And though I had slain a thousand foes less one,
The thousandth knife found my liver;
The thousandth enemy said to me,
'Now you shall die,
Now none shall know.'
And the fool, looking down, believed this,
Not seeing, above his shoulders, the naked stars,
Each one remembering.
--John M. Ford, The Final Reflection

The Asylum Director

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"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any." - Russel Baker

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Just Figured Out Something

At the risk of sounding like some pompous fool, I seem to have developed a very Douglas Adams-ish writing and narration style. Take note, narration and not narrative. Very different things, since if I said narrative, it would imply that my work reflects the general high-quality humor, wit, satirical idiosyncrasies, and quality of Douglas Adams' work. No, as much as I'd love to delude myself, that is not the case.

Having no actual grasp of the rules of English grammar, my work tends to violate little rules like tense consistency, regulations on the use of pronouns, and assorted other little tidbits. Funny thing is, I don't give a damn if I do. For as long as I judge the work as readable and understandable, I could care less that I've got a sentence that has as many words as Paris Hilton has had men between her legs, or somesuch. Granted, my written grammar is passable enough but frankly, it buckles under close scrutiny. Yet, when examined, Adams makes many of the same mistakes I, and several other aspiring damned...err, novelists, make. Besides, grammar hardly seems to be the main concern when writing fiction, for crying out loud. Part of a trait (I refuse to call it a flaw!) that my writing shares with Adams is the fact that, at times, we can be damn convoluted and write in a manner that is almost, but not entirely, unlike mad scribbles. And yet, in context, they make perfect sense.

Of course, that doesn't do much comfort for me when I'm writing non-fiction, apparently. My new job entails something a little more formal, less Adams-ish. Sad, really. Anyway, my style is starting to really grate on the higher-up's satisfaction with my work output. Naturally, they ask for revisions without realizing the pseudo-allusion to one of the writing style of one of the greatest writers of all time. Naturally, the mere idea of revisions repulses me. Well, not quite exactly. You see, I don't mind revising little spelling slips and errors in grammar but to ask me to re-write an entire paragraph because it lacks "parallelism" or somesuch nonsense is irking for me. They conceded it was still readable and even a little entertaining but I still needed to re-write it. From scratch. Stupid, really. Quite stupid. Annoying too. Especially if, like me, every revision you make (regardless of how, what, why, and anything else) will inevitably make the document come out worse with every revision. Theory of Entropy in practice, folks. I don't mind being asked to revise something because there were problems and weaknesses in the text but, for the love of the Almigthy Bob, can you at least point out exactly what went wrong and not have me guessing where I broke this rule or that?

Still, you do what you are told because it is your job.

I actually rather enjoy my job, apart from the dismal pay, the shoddy equipment, the requests for revision on perfectly acceptable articles, and the general but constant dullness of having to write about the same thing over and over again in a thousand and one different ways from the first (none of which actually exist). There are only so many ways you can spin the words "RV motor home" without feeling as if you're Marvin, the Paranoid Android.

Or worse.

In any case, I take comfort in the fact that I can surf the Internet from work with no restrictions. Which means unlimited time to raid Photobucket and deviantART for new pictures to add to my ever expanding, constantly being streamlined collection. This includes artwork of things or characters I hadn't even considered compiling into my PC until recently, including some of the cutest renditions of Tricia "Trillian" McMillan, from H2G2 or pictures of a dominatrix, oddly. It also lets me update from work and, amidst the sounds of hammering away at keyboards, doing so hardly attracts any undue attention. The question of whether or not this privilege is actually making the job (and all attached frustrations) worthwhile is...questionable.

Moving on...

I still haven't gotten far with my new story, though details are popping into my head nicely. I'm considering taking a cue from the movie Heavenly Creatures and give the narrators (3 of them now) a little fantasy world for them to play around in. If not implemented, the elements of that fantasy world could be adapted into another story, though I would rather not do fantasy since I no longer enjoy literature in the genre, stagnating as it is.

My opinion on fantasy literature has gone down because the genre itself is inbreeding. High fantasy always contains the same repetition of Tolkien-inspired (or Tolkien-ripped) races of high elves, dark elves, humans, etc. Fantasy still relies too much on the "find itme X to stop villain B/catastrophe C" concepts and it is dull as Hell. There is hardly any variation, hardly any imagination anymore. Most fantasy books nowadays are disappointing, which is not the case with the genre's cousin, sci-fi. At the very least, sci-fi is still coming up with interesting books, though most are, like fantasy, fast becoming formulaic in execution and concept.

Think about it.

The last truly, truly good fantasy book I've ever seen is Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series, though the Wheel of Time series is also a good one, as are The Song of Fire and Ice series and the Discworld books. However, take a look at rest. Garbage. The Magic: The Gathering novels would be nice if they had better plots but right now, they only represent great potential.

Now, the science fiction end of the spectrum.

Take Star Wars and Star Trek out of your head. There are some truly excellent sci-fi books out there, not least among them are Frank Herbert's Dune books. Even the prequel books and the sequel books (which I consider both inferior and non-canon) are excellent works. There's also Snow Crash (I think that's the title) or Ender's Game. Several of the Bablyon 5 novels are also good. I also find The Fortunate Fall to be a good read, though it isn't a particularly memorable one.

Besides, sci-fi doesn't have garbage like Rowling's Harry Potter books to drive home the degeneracy of the genre...

Anyway, back to work. More or less.

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