Thursday, March 09, 2006

Analysis on Joan's Writings

Okay, I'm starting to write a blow by blow analysis on my writing again, so hopefully this time round Blogger doesn't eat up my posts, and I can also orgainse my ideas properly and can give a better account of my writings.

Note: Spoiler Alerts! If you are planning on enjoying my writings without me giving away details and other spoiler notes, please skip this whole entry.

Before I start, I'll give a brief idea on what my short stories are about. Currently, I'm writing two collections of short stories Parallelogram and Prozac Nation, the ones you see in my blog will be in Prozac Nation. In this collection, I did away with conventional naming of characters instead using the generic he and she in replacement. Maybe it'd be better if you would read them carefully before attempting any comments.

As I was saying, I'm trying out this particular syle of writing which I think suits me quite well. In it I actually used third person's point of view to try bring out a frist person's point of view of feelings. I have a protagonist, in the first three stories would be the "she" and in the last one the "he", the counterpart would be the antagonists. In my utopian world I would actually like to have my readers following the protagonist in his/her way of life and feels from him/her the emotions that vary along with the change in circumstances.

The circumstances I've described mainly touch on sexual relationship and depression issues. Actually the relationships aren't really purely sexual per se, because of the other mixed emotions felt by both characters. In neither of my short stories have I actually written any description of sexual intercourse. I'm in no position to write anything of such, so I'm not writing about it. I don't understand how would anyone even the most unpolished of all readers to consider my writing as erotic. I do go a bit into the descriptions, but that's only to state the tense situations that my characters face.

I'd like to say that my short stories are very real. You can see them happening to people in real life, and I discuss real life issues, yes, some are sexual issues, but to call them erotic issues, I guess that person really has no understanding of literature. General themes that I'll be discussing in my collection of short stories, Prozac Nation includes modern people with a modern lifestyle having a modern outlook on sex and relationships, and how that affects the mental and emotional wellbeing of themselves.

I shall examine the stories in greater detail, starting from Can We Return To The Old Times Again? because that literature idiot needs help in understanding the underlying themes of the story, maybe due to his head being clouded by mere sex.

As the title suggests, and this entry that I earlier mentioned. This story is an exploration of relationships between a pair of fuck buddies and if there was a chance that they could put down their relationship as fuck buddies to go back to the times when they were good platonic friends.

I started off with a simple introduction mandatory to all excerpts if not no one would be able to understand head or tail of my story. Then I went straight into some pretty graphic descriptions of their acts together when they as fuck buddies meet up. Maybe it was the graphic details that excited that poor anonymous reader, but I shall argue with my usage of graphic details. This is a narration, a descriptive short story, what else can it be without the use of graphic descriptions? Also, the bold use of such descriptions mirror the boldness of my protagonist. As I mentioned earlier on, I would like my readers to follow in accordance with my characters, so there is a need to excite the readers as my protagonist was excited.

Now to think of that, for that anonymous person to think that way, in a sense also proves my success in creating that atmosphere, only that that poor guy was too dense to think any much further. Wait, now to think of it, I don't know if Anonymous is a male or female... hehehe~ I'd assume is a male then, since guys think with their dickheads instead of their brains. If that Anoymous is indeed a female, erm... apologies~

In the short story, there was an over excessive usage of the term "fuck". I don't know if that offends anybody, but I do think I have enough supporting reasons to continue my usage of "fuck". Note, this issue is about fuck buddies, if they don't fuck then what else can they do?

Maybe the biggest flaw in this story is that I decided to write using the point of view of "he" instead of "she". But then again, as such I can truly bring out the subtleness of my "she" character with the way "he" portrays her out to be. Every one of her act is a sign of something that she wish she could convey to him without verbally telling him to do so, but as we follow the actions and the feelings of him, we understand that he was unable to catch those subtle hints. Put that in real life, how many girls often do little little guestures to receive a blank look from a guy then only exclaiming out loud, "Why don't you understand?"

To put in in plain words, from the point of view of she, she doesn't want to continue being fuck buddies with him anymore, but she doesn't want to blatantly reject him because she might have fallen for him or that she still respects him as a good platonic friend when they aren't fucking each other. But from the he point of view, she is only making a fuss out of nothing, and probably he think sthat she is but playing hard to get, sort of a seduction kind of act and he puts that forward to us with his words.

To the guys, just ask yourselves, how often do you let your other head take control of your actions? Pretty often I guess.

I'm pretty indignant about that Anonymous' use of the adjective "trashy" to describe my writings. The Chinese have this saying 把鱼翅当作粉丝,把鱼漂当作猪皮 which I guess that's what aptly describes what that person is doing. If you don't understand Chinese, it is loosely translated into "treating sharks' fin as vermicelli, and treating fish maw as pig skin". But wellI have to understand that some people aren't really trained in the literature sense. To give that guy some credit, maybe he's some genius who's able to count pi to the 42nd decimal? Who knows? Just that it's pretty hurting to hear from some outsider who thinks they're so smart to comment on anything, even those outside their professional knowledge. Really, if you are able to point of critical points regarding my stories, I'm gladly able to accept them, in fact, I welcome them.

Next is symbolism in my stories, with regard to Can We Return To The Old Times Again?, there is a rampant use of symbolism, the couch and the bed, the DVDs, the rooms and the kitchen. I don't want to list out all the symbols and tell outright what those symbols come to mean, I'd prefer for my readers to figure this out themselves.

From a literature point of view, I have yet come across any writer who writes in a style similiar as mine, so I don't understand how anyone could say I'm "influenced by certain novellists(sic)", but I can't say I'm not either. As Quentin Tarantino once said (don't quote me on this, I might have got my sources mixed up) that nothing in this world is a fresh idea, all ideas are reused periodically, it's how you put the ideas together and express them that make it look fresh. But nonetheless, I have one reference I need to give credit to.

I got the idea of using the DVDs as a symbol after watching Brokeback Mountain. Before that when I first plotted the story, it was just him going over to her house for a chat or some other mundane stuff, i didn't really give him a blatant, open, outright excuse. After watching Jack and Ennis use fishing as an excuse to get together for their tyrsts, I thought it would be quite symbollic to use DVDs as an excuse given the backgrounds of these two characters. Note, this hasn't been disclosed yet, but she is an actress by profession, and he is a movie journalist.

The ending to the story is also the answer to the question title. The answer is simply, no.

I compare this extract of a short story to my other extract, Sorry. It's also about sexual relationships, just that that tone of depression is heavier than this. This is to emphasise on the use in protagonist. For all we know, I can always merge these two stories together and have the events of Sorry coming after the events of Can We Return To The Old Times Again?

I wrote Yesterday And Today and 9 Months on impluse, hence they're longer and more wholesome as a story. Someone commented that 9 Months is very typical of an encouraging story for mothers. I agree with that too, maybe I can redraft it again to make the ending a bit the different. Yesterday And Today is more narrative, and it's a point I want to make on Valentine's Day. There are a couple of intentional loopholes in the story, someone pointed that out to me, and I explained it was intentional. hehehe~ Quite happy that my points actually got through to at least one person.

In Yesterday And Today I mentioned that he and she was meeting for the first time on 14.2.2005, but before that they knew each other, but not met up yet. How did they know each other is but an open question for the readers to make up themselves.

A little bit more about my Prozac Nation project. The main aim for my writing is to instill depression into everybody. hahaha... One day all my readers will be under the control of Prozac to stay mentally healthy. Yea... That sounds a bit bullshitting, so ignore me.

I'm very tired now, from analysing all my works. I don't know if I've missed out any stuff from the blog post that disappeared, but anything else you want to direct at me, but don't want others to see your stupidity, can direct to my mailbox. I promise I'll only laugh at it and not bring it out to laugh.


Anonymous said...

Hi Joan, I'm sorry if my comment sounded so negative. I admit I didn't read all the other parts of the story so I probably was wrong to pass the comment that you didn't include other themes. In that I'm ignorant. But I don't mean to 'cheapen' your work or anything.

Being an erotica writer is not a bad profession, some of the more esteemed writer s in history have at some point or another dabbled in erotic literature, John Donne and Shakespeare are some well known ones. Even James Joyce writes erotic letters. Actually I was just asking if you're into an erotica mode which is itself a genre in lit.

I understand that you have aspirations to be a writer but you can't call your critics, even the harsher and less well read ones, ignorant. Since your work is still in the formative stage, it is understandable that people will have different and even unexpected reaction to it and that doesn't have to be a bad thing...

It's good to know what you're up against while writing your story because your readers are part of your identity as an author of books.

But let me say I'm sorry again for angering you. (and I'm a girl) -t.

Anonymous said...

Just one little thing more because I looked over your post about me saying you might be influenced by another author.

It's not meant to be disparaging. A lot of great writers are influenced by another from another age, or even among peer authors. For e.g sometimes when you read Joyce and Beckett you truly wonder if they actually were of the same mind. Danielle Steel is a novellist and she writes about snippets of life in her novels too and a lot of sex elements in it. Most writers are influenced by their own literary experiences no matter how original their end product may be.

Since you like Woolf and Plath, maybe there is an influence there which is not conspicuously foregrounded in your current piece, like maybe verbal violence or a revisitation of modernism and urban anxiety in your piece.

Yes, we always misunderstand other people. Writers are always misunderstood because their work is an abstract projection of their ideas and opinions. Readers have to deal with ambiguity and you can't blame them for misreading the lines or in between the lines. Not all your readers will be lit majors or lit critics, you have to deal with less than encouraging comments. Don't get so frustrated ok? ; )

- t.

xxoos said...

I am perfectly open to criticisms. It's just that comment without proper thought is not a criticism, so I'm not open to that. I'm not frustrated by your comment, in fact when I read it I burst out laughing.

Anyway, I do know my limitations, those on the blog are stories yet redrafted so the end product will be quite different.

hmm... Maybe I should go into film making rather than writing instead... It's more visual in film making. wahaha~