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Author Topic: FlameKeeping - Stories from the future  (Read 16311 times)
BGMarc
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« Reply #30: December 04, 2009, 12:41:08 am »

Contacting the Divine

The following list are the key messages that I got from this section of your post. I'm not sure how well they align with other people's interpretations, or with your intentions, but I thought it mght be the sort of feedback that helps Smiley
  • A person comes to the Divine with preconceptions.
  • A person who applies preconceptions to the Divine will arive at a false understanding.
  • A person will not be successful if they try to understand the Divine.
  • A person can come to understand the Divine only when they have ceased trying to.
  • Understanding of the Divine originates in the Divine.
  • The Divine is not subject to rationalisation.
  • The Divine strongly desires that a person understand It.
  • A person strongly desires understanding of the Divine.
  • Alternatively, the Divine desires to be understood by a person in proportion to that persons desire to understand the Divine.
  • The Universe is Divine.
  • The Divine loves [people].
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BGMarc
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« Reply #31: December 04, 2009, 01:04:50 am »

Story:

I have to strongly question the use of second person for the story. Second person leaves me wanting to say "No, I didn't", or "How would you know?" and other such. It seems to me that if you are trying to lead people to internalise the ke messages in the previous section that it might be more effective to describe third persons who have already internalised these messages. If you describe them well enough, it give the reader the chance to connect with (and hopefully to identify with) the characters and so start to see how they might move to a shared understanding with the character.

In a similar vein, I feel that it could be more specific/granular. You describe broad tracts of life experience quite briefly and at quite a high level. I find it very outcomes focused; sort of a summary of life to date. To connect with your key messages, I feel the need for more situational examples. I feel a need to see how someone else puts your mesages into practice. I want examples of the types of previous experiences you are describing so that I will recognise others of their kind.

For example, rather than saying "...[a]nd so you sought all the names, all the faces that humanity has used to try and contact the Divine..." you could relate a person's experiences with joining religions, reading books, participating online, etc. and the ways in which it was dissatisfying; the undesired/unhelpful emotional responses it engendered; the aspects of life and situations that it failed to address.

I want to identify with someone who has kept the Flame and to understand what that means. I want to know how they behave and respond to the world around them. It seems to me (and I have read at least some research that supports the position) that we learn best by observing and imitating other people. Self-reflection seems to be an inherantly challenging learning method for most people. YMMV.

(I hope this is the sort of stuff you're after; I feel like I'm being a bit clinical - more like writing for work lol)
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« Reply #32: December 04, 2009, 08:20:19 am »

(I hope this is the sort of stuff you're after; I feel like I'm being a bit clinical - more like writing for work lol)

Actually, these two posts are exactly what I am looking for, and thank you very much.  I'm going to respond more intelligently on them in a bit - I want to think about what you said.  But yes, this is exactly what I'm looking for. Smiley
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« Reply #33: December 04, 2009, 09:54:14 am »

I have to strongly question the use of second person for the story. Second person leaves me wanting to say "No, I didn't", or "How would you know?" and other such. It seems to me that if you are trying to lead people to internalise the ke messages in the previous section that it might be more effective to describe third persons who have already internalised these messages. If you describe them well enough, it give the reader the chance to connect with (and hopefully to identify with) the characters and so start to see how they might move to a shared understanding with the character.
<nod> And specifically, I felt that the second-person usage was very leading - combined with the past tense, it carries an implication of, "you've done this... or if you haven't already, you should!"  Which might be fine for a reader who has already decided FlameKeeping is the right path for them and is looking for how to follow it, but may be uncomfortably proselytic for a reader who's still deciding among several paths, or one who isn't considering it as a possible path but wants to know more about it for other reasons.

And yet, that wasn't my very first reaction, it was my second.  My first reaction was, "Well, at least there's a protagonist in this story now."  The "we" usage has an indefinite quality that's part, I feel, of why it doesn't read like story.

Question, Shad:  who do you see as being the audience?

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« Reply #34: December 04, 2009, 10:28:50 am »

Question, Shad:  who do you see as being the audience?

I don't know.  I've never known who my audience is - I'm usually too darn surprised I have one in the first place.
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« Reply #35: December 04, 2009, 10:52:41 am »

I don't know.  I've never known who my audience is - I'm usually too darn surprised I have one in the first place.

My suggestion would be to figure out who your audience is--is it people who are already Flamekeepers?  People who have heard about it and want to know more?  People who know nothing about it?  Etc.  Once you know that, I think it'll be easier to figure out how to say what you want to say.  Don't worry, for the moment, about who is reading it; in your ideal world, if you were sitting face-to-face with the sort of person you want to be reading this book, who would it be?  Steve and Oce?  Me and Marc?  My (pagan-friendly at the very least) little brother?  My mom who barely knows what a pagan of any stripe is?  Smiley
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« Reply #36: December 04, 2009, 11:55:58 am »

I don't know.  I've never known who my audience is - I'm usually too darn surprised I have one in the first place.
What Star said.  Straight-up fiction is a bit different; "intended audience" can be as simple as "people who like to read the same kind of thing that I like to read, because that's why I write it."  Non-fiction - well, someone who's writing a book on, say, how to do woodworking is unlikely to be writing it for an audience at hir own skill level; s/he has to at least decide what skill level s/he's writing it for, and possibly other stuff as well.

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BGMarc
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« Reply #37: December 04, 2009, 05:41:05 pm »

I don't know.  I've never known who my audience is - I'm usually too darn surprised I have one in the first place.

From one perspective, you are in a luckier position audience-wise than many authors. You are a founder of a religion writing teaching materials. You can look at religions the world over to see the different ways that such stories are used and be fairly safe in thinking that yours will be put to much the same sorts of use by the future generations of your followers.

Off the top of my head I would plan for things along the lines of: needing to grasp your value-system despite having significantly different life experiences (changed technologies, changed cultural norms, changed political structures, significantly-altered environment, etc.), needing to communicate their belief system to their children, needing to foster the growth of individuals within the religious community, needing to suppoort newcomers to the community, needing to explain their beliefs to non-believers (that are potentially hostile), etc.

It may help to jot down half a dozen goals for this project at a general level. Goals should have some sort of timeframe attached to them. Link each piece that you write to one or more of those goals and consciously allowing that to help shape the writing. If the piece morphs unexpectedly (as words so often do Smiley) take the time to trace it back to different goals, but try and make sure that it is always, first-and-foremost building to and supporting your goals; otherwise it's just creative writing. Mind you, in future generations anything and everything that you have written will be of signicane to the religious community you have founded. Probably in ways that you can't even imagine (and might not support). I don't think that you can prevent that, but you can make it work for you Smiley

I don't know how much that helps on the identifying your audience front, but it was the first thing to cross my mind when I read this post. Admittedly it was pre-coffee, but it went something like "ye gods woman, you have the clearest audience of all" Smiley
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It's the saddest thing in the world when you can only feel big by making others feel small. - UPG

Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime. The sentence is death. There is no appeal and sentence is carried out automatically and without pity. Lazarus Long.

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« Reply #38: December 09, 2009, 03:41:52 pm »


I give, I give.  First person it is. Cheesy  (I probably always should have done it this way, but first person for religious work like this gives me the heebie jeebies.  It's not about ME.  It's about the PATH.)

***
Seeking Truth

Ever since I was very young, I believed there had to be a truth out there.  Whatever our perceptions were, underneath was the universe as it was, and no amount of belief or disbelief could change that reality underlying everything.  The idea that that truth was somehow mutable based on our beliefs struck me as the height of hubris.  After all, the universe existed long before humanity ever came into existence, and will survive quite well even if we manage to wipe out all hints of human life.

This was the biggest problem I had when I went religion searching.  Every religion I found claimed to be the Truth – even the bits that contradicted each other, or contradicted other religions.  And while I don't claim to know what that Truth is, I found it difficult to believe when other people said they did know.  It's just too big.

FlameKeeping specifically does not claim to know the Truth, and I mean it when I say that.  I don't know.  I think I have a shape, a tiny piece of it that fits in with the rest of the universe without contradicting anything else that's Truth.  I could very well be wrong.  In fact, if it ever turns out that I'm 100% right on everything, I'd be shocked to death.  (or past death, if I was already dead, I suppose).  The very idea is laughable.

I don't have the truth.  I have a place to start and a mindset that is hopefully open to the idea of truth, but it's not the whole thing.  It's just a piece and a scaffolding, and even the scaffolding I have doesn't reach all the way to the top.

I just hope that other people can add on to what I've done and flesh it out so that someday we will hold the Truth.  But the search is what matters – not the result.  This is not a place to be worried about the ends, but the means.  We seek Truth.  We don't necessarily find it.

Questions:
What does seeking Truth mean to you?  Why?
What does it mean to not know what the Truth is?
Why is it so important to FlameKeeping that whatever that Truth is, it doesn't change just because we want it to?  That it exists beyond us and before us and after us?

**

Is this the kind of thing that would work?
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« Reply #39: December 09, 2009, 03:42:30 pm »


You realize that this post makes me want to crawl under the bed and never come out, yes? Cheesy
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« Reply #40: December 09, 2009, 04:10:33 pm »



You may not like first person but it works well for some messages. this is definatly one of those.

so there.

plus with first person you can inflict some writing onto oce as first convert. (hides behind sharon and tries to look invisible)
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« Reply #41: December 09, 2009, 04:23:14 pm »

You may not like first person but it works well for some messages. this is definatly one of those.

so there.

plus with first person you can inflict some writing onto oce as first convert. (hides behind sharon and tries to look invisible)


*eyes Steve thoughtfully* y'know, I believe I just wrote about how I need other people to help me with the scaffolding and fleshing things in .....

last I checked, you're a person ........
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« Reply #42: December 09, 2009, 04:41:10 pm »

*eyes Steve thoughtfully* y'know, I believe I just wrote about how I need other people to help me with the scaffolding and fleshing things in .....

last I checked, you're a person ........

im not a person. Im a bug farm
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« Reply #43: December 09, 2009, 05:56:34 pm »

All critique welcome.

I'm late to this thread, but as someone who writes myths himself, thought I'd chime in.

First: Go, HeartShadow! I find it marvelous that you continue to explore and forge your own path. And that you make time to do your writing.

Second: You've gotten some *enormously* good feedback already from everyone in this thread, IMHO.

Third: I think you'd do better to avoid calling these "myths," as others have already advised. If you do decide to write what I'd call myths--third-person narratives that explain the universe and our connection to it--remember the crucial aspect of all story (because story is what myth is all about):

Show, don't tell

(This is what I think it was Marc meant when he said he wanted to read the story all the people you were writing about had read.)

In other words, don't "write on the nose": Don't come out and tell me exactly what you mean. Show me. This is the great power of story, and why it's integral to every human culture I know of; it communicates its truths through vicarious experience.

An example:

"Don't tell lies, or no one will believe you when you tell the truth."

This isn't a story, but stating a point outright, which could well engender a reaction of 'yeah, whatever.' Compare that to:

"Once there was boy who was bored tending his sheep. Then, one day, he thought of a way to amuse himself: He ran about, waving his arms and wailing "Wolf! Wolf!" so that all the villagers ran to his aid. Oh, how he laughed, as the villagers realized they'd been duped. So the next day, to relieve his boredom, he did it again--and sure enough, the villagers came to his rescue, only to realize they'd been fooled a second time. And oh, how the boy laughed again!

"Then on the third day, he couldn't find his flock. Odd, he thought to himself, as he saw unfamiliar and rather large paw prints in the ground...and came face to face with a gleaming pair of yellow eyes and a set of big, white teeth. "W-w-wolf!" the boy cried. "W-wolf!!" But the villagers, fooled twice, were not about to be fooled a third time.

"And oh, how the wolf fed..."

(Which of course is an impromptu version of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," which isn't a myth but a fable or fairy tale...but all these categories, whether myth, legend, fable or fairy tale, are all first and foremost stories)

Finally: I'm enjoying reading your work, and am glad to begin to get an idea of what Flamekeeping is about.
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« Reply #44: December 09, 2009, 06:03:37 pm »


I'm certainly coming to the conclusion that if myths are to be written about FlameKeeping, they're likely not to be written by me.

Which scares me, because that leaves myths ABOUT me as a distinct possibility.  I promise here and now I will haunt the HELL out of anyone that tries to claim I was a virgin birth or any of that rot. Cheesy  (yes, these are things I worry about.  I need help).

But myths aren't what I have to say.  and I need to write what I have, not pretend it's something else.

(disclaimer - my novels ARE NOT FlameKeeping myth.  Or my short stories or anything else.  I'd rather someone made up virgin birth stories about me Tongue )
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