How Publishing Is Rigged You thought it was a meritocracy??

8Sep/11

Gibberish Stories

Inkblot

Most of the fiction that’s published today can be categorized into one of four categories, and in this examination of prominent story types, I’ll look at the “Gibberish” type of story. Do keep in mind that there can be a fair amount of overlap between the story types. A Gibberish Story can also be a Crumb, for example. The other types of stories include:

There is an increasing trend among the Indie Lit crowd to write nothing but nonsense. A reader of these Gibberish Stories doesn't even need to pay attention to what's on the page to “get the idea” of what was written. Because in actuality, there’s nothing to get; a reader can make up the bits he might have skipped anyway, since anything goes and the actual words used in a Gibberish Story are unimportant. In the Gibberish Story, holes ooze teeth roadways and pimple scarlet booby traps of eyeball lighthouses.

The people in that Indie Lit scene try to get away with so-called-liking this Gibberish stuff because one doesn't have to understand or even read a word of it to talk about it with their friends. It's like interpreting an ink blot—nothing's wrong, per se. And it's all “art,” right? So everyone can have and discuss their opinions, they can argue the merits of one thing and the demerits of another thing they've read in a Gibberish Story. They can even “disagree” with their friends (there are few things scarier to a Lit Biz person than going out on a limb and slamming something that is counter to what all of their friends are promoting) and feel good about themselves for “taking a stand.” For the lazy and the conflict-averse, this Gibberish is perfect fodder for a literary discussion among hipsters. They don’t have to read anything, and they don’t have to make real arguments that might be counter to what their friends are saying because nobody’s wrong and nobody’s right. Everyone gets a gold star for participating, just like in nursery school.

But give this Gibberish stuff to any real person and they'll tell you that it's total crap. The security guard on the night watch at my office would get through the first sentence of a Gibberish story and quit right there. He'd tell me he'd rather pass his between-rounds time playing solitaire, thank you very much. Hell, I'd rather pass my time covered in crawly things.

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8Sep/11

HTMLGIANT loves HTMLGIANT

HTMLGIANTIf you've not yet had cause to visit the hipster ramblings over there at HTMLGIANT.com, I'd like to apologize for again bringing something miserable into your life. When I think of hipster writers doing their worst upon an undeserving world, I think of the garbage that spills out of HTMLGIANT. I don't want to give these guys and girls any more attention that they deserve, which is less than zero attention, really, but let's have a quick run-down of one particular brand of cronyism that is evident in their (virtual) pages.

First, HTMLGIANT is a blog, not a magazine. Contributor Roxane Gay even counts each blog post as a separate “accomplishment” in her yearly round-up of accomplishments. It's not like anyone is approving these posts for publication; contributors do basically whatever they want to do.

I wrote 130 posts for HTMLGIANT and sometimes ruffled feathers though that was not my intent.

That's like me tallying up agendas I've written for my projects at work and presenting the final number to my boss at review time. 50 agendas for Project A and 24 for Project B. Tallying up your blog posts–that's more than a little silly, right? It's a blog, folks. Sure, HuffingtonPost is also a blog, but last I heard, AOL wasn't queuing up to buy HTMLGIANT for any reason, and certainly not because of its cultural impact or potential profitability. Also, it's pathetic that Roxane Gay feels the need to apologize for ruffling feathers. Again, it's a blog. Inciting dialogue is kind of the point, right? Not for Roxane Gay, who is desperate for everyone to love her, and who makes a point to kiss asses whenever she can. She is such a faker too, and if you read enough HTMLGIANT, you'll see what a nasty person she can be when someone challengers her, and even more so when a challenger has a well-thought-out argument to back up their statements.

[I'll get into more of the absurd personalities at HTMLGIANT in a future post.]

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