»I’m beta-reading one Jamie Kranig’s memoirs. I regard beta-reading like existing inside the author’s brain as a malignant larvae, waiting to hatch and burst out of their skull with fangs made of red pens and cursing in perfectly formed English sentences. It’s an awesome and masochistic process to let someone read your first draft of anything, because there’s always things to be purged and other things to become more infected with different ideas. Call an ambulance because this boil’s gonna get lanced.
“I have something to tell you.”
That’s all you’re getting!
The story, “A Native’s Story”, is going to be printed along with a few other writings from other people (I think) and sold. Discovery will donate the money from sales to eat-art.org, an organization that does something only a little less interesting than their website domain implies.
In the interest ending this post in a classy manner—a notch or two above dirty, walleyed town drunk—below is the audio track of a reading of the story done by one Ethan Harrington. There wasn’t any post-prod done so you won’t hear any olde timey radio serial sound effects like pottery breaking or baby flatulence. The groundwork is there, though.
There are some counterarguments to this which can be Googled easily, but I like Alvin Plantinga’s free will defense. There are two videos below that has him explaining a bit about it, and you can read more details on it here and here.
Some random thoughts/ideas:
That advice is good for beginners or no names like me, but Buckell is published by real publishers (it’s true! I’ve held a book of his before and even read it) and is widely-known, so he will have some audience no matter what. But what he attributes his blogs continued success is its identity:
It wasn’t a blog ‘about writing’ as I’d initially conceived. With readers of my stories and novels being a large part of my readership, I now begin to work on creating a blog that was ‘about’ the sort of stuff I was trying to write about in fiction: technology, futurism, global perspectives.
Any armadillo with opposable thumbs can write about fiction and the toiling to get published, and a lot do, but the armadillos that stand out inject their own interests to set them apart. More, interests that influence the subject matter of the author’s fiction are doubly compelling. Buckell writes sci-fi, so it makes sense that he would post about space and technology with a little politics. It informs his writing so it’s relevant to his “branding” as an author.
Thinking about my own interests (religion/theology, philosophy, economics, exercise/nutirtion, music) seem too broad at first blush, and I don’t really write about anything specific in my fiction since I don’t have a real publication yet. The specifics of the first three, being Christianity, epistemology, and Austrian economic theory/libertarianism. Granted those are three very large areas of knowledge but I see them leaving a scratch in what I write and have written.
Photo by memestate.
I had the thought to reboot Jesus’ message of the Good Samaritan into more modern terms after last Sunday’s sermon. Doubtlessly this has been done before, but the point of this was to use people I would expect to be good or bad neighbors in a role reversal, which I think is part of the novelty of what Jesus was getting at. Feel free to substitute your ideal good and bad guys and watch the magic unfold. It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure book but a little more weirdly wish-fulfillmenty.
I feel like I overplayed my hubris by paraphrasing Son of Big Guy. I really want to know if scripture translators ever question themselves when they get to the red letters because screwing those words up is like giving God a swift crotch-kick. Yeah, it hurts but it’s more embarrassing than anything. And another hang-up: this feels so much like evangelical cheapshot-ism, the “Jesus was the original rebel, dudes!” kind of silliness. We need less Mountain Dew-flavored pop culture references to God being our homeboy in our youth groups and I’m afraid doing a rewording plays into it just a little.
I don’t mean to place myself in the “rah rah the Church sucks” Christian faction by doing that because it presupposes a dangerous thing. Christians who say this imply a disclaimer which appends “except for me and the few close friends that agree with me” after the “sucks” proposition. It’s a criticism of the generalized church as a ghost in the room but it uses special pleading to exclude ourselves from that criticism. I try not to do these things but instead if I disapprove of something I will be specific and avoid generalities about “all Christians”. Is my meta-criticism justified? Well, I sure think so if I’m voicing it.
In reply Jesus said: “A man was walking a few blocks when he was attacked by robbers. They took all his clothes and beat him up, leaving him half dead on the sidewalk. A Christian happened to be going down the same street, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a pastor, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a godless humanist, traveling the same way, walked past; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, and gave him medicine to ease the pain and speed healing. Then he drove him to a hotel and took care of him. The next day he paid the attendant at the front desk with his credit card. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and charge whatever you need to in order to take care of him until I return.’