Within the fiction writing community and especially on social media outlets like Tumblr, there is a particular type of writing that draws a subset of writers. This writing type is called "whump." Broadly defined, "whump" happens when one character gets hurt, physically, emotionally, or otherwise, and must receive care from another character, or conversely, endure the trauma alone.
Whump can take many forms and be as innocent or graphic as the writer wants, although most writers will post trigger or content warnings if they intend to go into certain details. Graphic or not though, many writers confine their enjoyment to whump communities for fear of being misjudged as sadists, masochists, or otherwise unstable. Others write whump to the exclusion of other types or scenes, which may raise questions about their growth in the craft of writing.
Examine the many reasons why fiction writers love whump. Are they all looking for catharsis for their own trauma? Are some of them caretakers who enjoy seeing characters rescued and nursed to health? Why do you think these writers get judged for liking and creating whump content, whereas a whump reader is less likely to be judged for reading a violent or horror novel? Are there some forms of whump that take the concept too far? And perhaps most importantly, what does this type of writing offer to the fiction community, that no other writing does?
The Internet has wielded unprecedented impacts on writing: from methodology, to modality, to publication, to dissemination, to memory. In all of these cases, the Internet has (seemingly) offered expansion. New, inventive methodologies; an ever-changing landscape of modalities; an explosion of publication avenues; a global, instantaneous system of distribution; and endless memory and storage.
However, with the absolute profusion of writing (from documents, to webpages, to web-text, to user-generated content like Facebook and Instagram, etc.), it feels as though writing is getting lost. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become crucial, and writers and companies struggle to craft their content to be relevant and, most importantly, to be seen.
The writing is certainly stored online, but does storage equate to permanence? Does storage equate to memory? Do permanence and memory even matter, if the writing cannot be found?
This is very insightful. I agree that the profusion of writing to the web is draining something from the act itself; in the same way that Walter Benjamin saw a loss of aura or essence from the creation of art as a result of industrialized mass production (specifically with photography and film as opposed to painting/sculpting and live theater respectfully). Ultimately, storage does not equal permanence. The internet may disappear, just as many of us book-lovers fear that books may altogether disappear one day (a good example is in S. Delaney's "Nova", in which books are a long-lost phenomenon of the past; something many have attempted to replicate and few have succeeded. The insipidness of the internet, the growth and prevalence of online art, interaction and writing, is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the ways in which these writing forms often present is not healthy. This writing often places value in the perception of the audience over the reality of the writer. Plus, there is no guarantee that the internet is truly permanent. The internet can fail, just like the banks; and the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Banking systems have nothing on the internet in terms of size and spheres of influence. What happens then? We start from scratch I guess. – skjamin4 months ago
The internet certainly changes our relationship to memory and other forms of communication. Multiple articles and researchers have pointed out that people are relying less on memory and more on the ability to instantly search and find information when needed. Similarly, Plato rejected writing, as it declined the oral tradition and would reduce the amount of information that people would have to memorize, thus decreasing the art of memorization. The internet, with the ability to quickly search for information is taking this a step further, as people store less in their minds and are reliant on quick searches to yield information. Stephen Hawking in “Life in the Universe” notes that the rate at which new knowledge is produced is so rapid compared to times in the past, that it is impossible to become a true generalist a la Davinci, Francis Bacon, and Newton. The age of the “Renaissance Man” may have come to an end. Instead, now we must increasingly specialize our knowledge consumption to become well-read enough to produce knowledge that is useful in that field. We see this through the increasing specialization in the sciences: one is no longer a physicist, but a theoretical, experimental or quantum physicist. In these very specialized fields, individuals certainly have a permanence of knowledge pertaining to their focus areas, but one quickly discards information not related to their chosen field of study. From our understanding of neuroscience, we know that if pathways are not frequently used, they wither and it becomes more difficult to retrieve information stored on those pathways. However, the ability to quickly find information does not decrease the art of composing ideas. The internet, and computing technologies in general, are a tool that reduce our need to memorize hard facts, but still it is a fundamentally human activity to synthesize this information to create knowledge. I think the bigger question is “How has the ability to rapidly retrieve information effected our ability to produce knowledge outside of our specialized focuses/fields of study?”
– Solomon2 months ago
Superman is a hero routinely derided as one-note. A good boyscout who is always by the books. For this topic the writer should look into the myriad supermen.
Mainly focused on characters such as Man of Steel Superman, One Punch Man’s Saitama, and Watchman’s Dr. Manhattan.
Shared between these characters is a distinct sense of alienation. Not just from their friends but from the people they protect as "heroes"
Understanding the origins of each of their alienations and possibly comparing them to "evil" over powered characters such as Plutonian (Irredeemable), Homelander (The Boys) and Omni-Man (Invincible)
What elements make for a character’s alienation that wouldn’t lead into their collapse into villainy?
See also Ultraman from DC Comics' "alternate universe" stories: he's literally Superman with slight alterations in his backstory that made him a villain instead of a hero. Perhaps compare to mutants in X-men as well. Apocalypse and Magneto have superiority complexes pushing them to try to take over the world, similar to Omni-Man and some of the other evil Supermen. Professor X, on the other hand, is just as powerful but does not share that philosophy. – noahspud3 months ago
Umm i think thats a bit too broadening. Marvel has a bunch of direct Superman analogues such as Blue Marvel, Hyperion, and Sentry. Bringing in Prof X and Magneto and Apocalypse is a bit off topic. – Sunni Ago3 months ago
I enjoy how Lex Luther and Superman understand each other as being two sides of the same coin, in much the same way that Doomsday Superman can't -- being being an identical polar opposite they are literally two side of that coin in strength, etc and so can only annihilate and not triumph over the other. This is ultimately unsatisfying. Lex Luther adds the dimension of an unfortunate childhood, family, daily pressures and a superior mind which Superman can relate to though never condone. – anthonyzed2 months ago
The contemporary popularity of the present tense in narrative storytelling has been critiqued by authors such as Philip Pullman, who have argued a preference for the tone associated with the past tense. Popularised by figures such as Jane Austen, the past tense can be used to achieve a ‘classic’ tone in narrative writing; today, however, authors are freely experimenting with tense.
This article will address how, in today’s world, the aspiring author make sense of tense. Is it a matter of personal preference, or do choices of tense play into more complex sociocultural aesthetics? If tense matters, how important is it to take a stance on the subject? Is tense a purely relativist construct, its validity being subject predominantly to the whims of the author?
I've got to say, and it might just be a matter of personal preference, but there are better ways to inform us that the article is going to address something, better than saying it just like that. It's too rigid and academic – Yusra Usmani2 months ago
I actually really like this topic. You could do cross literary analysis over different genres and compare fiction and non-fiction. Past tense what we're used to most of the time, yes, but I've started to see a rise in present tense. Tense flow and how tense can effect the tone of a story can be analyzed as well.
– Ara1 month ago
A common point of difference in commentary on literary craft is the role of tools: the pens, the paper, the word processors, and other ephemera through which writing actually happens. Some authors, such as Neil Gaiman, famously write in beautiful notebooks with beautiful pens, while others take the opposite approach. Natalie Goldberg, for instance, has written of her preference for a fast-writing cheap pen and an inexpensive notebook, on the basis that such tools put little pressure on the author to produce perfect work.
While it seems reasonable that personal preference plays an important role, how can aspiring writers think more critically about their choice of creative implements? Of the resources at our disposal, which are likely to support the creative process, and under what conditions? Conversely, under what conditions might we consider a writing practice to be ill-resourced, and what are the telltale symptoms of such a situation?
Books and magazines have been outlets for creative expression since printing presses made them viable options for creative production. Today, though, the magazine industry seems straddled over digital and print options—and after the editions are printed, they are slowly extinguished in a swirl of ephemeral media (print letters, circulars, magazines), while books re-circulate in libraries, used bookstores, and personal collections.
Is it fair and accurate to say that books hold more enduring value than magazines? If so, why do books hold their value more so than magazines? If a book held the exact same content as a magazine, would its life cycle be different? Is the fate of these publications dictated by their binding and paper type, or are there cultural undertones that determine if these media flourish?
There are surely many ways that one could approach this topic -- historically, materially, economically, reception studies, seriality studies, gender studies, etc. -- but for the sake of a Helpful Note, I will comment on only one dimension of the issue: for roughly the first two hundred years of the existence of "the novel" as a distinct literary genre, the vast majority of novels were originally published serially in magazines. I'm not sure if this factor simplifies or complicates your original query, but it offers tangible cases with which we might respond to your "If a book held the exact same content as a magazine" hypothetical, since the complete works of Charles Dickens (for example) can be described as being (more or less) identical to content that initially appeared in magazines. What this essentially tells us is that the "book-magazine dichotomy" began simply as a difference in media, whereby the connotations of them emblematizing key differences in content/form/genre came later. For me, this brings to mind two follow-up questions: 1) Would the novels of Dickens have been able to achieve the degree popularity of popularity they went on to enjoy if they had never been decoupled from the material vessel of magazine pages and republished as autonomous books? 2) Given that novels today are seldom published initially in magazines, what factors lead to the separation of content/form/genre that we now associate with the two variants of print media, and how has the concretization of those associations impacted our subsequent expectations and/or beliefs about each medium's limits and potential? – ProtoCanon4 months ago
Newspapers, though changed and challenged by the digital age, still offer a unique platform for community exchange and cultural expression. However, most larger newspapers only actively solicit letters to the editor from their readers—not poetry, art, short stories, or photography.
Are newspapers missing an opportunity to regularly engage in these art forms, or are these art forms meant only for specialized publications and magazines?
Furthermore, if more poetry were added to newspapers, how would it extend or shift cultural conversations? Does poetry invite a dialogue or merely distort facts with feeling? Does poetry belong in a “factual” space? And, finally, on a practical level, how might a newspaper regularly engage with poetry, for the benefit of itself and its readers?
This is an amazing topic! And a very topical one as well. I think putting poetry into newspapers would be a quiet but powerful step in giving people the chance to re-explore verse beyond a classroom setting. It is startling to see how far poetry has faded into the background of our world today. Often, it seems like people see poetry as a complicated, puzzling realm of writing that they can't simply read without much poetic expereince. But poetry is the roots of our written words--the foundation of where story and song found their home in our earliest ages. In a way, poetry is a cornerstone of our shared human culture--and incorperating it into the public press might be a subtle but potent reminder of this. It might help people see that poetry doesn't belong to any one group of readers, that anybody can enjoy a poem whether they are familiar with it or not. I also think it's a nice idea to have a small snippet of abstract beauty fixed between a dense forrest of headlines. – mmclaughlin1024 months ago
Very eloquently said, @mmclaughlin102. I especially like your point about poetry being woven into our cultural fabric as the foundation of story and song. When reading your note, I kept thinking of a phrase, “to democratize poetry”: that is, to widen the voice, participation, and understanding of poetry. If poetry is seen as being only for specialized audiences, newspapers could have a role in widening its audience and accessibility (to re-democratize it, if you will). Thought provoking. – KatieM4 months ago
In the Victorian era, many writers believed that writers and poets would replace religion and the church. While I do not think poetry will have that much power in a modern context, I believe that poetry has the potential to be highly useful in a medium such as newspapers. Poetry has the ability to invite dialogue about certain topics that are relevant today, such as colonialism in Kipling's "The White Man's Burden". As others have noted, there is this air of complexity around poetry and I strongly believe that by having poetry in the newspapers, more people will gain exposure to this style of writing and be more comfortable around it. Poetry has the ability to tell stories of personal experiences, and important historical events and encourage conversation about relevant modern topics. Without a doubt, I believe that poetry deserves a place in newspapers. – ethan2 months ago
Analyse the importance of travelling to experience other cultures on the creative writing process (either your own experience or an author you are familiar with).
I think it would be good to include the aspect of travel as not necessarily only the aspect of exploring other countries and cultures, but to use 'travel' as a metaphor for stepping outside of our comfort or familiarity zone even in everyday life, and thereby creating more depth and experience to draw upon in our writing. – MonicaGrant4 years ago
Stepping outside of the world you know and into the unknown or the other worlds we’ve only read about is essential to unclogging writer’s block. As MonicaGrant said it’s also about getting out of your comfort zone, mentally. Traveling allows you to open up to these new spaces in your mind. It gives you new perspectives and issues to expand upon. Traveling gives you the opportunity to tell the people’s story of them that may not have a voice. – Jailel4 years ago
I agree with the sentiment that "travel" us a metaphor for stepping outside of one's comfort zone. Furthermore, an author travelling and exploring the unknown lends proper authenticity in regards to escapism, a trait that so many, if not all creative pieces, aim to have readers experience. – TahliaEve4 years ago
I'm wondering if this relationship might be more reciprocal than the suggested topic allows. What if creative writing is what encourages people to travel? – kelseyodegreef4 years ago
I definitely like this idea as I think many on this site could relate to the ideas expressed and would be interested to hear another's input. Especially when analyzed through the work of a few great authors of the past. – RJSTEELE3 years ago
Travelling I always feel can be taken both from a figurative and literal perspective as what one does in promoting their individual growth. The individual experiences of every writer play significant role in how their works turn out, and as such exploring not only the literal notion of traveling from one place to another, but also the mental traveling one endures when dealing with day to day life would be interesting for discussion. – ajaymanuel3 years ago
An example that could be drawn upon is Steinbeck's Travels with Charley: In Search of America. – EJSmall3 years ago
W.G. Sebald’s Rings of Saturn is an interesting read that could tie in will here – Samantha Leersen3 years ago
Travel de-centers our way of thought for reasons that startle, astound, confuse, intrigue, and all of the above. This happens because we don't know how we are meant to "feel" or "think" in a place that is culturally distinct from our own. In short, our way of life is being challenged, and we feel the need to confront the new in order to re-center ourselves. – JuanGomez2 years ago
From a literal sense, actually traveling to locations, especially those that enjoy a culture much different from our own, is enlightening: both on an intellectual level and one of pure pleasure, experiencing the vernacular within language, architecture and geographical differences, experienced in both plein-air and urban landscapes, together are catalysts (or persuasive elements) vital for the creative thinking. Though we have the means to travel through virtual conduits, these fantastical journeys can only, barely prick, our inner emotions, desires and social consciousness of the world around us: the virtual experience feeds only the mind, but only reality can be prick our souls. Lance A. Lewin – Fine Art Photographer/Instructor/Lecturer
– LanceLewin1 year ago
Writing about other cultures without not visiting the related destinations is the same as describing the taste of food if you haven't tried it. Travelling is a must, otherwise, it's just work based on theories. – Christof Claude5 months ago
The cultural differences would certainly stand out and would be addressed. But, with culture, there is so much that picking and choosing what to address becomes the issue. – Joseph Cernik5 months ago
traveling is what actually encourages people to write an example would be 'the happiness of pursuit 'by chris Guillebeau-fanlove – FANLOVE4 months ago