Jerkwater Tweet #013

Them: “Hi, welcome to *Customer Service*. How can I help you?”
Me: “Should I be worried about how you used air quotes, just then?”

Storytelling > Writing

“…I have always been so skeptical of the whole contemporary critical scene, in which the text is regarded as some immutable miracle, to be worshipped or dissected as if it were the story itself. What anyone trained as an editor and rewriter knows is that the text is not the story—the text is merely one attempt to place the story inside the memory of the audience. The text can be replaced by an infinite number of other attempts. Some will be better than others, but no text will be “right” for all audiences, nor will any one text be “perfect.” The story exists only in the memory of the reader, as an altered version of the story intended (consciously or not) by the author. It is possible for the audience to create for themselves a better story than the author could ever have created in the text. Thus audiences have taken to their hearts miserably-written stories like Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, because what they received transcended the text; while any number of beautifully written texts have been swallowed up without a trace, because the text, however lovely, did a miserable job of kindling a living story within the readers’ memories.”

—Orson Scott Card, from Maps In A Mirror

On Tools

“[One Must Learn]…never to swim farther with a snorkel than you could swim back without one.”

-Theodore Sturgeon (from “The Man Who Lost The Sea” (1959))

From Middle-Age and Beyond: Thoughts on Changing Three Core Beliefs

  1. In your sense of self, move from fear of destruction to a sense of timelessness.
  2. In your self-worth/self-image, move from all external validation to belief in your inherent worth (and trust it will be recognized by others).
  3. In your sense of control, move from a feeling of scarcity and zero-sum to being receptive to the flow of life and its abundance. You’ve got enough time, there will be enough money—you got this. That is the type of faith that most matters.

And know that, as you do these things, you will be moving away from our ego-driven culture and the path it wants for you. So, be ready: probably you’ll piss off most people. But, if you figure out what type of (societally beneficial) activity your authentic self wants to do and do that, things should work out.

Cory Doctorow on Tech Giants and Their CEO/Founders

“In sf, we’ve generally fallen out of love with the tycoon—where these business titans appear, they are revealed to be bumbling sociopaths whose unique talent is in ignoring their consciences as they cheat, crush and loot their way to power.”

More on “Third Person Omnisicient Point of View” (OPOV) Narration

Many fiction writers create scenes that are somewhat unclear. I’ve read Hugo/Nebula winners works that do—regardless of POV—and that’s bad (unless “trippiness” is expressly the point of the scene, but I digress).

Plus, since third person omniscient point of view involves the changing of POV characters within a scene, (the consensus is) it is more difficult to do without making it confusing. This can all be stipulated.

However, just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t make it impossible or, indeed, even undesirable. There are stories best told in that fashion. And, frankly, when it is done well, it is powerful.

This is all to say: to my ears, when writers scold other writers en toto, for ever attempting to use OPOV (often deriding it as “head-hopping”), it sounds more than a little bit hysterical. Sort of like a checkers player decrying playing chess as “cheat-moving.”

Reviewing and Doing: More Three-Chapter Reviews (“Hidden Gem” Edition)

Welcome to my third set of THREE-CHAPTER REVIEWS, where I hope to answer that eternal question: “Should I keep reading this or not?” For an explanation of why I’m doing reviews of only three-chapters, refer to my previous post here.

In this episode, I will be reviewing the first three chapters of Near-Life Experience by Emma G. Rose, Eight God Engine by O. Josephs, and Girl Malfunctioned by Dustin Holloway. All three of these are self-published. All three are debut novels. Two of them were debut novels published last year—in other words, my cohort—while one (Emma Rose’s) was from the year before. Although, I would maintain, taking the pandemic into consideration, it’s all of a piece.

Continue reading “Reviewing and Doing: More Three-Chapter Reviews (“Hidden Gem” Edition)”

By The Way: Schizophrenia, What IS It?

Partially because I grew up in a birth family ravaged by the disease, I wrote a fantasy novel where I wanted the main character to have schizophrenia. This was in order to emphasize and reverberate the personal drama of the person and their family dealing with it against the dramatic tension of the plot. Making the internal stakes match the external ones.

More importantly, I wanted to portray that illness accurately and respectfully. People sometimes ask me what I mean by “accurately”. To answer that: Here* is a lecture that covers what schizophrenia is (and what it isn’t, which is far more prevalent in most shows/books).

Along these lines, I was interviewed by author Emma G. Rose, on her podcast, to talk about this very topic: Mental Health Tropes in Writing (although, the official title of the episode is Writing Mental Health Tropes, which inadvertently seems to signal approval. Please don’t be misled. In my opinion, most mental health tropes are neither good story-telling nor are they especially helpful to society at large).

Stay Safe,
_Mark

*- 23:00 to 59:00 of the video is “Schizophrenia 101”; whereas, after that , his lecture
veers into solid biology, with a focus on bio-chemistry.