The following Tirade is brought to you by the letter M and the number 7.
This rant is actually part of an ongoing emailed conversation I’ve been having with my recent ‘fan’ to have approached me with praise for some of my work and honest criticism for Once Upon Another World’s many flaws. But because I believe I managed to make more than one valid points I decided to copy and paste a chunk of my most recent reply to him so that I might both archive my ranting discourse as to share some few of my views with the uncaring public.
If anyone is curious as to whom I’m talking to, it’s this person:
Whom if you read his profile is not only super-smart, but is planning to become a fellow Smashwords Author in the near future, with his book Cripple Mode: Hot Electric.
During our previous bits of unseen conversation we managed to maneuver the conversation onto one of my favorite line’o’rants. And in particular we were discussing his own struggle in seeking valid opinions for his initial venture into self-publishing. He was discussing his use of 1st person narrative in his book and the fact that ‘experts’ had a rather dim view of this and he mentioned the tendency of some to refer to things as ‘cliche’, and this was my response:
As for the experts, (as I sigh and roll my eyes towards the heavens pleading for the strength to endure) I personally tend to think of them in a similar fashion as my view on anyone who thinks they have some kind of divine insight into any given subject matter, ‘Those who can not do, critique’. It has been my experience that those who raise up their voices the loudest to condemn something, especially when it comes to writing, are almost exclusively motivated by jealousy. The.. ah.. ‘person’ who tried to take me to task over The Sixth Line of Defense, fancied herself a writer and based on the fact that her two ‘books’ had one review each of 1 star and 2 stars in turn was hardly an expert to say anything to me about my word choices. I think writers in particular are prone to this ‘condemn first/jealousy read after’, approach to things and for whatever odd reason I can’t help but think of the movie ‘Midnight in Paris’ when I do so. If you haven’t seen it, it’s the one with Owen Wilson and it was deeply amusing if only for the antics of the supporting cast. However in the movie Ernest Hemmigway (whom I imagine you might have heard of) says something to the effect ‘If you are going to claim to be a writer, than claim to be the best writer there ever was.’. And no few writers seem to follow that bit of bad advice. Owen Wilson’s character at one point suggest that Mr. Hemmingway read his book, and the response is an immediate ‘I hate it.’ He then goes on to explain that writers hate other writers, because they wished they had written it. I am paraphrasing of course, but that movie did contain no few bits of timeless truth so it tends to linger in my thoughts.
For me personally I tend to take the complete opposite standpoint, I do my very best to stay humble over my limited success and downplay any talent I might have. After all the more you build up your pedestal so that you can look down on others the farther you have to fall when the truth comes smacking into your face. This of course is only my opinion.
As for the ‘cliche’, (another eye roll and another plea for strength) it’s just more of the same idiocy of people who can’t do criticizing those who can. Often enough in the rambling discourse of my thoughts I have considered the fact that written word has existed for several thousand years, plays and acting have existed for several thousand years, movies have existed for better than 100 years, TV has been around for near 100 years, and something akin to a publishing industry has existed for several hundred years. If you think about it in this terms of scope and breadth I personally find it fairly obvious that there are no truly ‘new’ ideas out there. If you go back far enough or search long enough you will eventually find someone, somewhere who had a similar idea at some point in the vast span of media throughout history. Heck if someone really wanted to cliche Once Upon Another World they could compare it to the Iliad or Odysseus or Hercules, some random guy who goes off on an adventure into strange events where the heavenly forces are working against him. So perhaps what is truly cliche is the concept that something can be ‘cliche’. Originality only truly exists these days in the writer’s voice and in how she (or he) combines ‘what has been done before’ and couples it with the character(s) one of kind experience. But then again this is just my opinion, no matter how right I may be..
All of that is somewhat an abbreviated version of some few of my beliefs, but I felt that my point came across well despite this.