I think Goodreads is an amazing site, but I don’t participate in the forums.
I used to love forums until they became heavily trafficked by moderators. Which is fine, but they can be mean and power-hungry and I’m sensitive and having to read an introductory post on how to participate and what is and isn’t allowed in an online forum kind of takes the “casual-ness” out of the whole thing. The honor code doesn’t exist anymore for popular forums. I suppose there’s always 4chan, but as far as I know, there’s no honor there.
I used to participate in the Smashboards forums, but the mods were notoriously strict, and let’s face it; the internet has become way more jerkier since the millennium. The know-it-alls, snooty knowledge-slingers and trolls far outnumber the genuine people there just to share information and help others out. It’s just not as fun as the 90s.
So I lurk.
Just last week, a Facebook group I was a member of called out all the lurkers for not being more active in the group, and said maybe the group wasn’t for us. A sweet girl tried to stand up for us introverts, bless her, addressing our ninja mentality of striking when the time is right. But the group leader didn’t seem to approve.
So I left.
(The ninja code of honor is strong.)
Time for another Indie Immersion! This time it’s The Exiles by E. Leo Foster. It’s a short novel, about 140 pages, but this one seemed to capture exactly what I was looking for in an indie book: something different and uniquely creative without reading like a high school writing assignment. Ever read “Shoplifting from American Apparel” by Tao Lin? I really wanted to like that one, but I found it a very dry read with very little reader connection. The pacing flowed like a robot chanting an abstract grocery list.
For some reason, after reading the book blurb for The Exiles, I expected to read about a society of lawless vagrants who lived on the outskirts of town in a secret location like the Court of Miracles in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. You don’t encounter this; instead, it focuses on one family in particular, and they aren’t even hiding from the world; just hiding secrets. Obviously the title is meant to be metaphoric.
Two main things that stood out to me.
A. The author created characters I didn’t really like, but could still connect with through human emotion. And I believe that’s a great skill.
B. I absolutely loved the smart style of storytelling he chose to use; the choppy flow of the short chapters that led into flashbacks building up to interesting reveals, and the witty, somewhat philosophical lines of #TruthTrebles sprinkled about that blended seamlessly with the storyline. This is a book that makes you think. So much so, that it prompted me to leave an Amazon review, which I can only do if I’m actually impressed or mentally impacted.
Doesn’t look like he used an editor; I came across some typos and grammatical incorrections (yes, I make up words that kind of make sense), but hey, I didn’t hire an editor either, and they weren’t littered throughout to take away from the overall story for me. Real readers aren’t picky. This one’s a winner. Cue the Super Mario RPG battle win music.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a subway poem in a tweet that I never forgot:
All this space…
Why are you so close to me?
Why are you so close to me?
I visualized it making it to one of the Poetry In Motion billboards on the train, so that riders who were unknowingly committing this crime would see it, magically be enlightened, and correct the offending behavior. Ahh, those New York dreams…
Immersion. It conjures up the memory of that first dive into the calm of Jolly Roger Bay in Super Mario 64 where the music immediately switches to a deeper, still soothing tempo as you descend into blissful underwater exploration…like diving into a memorable story, yah?
Extending exploration from the gaming world to the writing world, it’s not an Indie Author Journey unless you’re supporting other indies! So I randomly searched Twitter, discovered author Chris Stevens, and took a dive into “I’m Feelin That! Stories of Love, Life and Lessons Learned.” I’m not usually one to read short stories by choice, but the cultural aspect, I could connect with. It’s very straight-forward writing making use of slang vernacular, with different POVs to switch things up for a varied range of content. What I liked the most: reading about lifestyles that differ from my own. Story that stuck with me the most? Brothers In Arms.