Resources on the Side is a list of resources worthy of your time as an artist, and more specifically as a writer. It is my personal grading system for articles, books and guides Ive read and cared enough to share my thoughts with you. Looking for broadening your horizons as an artist this is as good a place as any to start.
(Why? Why? Why?! BE MORE CONSTRUCTIVE WITH YOUR FEEDBACK PLEASE!)
The Grading System:
- New entry.
- Will you marry me? Like NOW! *hitting head with a club*
- Smart, sexy, sweet as hell! But don't expect a knee-shaking orgasm.
- First date was nice, might spend the night, but no second date.
New Entries of This Post:
* 'Thematics' by Tomashevsky
* 'Aristotle's Theory of Character' by Chatman
* 'Preface to Lyrical Ballads' by Wordsworth
All kinds of articles which are not really guides.
Preface to Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth, W. - [link]
Yes. Yes. YES! OH GOD YES! I fell in love with Wordsworth. Every line of this article, every idea, concept, word, paraphrasing, whatnot - everything is pure damn gold. And the poems... Damn your Wordsworth, you reanimated these sardonic bones of mine!
Aristotle's Theory of Character by Chatman, S. - [link]
So, you wanted to know what the what is about characters. Good for you! Very courages. Now, when you read this keep in mind one thing - the summary of the opinions is much more interesting than the read. This entire read could be summed up to 1 page, much simpler, than it is now. And there's no reason for it to be as complicated as is. None at all.
Thematics by Tomashevsky, B. - [link]
Come along me Formalist friend, and spill on us a pile of endless information! Following Mr. Aristotle's step, in a more modern approach, Tomashevsky give us the missing part of the terminological basis to everything we talk about in literature. But as any other structural old dude - it is long, expatiating and half a date in you realize it: This is a swell guy, but I don't go that way. But trust me on this - you'll remember these basics for a long long while.
Interview with John Gardner - [link]
One of the most thrilling and intriguing interviews Ive read, even if you dont know John Gardner (like me). You know a good interview when the interviewee says everything he/she has to say, touching all the right things and leaving you with enough thinking material to process. I especially loved the most interesting part about the Moral in the art of writing. This is really a must.
N. Senada's Theory of Phonetic Organisation by ~Mae-Jay - [link]
Ever wondered what's the thing about Phonetic? Here's a short one introducing an interesting theory by N. Senada. Nothing too heavy, but still a mind opener.
The Philosophy of Composition by Edgar Allan Poe - [link]
I will not lie to you - this was one of the most toiling readings I had on poetry, but also one of the most interesting and educating. By analyzing the way he wrote the poem The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe shows us how he writes a poem, a little guide into his way - and it is mesmerizing. For those who are not afraid to look behind the curtain.
The Poetic Principle by Edgar Allan Poe - [link]
A very interesting read, which brings up some interesting concepts and ideas. But altogether feels a little scattered, touching a bit of everything but not really getting down dirty.
On 'The Poetic Principle' by Edward Zuk - [link]
After reading Poes The Poetic Principle, I found this article an interesting contrarian. Bringing up many counter-points to Poes arguments, and summing up the entire article in the process. I deeply recommend this further reading.
Many pages, long reads, lots of data - you know, those non-digital things.
:half-star:Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film by S. B. Chatman [link]
I dare not doubt the importance of Chatman's book on the field of narrative theory. But I do dare to oppose his technique of communicating his ideas. So yes, this book would definitely get a whole star, if it wasn't for the fact I shall never open it again. So few dates it is - read it, by all means, but as stated before - no knee shaking orgasm.
The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre by T. Todorov [link]
YES TODOROV, YES! Now that's what I'm talking about when I say - yum. Todorov got enough complexity to make you reread paragraphs, but at the same time he adds so much thought material that you must reread it anyway! Ever wanted to know what is Fantastic in literature? I would definitely give this a good try, but I warn you - it won't be an easy, nonchalant ride.
:half-star:The Republic: The Allegory of the Cave by Plato [link]
Mr. Plato has a thing with caves and slaves. I will not ramble on where it put him on the sexual scale, but I will say that every step toward creation one must ask himself what is it he creates, for whom, and what does it mean. But Plato gave us an ever biggest question - what does it all mean. This short segment of The Republic gives us, as artists, a very different angle on where we all stand.
The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts by Milan Kundera - [link]
Kundera brings up his thoughts and views in a most fascinating way, that makes me feel as if I'm reading a book and not an essay. This book is not presented as a guide, but rather as an in-depth essay, exploring the roots of prose and fiction, what stands behind them and the development of it, through the eyes and experience of Kundera. I heartily recommend.
Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose by Constance Hale - [link]
Grammar and syntax and all that jazz - it's what I was looking for, it's what I was tired of. But When it comes to this book, the first book I ever read on those topics that actually made me WANT to read more, I was awed. It's amazing how interesting a subject can be with just the right amount of sin in it. Beautifully edited, masterfully written - really, this is a good one.
Guides that focus on a single or general thing.
A Word About Haiku by `MSJames - [link]
The most informative little guide I read about Haiku so far. Not because it encompasses every thing Haiku is about, just because it is to the point and in-depth in the right amount, and really opened my eyes.
Punctuating Dialogue: A Guide by ~WordCount - [link]
Most people will ask why bother reading a punctuating guide. But let me assure you that it is as important to understand different views on punctuating as it as on correct grammar. This may not be the most innovating and versatile guide, but it sure lays the basics down, and very lit-minded.
You know those lists of X things an X artist should do?
You should X them.
10 Tips for Novel Writers by `ATrue - [link]
I found some new and interesting ideas in that guide, some I encounter for the first time, and with an in-depth description and explanation. Still, it feels a little incomplete to me, and I don't agree with every written word, but I would definitely recommend giving this a good read.
Developing Memorable Characters: 45 Questions to Create Backstories by Anita Riggio - [link]
Just a collection of 45 questions to help you figure your character out. I admit that it is very helpful, but at the same time too much time consuming. If you feel it necessary to know your character better - that's a good place to start. But don't over do it.
Yes, those wonderfully annoying little things that you get addicted to.
Writing Excuses - [link]
I encountered this little thing on my endeavors for the ultimate Writing podcast. This 15ish minutes long podcast is focusing one topic at a time, giving you the opinions of 3 fantasy writers, but is really not limited to fantasy only. So far one of the best fun podcasts for enjoying and learning I've heard.