46 Comments

I have a particular appreciation for this: "We are bringing back the paragraph."

Expand full comment
author

It’s a simple point, but an important once. As a noted paragraph purveyor I thought you might appreciate it.

Expand full comment
Jan 15, 2023Liked by Thomas J Bevan

Absolutely! I loved that bit so much!

Expand full comment
author

Thanks Deepansh

Expand full comment

Well, this completely buggers up my latest contribution to the world's literary canon, that I was just putting the finishing touches to when this popped up:

10 reasons to subscribe to STSC

1. Read on: you won't believe what happens next.

2. Hear what our writers have to say about the hot topics of the day.

3. All articles bolstered by copious quotations.

4. Only the finest nonfiction (none of that touchy-feely poetry stuff, or fiction written by people who don't have the requisite lived experience to write what they've written about).

5 All articles based on a starter 'written' by ChatGPT.

etc

Oh well.

Expand full comment
author

Hahaha. Might take a fair bit of editing to fix that. Hahaha.

Expand full comment

I love every word of this.

Love the last bit you included about breaking the rules artfully. I should’ve read all the way til the end before commenting on it in Discord...

Expand full comment
author

Haha.

‘You have to learn the rules before you can break them.’

Expand full comment

"The money goes back in." 🔥

I'm trying to embody this principle for my own work. While I believe the artist should indeed be paid, there is desire to make art for arts sake and not for bottom line.

My next day job will be systematically used to finance my future projects a la John Cassavetes, Melvin Van Peebles, or Orson Welles. There is a sense of freedom in this approach.

This is a brilliant approach for the STSC. Well done, Tom! This all inspires me to get back into the writing chair.

Expand full comment
author

John Cassavetes is a good touchstone here- did gigs for pay when he had to (the episode of Columbo he was in is fantastic) but all of that was to fund and fuel his own idiosyncratic artistic vision for his own work. An inspirational figure.

Expand full comment

Kudos. It feels like I have found the opening, perhaps a little door to a small cabin, that I have been looking for all these years. I knew it existed, or could exist, and nothing ever materialized. This, this could be or become it. Once inside the little cabin a great hall appears, with many other doors - waiting to be opened by all of us. And beyond those, other doors. Glad to be part of this!

Expand full comment
author

This is exactly what I as an individual have been looking for for years. I couldn’t find it. So I had to assemble a group and make it. Glad to have you with us Minna.

Expand full comment

I love this so much it made me forget I was part of it, and I wanted to join all over again.

Expand full comment
author

I think that’s a great measure of its effectiveness. Looks like this piece passed the test.

Expand full comment

This is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, and something every Substack writer should be studying. I want more!

I also want to join the anointed as a paid subscriber, but I can't figure out how to change my status! How hard could it be? Damn!

Expand full comment
author

Paid subs for this substack will be turned on in a weeks time. Trying to build a little buzz and finalise the price etc so everything is perfect for when we really get going.

Thanks Ramona.

Expand full comment

All right, thanks. I'll be waiting for that email!

Expand full comment
author

🙏

Expand full comment
founding

Bravo Sir!

Expand full comment
author

Thanks, Jeanne. Now you know why I’ve been absent from the group the past few days!

Expand full comment
Jan 24, 2023·edited Jan 24, 2023Liked by Thomas J Bevan

Tom, I would say that for a long time I've been on board with everything you've articulated, and I have bemoaned / griped (sometimes privately, sometimes publicly) the sad state of affairs, namely how so much content (which by the way is a good word because it merely fills a space) is indistinguishable, one piece from another, and how there's so many hot-new-thing articles when a hot new thing first appears in the firmament, even if it’s just a hot new dust particle, that if you printed them all out you could cliché-stack them to the moon, and the disrespect (that’s how I see it anyway) with which readers are treated due to rules that say sentences must never exceed 12 words by god or otherwise readers will collapse in a state of mental exhaustion from the effort, i.e. the lowest common denominator thing.

I find your viewpoints not only refreshing, but a necessary step. Many say you must write what the reader wants. I say write in a way that challenges the reader to realize that not all of their desires have yet been articulated. That is to say, there may be (and certainly not for all readers) something they find useful, important, enlightening, or enjoyable that they simply haven’t encountered yet. I appreciate authors that are willing to take that chance.

Still, as a writer of unusual fiction, I’m unclear how the collective actually operates, what it might do for me, or how I could contribute to the collective. I support you in spirit absolutely, and perhaps could financially as well, but I’m unsure what being a member of the collective actually means, actually involves. I read a lot of work, work that I find here on Substack, here specifically on The Soaring Twenties, and elsewhere such as other sites and printed books. Most everything inspires me, teaches me, one way or another, and of course to greater or lesser extents.

As a member, how would things be different? When I lived in the big city stateside, I was a regular member of a group that met in person, and I enjoyed it quite a bit, but now I live a long way from anywhere and I find online interactional experiences to be less helpful. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s the people person loner in me, maybe some of both.

Thanks for the article and for reading. I know you advocate for the long form; I hope that includes comments, too.

Expand full comment
author

I’m leaving this as a placeholder for an actual in depth reply as I am away visiting family right now, but I wanted to say this comment was a delight to read and I’ll give it the response it deserves as soon as I can. Thanks.

Expand full comment
author

I’m back now to give this a proper reply, Victor. First of all the opening paragraph made me laugh out loud with how it perfectly captured the frustration and pure bafflement at the inanity of so much of the current situation when it comes to the state of so much online writing today.

Secondly, to your next point, there must be risk and challenge involved with writing. Just giving the audience what they want (or rather what they have been told that they think that they should want) is quite clearly a recipe for disaster as far as I can see. Surely, it will just lead to a copy of a copy of a copy, growing ever fainter and less interesting. And is this not in many ways what we are seeing so much of today and what leads so many of us (myself included) to gripe and rant.

Okay. Now- finally- to the main question of your comment here.

The way the collective works is that we all gather in our discord community (which you gain access to when you become a premium member of my substack) and as well as helping each other with our respective creative work and offering feedback and such, we all collaborate on shared pieces that are put out via this substack and elsewhere.

The idea is that I want this to be a platform that everyone can share in the benefit of. As well as being able to gain a wider readership for each individual, members can focus on the work itself knowing that the STSC name will help with the promotional side, especially as it grown over time.

You can think of us as a mixture between a salon, a workshop and a bootstrapped literary magazine/publishing house, we are in the early stages but this is the vision.

But the best way to explain all of this is for you to see for yourself, so if you are intrigued send me an email at tjb_writer@protonmail.com and I will give you a months free access to the group so you can experience it from the inside.

(After this it costs $8/mo which is the money that I personally live on. All donations and signups that *the group* gets go towards funding our creative endeavours).

I hope that goes some way towards answering your questions.

Thanks for taking the time for sending that initial ‘long form’ comment and thanks for being patient while I got around to giving you a proper reply.

Cheers.

Tom.

Expand full comment

Tom, many thanks for clarification, appreciate it. It's nice to find people that have shared sensibilities regarding the approach to writing.

Allow me to state up front that collaboration is not something I seek, not in the sense of multiple people penning a piece, that is. Other ways of collaborating such as sharing ideas can work, although I do prefer to execute my own ideas. But of course it does depend on the shared idea.

It would be dishonest of me to say that I'm not interested in the promotional aspect. Things are happening organically for me, but like most of us, I'd like to have more people on the journey.

And as you say, the best way is to see for myself. Let me mull that around a bit, please. I find Discord less than optimal for me (text exchange platforms in general, I love in person or at least zoom), but I am open to trying new things.

Many thanks again Tom. I appreciate you taking the time to answer.

All the best, Victor David

Expand full comment
founding
Jan 16, 2023Liked by Thomas J Bevan

Onwards.

Expand full comment
author

And upwards.

Expand full comment
Jan 15, 2023Liked by Thomas J Bevan

You had me going with each passing paragraph and at the last you had me gone. 2022, we saw the STSCeeds planted; 2023, we see them break soil and bloom.

Expand full comment
author

Perfectly said. This is exactly how it is and how it will be.

Expand full comment

I like this approach. It’s like the antidote to the horrible trend of clickbait via Twitter threads leading to Substack listicles.

Expand full comment
author

If we can be a small part in destroying that pipeline/system, we will have done some good in the world.

Expand full comment

Love this ethos. I’ve just come across this guy but felt compelled to leave it here as it feels like art in its purest form and captures the spirit of what you’re about. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=s_nc1IVoMxc

Expand full comment

Here for it.

Expand full comment
author

🥂

Expand full comment

Love this! Yes, let us escape the "walled garden of the eternal present"!

Expand full comment

What a beautiful piece of writing as well as an inspiration for staying the course! I have gotten involved in so many projects that I rarely have time to read much here. Now I’m hooked-again. Carry on!

Expand full comment
author

Thanks Stephanie! Staying the course is the name of the game.

Expand full comment