• Randy333
    2
    A question for all of you: Do you consider any written works too experimental and non-commercial? What would you consider too experimental for a book, if anything? Allow me to take some time to explain why I ask these questions, and how they affect human culture.

    Years ago, I developed a deep passion for writing, particularly fiction. I’ve never professed myself a flawless author. In fact, I’m somewhat critical of the four novels I’ve written. I’ve evolved as a writer like many others, and only recently came to pursue a creative direction profoundly divergent from my literary origins. I always wanted to be authentically deviant from the industry norm, but even within my own career path I’ve deviated sharply from my initial style and interests, and not in the way some authors change only in slight differences and genre focuses. Even the work that is the subject of this post’s title has become a shadow of the past to me, giving way to a deeper, darker, stranger breed of literature rarely found on bookshelves.

    As a writer and researcher, I am interested in many fields: dreams, nightmares, sleep paralysis, hypnagogic and hypnopompic states, hauntings, demonology, cosmology, cryptozoology, metaphysics, insanity, astral and infernal visions, advanced intelligence, alternate dimensions, transhumanism, global catastrophic risk, UFOs, DMT realms, salvia realms, surrealism, the occult, transcendence, eternity, and immortality. I am very bored by conventional human culture, the typical surface-level subjects such as politics, celebrities, sports, film, news, tech, social media, memes, popular music, fashion, and so forth. I’ve become disillusioned by modern society. None of it interests me very much, all the trivial little gadgets and the cults of personality and the incessant conflict over political structures and other artifices. Eventually you’ve become so familiarized you can glance at a news article or even a novel and anticipate exactly how it will be written. Is anyone else here utterly uninterested in contemporary culture? I just can’t bring myself to care about any of it, when I see and sense deeper, darker, and stranger realms in the cosmos beyond and within, as well as in the scattered episodes of phantom oddity that’ve plagued this world for ages. I am far more interested in a single soul’s nightmares and apparitions than I am in the entire array of daily news items produced by this planet. Tell me of your nightmares. Tell me of your specters. I have no use for much else now. I wish to know more of the life beyond this world, and, more importantly, of the phantasmagorical life within life itself. It is the hidden mystery of the mind that draws me most now, above all other mysteries.

    There is much more I could say on this subject, and much more that I would say if there weren’t stringent constraints on the freedom of authors to discuss their own works. I will only say, in conclusion of this introduction, that an editor once informed me my works are “too experimental and non-commercial” to be published. Personally, I take this a compliment. They didn’t tell me my works are poorly written, or insipid, or unoriginal. Rather, my works are apparently intolerable to the industry gatekeepers because they’re “too experimental and non-commercial” – as if experimentation is taboo and all works must fit into a neat little cookie-cutter standard of commercialization. My work seeks to explore and illuminate how truly bizarre, magical, and enigmatic this cosmos is. I also dislike some of the conventional artistic standards, which I find pollute the central essence of art. There is a certain system in place that defines how writers should and shouldn’t write a book, which elements it should and shouldn’t include, and so forth. This can easily serve to suppress experimental works, especially works that do not conform to some of the usual conventions. Unfortunately, it would appear I don’t fit the mold expected of writers in our current world. I’m curious about the true limits of experimentation in philosophy, art, and literature. It seems there’s a vein of culture that abhors experimentation, and I’m interested to hear some of your thoughts as to the limits of experimentation in our world.

    - D.L.X.
  • Baden
    9.1k


    Great art is largely unappreciated by the masses and bears shit in woods (until we cut all the trees down to make Danielle Steele paperbacks). C'est la vie. Get on with it and consider it a privilege to be ignored. Less distractions and more time to write.
  • Brett
    1.6k


    Unfortunately, it would appear I don’t fit the mold expected of writers in our current world. I’m curious about the true limits of experimentation in philosophy, art, and literature. It seems there’s a vein of culture that abhors experimentation,Randy333

    It thinks it’s more true to say there’s only a small vein of culture that’s interested in experimentation. Which is why you find it hard to find a publisher; the market is too small. Why are you writing, for your pleasure, to connect with people or for money? The problem is how to connect to your market, where are they, who are they? There’s no reason why anyone should have to take an interest in your work, you chose to write and to write in the way you do.
  • Artemis
    1.6k


    It seems to me you are only taking one part of the sentence to heart, the "too experimental" part. Seems to me that the "non-commercial" part is the most important one the publishers care about.

    There are lots and lots of reasons publishers reject books that have nothing to do with the quality of the book and everything to do with marketing. Just as a lame example, if vampire novels are "in" right now, they'll snatch up more vampire novels, BUT if they already have the max number of vampire novels they think they can sell for the most profit, they'll reject your novel.

    Experimental writing has happened for literally millennia. That's why we have the now-considered-traditional novel in the first place! And then the Modernists in the early 1900's were all about breaking all the rules, and then the Beats broke some more.

    But note that most breaks with tradition happened gradually. They broke some rules, but kept others. Just like Jazz musicians. Because too much strangeness too quickly turns off too many readers. You might think that's a negative feature of humans. Maybe it is. But it's also just kinda a fact. We can deal with only so much unrelatable dissonance at once in writing or in music. In time we get used to it and it no longer seems so awful. Lots of chords we consider pleasant now, were considered totally dissonant in Mozart's time. You can't expect too much change from humanity too quickly.

    But also bear in mind, that (just like with too much musical dissonance!) if you have too much experimentation that the reader is not used to, the whole novel no longer seems coherent from their point of view. You might see how it all works together, but they can't. Again, you can critique that... but if you consider that art, and especially novels, are meant to be a form of communication, you may want to take your audience more into consideration.

    Also, here's a list of some famous books rejected many times before publication: https://www.dailywritingtips.com/famous-books-rejected-multiple-times/

    Rejection is hard, and it's harder with something you've poured much blood, sweat, and tears into. But it's also just part of the life of a writer or artist of any kind.
  • Possibility
    925
    The most difficult part of experiencing a paradigm shift is trying to explain it to everyone else. You need to meet readers where they’re at first, and then allow them to go on a journey with you. If your current disdain for conventional human culture is obvious from the start, then readers will struggle to identify with your position.
  • god must be atheist
    1.6k
    I will only say, in conclusion of this introduction, that an editor once informed me my works are “too experimental and non-commercial” to be published.Randy333

    It is a huge compliment to a writer who is experimental and non-commercial.

    On the other hand, I've been compared to Shakespeare. By some editors. They said, of me, "this guy ain't no Shakespeare."

    To be honest, the reason for rejection of my works that hurt me the most (not including no-replies) was when I submitted a fiction book titled "Miss Manners' Guide to Sex", full of literary short stories, and the book was returned with the remarks, "we only publish fiction. We suggest that guides and other instruction books should be sent to publishers where they are judged by peers." Those mofos never even popped the book open!

    A writer's goal is to produce material to be read. At least your editor read your stuff; therefore you got 100% more readers than what I got for my book.

    Well done.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.3k


    I would love to read some of your work, and you should feel free to post some of it in the Lounge.

    That said, while many, many thinkers believe the written word is the single greatest invention of humankind, I am recently of the belief that the written word has been the single greatest disaster for humankind. Let me explain.

    Without the written word, the civilizations of the world would have been made very difficult if not impossible. Governments would not be able to function, and the accounting of business and aristocratic affairs would be nearly unworkable. Architecture and any large-scale infrastructure would be impossible. Mathematics and science would not exist. As such, modern medicine would not exist either. Nuclear power wouldn't exist, nor would the combustion engine. Coal power plants, natural gas power plants, power plants period would not exist. As a result of the written language and the resulting structuring of societies, our modern society couldn't have arisen. And the death of the planet wouldn't be imminent (at least for harboring large civilizations and eco-diversity).

    If written language weren't invented, we would all be living in tribes as we did before the dawn of civilization. That probably sounds horrible to most, but to me it would be ideal. In the time before Europeans came to the Americas, the majority of natives lived in tribes (except for the Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs), and I posit that life had much more "spiritual" meaning. It must have been quite magical and mythical for the first arrivals of humans to the "New World" in the Ice Age to discover the new beasts and landscape of such a world. People in tribes all depended on one another in their small groups for survival and companionship, a far cry from the compartmentalized world of today with its isolated individuals on their computers and social media having very little human contact outside of meaningless work. There was real freedom, not the fake freedom of choice between consumer products of today. Thought and language was awash with spirituality and deep meaning. The oral traditions of the different tribes gave a real sense of identity, whereas today we are workers and consumers and as a result mental illness is widespread, something I very much doubt existed in pre-historic times. I believe mental illness is caused by modern civilization, not some brain disorder or chemical imbalance. Mental illness occurs because people don't belong in this society. They have no home. They have no place. They have no purpose outside of worker and consumer.

    Small bands of people living on an Earth that was untouched by technology and man-made infrastructure must be something really alien to most of the minds of modern society and must have been something to behold! We are made to think that life in pre-historic times was nasty, brutish, and short. I disagree. People had knowledge of natural remedies that cured many ailments. People didn't live to be 90, but then again, I don't know of any 90 year-old who is ecstatic about their condition. They are usually reminiscent of their years in their prime. People in pre-historic tribes belonged in the world. They weren't parasites to the planet. They lived in harmony with the environment. It was only when we started trying to tame nature that we became disconnected with our true selves. Civilization does NOT nourish community either. In fact, it does quite the opposite. People are masters or slaves. People are used in modern society, whereas people in pre-historic times belonged to each other in companionship and united purpose, feeling a kinship with Mother Earth, grateful for every day they survived and grateful for the earth's bounty.

    On the other hand, seeing as how there is no going back because there isn't the free, untouched land available for people to live free; the land, water, and air is poisoned; and the knowledge and wisdom of pre-historic humans is lost forever; I happen to value the written word above everything else that modern humans have created, seeing as how I have to live here.

    So, please do share your writing with us so that we all may feel the wonder of something as yet untouched and virgin as Mother Earth once was.
  • god must be atheist
    1.6k
    So, please do share your writing with us so that we all may feel the wonder of something as yet untouched and virgin as Mother Earth once was.Noah Te Stroete

    hate to let you down, but my mother was not a virgin.
  • god must be atheist
    1.6k
    You're right. In fact, there is a science now of writing fiction. They know precisely what any one person on the globe is willing to read. It has some seventeen elements, although some experts insist it has over 30 elements. All elements are essential and fundamental, and at least N elements must be present in the work to make it work. The elements include not only characters or events (not events, actually), but mostly style, conflict, conflict resolution, and also sequencing of events.

    Basically Hollywood tapped onto this in 1913, and they've been producing films of the same story line ever since, without an exception. Given any genre, the movie is still the same.
  • Nils Loc
    518
    Where are the private investigatory critics? Don't count your eggs before you have any.

    The first couple lines of Randy333's Chaos Cosmology:

    I pass bare, black trees in the shadowy wood, not much living in sight, crooked branches twisted betwixt each other in the silent gray gloom, a cold veil without light or life, comprised of nothing but opaque smog... No stars or moon illumine my path, nor lantern to guide me.

    The descriptive redundancy is maddening and there is this thing about seeing without light. You must be dreaming then... confabulating...

    The paragraph doesn't end for the entire sample, which is 5 pages, enough to fatigue a reader. Breaks help us to read comfortably.

    Do you even edit drafts bro?
  • Noble Dust
    3.4k


    Are you familiar with the Scottish novelist David Lindsay? He was a notoriously bad writer, but he's gained a cult following over the past century, and the philosophical and supernatural elements in his work are unlike anything I've encountered elsewhere. I'm currently reading his unfinished final novel The Witch, and it's one of the most sublime, disquieting, but deeply flawed pieces of fiction I've read. Fascinating stuff.
  • Possibility
    925
    Ignorance is bliss?

    Our developing awareness of the relationship we have with the unfolding universe, our growing capacity to understand and relate to this unfolding beyond our physical existence, and our recognition of the extent to which our existence is dependent upon the manner in which we relate - all of this brought about the written word.

    For all of our missteps, we cannot blame the written word - it is our fears that brought about disaster after disaster, not our capacity to communicate or express our understanding. And we wouldn’t even be able to recognise that truth if it weren’t for the written word.

    Without the written word, we would not be able to look back on our past, value or retrieve what we have lost along the way, learn from our mistakes or collectively imagine, map and create a valuable future. But it isn’t the solution, it’s only a tool - we need to remember why we developed this tool in the first place: to increase awareness, connection and collaboration.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.3k
    Without the written word, we would not be able to look back on our past, value or retrieve what we have lost along the way, learn from our mistakes or collectively imagine, map and create a valuable future. But it isn’t the solution, it’s only a tool - we need to remember why we developed this tool in the first place: to increase awareness, connection and collaboration.Possibility

    I couldn’t disagree more wholeheartedly. We had oral traditions that were much more meaningful than the historical record of which King ruled when, who started the war, which journalist broke the story... history of civilization is a history of oppression and subjection of the vast majority of the population through social control written in laws designed to prop up the rich and powerful. The written word has always been a tool for propaganda and disinformation. It is used to manage the affairs of the ruling elite, and it always has been throughout recorded history.

    Seems to me the future is rather bleak, and we haven’t learned anything from recorded history except finding novel and more efficient ways of killing one another and destroying the environment more quickly.

    The written word was never intended to “increase awareness, connection, and collaboration,” but on the contrary has been used since the time of Hammurappi to subject and control the people.

    However, as I mentioned in my post, there is no going back. The world is overpopulated and the Earth is dying. We are all too dependent on the capitalistic system with all its downfalls to go back to living in tribes. Furthermore, the massive population of the planet is now dependent on factory farming to feed itself. There simply isn’t enough pristine land to go back. Never mind that most of the knowledge of prehistoric peoples have been lost.

    We have all been programmed by the written word. We are all forever changed... and we are all fucked.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but the current interconnected world civilization is doomed to collapse because of insatiable greed and the hubris of humankind to think that we could tame nature. We are parasites on this planet, and civilization mostly caused by the ability to organize ourselves through the written word and written mathematics will ultimately be our undoing.

    Your blind faith in “progress” is not unique to you, though. Almost all of humanity is infected by this thought virus. However, I do enjoy using the written word to expose all the lies of the system that keeps people delusionally hopeful.
  • god must be atheist
    1.6k
    The written word was never intended to “increase awareness, connection, and collaboration,” but on the contrary has been used since the time of Hammurappi to subject and control the people.Noah Te Stroete

    You in one fell swoop dismiss entire libraries of engineering and other scientific knowledge. Chemical, biochemical, whatever you want to name it, you dismiss all progress, catapulted from time to time by the written word.

    By progress I mean efficiency and inventiveness. Pasteur's immunization; the Hoover Dam; telephones and the Internet; cell phones and smart phones and smart tvs; even books, clothing, and skyscapers are based on knowledge passed down and refined by the written word.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.3k
    By progress I mean efficiency and inventiveness. Pasteur's immunization; the Hoover Dam; telephones and the Internet; cell phones and smart phones and smart tvs; even books, clothing, and skyscapers are based on knowledge passed down and refined by the written word.god must be atheist

    That’s all included in what I meant by “progress” as well. There is no technofix to the existential problems we face as a civilization. More technology and so-called “innovation”, the more problems and unintended consequences.

    Sorry, but you’ve been duped. Your faith in technology and science is just that: faith.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.3k
    You in one fell swoop dismiss entire libraries of engineering and other scientific knowledge. Chemical, biochemical, whatever you want to name it, you dismiss all progress, catapulted from time to time by the written word.god must be atheist

    Almost all of which has contributed to overpopulation and pollution, not to mention the need for increased energy production in the developed and developing world which is quickly speeding up the detrimental effects of global warming and destruction caused by an ever-expanding population high on the comforts of the modern system.

    Don’t get me wrong. I fully expect to go down with the ship, too.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.3k


    I also fully expect the aliens to keep their promise to me to protect me in the upcoming wars. :joke:
  • god must be atheist
    1.6k
    comment by to god must be atheist, in another thread:
    Furthermore, you’re a psychopathic asshole.
    — Noah Te Stroete

    reply to the above by god must be atheist:
    No further comments.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.3k


    My apologies. You just seem to be stuck in a paradigm of structured thinking without imagination that really irks me. My hope for you is that you open your mind to the possibilities available in the different realms of myriad and limitless thought.

    Me, my mind changes about many things daily.
  • iolo
    227
    There is a certain system in place that defines how writers should and shouldn’t write a book, which elements it should and shouldn’t include, and so forth. This can easily serve to suppress experimental works, especially works that do not conform to some of the usual conventions. Unfortunately, it would appear I don’t fit the mold expected of writers in our current world. I’m curious about the true limits of experimentation in philosophy, art, and literature. It seems there’s a vein of culture that abhors experimentation, and I’m interested to hear some of your thoughts as to the limits of experimentation in our world.Randy333

    It seems to me that the problem is that there is a vast majority of writing that is simply commercial, containing a certain amount of mild porn in a predictable 'romance' or whatever and minority taste for a 'fashionable' artiness than cuts out anything that doesn't fit the fashion. In these circumstances, I think, people who are serious lose interest in 'the public' and concentrate on self-expression, which is a pity. I've written one novel, which was complete crap, a few short stories, which are better, and a lot of poems. With poetry I like the concentration on marrying (I hope) radical content with pretty strict form, which is what kept the stuff memorable when the majority were illiterate. I've published a lot in magazines and published one not-so-much 'thin' as emaciated volume of sonnets, and never made a penny or got any serious recognition. Do we think it matters?
  • Frank Apisa
    943
    Look at it through this lens:

    During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting...and at a pittance.

    The last Van Gogh sold was priced at $81 million.

    Maybe your works are masterpieces...but the world is not yet ready for them.
  • 3017amen
    1.1k
    My work seeks to explore and illuminate how truly bizarre, magical, and enigmatic this cosmos is.Randy333

    Sure, consider some of the works of Piccasso (Surrealism), and how it represents the Freudian nature of absurd existential elements about the human condition. And how seemingly bringing opposites or contradictory dissonances into reality, much like how consciousness works. Many didn't embrace that expression of reality.

    Or music, where a steel guitar was arranged/incorporated into a non-country genre, yet sounded fantastic. (Or for those familiar with Fender; someone playing a Telecastor-country guitar- on a rock tune.)

    Integrating opposite's can scare people who otherwise think that everything has to follow an established paradigm.

    To those folks I say: slay your Gilligan's!
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