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Experience: A Necessity? (Or, writing and having a life 2.0):

 26 Mr AHR, Tue, 27th Sep '11 12:20:00 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I mentioned guns?!?

—rereads thread—

Huh. So I did.
"Even bringing up Orwell does your argument no good; yes he had plenty of experiences, but he did not have the actual experience of living in the world he portrayed. He had to synthesize, extrapolate, create."

The miscommunication here lies quite clearly in you thinking that when we say write from experience, we mean rendering a literal, point-by-point description of only those events which the writer has partaken in. I have repeatedly explained to you in the previous thread that this is not the case. I'm not talking about limiting yourself to autobiographies, but to those events and emotions that you can reasonably relate to from your previous experiences.

edited 27th Sep '11 12:50:58 PM by kashchei

And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
 28 Morven, Tue, 27th Sep '11 4:22:44 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
Nemesis
Night, I do not mean this to be at all insulting, but rather I think it might illuminate the communication difficulty:

Are you on the autism spectrum at all?

I ask because there appears to be a huge gulf of understanding between yourself and most of the other posters in this thread and the earlier thread, and I think it goes beyond reading comprehension or anything like that.

It certainly reminds me strongly of discussions between autistics and neurotypicals I've been part of before, where the problem is that there are fundamental differences in thought and perception between the two groups.

A brighter future for a darker age.
 29 jagillette, Thu, 29th Sep '11 8:22:31 PM from the middle of nowhere
Wimpy Mc Squishy
No, Morvin, I think this all has more to do with kashchei not being able to discern the points of a rational argument. Look, I'm new here and I only just stumbled on this thread that's been dead for 2 days. And I'm sorry if I'm overstepping my bounds, but I couldn't let kashchei win this.

At the risk of restarting something that maybe should be left alone, I'm going to see if I can clear this up. kashchei, it seems like you're trying to say a couple things.

1: You personally prefer works that have been written from first-hand experiences that most people have not had. Night did not dispute this.

2: You are unsure as to the quality of writing produced from vicarious experience. He didn't dispute this either.

3: Quality writing can still be produced from the reimagining of first-hand experiences into similar experiences with identical or nearly identical emotional responses. This wasn't disputed either.

4: Writing well and writing from experience are not mutually exclusive. No dispute here either.

5: Calling yourself a writer doesn't make you good at writing. Still no dispute.

Here are Night's claims, as I understand them.

1: Most writers do not write solely from first-hand experience. kashchei did not dispute this.

2: That is not necessarily a bad thing, as it allows writers to simulate experiences that are impossible to actually experience. He didn't directly dispute this, but his third point implies that experiences that are impossible but are still written about bear many similarities to experiences that are possible, and can therefor be described as written from experience.

3: There are good writers and there are bad writers. keshchei actually supported this claim when he said calling yourself a writer doesn't make you good at writing. He implied that there is good writing and bad writing, and therefor good writers and bad writers.

4: Good writing adds to a work, above and beyond whatever first-hand experiences the writer is using as a basis. keshchei did not dispute this.

5: Writing with skill but no experience is better than writing with experience but no skill. Still no dispute.

And here's my point: This is not actually an argument. This is two people saying things that are related only by a common theme. keshchei, you continually try to argue against Night without providing any relevant counter-points or even knowing what his points are in the first place.

And Morven, take a better look at the thread. There are more people supporting Night's ideas than there are supporting keshchei's.

Now the actual point that you guys seem to be dancing around is this: Which is more important in writing? Experience or skill? keshchei seems to support experience, although he hasn't categorically stated it. Night definitely supports skill. Now let me repeat this, keshchei, in case you didn't catch it: we all know that skill and experience are not mutually exclusive. Even Night knows it. However, all of your points have revolved around a hypothetical situation in which someone must choose between writing with skill but no experience, and writing with experience but no skill.

Got it? Great. I'm sorry, but the incredible amount of stupid just pissed me off.

edited 29th Sep '11 8:23:25 PM by jagillette

 30 Mr AHR, Thu, 29th Sep '11 8:24:19 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
You realize there is no "winning" or "losing" right? This is a debate. If you're debating to win, you're doing it wrong.

Also, I see more people who agree with experience being very important to writing (in other words, agreeing with Kashchei)...

Skill is really a negligible thing here. I hate the argument "a writer with a lot of skill could do it."

A writer with a lot of skill could right misogynistic tentacle guro rape and make it the greatest love story of our generation.

Assuming an ideal scenario is pointless.

A skilled athlete could run a race and never break a sweat without training. That doesn't mean that most people should not train.

edited 29th Sep '11 8:29:15 PM by MrAHR

 31 jagillette, Thu, 29th Sep '11 8:27:08 PM from the middle of nowhere
Wimpy Mc Squishy
By "winning" I mean "Having an argumentative standpoint that seems stronger."
 32 chihuahua 0, Thu, 29th Sep '11 8:30:56 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
I'm just going to throw in my opinion, which probably had been stated multiple times:

"Any experience, even any that is only remotely related to what you're writing, is better than none." *

"Interviewing a primary source is better than researching from a secondary one."

-flips off wireless-

edited 29th Sep '11 8:32:00 PM by chihuahua0

 33 Mr AHR, Thu, 29th Sep '11 8:32:11 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Then I advise you don't call the other arguments stupid. It does nothing to help your cause, and paints you to be rather condescending.
Also known as Katz
Um, guys?

This conversation is going exactly the same direction the last one did.

 35 jagillette, Thu, 29th Sep '11 8:42:45 PM from the middle of nowhere
Wimpy Mc Squishy
[up][up]Forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't the whole idea behind debate the exchange of conflicting ideas in an attempt to better understand the subject material? Understanding implies that there is a truth to be understood, and it stands to reason that the viewpoint that better represents that truth will have more evidence and opinion to support it, and therefor it will be stronger. Rational people will recognize a stronger viewpoint as one that is most likely closer to the truth that they are trying to understand. So a viewpoint with more evidence and opinion behind it will attract more rational people to its support, at the same time hopefully bringing those people closer to the truth.

I only include the word opinion in here because in many (but perhaps not most) situations that involve debate, evidence can be either severely lacking or altogether impossible.

edited 29th Sep '11 8:43:18 PM by jagillette

 36 Madrugada, Thu, 29th Sep '11 8:50:34 PM Relationship Status: In season
With Mod Hat On
The point of a debate is to "win" it. That's what makes it a debate. There are different ways to win a debate, but the point of a debate is to "win".

This is, or was, a conversation (people talking about things, with no "winner" or "loser"), or a discussion (somewhat more focused than a conversation, but still no "winner" or "loser".)

Now, let's get back to the converscussion and stop worrying about who's "winning".

edited 29th Sep '11 8:51:38 PM by Madrugada

'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
 37 Mr AHR, Thu, 29th Sep '11 8:50:42 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
You can't assume that you are making a strong argument. Some people are not good debaters. And the people you are talking to are still people. So you need to show them, and their arguments, respect, even if you do not agree with them.

[up]Gah. Ninja'd! Damn my loose definition of the term debate.

edited 29th Sep '11 8:51:18 PM by MrAHR

 38 jagillette, Thu, 29th Sep '11 9:06:36 PM from the middle of nowhere
Wimpy Mc Squishy
I agree with both of you. Mr. AHR, when I said I couldn't let kenshchei win, it wasn't because I assumed he was wrong. I'm not even disputing any of his claims. It was because his argument only seemed stronger because Morven implied that Night didn't adequately understand the claims being made by EVERYONE ELSE IN THE THREAD, which I personally felt was mislead and misleading.

edited 29th Sep '11 9:06:58 PM by jagillette

Also known as Katz
I know I'm exacerbating the problem by pointing it out, but the discussion is once again migrating from being about the role experience plays in writing to being about who's winning and the rules of formal logic and whether this is a debate or a conversation.

 40 Bobby G, Fri, 30th Sep '11 4:50:51 AM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
Perhaps we need a better definition of "skill" and "experience" here.

To my mind, "experience", in this context, is any knowledge gained firsthand, not from a resource such as a book or website.

What is "skill", in this context? Is it the ability to use the language cleverly? If so, a person with skill but no experience could presumably write a very entertaining "quirky" story, but not a realistic or particularly immersive one.
 41 Mr AHR, Sun, 2nd Oct '11 9:38:12 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I assume skill is a way of saying how "good" of a writer you are. A vague, general way of saying it.

I don't think it matters your skill, because you can't assume everyone is at such a high skill level it stops mattering whether they have experience or not.

Especially because NO ONE on this site is near that skill level, and I'm sticking by that assessment.
"Now the actual point that you guys seem to be dancing around is this: Which is more important in writing? Experience or skill? keshchei seems to support experience, although he hasn't categorically stated it. Night definitely supports skill. Now let me repeat this, keshchei, in case you didn't catch it: we all know that skill and experience are not mutually exclusive. Even Night knows it. However, all of your points have revolved around a hypothetical situation in which someone must choose between writing with skill but no experience, and writing with experience but no skill.

Got it? Great. I'm sorry, but the incredible amount of stupid just pissed me off."

No, sorry, I didn't quite get it, because the argument we're having is not one that juxtaposes skill against experience. For all your claims that Night and I are talking past one another, you do a terrific job of missing our actual points, which are:

First-hand experience is paramount vs Experience is not necessary because knowledge can be gained vicariously

My point is that experience is necessary not because it gives you an insight into technical details of something (although this is a plus by all means), but because it broadens your point of view. What Night is saying is, you don't have to have shot a gun to describe the sensation; what I'm saying is, having had shot a gun may have triggered emotions, reflections, and associations that you would not have felt otherwise. In other words, don't limit yourself by thinking that knowing how to describe A to B is enough, because that kind of thing is not particularly interesting to read. We want to know about how A led to B, why it did, and what the consequences of it are.
And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
 43 Ori Doodle, Mon, 3rd Oct '11 1:42:53 PM from Tracking Down My Nemesis Relationship Status: Sharing a spaghetti noodle
Blondes Have More Fun
Alright then. Is there anything NEW to add to this discussion?
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Total posts: 43
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