Sunday, March 25, 2012

Get off the fucking internet.

I feel very strongly the internet is 99.9% noise. Just clamor and discord, a stadium full of people all shouting "Look at me!" And that includes artists. The internet has brought a lot of artists to people who want their work in one form another. But it has also stiffened the competition a great deal. A mediocre artist like myself hovers on the fringes, never good enough to make money but not terrible enough to make alternative auto-bio comics.

But maybe some where out there is money waiting for me to make it!

I think this quote exemplifies the internet and all it holds for us. Which is basically bullshit. The internet cannot help you! It will not help you! It will distract you from everything that is really important in life. It will lie and tell you Facebook is REAL HUMAN CONNECTION when it's not. It will keep you from reading. It will keep you from quiet contemplation in which REAL thought is born. It will keep you from thinking and assimilating what you've read. It will keep you from forming your own opinions. It will keep from turning knowledge into wisdom or ideas. It will keep from going outdoors and experiencing life first hand.

Those commercials for "Learning sites" on NickJR enrage me. The computer WILL NOT TEACH YOUR CHILD ANYTHING! How about actually interacting with your own damn kid! Read them a book! Their a fucking toddler- EVEN YOU CAN TEACH CHILD MATH! Take them outside! Talk to them and they will learn language, discuss with them and they will form ideas.

Rant over.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Take time and describe

Most everyone has seen this an article by Theodora Goss that Cat posted. But I wanted to comment I sometimes find myself struggling to get into words the finer less tangible emotions. In my short story "Fight or Flight" (STILL have not re-titled it and subbed to BCS), the main character Fiala kills a large predator that is trying to eat her. The whole story she has been following the orders and whims of others and by the end of the story she re-unites with the one character who has faith in her. Fiala feels 'saved', rescued in a way she has never felt before and she's crying even though the other character has had nothing to do with helping her kill the creature. And trying to get that nuance of emotion has been giving me fits.

I can FEEL the feeling I want to convey but without stopping the action and going into a long paragraph explaining the feeling I don't know how to do it. And then there is the problem of how much explaining of emotion, how much description of the characters interior lives do you add.

On one hand so much "advice" now-a-days is to describe only the characters actions. The outward manifestations of their emotions, but at the same time "frowned" and "smiled" are verboten. Description in general is often counselled against unless you can convey something with total economy and in the shortest space possible. All to avoid slowing down the Action.

In total contrast to what 'everyone' else is reading, lately I've been working my way through "Jude the Obscure" by Thomas Hardy and I have (in just the past few days) been struck by how deeply Jude's feeling and impressions are explored in the book. Paragraph after paragraph talks about his feelings toward and opinions of Christminster, his state of isolation, and the growing love for his cousin. And because of this description- not in spite of it- the reader knows Jude. Knows his goals intimately, and can feel the coming doom of his relationship with his cousin. And there is nothing to do but watch the inevitability of his life going down the drain. Part of the tension in the novel is that the reader knows from the beginning Jude will never achieve his dreams. Not his dream of scholarship and not his dream of love. But we are helpless to warn him. So we watch as he continually and helplessly shoots himself in the foot.

But now the style of prose is a rapid fire race to get to the next thing. Get to the next action sequence, the next sex scene, the next explosion. It's trying to get a Michael Bay movie onto the page. Everyone pleads short attention spans. No one wants to linger on lovingly crafted sentences of description and emotion. It's regression to caveman basics: kill-screw-flee-fight and repeat. Everything may be faster but its also infinitely shallower.

On the other hand in my WIP, the one I described the first class about the doctor who gets a fungal infection from stealing the god of leaf-cutter ants I can extract barely any emotion from the character. Eventually I'd like to run that one past the Spec Fic critique group to see if anyone can help it out. But that won't be until I have a few more iterations.