Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Eighteen: The Cult Of Argument
This is going to be a short post because I just got back from a trip with the Family and I’m pretty much brain dead. But there is something I want to talk about. And hopefully you will get where I’m coming from.
The Cult of Argument.
This is what the Internet (or The Mean, as I call it) has turned into. Everyone feels like they have the right and the DUTY to argue every fucking point anyone even comes close to making. It’s a freaking cult, man. A freaking cult.
Of course, I want to specifically talk about how writers fit into this cult. So I’ll break it down into the two sub-cults that continually go after each other: The Self-Published and the Traditionally Published.
Oh, what’s that? You have a problem with those labels? Well, would you like to argue about it?
See what I did there? I actually have no desire to talk about these camps. I just wanted to raise the ire of some folks to prove a point.
There are at least a dozen writers reading this all up in arms that I used the term “Self-Published”. There are another dozen up in arms because I said “Traditionally Published”. If you are in either of these dozens then take a breath and keep reading. This post is for you.
Labels mean nothing. So don’t argue over them.
Genres mean nothing. So don’t argue over them.
Word counts mean nothing. So don’t argue over them.
Writing style means nothing. So don’t argue over it.
Story structure means nothing. So don’t argue over it.
Length of time it takes to write a novel means nothing. So don’t argue over it.
Who publishes you means nothing. So don’t argue over it.
How many reviews you’ve gotten means nothing. So don’t argue over it.
What your contract says means nothing. So don’t argue over it.
Your Amazon Author Rating means nothing. So don’t argue over it.
You mean nothing. So don’t argue that you do!
Why do none of these subjects, topics, hot buttons, mean a damn thing? Because all that matters is whether the reader likes what you do.
Writers need to stop acting like they know what the fuck they are talking about. They don’t. No more than anyone else. And guess what? No one knows what the fuck they are talking about! Not me, not you, not anyone!
Blogs are opinions, mine included. Every single article, editorial, column, whatever on Publisher’s Weekly, Huffington Post, io9, Tor.com, wherever, mean absolutely jack diddle. They are just words written by people. And people are seriously flawed.
Stop using what you’ve read to argue with others that have different opinions, experiences, ideas, tastes, shoe sizes. Just stop.
So you read something in HuffPo Books? Good for you! That means you are literate. It doesn’t mean you now have fuel for an argument.
Your RSS catcher sends you every single word particle JA Konrath shoots into the aether? Excellent! Now you know how one single writer thinks and feels about his career.
What’s that? You read that the novel is dead? Okay. Should we send flowers?
If anyone knew what makes a writer more successful than another, or what makes one book more popular than that book over there, then publishers would hit home runs every single time. They don’t. Despite centuries at this game, publishers still have no idea what works. Neither do writers.
So stop arguing that they do; that you do; that anyone does.
Just have a nice discussion. Quit the hyperbole, stop the rhetoric. [Side note: I’m so making a t-shirt out of that.]
Don’t ever say you have the answers and don’t ever say that someone else’s answer is wrong. Disagree, sure, if you must, but be nice.
And don’t you fucking dare do that passive aggressive, reverse bully thing. You know what I’m talking about. You know who you are. I have a list of three writers I will not shake hands with if I see them in public because of that tactic. They spout BS in post after post, people disagree respectfully, then they act like they’ve been attacked and their words were twisted around. Completely ignoring the actual physical record of them sounding like douchebags only one scroll up.
Which is my point. Things go from thoughts to emotions, from ideas to arguments in a split second. Then everyone forgets the idea and focuses on the argument. Don’t do that anymore, please.
The next time you want to argue your point, take a step back and ask yourself, “What do I get out of this?” If your answer is, “I will bring about world peace”, or even possibly, “It keeps kittens from being mauled by space monkeys” then post away!
But, if wanting to argue a point only gives you some smug self-satisfaction, or is only designed to hurt someone else, then please don’t do it. You may have an opinion, but who cares? Everyone has an opinion. Yours is nothing special.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for discourse. Just not argument. Leave that for the lawyers. Be a writer and contribute to the betterment of society. Be there for the reader. That’s your job.
Okay, phew, I’m done. Post turned out longer than I thought it would. Let the inevitable arguments begin on why.
Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.
Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.
Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.
He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Bethany and the Zombie Jesus, Stark- An Illustrated Novella, and the forthcoming YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, and Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).
Posted on May 7, 2014, in Views From The Captain's Chair! and tagged drabble, fiction, future, genre, horror, indie publishing, jake, Jake Bible, novel, science, science fiction, scifi, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Eighteen: The Cult Of Argument.