“Some old lady said that my book left a bad taste in her mouth. I wrote back to her and said, ‘You weren’t supposed to eat it.’”
I initially saw this posted over on Scalzi’s blog—but didn’t get a chance to watch it until last night. I recommend reading John’s thoughts on the video as well (Linked above.)
It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Lindsey Ellis’ work—and I thought she did an excellent job tackling Roland Barthes’ La mort de l’auteur and the concept/dialog surrounding authorial intent as a whole. I particularly like the focus on authors working in today’s brand-focused social media-driven world. It’s very much worth a watch.
“It is the nature of the artist to mind excessively what is said about him. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.”
Sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been quite busy deep in the manuscript mines these past weeks. That said, I have seen progress (yay!), and the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter. I’ll have more to share soon.
The following is a series of tweets from last night that were well received. I’m reposting them here for posterity mainly, and because it sucks to read Twitter threads. The thread was sparked by a variety of things: my opinions of The Last Jedi (I didn’t like it), how I’ve noticed some creators complaining about criticism and critique in general, and how respectful debate and discussion seems to have disappeared. As with everything on my blog, criticism and comments are welcome.
Know what? You can absolutely dislike something. You can tweet about your hate, and you can write hot-takes all day long on the platform of your choice. Look at you go.
But, you have to be willing to accept that other people may love the thing you despise. Their opinion is just as valid as yours.
Share your opinion. (They’re welcome!) Lay out your case. Invite discussion with those who are willing. But, let them come to you. No one likes the person who saddles up into someone’s mentions/comments to zing ‘em by telling ‘em why they’re wrong.
Oh and understand, if you say something no one likes, they may take their toys and go home. Or just ignore you. Often both. Does it make you wrong? Not necessarily. But it’s entirely within their rights.
Of course, if you listened like a reasonable person and engaged in a respectful manner, you’ll probably come to an understanding. (Fingers in the ears, insults, and shouting isn’t reasonable or respectful.)
This all goes both ways. BTW.
Oh, and the nature of public posts on a site designed for public engagement inherently invites comment. Thems the breaks ’round here. Welcome to the internet. (Yes, even if you’re all: “don’t @ me.” 🤔 Maybe especially.)
Don’t want to discuss? No problem! 🎉 There are tools to help with that as well. Consider a less public forum, make your account private, keep an IRL journal. Also, fan forums/sites exist for this very reason.
I think review, debate, and discussion make creative work better. We can (and should) learn from it. I learned a lot from design critiques in college, and I learn a lot from reviews now as a writer. So, yeah, I’m all for it. Just don’t be *that* person. Ya know?
Should you wish, you can read the tweets over on Twitter. If you have any thoughts or opinions, feel free to leave a comment below.
After a week hiatus, we’re back! Here is today’s Friday Link Pack! Some of these links I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…
How To Deal With Harsh Criticism Of Your Writing
A great article from Charlie Jane Anders popped up on io9 this week. Criticism is hard, sometimes painfully so, but there are ways you can approach it. This is good advice.
Wake-Up Call: Amazon Serves Author Interests Better Than Publishers
Industry vet, Mike Shatzkin, breaks down Amazons recent innovative moves (like launching the follow button for readers) and how their success has translated into success for publishing and writing in general.
Ursula K. Le Guin Is Breathing Fire To Save American Literature
A great profile on badass Ursula K. Le Guin. (If you’re a follower of my blog it’s no secret how much I love her and her work.) Absolutely fantastic read, delving into her writing, her defense of sci-fi and fantasy (and books in general), and her activism work.
Why Horror Is Good For You (And Even Better For Your Kids)
Artist Greg Ruth gives us six fantastic reasons why we should all read horror.
Indie Or Traditional: The Cost Of Publishing
Creating a book always has a cost. It’s up to you as the writer to decide what that cost should be and how much you’re willing to pay.
Alicia Savage, Destinations
Stumbled across Alicia Savage’s ethereal photography work and knew I’d need to share it here. Obscured women float and drift through surreal glimpses of shattered Americana.
Artist Sam Van Aken’s Tree Grows 40 Different Kinds Of Fruit
Using grafting, Sam Van Aken grows some pretty incredible trees. [Big thanks to Ben for sharing this with me.]
Perfectly Timed Photos That Make Dogs Look Like Giants
Because you needed something like this right now.
Abandoned Indonesian Church Shaped Like a Massive Clucking Chicken
Some people do strange things to get messages from God, things like build a strangely shaped church in the middle of the jungle. Apparently the builder had intended it to look like a dove but it’s clearly a chicken.
Kowloon Walled City
I have mentioned before that Lovat, the megalopolis central in my Bell Forging Cycle, was heavily influenced by Kowloon Walled City. This multimedia project by the Wall Street Journal is an incredible way to explore the rich stories and dark streets of the legendary Hong Kong settlement.
A Renaissance Painting Reveals How Breeding Changed Watermelons
We’re in the throws of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere. Why not take some time to explore the horticultural history of one of summer’s greatest treats: the watermelon.
“Seattle! Seattle! Death Rattle, Death Rattle; Tacoma! Tacoma! Aroma, Aroma!”
“The “Aroma of Tacoma” is a putrid and unpleasant odor associated with Tacoma, Washington. The smell has been described as similar to the odor of rotten eggs. The odor is not noticeable throughout the city, but is rather concentrated in the north end of Tacoma and is frequently smelled by motorists traveling that section of the Interstate 5 highway.”
H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:
The Night Ocean
This gloomy mood piece follows a melancholy artist who spends time alone in his cabin by the sea, and unlike most of Lovecraft’s protagonists he doesn’t throw himself into the way of terrifying monstrosities.
GIF OF THE WEEK:
Hellooooooo Friday! It’s time to share a few links I’ve found over the last few days. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know! All right, let’s get to it.
Author Interview: K. M. Alexander
Hey, it’s me! Check out this interview I did with Wendy VanCamp for her writing blog No Wasted Ink. (Follow her, she posts great stuff.) We talk about writing, messages within my books, The Stars Were Right, cover design, and more. Big thanks to Wendy. I had a lot of fun.
David Farland’s Kick In The Pants—Taking Criticism
Criticism. If you do anything public you’re going to face criticism. Sometimes a lot of it. Dave Farland discusses how we as writers can accept and work through it.
In this brilliantly written piece for the LA Times. Daniel Miller explore the story of Samuel Marlowe, the black Private Investigator who influenced and advised noir greats like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.
33 Thoughts On Reading (A Manifesto Of Sorts.)
Yes. Yes to all of these.
Last weekend Kari-Lise and I descended upon San Francisco in a quick whirlwind of a trip to celebrate the opening of the LAX/SFO group show. The works was astounding as you can see. You can see Kari-Lise’s piece Ophelia here.
Kris Kuksi’s Antiquity in the Faux
There’s always something engaging in Kuksi’s assemblages. The level of detail and tone is never anything short of amazing. His new series opening November 15th in Los Angeles is no exception.
How Sleeping Beauty Is Accidentally The Most Feminist Animated Movie Disney Ever Made
Leigh Butler makes the case, and I found myself coming away from the article agreeing with her. Who’d have thunk it right?
The Definitive List Of Lovecraftian-Themed Video Game
If you’re in the mood to play a game that includes some spine tingling cosmic horror, then the Lovecraft eZine assembled an immense list of titles. My recommendation from this list: The Last Door. It’s so good.
The Three Breakthroughs That Have Finally Unleashed AI On The World
We’re witnessing the dawn of artificial intelligence, and the Wired explores three big advancements in the field that is ushering in a new age of technology.
Lovecraft Story of the Week:
In The Vault
George Birch, an undertaker in a sleepy New England town, finds himself trapped in the vault where coffins are stored for spring burial.