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"Story-writing is similar to chain letters" Says Leila Gaskin

No kidding, somebody actually said that!

*Facepalm* This is unbelievable!

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The Art Of A Chain Letter by LEILA GASKIN

😡LEILA GASKIN: I hate chain letters.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: No, next to me, you love them. I hate chain letters, and unlike you and a ton of liberals and conservatives who only hate some chain letters that don't line up with their politics, I hate chain letters. No ifs, ands, or buts. They are not just "chain letters" when they have implied blackmail, or right-leaning politics, and they are not just "memes" when they come from the left or contain only funny cat gifs. Memes are chain letters are memes... Period...!

😡LEILA GASKIN: I don’t care if you think poorly of me, but a chain letter is a boat-load of attempted guilt from people who have nothing original to say.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: I agree with that statement, but it doesn't apply to all types of chain letter/meme.

😡LEILA GASKIN: I’ll re-post or share a clever meme in a heartbeat,

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Memes are annoying. all memes are chain letters. and none of them are truly clever. They are manipulative so that people can get duped into thinking they are really clever when actually they aren't.

😡LEILA GASKIN: but anything that tells me I’m a bad person for not perpetuating ignorance is wrong.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: If you're going to hate chain letters, be real about it and don't just pick and choose to hate only some chain letters while excusing others as being more likeable by calling them "clever memes". Either hate chain letters or don't, they're all viral, or trying to go viral, all have the potential to irritate the living crap out of somebody.

😡LEILA GASKIN: What is a chain letter?

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Chain letters are memes.

😡LEILA GASKIN: Wow, if you’ve never gotten one, you may be a Guinness Record holder, an extraterrestrial, or have lived under a rock your entire life.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Or you may be very young, or an internet newbie who has actually gotten chain letters without realizing what they were. I've been there. It was a shocker and an ongoing disappointment learning that nothing is sacred or off limits to hoaxers, and that if it comes from a friend, and has nothing directly to do with the friend, it's most likely a chain letter. if it comes from a friend who got it from a friend, it is always a chain letter. If it's an anti-chain, it's a chain letter. Yours is an anti-chain.

😡LEILA GASKIN: Seriously, chain letters start somewhere around pre-school and never seem to let up.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah, nowadays with those stupid sticker and baby book chain letters. I was lucky never to have been exposed to that kind of junk when I was a pre-schooler. My first experience with a chain letter was a snail mail envelope-stuffing variety and I must've been about grade 4 or 5. Got nothing from it. Lost money on postage. Never fell for one of those again.

😡LEILA GASKIN: wikiHow has instructions to create your own chain letter – but, please don’t.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Yeah, I think I even edited that at one point, going on about how your main aim is to lie and manipulate people so truth means nothing if you want to start a chain letter. I haven't checked to see if that edit is still there, and don't have a copy of it to put it back in. Personally I don't think that particular "how to" should've been written in the first place, so what could I do but try making a point within the article itself to make people think twice about starting one of those things?

😡LEILA GASKIN: Anatomy of a chain-letter/post is simple:

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Chain letter/post? No, not just a post. A chain letter, specifically.

😡LEILA GASKIN: Heart-wrenching plea or super-positive cliché designed to tug on your emotions. Children, veterans, anti-bully, Jesus, and ‘life lessons’ are popular themes.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: That is correct. Also, pictures and videos of cute animals doing incredibly amazingly cutesy things. Lists of quotes. Lists of trivia, much of which Viral jokes. Those annoying math puzzles that are designed to give you a certain result such as your age. Word puzzles that play on ego by telling you you're smarter than most if you read a certain way, and be sure to re-share it and show how smart you are! Gender-related memes that tell you how good it is to be a woman or how much happier you are likely to be because you're a man. There's even a chain letter about girls VS. mature women that plays on the desire to be seen as mature. Here's the kicker. The girls "cop an attitude" and the mature women pass on the chain letter!

And the list goes on.

😡LEILA GASKIN: An implied threat at the end:

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Or a direct threat or promise, or some don't even have any. That Nyan Cat viral video for example. No threats there, it went viral because people thought it was too cute. That was the whole idea.

More examples are the Fangirl Pride and Otaku Pride chain letters. there are no threats at the end, only an urge to share if you're proud of being an otaku or some other fangirl.

😡LEILA GASKIN: ‘I’m sure 95% of you won’t re-post, but those with a heart will’

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Gah, that is a common tactic, and it shows up on anything from religious frauds to friendship spam to cause virals. It's a way of trying to manipulate every reader into thinking they are in the special unique minority of people who "care" enough to repost some stupid crap. You must've recently received this rotten pile of dreck.

😡LEILA GASKIN: ‘You don’t love Jesus if you don’t re-post’

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: That sort especially ticks me off. Internet newbies who are Christians tend to fall for that one, not even realizing it is a chain letter. Been there, done that, much to my embarrassment.

What woke me up to the fact that hoaxers do in fact misuse Jesus's name in chain letters was finding out they are depraved enough to make up sick kid hoaxes. If they could do that, they were certainly capable of dragging Jesus's name into their crap. Before that, I remember having an argument with an anti-Christian who ranted about a Jesus message being a "chain letter" and I really gave it to him for that, saying that it wasn't a chain letter because it was a Jesus message. That was back in the days when I didn't know chain letters were more than just luck and make money fast schemes, and I believed only Christians composed Jesus messages. I've learned better since.

Hoaxers will use bogus sick kid messages, bogus 9/11 stories, religious fraud (that's when they drag Jesus into their chain letters), various causes such as Don't drink&drive", gender wars, friendship spamming schemes, you name it, no subject is off limits to chain letters.

😡LEILA GASKIN: ‘If you send this to 5, 10, or 750 people, something good will happen to you. If not, bad luck will fall upon your head and crush you like a bug’

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: That is the chain letter type even newbies can recognize for what they are. It is the type I remember thinking of as a newb on the net when I read the words "chain letter" but it goes far beyond that.

😡LEILA GASKIN: If I could remember the amount of chain letters/posts I have ended,

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: again, not just '/posts' because a personally written post, unless it begs, demands, urges people to spread it, isn't a chain letter unless it goes viral, in which case, it is a 'repost' not just a 'post'. So you're really talking about 'chain letter reposts' more accurately, 're-shares' and not '/posts' here. They are memes.

😡LEILA GASKIN: I should have died a horrible death while being labeled a baby-killer and being placed on the express elevator to hell.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Gah! Anti-chain! *Facepalm*If you thought that was being original, you thought wrong. Welcome to the hall of Fail! You're in the anti-chain section.

😡LEILA GASKIN: Oh, and being an emotional flat-liner with no hope of ever having a decent life.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: That's pretty much what those anti-bullying chain letters assume about readers by default for not reposting these stupid virals.

😡LEILA GASKIN: (wow, I haven’t finished my vitriolic rant yet)

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Your rant is absolutely tame next to those I've done. Tame or not, it really sucks.

The title. The anti-chain thing with a liberal bent. Now comes your explanation for the title, which utterly bombs.

😡LEILA GASKIN: Here’s the thing. After all the smack I just laid down about chain letters,

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Which is no smack at all, and it's implied more against what unfortunately makes up too much of the political right and non-left than against chain letters themselves… No surprise there.

😡LEILA GASKIN: creating a story isn’t all that different. Excluding the cliché and implied threats.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Wait, WHAt!? - EXCUSE ME!? Simply making up a story for fun isn't all that different from a chain letter? You actually just said that!? What the…?

😡LEILA GASKIN: As we write, we want people to become engaged in the story we are telling.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Ahem! That's not at all remotely similar to writing chain letters!

🤦🏽‍♀️BP: What the-?! Uh, no! No it's not! Writing a good story is NOTHING like writing chain letters! A well written story should take you through a range of emotions, but not in a hokey, heavy-handed way like chain letters. Ugh, that's so annoyingly wrong in so many ways--might need to mini rant about it.

*ahem*

For one, the plot. Chain letters have minimal plot, at best, that usually revolves around some cliche, drown-you-in-sugary-sap contrivance. Good stories can have incredibly deep, varied plots, where the emotions you feel are a natural reaction to the events taking place--not a cheap tear-grab.

The characters in a chain letter are as predictable as is humanly possible. Not predictable like in a classic fairy tale--just straight up, infuriatingly predictable.

Proper story characters, while never as deep as a real human being, can get pretty darn close, and you really come to care for the heroes and despise the villains.

H'm. *scowl* I really don't want to read anything she came up with. If she equates chain letters with real writing, I shudder to think of what she'd create.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: No kidding! Way to torpedo a self-promotion. Not to mention just putting some of us out and off.

😡LEILA GASKIN: I want my reader to laugh, cry, feel angry, or curse me because I’ve gone down a plot hole they weren’t expecting.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: That's not the same as wanting your reader to believe some bogus emotional drip for the purpose of getting them to spam it all over the net. and yeah, everyone who is into media and art production wants to engage their audience and make them laugh, cry, enjoy themselves, feel a particular emotion about a story or character. That is honest entertainment, that is not chain letters. Not even similar. The line gets blurred when propaganda enters the picture, to deliberately try persuading people to believe in the Jewish conspiracies or that humans are killing the planet with cars and cow farts, that's when it goes from entertainment and news to chain letters. But writing a story or making music just for entertainment isn't at all like a chain letter.

Hoaxers and propagandists don't really just want to make people laugh, cry etc. They want to get people emotionally worked up enough to generate a certain outcome, I.E. spreading that chain letter…Going vegan…

😡LEILA GASKIN: Once the story is complete, I want my audience to recommend my book to their friends, family, and strangers – but with no threat if they don’t.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: So, that doesn't make your wish for recommendations similar to a chain letter. It's more like wanting to do well on an exam or at a job application. You want to interact in a way that benefits yourself and the people around you, you're not just out to get attention and see how many people you can get spamming some hoax around to make you feel powerful and give you a lulz/attention-fix. You love what you do, and you naturally want to share that with others. hoaxers love what they do too, but not in the same way or for the same reasons. Their motives are about power, attention, and self-gratification. They make chain letters. You write books. Big difference.

And there are chain letters minus the threats that don't even seem to beg for "recommendations". That would be those "clever memes" you're so crazy over.

Look, when they make movies, broadcast the news, such as it is, they want people engaged in that content too. So by your logic, all movies, news broadcasts, all forms of media, all except private journals are not really all that different from chain letters!

Wow,

There is a difference between trying to engage people and get interaction, and trying to manipulate people into spamming junk all over cyberspace! A vast difference!

😡LEILA GASKIN: Capture

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Huh?

😡LEILA GASKIN:The moral of my post is don’t let yourself be caught up in the emotional blackmail of social media chain letters. Instead, find yourself a good book (perhaps mine?) and then share it with a friend. Sharing your favorite book(s) will bring good karma all around.

🧝‍♀️Ocean Elf: Meh. Not much of a believer in karma or that sharing good books can effect it one way or another. I definitely reject all those stupid karma cyber points built into some internet forums. All that ranking stuff is terribly annoying clutter. That and how many thanks each member gets, how many posts they've made etc. Who cares? But that's a bit of a tangent.

Now, if you disliked all memes, let's go over what would've made a great stand-alone post. And I'm going to add more categories you conveniently left out in your list of meme subjects.:

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"I hate chain letters. I don’t care if you think poorly of me, but a chain letter is a boat-load of attempted guilt or other manipulation from people who have nothing original to say. Heart-wrenching plea or super-positive cliché designed to tug on your emotions. Children, animals, veterans, disability, anti-bully, cancer, women, religion and politics, smarts, funnies, and ‘life lessons’ are popular themes, often with some promise or implied threat at the end: ‘I’m sure 95% of you won’t re-post, but those with a heart will’ ‘If you send this to 5, 10, or 750 people, something good will happen to you. If not, bad luck will fall upon your head and crush you like a bug’

wikiHow has instructions to create your own chain letter – but, please don’t.

The moral of my post is don’t let yourself be caught up in the emotional blackmail of social media chain letters."

Over and out!

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