I’m a bit of a scatterbrain. I write articles for several websites, help edit Uprising Review where I do author interviews, publish op-eds occasionally and co-host a podcast. I also hold down a job, and do some business consulting on the side. Not to mention I am writing my third novel. That’s a lot to do on any given day, and if I’ve learned anything from my hyperactive nature it’s that drifting from project to project can be counterproductive, but it can also be beneficial.
Most people think they can write. And they are for the most part right, to paraphrase the chef from Ratatouille “anyone can write.” But what is really meant in that phrase is that a writer can come from anywhere. If you look at where your favorite writers were born or raised, I guarantee most of the time it won’t be New York, Los Angeles, London or Paris.
Literacy is so ubiquitous in the twenty-first century that we take for granted how many years (usually a decade and a half) it too to get us to the point where we can write a college entrance essay. Writing takes time. Writing takes patience.
Writing a novel is not the same thing as writing blog posts, tweets, term papers, or even a master’s thesis. I know because I’ve written all of them. Novels are their own creature.
So then why do so many people attempt it? My answer – they don’t know any better. Most people assume that because it’s easy to read a book that it must be easy to write one as well. It’s the same psychology behind the cooking craze that has been around for about a decade. We all eat, most of us can put ingredients in a pan, thus we could be the next MasterChef.
Well I applaud you for trying, because without trying we would get no where. However, this means that everyone starts somewhere. We all start our writing careers knowing little more than what we learned in high school or college English class.
So I’m going to throw down a few books you can learn from. Well I’m going to throw down some books I learned from and maybe you will too.
I’m going to omit the obvious. Aristotle’s Poetics should be on your shelf already, as should be Strunk & White, Stephen King’s On Writing, and some other books which would be good to name for search engine recognition, but I’m not going to do that.
So to begin….
- Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces
I got this book when I was about fifteen because it was mentioned as a book that influenced Star Wars and as a teenager I very desperatly wanted to be a screenwriter and director. I got over that as most sane people do, but the book had left it’s mark. This was the first time anyone had ever demonstrated to me that there was a magic plot that all stories followed. And I reasoned that if this were true, there must be other magic truths contained in books like this. So I read most of Carl Jung’s “collected writings.” That would be the major set of books like Symbols of Transformation, Aion, and Archaetypes and the Collective Unconscious. I poured over them staying up all night and even taking them to school with me the next morning. I felt like I was learning the kind of knowledge that would all me to make the next great movie franchise.
Boy was I wrong.
And it took me almost two decades to realize it.
See Hero is a great book, and I’m still heavily influenced by Jung. But what I didn’t know then, that I do know now, is that the Hero’s Journey, as his outline came to be called, is really only applicable to the Bildungsroman, the coming of age story. The plot laid out by Campbell worked for Star Wars because it was the journey of a young man to adult hood. That’s why the book works for many movies. The movie industry post-Lucas and Spielberg (admit their best days are behind them) is obsessed with making the same movie over and over and over. And why should they stop? Every five years you get a new crop of young people going to the movies who’ve (probably) never seen the trick before. To them the Hero’s Journey is fresh. Maybe that’s why Hollywood doesn’t make many films for people over the age of thirty. Once you know the trick, why pay to see it again even if it is dressed up with new stars and sets?
But I think every writer needs to read this book. Today virutally everything you see will either be an embrace of or rejection of, the Heroe’s Journey.
2. Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing
Egri was writing for playwrights, and I discovered it while writing screenplays, but the ideas he espouses about conflict, the nature of character, the idea of what makes good dialogue and how protagonists and antagonists works makes this a book worth of virtually any writer.
There are many books available on “how to write your book in 15 days without really trying!” I think most of those books are based in part on Egri’s work. He doesn’t play the “write it today!” game, but he does go through the basics of what you’ll need when you sit down to start writing.
This is also not a motivational book. Today it’s not uncommon to see books on writing basically try to talk the reader into a position where they feel confident putting their ideas forth. Great, you sometimes need a little push. That’s why therapy is so popular, but Egri doesn’t do that either. This is just a simple book that anyone just starting out as a writer will benefit from.
3. Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities
This is an academic work on the nature of what makes a community. It goes into complex sociological issues that center on the nature of identity. Essentially identity comes from community. There isn’t any way around that. And in the search for identity we build communities, which is to say, we build cultures. I’m not endorsing the notion that a community is just culture. Clearly it is more than that. But as a child of the internet age the notion of people simply deciding they are a community, think the people on /pol/ or 4chan in general, the people who read Breitbart.com or any site with a major following. Think Vox Day’s “Dread Ilk” and you’ll have some understanding of how we create communities.
I’m recommending this book to you as part of what you’ll need to do when creating characters is answer the question, which communities does this person belong to, why, and how strong is the connection?
It may be for noodly headed academics, but don’t overlook Imagined Communities as a book that can help your writing along.
4. Carl Jung’s Aspects of the Masculine and Aspects of the Feminine
Ok so maybe I should have said five books instead of four. But I view these two books as essentially two parts of the same title so I’m sticking with four.
So in [The current year] there is a lot of searching for identity going on. One of the hottest topics is the nature of gender and sexuality. There is this meme going around that says gender is fluid. Bullshit. Call me whatever you want, but I don’t think gender is either a social construct or fluid. I’m not some 21 year old college student who is being brainwahsed into thinking there are 38 genders and being non-binary is cool, rather than a cry for attention.
Jung’s work then, for the writer and especially for the right wing writer, is valuable in that it shows us how men and women are complimentary not confrontational. You simply can’t replace a man with a woman. Heresey to certain types of people who write, I know, I’m sure this will warrant someone to tall me a bigot or accuse me of hate speech.
The fact is that if you want to write, you have to write both male and female characters. If you’re writing anything else it’s either SFF or you’re trying to hard to impress people who don’t read anything not recommended on File 770 anyway.
So Jung’s books are important in that they will help you understand the deepest psychological understanding of what makes men men and women women. I cannot emhpasise how important it is for you, the writer, to understand that to explore meaningful relationships among characters, they must first know who they are, or at least be willing to explore who they are in the natural sense of the phrase.
Don’t be afraid of being called sexist or misogynist by critics or internet trolls. Just write your book in the most honest way possible.
Recently on Gab my Uprising Review co-editor and podcast co-host Stephen Willis hosted an AMA on book marketing. This is because in addition to being an author he also has plenty of experience as a professional marketing consultant. It was a good AMA though not as many people showed up as I thought would, but it did get me thinking about marketing books. It got me reflecting on some of what I had learned over the past almost five years now since I started writing Autumn Leaves. It also got me thinking about what I’m going to do for my next book which hopefully will be out this fall.
Stephen covered many topics that would be of interest to anyone writing a book and trying to make it a success. He covered everything from using keyword searches on Amazon to Facebook advertising. All these are things you will find yourself thinking about but really, we didn’t talk about what I consider the most important things you can do to market your book.
So I want to talk today about two parts of book marketing that most people don’t even really look at as marketing. Rather most authors (or at least new authors) tend to look at the name and cover of the book as elements of creative expression rather than as tools they will need to use to get attention for their book.
One of the most frustrating aspects of writing for anyone, beginner or vet, is the moment when the novelty of a new story or article that has been floating around in your head pushes forth and demands to be written.
Many writers stumble at this point in time. I’ve done it both in school, while writing novels and short stories, and even recently while writing my political column at altright.com. But what is it that causes writers probably more than any other profession, to hesitate?
Yea I promised to stop neglecting this blog in my last post. But I’ve got a good excuse. I submitted some writing to altright.com and they published it. Now I’m a contributor there and put out about two sometimes three articles per week. So that’s where much of my writing has been lately.
But in other news things are going quite well. Yes politically I’m a little disappointed right now, but life in general is pretty good. It’s the beginning of June and this time of year always inspires me to get out and do… something. So I’ve recently decided this summer will be a summer of writing. Mostly because that is what has fallen into my lap.
I’m going to keep putting up my columns at altright.com (for as long as they’ll have me). I recently spoke with Pat Dollard about doing some writing for a project he is working on, I’ll reveal more later as the project comes together. Last night I spoke with author Jon Del Arroz about an anthology he is working on and he asked me to submit a piece of short sci-fi for it. I’m also working on two books, one novel one non-fiction.
My short fiction project, Uprising Review, including the podcast I host with Stephen is going great. We have some amazing stories coming along, a new one every Monday and new content most days. Be sure to follow our work there.
So this will be a summer of writing. I’m excited.
What exactly am I writing?
The novel I’m working on is a historical adventure set in Renaissance Italy. Specifically it’s a story about two friends and a year of their lives in a fencing academy. It takes place at the end of the life of Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, and is a kind of meditation on the nature of government, man’s relationship to the state, relationship to each other, and the nature of identity. I think Florence and Venice are a nice contrast in styles of government as well as the type of person that each produces. What constitutes a free state? Is democracy desirable, is everyone capable of governing themselves? In a way this book, tentatively titled Two Princes, is something I’m really proud of. And it will allow me a way to exercise my love of history without having to write some dusty tome full of footnotes and references to academic journals no one will ever read. I’ve had it with academia, I want the freedom to write what I want.
The piece of non-fiction doesn’t have a name yet, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. It concerns the nature of identity in the 21st century. It will look at the nature of race, gender, national identity, religious identity, chosen cultures, and other things we use to identify ourselves. It is about a rebellion against the libertarian individualism that to me has caused a lot of the problems my generation (X) and the Millennials are dealing with. We’re all looking for who we are, but because of fear we do not embrace the tribal identities we are born with. Newly elected French president Emmanuel “I married my molester” Macron recently said there is no French culture, there is culture in France and it is diverse.
If Europeans attempt to embrace their culture they are called racist and xenophobic. The educational system is also complicit in the stripping of European identity. God forbid someone should feel bad about the fact that Europeans and white Americans invented most of the modern world. But that is something I’ll be going into in this book.
The short story I’m writing for Jon is part of his Planetary Anthology. My story is set on Mars and will take me back to the universe I created in 2015 when writing the short stories that would become “The Storm Fishers and Other Stories.” Since I was just invited to write for this anthology last night I don’t have much to say about the story, except I’m planning on something historical. Maybe it will involve the archaeological excavation of an early human settlement on Mars. I’m not sure yet but I do know I want to play with history and science in this story.
I’ll be posting the occasional update here, probably not daily, but I’ll try to get updates out weekly. Maybe even several times a week. You can follow me on Gab at gab.ai/ever where I spend most of my online time, or again check out my work at altright.com and uprisingreview.com
First a few words…
So I’ve neglected this blog for a while now. Truth is I’ve been a little busy, and a little bit bored. I’ve neglected social media as well. Mostly I’ve just been hanging out on various AltRight Discord channels and talking with like minded people waiting for Summer and planning my future.
But now I’m thinking for sure my future will involve some form of public face. I’m interested more in culture than politics, but politics these days dominates culture and interacting with it is unavoidable. So I’m possibly going to do more interviews with writers. I enjoyed meeting and talking with them over the previous few months and Gab seems to be a little livelier these days than it had been in January and February.
So I think I’m going to make a little use of my background in military and European history today and put forth some of my opinions on the Syrian airbase attack as well as what it means for Trump and the AltRight. This might be a little stream of consciousness as well. Please forgive me. It’s not an in-depth analysis of anything, just a few thoughts. And really, isn’t that what a blog is about?
So first of all the attack on Syria.
It’s disappointing. I’m hurt by the fact that Trump went back on his campaign promise to not involve America in any unnecessary wars. And make no mistake about it, American involvement in a war in Syria is unnecessary. I’ve heard people on Gab talking about how we can’t let human rights violations go unpunished.
1. We’re not the world’s police. We have no moral or military obligation to “punish” anyone for anything. If you believe we do, then please go watch Black Hawk Down and tell me and the Rangers, Seals, and Deltas (and their families) what obligation we had to provide food to the people of Somalia in 1993. It’s okay, I’ll wait. Since the end of the Second World War there has been a drumbeat of politicians who want America to fight for the hearts and minds of the world via humanitarian missions. The notion that we have the responsibility to hold anyone accountable for “human rights violations” is to be polite, misguided. To be not so polite, it’s fucking absurd.
2. People have indicated that Assad did not have the chemical weapons. Here is a report from the Washington Post from 2014 indicating that Syria had turned over the last of its chemical weapons. It’s possible that it’s all bullshit. But let’s assume a leopard doesn’t change his spots. The people now on social media talking about how Obama and Kerry failed to get all the chemical weapons from Assad are the same people who lied through their teeth about there being nuclear weapons in Iraq. Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me. I don’t trust these neocons and neither should any thinking person.
I’m not sure where this will lead. But you know what? Neither does anyone not in Trump’s inner circle. Lots of people on the right are saying we’re heading for WWIII. Possibly, but let’s hold off on that hysteria for a moment. Yes I’m mad about the attack on the Syrian airbase as well. But the fact that one attack happened doesn’t mean it will escalate. Remember it took politicians in Washington to turn the Gulf of Tonkin incidents wit the USS Turner Joy and the Maddox into the Vietnam War. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail.
About Trump and the AltRight…
Richard Spender of altright.com has posted a video you should watch. He is about as close as the AltRight has to an official spokesman so we should give some weight to what he has to say. Now I don’t agree with everything he’s been posting lately, but he is influential and thus we should take him seriously. Here is the video.
I know it is tempting to jump ship on Trump. We need to preserve our values and if Trump is going to betray us why should we stick with him?
The answer is quite simple: because it’s the closest thing we have to access to power right now. If we abandon Trump now he will be overwhelmed by neocons and in addition to war in the Middle East we’ll likely never get our border wall or the immigration reform he campaigned on. And if the demographics shift any further to the multicultural side, 2020 and beyond may become unwinnable. What then? We sit in our chat rooms and share MoonMan videos, Pepes and make jokes while Bernie brings in Somalians and Pakistanis? Sorry but that smacks too much of my libertarian days where we talked about theory all the damn time but never got anywhere.
Now, I’m not suggesting we change our beliefs or cuck out and go all in like we were posting “based” “dank” memes on r/The_Donald, but we need to understand that Trump is under a hell of a lot of pressure from people who hate him, and us. Every neocon and #NeverTrumper on Twitter and Reddit is gloating about the air strikes. They’ve turned a political defeat for their side into a (hopefully temporary) victory.
Fine. We all knew Trump was a businessman and a deal maker when we got on the TrumpTrain. That’s part of how we sold him to undecided voters, remember? Indeed on the eve of his victory he promised to be a President to all Americans. Unfortunately that also includes Bill Kirstol and Rick Wilson. Lindsey Graham and John McCain are happy again. It makes my stomach turn to know they feel joy today.
They scored a victory. But we can’t let an attack turn him into their puppet.
About the AltRight…
What happens to the movement if we simply turn up our noses and take our ball and go home? The AltRight has been the center of attention for months now. At least since Hillary’s stupid speech in August. This is attention that Vdare and AmRen didn’t get in years of posting. Don’t assume that it will continue. The left hates us and wants us to go to prison or be beaten to a pulp. The TruCons hate us and want us to go away so they don’t have to distance themselves from us at cocktail parties.
The legacy media and the cucks at National Review Online would be happy if they never had to write another article about race realism or the Islamicization of Europe again.
Continuing to support Trump, for now, is about keeping the Nationalist movement, identitarians, the AltRight, or however you identify yourself, in the spotlight and making sure we have a seat at the table.
There is the possibility that with a strong Trump administration, that we can put pro-Nationalism candidates on the ballot in some places for Congress in 2018. That would give us a little more authority. But if our voices are silenced the movement is as gone as the John Birch Society.
So, conservatives today should deal with Trump with the firmness Buckley dealt with the John Birch Society in 1962.
And make no mistake that the neocons want their party back. There is no guarantee that the American right belongs to the AltRight today.
I’m upset about the Syria attack too. But I’m going to keep the faith, at least for a little while longer.
Now how much is a plane ticket to Budapest?
Bre is an interesting woman, and the first explicitly altright writer I’ve interviewed since this project began with Brett Stevens back in October. She has been making waves with her YouTube commentary, especially her video Diversity in Books, which landed her on Red Ice’s interview list. YOu can find her on YouTube and on Gab @Bre_Feacheux