Method – Without Apology (with Tangential Review of Ender’s Game)


I read quite a bit.

Right now, I’m finishing up Ender’s Game, and, frankly, I appreciate Card’s tempo and delivery. The book is a simple read in comparison to other military science fiction I’ve read, and especially pleasing in comparison to some other epic science fiction I’ve been consumed by recently. Herbert, for example, is not a simple read. While Dune is no leisurely stroll through the park, I speak specifically of examples like Destination: Void. I won’t mention Joyce here, but will say that Thomas Pynchon is similarly challenging – not necessarily to read and finish and comprehend, but to follow. You think you comprehend Palahniuk, but I doubt you follow him – I seriously doubt you register the disposition of the universe in the same way, and that is not your fault.

It’s not your fault.

My decision to read Ender’s Game again comes via pressure from JD, who I suggested read the book before the new movie was released.

Relative tangent: I believe the movie was a success in that it’s translation to a medium, like live-action cinema, that society feels it can only take two hours of at a time, and that studios feel absolutely must appeal to every sex, race, and level of intelligence, still managed to stay true to the major plot of the story while retaining certain key scenes that weren’t absolutely necessary. That being said, I feel a lot of what was changed in the movie from the book was done so without truly making sense. In the book, the key scene occurs right before the final chapter in which it is revealed ****SPOILER**** that humanity needed the reckless innocence of a child, the oblivious mind of a killer, and true empathy of the enemy, to eradicate a species it feared; and, that the only way to combine those into a military genius was to trick the subject into playing out the scenario as an inconsequential game, where only ego was the driving force behind the pursuit of victory.

JD has since completed the Ender series, and is nearly finished with the Shadow series which follows Bean’s side of the story. It is my intent to follow her lead and continue the series.

Alas, Ender’s Game is not the point of this post. Or is it? Hmm. This post, as indicated in the title, is about method.

In the seven years I have been maintaining a regular blog, I have followed and read a large number of fellow aspiring writers. Very rarely have I ever followed the blog of a writer who is published traditionally – though, without needing to be said, the blogsphere contains a glut of self-publishers, and my list of followed blogs contains an excessively large number of writers that fall into that category.

My purpose in following a blog by an aspiring fiction writer, is not to be inspired by the occasional success of a peer, or glean some previously unrealized shortcut to the method. I read other writers as a general watches maneuvers of an enemy force, or, and I apologize for allowing mention of organized sport to taint the pages of this blog, as a coach watches films of his opponents. I am not indicating to you that I look derisively upon my amateur unpublished contemporaries, quite the opposite is true. Until I, myself, am published in the traditional manner, as I have set as my goal, then I remain a launchie, just like everyone else.

I am not going to pontificate on the real reasons why any person should be so foolish as to attempt to make a living as a writer. I prefer to take the position that living, itself, creates the writer. There is no style in abstinence of participation in society and the modern human condition.

Like in Battle School, where every army and its leader has their standard formations and general favored disposition, there are plenty of methods and approaches to writing that work, but that does not mean any of them are the most effective, or should elevated as THE method.

I tend towards derision when witnessing the starving artist formation, and I see it quite often. Every human has an arsenal of individual talents that lend themselves toward the successful execution of “writing” as a career, or even just as a hobby. Why clump your talents into one massive offensive, hoping resilient turtling at the attacks that time set upon you will eventually outlast the forward motion of everything around you, so that at long last the battlefield is yours because you “never compromised on your dreams”?

Strive for polymathy.

Another tangent here: I do play MMORPGs quite a bit, and I find the ridiculous insistence that there is a perfect spec, build, rotation, and rigid method to every class to be quite tiring. Who deserves the more credit? The PvP junkie that looks and games like every other member of his class ranked higher than zero, and dominates through rote? Or, could it be the unconventional build that manages to create chaos in the typically repetitive and predictable combat model? Unfortunately, game designers feel an unnecessary need to appease gamers that can only be satisfied in absolutes – random seems to be something they think should remain on an MP3 player, and chaos might as well be a sinister spy organization.

Any declaration, by anyone of any caliber, that “writing” is their sole talent, belies their grasp of the basic concepts of art, and what exactly art is. I grow weary of the approach that the greatest artists in the history of civilization were, and are, those that never stop doing the one thing they consider to be their “craft” or their “art”. Should we give credit to the artistry of serial murder, if the perpetrator really devoted himself to nothing but his craft his entire life? A bad example, I admit. We would give him no more credit if he was a skilled murderer AND a musical virtuoso. Their devotion did not make those people – I mean artists, not serial killers – successful and widely acclaimed celebrities in their artistic fields. Other people did. And, truthfully, I would wager that the majority of writers who found success by that method, owe their success to the eccentricity and greed of the individuals that sold their strife to the world as the key ingredient to their art.

If you suffer for your art, you do not understand the game. And, indeed, it is a game. And Guardians DO have shitty DPS – but I like the way the gear matches my eyes.

I write for one reason only:

Original chaos.


2 thoughts on “Method – Without Apology (with Tangential Review of Ender’s Game)

  1. Great post. Please let me know what you think of the rest of the Ender’s series. I have not read them because I enjoyed Ender’s Game SO much, I was afraid of ruining my love by reading the whole series. People have told me it does not ruin the original and I really should read the rest, so maybe I’ll give it a shot this year.

    I also like your tangent on starving artists and the thoughts you bring to it – how each of us have talents, and not only one, that make someone a writer. I love your line of “Why clump your talents into one massive offensive, hoping resilient turtling at the attacks that time set upon you will eventually outlast the forward motion of everything around you, so that at long last the battlefield is yours because you ‘never compromised on your dreams’?”

    This post just really resonated with me. The parallels to military, Ender’s Game, etc. are great.

    P.S. I did not see the movie, for the same reasons I listed on why I haven’t read the other books.

    • Thanks. I’m glad you liked it.

      JD says the Ender Series only gets better, and she was upset that it was over.

      I read the book for the first time a few years ago, and started rereading it right after I saw the movie. Honestly, considering how consistently disappointing adaptations are, they did an acceptable job. Harrison Ford is tolerable, Ender (whatever that kid’s name is) was excellent, and the rest were adequate. Its just that their choices in adaptation make no sense – even considering their desire to minimize the length, and dull some very sharp edges from the book.

      If you’re easily agitated to rage by inconsistencies, however minor, I’d probably avoid it. Otherwise, it is a good science fiction film in an increasing wide selection of poor ones.

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