The goal of fatness

Every word on Culture Clinic yesterday was a new one. They are, however, much better words than before.

Today, I’m also chasing all new words. I need to change the order of the Problems With Created Cultures, because the first one I have to address is 5) Your culture contains only paladins, clerics, bards, rogues and healers, and maybe the occasional barmaid or whore.

  • The literary novel equivalent of this would be Your culture contains only university students, postgrads, professors, and maybe the occasional irritated parent.
  • The romance novel variant of this would be Your culture contains only twentysomething women and well-employed thirtysomething men, and maybe the occasional unplanned pregnancy.
  • The mystery novel variant of this would be Your culture contains only scumbags, victims, and detectives, and the occasional useful cop.
  • The science fiction novel variant of this is Your culture contains only geniuses.

The name of this problem is THINNESS. No good culture is thin. All good cultures are fat. So the goal is FATNESS… but fatness without worldbuilding bloat. Getting how to do that out of my head and onto paper should make this an interesting writing day.

Onward, then.

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By Holly

Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.

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16 years ago

I beg to differ. The science fiction variant of this would be:

Your culture consists only of heroic geniuses, evil geniuses/mad scientists, corrupt generals, inept politicians, homovorous extra-terrestrials, and the occasional superweapon.

(Oh, wait, that’s Dr. Strangelove. 🙂 (OK, Dr. Strangelove with aliens.)

16 years ago

And I was hoping we were pursuing fatness as a cultural statement. Ah well. It would still fit.

16 years ago

And robots.

Re: commiting Tolkien… a librarian recommended this trilogy one time (can’t remember author at moment, but can find it), said she just loved it… and she’s the SF/F aficionado there, so of course I checked out all three, sure they’d be great. I get home, and discover that they’re Tolkien, with the names and minor details changed, and much less… effective… writing. The whole trilogy, because after I gave up on the first one, I did skim it, and then the other two books, just to see if it was as bad as I thought. I’m still puzzled as to how that got published.

Needless to say, I trust her judgement a lot less these days.

The English Rose
The English Rose
16 years ago

LOL I think it’s so funny because it’s so true! I am looking forward to this one.

S William Shaw
16 years ago

#5 is funny. The culture has only elements that can move character from point A to point B, inluding taverns and whores.

16 years ago

I just have to say — this is brilliant stuff. I keep laughing out loud and trying to read bits to my (unappreciative) husband. And I think you’re really hitting the nail on the head. I will definitely be buying this book when it comes out.

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