Saturday, December 10, 2011

Find a happy place

I think, it's time for a break. Going to take a little time off of blogging, and a few other online things. It's the holidays, and I'm just not in a happy place. I kind of feel like I'm editing, like I'm on that emotional roller coaster editing puts me on. One minute, happy and excited about something, the next minute a complete 180. It's sucking my energy, which in effect, hurts my writing. Had a whole post written, hoping that venting would help. Sometimes, you just need to write things down, even if you put it away in a drawer for no one to see. When that doesn't work, maybe that's a sign to step back. I did declare I hated my book the other day and was going to burn it. I also wanted to destroy a present I made my my writing partner. Along with deleting a few half baked story ideas and extra scenes from my hard drive.

Don't know when I'll be back, probably around Christmas. The pessimistic part of me is telling me this is completely pointless. No one is going to miss me. It makes me half tempted not to post this to see if anyone does notice. Of course, I won't be completely gone. Have to check my email after all. My giveaway for my book end in seven days too and I'll have to get winner addresses. =D I'll leave you with this. I got a small mention in my hometown newspaper. They spelled Lynne wrong, but it's still pretty cool.

Hope you all have a happy holiday, and I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What if, what if, what if..? And why not?

Guest post by Hayden Thorne

The following is an old article on genre YA fiction, and while it focuses largely on Sci-Fi (the online publication specializes in Sci-Fi, after all), it still takes on the young adult market along more general lines. What I really dig is the fact that Cory Doctorow discusses the value of genre fiction as a means through which young readers can explore their identities.

Genre YA fiction has an army of promoters outside of the field: teachers, librarians, and specialist booksellers are keenly aware of the difference the right book can make to the right kid at the right time, and they spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to convince kids to try out a book. Kids are naturals for this, since they really use books as markers of their social identity, so that good books sweep through their social circles like chickenpox epidemics, infecting their language and outlook on life. That's one of the most wonderful things about writing for younger audiences รณ it matters. We all read for entertainment, no matter how old we are, but kids also read to find out how the world works. They pay keen attention, they argue back. There's a consequentiality to writing for young people that makes it immensely satisfying. Read more

My favorite passage goes over the marginalized status (how very high school!) of Young Adult fiction in the mainstream. I've experienced it, myself - the dismissive way with which YA is often treated. Too easy to write for kids, unlike adults. Too simplistic. Too whatever. At the other end of the spectrum, we've got the Morality Police eyeing our every move. Frankly, I find that rather fun.

The lack of regard for YA fiction in the mainstream isn't an altogether bad thing. There's something to be said for living in a disreputable, ghettoized bohemia (something that old-time SF and comics fans have a keen appreciation for). There's a lot of room for artistic, political and commercial expectation over here in low-stakes land, the same way that there was so much room for experimentation in other ghettos, from hip-hop to roleplaying games to dime-novels. Sure, we're vulnerable to moral panics about corrupting youth (a phenomenon as old as Socrates, and a charge that has been leveled at everything from the waltz to the jukebox), but if you're upsetting that kind of person, you're probably doing something right.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group

First Wednesday of the month so it's time to get your insecurities out or give gems of encouragement. It's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I'm not entirely sure what I want to talk about, so I think I'll just ramble a bit and see what I end up with. Last month, I talked about some insecurities I had. I can't say those insecurities have vanished, but I do have some good news. My free short story I published last month has had almost 400 downloads on Smashwords.

I'm a little conflicted about that though. I wrote the short story with the intention of putting it up for free to give readers a taste of my writing style. At the end is a sample of Being Human with links to where that can be bought. It's a piece of advice I have seen other writers say works. Now, it's been less than a month, so I know not to expect ay activity on Being Human, but I still wonder. Out of those almost 400 downloads, how many people will actually read my little story? Is having a short story for free really worth it? I only have the one book out and other stories are still a long way off from being ready to be published. Maybe I jumped the gun, let my impatience get the best of me. Then again, it's not like having the free story will hurt. Maybe months down the road, a bunch of people who downloaded it will read it, read the sample and decide to buy Being Human. I don't know.

That's the hardest part to deal with. Not knowing. As writers, we pour our hearts and souls into our stories, and then we put them into the world with the hope that people will discover it and enjoy it. We all want to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. We really do, and we try our best to do everything we can think of to make that happen. For some it works, and others it doesn't. We have no way of telling who will hit that lucky strike.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Write, scrap, write, scrap, write

I forget how long after I finished Being Human that I started to write it's sequel, Being Vampire. The sequel popped into my head while I was finishing the first draft of Being Human. I have a bad habit of jumping from story to story, leaving behind unfinished drafts. But I resisted with Being Vampire. Tommy's story was almost done, and then I'd get to Drew's. Finally, I was done and ready to listen. I started writing, struggling a bit with how the story went. Only to put it aside when another character shouted louder. When I got back to Being Vampire, I wasn't too thrilled with what I had so I scrapped it and started over. Then another story got in the way and I set Being Vampire aside again.

I did this a few more times, trying to get into Drew's story, but struggling. Sometimes, I scrapped what I wrote and other times I got distracted by another story. I was beginning to feel a bit hopeless. There were parts of Drew's story that were crystal clear and I wanted to get to them, but the beginning was being difficult. I'm not one to write scenes out of order, but I gave that a shot. Still, I struggled.

This story just didn't seem to want to come.

Finally, I decided to try something I don't do. I decided to plot and summarize. And I was going to do it long hand. I grabbed a notebook and started summarizing how I wanted the beginning to go. I didn't get very far, only one full page, front and back. It was late, and I was tired.

The next day, I opened the notebook back up and started writing. It wasn't until I was halfway down the page that I realized I wasn't summarizing. I was writing! The words were finally flowing, Drew was talking. I kept writing longhand, the story turning out quite different than my first few attempts. I think that was part of my problem, the way I was trying to take the story wasn't making sense. It wasn't realistic and that was holding me back.

I can't wait to finish this first draft and start typing. I'm dying to know my word count, to see how much longer or shorter it is than Being Human. If I wanted, I could start typing now, but I don't want to loose my flow. Drew seems to be afraid of the computer right now. Hopefully, he gets over that when the first draft is done.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Only friends and family could love it

A twitter friend got his first low review the other day. He tweeted about it, and then I think deleted the tweets because I couldn't find them later. I went over to his goodreads page curious as to what the person said, why they didn't care for his book. A few things they said made me wonder. They said the grammar was bad, but I don't remember any bad grammar when I was reading. Then the reviewer stated that they were shocked by all the 5 star review. Those must have been written by family and friends was the assumption. That didn't sit well with me. After all, one of those 5 star reviews is mine.

My twitter friend and I talk a little on twitter, but honestly, I wouldn't say we are close friends. Work buddies or acquainted are more like it. We both write and we retweet each others links and wish the other to do well with our respective books. When I wrote my review of his book, I was giving my honest opinion and that opinion just happened to be that I loved it. I can't wait until the next book is available to buy. So, yeah, it rubbed me the wrong way that this reviewer thought my review wasn't honest. I was only doing it to be nice, to help boost his book. It also got me thinking.

Now, I have no issue with this person not liking the book. They are entitled to that opinion, and I am aware not everyone will like the same books I like. Some people may love the books, others think they are okay, and others loath a book I loved. That's fine, and I'm dreading the day I get a one or two star review that talks about how someone didn't like my book. No, my issue is with claiming the positive reviews must only be because of family and friends. While not totally untrue, it's still a bit insulting to the people who gave honest reviews. The book bloggers that were sent a free copy to review, or people who stumbled upon the book and honestly enjoyed it. By saying only friends and family would be nice enough to give a book 5 stars, you are saying those people aren't honest, when in fact, they are very honest. So people liked a book you didn't. That doesn't automatically mean those people are just being nice because they know the author.

I think people need to remember that. Even I need to remember that sometimes. Reviews are opinions and to each his/her own. So please, next time you read a book you didn't like that others have, don't assume their opinions are any less truthful than yours. Say why you didn't care for the book and leave it at that.