Author Review: Psycho Gecko

This is a little different idea from other reviews (and for all I know will get deleted or something if found to be inappropriate). I know people review sites and stories, but I would like anyone who has read me to critique me regarding what you feel are my strengths, weaknesses, and quirks as a writer. I've become aware of a weakness in my communications skills that I believe are reflected in writing, and I thought it'd be handy to collect more data on the subject.


I don't just mean my serial and/or short stories, but even commentary. Heck, even if we've just had a debate and/or argument online, criticism would still be helpful. If it comes down to it, no arguments please. This isn't about starting a fight.


Just put down what you think and help me out.


I don't really know if this is helpful, because there's no context about what exactly you would like help with, but I can tell you something from having seen your comments on Legion of Nothing, then Worm, and having read a few chapters of your story. I've had peripheral exposure to your stylings for years without interacting with each other directly.


You are a tangential thinker with rapid-fire delivery, and a tendency to making non-sequiturs and unexpected allusions. Sometimes I figure out what you're referring to, and a lot of the time it's too obscure for me or there aren't enough contextual clues to figure it out.


I often find you funny, and I often find you vulgar, and sometimes both at once. I have never had an issue with either. I stopped reading World Domination in Retrospect because the rapid flow makes my brain tired - organizing everything you're saying into an integrated understanding takes effort. I have the same problem to different degrees with The Sound and the Fury, the Inheritors and James Joyce.


My experience as a reader and an English major, and exposure to cognitive linguistics, leads me to believe we write similarly to how we think. I like more structure and order in my thinking, so I get lost trying to follow you for too long. Short doses are best for me. Other people's mileage will vary.


The funny thing is that I probably could free associate and reference as fast, but other people around me couldn't keep up effectively. I have autism but am also very high functioning, so I learned to structure my communication to suit audiences, whether verbal or written. You're unapologetically yourself, which I admire. However, it is not always easy. Hope something I said might be relevant or helpful.


The word that comes to mind when I think "Psycho Gecko" is, well... "inconsequential". You know, barely worth talking about. If he were to ask what people thought of him, most people would say, "Who?" And the few who did recognize the name might well ask, "Why are we talking about that guy. What can anyone possibly say about him? Here, let's talk about the use of the semi-colon in dentistry instead."


Wait, what were we talking about?


Just got a note suggesting my previous post might not have been as transparently a joke as I intended, so to clarify, that was meant as a joke in the Psycho Gecko style.


PG: I haven't read your fiction, so can't really comment on it, but I often find your humour here quite amusing. I was hoping my attempt at an homage might make you smile. :)


Chris


PG, we've talked in the brennus chatroom some. It seems to me that you're going through a rough time, and it strikes a lot of chords in me because it reminds me of where I was at, in large part, before I found my stride in things - frustrated, giving a serious shot at something and feeling like you're getting nothing for your efforts, even though society has gone out of its way to teach us that effort should merit reward. To write for an extended period of time and feel like your audience isn't growing and you're making no headway. I'm inclined to suspect that your asking this question here is an attempt at unraveling the riddle or figuring out where you're going wrong, based on what you've said in the past.


You mentioned 'even if we've recently had a fight...' and I was on the other side of the people that were arguing with you the other night, just this past week. With that kept in mind, I do want to say I think you're a very intelligent individual, who has a hard time conveying what's going on in your head to the people around you. This extends both to arguments and to certain points in your writing.


In terms of where you're struggling, and I'm saying this based on what others have shared and in terms of what I've read of your serial - I think you ran into the same issues 90% of us do (myself included) and struggled to find your stride for the start of your serial. Many serials, even acclaimed ones on WFG (and mine) run into this. I think you've then run into trouble with connecting with your audience. You move too fast and/or you go off on a tangent, and then you lose people, as Gavin said. It makes for a harder horse to climb atop and a sometimes hard horse to stay atop.


This isn't to say the work itself is bad, but there's a skill to be learned here in grounding things to touch base with the audience and remind them what is going on and, more importantly, why it's going on. Why does X matter to the audience? Coming at things from left field (which you're very good at) is a good thing when the audience is engaged and on board, but when they're already having trouble keeping up with the metaphorical horse they're on, that stuff can knock them from their unsteady seat on the saddle.


I don't know if you've been applying it, but foreshadowing will give them a heads up that X is coming, or at least tell them 'you ~could~ have seen that coming' after they get smacked in the head with it, so they don't think 'well, if I stopped I wouldn't have to get blindsided/smacked anymore'.


The tricky thing is that, in tending to this triangle that involves the author at one point, the text at another, and the audience at a third, it can be difficult to figure out how to unravel the audience's end of things when you don't have a strong core audience, yet when you can't unravel it, you can have trouble getting audience. The only thing you can do is what authors have done for generations - extrapolate from the feedback you do get, experiment, and write mindfully with the intent of helping your audience stay comfortably atop the horse.


@PG What I've seen in your writing is intelligence humor, and a tendency to not be worried about offending people if it will make the joke work.


With regards to your serial, there were points I remember being confused early on at points (combat occasionally), but you're better now. It's been a while since I've seen anything where I'm not sure what's going on. One thing that you might consider is the fact that you are getting better, and organize your site such that people start with strong material, and the less strong is optional. That would involve a certain amount of work though. That or you could deliberately edit earlier sections of your work to bring them up to your current skill level.


For years you were the worst thing about visiting Worm. Your commentary often felt like try-too-hard comedy, back then. These days your posts around the WFG seem to be much more on-point and focused, without trying to inject inappropriate humor. As near as I can tell, you've improved your online presentation-of-self a lot, and I think you've grown into a valued contributor to these forums.


So, as near as I can tell, you've improved a lot?


I'd been thinking of reading your serial soon, and doing a review on it. I think I'll prioritize that, and then hopefully my commentary can be more grounded than being the product of three-years-ago forum commentary. :)


So i'm t reality check 4, btw just to give you an idea of where I am coming from.


Anyway, I think you're funny. Your jokes hit more than they miss, and I find myself wincing while chuckling alot. You don't seem to have any filters whatsoever, which may make your work hard to stomach for some people, and also makes the writing itself seem VERY adhd. I get that this is the character, and personally I love it, but it seems like many readers are going to be left bewildered and confused. Anyway that's my two cents. I'm still laughing at that no fly list joke in chapter one though. That one got me really good.


Well, I have finally faced the music. Some good ideas there. Definitely aware of the weaknesses of the beginning of the serial. I think someone around here had a good term for it in a review: "Beginner's beginning". I'd like to go back and fix that, but that's one of the things I haven't gotten around to.


Also, should probably add some reminders. "On the last exciting episode of Geckoball Z" and so on. Or at least a bit every month or two (or three).


I guess I never thought of myself as rapid-fire. In retrospect, that could be partially because the serial moves in real time. Definitely knew about the stream-of-thought part. In one case, that was deliberate, but that's another thing to work on.


Still, this was about feedback, not defense. Thanks for helping out.


No problem. One question though, were you in any way inspired by the joker or dead pool?


Definitely inspired by the Joker. I'm not sure how much Deadpool I was exposed to before everything, and he's the one I'm most often compared to, but the Joker was the bigger and clearer inspiration of the two. With people comparing me to Deadpool, though, I have limited what I read of him so there's no accidental plagiarism.


Doesn't limiting your knowledge increase the chance of plagiarism? You know, 'cause you don't know what's been done?


I'm not confident enough in my cognitive capacity to offer in-depth analysis on your personality via scrapbook collections of writings and peripheral connections. To offer a functional break-down of strength and weaknesses would be a long-running and time-consuming task (surely you're worth the time, it's merely that the effort involved is significant).


Very well. Please, lie down on the virtual couch; what's your relationship with your parents? Aha? Go on. I may need to insert an electrode or two.

--


A scatter plot of humor fired from a joke-shotgun (using some kind of "fun"-nition) probably has a pattern and even an underlying logic that's entirely reasonable from your end, but from the other side all we really get to see is the impact scaring. It's still fun! It's just that, well, there's an illusion of transparency where things that are patently obvious to you is less patently obvious to others. The problem with being funny, rapid-fire and slightly free-wheeling when communicating is that without access to the underlying thought process a lot less is revealed than perhaps intended.


Then you get the medium of text which removes tone and timbre and all the little facial tics and suddenly the sheer array of potential possible meanings start getting out of hand. Stream of consciousness can totally work! And I think yours does in 99% of cases (but then my sources are a) worm, b) this forum, c) your web serial, so how much is that even?! It's like I don't even know you anymore!)


I think the best possible advice is that if you add 1-2 extra sentences that explain things occassionally, or add stuff that seems like needless filler then you're good. Shorten the distances to jump from conclusion to conclusion, I guess? I get it can be exceptionally aggravating to add what seems like dead-air, or as if it slows things down too much to take time out to explain what is even happening. Sometimes it's neccessary though because the rest of us don't live inside your head and so can't follow at the same rapid pace.


The reason yu get compared to Deadpool rather than the Joker is because the Joker is a lot blander on the inside compared to Deadpool. Deadpool does his randomness just because, Joker keeps to a theme like all Batman's rogues.


Also, Deadpool is more athletic, not like Joker who is fragile and relies heavily on tricks, henchmen and toys.


Yea the regeneration doesn't hurt also