard computer enhanced music, piano scores where the keys aren't used but a block of wood on the strings instead, a trombone, piccolo, cowbell trio with the former two instruments playing in different keys, an orchestral pieces where every instrument was to play anything the player desired, but when it was played was denoted on the score, and for how long, but the notes that were played, how loudly or softly, what key, whether is was something memorized or completely ad lib, was the instrumentalist's choice. Some very interesting sounds, all told, but certainly without much commercial appeal.

I don't write like that myself. I want very much for the reader to become involved in any story I write, to identify with the characters, to worry when things are going amok for them. But I'm really not thinking of guidelines when I'm writing. I'm very much in the scene I'm writing and consciously trying to put the reader there too. And I try to write decent English. So I suppose my writing does follow pretty conventional guidelines. But I don't think that way when I'm writing. It probably happens because those guidelines have been imposed on me by the culture we live in, and all the reading I've done.

C

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Yeah, I think VWL has zeroed in on the crux of the matter.

Maybe a comparison I should have made was comparing writing fiction to writing music. Sure, you can avoid all the rules, hit flat chords, change tempo every measure, come to a complete stop every so often, avoid conventional harmony, have lyrics that don't rhyme, and so on. Very avant-garde.

But I don't think it's as entertaining as a well-constructed song that flows from the first note, follows a conventional structure, has verses, a chorus every so often, pleasing harmonies, and a melody you can hum along with. I can do this with everything from The Carpenters to Guns N' Roses, from The Beatles to Metallica, and from Burt Bacharach to Rob Zombie. Even a group of musicians this diverse still followed those rules. (Excuse me... guidelines!) Granted, there are true avant garde devotees -- take musique concr?te, please -- but I'm not one of them. (Not a big Yoko Ono fan, either.)

Just going by standard musical structure can still yield tens of millions of different possible songs, as-yet unwritten. I think the same is true for fiction. There's millions of stories out there, still unwritten, and I bet quite a few of them are potentially great. I don't necessarily mean commercial best-sellers, but at least stories that entertain, stories that engage the listener, and at least help people forget their troubles for a little while.

BTW, I was trying to think of noted authors who eschewed convention and broke all the rules. Aside from e e cummings, who always wrote in lower case and avoided some punctuation, I can't think of a lot of others. Anybody?

Pecman, I'd like to make it clear that I am not in opposition to what you say. But I do want to draw another view to show an underlying disposition for creativity. By way of declaration or rant (if you like) I would like to say that I am not all that fond of 'modern' music, particularly the discordant over-intellectualised forms that fail to celebrate the harmony and wonder of the human experience. (I'm not all that fond of modern cinematography either, but that would be unnecessary diversion of the discussion.)

Somewhere, someone threw away, not only melody and rhythm but also the ability to appeal to the heart, for the sake of satisfying an over-reasoned concept, by voiding emotion. Somehow this phlegmatic sound is presented so as to disguise the fact that it is nothing more than noise masquerading as the latest 'music.' It is truly representative of its time, repetitive, obvious, soulless, passionless and above all, psycho-bathetic. (Yes, I just put that word together.)

Most of this sound is constructed by the talentless for the masses of mediocrity who have no ear for beauty. In fact they fear beauty. They question the need for beauty, and therefore fail to find truth in their art or their lives. So they invent a new truth and proclaim it as beautiful; as the emperor's new music.

Most of this stuff comes, not from breaking rules or guidelines, but from creating new rules to justify ignoring the old ones, and thereby solidifying them in a way that severely limits further exploration. This is the wrong way to proceed.

Truth and beauty are not invented, they are discovered. Art reveals them; reveals the truth and beauty to us. But we can invent new ways, new art forms to see, to hear and perceive both.

The advancements over centuries that led from Beethoven to the Beatles comes from following rules, and playing with them to suit the time of their composers. There is a parallel here if you like between a cave men hitting two sticks together and forming a rhythm to accompany his vocal sounds. He chose which sounds echoed his experience, his existence and he expanded them so he could share them. These developed into instruments and vocal forms which grew into Tribal, and later, Gregorian chants, opera, Mozart, Wagner, Stravinsky, untold number of minstrels' songs, and rock and roll. These married and gave birth to give us Movie music of great influence, of extraordinary social comment in the songs of war and peace, popular songs of love and laughter, along with Queen and even country and western music. (you don't have to like it to recognise it as valid.)

The truly avant-garde don't deny heritage. They use it to build the new and the daring. In other words they look to the rules of old for guidance, but are not constrained by them.

All of these were achieved over many years in many cultures, often shocking the audiences of their day.

Therefore we do have to tolerate some of those horrible noises, those anaemic experiments into the unknown caves of illusory and perhaps even deluded searches for new ways of breaking the rules. Maybe, just maybe, something good will come of it.

I would like to add a following note or 5 on rules, because I think there has been some confusion with conventions and rules:

If we are to avoid prescriptive rules because they inhibit discovery, is their some way we might benefit by looking a little deeper at the nature of practicing an art form? Are there rules to realising an ability to practice an art, even if we just want to have fun?

We could begin by admitting that learning anything takes practice, but it also takes discipline; discipline in practice of the particular art.

I am not talking about authoritarian discipline of the work place that stifles creativity, but the discipline that comes from practice and concentration which delights us with our growing command of being able to practice our art.

In addition this takes patience; patience that is willing to wait for the talent to mature, but does not sit idle in hope of "getting in the mood."

And patience that realises it take time and effort to achieve anything worthwhile.

We must also realise that we do not begin to learn an art directly, but indirectly.

First we must learn to breathe.

Then to flex our fingers,

and recognise the squiggles, along with grammar and spelling, the squiggly conventions on the paper, that are called letters which make up words, or notes (for the musical notation.)

We breathe, We read. we listen, we observe. we learn.

We learn how to research and question.

All this takes discipline, concentration and patience.

That is why so many people advise us to write something everyday, anything. Writing anything, is the discipline that demands the patience to concentrate, and the concentration that sets the mood to practice our art and thus create.

These are the rules to practice an art.

All else are conventions. Some cannot be contested, but all are subject to being examined in the practice of particular creative endeavours.

Some material paraphrased from the book, The Art of Loving, by Erich Fromm

I am quite happy for people to post opposing views to the ones above. If I weren't, it would to my mind, prove what I said to be wrong. However my tolerance of other views does not mean any of us are right. Who of us can ever be certain we are always right? All we can do is try to shed some light on these concerns. :stare:

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Ah, I just thought of a huge, influential best-seller written with bad grammar, deliberate misspellings, weird sentence structure, and so on on:

The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

which won the Pulitzer Price for Literature, the National Book Award, and was turned into a big-budget Hollywood film, and later a major Broadway musical.

So there's one book that broke all the rules and still did pretty well. It can be done... but I think others will agree, this was a very unusual case.

Also, the narrator (Celie) becomes more educated and more articulate as the story goes on, so the book begins as a series of letters and diary entries, almost indecipherable, then becomes more coherent and intelligent as time goes on. It's a very moving story, but the first few pages are not easy reading.

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I think these "guidelines" could get stifling. Before I started writing, I've never really read one of these "guidelines". All I knew was that a story is supposed to have a plot, characters, and a setting. That was all I knew. When I started writing, I just wrote according to the plot inside my head.

Back then, I can read a book in recreation. I read it and I only notice the characters and the plot, their "lives" -- those were what drew me to a story.

Now that I've read these "guidelines", I can't read a book without noticing if it's written in the first or third person (some in second), in the present or past tense. I don't like it. I just want to enjoy a story. So if I had known then what reading these "guidelines" would do, I never would've read them.

I'm glad though that I read these "guidelines" after I started writing, or I never would have. At least, I can say that it was my heart that I followed first.

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I think these "guidelines" could get stifling. Before I started writing, I've never really read one of these "guidelines". All I knew was that a story is supposed to have a plot, characters, and a setting. That was all I knew. When I started writing, I just wrote according to the plot inside my head.

Back then, I can read a book in recreation. I read it and I only notice the characters and the plot, their "lives" -- those were what drew me to a story.

Now that I've read these "guidelines", I can't read a book without noticing if it's written in the first or third person (some in second), in the present or past tense. I don't like it. I just want to enjoy a story. So if I had known then what reading these "guidelines" would do, I never would've read them.

I'm glad though that I read these "guidelines" after I started writing, or I never would have. At least, I can say that it was my heart that I followed first.

Don't worry about it RJ.

As the old Zen master pointed out,

When you are young, mountains are mountains, rivers are rivers,

Then when you are older (and learning your craft) they no longer seem to be mountains and rivers,

But eventually, (having learned your craft) mountains will once again be mountains and rivers will flow as they always have.

This time however, you are joyfully, aware of it all.

So once you have let the guidelines and rules show you see what happens, you may move on and then,

Reading is once again enjoyable, and writing, returns to being fun, even, fulfilling and flowing.

:hug:

RJ's last comment makes me think that we have omitted a very important rule, that I first heard back in the 70s,

"First, write from the heart and then go back over it with your brain."

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I think these "guidelines" could get stifling.

Well, I'm reminded of plenty of composers (like John Lennon & Paul McCartney), who steadfastly refused to learn how to read and write music, fearing it would affect their creativity. They did pretty well, despite not knowing the technique behind music theory. The trick is, Lennon & McCartney had the advantage of being geniuses. Not everybody is that lucky or gifted.

Now that I've read these "guidelines", I can't read a book without noticing if it's written in the first or third person (some in second), in the present or past tense. I don't like it. I just want to enjoy a story.

I think that's a cop-out. I've been to plenty of movie & TV sets, and I know when I watch a film there's about 85 people just outside of the frame, holding lights, mike booms, operating cameras, pushing cranes, pulling cables and so on. If the movie's good enough, I can still suspend disbelief and completely immerse myself into the story.

The thing about understanding the technical nature of writing fiction is, you can appreciate story-telling on several different levels. For example, about seven or eight years ago, after I had read a couple of books on writing, I picked up one of Stephen King's new novels and started reading it. One chapter in, I thought, "ah -- I see what he's doing here." To me, it was like being invited backstage to watch a magician perform. From the audience's perspective, miracles were happening in front of them; but from backstage, I could see all the hidden trapdoors, mirrors, and wires. Either way, I was still impressed with how all the pieces were put together, and was thoroughly entertained.

It shouldn't affect you either way. It's a left brain/right brain deal: you can either analyze a book with your intellect, dissecting it technically, or you can enjoy it completely on an emotional level. I certainly try to read more on the latter, but when a writer does something thoroughly stupid (or obvious, or tries to show off), then left brain takes over and it snaps me out of the story.

I think the key is not to get bogged down with the rules, guidelines, whatever you want to call them. Worry more about telling the story first. If you realize the tense or the POV is wrong, as Des says above, you can always fix it in an edit later on.

But for a novice writer to ignore the rules completely is very foolhardy. Have you read the references I cited elsewhere? Check them out if you haven't already, and tell me what you think.

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:D Hehe... no offense, but I don’t want to. Not anymore. I don’t like having to think of check lists, which I never had before starting to write anyway.

How about checking out one of my stories and telling me your thoughts about it (feel free to butcher it). The link is in my signature. I wrote most of those before having read any guideline. I don’t think they are bad, but I might be biased. :D If you think it's absolutely horrible, then I'd be glad to read the references you cited. :)

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With all due respect, Pecman, I too have a right brain and a left brain, but mine are not operated independently. I've been shown different 'miracles' of movie production and frankly, it has really damaged my ability to enjoy them. Try as I may, it is almost impossible not to think about CGI, special effects details, the lighting and camera people and angles, etc. I never had that 'before' but now I do, and don't want the same effect with my reading. I can completely see what RJ is saying, and I agree with him. I can also see that this might not be for everyone. He's read your discussions, and rejected the conclusion that you have drawn. I think you should accept that he has made the 'best' decision for his own needs, as I have for mine. To make a decision in ignorance is unfortunate, but to make it knowing what is behind each door you could pick is quite acceptable.

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Well, I'm reminded of plenty of composers (like John Lennon & Paul McCartney), who steadfastly refused to learn how to read and write music, fearing it would affect their creativity. They did pretty well, despite not knowing the technique behind music theory. The trick is, Lennon & McCartney had the advantage of being geniuses. Not everybody is that lucky or gifted.

I am disappointed that you think genius is a gift or luck.

I get tired of people claiming Mozart was a freak (of genius.)

Why?

Because it detracts from every person's potential to be whatever they can be.

The luck, is to be born into a time and a culture, in a circumstance that can facilitate the development of talents which are latent in us all, though each of us may have a different potential.

The gift, if we wish to call it that, is a potential talent. Nearly everyone has at least one potential talent. Nothing destroys the development of individual potential as having others downplay it, by claiming it as something that is given, or gifted, or not generally available to everyone as part of their basic human being.

By deduction, if a Lennon and McCartney didn't want to learn to read and write music, but produced great songs because of their genius, then are we to conclude that genius needs no rules? I don't think so. They had George Martin who knew the rules; who could not only read and write music but was responsible for many of their orchestrations and arrangements including some playing of keyboard. The Beatles were given not a gift, but the opportunity to develop their interest in music, their potential. It nearly didn't happen. They were nearly turned down, again. They were nearly denied the chance that enabled them to develop.

Mozart was lucky to have been born to a father who nurtured his abilities. Mozart might not quite have seen it that way.

The point is not how many genii there have been, or are, but how many of us have been denied the opportunity to develop our natural talents; our potential, because somebody said we were not good enough.

We should not be telling people they can't be as good as the talented people who previously, had that opportunity to develop their genius.

Instead we should be saying, look it is possible you have a talent, let us see what we can do to help you develop it.

Not only that, but helping others inevitably helps the helper to develop as well.

It only takes one short phrase to encourage or deter a person's development.

Let's start right now at AD Forums to make sure we never deter someone from exploring their desire to be an author by saying they aren't good enough.

Better still, let's make a commitment to be a positive force for literature and the pursuit of joy in our members' and guests' artistic endeavours.

Is it possible that we could encourage people to be authors? To excel in writing? In the Obama phrase of the moment, "We Can."

:hug:

I think that's a cop-out. I've been to plenty of movie & TV sets, and I know when I watch a film there's about 85 people just outside of the frame, holding lights, mike booms, operating cameras, pushing cranes, pulling cables and so on. If the movie's good enough, I can still suspend disbelief and completely immerse myself into the story.

The thing about understanding the technical nature of writing fiction is, you can appreciate story-telling on several different levels. For example, about seven or eight years ago, after I had read a couple of books on writing, I picked up one of Stephen King's new novels and started reading it. One chapter in, I thought, "ah -- I see what he's doing here." To me, it was like being invited backstage to watch a magician perform. From the audience's perspective, miracles were happening in front of them; but from backstage, I could see all the hidden trapdoors, mirrors, and wires. Either way, I was still impressed with how all the pieces were put together, and was thoroughly entertained.

It shouldn't affect you either way. It's a left brain/right brain deal: you can either analyze a book with your intellect, dissecting it technically, or you can enjoy it completely on an emotional level. I certainly try to read more on the latter, but when a writer does something thoroughly stupid (or obvious, or tries to show off), then left brain takes over and it snaps me out of the story.

I think the key is not to get bogged down with the rules, guidelines, whatever you want to call them. Worry more about telling the story first. If you realize the tense or the POV is wrong, as Des says above, you can always fix it in an edit later on.

But for a novice writer to ignore the rules completely is very foolhardy. Have you read the references I cited elsewhere? Check them out if you haven't already, and tell me what you think.

With respect, I think you miss his point Pecman. RJ is up to his eyeballs in reading rules. At this moment they represent a depressing negativity for him. Let RJ come to the rules in his own way, in his own good time. Your experience is not yet his. He needs to make his own. Both you and I need to back off. He knows we are all here to help if he so desires it.

It requires considerable effort to be able to switch function between the analytical and emotional sides of the brain. Not everyone can do it, and certainly not everyone wants to do it, or expend the effort to learn it. The left /right brain, analysis/intuition ability must be acquired through skill, concentration and meditation. You can only give the example and hope it will help. If it could be taught, if it followed rules of compliance, we would all be Zen masters. For that, requires the guides to open the pathway to a chance of awareness.

We can only point at the moon and hope neither the finger nor the moon is mistaken as the whole answer.

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Guest Brandon T.

I'm in with RJ and Trab on this one. I don't think about any rules outside of basic grammar. Everything else just comes as it will. I've read Elements of Style and that was just to brush up on my grammar and basic usage, but what I discovered was that a lot of what they were saying was basically what I was doing so it pretty much pointless. I have faith in a writer's basic competence to follow grammar and structure and to give us something that can be read. If it can be read, the point of writing is suceeded. Now, as for content of the fiction as defined by the books you pointed out. Those books that teach you how to engineer plot and characters and all sorts of other neat little tricks; I think they're kind of heavy-handed. The only rule you need to follow is that of basic grammar. Noun, verb, subject, predicate, blah, blah, those things. Mechanics. That's all you need to know. The rest will come on its own, you don't need to force plots together and have someone else teach you how to make your characters breathe. If you can't do that without assitance, I don't think you're putting your time into the right pursuit. That being said, if you wanna read those books and fill your head with MORE guidlines and MORE rules and have OTHER voices breathing down your neck, reminding you everytime a character does something "cliche" or everytime a plot goes a little off the beaten path and becomes stiff and/boring, then go ahead.

But I think a story is as alive as its meant to be when it comes from the writer's fingers. If it seems right to the writer, then really, we should just respect that and not look for ways to improve it because what's the point of trying to twist someone else's work to suit our own preferences. That's like going into someone's yard and painting over the paint job their house currently has just because it's offensive to your eyes. If the author is satisfied, we should be satisfied. If they're content to not have people teach them how to write characters and place and all that other stuff, to defy their natural instincts and creativity, then let them be. I'm one of those people. I try NOT to read books on how to write fiction. Because I would rather read fiction and introspect and develop my ability to write in a way that isn't some instructional play-by-play. Writing should be another natural development, refined over time and refined by your own hand from the fiction you've read. It should be the culmination of your own literary and life experiences, crafted by a mind that has learned to write, not a mind that's been given formulaic "right/wrong" definitions of what fiction is. It's so unnatural and to me, it sounds more like brainwashing. I'm anti-instruction-book in regard to fiction writing if it pertains to anything more than mechanics and usage. And sometimes, not even usage, because look at James Joyce. He invented SEVERAL new usages of words.

But I agree with RJ and Trab.

And I don't believe that I've ever felt a greater appreciation for a book by marveling at its technical genius. I just didn't feel particularly moved by the author's sentence structure and how he puts his verbs in whatever place he puts them. I'm about the story and I try -not- to notice structure too much. Most of the time, I don't, and I don't believe that I have diminished my appreciation for a book in any way by doing so.

When I write, structure is something intuitive. It's something that I've learned from an early age and so it's hardly at the front of my mind. It's a habit. I don't fuss over it, I don't care really much about it. So, I feel no particular attachment to it, enough to say, "OH, I MUST DEFY CONVENTION." Because, really, I don't care what tense something's in or what POV it's from. I don't. What's important (at least to me) is how the story feels when I read it. Is it natural and does it flow or does it feel fake and contrived? That's the main question I ask myself when I read. Not when I write, because I don't think when I write, it just happens. Writing is free of convention in its spontaneity. It is free of the world and breathes on its own. At least, that's how I write. That's my process. Fingers to keyboard, story out. I don't need or want someone to tell how I write or how to enjoy fiction; I already know how, thank you very much. :D

Which, again, is a long way of saying that I agree with Trab and RJ. Be free, good men. Be free.

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I'm going to ignore most of the responses, because I think we're just arguing in circles. But I will take up Brandon's one point here.

I'm in with RJ and Trab on this one. I don't think about any rules outside of basic grammar. Everything else just comes as it will. I've read Elements of Style and that was just to brush up on my grammar and basic usage, but what I discovered was that a lot of what they were saying was basically what I was doing so it pretty much pointless.

I agree with this to a point. The exact same thing happened with me, only I thought, "ah -- so I was on the right track."

In reading some of the other texts, it occurred to me that a lot of the things I was doing by instinct worked for very good reasons. Granted, it's stifling to try to over-intellectualize this crap, and I'm not suggesting we do that. But I think it is important to understand why certain things work and why other things don't in fiction.

I think it's the difference between somebody who's figured out how to fix car engines just by osmosis and by experience, and somebody who's gone on to read the manuals and take some classes. Either way, you can wind up as a good mechanic, but I think it behooves you to consider both methods.

I would never be so arrogant as to tell somebody only this way or only that way will work, especially when it comes to something as creative and unpredictable as writing fiction. I've provided plenty of examples above of successful authors who've broken the rules and pulled it off.

But the original poster asked, "should I mix tenses or point of view for different characters' flashbacks," and my answer was to keep it simple. That, in a nutshell, is all I'm saying. The books I cited merely reinforce my opinion.

BTW, again to Brandon: I don't think you should give slavish devotion to any teacher, book, or bit of advice. You have to learn to take away just the parts you need. I've read some books on writing where I only learned one thing from them, but often the journey was worth the result. I've read other writing texts that had a nugget of wisdom on every page (and cited 4 of them in my "Gay Writing Tips" piece elsewhere).

But I never felt the need to read any of these books more than once. To me, writing should be like driving a car: you're never aware of the effort you take to shift gears, adjust the seat, step on the gas, check the rearview mirror, and so on. It should all come automatically, without even thinking. The books merely gave me a little more fuel and helped push me in the right direction -- nothing more than that.

In some cases, the books made writing harder, because it made me aware of my mistakes. But ultimately, they made me a better writer.

BTW: I may not have mentioned that I worked for 20 years as a magazine editor, writing professionally for a couple of dozen newsstand magazines in the late 1970s, through the late 1990s. All I wrote were technical articles, interviews, and reviews, but I had a pretty good career doing it while it lasted (until the magazine business kind of imploded, effectively killing the freelance market). Maybe the reason why the fiction writing books worked for me is that I came from a completely different direction: a longtime reader who loved good books, who had a good part-time job writing non-fiction.

These books switched the light on for me and illuminated a lot of areas that seemed very vague and mysterious. Once I understood the "machine beneath the surface," it all made sense to me, and I realized, "I can do this." That was a bolt of lightning for me, and I'm sorry that more of you aren't interested in trying it for yourself.

But if what you're doing works for you, fantastic. There's a lot of paths you can go on a long journey, and as long as you wind up in the right place, it doesn't matter how you get there.

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In a way, I felt bad about starting this thread 14,000,000 words ago because of all the different directions it's gone and some people arguing (well, discussing) the many aspects of how we approach our writing.

But then on the other side, I'm glad that this all started. For I have learned a lot! I mean that seriously. Some of these discussions were at the heart of how we write, and it speaks to what these forums are all about.

Thanks for being upfront and letting me listen.

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Richard, you need not apologise for starting a thread which has been a spirited and informative discussion.

Threads often wander off in many directions and I think that is part of their charm and interest.

So that members are aware, I will make the following statement.

Clashes on policy and direction on any matter of interest are to be expected in life, and the forums.

Clashes of personalities are also not always, easily avoided, but we do demand civility in such confrontations.

Personal attacks really do not serve any purpose except to inflame and hurt people. Such attacks will be terminated.

A situation has arisen that has caused to me remove a post and a reply (though I consider it thoughtful and justified) from public view.

This matter will not be continued publicly.

Any further comments posted in this forum on this situation will also be removed from public view, whilst I decide what to do with them and the member posting them. I will accept correspondence privately should you feel you wish to make comment.

I will not have my staff abused, even in a public discussion.

This thread has revealed many worthwhile thoughts and ideas from all the contributors and is to be regarded as an excellent discussion in progress. The hiccup which has occurred should in no way be seen as part of that discussion.

I will only take this kind of action to preserve our ability to freely and happily enjoy each others' companionship and contributions.

I implore you all to continue to enjoy the forums without fear or favour.

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