Lesson 1

Lesson 1

A Lesson by Tantra Bensko
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Why would you write outside of the traditions?

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Decide what you want to accomplish that can't be gotten across through traditional realism in a plot arc based on conflict, with rising tension that resolves at the end.

What you want to say may be something paraphrasable, a statement, a glimpse into a certain aspect of life. It could be a message or delving into a concept you want to explore. You don't have to know the final answer, as writing fiction is a great way to explore things you're not sure about, and come to the conclusion through the process.

Or it might be that you want to create a mood, an atmosphere, an emotion.

Maybe you want it to mimic life more realistically than the formula of a story generally does. Maybe you want to shake up your readers and get them thinking in new ways. Just playing with new structures and ways of presenting a story can be fun. If you want to take it very seriously, think about how fun it would be for readers other than yourself. Do you want to entertain, engage their deepest profound sophisticated thinking, to shock, renew?

Just to write to to be cool, and different, rebellious, show off, avoid learning the rules, because it's easier, you can get away with more --- obviously, none of these are good enough reasons to put much time into it. What is it you want to do that requires you to deviate from the normal style of fiction?

You might want to write a paragraph for yourself exploring what you in particular have to offer readers that you can't give them without deviating from tradition. What deviations are required to do so? How do these things relate to you specifically? How might something only you have to say require your unique format of a story or a style of writing?

There are many reasons. For example, if you don't care for drama and conflict and dualism that traditional fiction is based on, or you don't find plot arc and a resolution that ties things up in a bow resonate with your life. Maybe you find people enjoy listening to you make lists but not so much telling anecdotes. Maybe you are always inventing completely out of the box ways of doing everything. . .




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JLD

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Posted 2 Years Ago


My whole life is just perfect. My dream job was gift wrapped and delivered by a golden chariot driven by a handsome and dashing man who fell passionately in love with me at first sight, and married me in a grand affair in a gargantuan church in front of everyone I ever met. We were the most gorgeous couple anyone had ever seen. The wedding gifts included diamonds, gold, silver and cold hard cash. We honeymooned across Europe, seeing all of the major historic places, including the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louve, the Tower of Pisa, and the castles of Germany. We even took a tour of Scandinavia. Even the weather was perfect! We flew first class home to our massive mansion and enjoyed a huge party and all of our favorite foods and drinks prepared to perfection. As I lay my head down on a comfy pillow in the most luxurious bed I’ve ever had the pleasure of sleeping in, my devoted lover came in and bashed me on the head with a heavy ornate candlestick!
“I can’t believe I put up with you for so long,” he sneered. “Pleasant dreams, my sweet.”
He grabbed all of the jewels and precious metals before he left town. The massive mansion was owned by a couple that returned early the next morning from a golfing trip. The dream job offer was fake, and the golden chariot he paid to ride in. I felt stupid for not recognizing the horse drawn carriages that pick people up in the park. I guess I was swept up in the moment. As I lie there bleeding, the couple called the cops. Once they arrived and found what was left of the cold hard cash, they determined that the money was stolen from the Second National Bank two weeks ago. I didn’t belong in the house, and the name of my ‘husband’ did not check out. How humiliating! He was nowhere to be found.
My family theorized that this ‘man’ must enjoy the finer things in life. He had to get away in a hurry. He must have seen me and decided that escaping on a honeymoon would be more fun than just running off to Europe alone. We did have two momentous parties and a once in a lifetime trip across Europe. Why not? We had a blast. How he knew that my dream was to work as an executive for the Disney corporation I may never know. Maybe it was just a coincidence. At some point, he decided that I was too much trouble. Maybe I wasn’t. It’s possible that he just wanted to leave me as a scapegoat so he could escape scot-free. The police can’t seem to find him even with all of the photos taken of him over that brief period. The dream wedding isn’t legal anyway, since he used a fake name. It all seemed so romantic at the time, but I guess I need to realize that is reality, not some romance novel. Maybe I’ll have another romance in twenty-five to forty years after I kill my number on this armed robbery beef.

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Posted 3 Years Ago


I love it, Roarke!

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Posted 3 Years Ago


I fictionally imagine myself as a serious writer. When I sit down to write I perch a colorful parrot on my shoulder and wear a plumed pirate hat for creative ambience. I even cajole a temp secretary to take dictation naked while I’m in the shower. All my best ideas come under a hot, pulsating shower. She sits nude and dry, outside the shower and scribes in shorthand my spontaneous concepts and shampoo epiphanies. It’s easier for me to recite to a secretary au natural when I’m all lathered up than it is for me to sit for hours in a leather chair, staring at my computer keyboard waiting for my literary muse to finish drying her hair.

My creative writing process is like watching a silent movie without buttered popcorn or milk duds and woefully stab at composing lines and dialogue for the two-reeler’s title cards. A boring, mind numbing, mental stop-action pantomime if not for my eccentric herky-jerky analogies, similes and metaphors. It’s mental evisceration with a kabob stick. Thinking of the naked secretary helps sooth the concept carnage only marginally.

I haven’t always pursued writing, I used to create visual art, sketches, paintings, sculptures. Most of my artistic escapades are now in the sifted remains of corporate take overs, foreclosures and the refuse bins behind hotels. I’ve been to the creative mountain top... you just can’t find any forensic evidence to corroborate it. I also dedicated 30 creative years to the music business, doing all the hard work associated with mastering a difficult instrument while practicing the music industry’s requisite, predatory self-promotional mannerisms. My reward and Gilead balm for all the sling and arrow wounds suffered was the dim delusion of fame and glory about the penniless legend in my own mind. Ah, when giants walked the earth.

The practice and discipline of writing on the other hand, means something. Writing, a craft whose chiseled-out prose gives birth to revered words then printed for posterity and intelligently designed to elevate both society and culture to a higher plane.

So now, in the fall of my life, I’m exercising the last vestiges of my impulsive creative urges through writing. And I’ve recently discovered something important about my last tango with word-smithing: there’s no such thing as mediocre writing. It’s not a game of horseshoes, grenades and nuclear reactors where close counts. No indeed, there’s only good writing and anything else is just plain CRAP.

But I said to this guy, over an early breakfast of pancakes, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, nay but a shovel in my calloused hands. One must clean many stables before they sing Herculean praise of his labors.…




















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Added on March 18, 2013
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Author

Tantra Bensko
Tantra Bensko

Berkeley, CA



About
I teach fiction writing through UCLA Ex. Writing Program, and my own academy online where I focus on Experimental Writing, which I also teach through Writers College when I have time. I have nearly 20..

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