Friday, November 17, 2017

Do You Write For Profit, Fame, Fun, Or Something Else?

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

I was interviewed this week over at The Insecure Writers Support Group, so if you want to know what makes me tick, hop on over for a quick read. As you might guess, the topic had to do with writer insecurity, and in keeping with that topic, this post is focused on what keeps me motivated as a writer.

I suspect most of us write because we need a creative outlet for all those crazy ideas floating around inside our heads. At least I do. But that doesn’t explain why we spend so much time polishing our work and fighting to get our words published.

Some writers write for the money. Nothing wrong with that, but that’s not what motivates me. Not that making money from writing wouldn’t be great, but unless I write a blockbuster that pretty much sells itself, I’d have to do a ton of marketing to make any real money and I’m not interested in doing that.

Some writers crave the fame that comes from being a successful writer. Hey, I wouldn’t mind legions of fans knowing my name, but I don’t think I’d be happy with too much fame. Sounds as if that can be more hassle than it’s worth. Just ask J.K. Rowling. But I wouldn’t mind if, while attending a convention, someone I’ve never met before walked up to me and said something nice about one of my books. Heck, who am I kidding? It would be pretty damn awesome.

But probably not for the reason you think.

You see, my motivation to write the best book I possibly can has little to do with money or fame. For me, it’s all about maximizing the number of people who read (and enjoy) my stories. Why? Because the more people who read about my characters, the more real my characters feel to me. That simple fact is what drives me to write everyday.

I’m not saying my characters don’t feel real to me now, but they’ll feel infinitely more real when I know other people are experiencing their stories too. I can’t explain why I feel this way; I just do. I guess it’s kind of like the tree falling in the forest. If no one reads a book, are the characters real? 

So that’s write I keep writing and learning the craft. To maximize the number of people who fall in love with my characters. Because my characters deserve to be real.

Do any of you feel the same way?


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Why I'll Never Write Epic Fantasy

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

I write fantasy. Someday I might try writing science fiction, too. But the one genre I know I’ll never try writing is epic fantasy. I enjoy reading it, but as a writer, keeping track of multiple storylines just isn’t my idea of fun. Not to mention the fact that epic fantasies tend to run on the long side, and being the glacially slow writer that I am, my kids would probably be ready for retirement before I’d finish even one of them. 

But the biggest reason comes down to pacing. I’m very much a “just give me the facts, ma’am” kind of writer, unwilling to spend any more time than necessary describing what happens in a scene. I have to force myself to go back through my chapters (usually at the suggestion of my critique partners) and add descriptions or other details that I should have added the first time around. 

But epic fantasies typically move along at a much slower pace, with plenty of time devoted toward descriptions, or world-building details, or allowing the characters to take their own sweet time making what I often consider no-brainer decisions. In fact, I’ll admit to skimming over some of the slower sections, waiting for the story to pick up again. 

Why do I bring this up now? Turns out I’ve recently begun reading Michael Wallace’s Red Sword epic fantasy series. My first introduction to Michael’s books were through his Starship Blackbeard space opera series. Those stories were fun, fast, and full of action, with just enough detail to keep me grounded in his worlds. Just the way I like it. But when he switched to writing his epic fantasy, the pacing slowed so dramatically, I almost didn’t believe it was the same author. 

Now I’m not complaining. His books are well written, but up until now, I always assumed epic fantasies were slow paced because the writers who wrote epic fantasies naturally wrote slow paced stories. Now I realize the slow pacing is a deliberate choice, made because fans of that genre have come to expect it. 

And that’s the biggest reason I’ll never write epic fantasy. I’d never be able to write with that kind of pacing, at least not without putting my readers to sleep. 

How about you? Do any of you read epic fantasy? What's your opinion on their pacing?


Friday, November 3, 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Insecure Writer and Forgetting Your Responsibilities

Today is November's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

Because I think I may be neglecting my some of my secondary writer duties.   

Last month I moaned how I had neglected my fatherly and husbandly duties because I was so focused on writing my story. I believe I've become better at that over the past month, but now I realize it's been at the cost of neglecting other parts of my writing life.    

I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't posted on this blog since my IWSG post back in October. It's not as if I can't think of anything to write.  I have a couple of half-finished posts just begging to be completed. And it's not that I'm losing interest in this blog.  I'm just loathe to take time away from my story. Laziness may have played a small part, too. :)

Even worse, I've been neglecting my writer friends.  I don't think I've visited anyone's blog in the last month and that saddens me.  I want to be there to help celebrate your victories and to commiserate with you during your sorrows. It's my conversations with the rest of you that keep me going when the writing is isn't working. 

So I'm making you (and  myself) a promise.  I will return to my twice a week posting schedule (regular post on Wednesdays and writing links post on Fridays). I also promise to visit your blogs again.

There, that feels better.

Let's tackle this month’s IWSG question:

Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published? 

I've only tried NaNo once, several years ago, and failed miserably.  That's when I discovered no matter how well I outline at the beginning, my best ideas come when I'm writing the scenes.  These new ideas made a mess out of the original outline, and by the time I hit the 27000 word mark I knew there was no point in continuing. Everything I wrote from then on would be thrown out anyway. 

Besides, there's no point in me attempting NaNo again until I finish my current story. 


P.S.  I won the Show Us Your Writer Insecurity contest last month, so many thanks to the judges.  I'm already using the IWSG erasers I won to correct my daughter's calculus homework, so they're coming in handy.  I also won a two chapter critique (provided by Michelle Wallace), so I'm feeling the pressure to polish the first two chapters of my story.  This will be the first time someone other than my crit group buddies will see these words, so I'm anxious (terrified) to see what she has to say.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Insecure Writer and Not Ignoring Your Family

Today is October's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

This month I'm co-hosting IWSG , along with Olga GodimJennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan.  Be sure to stop by their blogs and say hello.

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

Because I think I may be neglecting my fatherly and husbandly duties while focusing on finishing my story.   

I still have a ways to go on my book, but I can at least see the end approaching, and that has me pumped to write every chance I get.  It’s also fall, the season when my creative juices are at their highest.  Needless to say, I’m using every spare minute to write.

But occasionally I look up from my writing desk and realize life is running along without me, and chores I should be doing are falling by the wayside. Normally, my wife would be there to remind me, but she’s been busy with her own projects and hasn’t noticed my lapses.

This might seem like a win-win situation, but I’m beginning to wonder what’s happening with the kids while my wife and I are off on other worlds. I assume they're eating and bathing and doing their homework and going to school, but I don't really know for sure. I suppose I should check up on them—that is, after I finish my next chapter.

Let's tackle this month’s IWSG question:

Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Not really, unless you count giving my protagonists some of my personal habits and quirks, but nothing I’d want to keep secret. On the other hand, I did use my very first girlfriend’s name for my protagonist’s ex-love interest.  Haven’t told the wife about that one though, so let's keep that little tidbit between ourselves.  Okay?

BTW, this is "Show Us Your Writer Insecurity day, so get those pictures of you being insecure posted on your blog or your Facebook page. Needless to say, I misread the directions, so my picture will be kind of lame.

In other news, today should be the announcement of the official release of the free IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit. Check out the IWSG website for more details. 

Happy Insecurities to all of you!


Monday, September 18, 2017

Seven Writing Links - Volume 176

Yes!  Fall has arrived. The days are getting shorter, the weather is turning cooler, and as is usual for this time of year, I'm psyched for writing. Autumn is my favorite time of the year, and that passion always seems to carry over into my writing.  For example, two days ago, I had a eureka moment, and suddenly understood how the rest of my story will unfold. I've always had a bullet list of events that needed to occur before the story ended, but up until my revelation, I didn't know HOW or WHEN they would happen. Now I know the sequence of events that will lead all the way up to the All-is-Lost moment. 

I still have plenty of words to write, but the end of the journey is within sight. Damn, I love this time of year! 

On a side note, I came across this passage the other day and, after a little tweaking, thought it might be appropriate for writers. 

Dear Lord, 
So far today I've done all right. I haven't complained about my book sales or lost my temper because of a review. I haven't been jealous of other writers, turned grumpy on Twitter, acted nasty to my editor, or said bad things about Amazon. I'm really happy about that so far. But in a few minutes I'm going to be getting out of bed and then I'm going to need a lot of help. Thank you.

Enjoy the links and have a great week! 


Is It Ever Okay to Lose Money on Advertising?

Writing to the Beat: Translating Story Beats to Any Genre

6 Things I've Learned as a Professional Editor

Five Tips On Making Jargon And Tech Work For Your Writing, Rather Than Against It

Are Your Book’s Ads Earning or Losing You Money?

6 Ways to Make Readers Fall in Love With Your Characters

Tracking Your Banged Buck: Make Sure Your PR Pays Off Books

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Insecure Writer and the Month of September

Today is September's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an Insecure Writer this month?

The fact that it’s September. 

Why would that make me insecure? After all, it’s my second favorite month of the year (after October), and the arrival of autumn usually fires me up to do my best writing. Unfortunately, it’s also the month where I can no longer successfully lie to myself that I’ll be hitting my end of year goals. 

In other words, I’m feeling rather conflicted this week, so let’s move on to this month’s IWSG question:

Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?

Yes. Pretty much all the time, although probably not in the way you think.

I’m surprised I started writing in the first place, especially since I used to hate writing. 

I’m surprised I’ve kept at it all these years despite my many fits and starts. 

I’m surprised my writing skills are soooooo much better than when I first began this journey. 

I’m surprised there is soooooo much more I still have to learn. 

But best of all, I’m surprised when I look back at an earlier chapter and decide I'm happy with what I wrote. That's real progress, folks!


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