Monday, August 29, 2011

The Four Basic Writing Stances : Fool

The Fool.  Source

The Fool (or Alber in German) is a deceptively open stance.  You lower the blade, almost touching the floor with its tip, and step back with your one foot.  You create the illusion that you are open for attack while you can actually counterattack very efficiently.

With a twist of the hilt, the blade can be brought up to parry, leaving you in a good position to attack.  Also, the speed with which you can lift the blade will often be underestimated.

In writing, the Fool is a combination of the Plough and the Ox.  You start off without any outline, but when you figure out your characters and see how things play out, you switch to outlining for the middle (which is often a very difficult place for an Ox to be in).  But before you get to the end, you switch back to writing without an outline.  Therefore, your outline will be everything except the beginning and the end.
The Fool essentially maximises efforts by outlining the part that is hard for the Ox stance and winging the parts that often cause the biggest problems for the Plough stance.  By doing this, the Fool gets the advantages of both stances.  The story will be well structured and flow naturally, if you do things right.

However, along with the advantages, the Fool also gets the disadvantages.  The stance tries to cast away the places where the stances most often fail, but it cannot eliminate all the problems.  By winging the beginning, it is possible to set the whole course of the story into a chaotic mess.  The beginning gives you the direction, and if you don’t know what’s happening, you will shape the whole story (even with its structured middle) into the wrong thing that might not really get anywhere.  Also, the large part in the middle might stagnate and become an article instead of a story.

For people who like both the Ox and the Plough stances, the Fool is a good alternative.  It may seem to be a very chaotic method, but it efficiently balances out positives and negatives.  If you do it right, you can create a story with a wonderful flow and natural characters, without losing tautness and clarity.  If you don’t do it right, you will have a big mess on your hands.

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