When illusion spin her net
I’m never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
So I will show another me
Today I don’t need a replacement
I’ll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom, boom, boom
Hey, I said, you can keep my things they’ve come to take me home
~ Solsbury Hill, Peter Gabriel
I’ve been on the ledge with this for a while now. The focus at tDCS has been games. I’ve tried to inject my fiction into the vibe around here, but a majority of the hits I get are on the gaming articles. While I’m proud of the usefulness some of these articles have provided the people viewing them I find myself conflicted these days when it comes to gaming and the gaming community in general. And after a period of deep reflection I find myself no longer being able to identify as a gamer and have lost the desire to write on the subject.
Gamers tend to be an ungrateful, entitled, whiny and an aggressively opinionated lot; not all, but many. I remember when I placed my FIFA cheat sheet on reddit and it got voted down because I didn’t make one for the PlayStation; as if correlating the buttons of an XBOX 360 controller to one on a PS3 require a doctorate. For all the hits the gaming articles garner for tDCS few gamers, if any, take the time to say hello and comment they found the article beneficial or interesting (to the few that did take the time know that I appreciated your comments and will forever hold you dear to my heart). However, say something to piss gamers off and they are all over the comments with derision and vitriol like white on rice.
Gaming culture has changed drastically over the last 20 years. What was once a refuge for outcasts, geeks and nerds has become the cool hangout for all the posh and in-crowd kids and those feckless sycophants who wish to fit in by playing their reindeer games. The very people I’ve spent most of my life avoiding. The sad part is most gamers are still the same outcasts they always were, but now they’ve found their clique they often become the very thing they sought reprieve from and in some cases worse.
I’ll admit my angst and frustration stems from my own anxieties about society in general. I’ve never been what corporate cheer-leading tools would call a team player. Question everyone and everything has always been my motto and corporate types don’t like being questioned. While I’m fully functional in small groups I tend to shy away from larger congregations of people as the walls close in around me. Large groups of like minded people develop the hive mind and often fail to see the weak links in their own ranks and ideology in salient efforts to demonize their perceived enemies to make their own nonsense more palatable to the gullible masses. Something we’ve seen from both sides of the GamerGate issue.
On that note…
Dear Gamers, Anita Sarkeesian has zero influence over the gaming industry. She is living rent free inside your young, unworldly minds thanks to many YouTubers who use her name to fuel gamer’s insecurities and irrational fears of feminism and social justice warriors for click bait. Ms. Sarkeesian is trolling you; stop falling for it. Gamers also need to start dealing with the fact that more than a few of their kind are douchebags and whether you like it or not all gamers will be judged by the actions of these cretins and your inability or refusal to self-police and/or simply acknowledge they exist.
Dear Feminists, scantily clad characters in fictitious stories, the development of a weak female protagonist into a strong one, or a princess being captured by the story’s antagonist to advance the plot will not erode the ground gained for equal rights women have achieved over the last 100 years. Shouting about every imagined and perceived threat against your womanhood will only alienate young males and drive them further into the clutches of the actual misogynists who have interjected themselves into this whole mess and are now manipulating the gamers.
So that’s it for gaming…
While I no longer consider myself a gamer I still play games just minus the passion for it I used to have. I honestly find myself enjoying games more as I find peace with my decision to not pursue the hobby further by writing on the subject. Were once I saw the gaming articles as a way to work on my writing chops they are now a source of trepidation and in some cases, disgust and utter disappointment. My own elevated expectations of the industry have resulted in many a whiny article and I do not wish to be that person any longer. While I brought up many valid points and criticisms in these pieces I no longer understand or see the point of what I was trying to accomplish anymore. The industry is what it is and that is why I only buy games on sale or used. I do not wish to fall into the trap of chasing traffic and views by using the same unscrupulous methods many writing and commenting on the gaming industry use of giving the (non)topic du jour more attention than it deserves. Pandering to the lowest common denominator may work for Fox News and Breitbart, but its overall effect on any given cultural aspect of society is largely detrimental to the greater good.
There have been good times around here…
Place a piece of fiction up and I’m bound to get activity from the wonderful and supportive fledgling and even experienced writers out there. Likes and kind words abound, it is that encouragement that keeps me going on my darkest days and it is this encouragement I look forward to garnering in future efforts.
The struggle now exists as to how to approach this aspect in the future as I start to seriously plan to self-publish. What’s the point of people buying your book if they can read it for free on your blog? The new blog needs to be focused on writing and minus all the cheesy marketing scams and tricks unscrupulous people use to push their “pay me to learn what you could learn all on your oddy-knocky with a little effort” ploys. This requires more contemplation.
I’ve been focused on my health of late…
Since January I’ve been exercising a lot more. I’m more healthy now at 45 than I was at 18. I wouldn’t say it was a New Years resolution (I ‘effing hate those things) but more of a desire to finally gain control over my mind and reprogram it in what is probably a vain attempt at getting the depression, fears and social anxiety into a more manageable state.
Withdrawing from social media because I must…
I recently cancelled my Google+ profile. As with Facebook I was getting too obsessive with it and engaging in too many arguments with village idiots.
I have this thing I do that I need to correct to improve my mental well-being. I constantly scour the web looking for hope but all I find is disparity and morons and my frustration has caused me—at times—to be an idiot as well and often resulted in me lashing out with irrational comments. I’ll admit these outbursts have made me feel a little better but overall the feeling is fleeting and I simply need to stop grinding on the internet.
It’s probable I will get a new Google+, possibly with a new writer pseudonym, in the future. I’m done Facebook, there are simply far too many village idiots and trolls on Facebook.
I am keeping my Twitter account alive. Its shorter format seems to keep me from obsessing (so far.) For those of you who wish to keep an eye on me, for whatever insane reason you may have, it’s probably best you do it from here. But please don’t follow me so I’ll follow you back and then unfollow me a week later; I check these things and I have no patience for marketing gimmicks and unscrupulous people. Speaking of douchebags, don’t add me if your tag line has something to do with marketing or you consider yourself a social media guru. I subscribe to the Bill Hicks school of thinking when it comes to marketing and I only wish to communicate with genuine people. If you have something to sell or an ego to boost, please do it elsewhere.
Reading, reading and more reading.
While I have not been writing much I’ve been reading a lot more lately. Though I’ve stopped reading new authors. Without sounding too arrogant there is nothing a lot of the fledgling authors I’ve read can teach me except what not to do. I already know what not to do and I fear the more I dedicate my reading time to these inexperienced writers the greater the chance I’ll pick up their bad habits.
I’ve been delving into the short works of Robert E. Howard, Phillip K. Dick and even O. Henry and basting in their mastery. I just started reading George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series the other day. The first chapter alone resulted in several pages to my spiral bound pencil notated book of inspirational prose. These authors are fueling my imagination and meditating on the way they weave their webs is once again furthering my understanding of the craft.
So that’s it really. tDCS is no more and something will show up in its place… Eventually. I’m not sure when. I have to suss out the bad habits of my brain first and get the confidence levels back up to the point I’ll want to share what goes on inside my head again.
Until then, goodnight and good luck.
Let me start by saying I agree that last gen is on its last legs. And as far as multiplayer games go developers need to focus and move on to hardware that can handle the demands of the competitive multiplayer community.
But for the love of the gods and everything holy a lot of you gamers out there do not even have a rudimentary understanding of how modern coding works. It’s not BASIC anymore. They don’t have to pore through a gazillion lines of code to change something and then pore through a gazillion more to figure out what that change fucked up and fix that as well.
Coding is object orientated. A game isn’t one huge program but rather a bunch of smaller programs constantly communicating with each other. The classes or objects (small programs) that handle graphics and hardware communication are separate from the classes that handle NPC AI and game physics. In order to make the game work on different platforms all you really need is top notch coding and to change the classes that communicate with the system’s hardware directly.
I’m not saying more tweaks won’t be necessary. I’m just saying it’s not as hard as these developers are making it out to be.
Last Gen is not holding a gun to their heads…
Do I really need to point out NO ONE IS FORCING THEM TO DEVELOP FOR LAST GEN? If they are developing for last gen it’s because there is still a MARKET FOR IT. If they weren’t making any money on last gen games they would stop making them. Business 101. Please stop blindly subscribing to corporate bullshit excuses for incompetence and penny pinching so they can feed the greed of their stockholders and CEO. The only difficulty corporations face when developing for multiple platforms is unclenching their butt-cheeks long enough to make the decision to hire the team of programmers they need to assign the task to.
Remember what Bill Hicks said about marketing?
This nonsense about last gen keeping next gen down is marketing B$ to get people to rush out and purchase next gen before they have to start dropping the prices to make it more palpable. The fact is Next Gen hardware is new and the programmers don’t know all the tricks to make it shine yet. And they won’t until they have at least another year under their belts developing for it. Compare Oblivion to Skyrim; end of story.
Ineptitude—more than anything else—is holding Next Gen back right now.
If you’ve got the disposable income to jump into Next Gen right now, great. Do it. But stop whining about how the reason your spoiled brat ass can’t have really good games is because others still use last gen. It’s pathetic and asinine. It’s #FirstWorldProblems. Last gen isn’t keeping Next Gen down.
And while we’re at at, the same goes for the bullshit about backwards compatibility, it ain’t hard to make a console backwards compatible, the ONLY reason they don’t is to make you to buy more of what you already own because consumers with far too much disposable income tend to be morons.
You want better games? Stop letting corporations lie to you. Stop being fan boys. Take them to task on everything.
And please, please, ple-uh-uh-uh-uh-ease stop pre-ordering games.
You’ve heard this all before; editing is a long and arduous process, blah, blah, blah. Painstaking is another word oft associated with editing. What writers are ultimately describing are the final edits. Second drafts and such are just more writing.
I see the final edit in two distinct stages. I suppose one could call one the next to final edit, or first final edit and second final edit, but that would suggest one is another draft. It’s important to get into the mindset that you are done with the piece and it has to move forward. Therefore, in my mind, both these edits are the final edit.
The first is when you’re taking more material out than you’ve put in. It’s the time when you have to curb your ego long enough to realize that really good paragraph—the one with the particularly witty commentary—is off topic or simply doesn’t belong in the piece because it’s adding nothing of value to the whole. This is not more writing and probably the toughest phase of the final edit for most people.
You’re not done when you’ve emerged victorious over your id, not by a long shot. Now comes the real FINAL edit. The one in which you are looking for spelling and grammatical errors you missed because, until recently, your focus was on plot, narrative and story.
I suppose in today’s world of text speak many young authors would wonder why bother if you’ve misspelled a word or two or used the possessive instead of the contraction; it’s just a typo, right? Get over it already!
Alas, the type of person who’s fluent in text-speak is probably not planning on reading your book and this final edit is the most important one because these minor errors erode any semblance of professionalism your writing needs to compete with established authors—all of whom probably have their works edited by more than one person.
The problem you face as a new author is every reader out there is going to compare you to an established author they admire. One or two typos may go unnoticed. Several through the course of your novel will irritate your reader. It implies you didn’t care enough to take the time. If you didn’t care, why should the reader?
I call it Familiarity Blindness, but I’m sure a better writer than I has coined a catchier term for it somewhere on the internet. It’s what happens when you’ve been working with a piece for so long you are no longer seeing what your fingers typed. You’re reading what you wanted to say in your mind. This can happen over the course of a few hours on a short piece for a blog or over several months (in my case, years) on the development of your novel.
Familiarity may breed contempt in social circles and day to day humdrum, but in your writing it breeds complacency.
How do I get around Familiarity Blindness?
First, I never publish any of my blog pieces right away. They get written and edited (a bit) in one day then sit for at least a day before I take another look at the piece and decide if it’s something I want to run with. If I’m still semi-enthused about the piece I edit it some more and then let it stew another day or two. This stewing process is vital for seeing what you wrote with a fresh pair of eyes and it works much better if you have several pieces stewing at the same time.
On those rare occasions when I’m on an upswing with an abundance of ideas running through my head I can juggle a few pieces at once and get quicker results. I’ll draft each piece in turn, then alternate editing them for the rest of the day. Alas, even when I do this I still let them stew a day or two, though I find the final edits much easier to contend with.
Simply having a multitude of articles stewing while your finished pieces are sitting in queue to publish will make your blog appear far more professional than any of the paid internet rags because those maroons rush to print (with utter shite) faster than John Boehner rushes to his 8am cordial and tanning appointment.
Though I have less experience than some of you with longer formats (considering I have yet to complete a first draft of a novel) the same may be applied to your novel though the sitting process should be longer than a day before you do your final edit. Once again, by final edit I mean the one in which you are only looking for typos and such. If you’re still working out plot and character dynamics or battling your ego for control of the manuscript you are not on a final edit.
Let it sit at least a week depending on your productivity levels. Start another book or write a few short stories before you tackle the final edit of the one you just finished. Anything to get the material you’ve been hunkered over and dwelled upon for the past month out of your head for a bit. Hell, if you’ve been writing fervently for over a month take some time off and read a few books.
Finally, read. Like. A. Child.
When you do tackle the final edit read the entire thing like a child who’s just learning to read might. You know? Like. Every. Word. Has. A. Period. After. It.
You’ll be surprised how easy it is to seek out and destroy those pesky petty typos and grammatical oversights in this manner. I’ll admit this process is rather easy when it comes to tackling a blog piece, but can be daunting when tackling a novel. You’ll have a tendency to get bored and start rushing through it by the time you get a few chapters in. You’ll. Have. To. Keep. Yourself. In. Check. Take a lot of short breaks when this starts to happen. Run on a treadmill for 15 minutes to lower the anxiety levels. Walk the dog. Anything to remain zen. Patience is the key.
If writing is your passion, your love, then editing is the pain in the ass mother-in-law that occasionally visits and annoys the hell out of you because she can. But if you love your wife you’ll show your mother-in-law patience. Because that’s how you get shit done and over with and in the end everyone will have a greater respect for your professionalism.
Never, never-never-never-ever give up on your loved ones.
No matter what their ailment.
Never give up on the people close to you.
All we have is each other.
“Charlie Hebdo must be censored!”
If these guys had said they did it because of the Iraq invasion, or Afghanistan or Palestine (even tough I know they don’t give a rat’s ass about the Palestinian people; they simply hate Jews).
I could understand it, I would never condone it, but I could at least—as a liberal—understand it. I could understand their frustration with US meddling and pro corporate international policies.
These douchebags did it over a cartoon. A fucking cartoon.
Why? Because their bible told them so and their mullahs are too filled with hate to see reason.
When has Islam even considered overhauling itself for the 21st century?
Islam needs to bring itself out of the Dark Ages.
Even the Roman Catholic Church had to forgive Galileo.
“Love is stronger than hate.”
I understand these douchenozzles do not represent the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and I will always guide my perceptions of someone based on the individual and not the perceived collective.
However, with each act of violence, I’m finding it harder and harder to digest the fact that 1.6 billion “good” Muslims can’t seem to rein in and overwhelm the “few” extremists that have hijacked their religion.
The numbers do not add up.
“I’m the prophet, you asshole!”
“Shut your trap, infidel.”
Dear Extremists, you can’t kill an idea.
If Islamic leaders can’t bring their religion into the 21st century they need to stay isolated in their desert caves and leave the rest of us alone.