Opinions on in-depth analysis

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dubiousdisc
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Sat May 20, 2017 3:50 am

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The following is a discussion topic from April 2010! You may also be interested in Introduction Pages and Basic Info: How? and When Shrine Essays Go Off-Topic (sorta).

As we make our fansites, we often end up writing introductory-level essays and then the big in-depth essays - and, in those pages, analysis can often go really deep. What is your opinion about in-depth analysis in fansite essays? Do you enjoy reading or writing it? Or do you think that sometimes it goes a bit too far?

Bonus question relevant to the ongoing Fictional Worlds Challenge: if you write in-depth content, how is your process like? How is writing in-depth content about a world different than writing in-depth content about a character, a series, a relationship, etc.?

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Robin
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Fri May 26, 2017 10:19 am

I have a love-hate relationship with in-depth analysis, even though I'm an English major and should adore longform essays. I love to write it, certainly, and I love to see that others can nerd out just as deeply on a topic. But I admit that trying to read even my own long work, especially off a computer screen, can be very tiring on the eyes and brain. It's like I reach a "saturation point" where I just can't take in any more info without some sort of break, and if the essay goes longer than that my brain is just NOPE (lol).

To combat this, I try to put in lots of headings and subheadings so that folks can scan through and quickly get an idea of where I'm going with my points. I worry, though, that it messes with the "flow" of my ideas and maybe distracts those who don't have attention problems (ROFL). Then usually I'm like "meh I'm overthinking this, HAVE SEVERAL THOUSAND WORDS LOL"

As for writing about a fictional world rather than a character...I feel pretty stuck on my own site, tbh. I don't even know what to analyze first, because there is so MUCH to cover when it comes to describing a world as opposed to just one character from that world. I've written some deeper articles first, but the "basics" section is frustrating me because it just feels like a rehashed wiki. I have toyed with the idea of just having the deeper analyses and linking off to the wiki for basic stuff, but that feels like a cop out, like the "basics" need deeper thinking, too.

To some extent, however, I think these concerns could be endemic to the challenge itself...which is why I must conquer it! *waves sword*
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Sophia
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Mon May 29, 2017 2:13 pm

As a shrine creep, I've always enjoyed meta-analysis over the little details. It doesn't necessarily have to be personal, although that's what I most like, and often what I feel like longer form essays end up being about is the person, even if they don't use 'I' statements. You see a lot more about how they think and what they think is worth notice and how they connect things -- I'm there for the fan more than I am for the subject. I suppose fansites by their very nature are personal (because they're predicated on a creator admitting they're a fan of something), but I feel like the deeper commentary gives me more as a reader than the facts. If I antecedently cared about the shrine's subject, and wanted fact-y information, most of the sources for that are not on fansites. (But then, maybe this is coming from my weakness: I don't hold on to details for long.) But I can care about another person's passionate interest, even if I don't know the person before I read their site, just because what makes something interesting can be shared the more they say about why they think it's interesting. And often that leads me to interests I wouldn't have tried, or shapes how I experience that subject going forward. And then I have two things: I have this new interest or experience of a character or a show; and I have this relationship with the writer, even if they don't know about it, even if I ultimately disagree.

... and obviously, some of this is because I can TLDR too.

I always appreciate someone who can be concise, and I imagine some people can do that after they draft a site a few times, or if they've had a site for years and their relationship to the subject or to shrining changes, they can cut out content. (Or perhaps they just have the gift of less gab!) But often when I write, it's often as much about trying to figure out why I feel the way I feel, sometimes even just about how I feel, and I find it hard to eliminate the pieces of the writing that describe the order of discovery. I get a lot of joy from coming back to something I wrote that I no longer remember, and remembering my way back to how I felt when I wrote it. And I guess, since I don't expect many people to visit anything I make, some of the justification for it has to be selfish, since it's not likely I'll give much to anyone else. As you read above, that's not how I've felt about most of the shrines I've encountered because I still remember the long gone freaking Save the Queen tribute to Quistis, but I'm also aware that there are so many more I haven't read than shrines I have read, and that means that there's going to be a lot of people who don't read what I do, and fewer still who care about it. So what makes it worth while if it's not really going to be for others? For me, it's trying to show my self why I care about it, either my present self through writing to discover my feelings, or my future self, when I eventually revisit my work. Obviously I'm a newb, so we'll see how this pays out, but when I did written role play, finding old work was a surprise, and always revealing. Hoping shrining will be the same. The more 'in depth' stuff I keep, the more I'll be able to remember, I hope.

RAY GUN SUE

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dubiousdisc
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Tue May 30, 2017 7:46 pm

I live for in-depth media analysis. Feed it to me with a soup spoon. Maybe even a ladle. Give it all to me. The longer and the more in-depth, the better. Yes, I do want to know all about your theories about the shoe size of this character. No such thing as too much or too excessive. GIVE IT TO ME. That's where all my fanning is. Particularly, the kind where the author can link the subject they're talking about to other subjects, since it requires a very unique intersection of knowledge and it's not something that you can simply decide to do, so the result is always something that I've certainly not read anywhere else.

I live for writing the in-depth analysis too, but I'm slow as all ass at writing it. Or rather, the writing itself doesn't start until I've gathered enough thoughts on the subject, and that's not something where I can just sit down and do it - it needs to happen organically over time. It's a digestion process.

To answer to both Sophia and Robin, actually, tl;dr to me is not based on word count. I find it beautiful to read every single thought that someone has had about something - and, to add to Sophia's point, the essays in which you can read the excitement of the author are usually my favorite ones. To me, cutting is about deciding what's integral to an essay. Sometimes, the squealing can be integral to an essay. And, when there is a lot of stuff to say, the length of the essay will have to accommodate the amount of meaning being conveyed. Long doesn't mean unedited.

As for what concerns writing in-depth content about a world, I think the main challenge for me was framing each topic. It's not as streamlined as with a character, where you can start from a description blurb, a quote, or something like that - it's a lot more open, so I had to do a lot more preliminary work in deciding what even are the main topics, and what would be discussed in each essay and under which lens and which point would be furthered by writing about which subject. I think it's resulting in some very good, very fresh content, though.

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Destinie
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Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:06 am

Oh man the in-depth analysis and rambling connections is my favorite thing about shrines. The more people talk about different connections, picking things apart, and talking about why they love a thing are my favorite aspects. Agreeing with Dubs on her TL;DR point! *_* Facts are fine but I like when people's shrines are some facts and mostly opinions.

I think this is how I approach my own shrines. I slog through the fact pages (in fact, I think I have trouble getting shrines finished when I feel obligated to include the basic info pages) and will happily write tons of babbling analysis.

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Stefi
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Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:27 am

Writing in-depth analysis is my favorite part of making and visiting a shrine; it's the creative form, the core, the transformative work of a site. As a person, I am always looking for new angles to look at something, different perceptions on the same matter. That's part of the reason I love traveling and cultural pluralism: I get to understand how differently people live their life and look at the world. I get the same feeling when visit a shrine: I'm not so much concerned about how strong an argument about a character can be, but rather, what new or different insight that can make me think or feel differently about something I am familiar with.

Personally, in-depth analyses are also the most challenging aspects of shrine-making because I am in a constant struggle to offer something new. Part of this is just due to who I am as a person; the other is trying to contribute to the aforementioned idea of giving my visitors an opportunity to view something from a different lens. Although I don't doubt that shrine making is partially a self-indulgent exercise in creativity, I also feel a hefty responsibility to offer my visitors an experience where they can walk out with something as well.

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Bobbi
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Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:22 pm

I feel like in the days of wiki sites for every character and every series, in-depth analysis is sort of the key to making a site stand out as more than just basic bare-bones information.

I like to link things together, the whys, the hows, different unrelated subjects that somehow tie in. I freaking love etymology and mythology and drawing connections between the character and their name and why it was chosen. I love it when I find information like this and it just clicks. It gives the visitor a reason to look deeper at something that they may have not considered before, which is really cool.

The in-depth articles and writings give the site personality. Not only do you get to learn more about the character and what makes them tick, but you learn more about the site owner. What their values are, what they find to be interesting. It's something that I've always loved about character shrines.

Otherwise, the information is just copy paste from everywhere else and nothing really new is said. I try to keep that information limited to a page or two, just for the sake of having it.

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Fiona
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Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:08 pm

I agree with what was said already -- that in-depth analysis show the shrine-maker's connection and views towards the character/series/thing he/she is shrining and it's what makes a shrine a shrine, giving it personality and so on. Personally, I find it interesting to see how other people think, and reading something someone else wrote gives me the chance to see into their brains a little bit.

I would say that I am someone who prefers the design/coding part of making a shrine than writing for a shrine. However, I do enjoy researching and analyzing things, because I've always wanted to know why things are the way they are and/or why certain aspects of certain things or stories etc. are interesting to me. This was also one of the reason why I wanted to get back into shrining again -- my desire to talk about stuff I like or find interesting.

However, I think I have a mild fear of writing essays, actually, since I'm far too self-conscious when it comes to my own writing. I tend to have a lot of trouble translating thoughts onto a page. It usually takes me a few hours just to write a few paragraphs for a section, but I think taking a break and coming back to it later tend to help. Sometimes inspiration would strike and words would flow more smoothly, but for that to happen for me, I usually would have to mull over what I wanted to say for a few days. lol.

Even with all the trouble, I would still say that I enjoy working on analysis more than writing up the basics stuff. I think the section I hate to write the most would be the introduction, but at the same time, I do think that having an introduction is a good idea to let people know what the character you're writing about is from or what the series you're writing about is actually about etc.
"Spread your wings in the stormy winds..."

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