Category: Personal Narrative

Groovie Mann and What’s in the Wings

Hey there,
It has been a while.
Not because I’ve been hiding, or running about entertaining myself to death.
I’ve been working and will have announcements on that work soon.
(Two hints:
  • when the text gets prepared for uploading to Kindle Direct Publishing, the entire text must be reworked even if it’s already been published?
  • A tagline I’ve been playing with: An ordinary man lost in a world of magic. A fabled book. Legends will be forged.)
I also met one of the musicians whose band appears in A Perfect Blindness: Groovie Mann from My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult (America’s most dangerous cult). At a screening of Industrial Accident, the story of Wax Trax Records, which also plays a huge part in the novel. A must see.
Here’s a photo of me autographing the novel for Groovie Mann:
Signing APB for Groovie Mann
The Smile on Groovie Mann’s face says it all.
      You can get your own autographed copy of A Perfect Blindness too, you know.
Available on Amazon right here for $14.37 (plus shipping). Just pick W. L. Hunt as the seller (me you know). (Or if you have a copy, let me know, we’ll get you one too: ldarley4@gmail.com)
As always
Soon, I’m going to be going after more reviews, that includes by you, the readers. So, if you haven’t left a review on Amazon, Goodreads or Barnes and Noble, please go—it’s the most important thing after a good cover, and readers check that before they ever make it to the description.
If you happen to be any of those places, click helpful on the reviews you find helpful. It’s a quick, easy, free way to help A Perfect Blindness rise in the search results at Amazon. (You might need to click “see all 5 reviews” to get to them all.)
Thanks for reading,
W. Lance Hunt
And let me know what you think. Much obliged.
As for other tales of the way things might have been or could yet be: several pokers in the fire. Will be asking for your thoughts and input soon.

Took Long Enough, pt 1: People Want the Familiar

Or: The Difference Between Being Told Something and Experiencing it. A note to myself.

Something clicked while I watched Ready Player One with my son. Finally.

A bit past midway of the movie, I caught myself thinking, “yeah, here’s the moment when she thinks he’s betrayed her, and it looks like it’s the end and that things are going to fall apart. Wonder how they’ll resolve this.”

Then, I recalled that I thought just about the same thing in Black Panther. And in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

The movie took me back into its world then, but on the walk home, I realized I could find examples of this from many other movies and books as well:

  • Hero and heroine who start off not liking each other (two heroes or heroines)
  • Eventually, they overcome this dislike
  • They join forces, many times with a dollop of the romantic
  • Then something happens. Many times it’s a misunderstanding, sometimes something beyond the characters’ control leaps between the pair, seemingly putting an end to the new team
  • Now all appears lost

But, this isn’t the Marquise de Sade or Baudrillard, so somehow, someway, something, almost always foreshadowed, will happen, and things will turn out positive. Not necessarily happy. But the bad guys will get defeated, and the pair with newly repaired differences head off to some future or another.

  • Separate, but with mutual respect.
  • Together as firm partners.
  • Or good friends.
  • Or lovers.
  • Or some combo.

If only in memory—heroes do die at the end sometimes. All depends on the flick or book. And the genre.

Fleshing out this truism as I walked home was an idea from an intensive copywriting course I recently completed. In the class, Bryan Cohen beat into us is that people crave the familiar. Therefore, you give it to them.

You write copy that fits genre expectations so someone reading that little bit of text will think, “Oh. This is the kind of book I’d like”, meaning the book will have the expected problems, solutions, etc. that the person likes to read about.

For example, in romance: Each person has an issue, and the question is can they overcome these to find love. It’s what Romance readers read romances for. The same in for any genre. Even literary fiction, which appears not genre by definition, but it always has someone whose life/livelihood is in jeopardy, and if only they find something in themselves will s/he save the day. †

Then these ideas jelled. What I’d superficially known became obvious. To me. At long last.

This is why people watch movies.  Or read books. Consume anything with a story in it:

To find what they crave, something satisfying to them. The kind of story they want to see or read.

Sure, different characters, places, plots, circumstances—different in the details, but fundamentally recognizable.

  • Will Joe and Sally finally find love?
  • Will Joe or Sally finally find it in his- or herself to do the right, the good thing, regardless of personal cost?

That doesn’t mean all heroes or heroines find or do the same thing, in the same way of course. If one is even passingly acquainted with Campbell’s Hero with A Thousand Faces,  the monomyth is familiar: the one great story, in which the details are merely costumes various functions dress in while describing this one basic story.

So, while the details and specifics of the plot of a story are (or should be) unique, it will have the expected, craved, problems and solutions/resolutions of its genre. If it doesn’t, it has little chance of being popular. A cult hit, perhaps, but generally not popular.

I’d known this intellectually. I’d read about it. I’d seen lists of what sells and what doesn’t. I know romance/erotica is the best selling genre.

But only when I was sitting in a movie and heard myself thinking in genre tropes did I actually understand what I knew. That romance/erotica is a best-selling genre because it delivers the needed fix to the reader.

Bottom line:

If it’s genre or sub-genre lit, it will have X, Y, and Z. If not, most readers/viewers won’t like it. And one thing people want, logical or not, is a positive ending *. Life is hard, mysterious, full of disappointments: Why would I spend my free time reading about unremitting misery and failure?

* Notice, not Happy, but positive. Even the hero dying in the end can be positive if they’ve accomplished something imporatnt with his or her life. Unrelenting dark fiction is out there I’m sure, but mostly with a small, cultish following.

Sure new genres do appear. Ones that actually work are freakishly rare.

And if you look at the numbers, take the outside view, books in established genres sell. Literary fiction as a “non-genre” continues to sell less and less. (Especially when the target audience is the author, or “people like me.”)

Now, about what writing what one wants to write vs. writing something to sell—I’m going to follow Jonathan’s lead, from A Perfect Blindness:

            “I don’t want to play between shifts,” Jonathan says. “I want playing to be my shifts. How I make my living. To be what I do. All the time. I don’t give a rat’s ass about art. Purity, selling out—those are just excuses masquerading as virtue for people who can’t make it. I’m done with ramen noodles.”

Back here in Brooklyn, the answer to the question I recently posed—what should I write next? Is that I’m going to write genre fiction. Fantasy. It’s what lit the fire in me to write in the first place. And genre fiction sells. (Fantasy and Scifi are the second best selling genre, it turns out.)

And frankly, I can’t stand answering questions about how a relatively expensive book of literary fiction by a first-time author is selling.

’cause it’s not. Not really.And understandably. For many reasons.

So, I lift my glass to Jonathan who saw this before I did. Art, purity or selling out be damned. (Kills me that I created him and WROTE THAT LINE—YEARS AGO!!!)

Next up from the writing studios of W. Lance Hunt: portal/high fantasy, with a dose of sci-fi. About a middle-aged man (shocking like me) who stumbles on a reality that exists just beyond our own. Magic. Physics. Adventure. It asks the question: what if you could live out your childhood dreams as a middle-aged man. Of being a hero. Saving the world. Being more than a number, a job title, a marital status and an address.

(†I’m explicitly excluding experimental fiction, the sole purpose of which is to defy expectations, which is in itself an expectation, but so very protean. And extra hard to sell for that very reason.)

Know someone who might like one of these stories? Post it or Forward this email to let them in on it.

To join more Adventures in the Interzoneexcursions to the way things might have been or might yet be click here. 

 

Interview First Broadcast Today 4/5

It will be rebroadcast later this week, and then available as a podcast right here on Wlancehunt.com and aperfectblindness.com.

 

Listen, enjoy and let me know what thoughts it provokes.

Relentlessly Helping People Who Would Enjoy *A Perfect Blindness* Find It

There is a lot of advice for new authors. Books. Blogs. Newsletters. All overflowing with advice. A riot of tips, strategies, and essential to-dos. One of the most common is to blog. To be relentlessly helpful. To offer tips, strategies, and best practice to-dos for the potential audience for your book. To give it away as honey to attract the reader-bees to buy your book (or service).

Examples abound.

It makes sense.

I did it.

One thing most advice givers give is that a writer must watch the numbers: the likes, follows, people signing up for your mailing list, and ultimately, people buying your book to know what works, and what doesn’t.

I did this too.

A handful of likes, here and there, scattered followers on this or that post. Nary a book sold.

I dutifully put onto one side of a balance scale all the hours per week spent creating and distributing the content and on the other side the number of book sales (the end reason for doing this), as well as followers and likes on the other.

The scale immediately fell over to one side: it’s been a waste of time.

What gives?

After probing the nagging suspicion that most of this advice is given with non-fiction in mind, using nonfiction authors as the primary examples, with fiction as an afterthought at best, I was forced to reexamine this whole idea.

  • How can a fiction writer be relentlessly helpful?
  • What can fiction writers blog about to create content to give away, to stir up excitement for a book?
  • To get people interested in their fictional world?
  • To get people interested the author as the teller of tales?

After far many months of fruitless labor, I finally googled it.

(Don’t laugh that it took this long. Failure is a far greater motivator than success and an infinitely better teacher.)

To sum up the general thinking: unless you’re a literary star, or are a true expert in the same field as your fiction is, blogging is wasting time better spent on getting the rest of your platform in order, perfecting your sales copy, and working on outreach, especially with influencers and reviewers.

Huh, damn.

Sifting through further advice for fiction writers, I sought examples specifically for creators of things that don’t exist.

Only then did I come to realize that being helpful for a fiction writer is very different than for a non-fiction writer.

Some advice tries to twist the meaning of expertise into dealing with philosophical problems or life issues, but these contortions miss the real point.

Fiction writers don’t (typically) write to help people solve specific problems. The whole idea of being helpful needs to be flipped. [Social activist fiction is unique in this regard, and blogging about the issues in the book could help sell it, but still…]

What a fiction writer needs to do is be relentless in helping people who would in enjoy the book find it, and in helping those people who are reading it enjoy it more.

So my blog will cease being a blog in a traditional sense.

It will become a sandbox, a place for experimenting with ways to help people find the worlds I’ve build and once in that world, helping people get the most out of being there. Perhaps even enjoying it long after it’s finished.

And so that is what “One Candle in the Darkness” will shift to—a place to invite readers. Both those initiated into A Perfect Blindness’s world of the late 80s Chicago music scene, where we are all just misunderstood characters in the stories other people tell themselves, and those who haven’t yet discovered how much they would like it.

Welcome to The Interzone a space where I host jaunts to the way things could have been and offering glimpses at the way things still might be, places where people strive after dreams, fight back at disaster, struggle with demons in both themselves and others. Enjoy.

 

Know someone who might like this? Post it or Forward this email to let them in on it.

Any thoughts or comments. I’d love to hear them

To join Adventures in the Interzone: excursions to the way things might have been or might yet be click here. 

 

A Break to Gather Thoughts and Ask a Question

One Candle in the Darkness is taking a week off to collect thoughts, mostly from the people who venture here from time to time.

Since everyone has only a limited time to read, watch or listen, or to write what folks read, or to create what folks see or listen to I want to make sure the producer (me) is delivering what you the partakers wants:

I’ve embarked on deep dive into psychology as a way to move into science and the process of science more generally, which will set up a dive into agency and how games can explain what we see on the headlines.

In the past, I’ve posted about the process of self-publishing, and dabble in the process of writing long fiction. Even included a few updates on A Perfect Blindness the literary novel that was published back in April 2017. Almost a year now.

The most popular posts were about insights into self-publishing, with a few strong ones talking about depression being an unintended side effect of two seizure prophylactics I’ve taken.

What then would people most like to find here?

  • Updates on A Perfect Blindness?
  • DVD extras from A Perfect Blindness? (cut scenes, background notes, “interviews” with the main characters? More playlists?)
  • Sneak Peaks at other fiction I’m working on?
  • More nitty gritty on publishing?
  • Writing in general/Long fiction in particular?
  • More psych?
  • The dive into science (Which is more interesting and informative that you’d think)?
  • Agency and how games can explain the headlines?
  • Something completely different?

Please let me know in the comments. I don’t want to put up stuff here no one cares about. Wastes your time and mine both.

Next up (Still): Science From Burke to Khun Part 1 (How one gets from Witchcraft to Science)

Know someone who might like this? Post it or Forward this email to let them in on it.

To join Adventures in the Interzone: excursions to the more intriguing parts of a curious mind click here.

Better Living Through Chemistry: Epilogue (One Step Up From Witchcraft)

Unless someone is familiar with the ideas from Thomas Khun’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, calling psychology “one step up from witchcraft sounds like the first shot from someone planning a war on psychology. That reading takes the angry words of a disillusioned from 22 year old too literally, even if it was how he had meant them in 1984—long before he understood how science was born, or how disciplines grow and change.

Continue reading “Better Living Through Chemistry: Epilogue (One Step Up From Witchcraft)”

Better Living Through Chemistry: Notes from Chemically Induced Depression Part 7 of 7+ (Dread, Depression and Disassociation)

While avoiding as much contact with the world as reasonably possible as a husband, father and self-employed writer provided some sanctuary, I remained assailed by accumulating effects, both psychic and physical.

Continue reading “Better Living Through Chemistry: Notes from Chemically Induced Depression Part 7 of 7+ (Dread, Depression and Disassociation)”

Better Living Through Chemistry: Notes from Chemically Induced Depression Part 6 of 7 (the Meanings of Nausea)

The unwelcomed journey back to the land of the damned wasn’t apparent at first.

Continue reading “Better Living Through Chemistry: Notes from Chemically Induced Depression Part 6 of 7 (the Meanings of Nausea)”

Better Living Through Chemistry: Notes from Chemically Induced Depression Part 5 of 6 (A Fall leading to a Second Face of Depression: Vimpat™.)

Having escaped the world of the damned and back on a clumsy, but effective seizure prophylactic, I waited until my brain healed from the neurosurgeon’s saw and scalpels. Once the swelling receded and the scaring was set, I was given an EEG that, if clear, would let me say goodbye to phenytoin, be drug-free once again. As I had been for seventeen years before the rude growth under my temporal lobe slapped the epileptic label back on me.

In the neurologist’s office, electrodes were pasted to my scalp. Continue reading “Better Living Through Chemistry: Notes from Chemically Induced Depression Part 5 of 6 (A Fall leading to a Second Face of Depression: Vimpat™.)”

Better Living Through Chemistry: Notes from Chemically Induced Depression (Part 4 of 6: Inscrutable Chemistry and the 6%.)

Only recently has the concept of decision fatigue as a form of mental exhaustion become a subject of psychological study— decision fatigue acknowledges that

  • decisions take mental energy
  • that any given person has only a certain amount of mental energy
  • that each decision a person makes uses some of this limited resource, and
  • once this resource is exhausted, decision making turns to avoidance—

choosing the least effortful action in every case regardless of possible outcomes.

A recent study (2011) looked at boards granting parole in Israel.

Continue reading “Better Living Through Chemistry: Notes from Chemically Induced Depression (Part 4 of 6: Inscrutable Chemistry and the 6%.)”