Verify that you’re not insane

I got some feedback on my novella, The Observer, yesterday, and it was encouraging to hear that it was not a completely boring, confusing, self-indulgent mess as I sometimes feel it is in my spirals of confidence.

Getting your writing out into the real world in front of real eyes (not those excessively cruel/worshipfully sycophantic ones of your imagination) is quite helpful, and I highly recommend you find a group of trustworthy people to tell you what’s what about your writing.

Thanks writing friends, for all your help!

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Cultural evolution produces hot garbage

Evolution is not a ladder. Even the tree metaphor is flawed because it gives the faulty impression of ‘progress’ upward. Evolution is only change in whatever direction leads to the most reproduction.

Cultural evolution is the idea that our ideas and way of life evolves generation to generation much the way an organism does, based on how easy the ideas/traditions/etc are to imprint on the next generation.

In much the way that you could sit down and design a self replicating organism that is way better at existing than a lot of life on earth, you can also come up with ideas and art that are way better than whatever music/art/entertainment gets passed on and on and on.

If evolution produces junk so often, maybe it’s time we start trying to influence it. Biologically, we can do this by editing our own genes. We are well on the way to doing this already.

But culturally, how do we do it? How can we change what is popular so that it’s something beautiful and meaningful that is gets created, instead of Transformers 8, season 10 of Jersey Shore, or a billion copies of 50 Shades of Gray?

The answer is probably education, as it seems to be with almost every problem in society. Someone who’s read history’s greats, and seen the most elegant art and been taught enough about the world to appreciate its most amazing creations, is going to have a lot less interest in the basic, surface level schlock that floods the market every day.

 

That feeling when you still have half the book left

One thing about audiobooks, is you can’t tell how far into the story you are while listening. A paper book, you can see the thickness of the pages in your hand. A kindle book has that little percentage on the bottom as you turn the pages. But an audiobook, who knows?

I’m still listening to My Name is Red, and I had thought that the narrative was drawing to a crescendo, and that the story would soon be over. Maybe it’s because I’m used to listening to books that are ~10 hours long, and I sort of felt this time approaching, but I actually am just reaching he halfway mark.

It’s a fun feeling to find out that a story you are enjoying is suddenly going to keep going for a lot longer than you thought!

 

Words go in, words go out, you can’t explain that

The more you read, the more you write. And perhaps, anyone who reads enough will eventually be unable to resist trying their hand at creating some of the words they love so much.

Read read read, fill your head with new words, and stories, and ideas, and feelings.

Read what you want to write. Read what you know nothing about. Read something old. Read something new. Read something you don’t think you’ll be interested in.

Then write!

Influx of ideas, and a contest

I’ve been having a lot of ideas lately, giving them a bit of polish, then storing them away for later. I don’t often have success with an idea when I write it too soon. Ideas need to age…

But now that I’ve got a few of them shelved and fermenting, maybe I can actually get some writing done instead of all this… thinking (not writing).

My next story is going to be for a pre-issue of the magazine I’m working with, Lucent Dreaming. So you can look forward to reading something from me there soon!

Also, we are having a short story contest, check it out if you’d like to enter 🙂

A draft!!

THE OBSERVER-page-001.jpg

I sent out my finished draft of The Observer to my writing group! Now, to await their ever useful feedback! It took a lot longer than I imagined to send it out, because every time I thought about doing it I would realize some other thing I wanted to change. I still have more things I want to add/change even now, but at some point, someone just needs to read the damn thing…

I wonder if that is a useful way to self edit… by imagining someone, or various specific people reading your work along with you…

Strange points of view

I’m listening to My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk, and so far there has been a chapter narrated by a dead man at the bottom of a well, and one narrated by a stray dog. These attention-grabbing narrators are fun to read, and I think they might be fun to write, too, so I plan to do something strange like that in my next writing, if it fits the theme…

There are so many ways to tell the story you want to tell, why go for the obvious one?