Can’t Get No Validation

(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)

Now and then I encounter or hear of a writer and their works where the person seems desperate for agreement with their worldview.  They don’t want to share an experience, you must agree, or you must be some kind of heretic.  It can be bloody nihilism of some bad horror film or airy utopia bull, but the person wants, craves that agreement.

There’s something peculiarly weird and needy about these kinds of authors and auteurs.  Much like religious evangelists, it seems they need others to feel the same as they do to know they’re real.  It’s like they’d die like Tinkerbell if not clapped for enough, they’re that empty.

I think this is why you find so many failed artists among politicians and even religious leaders, both of whom love big productions and producing media, even if ghostwritten.  Denied the ability to be famous from books or films or comedy, they seek other ways to inflict themselves on the world.  They may have changed fields, but they’re still telling tales and wanting someone to clap.

The thing about these people who need validation is how un-independent they seem to me – be they artists or politicians.  Craving validation so much, they adapt to the market and ride trends and say what works, even when it’s not them.  The author famous for ten pandering books that are famous is no different than the politician who jumps on every trend for votes and makes destructive policies.

So often a quest for validation means there’s no one left to validate – all the person has become is a series of marketing calculations and a bank balance wrapped in human skin.  The thing is the artist may write on war to get attention, the politician may start one. I’ve often said people should get experience in at least one art, so they can communicate and be aware when people are trying to manipulate them.  Perhaps I should also add that becoming familiar with the pathology of art – and art-related professions like politics and religion.

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

Steve’s Book Roundup for 9/4/2022

I write a lot and have quite a few books.  So now and then I post a roundup of them for interested parties!

The Way With Worlds Series

This is what I do a lot of – writing on worldbuilding!.  You can find all of my books at www.WayWithWorlds.com

The core books of the series will help you get going:

  • Way With Worlds Book 1 – Discusses my philosophy of worldbuilding and world creation essentials.
  • Way With Worlds Book 2 – Looks at common subjects of worldbuilding like conflicts in your setting, skills for being a good worldbuilder, and more!

When you need to focus on specifics of worldbuilding, I have an ever-growing series of deep dive minibooks.  Each provides fifty questions with additional exercises and ideas to help you focus on one subject important to you!

The current subjects are:

Fiction

Take a typical fantasy world – and then let it evolve into the information age.  Welcome to the solar system of Avenoth, where gods use email, demons were banished to a distant planet, and science and sorcery fling people across worlds . . .

  • A Bridge To The Quiet Planet – Two future teachers of Techno-Magical safety find trying to earn their credentials hunting odd artifacts backfires when they’re hired to put some back . . . on a planet where gods go to die!
  • A School of Many Futures – The crew is back, and finding having secrets and keeping them isn’t the same thing! Unfortunately they also find “very normal” is a cover for “anything but” . . .

Creativity

I’m the kind of person that studies how creativity works, and I’ve distilled my findings and advice into some helpful books!

  • The Power Of Creative Paths – Explores my theories of the Five Types of Creativity, how you can find yours, and how to expand your creative skills to use more Types of Creativity.
  • Agile Creativity – I take the Agile Manifesto, a guide to adaptable project development, and show how it can help creatives improve their work – and stay organized without being overwhelmed.
  • The Art of The Brainstorm Book – A quick guide to using a simple notebook to improve brainstorming, reduce the stress around having new ideas, and prioritize your latest inspirations.
  • Chance’s Muse – I take everything I learned at Seventh Sanctum and my love of random tables and charts and detail how randomness can produce inspiration!

Careers

Being a “Professional Geek” is what I do – I turned my interests into a career and have been doing my best to turn that into advice.  The following books are my ways of helping out!

  • Fan To Pro – My “flagship” book on using hobbies and interests in your career – and not always in ways you’d think!
  • Skill Portability – A quick guide to how to move skills from one job to another, or even from hobbies into your job.  Try out my “DARE” system and asses your abilities!
  • Resume Plus – A guide to jazzing up a resume, sometimes to extreme measures.
  • Epic Resume Go! – Make a resume a creative act so it’s both better and more enjoyable to make!
  • Quest For Employment – Where I distill down my job search experiences and ways to take the search further.
  • Cosplay, Costuming, and Careers – An interview-driven book about ways to leverage cosplay interests to help your career!
  • Fanart, Fanartists, and Careers – My second interview-driven book about ways to leverage fanart to help your career!
  • Convention Career Connection – A system for coming up with good career panels for conventions!

Culture

  • Her Eternal Moonlight – My co-author Bonnie and I analyze the impact Sailor Moon had on women’s lives when it first came to North America.  Based on a series of interviews, there’s a lot to analyze here, and surprisingly consistent themes . . .

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