• Member Since 18th Aug, 2011
  • offline last seen October 9th

Rex Ivan


Fun with rusty metal.

More Blog Posts11

  • 3 weeks
    New Generation, AKA how to get old fans invested in new works

    Been a while, I know, but I want to talk about the "MLP A New Generation" movie. I saw it on Netflix, and I liked it.

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    0 comments · 17 views
  • 341 weeks
    It was always there.

    The FIM season five premier highlights the destructive and manipulative nature of communism when actually put into practice. Everyone who watched those two episodes can see that. It's obvious. What isn't so obvious is that the show has been doing that for quite some time. Will you believe me now when I say that the King Sombra episodes were about a tyrannical dictatorship. Yes, I'm banging

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    1 comments · 388 views
  • 369 weeks
    And then I donated to A.L.S. research

    Demon of Decay decided to tag me with the ALS donation challenge. It was supposed to be 'within twenty-four hours', but he will have to settle for 'within twenty-four hours after first realizing I had been challenged'.

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    1 comments · 600 views
  • 438 weeks
    In Defense of King Sombra

    This is where I try to defend the character King Sombra against all the people who say he was a useless waste of a villain. Also, the only time I will mention the name “Sauron” will be in this sentence. I understand how some people can compare the two, but it's kind of a cop-out to have your entire case based on a character from a different work, so I won't even go there.

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    7 comments · 581 views
  • 465 weeks
    The 'Write for Yourself' Lie

    Rant mode engaged.

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    5 comments · 495 views
Nov
18th
2012

The 'Write for Yourself' Lie · 6:26pm Nov 18th, 2012

Rant mode engaged.

One of the biggest steaming lies I think I've ever heard in the fan fiction writing community is the "write for yourself" line. Yes, you need to have your own motivations to write. It is also true that if your work is going to be worth a damn, then it will most likely be based on first-hand experience or a personal metaphor. All that is true enough. The lie I'm talking about is the one where people try to convince you "if you are writing to try to get popular then you are doing it wrong".

I'm calling bullshit on that. If you want to write and keep it to yourself, then you most likely wouldn't be posting it on the internet in the first place. We put up our stories so they can be read by others. We have something to say, and it IS important in the context in which we are saying it. Personally, I write to entertain others. I want to inspire strangers, make them laugh, force them to look over their shoulders while sitting in a dark room, or make them see something of themselves they didn't know was there. Am I supposed to pretend that I don't get discouraged when I make a significant time investment into a story, basically bringing my 'A Game', and then have it go relatively unnoticed? Is that how authors get Cool Points, by just pretending not to care?

I can't do it. I am terminally uncool, because I care about the reception of my stories. Yes, I know we're supposed to pretend that this is all 'just silly little works of fanfic that don't mean anything', but if I'm being honest with myself, then I can't do that. They mean something to me. So in that respect I guess I DO write for myself, because I love when the story works. I get a rush when my work strikes a cord with others. THAT means something. It's not ending world hunger but it's important to me, and I won' pretend otherwise. Some people will make light of what I'm referring to and call it 'SRS BZNS', and that's fine. They're most likely incapable of understanding. They've never been faced with proof of something they created having effected someone. That is why I write, and it's how it pays off for me. These stories were supposed to be read. Is it really that bad when I get frustrated when they are not?

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Comments ( 5 )

I found myself nodding through most of this when I read it. I suspect you're quite right as to why people choose this mode of argumentation. I know I care whether people like my stories or not, and that I am troubled when people downvote my stuff without bothering to tell me why. Or upvote, for that matter.

Then again, I've always found the "write for yourself"-argument entirely alien, because I got the impression from a very early age that one should always write anything with an audience in mind. All text exists to be read by somebody, so there's never an excuse to do anything but one's best when putting words together. Or at the very least, there's never, ever any call to write anything that's not at least presentable.

I know I get off, figuratively speaking, to people commenting on my stories, and on upvotes and downvotes and expressions of engagement and interest in general. One of the major motivational factors behind writing anything for me, is the desire to please and entertain others. One of the small, niggling things that has always annoyed me when it comes to an author I have a long-standing loving distance-relationship with, Haruki Murakami, is when he so often gives his whimsical, creative protagonists a compulsive need to write, or compose music, or paint or whatever.

I know myself well enough to know that the annoyance more than likely stems from jealousy. For me, writing is arduous and draining. Not because it's particularly hard, but because I'm too impatient to regard getting the words down on paper as anything but a chore. Usually, the only reason I have to write anything is either freak inspiration, or the fact that other people want to read what I write.

But anyway, good rant. And it's always nice to know that there are other people out there who think what we do here matters, however little, at least to ourselves.

jmj

I began writing to get myself out of a 6 year creative slump. Daily life had become bitter and boring and I found that I hadn't done anything creative in such a long time that I was unsure if I still could. My life was literally wake up, go to work, play video games untilt he wife got home, play video games while she did college work, go to bed. Repeat every single day. The people I came into contact with at my job made me feel even worse. The public (especially the poorer side of the public who are addicted to drugs and feel the world owes them something for doing nothign with their lives) had sapped much of my good-nature and happiness away. I was becoming a hollow, embittered person and I hated it. A couple kids came into the store one day and got into a light argument about the game one was purchasing and how gay it was. The end result was the recipient turning and saying "Dude, you watch My Little Pony. That's gay" It was funny, I could only barely hold the laughter out because I agreed it was terribly gay. A couple days l;ater Youtube reccomended a clip from the show and I thought "Why not? Could be funny. See exactly how gay it was". Long story short. Watched it, watched first episode, second, made wife watch, watched whole first season and all the way up to the current episode of season 2. "Cupcakes" made me think about writing again as well as "Pinkamena: Interrupted" and "Borderline". I finally began writing again after so logn and it felt great. I wrote it for myself to attempt to feel something besides the mundane life I had been living. I still write to break up the monotony, although my life is not as monotonous now as my wife has finished her Master's degree and I'm back in college again, but I will freely admit that I love knowing that others are reading my material. It helps me feel some sort of respect during this time in which I feel like I'm less of a contributer to the family because of my reduced hours and full time college career. Also because I was unable to work for 4 months due to a severe injury from a ladder losing its footing and falling with me on it. Writing is cathardic for me but also addictive as people respond, in one way or another, to it. Now I'm about 50/50 with why I write. I want views and readers. I want people to see some of the stuff that makes me a little different from the standard person but I also do it because I enjoy it and it helps keep a part of me sane. IF I wanted viewers alone I'd write clop. I have the skills to do it and get a response but clop is something I abhor because it's nature is either sad/lonely/horny or to get views by the easiest means necessary. My writing is dark because that's the type of fiction I enjoy. "The Running Man", "The Long Walk", "The Godfather", "Battle Royale", "Hunger Games". That is the fiction that interests me and that's what I write. unfortunately, it's a black eye to most writers on this site. You can almost be guaranteed downvotes and few views when you write for the dark tag. If I purely wanted views I could switch genres but I won't compromise what I like with what will earn views.

Also, thanks for the watch. I'm glad you enjoyed whichever story or stories you read that made you yearn for more.

515406

I've been remiss in my responses to comments. It's terribly discourteous, and I'll try to fix that from now on. It's always enjoyable to get comments on stories and blog entries, and I thank you for yours.

I've the same feeling as you, as far as keeping an audience in mind. It's what Shakespeare did in many of his plays, when he would throw in one of two lines to pander to whatever king the play was written under. I'm not comparing myself to him, only pointing out that it was one of the strategies that made his work popular with royalty. In return, the royalty helped to preserve his works over those who didn't employ said strategy.

880700

Well, it took me long enough to respond to you. I apologize for that, but sometimes you just can't bring yourself to blog/respond to blogs, if you know what I mean (and judging by your initial comment, I think you do). Yeah, it was like that for about half a year or so. Sorry about that.

Don't get me wrong, I always enjoy it when others comment on my work, but that isn't the main reason for me writing. I guess I should have been more clear on that. I like to make an impression on people. Ideally, I like to make people happy, to play a game of words with them and have them smile as they get the joke. Making that sort of an impression, really makes the act of writing worthwhile.

*Insert Pinkie's 'Smile Song' here* :pinkiesmile:

But sometimes I want to get people thinking on a certain idea, or string of ideas. Other times I want to try to spook them. I like that notion: to share ideas over time and space with the written word medium. The stage, cast, special effects, and the budget are all inside the other person's head, and I just direct how and when it all goes down. Heck, I don't even have to be alive for the story to effect someone. When I first realized how particularly powerful that form of communication actually was, I was dumbstruck. People too often take if for granted.

Also ... You're a fan of Battle Royale? I read the manga, and enjoyed it up to a point. I was totally utterly on board with the whole thing, totally bought into it, until about three fourths of the way through the story, when the main antagonist suddenly became indestructible. Then it turned into Dragon Ball Z, and I just wanted it to end. :twilightoops:

Again, late to the party, but offering two cents here:

People want validation. Sometimes it's external, sometimes it's internal. But we're wired that way, dopamine and all, South Park did a great episode on it (the freemium games one.)

I do say I write for myself and I'll advise others to do the same, but what that means is easily lost. You want to improve, and to do that you need feedback. Not all feedback is useful, though, so you'll want to have an audience in mind when writing. The skill being developed is, essentially, accuracy: aiming for this result, and seeing if you hit it. But the end goal is personal benefit, other people's responses are a means to that.

Likewise, being overly dependant on external validation is dangerous. It's what leads to things like social media addiction, obsession over likes and dislikes, that sort of thing. There's a balance to be had.

These stories were supposed to be read. Is it really that bad when I get frustrated when they are not?

Most certainly not, but be careful not to draw the wrong conclusions. Writing a story and marketing a story are two separate skills. A good story will not always get read. A well-marketed story will not always be good. This can be depressing, but also liberating to think about: the two are separate. Failure to hit a huge audience is failure to market, not failure to write well. Some stories have a smaller audience than others, and knowing you are able to please the people you aimed to please is also a good piece of information.

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