Steve’s Update 10/2/2022

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve’s Tumblr, and Pillowfort.  Find out more at my newsletter, and all my social media at my linktr.ee)

OK time for an update!

“Think Agile, Write Better”: Is out to me pre-reader, meaning a well-needed break. I am a little concerned it’ll need a lot of rewriting, but that’s the risk I take.

The Way With Worlds series: I plan to work on “Disaster Response” this month for a release this year. As for next year, I’ll probably do something fresh and go through my list – working on Disasters has been a little draining.

The Seventh Sanctum rewrite: I redid a test launch to get my brain back on line. So now it’s just getting it out.

Fiction: I’m debating making an Avenoth RPG to do something with the propery..

Blog Compendium: I want to edit this now, so will look at it before the new year.

Creativity and Advice: Brainstorming ideas and seeing what comes, so there’s some fun things I’m considering!

Finally, giveaways:

Steven Savage

The Love Of The Game Doesn’t Always End Well

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve’s Tumblr, and Pillowfort.  Find out more at my newsletter, and all my social media at my linktr.ee)

Doing your best can be the worst thing you can do for the world.

I was pondering how I market my books – and I have a hatred of marketing.  The soulless statistics, the cold calculations, the degradation of inspired writing into pandering prose.  There’s something about marketing that is meaningless, just moving units to consumers without any purpose but money.

I also love marketing.  The thrill of working the calculations out!  The joy of optimizing to get it just right!  Picking the perfect keywords!  There’s a thrill of the game to get it right – not even to win but to do it the best you can!

That experience jarred loose some other theories, and I want to discuss the fact that a lot of evil in the world can come from people who just enjoy playing the game.  Oh they may do evil as well, they should be aware of the repercussions of what they do, but sometimes they’re just playing their game because its fun.

Think of all the people optimizing social media for hits and engagement and creating chaos.  Yes there are people seeking profits and covering their backsides, but I’m sure many a person is just enjoying optimizing.  The thrill of doing something right can miss that it’s also very wrong.

My fellow writers and I often complain about pandering authors, but aren’t some formulaic authors just into getting the formula right?  Pandering and making money is a challenge, a challenge that must appeal to many.  So sure, they may churn out books many would decry, but how many are also just enjoy working out the best way to pander?

As this thought ping-ponged around my head before it emerged in this post, I realized how much of my behavior is the joy of getting it right.  My job is Project and Program Management and Process Improvement, and it’s just goddamn fun to figure how to make stuff work.  Recoding Seventh Sanctum, frustrating (and oft interrupted the last year) was still amazing to figure how to get it all right.  My Way With Worlds series has a formula to it that I had fun figuring out so I can deliver what my audience wants.

I’m a person who enjoys the game, but I’m just less evil and more inclined to moral insight than some people (thanks to a long interest in theology and psychology).

So I’m not up for saying people who “play their game” have to be forgiven for the wrongs they do.  There are many dangerous things in this world we need to stop or regulate for our survival, and motivations don’t change that.  But it may help us prevent evil by understanding how innocent drives can lead to great dangers.

It may also let us notice before we do something wrong.  Because I’m sure there’s a game we all love playing, and that love might keep us from noticing the repercussions of our choices . . .

Doing things right can go very wrong.

Steven Savage

The Current Of Forms

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve’s Tumblr, and Pillowfort.  Find out more at my newsletter, and all my social media at my linktr.ee)

While reviewing my plans for 2023, a few possible writing ideas tempted me.  However, that temptation turned into classification as I told myself certain ideas worked as blog posts.  Fortunately, I stopped myself and asked a question

I asked “why am I assuming these are blog posts?”

Suddenly I felt a shift in perception.  Why do some of us – as I am sure I am not alone – assume the proper form of an idea so easily?  We feel this is a blog post, this is a book, this is some nebulous project we discard, and so on.  At least for me – and I am sure others – it seems we build a mental filing system for how to realize our writing and then rarely touch it.

This “current of forms” that draws us along is similar to ideas of adaptions.  A book becoming a movie or show is treated as some kind of triumph.  I mean it’s often a financial one if you get a good deal, but is it really?  I’ve encountered media in different forms and been surprised what worked well, as opposed to good, if profitable.

This is doubtlessly due to my revived interest in ‘Zines and ‘Zine history.  Seeing so many people self-publish booklets, magazines, and oddities opened my mind to the many ways to give expression form.  I wonder if there are so many ways to publish now that we just automatically slot our ideas into one of the many existing ways and then stop thinking about it.

But it’s worth thinking about!  Is something best as an ebook, or a physical book, or a podcast?  Why is it authors must have a blog when their books may speak for themselves?  Is a podcast more someone’s style even if they like doing a newsletter?  I think it’s worth rethinking what forms we give our works as we may be missing better – and more enjoyable – ways of doing it.

My mind’s been opening up since then.  Why not do some works as PDF e-zines (say, on Itch.io) than blog posts?  Shouldn’t I make print versions of my small Way With Worlds books as they’re so popular and can be donated when one is done?  Maybe I should do that podcast . . .

Do I know where this is going?  Nope.  But I feel like my creativity is going into an interesting direction, freed from the old currents of my mind, and I’m curious to see what’s next.

Steven Savage