Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Elements of Shit I Already Know

I picked up a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. I don't want to sound like a know it all, or a pompous... something, but as I go through the little book that everyone rants is mandatory for all writers, I find myself saying "yeah, I knew that" over and over.

Don't get me wrong, I did find a few things that I was unaware of, and there are a couple good tips I've picked up. But at the same time, I know most of this shit already. I know to put an 's after a name that ends with an S such as Chris's. To be fair, I didn't know that the same does not apply to "ancient proper nouns" such as Jesus or Zeus.

Having gone through 3/4 of the book now and learning only a few new things, I wonder: did I just pay attention in English Comp. as compared to most other people? Am I just good at this? Like Neo and the Matrix, can I do better than everyone else, right from the get-go, while they work their asses off?

Probably not. But I can dream, right? Fuck yeah. I'm awesome.

Wordslinger-117 out.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Goodnight, Sweet Prince...

Borders is filing for Chapter 7. Everything must go, all assets liquidized.

As a former Borders employee, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand: BURN IT ALL! TO THE GROUND! Dance around the funeral pyres of the establishments, lifting your wailing voices to sing the ruin of their corporation! I remember working and Borders and absolutely despising upper management. I hated the corporate rules handed down by some unseen force to essentially make my life suck. $6.50 an hour to have your soul constantly eroded was the going rate.

On the other hand, I had fun. A lot of fun. I met some of the coolest people I ever have working there. Borders Books, Music and Cafe in Stony Brook, New York had great people working there (for the most part. I'm talking about YOU, Jillian! Hater! (actually I loved Jill, she was cool... for a hater)). I managed to get paid for putting books on shelves, screwing around with friends, and occasionally helping people who didn't know how to type things into the Info computer. The hours sucked, the pay was shit, and the boss was a soulless she-beast who would only lumber out of her office to yell at us, but I had a great time working there.

So it is an end of an era. Eric over at Pimp My Novel has said he expects this to hasten the transition into new media, to make print books secondary to electronic. Probably true, much to my chagrin. It's a little scary, trying to get into this world, this career, especially as everything is changing so radically.

But like those corny motivational posters say, ride the wave of change or be crushed under it.

R.I.P. Borders

Wordslinger-117 out.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I've read that one before.

Another day, another two rejection letters. FORM rejection letters. The worst was from Lightspeed Magazine, a magazine that seems to have some good shit. And I want my good shit in their shit.

Their notice was something like 'Thanks, but I'm going to have to pass. It just didn't work for me. Thanks and good luck'. This sounded familiar, so I look at my rejection letter from Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine, and weeeelllll! Lookie here! Butter my butt and call me a biscuit, it is word for word the same letter!

Jesus H. Christ, come on. At least put a 'man' or 'bro' or something in there. Throw me a bone!

But like the man said, you gotta keep on keepin' on. Life's a garden, dig it? They haven't heard the last from me.

Wordslinger-117 out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine...

I'm not going to do the whole credo about my rifle/blog. But I need to respect this bad boy some more. I may also have to invest in a the Twitter. See, I used that 'the' ironically, because it's what older people call it sometimes.

I should also not blog late at night. I get stupid.

So, on the writing front: another day, another submission, another reading. I went back and read 'There Will Come Soft Rains' by Ray Bradbury again. It is the pinnacle of what post-apocalyptic fiction can be, I think. Well crafted, with just enough visualization (some of it very stark, carries a lot of impact). You should read it, because it's awesome.

The more I go through the market for short stories, the more I find publications that don't publish profanity or violence. While I respect that it's their publication, they can do whatever the hell they want with it, I can't understand how you can rule out a good story because of these things. Profanity, when done correctly, makes dialogue real. Unless you're a seventy year old lady baking a cake for the church's bake sale, when you stub your toe you don't say 'Oh darn!'. You shout! 'FUCK!' or 'FUCK ME!' or 'MOTHERFUCKER!'. You can be the nicest person, try to live the cleanest, keep your language inoffensive, interjections care not one bit about these things.

Violence is perhaps even more bizarre to me. Any story must have conflict, otherwise its boring and nobody wants to read it. Conflict and resolution drive plot. Sure, there's the court room conflict, the lover's conflict, all kinds of conflict. But there is no baser form of conflict than violence.

That's just me bitching, though. While I have my reasons for thinking that, I'm sure the editors have their reasons for thinking otherwise, and their reasons are just as valid.


But maybe not...

Wordslinger-117 out.