Fiction

Fun With TVTropes

Submitted by C B Wright on

I love TVTropes. I think it's one of the greatest websites in the history of ever, and I'm fascinated at the sheer volume of tropes that contributors have added to it.1

Anyway, last night I stumbled across the entry for Captain Ersatz and decided I had to add Liberty from Curveball as an example, because duh. And then I wondered what other tropes I could find that are represented in that work.

I have thirty so far.

Why Self-Publishing? Webcomics.

Submitted by C B Wright on

In 2009, while I was at the tail-end of submitting an earlier draft of Pay Me, Bug! to publishers and getting a little discouraged about the process, people in my life encouraged me to self-publish. These people included a few friends, and even my parents. My parents even went so far as to mail me a promotional packet from a company that specialized in helping authors self-publish.

I didn’t want any part of it.

In 2009, at my very core, I steadfastly believed the only legitimate way to publish a story was to do it through an actual publishing house. Self-publishing, I believed, consisted of:

  • Deluded authors who were being played by vanity press outfits
  • Failed authors who had more ego than talent

In 2010 I began to revise Pay Me, Bug! one last time, intending to publish it first on the web, then as an eBook, and finally as a trade paperback. What, you might reasonably ask, changed my mind? Was I deluded by a vanity press? Did my ego overcome my talent? Well, no to the first: I publish everything using my own software and on my own dime. I can’t speak to the second, but I’m sure there are plenty of people who might think so. But for my part, the decision really had very little to do with self publishing fiction, or any of the arguments surrounding it. For my part, the decision to self-publish came from another venue entirely:

Webcomics.

Curveball Issue One and KDP Select (UPDATE: Nevermind)

Submitted by C B Wright on

UPDATE: Yeah, nevermind. I just found out that in order to go KDP Select I would in fact have to take Issue One offline. Since I don't want to do that, the rest of the experiment is not going to happen. Which means I will be un-de-listing everything from B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, etc. just as soon as the sites finish de-listing it in the first place.

The original article follows.

On February 7 (2012) I posted an article called Everything Old is New Again: Why KDP Select Probably Isn't Good for Self-Self-Published Authors. The premise of the article was that KDP Select, a then-new service offered by Amazon that required an author make their work exclusive to Amazon over the course of its run.

I wrote then that I thought it was probably a bad idea, given my experiences with a sort of similar program MP3.com had back in its heyday. A few authors who have used it seem to think my concerns aren't valid, and some of the comments in that article were interesting counterpoints.

One of the comments suggested that I shouldn't knock it until I'd tried it myself, which prompted this response from me:

Since posting the article in its original form, people have pointed out some important differences between KDP Select and Payback for Playback, and the points raised were relevant enough that I updated my original article to reflect that. But the points raised, while compelling, weren't enough to make me say "well, nevermind then" and retract the entire argument. I'll be happy to be proven wrong, and I'll cheerfully post a retraction/mea culpa post when I'm convinced I have been, but I'm not there yet.

Time marched on, and I followed the discussion. Some of the enthusiasm for KDP Select appears to have petered out in some corners, but it hasn't dropped off drastically, and there are authors who think it still has value. As it happens, I think I'm finally in a position where I can experiment with it and find out for myself.

Fake Review #3: Curveball by Milton Horace Dante Longfellow III

Submitted by C B Wright on

Milton Horace Dante Longfellow III wanted to take another crack at writing a review. Having already been burned once by the gentleman, I was dubious. I asked him what he planned to review, and suggested The Points Between, since it seemed a little more in line with his aesthetic than Pay Me, Bug! did. He said “No, I thought I’d review Curveball.” I said “No thanks, I’ll pass.” He said “No really, it’ll be fine.” I said “You must think I’m some sort of idiot.” He said “That aside, I still want to write this review.” So... what the hell.

To be human--to be frail in the face of the brutality of life, finite in the vast scope of time, merely mortal in a world that existed long before you were born and shall exist long, long after you return to dust--is to embrace the power of myth. What is myth, other than the telling of stories of those who, in some way, have risen above the frailty, finite mortality that defines us, have transcended the irrelevant and mundane world and become like the gods themselves? Heracles, Perseus, Odysseus, Achilles, Aeneas, Beowulf, Gilgamesh--these are names that we recognize even if we don’t truly remember the stories that surround them. And in each age we invent our own myths, add our own heroes to our own pantheons, each tailored to fit the world they represent. And so in a different era we have Charlemagne and his Paladins, and the story of Roland and Oliver. And in a different era we have Arthur, and his Knights of the Round Table. And in another we have Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

But as we come closer and closer to the modern era, heroes become significantly less grand. One can appreciate that Elliot Ness and the Untouchables were incorruptible, but they are still seen as mere men. Mortals, to be remembered with respect, but they will not have their name writ large in history. There is little, if any, mythology about them. And so in the modern age it becomes necessary to introduce a mythology born from the fires of children’s entertainment: a mythology that started, as most do, in bold, simple colors, a mythology that grows deeper and more complex as time causes the color to fade.

Fake Review #2: The Points Between reviewed by Weev1l42

Submitted by C B Wright on

Yesterday's sock puppet review was somewhat unsatisfactory... Mr. Longfellow III was too highbrow for the material, apparently, so I made my next sock puppet reviewer a little more... straightforward. Unfortunately Weev1l42 decided to review The Points Between...

There’s a point in every book-reading experience where I wind up wanting to punch the writer repeatedly in face. I rate each book based on how long it takes me to get there: the longer it takes, the higher the grade. So far the highest grade is four days, seven hours, twenty six minutes (“War and Peace”) and that might be misleading because it took me that long to get to page four.

Well I’ll get right to the point: The Points Between made me want to punch the writer in the face before I started reading the prologue.

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