Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Fall of the Dictatorship

By Kathryn Loch
Part 2 article series Good Story and the Lie


Greetings gentle reader! To those who have returned, I thank you for your patience and bravery. Once again, I ask all to make sure sense of humor is firmly in tow - remember no extra charge for her! Keep your hands and arms inside blog at all times and....here we go!

As much as I want to bring in the Star Wars ties here and have fun with that, I find myself thinking of Hugo Chavez and his dictatorship instead. At times, I wondered if he was really crazy or crazy like a fox. The insane little man held power over a tiny country that no one would notice in relation to world economy if it hadn’t been for one thing.

Oil.

Chavez had his finger on something everyone wanted, and that made him a popular guy, a crazy guy with power and money, but he was the Rodney Dangerfield of wanna-be world leaders. He had no respect.

Crazy dictators worry more practical world leaders because they are unpredictable. Chavez didn’t scare many people but he could terrify the shit out the speculators. If he blinked funny, they screamed and panicked, and the price of oil shot through the roof. Fortunately Chavez's motivations were pretty obvious. He wanted to respect on the world stage as someone with power, and he hated the USA. But crazy little guys delusions of granduer and a little bit of power - enough that it goes to their head - can be unpredictable no matter what anyone does.

If Chavez wanted to show how well he could flex his muscle, he did and directed it at the speculators. They would scream and run as if Freddy Krueger was after them. Gas prices shot through the roof and the Joe or Joette Consumer ( you and I) were the ones paying for it.

The giant publishing industry with all the money and all the power started going a bit mad because industry believed their own lies. They were Chavez, but with the respect. Respect because there's some big money behind that Goliath. But the consumer stayed in the dark, they never saw the stories the Industry marketability litmus test sent to rejection, those stories gathered unnoticed in the dungeon right next to our imprisoned hero...his name...Good Story.

The industry had the product and granted it to the reader like a blessing from on high. This is a good story, industry told the readers. We have a hero you see, his name is Good Story. Unfortunately, the reader had no idea of his fate. They did not realize he was the man in the iron mask, imprisoned in a dark cell where no one would find him,  and the impersonator who wore his clothes, who fooled everyone was named Marketability. Marketability was the evil twin in power now.

The reader may enjoy the story they read, but that does not mean it is a good story. A reader knows good story when they read it. They spot it the minute they get lost in the world, and the characters become personal. They root for them, they cheer, they cry right along with them. They become so entwined with their beloved characters it is as if they have made new friends.

Sometimes readers continue to find that good story. Despite Marketabilities power, they know identify Good Story and they love it, they buy everything by that author hoping for more. Most authors deliver. In my personal experience as a reader when an author doesn't deliver with a Good Story, I feel downright betrayed. I'm upset and angry.

Our imprisoned hero, Good Story, is not dead. Sometimes, he manages to reach a finger through the bars now and then. There were and are writers who know how to find him and free him for a few precious moments. They put Good Story into their books and when a reader found him, Good Story gained fresh air and a bit of precious freedom again. That’s the only thing that kept him from dying in that black hole where he was trapped for so many years. Thanks to those determined writers who knew where he was, and worked so diligently to free him, readers celebrated these stories and breathed life back into the dying Good Story.

But the reader reads what they have, they don’t know about the evil twin, Marketability, as he strengthens the lie. Readers do know that it can be very difficult to get published and they believe it’s because the standard the publishing industry demands new writers achieve. They have to write a Good Story. Unfortunately, the truth just breaks our imprisoned hero’s heart, because he knows it's not true.

When a trusted author disappoints and doesn't deliver a good story, the reader feels betrayed. So, what do they feel when they learn they were sold books that were often less than the Good Story they were promised. As I said before, many who carried Good Story within them, made it through but there were many that were less than promised. These stories passed gates because they were marketable, not because they were good. I know how I would feel as I reader. I don't get mad, I don’t get even, I make my displeasure known like any other consumer. With my feet, departing as quickly as possible, and my wallet coming right along with me. We proceed elsewhere and my dollar finds its voice.

To be continued - Stay tuned!

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