Vulgaris Media, a for-profit company helping traditional writers make a living, also sponsors Acad Lit, a non-profit organization seeking to develop traditional writers and promote the craft. To understand how "Vulgaris" relates to "Inventive Literature," read on.
How Do You Like Your Literature?
we like ours
WHAT ARE LITERARY INVENTIONS?
Literary Inventions are the made-up people, situations, objects, and worlds that make a story fictional.
WHAT MAKES LITERARY INVENTIONS GOOD?
Literary Inventions are good when they are interesting.
They are also good when they are plausible. They seem possible within the world of the story or poem.
At the same time, Inventions are refreshing because they give us a feeling of having a new experience.
Inventions are especially good when they are powerfully Imaginative.
WHAT IS THE IMAGINATION?
The imagination is a power of the human mind.
With the imagination, we synthesize our experience of reality into mental images. These "images" may or may not be pictures in our minds. They may simply be concepts with flavor.
These images may depict things that are real, or from the past, or potentially future, or just barely possible.
With the imagination, we "taste" the quality of these ideas. With the imagination, we make leaps of thought that would be hard to reason out step by step.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF INVENTIONS
RISE TO THE LEVEL OF IMAGINATION?
When Inventions are truly Imaginative, it's as if the author saw them in a vision of some other, very real world. They seem to be just both true and invented.
So the best Literary Inventions are still rooted in Truth and Being.
SHOULDN'T FICTION BE REALISTIC ?
Yes and No.
Modern fiction is often extremely realistic. And sometimes when it pretends to be realistic, that's only an excuse to imagine unhappiness and vileness that is not readily available in our own real world.
The Academy of Inventive Literature does not favor that kind of fiction.
Ordinary people enjoy stories and poems for what they are. They enjoy stories and poems for their inventiveness and imaginative power. And we believe it's misanthropic to write and publish literature that people can't enjoy. This is why we chose the name "Vulgaris Media," meaning "of the common people."
Yet people also enjoy those very inventions for being imitations of real things. They feel a thrill of aesthetic pleasure when they recognize the reality behind the imitation. (Or so Professor Aristotle teaches us.)
Yet in order to be an imitation of something real, Inventions must be somewhat realistic.
SO HOW REALISTIC, EXACTLY?
Well, let's think about an artist - say a sculptor - who wants to create and display an imitation of a spoon.
If he makes the imitation too perfect, it becomes a replica.
And a replica of a spoon is just a spoon.
So now our artist has laboriously created a perfect replica of a factory-made spoon, and is displaying it at an art show. In other words, he's got a spoon on a pedestal and is charging folks $50 to view it reverently and comment on it in hushed tones.
How is he going to get people to enjoy this?
He can't. He'll be forced to say that he made it as social commentary on factory conditions or the banality of industrialized craft or first-world privilege or something.
Don't be like a sculptor who makes a perfect replica of a spoon. Keep some artistic distance between your characters and real people; between the world and your story's world; between your situations and objects, and those of the real world. (And hopefully you have something more interesting to show us than a kitchen utensil.)
Somewhere between "bizarrely incoherent" and "replica of a spoon that is actually just a spoon," there's a whole range of possibility that is the artist's playground of Invention.
WHAT IS THE POINT OF LITERARY INVENTIONS?
The point of Literary Inventions is delight.
Inventions are the language-based version of "imitations." Like a statue of a man is an imitation of a man, so a poem about a man is also an artistic imitation of a man.
When people look at an imitation, recognize what it portrays, and notice the cunning and skill of the artist, and see the qualities he's added to the imitation, they feel delight.
Aesthetic delight: that is what literary inventions are for.
Delight is a beautiful thing, but like many beautiful things, it is delicate. It arises spontaneously in the heart. It cannot be forced. It cannot be pressed into servitude to causes, and survive.
Art must be made for delight's sake, or become something harsher and darker.
WHO INVENTED LITERARY INVENTIONS?
We know that for the ancient Greeks, Literary Invention made poetry what it was.
The word "poet" actually means maker or inventor; and this word was originally applied to dramatists - storytellers who composed in verse.
Because of these origins, we still seek poetry full of invention, and fiction full of poetic writing and imagining. We also seek subject matter, structure, and themes worthy of this ancient tradition.
WHAT MAKES INVENTIONS LITERARY?
Literary Inventions occur within literary fiction and verse. Literary fiction traditionally restricts its themes, inventions, and subject matter to those considered fine and noble.
DOES ACAD LIT LOOK DOWN ON GENRE FICTION?
No. Vulgaris Media, the publishing company which supports The Academy of Inventive Literature, places a high value on artistic "vulgarity" - expressing a common humanity and its values.
Acad Lit focuses on the furthest heights of this commonality - the urge to "look up" to things higher than ourselves. We consider this urge to be universal, and therefore common.
Vulgaris Media's upcoming publications, by contrast, will focus on nearer and more comfortable regions, the artistic space where humanity "looks around."
Both approaches to fiction share a conviction that no story is interesting unless it shows us something extraordinary. The tension created by these two values - nobility and commonality - is the intersection where we find our best stories and poems, whether genre or literary.