One of the regular feature contributors over at Democratic Underground is a woman who calls herself "The Plaid Adder". Her articles are weekly rants about the evils of the Republicans, railings of various ‘isms and objurgating about people who don’t share her narrow point of view. But this feature is not about her features. P.A. has had pseudo success when she writes for DU; after all she is preaching to the dysfunctional choir.Oy!
No, it is the fiction of the regressing reptile where criticism is most needed.
The reason why I can do this is simple. You see I’m a writer. I write stories dealing with science, fantasy and horror. I was one of the play testers for the 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons. My poetry has been published as a chapbook as well as appearing in magazines and newspapers. My shorts stories (twelve of them) are in a book called MONSTER NEWS –THE BOOK.
Plaid Adder has a web site linked to DU, where she talks her unpublished novels and short stories. After reading her work, I know why. This article is for the most part explaining to the reasons to Ms. Adder herself. If she’ll listen is another matter.
The first reason why P.A. is not moving her work is simple. She bases the main character on herself. Most writers base the main character on elements of themselves, but totally on themselves. When the heroine is a red headed left wing lesbian, we all know who you are talking about. The reading public expects a little imagination out of their authors.
The second mistake P.A. makes is not following the rule of conservation. For those who do not know what the rule is, it is simply this; don’t use a hundred words to say something that you could have done in ten. Writers who ignore this rule usually do so to hear themselves talk. In other words being longwinded. This tends to raise the yawn factor and lower your fan potential. Not a smart move.
The third and strangest mistake Plaid Adder makes is trying to create the anti-fantasy novel.
Trust me, there’s no market for that.
J.R.R. Tolken and Robert E. Howard are giggling in their graves.
The fourth and most fatal mistake Plaid Adder makes is injecting a heavy dose of her politics into her works. People on the left have tried this before, and it doesn’t turn out well. Socialism (both left and right) has been pushed on the American reader since the 1930’s. Its always wordy gunk that tries to convince people that they would be better off having a statist government running their lives. But when people discovered writers like Heinlein, Rand and Bradbury the Utopia peddlers fall by the wayside; left to slink along the ditches dreaming of the past that never was or will be.
After all, who wants to read a story where the hero is the all powerful, all knowing state who struggles to stop an individual from thinking and living for himself?
The fifth and final mistake that Plaid Adder makes is putting her hates into her writings.
On her web site, Plaid Adder has a second rate drawing of her avatar constricting three classic Greek looking male statues (which is weird, because adders are in fact vipers). These stony figures represent all she hates; Capitalism (the free market), Patriarchy (men) and Imperialism (America). I can understand the free market because she can’t get anyone to publish her. Men she needs to blame for her failings, after Adder can’t blame herself, now can she ? America is that land that does not obey her commands. Its people do what they want and not what she thinks is better for them. How foolish.
And one last bit of advice before I get back to my fantastic fiction.
If you can’t put your real name on anything you write, then it wasn’t worth the time creating it in the first place.
Friday, July 16, 2004
Dissecting the Serpent
Reader Dan D. Doty send this along for the pleasure of our readership: