Monday, May 2, 2011

Tidy bows of fallacious colors

Another good weekend is wrapping up. Despite working on a Saturday, which was a strangely disorienting phenomenon, my planning early in the semester paid off and I still managed to get two chapters done on Friday, and the third yesterday. That marks twelve consecutive weeks of writing, sticking to a pace I set for myself. I feel like it's very important or at least is habit forming, because once getting things done is a routine most everything because a shade easier. I think a lot of people sit around at the end of the way wondering where all the time went mostly because they're used to thinking about doing things rather than doing them.

Then again, I was proved wrong in a really huge way this weekend also, so I might not know what I'm talking about after all. And it didn't concern directions or the year something happened or even the price of a food item. It was writing-related. From looking at my posts here and there, listening to the comments I make and how I make them, you might have gathered that I'm a nerd. And not the good kind either. My areas of over-specificity have to do with the hobby and the collectible, the types of things that require one to crowd around tables and hardly ever date.And what I learned this weekend was my particular brand of nerd has a certain skewed understanding of entertainment. Or should I say fallacious.

Because the theory passed along to me by a good friend was simply called the Nerd Fallacy. This fallacy is the reason why for certain movies and shows like Star Trek or Stargate have vast, fact-obsessed followings that compile living knowledge hubs for their obsessions, or wikis: pages upon pages of documented material where people not unlike myself painstakingly post things that can be construed as facts for those settings and worlds. The facts each have documentation, a certain episode, a certain line, which is used much like an academic uses canon. Superman's costume is never destroyed because of said in this issue published on that date. The Millenium Falcon goes this fast, which is why it can outrun Imperial cruisers, which were mentioned to travel at this speed. And I can admit that there is a certain security in facts. Academia has a similar characteristic. A scholar cannot make unqualified statements. Their own ideas must be backed up by reputable sources that are even more credible than them. I suppose that's why the two major sides of me interface so easily.

However the theory is called a fallacy because most people (the teeming masses, the buying public, the receivers) don't care about that level of specificity. Or, I should say, it does not affect their level of enjoyment such that the popularity of the work itself is hurt. All of this connected for me because I was watching some popular media with a friend, some very, very popular media. And my face was twisted up the entire time; I was cringing at every scene, every new development in a story that seemed slapped together and ill-conceived. I was frustrated by its popularity because I didn't think the creators tried hard enough, believing in compensation being commensurate with a combination of craft and effort. What I realized, after being told the Nerd Fallacy, is that it wasn't put together poorly, it was put together well enough to sell.

Months ago, before I started these novels I'm working on now, I had a conversation with a friend about another very popular author who stated an indifference about things carrying forward from book to book in his series. I had a bad reaction to that, and out of some obsessed impulse went back and read over everything I'd written before writing just so that I wouldn't leave anything out. I was concerned with the through lines; I wanted things to be consistent. I realize now what I was doing back then, and why. Now, I think I've resigned myself to just being that writer, however I won't, even secretly, criticize others for something that makes no difference. What matters, ultimately, is whether or not it makes sense for the reader. And if that's achieved, it's possible that any additional effort is wasted.

But I don't know, and for the time being I think I'm fine with that. In other news, I got my first official review. That is to say, from someone who doesn't know me and who has a name, or who writes for a group that has a name. There wasn't a whole lot to it, however my book did garner 4 out of 5 stars. It was described as "not your typical supernatural tale" and "had [her] guessing throughout." which I was told are both good things.

I'll take it.

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