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Re: CF campaigns by unknown, foreign names?

Posted: March 29th, 2015, 12:27 pm
by polymath
Regardless of language, readers approve of and are attracted to inevitable surprises, features that are inevitable and surprising. Successful debut writers and narratives from abroad, again, regardless of native country, appeal to native and foreigner alike through those inevitable surprises.

The Internet and online print publication manufacturers and digital publishing services have flooded the market with mediocre and vanity and daydream fiction writing. Competition for a limited audience and discretionary spending are fierce, more fierce than ever. Also, a perception persists that creative writing is a simple matter of stringing words out on a page into some semblance of a plot order is all there is to successful publication. Grammar, style, rhetoric, content, organization, craft, expression, voice, discourse, and audience appeal work together in a symphonic synergy for successful narratives. Yet the overwhelming majority of narratives are bland and lackluster mediocrity in all those regards.

A writer and writing appeal through exotic-to-readers familiarity. A common lament about U.S. writing in general is writers with rich and unique cultural heritages and dialects polish and water down their writing to appeal to readers who purportedly expect the Standard Written English of to-familiar formal composition. Little can be farther from the truth. Prose readers delight in understandable yet exotic regional idioms and dialects. Though some writers likewise overshoot the mark.

A writer writing for a domestic or an abroad audience or both must bracket the target of exotic and familiar expression and compose a fresh, vivid, and lively narrative, again, full of inevitable surprises.

These inevitable surprises and exotic and familiar features are akin to "tough love," a catch-22, a cognitive dissonance, a double bind, a verbal irony, each a paradox and, meaning-wise, at opposite ends internally and externally. The opposite ends seem impossibly irreconcilable; however, rather than at cross causes, they are congruent to each other. An example. you are Bulgarian. Bulgarian readers might not notice native regional idioms and dialects. If they do, the writing may excite patriotic approval or shame or both. Foreign readers will thrill to both, not for approval or common cause or approbation purposes, for the portrait of unique and stimulating, sincere and authentic Bulgarian lives that are possible.

I sampled the novel and the promotion materials. My impression is the language tries too hard to be "Western," U.S. English certainly; the prose likewise forces the drama. Forceful writing is writing with emphasis; however, emphasis pales from repetition abundance. A dramatic opening need not be gristle and gore; actually, such an opening is often unappealing, if not alienating. And that raises the first issue of note: Readers want to empathize or sympathize with a focal character. They want to care about someone who shares their human value system and then be curious and encourage what will happen to the character. Those are matters of tension. Craft-wise, the novel opening blasts into a dramatic situation before readers are comfortably settled about whether they like and care for and trust and are curious about Dryshone. He's a stranger and, worse, a violent foreigner.

Frankly, I feel the novel opens at an unsuitable time, place, and situation. A suitable opening circumstance would show Dryshone as noble with an ignoble side. Noble to mean self-sacrificing and ignoble to mean self-serving. However, a most satisfying narrative portrays an individual as the cause of her or his own problems and who then contentiously satisfies them. The character is fully and proactively self-involved in causing and experiencing all the action, even in failures and moral vices; is human, in other words

Something as simple as a routine courtesy extended to someone else, deserving or needful or not, works large tension's empathy and curiosity magic. Of course, to be dramatic, the courtesy should also cause hardship and antagonize the character interminably, and thus compel the characters to unequivocally act passionately. And the courtesy should also be somewhat self-serving. In other words, the courtesy should be at odds internally and externally to both characters. An epic law of narrative, by the way, is place characters in passionate contention. A single character exploring a field of battle's aftermath is in no contention with another equally contentious person. He contemplates his navel.

Say a man opens a door for a woman. The man's courtesy overtly is polite. Covertly, he uses the courtesy to break the ice with the woman, who he has a love interest in, though she is a stranger to him. She politely, or not, accepts the courtesy, though is wary and suspicious of the man's intent. She's been through this door or the like many times before.

Most important about that scenario is the man and woman share in a dramatic event. Event scenarios are the more important of the three narrative existents: event, setting, and characters. Dramatic events develop characters' characterization and settings' characterization through each's influence upon each other. Note that the door is all the setting development needed. The character development derives from the man's lustful eagerness and the woman's wariness and within a customary courtesy ritual -- at odds and surprising and inevitable and strange and familiar and a dramatically complicated event.

That above is a simplistic example. It is a basic template for about any kind of dramatic one-on-one social or antisocial, even violent, interaction and certainly prose's basic portrait of both internal and external dramatic conflict. It is both contending passionate clash and courteous cooperation. Give a character a private want, goal, desire, objective and throw all natural and necessary hardship in the way of satisfying the want. Or, conversely, give a character a problem and throw all natural and necessary hardship in the way of satisfying the problem. Wants and problems are crucial; and a narrative of any length, genre, form, or expression must have one central want and problem complication to satisfy by the end.

I noted a few translation errors, too, in the sample and the promotional material. Of note are missing words, articles and particles; issues with verb tense and number agreement, and diction and syntax concerns. "Spend," for example, is a present tense verb. The context requires the past tense "spent."

In short and in all, the issues are not that English readers are less inclined to support a foreigner's narrative project: the product competes in a crowded field and does not recommend itself to attention above an abundant host of mediocrity clamoring for equal and likewise preeminence's demanded attention.