Category Archives: Letters of Questioning

A Short Poll for Letters of Questioning!

LettersofQuestioning

I am excited to announce that the Letters of Questioning should be coming back as of next month once a week for the summer!  (Maybe longer if we can swing it!)  That said I would love to hear from you! my readers what you would love to see in future installments.  With that in mind I created a short poll and please do not hesitate to add your own to the list!  In fact, please! do that rather than use those I have provided.  You can come back as often as you like and add to it!  Share it with your friends!

 

 

Also, as a quick sidenote, I have updated all previous postings of our letters, adding in Dreamland’s responses!

Letters of Questioning: Flying a New Flag

LettersofQuestioning

Sailing these waters may be mighty dangerous, after last week’s look at plotting and how we get there, we have sailed on to murkier waters yet.  Taking a closer look at the Writer’s Role…  and without further adieu, here is the latest installment:

 

Dearest Dreamland’s Insurgents,

Of course the journey is never ending. There are of course periods of rest, reflection and learning, but then you move on and make changes. Don’t you know by now I am all about change?!? I thought my name said it all! Not to mention, what about you? Aren’t you all about upsetting status quo? Your name, like mine suggests stepping out of the norm. Not getting boxed in. Becoming a bit of a rebel!
Besides, is it not our job as writers to enlighten the world? As a writer we shape worlds. We affect the minds of others… even in something as simple as a fiction novel that is read for enjoyment. Honestly I think especially in fiction.
I was imminently inspired when I read The Writer’s Role in Society. It is suggested that writers are teachers, they have lessons to share and craft an entire work of art to do so. That writers offer something unique to them, something no one else can. The recreation of worlds.
I think that might just be the tip of the iceberg though! More than just lessons to share, we writers start new ideas. Inspire thoughts, and those cognitive responses move into actions. Like our very thoughts on a new idea in writing being that there are more than just plotters and pantsers, there two could be something new, revolutionary as evolutionists! Those who build upon what has come before!
So, my friend, I entreat you, what do you see when you look at the Writer’s role in society? Teacher, companion, friend, lover, anarchist, rebel… so much more, or maybe less?!? Or is it just a story shared? Are writer’s the rebels that can not be quelled? What say you?

Proudly flying my new pirate flag,
Random

 

Dreamland’s reply:

Ahoy, Random,
Why, I would never dream of upsetting the status quo – why? Who have you been talking to? How much do they know?! *ahem* sorry… anyway….
If by “enlighten,” you mean “set fire,” then yes, I’m all for “enlightening” the world. (I kid, I kid … mostly.) The question of the writer’s position isn’t easy to answer, which is why I also enjoyed the Nicholas Conley’s post The Writer’s Role in Society. He emphasizes that writers are teachers, yet, but another line that spoke to me was this passage:

“The different fiction genres each demonstrate a unique facet of the writer’s society. A horror writer will memorialize the discomforts of his era. A science fiction writer will demonstrate that era’s views on technology. A literary writer, of course, will display what everyday life was really like.

By writing a novel, the writer acts to keep his/her era alive for future generations, so that our children and grandchildren can understand who we really were, and what we stood for.”

Archivist, teacher – and, arguably, mirror. No matter how revolutionary or original we fancy ourselves, we’re also the products of our environment, somehow. So maybe one of the tricks is to show what is familiar in a startling way, or make the unfamiliar accessible?
Lots of writers have been agents of change, for good or bad. We have to have some awareness but we also have to build and burn, or, as one of my favorite bloggers phrases it, “sort, sever, detangle, grasp.”
So my question for you is, what do we do now? As agents of change, as writers, as people comfortable with assuming roles as necessary, fighting where we stand, agitating for change… What do we target? What forms of rebellion do we take and tell? Where exactly should our stories go? Where are we needed most and what for and why?

All dressed up with nowhere to sail,
dreamland’s insurgents

Be sure to check out Nicholas Conley’s Writings, Readings and Coffee Addictions, he has some good stuff over there!

 

 

So… what is your figuring?  Do you have something to add to our letter?  Have either of us missed something?  What are your thoughts on a writer’s role in society?

Do you have some ideas that you would like to see discussed?  Feel free to drop them here as well!

Letters of Questioning: Lost in Plot

LettersofQuestioning

This week’s post shifts directions after we were lost on an adventure with our characters, then it begs to be thought, what about plot?  How does it work?  What brings it all together…

Hey Dreamland’s Insurgents,

I think you may be onto something with one character being more comfortable to tell the tale, or maybe just wants to take control? I am pretty sure I am forever changed by my characters, but then… who isn’t? Are they not just a reflection of ourselves and how we see the world? I think that I never truly find my way back. To what purpose? I am just going to embark on another tale.
Which brings me to something else I have read… I beseech you, what do you think upon reading the words of Laura who was interviewed over on El Space about being neither a plotter or a pantser, but an evolutionist?!?!? I must say I was intrigued by this new idea in writing. What say you? Personally I would have to say it works! But then I fly by the seat of my pants and thought of myself as a pantser, but after reading those words, I must say I found it heartening that another idea could be born.
But I must ask, if new ideas of this caliber can be raised, what then are we missing in life?!? How many other ideas are we losing by staying with the status quo of what is already created? What other writing styles would that then open?

Lost in Plot,
Random

 

Catch his reply here:

Sup Random,
From your perspective it sounds like the journey is never-ending. That’s dedication! But there’s got to be a rest point, a time for reflection and gathering ye rosebuds — or at least contemplating your navel, Admiral! (Then again, I personally waffle more than a Danish prince….)
Laura’s guest post on El Space was, now that you mention it, one such instance where I stopped and paused. I’ve thought for a long time that too much planning was stifling, but also found that not enough of it left me adrift — the opposite of a purposeful journey. Not that I haven’t found a lot of great material roamin’ around, but I rarely find anything I feel I can actually call a narrative, you see? I think a dynamic blend is just what the tailor ordered — plus it’ll keep us from wearing out the seat of our breeches.
Put the calipers down, I beseech you — you might be striking before the iron’s hot, here. Whenever you start throwing the door open on the status quo, you start to invite the Vandals into Rome. Innovation is one thing, but asking what’s missing in life? Dreaming of untapped ideas? That sounds rather like insurrection, or at the very least infection — bringing back weird ideas from off the map might invite more change than people can cope with!

Sewing You a Pirate Flag,
Dreamland’s Insurgents

 

What are your thoughts on this subject?  Have you read the post over on El Space?   If not, I beseech you too, to head that way and tell me what you think!  Join in our endeavor!  Also, don’t forget to take a moment to check out Laura’s blog!  Remember we LOVE to hear your thoughts, or even read YOUR letters…

Letters of Questioning: Lost or Redefined

LettersofQuestioning

 

True to fashion we have brought you another intellectual installment of our treatise in the works!  Please enjoy…

Dear Dreamland’s Insurgents,
You are quite right, burning questions at the heart of writing. Oh, I suppose that may not have been what you meant. Your questions raise up some valid points of thought though. But I would argue, does one ever choose to embark on the journey? Is it not just set forth in front of you, and you step on it by happenstance? But then indeed, that would make it a calling, mayhap…
I beseech you then, what of the idea I stumbled upon while perusing on Bottledworder’s blog. The thought that jumped out at me of how after the telling of your tale, coming back to one’s own life. One’s own tale. Having recently disembarked from our Camp NaNoWriMo journey’s there is a certain truth in having to re-find, or maybe redefine oneself after the undertaking of a story of another. Losing oneself to the story, it is as if we are rudely awakened once more to reality, when we find ourselves once more on it’s shores. What think you? Does a writer let go to be lost to the words in the page only to come back at a later time to see what it was they laid forth? Or maybe it is to find themselves once more? Maybe even redefine, based on what is laid out before them?
Lost in the pages, or maybe redefining,
Random

 

Here is his response:

Dear Random,
You should get some ointment for those burning questions! Alas and alack and malarkey, I’ve got mostly questions in return. Call it obstinate or just plain obfuscation. Doesn’t a calling imply some caller? And all conditioned reactions to ringtones aside, isn’t it ultimately our choice to pick up the phone? Maybe I’m mixing my metaphors but on the other hand, we’ve got a reason to get meta for – without the appearance – illusion or reality – of our own agency, which is to say the agency of our characters, wither this impulse to change, and whyforeth the reluctance, yea verily?
Seriously, though, and this is why I also liked Bottledworder’s post on “Why Writers Must Listen,” it’s the choice of the characters or the author to give some stories voice or to hide them entirely. For me, I’m always redefining myself, and my characters show that I think. They’re struggles are often my struggles, as are the struggles of the people around me! (Partly because I steal shamelessly from the people around me!) No one is an island, though the wind and seas may take their effect on our internal geography. It IS about empathy, but it’s also about boundaries, and negotiating them. Why give one character the main narrative? Maybe because he/she/they/it are more comfortable with it than the other characters? How about you, do YOU get lost, and once immersed in another character, are you forever changed? How do you find your way back?

May there be no birds on your breadcrumbs,
Dreamland’s Insurgents

Please feel free to jump in and share your ideas!

Letters of Questioning: An Idea Formed

LettersofQuestioning

 

A thought was had, an idea formed, here is the results, for all to share!

Dreamland’s Insurgents,
It is with great joy I pen this letter to you! I propose that we embark on a journey. A forming of a treatise if you will, on the concepts that plague us in the depth of our writing journeys thus far in life. I know, dear friend, that you may wonder on why I bring this quest to you, but think on it… the value and meaning in the words we could create here! The world and the importance of our words and its impact.
We are intellectual beings on this writing journey. We see the world around us with our mind, and express that best with our words… with philosophy and thought. So I put it before you and ask what would you see in an endeavor like this? What would you choose to get out of the sharing of ideas? Journeying together to find the “real” meaning and ideas in this practice we call writing? What value and meaning would you find in a personal philosophical writing treatise?

Deeply Troubled, Lost to Concepts beyond all control,
Random

 

You can find his response here:

 

Dear Random,
Let me remind you of the helpful words of England’s most renowned philosopher, Douglas Adams: “Don’t panic.” If the concepts “plague” you, you should probably have a nice cup of tea and relax. That’s like aiming for a nightmare when you just want a nap! But to answer your question – for me, no doubt, there’s the most value in the written word when it’s shared – why would anyone write without an intended audience? Even if it’s just a future self…. We’re social creatures! In writing no less, so of course why not collaborate? If for nothing else, than to soothe that occasional malaise of melancholy which meaning might stir in your heart. Your questions, of course, need to be answered – they are at the heart of the writing experience like a hidden fire…. When do you decide it is time to take a journey? Is it a call, an impulse – lightning hitting your brain?

Dancing around the chaos,
Dreamland’s Insurgents

 

Please share any thoughts, ideas or comments you have in response to our letters!  We greatly encourage participation!

Letters of Questioning: A Teaser

So… an idea was born! I have to say, working on a collaborative project really just intrigued me. And since I have such a wonderful writing partner I have managed to talk him into something GRAND!!! Starting tomorrow we will be working on a deep and philosophical endeavor! Every Friday from now on I will be corresponding with Dreamland’s Insurgents. We will hyperlink our responses back and forth, so please remember if you enjoy the letters on one end, go and check out their response!

Please stay tuned to learn more, but I will say… it is going to be incredibly great! (if I do say so myself)