Max Bartlett is creating Intelligent Genre Fiction
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If you've ever taken a writing course or tried to publish a piece of writing, you've seen this: "No Genre Fiction." No genre fiction. None. If your story is about a robot wizard and a ghost detective investigating a steampunk murder, we don't want it.  And for good reason. That sounds terrible (and has the word "steampunk" in it). Much of the genre fiction world, be it fantasy, sf, or mystery borrows from early 20th-century pulp traditions, when the goal wasn't to create incredible worlds or explore strange ideas, it was to sell crystal radio kits and x-ray specs.  And so the divide is born: literary fiction develops characters, examines deep themes, and captures the human experience. Genre fiction hits orcs with axes and spends too many pages describing the mechanics of ray guns.  No wonder no respectable publisher wants to touch it.

But... that's not quite right, is it? Genre fiction has a reach that traditional literature has never managed. It reaches minds across the globe, sparks imaginations, and transports the reader to places a first-class ticket and a week's paid leave can never get them. Great genre fiction transcends escapism, holding a mirror up to the world and forcing the reader to confront their reality by inviting them into another reality. And sure, that mirror might make them look a little like an elven bard, but maybe we all need a little swashbuckling adventure in our lives.

So why should literary fiction have a monopoly on well-developed characters, interesting themes, and the human condition? That's why I write. I want to blur the lines between literature and pulp. I want fantasy and science fiction that can explore quiet moments as well as great adventures. My influences range everywhere in the literary fiction and genre fiction worlds: Anthony Doerr, Daniel Orozco, Terry Pratchett, Margaret Atwood, Edith Pearlman, Norton Juster, even poets like Richard Hugo and Gabrielle Calvocoressi. 

That's a long list of writers who are better than I am. But everyone has to start somewhere, right? Not that I'm starting from nowhere: a college degree in journalism writing gives one an edge in the written world, but it lacks a certain something. That something is money. I'd love to be able to devote my time to writing great short fiction (and maybe even a novel or two), but too many literary journals ask new writers to work for exposure. Exposure's a nice way to break into the field, but it's worth about as much as bitcoins when it comes to buying groceries. So that's where you come in. If you believe that fantasy and science fiction can do more than swords and sorcery, why not put a few dollars toward that dream? And if you decide that I'm not up to the task, that's fine. Pull your patronage and we'll go our separate ways. But I think the cost of a couple packs of Magic cards (or half a Warhammer figurine) isn't a bad price to help improve a genre that's played a big part in your life, and support a writer with the potential to make something great.

Before you go clicking that big shiny button that gives me money, you probably have a few questions. Let me try to address those.

Why fund monthly, rather than per piece? -- Flexibility! I don't want to have to worry about what my donors have budgeted if I want to be more prolific. I don't want to have to delay releasing a new work because people are hitting their caps for this month. I also want the ability to send my donors first drafts, experiments, microfiction, or whatever. I want you to be part of the whole writing process, not just buying stories on a subscription. Patreon is about being a patron of the arts, it's not just a place to sell ebooks. By giving monthly donations, you become a patron of my writing, not just a customer.

What will you be releasing? -- My focus is on short fiction. It will mostly be genre pieces, but there will be some traditional literary fiction in there too. I'd also like to play around with microfiction, ala Margaret Atwood's "Good Bones," and maybe some experimental pieces as well. No matter what I release, you'll get regular updates from me about the process. You'll never be left wondering where your money's gone. About the only things I won't be releasing are poetry and nonfiction - I've never been good at the former, despite a few poetry classes, and any of the latter will be published through newspaper or radio.

So where's your existing work? -- This is a bit of a tricky one. Most of my existing work is either in the process of getting published (which means I can't publish it online, since journals want something that hasn't been published before) or was work for classes that is no longer up to my standards. You will see the results of your donation. Pieces will start being published here within the month, and should ramp up as I get more donations (and thus have more flexibility to devote time to writing). Think of it as an act of faith, like any donations. I intend to live up to your expectations and mine. And if I don't, just stop funding me. You'll be out about a quarter of the cost of going to a restaurant. That seems pretty good to me.
Rewards
Pledge $1 or more per month
0 patrons
Donate $50 and you can commission a piece of 2,500 words or less for every month you continue the donation. Send me a brief description of your concept, and one of the next pieces to appear on my Patreon will be based on your idea, along with a thank-you dedication to you for your support.

I reserve the right to refuse your idea, especially if it's creepy or pornographic. I do not intend to write erotica. If I reject an idea, you can always send me more.

It's unlikely, but your commission may be delayed if I find myself overwhelmed with requests.
If you've ever taken a writing course or tried to publish a piece of writing, you've seen this: "No Genre Fiction." No genre fiction. None. If your story is about a robot wizard and a ghost detective investigating a steampunk murder, we don't want it.  And for good reason. That sounds terrible (and has the word "steampunk" in it). Much of the genre fiction world, be it fantasy, sf, or mystery borrows from early 20th-century pulp traditions, when the goal wasn't to create incredible worlds or explore strange ideas, it was to sell crystal radio kits and x-ray specs.  And so the divide is born: literary fiction develops characters, examines deep themes, and captures the human experience. Genre fiction hits orcs with axes and spends too many pages describing the mechanics of ray guns.  No wonder no respectable publisher wants to touch it.

But... that's not quite right, is it? Genre fiction has a reach that traditional literature has never managed. It reaches minds across the globe, sparks imaginations, and transports the reader to places a first-class ticket and a week's paid leave can never get them. Great genre fiction transcends escapism, holding a mirror up to the world and forcing the reader to confront their reality by inviting them into another reality. And sure, that mirror might make them look a little like an elven bard, but maybe we all need a little swashbuckling adventure in our lives.

So why should literary fiction have a monopoly on well-developed characters, interesting themes, and the human condition? That's why I write. I want to blur the lines between literature and pulp. I want fantasy and science fiction that can explore quiet moments as well as great adventures. My influences range everywhere in the literary fiction and genre fiction worlds: Anthony Doerr, Daniel Orozco, Terry Pratchett, Margaret Atwood, Edith Pearlman, Norton Juster, even poets like Richard Hugo and Gabrielle Calvocoressi. 

That's a long list of writers who are better than I am. But everyone has to start somewhere, right? Not that I'm starting from nowhere: a college degree in journalism writing gives one an edge in the written world, but it lacks a certain something. That something is money. I'd love to be able to devote my time to writing great short fiction (and maybe even a novel or two), but too many literary journals ask new writers to work for exposure. Exposure's a nice way to break into the field, but it's worth about as much as bitcoins when it comes to buying groceries. So that's where you come in. If you believe that fantasy and science fiction can do more than swords and sorcery, why not put a few dollars toward that dream? And if you decide that I'm not up to the task, that's fine. Pull your patronage and we'll go our separate ways. But I think the cost of a couple packs of Magic cards (or half a Warhammer figurine) isn't a bad price to help improve a genre that's played a big part in your life, and support a writer with the potential to make something great.

Before you go clicking that big shiny button that gives me money, you probably have a few questions. Let me try to address those.

Why fund monthly, rather than per piece? -- Flexibility! I don't want to have to worry about what my donors have budgeted if I want to be more prolific. I don't want to have to delay releasing a new work because people are hitting their caps for this month. I also want the ability to send my donors first drafts, experiments, microfiction, or whatever. I want you to be part of the whole writing process, not just buying stories on a subscription. Patreon is about being a patron of the arts, it's not just a place to sell ebooks. By giving monthly donations, you become a patron of my writing, not just a customer.

What will you be releasing? -- My focus is on short fiction. It will mostly be genre pieces, but there will be some traditional literary fiction in there too. I'd also like to play around with microfiction, ala Margaret Atwood's "Good Bones," and maybe some experimental pieces as well. No matter what I release, you'll get regular updates from me about the process. You'll never be left wondering where your money's gone. About the only things I won't be releasing are poetry and nonfiction - I've never been good at the former, despite a few poetry classes, and any of the latter will be published through newspaper or radio.

So where's your existing work? -- This is a bit of a tricky one. Most of my existing work is either in the process of getting published (which means I can't publish it online, since journals want something that hasn't been published before) or was work for classes that is no longer up to my standards. You will see the results of your donation. Pieces will start being published here within the month, and should ramp up as I get more donations (and thus have more flexibility to devote time to writing). Think of it as an act of faith, like any donations. I intend to live up to your expectations and mine. And if I don't, just stop funding me. You'll be out about a quarter of the cost of going to a restaurant. That seems pretty good to me.

Recent posts by Max Bartlett

Rewards
Pledge $1 or more per month
0 patrons
Donate $50 and you can commission a piece of 2,500 words or less for every month you continue the donation. Send me a brief description of your concept, and one of the next pieces to appear on my Patreon will be based on your idea, along with a thank-you dedication to you for your support.

I reserve the right to refuse your idea, especially if it's creepy or pornographic. I do not intend to write erotica. If I reject an idea, you can always send me more.

It's unlikely, but your commission may be delayed if I find myself overwhelmed with requests.