Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Targeting a Readership Part 8: Anne Pinzow Guest Post Machiavelli and the Internet by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Targeting a Readership Part 8: Anne Pinzow Guest Post Machiavelli and the Internet by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Here are previous posts in this series:

Targeting Readership Part 1 is:

Part 2 is inside this post:

Part 3 is inside and woven into the following post in my Astrology Just For Writers series which by mistake has the same number as the previous part but is really Part 7:


Targeting a Readership Part 4 is:

Targeting a Readership Part 5 is:

Targeting a Readership Part 6 is:

Targeting a Readership Part 7 is:
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2013/04/targeting-readership-part-7-guest-post.html  A guest post by Valerie Valdes on use of setting

Over the last few weeks, I've been kicking around some topics with Anne Pinzow, a Journalist by profession who likes the same kinds of fiction I do. 

Many of those topics center around trying to define the core essence of the shift in content, Theme (as I've discussed extensively on this blog), and focus of current TV  fiction, movies, and even fanfic. 

Another set of topics center around analyzing the financial markets, international affairs, local politics, and other elements of the reality our target readers are embedded within.

Anne thinks pretty much the same way I do, but most often comes to different conclusions using the same input and the same thinking methods.  This makes her a fabulous sounding board for ideas, and a never-ending source of enlightenment.

It's not surprising.  We were trained by the same book editor and agent.  We think of fiction in very similar commercial terms.

So recently I was explaining my take on the effect of the U.S. Fed's printing way too much money being ratcheting up of inflation.  Additionally we were also kicking around the behavior of politicians which we agreed hasn't changed much in our lifetimes: they use many methods to avoid conveying the truth to their constituents.

Both of these ongoing conversations with Anne were in progress during the days that I was reading the latest novel of Darkover -- now that Deborah J. Ross has taken over continuing the series. 

That is The Children of Kings. 

Side note, Marion really hated having the word "The" at the beginning of a book title, but her submission titles were often changed and a The inserted. 

Ross has captured a lot of the "feel" of Marion's vision of Darkover in this volume, so I think it's worth reading if you've read the other novels.

The Children of Kings is about two heirs to different titled positions on Darkover and a woman who is forging a new path, plus another woman from the Drytowns who wears the chains of a Drytown woman but doesn't link them to her wrists.  It could qualify as a Romance but no sex scenes -- it ends with a marriage proposal, too.

In all cases, the characters make their decisions and take their actions based on their own ideas of what constitutes the honorable path.  No effort or risk is avoided to act in the most honorable way possible.  That kind of behavior distinguishes Darkover culture from the goings-on in the surrounding galactic civilization which is in the midst of a civil war, and possibly an irretrievable breakup.

In other words, the galaxy that Darkover is living in pretty much resembles our world today -- eerie coincidence.

The novel gives the reader a great deal of food for thought on the matter of what Honor has to do with Adulthood.

So with that as a backdrop, I was talking to Anne via chat, and kicking around both current events and the TV shows we had in common.

And recently, Anne sent me the following contrast/compare commentary that I want to share with you as another example of how a professional writer thinks, how a professional writer observes the world around them, and how a professional writer with honor can acknowledge when someone else has nailed a point worth considering. 

------------Quote From Anne Pinzow---------------
So, last week my Cablevision bill jumped $6 and that pissed me off so I called and at first they were telling me that I was paying for the least expensive package that carried the channels I watch. So I said I'd get rid of the "optimum online" aspect of the whole thing because I'd still get the channels and I could still catch up on missed shows online.

All of a sudden I got switched to another customer assistant and they told me that if I switched to the Silver service (which is $20 less than what I was paying) I'd not only get to keep the optima online but I'd get most of the movie premium channels, HB0, Showtime, STARZ, etc. It's all included now, they said.

That's how I ended up watching a Showtime series that started about two years ago called The Borgia about the reign, so to speak, of Pope Alexander the VI, the father of Lucretia Borgia. If you remember, that period has always been of interest to me.

So, there's a scene, actually several of them, where Machiavelli, known for the philosophy of the end justifying the means is advising one of the characters about how to treat a particular situation. The instance that really struck me for the purpose of this email is one character was being tortured in order to force him to confess to heresy. They tried everything and the guy wouldn't do it. He was very near death and still would not sign. So the boss of the torturer signed the confession with the man's name and killed the witnesses. Now he's got the signed confession that everyone wants and the prisoner gets burned at the stake, a nice entertainment for the kiddies.

Keep the above in mind.

So today I'm doing interviewing this man for a story and he tells me that his great uncle was Marty Maher. Well I don't know if you know who this guy was but he was very well known in this area as being a very colorful character and having had worked at West Point for 55 years. There was a book written about him called "Bringing up the Brass" and a movie staring Tyrone Power, called "The Long Gray Line."

I loved that movie, made in the 1955 and so I got it and was watching it. There's the scene where a cadet had gone slightly off limits because of worry about his girlfriend. No one knew about it except Maher who was not "an informer". So then Maher sees that the cadet is walking punishment tours and later is astonished to learn that even though the cadet only broke a rule walking by about 20 feet away from the main gate and "got away with it," that he turned himself in. "Well that's the honor system."

Fifty's movie glorifies honor.
2013 TV series glorifies, well, Machiavelli and the uselessness of honor.

You're point, right there.

----------------------- END QUOTE------------------

So there you have it, a perfect description of the audience you must Target if you want to sell to these premium Cable networks, and the financial pressures that targeted readership labors under.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed THE CHILDREN OF KINGS very much. It does seem to me to have more of the Darkover "feel" than some of the other posthumous novels.