Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

When is it appropriate for writers to break the fourth wall? If you consider yourself a writer, read on. If you are here on Medium to read excellent writing on topics other than the craft of writing or how to get paid for your writing or how to earn a gazillion dollars writing for Medium - please don't read this. Go read something, anything, else. Explore all the Topics Medium has to offer.

Go read something that doesn't have the word "Medium" or "$" or "How I Made Money Writing." Go - LIVE! Enjoy.Are they gone? Just production crew left?Still with me?There is a lot of work that goes on "backstage" to produce good entertainment. Those involved are rightfully proud of their work, but they don't talk incessantly about it with those outside of their profession.

They are aware that they are making magic, and only their fellow magicians want to know how the trick is done.This is true for writers, too. Although "breaking the fourth wall" typically applies to stage and screen, it applies to writing, as well - when writers insert themselves between the words, the vision, or the message they're trying to craft and the reader. "Hey, look at me! Let me draw attention to my commas and why I put them there!"Sure, all writers are - or should be - avid readers.

But, most readers who are not writers don't care about all the stages of contract negotiations between authors, agents, and publishers. They don't care about the details of editing - from acquisitions to copy - or book design, illustration, printing, and marketing. They like to believe the magic. They have an image in mind, and part of being a "famous author" or a "beloved author" (whether you are, or not), is to craft that persona that your readers want to meet - not to explain in excruciatingly boring detail how the trick is done.

There really ought to be a "backstage" for Medium writers. Leave the rest of the readers out in the dimly lit theatre, anticipating the rise of the velvet curtain. Then, dammit, give them the show they came for.

A quick Google search: site:medium.

com ("how to" AND "make money" AND "on Medium") yields 61,000 results. Another search: ("how I made" AND "$" AND "on Medium") yields over 74,000 results.Is this the primary audience, then, on Medium? Would-be "writers" looking to make a quick buck? Sure, we writers have to eat - deserve to eat! - and who can blame a writer for looking for ways to earn money doing what we love to do? For those who do it for the love of the craft, and still crave nothing but free exposure, and are happy to beg, "Come, please, do me the favor of reading..." I leave you with Harlan Ellison:But is this what our readers want to read about? Is this how we do it - right here, right now, in full view of all the readers we hope to attract, and entice into paying their $5/month in order that we might share in the revenue from their precious time spent reading?Do you see any of the large publications - Cosmopolitan, National Geographic, Forbes, New York Times, The Atlantic, USA Today - any of them, publishing articles from their contributors on how to make a living writing from the same publication?Writers, develop a little stage presence, please.


What is a curtain wall?

A curtain wall is usually composed of glass panels divided by grids into many panels and are separated by mullions and transoms. Mullions are the vertical separations and transoms are the horizontal separations. However there are many combinations of curtain walls. Sometimes a single panel is considered a curtain wall. This is usually supported with spider system or with cables. Other times the panels are separated by grids without mullions and transoms.

Note that some or all panels may be replaced with solid panels (wood, aluminum, stone, empty, ...). This is still a curtain wall. Basically it's a wall but composed of thin elements as opposed to thick block walls, gypsum walls, etc ...

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain 1

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