Style over Substance?

I had intended to discuss the question of how to formulate plots and which plots make for less toilsome writing, but I received a letter from an old comrade-in-unpublishedness which set my thoughts along another path, that of Style.

By this I refer not to questions of what sort of tables you should sit at, or if ragged old but friendly clothes rather than fashionably new casual outfits set the correct balance between comfort and inspiration, but the matter of delivery of the story.

Some might think this an obvious conclusion, but you would be surprised, there are those with possibly more resources than talent having decided they need a room solely for the purpose of writing, set to the task of interior decorating with more effort, reflection and self-examination than possibly Dostoyevsky had in producing Crime and Punishment.

But I digress.

My comrade of many years…

Now his name is not actually Brinsleg Garstzrym; it is a pen-name in which he has submerged his identity, so much so I have quite forgotten his true name. For the years of our association he has been fixated on having a unique name. This resulted in failure with various combinations of European Names; it was astounding, those already in existence, you had to marvel at the ingenuity of parents. There was also his chagrin at being mistaking for folk at the top of their very learned profession, or worse when the internet came into being some finding out that colleagues (and rivals) of theirs were being bemused at this learned person being associated with some less than impressive works of fiction being posted under the said person’s name.

In addition as he is actually a compassionate, careful and caring fellow he is also not wishing to cause offense. I did press him to adopt his one creation of Obhadynka Azimbouf as it would surely be of advantage when writing comic or Metafiction for the reader would be so transfixed by the name that they would be half way through the story before they even began to wonder about its worth, but he had of late become agitated that he may be causing offense to goat herders who were Uzbek. Even though I pressed the case that the likelihood of any such indomitable folk reading his works as being very rare. Also whereas I could not claim to be an expert in their language I was sure the words comprising this name would be met with at best blank stares, and possibly an invite to lie down in the shade. But he would not be persuaded. And thus  Brinsleg Garstzrym he stayed and decided this was a name best suited to the more muscular forms of SF writing.

Which he therefore, makes valiant efforts at.

Naturally, being a dweller in the literary deserts where recognition is as water I sympathise with him and feel he should be given some recognition. There is much frenetic action, with central characters dashing about in all directions, expounding views while managing to cut down foes with unerring accuracy and hosts of lesser characters many of whom provide stereotypes and roles suitable shields or decoys dying in noble fashion with a few last memorable words. In fact there is so much going on that romance or erotica barely gets a mention, and as for a plot, well in my opinion that would only provide clutter. Brinsleg has always maintained there is a plot but that Action is a Metaphor for Life. He is a far deeper thinker than I…. But you must judge for yourselves.

In this I give you an extract from Iron Hounds of The Stellar Rim   (with Brinsleg’s permission; he feels if he can get the stories beyond editors and away from less prestigious blogs he will find his true audience)

The blood ochre sky was filled with the noise of tearing metals, burning towers and dying life. Across the pitted landscape poured the ranks of the Klongs of Zurg chanting the praises of the Warlord Scourgeous. They were mindless of causalities, no matter how many got blown up.

Captain Fryzzn frowned and composed himself. He might die this day, but he must do his duty. Nearby his last Multi-Laser Gun blew up.

“Flag Sergeant Grundeg,” he said calmly “Find Lieutenant Frish I need him to form a flank,”

“Sorry Captain,” Grundeg said calmly, as if on a parade ground “He was just blown up,”

“Pity, he was a promising young officer,” Fryzzn clapped a hand on Grundeg’s shoulder “Then gather up the Reprobates and form a flank. The left one, I think,”

The sergeant smiled grimly, he said something, but a nearby tank got blown up so Fryzzn couldn’t hear him. Then he was distracted by a guttural, savage, loud roar, as one of the muscular large bestial Klongs leapt onto of the barricade, wielding its atomic axe and blowing up the machine gun nest. Fyrzzn levelled his meson blaster, squeezed the trigger and the creature blew apart.

Colonel Spritzenhurg limped up, his grim face bending into a slight smile.

“Fryzzn, I had you marked down as a dam idealistic liberal fool, but you fight as hard as any. This line must hold, the other companies have all been blown up. We must hang on until reinforcements arrive and blow up these hordes,”  

“It will be done,” Fryzen said.

“Good,” Spritzenhurg said

And stepped into his command vehicle, which rose up into the debris heavy air.

Over the last remaining intact building it blew up.

“Guess ol’ Spritzen-guts couldn’t stomach them beanz we all had to force down last night,” drawled Corporal ‘Eagle-High’ Larwson, laconically as he drew an aim on an enemy flyer, snappering the release button and watching the Ion-Grenade arc upwards, striking the craft so that it blew up.

Fryzzn’s mind was buzzing with thoughts, when the slender grimed and blooded form of Lieutenant Ceeyleah Windrush appeared at his side. She smiled through the rivulets of blood seeping down her scalp.

“You are hurt,” he said

“You should see the others,” she whispered “What’s left of them. WE blew the entire squadron up,”

“You brave girl,” he said and he kissed her head, she smiled then swayed against his firm chest.

“Medic!” he cried.

Two turned up laid the young woman on a stretcher and loped off to the rear.

They had just turned the corner of the ruined civilian-hab when there came and awful screaming of an incoming Fry-Bomb.

The entire corner blew up.

Wordless tears streaming down his face Fryzzn picked up the atomic axe, no man should have been able to heft one.

He screamed in wordless anger

And began, singularly to blow up any and every Klong he saw.

There is a whole two hundred pages of this and I don’t see why it has not been published, there is much action, doomed romance, a tragic hero and a noble vengeful cause of slaughtering ugly aliens, and thus I think is more than enough Style for anyone.

As I suggested earlier you of course must make up your own minds, but please let me know your views on the matter.

Up-date…….. And in the spirit of this blog, in this month of September I have finally found Tags & Categories!! This could be the big-breakthrough….which might spoil the nature of the blog…..Ah me…beset by choices



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