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Thread: Who to write for when you're writing

  1. #1
    Was just listening to an interview with Robert Osbourne (who hosts Turner Classic Movies) by Alec Baldwin on Baldwin's podcast, Here's The Thing.

    Baldwin asked Osbourne who he writes his introductions for (I haven't seen the show, but I gather the introductions are to-camera pieces about the movie they're about to watch).

    Osbourne answered something along the lines of:

    - his Aunt who lives on a farm, likes old films but doesn't know a lot about them. Can't use jargon, can't assume knowledge (like that So-and-so was a director).

    - Young guy who's into it but doesn't know the details. He likes the film and wants to see more like it, but needs help.

    - The buff. Knows as much as you do. Need to find something for him, something he wouldn't know, or something that would surprise him.

    I've seen a thing from Mr Fraction a couple of times where he says, especially for his superhero stuff, that he uses his mum as a test. If his mum doesn't get it, he needs to be clearer.

    Struck me that it was a good rule. Not that you can't create complex things, or that you can't write for smart audiences - my stupid, university reaction would be that if someone doesn't get what I wrote it's because they weren't clever enough.

    But that clarity and depth are really important, and as important as each other.

    Anyhow, it's 2:30am and I can't sleep and didn't know where else to write this.

    N

  2. #2
    Grifter
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    Re: Who to write for when you're writing

    Quote Originally Posted by nickellis View Post

    But that clarity and depth are really important, and as important as each other.
    Amen.

    I don't mind voices whose meaning are perhaps enigmatic or elegantly obscure. That voice becomes an invitation to either create your own meaning or a mystery to solve. But I tire very quickly of meaning that is so bloody hidden as to be a way for the writer to show how clever he is. I find it pretentious and boring. The best writing is that which has clarity but also contains meanings beyond the obvious. That sense of discovery and deeper meaning gives the work a quality and nuance that's very appealing, meaningful.

    I can't think of a literary reference right now but it's the feeling I got (please, please excuse me for being so pedestrian here) when I saw the landscapes in CARS. Yeah, CARS the animated feature. The landscape was clearly meant to be a southern Utah/Arizona setting but the shapes of the rocks were all taken from automobile references. The balancing rock was shaped like a Pontiac hood ornament, the arches were similar to 1930's - 40's front fenders, the background ridge line were the tail fins of Cadillacs (ala the Cadillac Ranch installations) and so forth. Sorry, but that's the best I could do this morning.

    But I think you know what Imma sayin'.

    Plus, there's a difference between clever and smart. I like smart. Clever can easily become pretentiousness.

  3. #3
    Haha, that's a brilliant example T, depth in something as seemingly simple as a cartoon.

    I had to learn (that is if I have learnt it) the hard way, having non-fiction pieces returned to me with the overarching note being: 'What are you talking about?'

    N

  4. #4
    Moderator Karen Mahoney's Avatar
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    Re: Who to write for when you're writing

    I feel like there's something I want to say on this thread, but my brain won't pull it together tonight. Maybe tomorrow!

    Interesting stuff, though.

    Kaz

  5. #5

    Re: Who to write for when you're writing

    Quote Originally Posted by nickellis View Post
    Was just listening to an interview with Robert Osbourne (who hosts Turner Classic Movies) by Alec Baldwin on Baldwin's podcast, Here's The Thing.

    Baldwin asked Osbourne who he writes his introductions for (I haven't seen the show, but I gather the introductions are to-camera pieces about the movie they're about to watch).

    Osbourne answered something along the lines of:

    - his Aunt who lives on a farm, likes old films but doesn't know a lot about them. Can't use jargon, can't assume knowledge (like that So-and-so was a director).

    - Young guy who's into it but doesn't know the details. He likes the film and wants to see more like it, but needs help.

    - The buff. Knows as much as you do. Need to find something for him, something he wouldn't know, or something that would surprise him.

    I've seen a thing from Mr Fraction a couple of times where he says, especially for his superhero stuff, that he uses his mum as a test. If his mum doesn't get it, he needs to be clearer.

    Struck me that it was a good rule. Not that you can't create complex things, or that you can't write for smart audiences - my stupid, university reaction would be that if someone doesn't get what I wrote it's because they weren't clever enough.

    But that clarity and depth are really important, and as important as each other.

    Anyhow, it's 2:30am and I can't sleep and didn't know where else to write this.

    N
    What Fraction says it's quite interesting.

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