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15 June 2009 @ 08:59 am
The Hoard Potato on Fanworx  
Every so often, there are grumbles about why it is, in the furry fandom, that art gets a lot of attention, while prose is largely overlooked.

It's pretty straightforward to me.

You can glance at a piece of art -- or even a thumbnail -- and tell whether or not it's worth a closer look.

On the other claw, you can't tell if a story is going be worth your time until you've already spent a significant portion of that time.

The "entry fee" is much lower for art.

This isn't just the furry fandom, either. It's part of internet culture. People make careers out of web comics, and become fairly well-known; prose fiction on the web doesn't get the same audience.

I feel: blankblank
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on June 15th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
It's part of all culture, even. I believe one of the key reasons why publishing is as corrupt as it is, without getting any commentary even from most writers is the difficulty of appreciating the written word. You can pretty quickly scan the difference between, say, painters and rock bands, and know that artistic talent in those fields is everywhere you look. But how does one compare the people who have "failed" to be successful writers against those who are successful? It's, basically, physically impossible. About 1 in 1000 novels get published, ever, but even a reasonably active reader doesn't read 1000 novels in their lifetime. Even if all these "failed" novels were archived so people could go through them, most of them would still be unread simply out of time constraints. So there's no way to create a proper critique of the publishing industry because, y'know, we simply have no idea what's being rejected and have to take their word that 1. they're qualified to decide these things and 2. they're actually doing their job competently.
Tube: announcement!toob on June 15th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
I think, though, it's also something to do with the population of the fandom. It's primarily males, and males tend to be more visually stimulated.

Plus it's males raised in an instant gratification culture, so you got yer double whammy right there.
Rikoshi Kisaragi: Writerfoxrikoshi on June 15th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
I do my best not to feel jaded by this, but sometimes it's hard not to.

I mean, yes, artists are very talented people. But when an artist spends a week on a painting that pretty much everyone in the fandom sees on FA, and which then goes for several thousand dollars in a convention art show, I feel more than a little left out that I can spend two years plus writing a novel that will never garner anywhere near that much attention and fame

On the other hand, though, I have to remind myself that, by furry fandom standards, the novel I have released has sold exceptionally well for a non-erotic fandom-created work, which is something I never, ever anticipated would happen.

So, yes, in the end, the artists aren't my competition, and I don't resent them for their craft. The people who want to read what I write will find it and read it, and to my delight, that number of people is decently high.
Bennie "Big Tig" Tigerbigtig on June 15th, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC)
I hit this thought a while ago when dealing with a fellow writer. I never knew why it bothered me and then I remember a business book I had read ages back.

It does no good to complain about things that are systemic. The specific example was programmers always complaining about insufficient requirements. The response is that customers never know their requirements in entirety. (Hint: that's why they hire programmers) And to complain about such things is a waste of time. Focus your effort on working with the system to your advantage. Recognize it's shortcomings as part of the deal.

Basically, you've chosen to be or are gifted to be a writer. Nothing you can do will change that the written word takes longer to digest than a visual image. That's how it is. Quit whining about it.

In the mean time enjoy that you have a medium that can immerse your reader, be digested at their pace, and project in their mind in ways no other media can.

Quit bitching about what can't be changed. Create!

Edited at 2009-06-15 08:41 pm (UTC)
Terminotaurterminotaur on June 15th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
I agree 100%. I've been proposing this idea for quite a few years now. It doesn't seem to gain much traction though, or at least people won't own up to it. Not that that should surprise anyone because it admits something not that flattering about the person.
Your Obedient Serpent: Yog-Sotheryathelind on June 15th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
In which Your Obedient Serpent tries not to start a flame war.
Unflattering to the audience, or to the writers?

To clarify, I was not accusing the furry audience of being lazy, as I've often heard people do.

I'll own up to it just fine; I can scan an entire page of thumbnails in less time than it takes me to read the first couple of paragraphs of a story -- so, yes, Your Obedient Serpent falls squarely into the category of Those Who Don't Read Much Online Prose Fiction. Even if I did spend hours pouring through every piece of fiction that pours through my broadband, I would still be unable to read more stories than I can look at individual pieces of art.

This isn't "laziness" or "illiteracy". It's a simple fact of neurology. Art downloads faster through the last bandwidth bottleneck that matters: the optic nerve.

If I'm going to read something longer than, say, one of The Gneech's "fictionlets", I prefer to curl up in a comfy chair.
SilverClawbfdragon on June 16th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
Re: In which Your Obedient Serpent tries not to start a flame war.
Yeah, this is something I've had to tell some of my other writing friends as well, too.

It also needs to be remembered that it's not just time.. but attention. I can be chatting with people making dinner, listening to the TV and checking my email along with browsing through that art. Reading something takes people setting aside to give your work their full attention. Just getting that from even a few people is quite a complement, in my book.
Your Obedient Serpent: big ideasathelind on June 16th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
Re: In which Your Obedient Serpent tries not to start a flame war.
Now, this is why I don't like to watch video on my computer, and prefer transcripts to podcasts. I can read non- fiction at my own pace, while multi-tasking, discussing it in other windows, and so forth. Video forces me to single-task for extended periods.

Good fiction pulls me into its world, and that conflicts with multi-tasking. Good non-fiction pulls you out into a wider world, and this encourages multi-tasking.
Terminotaur: hello?terminotaur on June 16th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
Re: In which Your Obedient Serpent tries not to start a flame war.
Umm, where did you get lazy or illiteracy out of this? The last is particularly strange when dealing with anyone finding such material online. The one thing about the internet is that is does require a fair amount of reading (though with some forums the level of that reading may be low, overall I think it gets more people reading).

Unflattering because I think people would like to think that they see an equal worth in both art forms, but one format is far more quick to assimilate and come to a conclusion of like/dislike. The "worth" of the more immediate form ends up being higher because it has successfully competed for a person's time, and I would own up to this myself.

Writing, in particular good writing for something that isn't a single scene requires a time investment by the consumer, and a certain level of faith of a good read. The writer, if plotting out a larger story must manage this attention to some degree. I think in some ways this stacks the deck against the writer. However, the end results are different in that a writer may be able to convey more ideas, and can more readily create a motion picture effect in someone's mind when not confined to panel art.
Your Obedient Serpent: facepalmathelind on June 16th, 2009 05:09 am (UTC)
Re: In which Your Obedient Serpent tries not to start a flame war.
As I said, "as I've often heard people do". I wasn't SURE which way you were going with "unflattering", so I just tried to clarify my position. Thanks for doing the same.

I try to open up dialogues in my posts, but I'm not always sufficiently articulate to pull it off. Being Socratic works better when you have Plato writing both sides. =D
Terminotaur: Cognitive Hazzardterminotaur on June 18th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
Re: In which Your Obedient Serpent tries not to start a flame war.
My fault here too in that I use a somewhat unconventional definition of things. I've been reading a lot of Dawkins stuff as of late and defining worth as a function of successful competition for mental resources (i.e. meme survival/spread), well, its not going to fit with the concepts others have for these words.
Tombfyretombfyre on June 16th, 2009 01:34 am (UTC)
Yep, its always been a fairly obvious thing to me as well. ^^ Art takes time and effort to read, while looking at art is next to instant.
A.R.M.: Mondriankinkyturtle on June 16th, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)
Exactly. Plus, poor writing can BORE me in a way that poor art can't. And it can sour me a lot easier. All the talentless artists I've looked at haven't dimmed my enthusiasm for furry art, but just a few poorly written stories can make me look at my new-submissions list on FA and think, "Oh crud, not another damn *story*..."

In fact, this reminds me of something I've noticed with mediocre furry stories: I can usually skip most of the first few paragraphs and not miss out on anything, because they usually take too long trying to establish setting. Have you noticed that?
A.R.M.: Glazorthiankinkyturtle on June 16th, 2009 11:15 am (UTC)
Also, a possible exception: SF fandom. My hypothesis: Science fiction ideas may be best explored in writing, so SF fans are more willing than any other group to make the effort to read.
Hafochafoc on June 16th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, but although i often wish I couldn't write, it is what I can do. It is all I can do.