Crushed

I have to say it’s disheartening to see what I’ve seen.  People whose work I find fascinating being pushed off their publication platforms because either they themselves or their content is deemed “dangerous,” for being little more than counter-culture all the while the real animals at ISIS are given free leave to publish beheadings on Youtube.  I honestly don’t know what their endgame is.  You can’t unring the bell.  People have already seen the wondrous potential the internet has to offer, and most of them aren’t going to be willing to go back to network television.  By going after new content creators, by going after their money–how do I put it?  It’s like pouring concrete in the swimming pool to keep the darker races from socially mixing with whites.  Now no-one gets to swim.  Perhaps people think there’s some wisdom in spite.  I don’t think most people think this way, however; it’s the archaic profit apparatus of the legacy media and the ancient wrinkled mummies that own them.  They want the world remade in their own image; they don’t want a future owned by those that will actually live in it.

George Soros can go eat a bag of fucking dicks.  Asshole never saw a gold filling that he didn’t like–if you understand what I’m saying.

Of course, this has already happened to me.  The marketing model I was using, and quite successfully, was ripped out beneath my feet, but it doesn’t feel better but worse to see it happening all around.

I would say that it’s important to remain positive, but that isn’t truly correct.  It’s important to remain determined.  Not your pity but your courage has so far saved the unfortunate.

We are winning, and we will continue to win, but only if we remain determined.  As it is, many will lose heart with the continuous strokes of miserable fate, but we have to remember that we represent the new media, a new model of doing things, something infinitely more efficient than what the opposition could ever hope to offer.  In the free marketplace of ideas, among other things, we hold the winning hand.  It’s just the losers that are so good at bluffing.

Looking for Love (In All the Wrong Places)

It seems my mind is so changeable.  That’s not really the case, but it seems I can’t help but present it that way.

The marketing side of this business is as labyrinthine as it is mysterious to me and is also no small source of agony.  The latter half of this month has mostly been invested in tying up those ends rather than focusing on the writing aspect; to be honest, so much writing has been completed that I can afford a short respite.  As such, I’ve got to get control of the marketing tools at my fingertips, set up monthly schedules ahead of time–let them run.

Additionally, I fear I don’t produce enough daily content for my viewership.  For this reason I’m going to be releasing short articles–probably not more than three paragraphs each–dealing with somewhat random subjects as they occur in my head, some of which will concern writing but others of which will concern philosophy, philology, and comparative mythology–whatever else comes to mind.  I was a philologist before I was ever a writer, after all.  A good deal of that comes into my writing in often covert but sometimes overt aspects.

Anyways, that’s all for now.

–Madsen

Twitter Bitter

In all honesty, this is a long time coming, but I imagine few of my subscribers will have ever noticed; that’s how useless Twitter is.  Over the last year, and longer, considering, Twitter hasn’t done anything to update its product, make it in any way more convenient; they’ve focused on preventing users from communicating with each other, in the process creating echo chambers, in an attempt–in my consideration–to scare of the unwanted portion of their subscriber base.  Of course it’s working, but it’s not stopping them from hemorrhaging cash.  For a while I just sort of watched until it began to affect me personally.  Virtually everything I post on Twitter is throttled to a miserable grave; no-one I am connected to can see it.  Even worse, most creatures I’m connected to are themselves helpless.  I think my posts are actually unpinned from the various conversations in which they are a participant

Anyways, as such, I’ve made a pact with a friend, and the two of us have disabled our Twitter accounts which should automatically be deleted within a month’s time.  If you want to stay appraised of my work, this site continues to be your best bet, but I also update frequently to Facebook and Goodreads.  Moreover, I am making an attempt to have a presence on Tumblr, which is unfortunate as I’ve no idea how it works, but posting content to the medium is at least very easy.

–Madsen

These Are Supposed to be Progress Updates

Instead, they’ve become rather more like ramblings of a semipolitical nature–not that there’s anything wrong with that.  The terrors of the last few months have left me with reams and reams of completed work.  I could go nearly two years without hardly needing to write a thing.  It goes without saying that the writing side of my occupation has been well attended.  The issue, again and again and again, of course, lies in the marketing, in which I seem a thing completely hopeless.  I don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to throw away on an advertising firm; so it’s my problem.

I’m supposed to be uplifting.

I’ve been examining fencing manuals.  I’m thinking of writing a short set of articles called the “Little Book of Hugs,” as a sort of inspiration.

People possess emotional depth we’re typically unaware of.  I would say so endemically.  It’s always there, but you might spend your whole life without realizing it.  You have to be pushed, under some sort of stimulus, something typically unpleasant and unwanted, and when you finally scratch the surface of your depths, you’ll wish you hadn’t.  The problem is that once you’ve discovered it, you’ll find you can’t help but return again and again and again until you resemble what others conceive a human in appearance only, now a creature of alien sapience lying beneath tactile flesh.  And it is indeed an issue of want, but that specifically you didn’t want.

Cryptic, yes?

I prefer not to talk about life experiences without the medium of an invented character.

I think that’s all I’ve got in me at the moment.  Remember to take care of yourselves.

–Madsen

The Death of Imagination in Writing

There’s a good chance I’m being something of alarmist here, but it is a worrying trend I’ve noticed ever since my tortuous pedagogy, bizarre occupation, and currently staggered wherewithal.  Writers aren’t trying.  They’re not trying to better themselves and their writing, finding frankly a fifth grade reading/writing level sufficient for an adult, and they aren’t trying to challenge their audience, who from years of intellectual atrophy are content to treat reading as little more than a pleasant pastime, masturbation and little more.  Let me put it like this.  You can go down to any bowling alley between childrens’ birthdays and find at least five people who are absolutely fanatical about both their sport and their growth as a sportsman in that regard.  You couldn’t just walk down to a book store nowadays and find the same; this is assuming you can even find a brick and mortar book store.

I have with me today a little example, something I’ve pulled from a book I was bought for Christmas, for which I’m very grateful.  I’m virtually impoverished and can’t afford to buy many books if I want to keep my website online.  Anyways, I’d asked for popular science fiction novels of several varieties, some of which by name.  And what I had expected was, for the most part,  dangerously evident.  Science Fiction as a genre has a proud history of excellent writers, who mastered both the subject matter and their own style.  I honestly can’t say the same for Asimov, but we’re all allowed our idiosyncrasies.  Anyways, lord have mercy have I been taken on a tangent.  I’ve pulled a paragraph from one of the books I was purchased, a more modern work of fiction that will remain unnamed in both title and author.  I’m going to list it immediately here, but I want you, whoever’s actually reading this, to think in your head what’s wrong with it before your eyes leap to the succeeding paragraphs in which I rip it to pieces.

Jackson rolled his eyes at Peter’s embellished call to action as he yanked on his utility top and felt his boots automatically snug around his feet.  He could feel the full day’s worth of growth on his face and knew his breath must smell like a trash can.  Irrationally, he felt some resentment towards the aliens for attacking before he could shower and get something to eat as he rushed out of his quarters and raced for the bridge.

I confess that I couldn’t help providing some indicators to precisely what I’m talking about.  While I could attack this paragraph for simply lacking imagination absent any sort of really colorful terminology that could sell even this relatively mundane scene, that’s not what I’m going to focus on.  While the author may simply be a published neophyte who lacks the use of a large lexicon, I don’t think that’s the case.  The author has chosen to write in this frankly disrespectful style.

What’s bold and what’s italic are somewhat closely related.  They both have to do with narrative focus, and this is all over the place.  Beginning with the italic, the narrator seems from the information available to be both third person and omniscient to the extent of being able to narrate the action and read people’s minds.  There’s nothing wrong with an omniscient narrator, but they have a lot of potential that is wasted on this sort of writing, which is unfortunately a subject for another time.  [You’ll have to forgive me, as my ailing health has reduced my cognition considerably, and I get easily confused.]  Instead of using embellished and irrationally, both of which are judgments made by the narrator–not the reader–the narrator could have talked about physical gestures and contortions the characters might make which would indicate the very same, perhaps supported by short snippets of irritated dialogue.  This would have brought the scene to life, but rather we’re left stuck believing the narrator’s interpretation to be correct because we have no other choice.  Moreover, such judgments as embellished and irrationally are better used in a first person narrative, which in that case actually give the protagonist character rather than robbing him of it in third person.

Now, the items in bold are all verbs that deal with subjective experiences, all things lingering within the character’s head.  I could talk about the sharp repetition of feel and how it quickly becomes dated, but I want to point out that instead of just saying “the boots snugged about his feet,” he for some reason felt compelled to tell us he could feel that happening, as if this is something special, as if his feet are traditionally numb.  Why waste that effort?  Why not just tell the audience what is obvious from third person?  He could say he had a five o’clock shadow.  He could say he snapped and cursed the aliens under his breath.  He could say he smells bad.  What we’re seeing wouldn’t pass for good writing at the secondary school level, and most unfortunately these weaknesses are not unique to this author but absolutely ubiquitous to his compatriots. Potential writers reading this claptrap are learning bad lessons whether they’re aware of it or not.

Most of you are probably swearing at the screen by now, cursing with me, “Show not Tell; that’s all you’ve demonstrated,” and you’re completely correct.  It’s the illustration of this example, however, which makes it so abundantly clear why I must invoke this doctrine.  I mean, I’m not going to tell anyone to avoid telling the reader outright anything, but I think we’ve all known when we’ve crossed the line from aiding the reader to shoving his face into the text.  It’s hard for me to read rubbish like this.  I’m supposed to get a handle on the competition.  And it makes me worry, if this is what the competition has to offer, if this is what’s selling books, perhaps I’m in the wrong genre or perhaps even the wrong line of business.

Publishing is Dead

In a previous post I had said that Literature is Dead–something to that effect anyways.  Thing is, I’ve given it some thought, and I think I was wrong.  Literature certainly has seen better days, and it’s not because people don’t read anymore or that the quality of readers has degraded, it’s simply that there are more forms of entertainment media than there were at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.  Considering the popularity of movies, television, and videogames, literature has done an admirable job of staying afloat.

So then I was wondering, what with the perverted cynicism of the publishing industry?  Why do all their calls for manuscripts read like the tag-lines for very forgettable B-movies?  Frankly, it’s capitalism, pure and simple.  Over the past century, the represented writer has seen his fraction of the royalties for published manuscripts shrink in both absolute and relative terms.  Writers are starving, and they haven’t been able to support themselves on their writing for decades–aside from a few notable counterexamples.  So publishers weren’t exactly developing a friendly report with their clientele, no client loyalty, if that makes any sense.  So when self-publishing via online outlets rolled around, like Amazon’s Createspace, those that either couldn’t get published by the traditional means or made no money through the same just began shifting away from traditional avenues.  This put the squeeze on traditional publishers, and to survive they began selling, in an obscenely cynical fashion, what they knew would sell many copies even if they wouldn’t retain a lot of readers or impress in the slightest the critical community.

Now, full disclosure.  I’m about as close to self-published as you can get without technically being self-published.  While I did initially self-publish my first book, “The Sagas of the Iron Hearts: Fragments,” ever since then I’ve been represented by an entity called “Pallas Publishing LLC.”  Now, Pallas Publishing LLC [apparently I’m legally required to add the “LLC”] has only a handful of employees, and I think most of them are contractors.  In addition to a few friends that take a look at what I’ve written, an editor from Pallas does the vast majority of editing that I don’t do myself, and I do about 90% of my editing.  People labor under the misapprehension that editors are semi-divine beings whose knowledge of English is unparalleled.  It’s simply untrue, and a lot of writers suffer without realizing that their knowledge of language is usually octaves superior to their editors.  What do you think people did before the development of traditional publishing houses?

In any case, back to the point at hand, the traditional publishing industry is being squeezed out of existence, and they’re not going quietly into that final night.  I would almost say that they’re trying to take down literature with them.  I frankly have no idea why they even got into publishing in the first place if they were going to have this attitude.  Publishers aren’t interested in pushing the medium, selling great literature, and impressing generations to come; they’re absolutely terrified of risk.  That’s why they won’t take a risk on anything.  That’s why they’re either selling shit that was first published fifty years or more previous or they’re selling garbage that they can sell on the racks at pharmacies.

Sometimes, when I think I’m a terrible writer, I make a habit of reading a few pages from a randomly selected novel at the pharmacy as a sort of pick-me-up.

Traditional publishing is on the way out.  If they remain in any form, they’re going to shrink considerably.  I never thought it was right that an editor could make a decent living while the original author suffered just to put food on the table.  I don’t think I’m alone on that.  This is one of those problems that at least in part they made for themselves.  And now they’re going to have to deal with it.