On Writing, Plagiarism and Gimmicks

The vapor trail of some kind of energy, gathered by Firsty for your reading pleasure
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firsty
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On Writing, Plagiarism and Gimmicks

Post by firsty » November 17th, 2006, 1:11 pm

Mark Danielewski has a new novel out, called "Only Revolutions".

Danielewski is terrible, in my opinion.

In fact, others agree, both usually after the fact.

In 2003, after reading "House of Leaves," I wrote this brief synopsis, which I followed up with several more on that forum and on others.

i just felt that his idea ran ahead of his literary skills. i dont think he's a terrible writer. perhaps "subpar" is the wrong word. i dont think the writing lives up to the genre/potential of the novel, and, because of the themes posed in the book as well as the nature of the composition, to me, the writing stands out as lacking...personally i enjoy endings that close the story, not ones that open it up, in terms of the details, not necessarily thematically. because thematically i think it's great for novels to bring out some previously unsaid crazy notions towards the end. but the plot sort of got a bit spread out as the novel went on, and he didnt tighten it for me.

Last week, I read this, which is from the revamped version of the site I originally posted to. In it, they review Danielewski's new book as if they were stealing my words.

But despite the book's great concept, Only Revolutions leaves me cold. Because even though it's in an entertaining package, the writing itself makes me want to claw out my eyes and yell at God. I feel ridiculous to state the obvious here, but the point of a book is not how brilliant or slick the packaging is, but how great the writing itself is. And in this case, I just can't say that the writing stands up to the concept. I'm all for things that are difficult and/or obscure, but if I put in the work, then the book damn well better pay off, and this one seems to be difficult just for the sake of being difficult, without rewarding me for the effort it takes to spiral through it.

They probably were stealing my words. Me and the editors of that site dont get along anymore, for artistic differences.

But i suspect that I'm right, and that Danielewski will go down in history as nothing — a forgotten writer, perhaps with a bit of a cult fan base, based solely on the architecture of his books. But his literary pretense bothers me. He shouldnt be described as an author. He's really not a very good writer.

And I'm a little ticked, as you can tell, by the fact that I was plagiarized in a critique about a poorly written book. But this isnt only about how unethical or simply crude and wrongheaded Litkicks is, but rather how simply poor Danielewski is as an author. I've read that in recent interviews, he comes across as kind of a dick, as well. If you're going to be a dick, you'd at least better be a good writer.

Maybe he should go into movies.

I do think that we are approaching a new age of writing, where we are able to sort out postmodernism and start telling stories again, but in new ways. Literary gimmicks are only worthwhile to the extent that they provide meaning to the story. We seem to have lost sight of that. I posted a note on a recent article at Newsvine about the arts, and I think it's worth it to consider when dissecting failing authors like Danielewski.

i think we've sacrificed the story for the structure, and the dark ages that seem to be looming over us, waiting to descend, are there because the meta-post-modern experimentation has been so aggressive (and so meaningless) that the audience has become separated from the artist. the shared experience was sacrificed. accessibility was lost.
and knowing i'm so eager to fight cant make letting me in any easier.

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Post by mtmynd » November 20th, 2006, 10:49 pm

I'm not convinced that there was plagiarism involved with your examples but merely like-attitudes towards the novel. Am I missing something..?

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Post by firsty » November 21st, 2006, 12:39 am

...everyone's a critic...

THX4EDN

ah, free verse
and knowing i'm so eager to fight cant make letting me in any easier.

[url=http://stealthiswiki.nine9pages.com]Steal This Book Vol 2[/url]

[url=http://www.dreamhost.com/r.cgi?26032]Get some hosting![/url]

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Doreen Peri
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Post by Doreen Peri » November 23rd, 2006, 11:53 pm

i enjoy your writing.. love it.. thank you

i wish i was articulate enough to comment tonight

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