Why I Haven’t Been Posting

[Originally posted January 8, 2006]

In case anyone’s wondered…

I refuse to post to any blog unless people comment on what I’ve posted. I have no interest in diaries or lecturing, only in starting discussions.

The response here and on “Luncheon Ex Machina” has been a bitter disappointment to me, and I have therefore abandoned them both. You want me to talk to you, you’ve gotta talk to me, and it’s gotta be substantive.

15 thoughts on “Why I Haven’t Been Posting

  1. Sorry about that :). I haven’t had anything sensible to say yet, and in that case it’s always better to keep one’s mouth firmly shut.

  2. You’re about the third person to say that, and I don’t believe it for a minute. Why would you need to be sensible, or have anything to say?

  3. At least they aren’t flaming you…

    BTW, I was reading through your site, and from a professional standpoint let me suggest that you pick a theme and stick with it. 🙂 I did notice that you said in your faq that your name is never Larry and only people who knew you used your nicknames. I always thought Larry Fines was a fine actor (I looked up Larry on wikipedia and I actually can’t disagree with you). I also found in under 90 secs on google that one of your Known-By-Friends-Only nicknames was Malichi. Does this mean I know you now. Coooool.

  4. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “theme” in this context — the appearance of the webpages, or the content?

    If you do mean appearance, it’s actually more unified now than it used to be, though there’s still a long way to go.

    If you mean the content, well… I’m not sure how that would work.

    As for Malachi, there are very few people who still call me that — no more than half a dozen, tops — and I think all of them were people I knew in college, but yeah, it’s one of my old nicknames. And while you seem like a pleasant fellow, calling me that would not be a good idea.

    Glad you stopped by.

  5. A theme is a websites backgrounds, fonts, color scheme and overall appearance. The idea from a production standpoint is to have a set of graphics choice made and using them throughout the site to provide a unified appearance. This is the effect of choices made to make the job easier for the designer being elevated to an esthetic standard. Kind of like uni-bodies in auto manufacturing. The comment was meant as a joke. A webpage can benefit from a varying theme that is suited to the content, but that tends to be very expensive in terms of development and maintenance time. The end result of trying to maintain a unified theme is either frames, unchanging webpages, or constant work. That kind of attention is worthwhile for Apple, but I think everyone who reads this would much prefer that you spent your time in writing fiction rather than fine tuning the esthetics of your webpages. Again the message was meant to be funny and as we all know dying is easy, but comedy is hard.

  6. Okay, I wasn’t sure (a) whether you were serious, and (b) whether that was the meaning of “theme” you were using.

    I do use cascading style sheets to provide some semblance of a theme — or really, a few different themes, as I use at least half a dozen different CSS files. Eventually I hope to update everything to use one of those, but I’m not in any hurry.

    I like playing around with my web stuff, but I really shouldn’t devote the time to it. I envy people who get paid for web design.

  7. Before you go changing eveything, remember that consistency truly is the bugaboo of small minds.

    All can be jobs are fun when they are hobbies. I have tried writing and found it fun, but I cannot imagine having to make a living at it. It’s HARD work and the hourly pay is terrible. That some people find it easy (Heinlein jumps to mind) never ceases to amaze me. I think that this is the point where I ask you to read my stories. 🙂

    Actually, I do not understand the casual writer actually pursuing publishing. The enjoyment I get out of writing is in the writing. If I got paid, I would have to take the time spent seriously. At the speed that I write at and the word rate at which a writer is paid, I couldn’t approach minimum wage. I can plaster walls well enough that I can produce a truly professional job (better in some cases), but it takes me 5-10 times as long as a professional. Plus, the writers that make a great living writing are far outnumbered by the ones who bus tables.

    My hat is off to you professional writers.

  8. Oh, I can see trying to get published even if you aren’t serious about it — it proves you’ve met a standard, and gives you something to show off to friends and family.

    But continuing to do it, that seems silly.

    Interesting that you mention plastering as an example; back in 1985 or thereabouts I was doing some of the work on a house we’d bought unfinished from a bankrupt contractor, and I did a good enough job on some of it that when we had another contractor in to give an estimate on some work I didn’t think I could handle myself, he offered me a job as a drywall mudder. No kidding, he wanted to hire me. Said I did better work than half the guys he’d been paying.

    But the thing is, I’d done it because this was my house, where I’d have to live with the result (I thought), so I’d taken, as you say, maybe five times as long as a professional would have. (Maybe only three.) So I didn’t take the job.

    Julie got transferred to Maryland a few months later, and we sold the house virtually as soon as it was finished, so I didn’t really live with the work I’d done there very long at all. But I hadn’t known that would happen.

    Anyway, for me, writing is relatively easy — but that’s because I’ve been doing it for forty years, thirty of them professionally.

  9. But is that standard really very high anymore. You’ve seen what has happened to the market for short fiction recently (Last 30 years). There is less and of lesser quality. To add to that, it has become harder to get started. There used to be magazines that would publish out of their slushpile, but not anymore. And writing a novel for vanity seems rediculous. Getting a short story published now seems more about selling than anything else. In my case it is academic, as the only writing I do is for my benefit to clarify thoughts that I have had. If publishing them took no effort, maybe.

    I have often thought that maybe the energy that used to go into short fiction and poetry is now being directed towards a more interactive medium. Look at the time people put into the Wikipedia and into their blogs(or other peoples blogs). Wiki space gives quick feedback and interactive colaboration and can satisfy some of the needs that earlier writing supplied.

    Can you imagine a Wiki novel? Think of 2 or 3 professional authors managing(editing) the site and a fanbase (or a writing class) building the material. Or reverse it and have 1 author providing the material and the community commenting and editing the whole story. Can you also imagine the amount of work that would take with no profit coming from it. 😉

  10. The standard varies by market. There are markets I wouldn’t bother with, and markets where I’d consider it an honor to be published.

    I don’t think the average standard has dropped. The minimum probably has — there are webzines that’ll take anything coherent — but if anything, the average has gone up from, say, sixty years ago. A lot of the old pulp writers couldn’t sell their work now; the late Arthur Porges, once a well-known and celebrated writer, was unable to sell most of his stories to paying markets toward the end.

    And people do write novels for vanity. Lots of them. Amazing but true.

  11. But I like the old pulps! Also the target audience was very different. The editorial policies of the pulps from Gernsback through Campbell were targeted towards young teens, not adults. The slicks printed sci fi on occasion and were of a much higher quality. When the scifi market became an adult market, many of those writers were quite successful. I grant you that the only pulp stories that are still printed are the best and the rest was mostly crap (90% rule), but their circulations were very high.

    Thinking of that, I have found a resonance between your Ethshar novels and DeCamp’s “Reluctant King” series. He was probably my favorite of the pulp writers. I have the amusing vision of a Jorian of WestGate installing a water clock in the newly de-magiced Overlords Palace. 🙂 I don’t know what DeCamps’ estate would say about that. On the otherhand I have read any number of fantasy jail scenes where the cry “Yngvi is a louse!” is heard.

  12. De Camp was indeed a major influence on Ethshar’s creation — not so much the “Reluctant King” series as stories like “Two Yards of Dragon” or The Fallible Fiend, or the Harold Shea stories he wrote with Fletcher Pratt. (I contributed a story to a de Camp tribute anthology tying up loose ends from The Wall of Serpents.)

    Alas, the only thing of mine I know he read, The Sword of Bheleu, de Camp didn’t much like.

    By the way, I have a vague and unreliable recollection that de Camp credited Pratt with “Yngvi is a louse!”

    As for the old pulps, I adore the good stuff that appeared there, but let’s face it, there was also plenty of crap. People just don’t remember the crap, and of course it doesn’t get reprinted.

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