Christville

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Robert_Moriyama
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

I thought of it as a sort of companion piece to the story "The Rapture" a couple of months ago... Both pieces turn on the premise that it is precisely those who believe themselves to be Holier Than Everybody Else who are most likely to the Left Behind. (Both the religious zealots in "The Rapture" and the pseudo-religious "moneychangers in the temple" in Christville suffer from the sin of pride; in Christville, of course, greed is also a factor). Yeah, it's a fable or vignette rather than a "story", even by Nate's "flash fiction" definition; it contains no characters at all, unless the town as a whole is considered to be a buffoonish Malvolio, enamored of the traits that make it a laughingstock.

(By the way, the "Left Behind" parody episode of "The Simpsons" was a lot of fun...)

RM
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Re: Christville

Post by kailhofer »

I thought of it as a sort of companion piece to the story "The Rapture" a couple of months ago... Both pieces turn on the premise that it is precisely those who believe themselves to be Holier Than Everybody Else who are most likely to the Left Behind. (Both the religious zealots in "The Rapture" and the pseudo-religious "moneychangers in the temple" in Christville suffer from the sin of pride; in Christville, of course, greed is also a factor). Yeah, it's a fable or vignette rather than a "story", even by Nate's "flash fiction" definition; it contains no characters at all, unless the town as a whole is considered to be a buffoonish Malvolio, enamored of the traits that make it a laughingstock.

(By the way, the "Left Behind" parody episode of "The Simpsons" was a lot of fun...)

RM
I don't recall if I ever gave my definition of "flash" (as opposed to what I'd accept in the challenge). Maybe I did and I forgot.

In either case, this wasn't it. No characters, no conflict or resolution... just commentary and one-liners. Cute, but not a substitute for the real deal. Not for me, anyway.

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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

... I don't think you ever gave an explicit definition of "flash". You did imply that the rules were less rigid than for a full-fledged "story" in terms of the requirement for a clearly defined arc of character development and plot structure ... Hence the remark that "Christville" might not meet even the "flash" version of Required Elements of a Story, unless the townspeople were considered as a collective "character", uniformly self-satisfied and ultimately incapable of growth. (They have an "arc", it just happens to resemble a flat line.)

:-?
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Comments from Mark Edgemon removed

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Apparently he finds being quoted directly embarrassing and threatened LEGAL ACTION if the quote was not removed. Note that he claims that his remarks were a "parody" of my rejection note, although the connection escapes me. He has also withdrawn all outstanding submissions from consideration, which will save me a lot of wasted time and effort.

I have no doubt that he will complain about this post as well.

RM
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Mr. Edgemon had (has) issues, period. His last e-mail to me said that the Forum was a small pond of self deluted (his spelling) people (in response to my suggestion that he try replying directly to what he considered to be unfair negative comments by people with "permanent menstrual syndrome" who "got their rocks off" by tearing down other peoples' work). The ONLY criticism he ever accepted from me was accompanied by some ego-stroking that suggested that his background writing non-fiction was a handicap in that it gave him journalistic writing habits not conducive to storytelling.

Most of his published work (he takes great pride in having been "published hundreds of times", but it looks like some pieces have appeared in multiple venues) appears to be in Christian publications and websites, aside from his radio scripts and satirical music. (Now I can sit back and wait for the threatening letter from his lawyer for daring to imply that he is anything less than a genius.)

On an unrelated note, remember Robert Eggleton? He submitted a story set in the same universe as "Rarity From the Hollow", and it's actually pretty good. The writing is a lot smoother than in the (probably worst-case) samples from the book we have seen, and it has a vein of dark humor that I found very appealing. Look for it in the October issue.

RM
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Re: Christville

Post by kailhofer »

It's unfortunate when the critics vs. author dynamic goes as south as this seems to have gone.

Sometimes critics are not very nice. The same can also be said for some authors. Not everyone says things clearly, or with kid gloves--nor are they required to, so long as civility standards are upheld.

Regardless of whether anyone's remarks were true or not, the key focus should be picking out the root grains of truth in the criticisms that help the author improve their work.

Said truths may be painful for an author to accept. If he or she doesn't find anything to agree with, that's fine. Critiques are opinions, and should be taken as such.

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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

If we assume that Mr. Edgemon is sincere, then he has failed to learn from a number of old adages ("You attract more flies with honey than vinegar", for one; and "Billy, stop poking that wolf with a stick" (okay, that one isn't an old adage, but it should be) for another).

He claims that his first reply to my rejection of a story was intended to "parody" my remarks and/or the critiques posted here in the Forum for "Christville" and for other authors' stories, and that claim is somewhat credible given the fact his resume includes various satirical skits performed on the radio and humorous/satirical songs. However, our subsequent exchanges consisted largely of personal insults (admittedly in both directions, but HE STARTED IT, so there, neener neener neener).

Do any of you Aphelion regulars (writers and commentators) agree with his assessment of my attitude? (Keep in mind that I HAVE THE POWER HERE. [smiley=evil.gif]) As editor, it is my job to accept or reject material based on my assessment of its merits, technical (spelling, grammar, punctuation), stylistic, structural, quality of plot and characterization, etc. It is NOT my job to hand out compliments when I don't like something, or find something praiseworthy in everything that crosses my electronic desktop, despite Mr. Edgemon's apparent belief that EDITORS OWE HIM SOMETHING. As most of us know, most publications provide nothing beyond the "does not meet our needs" or "didn't work for me" form letter with a rejection; at least I try to do more than that.

Furthermore, I accept about two-thirds of the submissions received (about the same as Cary Semar and McCamy Taylor when they handled the Short Story department), with varying degrees of suggested edits (always reversible at the author's discretion). Would the authors of those accepted stories complain about my "negative attitude"? Most are pretty happy, even those who have fairly impressive track records in selling to paying markets. Usually, even authors whose work has been rejected either say nothing, or thank me for pointing out what I see as problems (with varying degrees of sincerity). Only once or twice in two and a half years has anyone reacted as Mr. Edgemon did (or seemed to do).

So ... even acknowledging that I am not perfect (hard to believe, I know), I would still contend that Mr. Edgemon is more at fault than I am.

RM
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on September 28, 2007, 03:02:23 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Mark

You have forced me to quote my rejection note (which is MY property, not yours -- not that your e-mail to ME is your property either), so people can judge how much "malice" was involved.

"Mark

This one didn't really work for me. The premise -- that the same tribes who fell victim to slavers could so easily defeat the slavers themselves, and then overwhelm the whole of Europe and North America -- felt like an Afrocentric exaggeration of American Manifest Destiny. Some African tribes HATE EACH OTHER, and would sooner die than band together (viz. the Hutu and Tutsi tribes in recent history). And the "it was all a dream" resolution, wherein this possible future was rejected because of the negative effect on the character of the Africans, leading to peaceful negotiations, was completely incredible. For one thing, the slavers viewed the African natives as subhuman, and would be unlikely to listen to them long enough to negotiate anything...

That said, this piece would probably come closer to being accepted as "a story" by the deconstructionists who commented on "Christville" this month..."

Audience? Was there anything "malicious" about that? I didn't buy the premise, and I said so. He said that I didn't get it, and that it was a dream so it didn't have to make sense. Another rule that he hasn't learned: even in fantasy, there should be some internally consistent logic. But the hero dreamed of things he had never heard of or seen or imagined, up to and including nuclear or biological warfare. The story would have been better if it had made sense in the context of the hero's knowledge and the 18th Century world.

RM

PS Anyone who is curious about how accurate my assessment of the story (White Out) may be can find it on Mr. Edgemon's website, a link to which (I think) is included in the "Christville" bio paragraph.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

... To quote myself again, "Pot, meet kettle".

"There are none so blind as one who will not see." Your inability to see and admit the petulance of your own initial reaction (do YOU honestly believe that your motives were so noble?) and subsequent insults to Aphelion commentators and me does not "paint you" as anything but smug and (like the denizens of Christville) convinced that you are "holier than ..." everyone else. Anyone who rides a horse that high should beware of nosebleeds and dizziness.

Ask the recipients of some of the "negativity" in the comments in the Forum if they would prefer silence and the fear that nobody read their work, or cared enough to say anything at all. The majority of the posts are from a handful of people (dubbed The Usual Suspects -- a gang whose numbers, fortunately, seem to be increasing lately) who KNOW what it's like to receive little or no feedback of any kind because most of them have had stories published here and elsewhere. If you bother to read the Forum topics, you will also see that I am often the first and only one to try to refute the criticisms raised.

But you, being a saint, are able to analyze me and the Usual Suspects instantaneously, and offer us from the kindness of your stainless heart Words From On High to Help Us Find Our Way...

Ah, if only you weren't so "self deluted". Or perhaps having yourself diluted is exactly what you need.

RM
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on September 29, 2007, 01:14:57 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

I give up. I would post all of your childish rants to illustrate how you have whitewashed your behavior here, but you would no doubt threaten "action" again. When you have learned to look in a mirror and NOT see a halo, maybe you will be a better writer. Aphelion readers and writers know that I can be supportive, but I have a low tolerance for willful stupidity. Enjoy your self-congratulations.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Ah, screw it. Here, for the edification of the masses, are the Epistles of St. Mark. Mark, go ahead and sue me.

#1

Robert,
>
> The premise that you find hard to believe, that the slaves could "easily" capture the
> slave traders and then overcome their hate for each other to band together and overcome
> Europe and North American is easily explained if it happened as a dream of a single
> African warrior, since dreams do not have to be as plausible as if it actually happened
> in real life.
>
> How many dreams have you had that stacked up to real life experiences. This may be the
> part you haven't Got. It was all a dream and as fantastic as it is to believe, the
> lesson that treating other people bad, rude, mean or brutal, eventually winds up eating
> the abuser alive from the inside out. Dreams do not have to line up with reality.
>
> As far as slave traders excepting Africans as human beings instead of looking at them
> as animals, look at how whites treat blacks today. If it happens today, it could have
> happened back then, if the right people were put into that situation, meaning the
> African warrior, the Head Slave Trader and the government officials back in the states.
> Also, the fact that it is fiction should give some freedom and creative licence to tell
> the story.
>
> I have read many of the comments by the science fiction community on your site and it
> seems that most of the commentors, take great PRIDE and I mean that literally at
> appearing intellectual in how they negatively communicate their opinions and reviews.
> They seem to want to come off so highly superior to others who read their comments,
> when actually, they come off as if they are on a permanent menstrual cycle.
>
> Anyone who so enjoys tearing down other peoples work or actions, usually have nothing
> of value in their own lives and finding fault is more a sport and entertainment and
> maybe the only orgasmic delight they have in their life.
>
> It is possible to comment in a contructive manner, without getting one's rocks off and
> enjoying the downing of another's work. Constructive means constructive for everyone.
> As far as negative comments versus constructive comments, I can take them both, but the
> negative comments comes off badly for the commentator, don't you think?
>
> Mark
>
Response to #1

Pot, meet kettle. Read your reply carefully and consider whether you are painting
*yourself* as superior (morally, intellectually, etc.). Your sophomoric attacks
("personal menstrual cycle", "the only orgasmic delight ... in their lives", "getting
one's rocks off") belie your claim that you can take criticism and frankly, make you
appear to have the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old.

I don't think this attitude will be helpful in your pursuit of publication, but I will
continue to read your submissions and judge them on their merits, much as I would try to
treat a child with compassion no matter how "childish" his or her parent might be.

By the way, the grammatical and spelling errors in your note do not help your case (he
said smugly).


#2
> Robert,
>
> Couldn't you see that I was doing a parody of you for the purpose of helping you see
> what I was talking about. Was that not clear? I would think that my parody would have
> been clear for a person who reviews so many stories.
>
> But by your response to my e-mail, you proved my point in the amount of relish you
> dished out in your reply. You addressed your hurt feelings, but none of the points I
> made.
>
> Science fiction people live in a world of their own making and I have found them
> generally to enjoy destructive type entertainment like speaking rudely when they think
> they can get away with it or watching car demonlition, horror slasher films etc.
>
> Your comparing me to you as pot and kettle at least admits that you see yourself
> enjoying tearing down rather building up.
>
> In my early stories I was trying new things that were not commonly done to find a style
> that I liked. I think since these early works do not fit the type of stories you may
> think all stories should measure up to then you may discard them out of hand. Or you
> may approach your reviews with a negative slant to begin with. Either way as I said
> before, their is a constructive way to review that is helpful to the writer that can
> show him or her where they went wrong instead of slash and burn.
>
> I'm not wanting to have a spite exchange of e-mails. However, you can write me as much
> as you want and if you feel negative then feel free to direct it in my direction. It's
> good to get it out every once in awhile.
>
> I write for a news service overseas and have been published hundreds of times. I also
> write scripts for over 700 radio stations. I'm just new to fiction.
>
> So far, I haven't sent you anything I would call true science fiction, but more
> fantasy. Maybe soon I will write a science fiction piece and send it to you.
>
> Anyway I love instructive advice. I just want to help you learn to review with a
> helpful mindset. You will see that your helping hand will come back to you with many
> rewards.
>
> By the way, feel free to parody me anytime if it would help.
>
From one childish parent to another (He said with hopes of bringing a smile to Robert's
> face),
>
> Mark

His "complimentary" note came after I told him to "show not tell" and tighten his focus in shorter works. But then he saw that I had posted his first rant -- the part commenting on Aphelion forum contributors, and he said:

#3
Robert,

I gave you permission to use my stories, but not the comments I sent you in my private e-mails. The "White Out!" comments was for your eyes only. You do not have my permission to use my e-mail response. REMOVE IT!

It's interesting that you did not use the glowing praise I gave you on my last e-mail, just the parody I sent you to provoke you to give your best review.

You also used the "White Out!" response in the "Christville" forum, which I'm sure you intended to do and only the selective portion of the e-mail that would put me in the worst possible light as well as the wide eyed yellow face dot to add further insult.

THIS TRULY SHOWS YOUR ENJOYMENT OF NEGATIVE INSULTS.

Delete all stories I have sent you to date for any further consideration.

Robert, If this is not removed now, I will pursue actions against you personally and your publication.

Mark

Saint Mark, shining beacon of virtue. Give that man some applause, ladies and gentlemen.

Note to lawyers: (a) Mark didn't put a Copyright notice or other indication that his "private email" was his property. Once sent, a letter is presumed to be the property of the recipient; this principle would apply to e-mail as well, unless explicit notice of confidentiality is made. (b) Mark gave me permission to "parody" him. I can't think of a better way to lampoon him than to quote him accurately. Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" uses this principle frequently.

Note to Mark: Have you heard the term "left-handed compliment"? All of your "praise" is of the "he has potential, too bad he's so malicious and cruel" form, including your response to my effort to actually teach you something about writing. It is passive-aggressive at best, and smarmy and insulting at the same time.

If you send me a "private email" demanding that I delete THIS post, rest assured that I will post IT here, too.

As a Christian writer you should recognize the adage "you reap what you sow". In dropping your initial load of fertilizer, you planted a crop of "malice", for which you have consistently failed to take any responsibility.

RM

PS It's rather appropriate that this exchange is in the "Christville" thread, since "Christville" is about people who believe themselves to be virtuous but are venal and self-satisfied (and therefore "Left Behind" on Judgment Day). It is this assumption of moral superiority while behavior clearly illustrates the opposite that irritates me most.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Saint Mark of Litigiousness. His Reputation must be spotless lest his core audience be offended. "Legals", can quoting someone verbatim and in context be considered actionable? And how interesting is it that Mark has to have lawyers on call? I don't.

He who resorteth to lawyers as a first resort hath something to hide. Perhaps the
"700 radio stations" (a "Christian" network?) might find Mark less funny if they knew what he is like when he THINKS nobody is watching.

And apparently I'm not the only one "ate about about this", given that Mark has responded (with decreasing levels of coherence) to each post.

RM
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

I don't have legals on call, they are my clients. The writing service I mentioned to you includes clients such as a news service (Not stories...news), script writing for radio stations (none of which are christian stations) and 16 law firms.

Like I said, you be fortunate to have my job, even if it is non fiction writing.

What a foolish statement saying my posting comments on a public forum is hiding my thoughts from public view. Of course people are watching.

You appear to be losing control, if not your perspective Robert.

Mark
No, YOU be fortunate to have your job, based on the writing skills I have seen. I be fortunate that I can still write complete sentences at 3 AM*. As for hiding your thoughts, I was referring to your threats of "action" for posting your "private e-mail" in this public forum. All your posts here have "painted" you as having only noble motives, while your "private e-mail" demonstrated the opposite. Apparently your ability to read and comprehend is deteriorating as the night wears on.

(*Speaking of which, good night. Even us "gremlins" need sleep.)
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on September 29, 2007, 02:59:29 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

"White knight", "gremlin" ... hmm. Once again, you show your remarkable ability to "forget" your own words. "Let he who is without sin..." You should be in politics.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

"White knight", "gremlin" ... hmm. Once again, you show your remarkable ability to "forget" your own words. "Let he who is without sin..." You should be in politics.
I should have known better than to engage in hostilities with a holder of revealed truth. Proof can be found on the Articles page of http://www.theworldofmarkedgemon.com, under the "Truth Instruction" heading. (As Toronto writer Linwood Barclay would say, "I am not making this up!")

Articles include:

REVENGE: GETTING EVEN KEEPS YOU OFF BALANCE (Synopsis: There is a way to deal with your enemies and then there's every other way.)

DYING TO SELF: MAKING OUT YOUR WILL (Synopsis: The example has already been set on how to subdue our own will to do His will.)

and

JUDGING OTHERS: BUT NOT BEFORE YOUR FREE EYE EXAM (Synopsis: Judging others without removing one's own sins, reflects badly on those who judge.)

So clearly, Mark is only doing the work of the Lord in smiting the Philistines. That, or he is like the televangelists who live like billionaires off the donations of people living on food stamps, who rant about Family Values while patronizing prostitutes, ...

I rant (in vain) because I held out faint hope that something would penetrate the bubble of self-righteousness insulating Mr. Edgemon from any recognition of his own hypocrisy. However, I can see that this is a pointless exercise.

I await the announcement of Mr. Edgemon's simultaneous Pulitzer Prize nomination and cannonization. (And no, "cannonization" is not misspelled here, although Mr. Edgemon might think so.)

RM
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Bubble still intact. There is no point in further discussion. So-called "Kindness" rejected as insincere and self-serving.

Apologies to Aphelion readers for wasting their time and energy with Mr. Edgemon's drivel.

Perhaps Mr. Edgemon should read his own screeds, but I suspect he will still be unable to recognize himself.

Mark Edgemon, Mayor of Christville, purveyor of piousness. The Church Lady out of drag, doing his Superior Dance for his own amusement.

RM
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

I didn't read the articles -- there is only so much bad writing I can take. When the author can't even punctuate his "synopses" properly, there is little hope that he can write coherently. John R. Murray must be right about the news service that employs Mark E. -- a prominent news service wouldn't employ someone who can't write a paragraph that doesn't need line editing.

And bad writing on moral / ethical / spiritual matters from someone so full of himself that he considers himself to be beyond reproach would be worse.

A long time ago, Brian Mulroney "beat" John Turner in a debate by wrapping himself in piousness as he berated Turner for making patronage appointments (something Mulroney himself did on a massive scale, once elected). He said, "Oh sir, sir -- you had a choice. You could have said no." Mr. Edgemon's claims to be "kind" are of the same ilk.

Let's see if he can be truly kind and stop posting the same crap over and over again: "I only insulted him for his own good. My motives are pure. My virtue cannot be questioned. He must be sick if he can't see how wonderful I am being." (This is a "synopsis", with better punctuation than Mr. Edgemon's website.)

I estimate that it will take no more than an hour (probably less) for him to post essentially the same thing that he has posted over and over again, with no supporting evidence aside from his clearly biased opinion. (Again, he is "telling" what he perceives to be the truth; I have tried to "show" his true nature by using his own words, in context. As with evolution versus 'intelligent design', the two things cannot be compared.)

RM
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Elapsed time 4 minutes. But at least he managed to refrain from suggesting that I am malicious and / or deranged. I suppose that's progress.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Wow. Elapsed time 13 minutes. What happened to that hard drive reformat and setup? Well, priorities are priorities.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Fine. Frankly, this is why I don't usually like to use Instant Messaging -- it's hard work to be "on" that much. Being angry is very tiring.

Your work shows imagination, but it would benefit from less "preaching" (which is, again, "telling" instead of "showing"). And the punctuation comment is based on the inclusion of superfluous commas in your synopses and in the stories I have read. Little mechanical things count when you are trying to get an editor or slush pile reader to give your work a chance. It's like the old pre-electronic file days, when you had to send in the cleanest, most legible typed copy possible just to get them to read a piece. Now, with spelling and grammar checkers, there really isn't any reason to produce clean copy. (Mind you, the Microsoft Word grammar checker makes really bizarre suggestions sometimes, completely missing the meaning of a phrase or clause; and the spelling checker can't detect cases where the wrong homonym is used (i.e, the word is spelled correctly, but it's the wrong word in context.)

I have suggested to other authors that they try reading their works aloud to try to "hear" them as if they were by a third party. This can help to detect awkward passages. Of course, an objective (which, yes, means "negative" comments are likely) third party proof reader is even better (professional publishing houses employ professional editors, who will red-pencil the hell out of a galley proof of even famous author's work -- except maybe for Stephen King, who probably gets away with a lot). Although I haven't done it myself (but probably should), you could join an online writers' workshop (viz. Ralan.com and other sources for links), but you must be prepared for a lot of sniping at things that seem fine to you.

As I mentioned before, George Philibin was one writer who took all my comments to heart, worked very hard, and has produced some very interesting work with most of the things I made "negative" comments about now absent from his submissions. Even some of our more established writers will accept most of the line-editing changes I make (there are exceptions, and it is their right to have their work appear as THEY want it, no matter what I think). If you step back and look at my original comments, you will see that I was doing my job -- telling you why the story "didn't work for me", as the form rejection letter says (I have a couple from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction that said this).

The premise of "White Out" could be executed with much greater effect with a narrower scope (the warrior could have dreamed the storming of the slavers' ships, and been impressed with the wonders on board and disturbed by the violence of his own people -- seeing that they could easily become no better than the slavers; or actually carried out the storming of the ships, then learned from a captive about the "civilized" world, and rejected that world as something he would not want for his people. In either case, the main point of the story -- that the Africans could become as bad as the slavers under the right circumstances -- could have been made. In the latter case, you would even get a "green" harmony-with-nature angle (if one of the reasons the warrior rejected European "civilization" was that the ship was FILTHY, the men unwashed and disease-ridden...)

As for the comment that "A professional reviewer would not take such delight in tearing down other people's works, so they might appear objective. Delight as in enjoying adding insult to commentary.", (a) I'm not a professional reviewer -- I don't get paid for this, and my job is not to recommend or not recommend a story to the audience, it's to try to put the best material I can find into "my" section of Aphelion, and (b) Have you ever watched "Ebert and Roeper" or read some of the reviews at Rottentomatoes.com? Or read some book reviews in even the most prominent magazines and newspapers? "Professional reviewers" provide entertainment value by being downright vicious about works they find wanting in some respect.

We (Aphelion Usual Suspects) made some nasty remarks about a book by Robert Eggleton, based on his abuse of the Forum to plug his book (over and over and over again). Based on excerpts, we all said that he couldn't write. But I just accepted a short story by him, because the writing was GOOD, and even apologized for being among those who gave him a hard time before (dismissing his book as likely worthless without reading all of it).

So -- am I NEVER negative? Of course not. If an author needs to be told that he MUST improve the mechanics of his/her writing (spelling, punctuation, grammar, and beyond), I am not doing him/her any "kindness" by saying nothing. I told Joe Vadalma (a frequent contributor who has several small-press novels in print, and more in the pipeline) that the physics of a spaceship drive didn't make sense -- he expanded the story into novella length and it is being published in the October Serials section. Now I HOPE that he took my advice and came up with a different propulsion system, but if not, it was McCamy Taylor's call.

Tastes and priorities vary -- Bill Wolfe (a recent Usual Suspect) will comment on whether the science of a story makes sense, Nate Kailhofer on whether a story has all the elements to qualify as a good story according to a particular template he has adopted (from a reputable source), others on dialogue, description or the lack thereof, or characterization. Complaints that a character's actions didn't make sense crop up a lot, that not enough happens, that too much happens, etc.

Don't assume that I am being deliberately mean if I pick on something about a story that the author absolutely loves. It is my job to offer an honest opinion (and, as you said, it IS an opinion, and one that another editor, even another Aphelion editor, might contradict); sometimes that opinion will sting. It is NOT my job to suggest how to make a particular story better, although I sometimes do if there is something easily fixed (but too extensive for me to line-edit it myself).

... Maybe I should forward some of the recent acceptance and rejection notes I have sent out to you, so you can judge my "negativity" based on more than our recent exchanges. I have no doubt that I have alienated some authors whose style "didn't work for me", but a lot of other authors keep coming, and submitting again if a story is rejected, so at least some people think that my comments are worthwhile.

I'll stop with the "saint" stuff if you'll knock off the "negative, must be evil or crazy" riff.

RM

PS I'm going to a movie this afternoon -- the new Resident Evil flick. Lots of gore and stuff blowing up. (My god, you're right, we (or at least I) DO love destruction and death. ;))
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on September 29, 2007, 01:27:12 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Oh dear ... just when Mark and I were trying to stop sniping (well, I was trying to stop sniping, Mark was (I think) going to stop trying to "help" me). Mark is relatively new to fiction writing, and probably hasn't dealt with too many form letter rejections yet. He hasn't reached the point of being starved for ANY indication that somebody has read a piece and cares enough to say something about it, so he thinks he can be choosy about what KIND of feedback he gets. And we are a picky bunch at Aphelion, each in our own way...

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Re: Resident Evil - (severed) thumbs up

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Mark

I liked Resident Evil, but it was extremely gory (both CGI and makeup effects). As one of the favorable reviews (26%) at Rottentomatoes.com says, it's impossible to take your eyes off Milla Jovovich in her fight scenes (and a lot of them are clearly her, not a stuntperson). In this one, she is even more superhuman than in the previous movies. A lot of good guys die, but (if they were to make a fourth film in the series), the ending indicates that there is hope for humanity and the remaining bad guys ("Umbrella Corporation" -- you have to love the names in games originally developed in Japan) are going to get what they deserve.

So ... if you like over-the-top action with lots of simulated gore and gunfire, you'll like this movie. Not likely to be recommended by any of the Family-friendly movie sites (and, as I said, eviscerated by many professional reviewers). ("Shoot Em Up" is fun in the same way, with a hero whose skills are, um, a bit unlikely.)

RM

PS I forgot -- I was going to suggest that you try entering the next Flash Challenge (so far, all challenges have been devised by Nate). Writing 1000 words or less with some kind of required elements will force you to tighten your focus -- galaxy-spanning epics are very hard to do at that length (although we have had quite a few challenge entries with some kind of time travel). While Nate reviews entries to make sure that they meet the conditions he sets, readers vote on their favorites (no comments are posted until after the voting results are released).
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on September 29, 2007, 09:39:06 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christville / White Out

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Mark

It has occurred to me that it is dangerous for me to be too specific in making suggestions about how to improve a story. For one thing, it leans toward a "if I was writing this, this is what I would do" prescription, when the real objective should be for the author to write his/her story in their own unique way. For another, it is possible that the "advice" actually changes the meaning and intent of the story. What if the point you were trying to make in "White Out" WASN'T that the Africans could end up as bad (and in similar ways) as the Europeans (and North American colonials)? Then my suggested changes in structure and content might run counter to what you were trying to achieve.

Now YOU would probably follow only those parts of my suggestions that DID conform to what you were aiming for, but less-confident writers might do exactly what I suggest to "please the teacher". (While this might get their work published here, another editor might HATE it.)

Most writers go through a phase where they try to imitate the style of an author they admire; some never get past that stage to find their own voices. I like the way I write, sometimes too much (and this Forum is a good place to find out what other people DON'T like about it), but I don't think my opinions should be taken so seriously as to permanently mold (or warp?) another writer's style.

RM
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Re: Christville

Post by Megawatts »

As for my own writing, I have never met a negative remark from Robert that I didn't like!!! And I met plenty!!
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

As for my own writing, I have never met a negative remark from Robert that I didn't like!!! And I met plenty!!
See, now, here's somebody who trusts me TOO much. And I suspect that saying that he "like"d my negative comments is an exaggeratiion ... he took them seriously, but NOBODY really "likes" to be told they're doing something wrong. His response to criticism was the best one -- he worked his butt off and improved. Ain't no better way to get revenge on a critic than to succeed.
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Re: Flash Challenge participation

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Watch the "Fun and Games" folder -- Nate will post a new topic (presumably "October Challenge", or something like that) some time after the October issue goes online. In order to allow readers to vote without being influenced by the identities of the authors, authors send their entries directly to Nate using the Private Message function of the Forum. He checks to see whether the conditions of the Challenge have been met (and advises the author if not, so this can be corrected), and then sets up a Poll listing the entries received and showing the text of each entry.

Most of the Challenges have been to use several different objects or phrases or situations in a flash piece, sometimes with a particular theme or plot type specified. The September Challenge was to develop a story from an unused note in the Book of Ideas that most fiction writers have in one form or another. (e.g., suppose you scribbled a note about (say) the implications of a new study indicating that male and female mental processes actually involve different patterns of brain activity to accomplish the same task, but never write a story on that topic -- until now).

There really isn't any way to prepare or do research for a Challenge until it is posted, as the objects or situations can be (deliberately) pretty random (e.g., a book, a musical instrument, and a deaf main character; a metronome, a snowstorm, and a gold Buddha statue ...). The 1000-word limit thing can make it especially difficult -- sometimes I have had to go back and cut whole paragraphs as well as tightening up the phrasing of the remaining text to make it under the limit.
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Re: Christville

Post by doc »

Another point worth noting that I didn't see above, though I may have missed it in the ocean of text already committed to this thread:

Robert isn't a reviewer. He's an editor. The difference between the two is immense, and your expectations from each should be different accordingly.
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Re: Christville

Post by kailhofer »

I noticed that Nate's reviews and comments were smart and with a positive tone, even though he did not altogether like "Christville" he made valid points. I can tell he's a good person.

You could learn a lot from him.
First off, I was amazed to see a "fight" going on that I wasn't in, but when I read this, I laughed so hard my tongue almost snapped off its roller.

It's not something that you would have known, but I know more about pushing Robert's buttons than any other person online, and probably vice versa. We've crossed literary swords more times than I can count. At times, he's been downright vicious at me, so much so I vowed to never again send him a story so long as he was an editor. You were treated with kid gloves. However, I was just as mean to him, I think.

The short of it is he has flaws; he's human--but I'm no better. I thought my first comments were too abrupt, which is why I was conciliatory in my second post. I usually don't do that. Some people describe my reviews as a wide pan in which stories fry--if I have time to do a full treatment, that is.

Robert didn't have to do anything more than say he didn't like your story. That's all any editor is required to do. "No and why not" is the kind of response most authors would kill for. He went way above and beyond for you, and you said he needed to do more. That is not correct.

The extra niceties and positive reinforcements are not required. Sadly, they're not even common in the world of fiction.

And, despite all the rancor that has passed between he and I, Robert went on to give you more good advice when he told you to try the Flash Challenge that I put up. He's right that it teaches control and crafting precision. It's much harder to write a good 1,000 word story than most people think, and the vote here is hard to win.

Every Challenge is designed to help sharpen skills needed to be a successful fiction writer. One month may focus on characterization, another setting, or even how we describe a setting. Usually, writers get two weeks to craft their story, they're posted without any author's names on them to prevent bias, and then they are voted on for another week.

The next one will be announced about a week after the next issue comes online. The only hint I'm giving about it is that it will be a horror challenge to coincide with Halloween.

You are absolutely invited to take part, as is everyone. I think Robert has entered every one--and he doesn't even like me. I'm also proud to say I voted for his this time. I thought it was great.

So, all in all, I think you got some excellent advice. If I were you, I'd run with it. (BTW that's "run" as in a newspaper going to press, not run away.)

Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on September 30, 2007, 08:59:58 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

...It's not something that you would have known, but I know more about pushing Robert's buttons than any other person online, and probably vice versa. We've crossed literary swords more times than I can count. At times, he's been downright vicious at me, so much so I vowed to never again send him a story so long as he was an editor. You were treated with kid gloves. However, I was just as mean to him, I think...
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Was I vicious as an editor, or here in the forum? I don't think I was vicious in replying to any of your submissions (not that there were that many even BEFORE the big Fracas in the Forum)... And here I thought you were just being vewwy vewwy quiet, or submitting to even more challenging markets (which you have been anyway, Baen's Universe, WOTF, etc.) rather than swimmin' in our little pond (or my part of it, anyway). Strangely (or perhaps not strangely), you and Mark both got me going for similar reasons -- an insistence that you were right about something (in your case, the definition of Story), whereas obviously I am right, at all times, thanks to my Dan-given Editorial Powers (the Doctrine of Editorial Infallibility, aka the "It's all about ME" rule). Was that thunder I heard just now? 'Scuse me, I have to make sure my lightning rod is grounded properly...

RM

PS If you are afraid that I will not judge your (Nate's) work fairly, maybe we can arrange for your submissions to be handled by Dan or McCamy, regardless of length / content (i.e., non-Mare). It seems like a shame for Aphelion to NOT get a shot at running your work, and for you to miss the chance for Forum feedback.
Last edited by Robert_Moriyama on September 30, 2007, 10:13:51 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christville

Post by Robert_Moriyama »

Then Robert pointed out that I had used the word "shoot" when I should have written "chute". He was write. ;D
DJ?

It is incorrect to say that Robert was "write."

But it would also be incorrect to say that he was "wrought."

Because when his story is "written."

We will all find out he was 'rotten.'

...................Original poetry stolen from someone with talent.


(Sorry, couldn't help it.)

Bill
Spoken like someone who intends to submit only Flash Challenge entries and novellas ... or who Does Not Know His Place.

Damn, I must be slipping. Igor! Book me on one of those Harassment Workshops. No, not the ones on how to avoid harassing people. The ones on how to harass people more effectively!

You can't get good help anymore.

RM

(It would be nice if we could break that record for posts in one month with entries that actually relate to a story or poem or novella or serial chapter... Ah, well -- I can dream, can't I?)
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