Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Below Decks

I have just finished applying for membership with the Horror Writers Association. The HWA. I'm tempted to quote Groucho Marx: "Why would I want to belong to any organization that would have me as a member?"

Speaking of which...

A few of us were gently chiding William Jones about his tendency to not do introductions for his anthologies. His response was that introductions (including little tidbits about why a certain story was selected for an anthology) tended to be more popular among writers than among readers. Maybe. But I've always loved things that help me appreciate what I am about to read.

William acquiesced to our nagging. No, he didn't suddenly insert comments in "HIGH SEAS CTHULHU". Instead, he made available on his blog comments from the writers about their work. He has cleverly titled this: High Seas Cthulhu, Below Decks.


spyscribbler said...

Hmm, he has a point. It wasn't until I became a writer that I began obsessively reading introductions and acknowledgments.

avery said...

Enjoy the HWA, Stewart. I hear the World Horror Convention is pretty wild.

Spy -- I read the acknowledgments, too. Their parallel to liner notes is about as close to rock stardom as we writers will ever get.

Charles Gramlich said...

I always enjoyed introductions too, and story notes. But I guess maybe that's because I'm a writer. I don't care to see "making of" stuff for movies.

I'm in HWA.

Kate S said...

Good luck, Stu.

Yeah, I like the intros, the "abouts" and all that good stuff. I even found a website where the writer included "deleted scenes" from her books. I was so stoked! lol

Vwriter said...

People seem to absolutely love "out-takes from movies," interviews with the actors, bloopers, alternative storylines, etc. The reason I think that writers put all of their efforts to be entertaining into their stories and are usally flat out boring when giving interviews or going behind the scenes of a book creation.

Tom Cruise hops around the couch on Oprah, has wild and infinitely criticizable personal meanderings, etc. And he's famous and his debatable yet colorful antics keep enough attention on him that he's "in the news." Britney Spears is arguably the the least talented woman per dollar she's made out of any performer since the Amazing Needlepoint man, but she generates huge income with her escapades, both real and staged.

Writers don't know the value of publicity, and seem to more be reclusive and withdrawn by nature, except, perhaps, Stewart.

Look at the results for this topic. A paltry 4 responses (now 5 of course).

There is an argument, broached by none other than Harlan Ellison, that the death of writing will be caused by the boring personal lives of bleeding over into their stories.

Why is it that writers cannot more actively promote their own works and make that act of promotion interesting? Movie stars and musicians are master promoters. Why are writers so bad at it?

miller580 said...

You asked: "Why is it that writers cannot more actively promote their own works and make that act of promotion interesting?"

I would say the reason is because writers are horribly reclusive by nature and they are notoriously insecure in their talents (if they have talent) which causes them to fear the public...agoraphobic may not be the right word, but its the word I choose.

You could also say they believe it's easy to use your voice when nobody has to hear it. Which is why they hide behind the 12 point font.

Oh, and when I say writers, I mean me...sort of.

Vwriter said...

You know, miller580, I agree with you. Here's a posting from a writer's site written by one writer to express that writer's view of a writer's interactions with society:

"Dear Society,

Why do you challenge people to be different, then blackball them because they don’t do as you want them to? Everyone has a unique talent, a special attribute that only they can call upon, but yet, to do so is societal suicide. Can you please help me understand?

Some people like to be alone, others can’t live without a mob around them. Some people like peace and quiet while others live for war zones. Some people cower in fear, staying locked away in their safe havens, but yet still others face their fears, challenging them to the ultimate showdown. We are all different. Nobody should be expected to cater to society’s whims. So why do you expect it?

If I can’t face a crowded ballroom, does that mean I should never receive another invitation? If I don’t like loud noises, should I stay locked inside a bubble? If I get bored to the point of suicide when at a gathering, will you oust me as a potential friend?

I love you, Society, sometimes to the point of exhaustion, and that’s exactly what you do to me. It’s tiring just trying to keep up with you. You wear me down with your hissy fits and societal whims. Why can’t you just let people be people and not followers of your tyrant’s tirade? Not everyone needs to do what you expect them to do in order to be liked. In fact, it’s our uniqueness that sets us apart. So, I implore you to cut us some slack. Let us be our own individuals. The world will become a better place for it."

Nothing wrong with the sentiment, but it must make it hard to promote your own book.

In the old days, I guess the writers just wrote and never dealt much with their public.

Vwriter said...

By the way, the writer wasn't Emily Dickinson

Vwriter said...

Nor Mel Brooks.

Christina said...

Laurall Hamilton has little introductions to her short stories book and it was awesome to see what was going on in her life when she wrote this story or that. It's funny because I assumed everyone liked reading those, but maybe he's right, maybe only writers have that curiosity.


Tom Cruise, Britney Spears &
Madonna are the true masters of
Self-promotion. This singular talent generates big bucks.

But why? If it leads to early Self-destuction, where's the value?

Each year, in my own life, I see progress! Every week I notice that curiously, I'm getting better, and better!

My wife is an excellent cook; I think that perhaps she might have
something do with this mysterious, incredible growth!

I'm an Aquarian. Could my birth-date have an influence? it's 2/11/25. Stewart? reb


William Jones said...

Hmmm. I'm late to the dance. Sometimes I do enjoy an Introduction, but I fear that in anthologies they tend to draw more attention to the editor than to the writers. However, if it is the concept or ideas of the anthology that are of interest to the readers, then perhaps that is not a bad thing.

Sometimes I do include Introductions, it does depend upon the subject. I suppose I felt the cover and the back copy did all of the work for High Seas Cthulhu, and an Introduction would just put more space between the reader and the first story.

However, by using the Internet, it was possible to do more than an Introduction could.

Stewart Sternberg said...

reb...I think there is a lot to be said for a solid grounded family.

I get a little frightened watching vwriter and miller talk..I can only imagine if they are allowed to get together later this year and go face to face. Ye god.