On Reviews and the Indie Movement – An Optimate Memo

I haven’t done much in the way of book reviews, either here or on my YouTube channel, but I’m reconsidering how I approach this. First, take a look at this blog post by Alexandru Constantin, regarding where he has settled on book reviews: There are few things I want to cover here related to all this, before I get to prescriptions: Tradpub may be a facade, but it is one that normal folks think is real – and perception matters What is the point of a book review? Is there any point to negativity? The “political right” doesn’t think strategically…

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The (Game) Song Remains the Same

A good thread to kick things off: Games are first, and foremost about their gameplay, NOT their story. Story in games can be great. You can tell stories in unique and interesting ways that other mediums just can’t do. However, gameplay is a prerequisite for a gaming experience to be… well, game. I never finished The Last of Us because its gameplay was, quite frankly, too boring. It also looked boring. The story started off with a good hook in the form of tragedy, but then became a slog. There was very little game at the macro level, and none…

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A Culture In Need of ENJOYABLE Books

Talking with some other #pulprev friends today, one of the best points brought up about stories in video games is that players often focus on the story because they don’t read. I’ve made this point numerous times regarding video games and stories within them – if your goal is to tell a tight story, a game is not a very good medium. Gameplay is the art that is unique to games; this doesn’t mean you SHOULDN’T tell a story with a game, it just means that if your primary goal is a traditional, highly constructed story, you are better off…

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It Doesn’t Affect Me

Except through the people I know who are affected. I’m talking about Corona-chan and all the mess that has gone along with it – wearing masks, social distancing, quarantine, etc. I realized talking with my wife tonight that she, along with most “normal” people, have strong emotions regularly as a result of this pandemic – anxiety, dread, general worry, even anger. I have none of those feelings whatsoever. I’m not worried. I’m not panicked. I feel absolutely know anxiety about getting the virus, nor what would happen to me if I did get the virus. Part of this is that…

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The Coming Creative Boom

The Corona-Chan quarantine might bless us with a baby boom, but it will also bless us with a creative boom, and in the “right” direction. Hollywood has had to halt its productions. They might lose 20 billion dollars. They’ve put their feature movies onto streaming platforms, just so that they get seen and the brands can maintain some value. Hollywood and its giant apparatus represents the last remaining tower, however dark and menacing, of the corporate period in art. It takes lots of money and lots of people to make art on that scale, and virus is a perfect menace…

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Keys to Prolific Creativity now available!

My book on creativity and productivity is now available in ebook ($2.99) and physical formats. Grab it now and unlock your inner master! ebook – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084P8P1M2 physical – https://amazon.com/dp/B086B79WFW Still not sold? Listen to the introduction and first chapter in audiobook format: Just so you know, the audiobook by necessity will be a later release. Amazon takes much longer to process audiobooks than the physical editions. I’m still waiting for the completed audiobook for Eyes in the Walls to go live. In the meantime, you can check out the ebook here:

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Aesthetics MATTER

I’ve been travelling lately, so I’ve missed some on-point commentary by my contemporaries. Alexander, who I’ve had on NewPub Talk before, nails it once again: Within that article is one things that I’ve been trying to hammer for years: Aesthetics Matter. Aesthetics are powerful. Aesthetics have meaning. They aren’t just arbitrary window dressing, as some post-modern critics would have you believe. My YouTube subs often take exception to my heavy weighing of Aesthetics as a category when I review movies and games, but I often feel like I give them too little weight. Good aesthetic presentation can save a sub-par…

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What writers usually miss in analysis

One of the reasons literature majors don’t automatically turn into great writers is that they tend to focus on the wrong things when it comes to analyzing fiction. They aren’t alone. Most analysis content on the web focuses on things like themes, allegory, imbedded messages, prose, and (in genres like fantasy) world-building, and magic systems. These elements aren’t unimportant, but they are not what makes a story a good, memorable read. Here’s what writers should focus on instead (in no particular order): Story events. What happens? What order do things happen in? What was unpredictable? What impact did the events…

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A world of comparisons and trade-offs

Following up from last night, I want to hammer home an important point: We live in a world of limitations. That means that the comparative value of your time spent doing certain activities is more important than an absolute value. Practicing scales will improve your guitar technique, but will it improve your technique as much as spending the same amount of time practicing actual musical pieces? The idea that students should practice music rather than scales isn’t exactly anathema to the orthodox music education practitioner; the traditionalist would say, “Practice both!” We don’t have unlimited time on this earth to…

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Writing Groups

By “Writing Groups,” I mean a group of writers that read and give feedback to each others works. Are these sorts of groups useful? They can be, but compared to other things you could be doing, I think their utility is minimal or possibly a negative, depending on what sort of people are in the group. I’ll give an example to spring-board this discussion: Before I go further, this is a reminder that I never endorse piling on anyone I link in this blog. Heather wants to be a writer and improve her craft. I want anyone with that desire…

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