So, I’m Not Dead

Okay, so, excuse time.

Truth be told, I probably could have updated this blog a long while ago but I didn’t want to because I have not been satisfied with the content I’m working on. As of this writing, I currently have five blog posts in my drafts folder and two short stories I want to post.

Over the past few months I have been planning, writing, and editing blog posts only to immediately delete them due to their rambling nature.

Don’t worry.

I still have strong opinions.

I’m just trying to articulate them in such a way that is palatable for the masses.

……Or at least for the handful of friends that read and enjoy this blog.

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I know perfection isn’t a thing and I should just bite the bullet and get this crap out there to be read, but what is a writer without ego? I need to feel as if I’ve done my best work for that particular project and I haven’t been getting that feeling from anything I’ve been producing thus far.

So don’t worry if you’re worried…. which you’re probably not because you have a life and aren’t concerned about whether or not some random stranger on the internet is posting content in an already overly-saturated market of media.

But yeah. More content is coming and I’m doing my damndest to make sure it gets out there soon…ish.

It’s in the works! Book reviews, some personal essays, stories, it’s all coming!

There is no escape.

Until next time.

Social Media Killed My Curiosity About Authors

When I was a child I daydreamed all the time about talking to my favorite writers.

While I was toiling for hours over my own horrible manuscripts, I would wonder to myself what wisdom they would impart onto me if I ever mustered up the courage to write to them.

Writers back then were these mystical figures I imagined as silhouettes, tapping away at a typewriter in a clocktower alone all day everyday.

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Their lives were a mystery to me and the only connection I had to them was their work. I could only speculate as to what they did all day, what their hobbies were, what their childhood was like.

Now that I’m adult we have social media, and authors can communicate directly with their readers (and vice versa) at the push of a button…….

I wish they could go back to being silhouettes in clocktowers.

Perhaps it’s because I’m an adult now (technically), but I’ve lost that desire to know more about the people that create the works I read. In fact, I seldom follow well-known authors on any social media platform.

When it comes to famous authors, their social media platforms are usually divided into one of two categories: generic/bland or annoying/repetitive.

The authors in the first camp usually post motivational platitudes about determination and never giving up on your dreams. This on, the surface, isn’t a bad thing, but when that’s all they ever post it’s like “are you a real person, or are you an AI that’s been programed to monitor human behavior?”

The authors in the other camp are the ones that believe that because they are the creators of a universe that doesn’t exist, they know absolutely everything about everything and must, therefore, inform the poor plebeians about what to think. In addition, it would seem they have to tell their readers absolutely everything that is going on with their lives.

EVERYTHING.

“Getting my nails done!”

“Some guy at the mall said something rude to me.”

“Obsessing over (insert popular show here)!”

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I miss being able to imagine what my favorite authors were like because the authors themselves became part of the fantasy. They were just as metaphysical as the characters they wrote. They were untapped pools of mystery and wisdom.

Now that you can learn just about anything there is to know about a person with a quick Google search, the desire for knowledge is gone.

Nobody is interesting anymore.

They’ve become too accessible.

Perhaps I’m just longing for the days when I was more young and naive to the ways of the world. Back when I thought writers were these heroes of myth that brushed hands with the gods and had their lives together. Now that I’m older and social media has pulled back the curtain, I’ve been exposed to the naked truth. Or at least the naked, slightly airbrushed truth.

Writers are mortal.

They’re people with flaws and stupid opinions.

And those stupid opinions might discourage me from reading their books.Books I might need those in my life without realizing it.

As such, I choose not to peek behind the curtain.

I think I’ll stick to my clocktower.

Writers and the Soapbox Trope

Is it just me, or does it seem like writers are becoming progressively lazier and more patronizing when it comes to writing about moral or social issues?

I’m not talking about works like The Hunger Games where the moral questions are woven into the plot. I’m talking about stories where the author randomly stands on a soapbox in the middle of the story and preaches to the masses.

 In recent years, this style of writing has become so epidemic it is worming its way out of “trope” territory and veering precariously towards “cliché.” Nevertheless, I’ll still classify them as tropes in this post.

Thanks to tvtropes.com I was able to put a name to, what I consider, the three most annoying “moral” tropes that authors (published and unpublished alike) use.

Author Filibuster.

I have no problem with a writer expressing their opinion. I do, however, mind when they bring the story to a complete stand-still just so they can address a topic that will have no bearing on the plot whatsoever. It’s an opportunity for them to wag the finger at some political/religious/cultural norm that runs contrary to their own beliefs while simultaneously holding the readers hostage.

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I read a novel two years ago where everything was dropped so the author could go on a tangent about illegal immigration for several pages. It was never addressed prior to this discussion, had nothing to do with the novel’s overall message, and was subsequently never mentioned again.

It was so pointless when it came to story and character development (it didn’t even take place between two central characters) I was puzzled as to why the book’s editor didn’t opt to cut it out altogether.

It was as if the book took an unnecessary commercial break. Only instead of trying to sell you Liberty Mutual, it was trying to sell you the author’s brand of morality:

“Hello. Are you tired of being a racist bigot? You should be.”

Writer on Board 

This occurs when a writer acts against a character’s established personality, usually by making them act stupid, in order to participate in whatever point they, the author, is trying to make.

For instance, making a character that is against violence suddenly act violent for no apparent reason just so the writer can say violence is wrong….even though that character already knows that.

Or they will force a character to do something dangerous like break into someone’s house for “justice!” even though that person is supposed to be intelligent and knows they could potentially get themselves killed. It’s all to show that we must all make sacrifices for the greater good, in spite of the fact that there are far safer ways of doing so.

 Character Filibuster

Often times, writers use their protagonists as a mouthpiece to voice their own opinions and thoughts. This isn’t always a bad thing. But in recent years people have become horrendously obnoxious with this trope. In some cases,  the character all but pulls down a projector screen to give a lecture via powerpoint, explaining why they are right and everyone that disagrees with them is hateful, stupid, or naive.

How terribly convenient it is that anyone in the story with a divergent point of view is either evil or a complete bastard. It’s not like they just have different life experiences or the situation is more complicated than the main character purports it to be. They disagree with the writer’s—sorry, “the character’s”— viewpoints simply because they are a bad person and for no other reason.

It’s also nice that the opposer is always rendered speechless by the character’s wisdom and never has a proper retort. It saves the reader the trouble of listening to both sides of the argument and forming their own opinion that may differ from the author’s.

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The crazy thing is, I agree with most of the things these writers are trying saying.

Yes, you read that correctly.

 However, I don’t think that’s a good enough excuse for lazy and condescending writing. If a writer is going to address a heavy topic, they should treat it with the gravity and complexity it deserves.

Works that don’t patronize their audiences are the ones that endure and actually help change society for the better.