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Category Archives: writing

Listicle? Huh?

I came across this term recently and because it sounded like something tasty, I looked it up. Kind of like “popsicle”, it had to be good, right?

 

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Delicious, cool, and forgettable. Image from http://www.Fanpop.com

Nope, it’s got nothing to do with food, and everything about the lazy tendencies we have developed as readers and consumers of modern media. Who has time to read long-winded articles about how to keep one’s cholesterol low, or what the best way is to plant a rosebush. No one has time anymore; we are bombarded with information from all manner of sources and those of us who like to read, don’t know where to stop and where to begin anymore!

Worse still, is the fact that we seem to have suspended our critical faculties, and sometimes our ability to accept information even if it is illogical. Why bother to think? Someone else can do it!

Apparently the word “listicle” has been around for about a decade. Well, pardon me, I didn’t know. I am old school, used to writing in longhand using – dare I say it – cursive; then later on a regular typewriter, then an electric one, progressing to a computer (yes the old-fashioned ones that took up the whole desk) and now I use a laptop, or an iPad mini, or even a phone. These days, everyone is a specialist, and we all have something to say, to teach, to announce or to disparage. Making a list is easy and effective and saves the reader time.

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Example of a listicle, from http://www.zerohedge.com

Hence the “listicle”. It is a trend in journalism that really lends itself to the new wave of writers and media options who want to import information or share an idea without slaving for hours over the correct grammar, tone or lexicon. So, make a list, add a quick introductory blurb, and to take it a tad further, use a slide deck with minimal verbiage and hey presto, you have created a listicle, a combination of ‘article” and “list”. So clever, these young people. So lazy. And sometimes, so darn trivial…

 

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Conflict and Character

Creating conflict in a novel helps to create drama.

If something merely flows, like a river without obstacles, no canyons would be created. We would have a one-dimensional landscape.

Boring, flat, uninspiring.

Bringing drama through words and actions means that a writer can channel all manner of situations and arguments into her writing. It can be quite therapeutic, I suppose, to put into words thoughts one has not dared utter. Channeling the dark recesses of the mind to release an inner demon and letting it out into the light and onto the page can be frightening, especially if one is afraid of conflict.

A writer can put into words things that people may never do.

Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”.

Ideas, situations, characters: these all spring from somewhere, some place where we often don’t want to go. But as they say, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” No matter how far out you think you are, know that there is someone out there who either experienced those things, or someone who is doing those things. Witness serial killers, mass murderers and demonically possessed people: they are everywhere. So if you are sane, sitting at your computer, and thoughts and ideas buzz around in your mind about the actions, words, thoughts and demeanor of a character, know that it is not unique. You, the writer, are not evil. You are merely channelling the pervasive and ubiquitous dark thoughts of humanity.

So, do you want to read a novel like this?

Or do you want to read a novel like this:

Go there, find that drama. Create that conflict. Bring out the knives, the craziness you have been hiding so successfully all this time.

Put it into writing, CREATE!

Word of caution. Please reboot your mind before cooking dinner and bathing the kids!!!

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in authors, writing

 

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