Modern Writing 201X
We are the millenial teens. At time of writing the internet is over thirty years old although it is closer to half that since 'the great transition' occurred. Before, older generation cursed daily about computers taking over everything while younger generation wanted what they saw daily on cyberpunk shows. After, your mobile has wifi and everyone above the average age of ten has cellphones. Facebook and youtube are yesterdays television and the cybermen are asking now it has happened why tv brainwash devices taking over society was ever a concern anyway.
As a writer I observe how it affects our use of language. We ignore those around us so we do not develop spoken verbal skills and we text continuously. Emoticons and txt tlk was an annoying fad until its practicality was accepted and assimilated.
Scientists monitoring dolphin speech have announced that their language has changed because of noise pollution. They used to sing complicated communications however the increasingly distracting distortions of mechanical human interventions into their ocean has within a generation caused dolphins to adopt abrupt direct commands rather than eloquent prose of their parents and ancestors. How this relates to attention span in dolphins is more difficult to measure. The relationship between attention span and prose in human society is, and that is precisely what this blog is about.
I grew up reading the master of psychological science fiction Philip K Dick whose work stands out even within its genre, many argue that he is a cornerstone foundation of it. Despite this during his own lifetime he had the FBI on his back during paranoid yet 'drug-subculture the hidden mainstream' McCarthy years whose government and spy networks remensicent of KGB informants regarded PKDs work to be subvertive to the American Way Of Life. Dicks writing broke every rule in the academic text manuals for professional writers. He is a bestseller, they are not. The divergance between what people actually want and resonate with, compared with what the state tell us is what we should prefer, is not small.
For ten years I wrote by hand into notepads until my hands were, and still are, calloused from holding pens. In 2008 I got my first computer. My writing speed is like my IQ in the top one percentile which immediately marks me as an outsider whose mind is different and whose ways are strange. This does not itself make me a better writer, indeed when the common average is closer to the lowest common denominator than it is to how I routinely associate datum, it actively works against me. Thus I do not socialize, thus I do not converse, thus I spend a lot of time on facebook and blogging instead of working on my novels or drinking in the pub. For ten years I have been doing this.
Positive feedback regarding my style is unanimously that it is direct ("Tell it as it is") and "streams of consciousness writing". People used to the fiddly method of typing into a portable pocket sized machine with buttons sized for children are in agreement that messages should be kept short. I habitually compose multi-paragraph messages while keeping my bored text companion waiting and then the onslaught of excess wordage puts them off. If a sentence has more than ten words it is too long. We want it now and we want it concise. We want it in language we know what it means. I used to read thesaurus and dictionaries as a hobby yet most people can't spell dictionary and don't know what a thesaurus is, "Is it a type of dinosaur?" "Yes, apparently so."
It is the fault of evolution, progressive technological evolution, and not literature teachers, that practicality wins over complexity every time. This decade Agatha Christies novels have been re-written to simplify the stories because the next generation find them too complicated in their original form. We should be alarmed about this.
The word count of this blog is already extending beyond the comfort zone of most blog readers. The readers patience is lacking the faculty to assimilate that everything written so far is a preface to contextualise the main bulk of the manuscript. Lucky for you the rest of it is written in psychemotional feelies and not words at all. Enjoy.
As a reader I can only cope with writing which flows the way my mind flows. If writing flows differently, contrary to my natural rhythm, I cannot assimilate it. Instead of seeing the pictures of the described scene in my minds eye, I see bricks and concrete, a wall, impenetrable, words which do not make sense when put next to each other in that order. It is not my failing as an intelligent person that I cannot break through beyond it.
I experiment with this, my nature as an inquisitive book elf wanting to learn what everything is and does and how it all fits together, and my experiments so far have showed me psychedelic levels of reasoning. When I first read a popular kids series about a boy in wizard school I got three pages in and quit because it gave me a headache. I recall reading only block structure, paragraph word count, shapes of sentences depicted numerically, I was reading the matrix, numbers stacked. There was no story. I observed her magic was use of prime numbers in sequence throughout the text. Next time I read this ten years later to my son before bedtime and i saw none of that gridwork. We were excited to journey together through magical events and descriptions cleverly connived to a holistic and believable living world which developed as the story progressed, the characters very much affecting their environment. Even the easy cliches are alive.
Mindset. Analytical mode vs suspension of disbelief. Acceptance of luxuriating in absorbing descriptive detail (it truly does not matter what colour socks the wizard wears, so why bother describing it?) vs the gridwork which holds it all together in such a way that the story 'is right', in this case not only as a story but as a cultural icon, a social imprint which spans several generations, a true classic. That gridwork is a powerful weave regardless what colour socks the wizard was wearing. Mindset is about one mode vs the other. Mindset is also about accepting the character because his socks are the same colour as my socks, vs not accepting the character because "I dont like socks daddy, they make my feet squeezed and they can't breathe". My kids feet need to breathe. This outweighs what literary experts tell us about the perfectionism of a piece. She was rejected by over a dozen literary experts before someone took a risk and now the author is a multmillionaire and has entertained literally millions of people of all ages all over the world. Here is to the kids who don't listen because their feet cant breathe.