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Author to Author > "On the 'character' of the landscape: avoiding the pathetic fallacy"

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message 1: by Andre Jute (last edited Nov 01, 2011 06:37PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
The wolves of the tundra: how I used the geography, flora and fauna of Alaska as a character in my prize-winning novel IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth. Article written on hand of the 5-star review of IDITAROD by Katie W. Stewart.

"On the 'character' of the landscape: avoiding the pathetic fallacy" on my blog Kissing the Blarney:
http://coolmainpress.com/ajwriting/ar...

Readers may read this out of interest. Writers should read it because it touches on some very useful if challenging craft tools.

IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth by André Jute IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth by André Jute


message 2: by Katie (new)

Katie Stewart (katiewstewart) | 1099 comments Hey! Who are you calling a witch? No one has ever called me a witch before!

Good article, Andre. Very happy to have inspired it.


message 3: by Andre Jute (last edited Nov 01, 2011 07:16PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Where does the writer strike the compromise in action between a full understanding of every event by the reader and a sense of realism which requires that pace be accelerated in action, i.e. that description be shortened?

"The stopwatch and the nature of action"
http://coolmainpress.com/ajwriting/ar...

An article written on hand of a point raised in the 5-star review by Katie W. Stewart of my prize-winning novel IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth.


message 4: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Hey, Koala -- I see you on Amazon, both sides of the Atlantic. Thanks!


message 5: by Katie (new)

Katie Stewart (katiewstewart) | 1099 comments Andre Jute wrote: "Hey, Koala -- I see you on Amazon, both sides of the Atlantic. Thanks!"

It's always nice to keep things balanced! I don't know why Amazon doesn't automatically post them to all sites.

Another good article. :)


message 6: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Katie wrote: "Another good article. :)"

Helps to have inspiration, some kind of a starting point. The advantage of a good review is that we're already talking about the same piece of literature, and have both been thinking about it. That makes it easy for the writer to spark new ideas off a good review. The problem is of course finding the good reviewer...


message 7: by Katie (new)

Katie Stewart (katiewstewart) | 1099 comments There's something special about finding a reader who connects with your book at a deeper level. That's how I felt about some of my reviews.


message 8: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
You can say that again.

Most indies are very surprised to hear that in trad publishing for decades I met hardly any readers. I didn't know that IDITAROD was so popular until I went on a busman's holiday to the 2011 race. Indieland is certainly an eye-opener.


message 9: by Katie (new)

Katie Stewart (katiewstewart) | 1099 comments I just had a very long email from the Sled Dog Action Coalition. It was supposed to have come through the email as having been made as a comment on the blog, but it doesn't appear on the blog and there's no sign of anyone posting and deleting afterwards. Not everyone loves the Iditarod, apparently.


message 10: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Beard (jabeard) Oh? I'm guessing the objection has to do with dog welfare concerns?


message 11: by Katie (new)

Katie Stewart (katiewstewart) | 1099 comments You guess right!


message 12: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
The problem with those bleeding heart busybodies is that they haven't done their homework. They want to substitute their "feelings", and their hysterical suspicions, for the facts. I went into the welfare of the dogs thoroughly, and a researcher for my publisher independently, from different sources, duplicated my findings. Statistically, a dog running in the Iditarod stands a 200 per cent better chance of being alive at the end of the race than a dog in the general dog population in Alaska. But you'll never hear that fact from the bleeding hearts. Perhaps they don't know any facts about dogs.

I were you, Katie, I'd just ignore them. There's no point in letting them turn your blog into a warzone. They aren't interested in reason or the facts, they're only interested in using their self-aggrandizing emotional displays to hijack free publicity.


message 13: by James (new)

James Everington | 187 comments Hey guys - been awhile. Can't get link to work but wanted to comment on 'pathetic fallacy' and indeed all 'sympathetic background'. As a predominate short story writer, the way I see it is this: everything has to work together in a short story, and these background details show how the central character sees the world.

It's like that thing where you get a new car, and suddenly you see that model car everywhere. Nothing has objectively changed, but the way you filter reality has. Use all the details in your story to show how your character is filtering reality. Then it's background and characterisation in one.


message 14: by Katie (new)

Katie Stewart (katiewstewart) | 1099 comments Andre Jute wrote: "The problem with those bleeding heart busybodies is that they haven't done their homework. They want to substitute their "feelings", and their hysterical suspicions, for the facts. I went into the ..."

I have no intention of getting involved in any conversation with them. As I said, the email didn't appear on the blog, so I will just ignore it.


message 15: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments The PETA people are very out of touch with animals. I wonder, sometimes, if they actually live with any of the creatures they idolize.

Dogs want to have jobs. They are hardwired to work and have a purpose.

Silly humans!


message 16: by Andre Jute (last edited Nov 03, 2011 04:20PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
I wouldn't mind taking on those PETA clowns but I don't want to turn my blog or Katie's into a quagmire in the process.

A simple question for the PETA spokesperson: "Would you step this way, Madam, to select the dogs to be killed with lethal injections right now. Thank you. Those people over there are mushers who, instead of killing them, want to feed the dogs and give them interesting work and sociable lives with their own kind. Are you quite sure you'd rather kill the dogs?"

Those racing dogs are stars, and they know it. Well, okay, so some of them have more airs than a film star. The one I liked best of all was the dog Joe May's sons rescued from the pound, trained on the trapline, and then gave to Colonel Norman Vaughan, who made him his lead dog in the Iditarod race. That dog later pulled the Pope in a sled, and surely is in Heaven! When the Pope celebrated Mass in Fairbanks, the dog got a seat in the church, but they wouldn't let Joe in because he's not a Catholic!

The previous champion but one is also out of the pound, Lance's leader, which is also his family pet, which spends such time as it can spare from television appearances visiting schools and being fed tidbits and admired by kids.


message 17: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
James, the links work for me. If they still don't work for you, google "Kissing the Blarney" +Iditarod.

I wish I thought of the short story analogy for the full-on action novel that has for some eternal reason (in the case of IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth the desire for a young adult crossover) to be stuffed into a shorter space than one would normally allocate. Yes, you're right, it's the same problem, iterated a couple of hundred times, as such a novel is a series of flash fictions back to back, which have to carry all the other elements of a novel, and in addition perform the literary decencies like character development.


message 18: by Katie (last edited Nov 03, 2011 07:42PM) (new)

Katie Stewart (katiewstewart) | 1099 comments I hadn't heard the term 'pathetic fallacy' before you mentioned it, Andre. Then watching this programme today, Steven Fry starts talking about it...
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-03...

(About 5 mins in.)


message 19: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Thanks, Katie.

It's like James says: Now you will hear it everywhere for a month.


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