Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Joys of Rewriting

The first reports are in from the alpha readers, and it seems that my male lead, the primary hero, isn’t that likable, because he’s arrogant. Well, the arrogance is kinda intentional, at least in the beginning, but it looks like I gotta show a softer side of him.

On the other hand, the female lead is being described as a likable character, so she doesn’t need much tweaking, it seems.

Anyway, we have a plan for redoing the first part of the book to address these issues. I’m sure they won’t be the last. However, they’re going to wait till Monday or Tuesday, because I have firmly decided that this week is a break from writing, and I may decide to take an extra day on Labor Day. Then it’s back to writing, or more appropriately, rewriting.

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Morning Quote 8/30/13

“Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.”

  • Don Delillo

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August 30, 2013 · 7:16 am

The Successful Author and Complacency

One of the sad things about our craft is that sometimes a successful author starts getting complacent… or maybe the word is lazy.

Take David Eddings, for example. He wrote a total of twelve books in one world, and six in another, so he would seem to have his fair share of creativity. However, his latest series has been panned on Amazon as, in the words of one reviewer, “Nothing really new here.

I just got the first book in that series from the library, and though I’ve only read the prologue so far, it sure seems like that reviewer is correct. The prologue is, just like in many of his earlier books, a fictional excerpt from a fictional history of the world he’s created. You’d think by now Eddings would have figured out another way to start a book.

I think the problem here is the same thing that we’re seeing in many movies… namely, remakes, “re-imaginings,” and sequels of movies that did well, rather than truly new ideas. Eddings may be thinking that, hey, this formula worked fine for me for all those books, it should keep on working. But after a while, it just gets boring, and people turn away.

Another formerly great writer who seems to have fallen is Raymond E. Feist, at least judging from these Amazon reviews of the first book of his latest series. I haven’t read it myself — yet — so I can’t offer any first-hand impressions of it yet, but those reviews have me thinking I’m gonna get that one from the library too so I’m not spending money on something I don’t like.

With Feist, the problem may be spending too much time in one world. He’s basically written about the same world non-stop since his breakthrough novel. Different characters from time to time, but the same world. He may have just run out of ideas, so it might be time for him to find a different world to write about.

Now, I’m nowhere near as successful as either of these two great authors — both of them are favorites of mine — but I’m already making plans to try and not fall into the bad habits they seem to have. After Librarian I am planning another two books to finish the story and round out the traditional trilogy, then I’m planning either a cyberpunk series or a superhero series. I have one concept that would work well for either one, so I need to pick one and go that way, and then if I decide to do the other I firmly plan on coming up with a different concept for it (for the record, I am leaning towards cyberpunk, but could change my mind). I most definitely don’t wanna be seen as a one-trick pony. I’ve also got a different fantasy concept in mind, but I don’t want to pigeonhole myself as just a fantasy author either, so I’ll probably do that one after either the cyberpunk or superhero books.

If you’re an up and coming author, one of the best things you can do is learn from the masters. I’ve spent over 20 years immersing myself in lots of sci-fi and fantasy, and I hope that comes through in Librarian. But please, don’t just learn their good traits, you should also learn from their mistakes, as I’ve pointed out in the cases of Eddings and Feist above. If one of your favorite authors does something you don’t like, learn how to avoid that mistakes yourself. You’ll be a better author for it.

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Five star reviews and the lazy author

This young lady reblogged my comments on authors needing a thick skin yesterday, and today she’s expanding on that article in a way that is truly worth reading. Check it out!

My path to self publishing Multicultural YA, Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels

I’ve been lucky enough to be apart of strong communities of both traditionally published, and self published authors.

I recently read, liked, and re blogged a post from fellow blogger ABookWyrmWrites.

In this post, it stated that authors, specifically indie ones, are often targets of online harassment, trolling, and other ways of putting that perhaps they were unhappy with the way a review was given. My question is, as long as given constructively, why are authors allowing “perfect” reviews to validate their writing, while questioning the intelligence of reviewers whom are(or at least should be) giving them the tools they require to improve their skills as a writer.Recently I read Tiger’s Quest. It is a sequel to a book with the same theme, a teenager whom must help two brothers break a curse that turned them into tigers. I loved both the first in the series, and it’s sequel…

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Morning Quote 8/29/13

Writing, I think, is not apart from living.  Writing is a kind of double living.  The writer experiences everything twice.  Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind.

  • Catherine Drinker Bowen, Atlantic, December 1957

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August 29, 2013 · 7:10 am

An Author Must Develop (Or Already Possess) A Thick Skin

Earlier today fellow independent author Rick Gualtieri tweeted about an online petition to the White House demanding an investigation into people treating independent authors badly.

Due to the unprecedented number of online personal attacks on indie authors we petition the Whitehouse to direct the Attorney General to investigate the wide spread problem of stalking, bullying , harassment, intimidation, criminal defamation and libel originating from the websites goodreads.com and Amazon.com. There resides on these sites a gang of serial criminals who endlessly attack writers with the express intent to damage, reputations, careers and trade. These criminals terrorize writers on a regular basis and we, the victims, want it stopped.

If I may quote a previous occupant of the Oval Office, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!

What these thin-skinned authors have to realize is, not everyone is going to bow at your feet just because you clicked “publish” on an e-book website like Amazon. Some people are going to like your book, some people aren’t. That’s life. And, speaking as a reviewer, a good deal of what’s independently published these days is nothing short of dreck.

If you’re going to get into the authorship business, you need to develop the hide of the proverbial rhinoceros. People are going to pan your book, especially if there are grammar and spelling errors. No matter how good your book, people are going to write bad things about it. Even Hunger Games, one of the most popular modern books, has over 300 one-star reviews like this one. Harry Potter’s first book also received negative reviews like this. Do the people pushing this petition really think they’re better writers than modern bestselling authors like Suzanne Collins and J. K. Rowling? I got news for you, you’re probably not. Even if you are the greatest American author since Mark Twain, you’re going to get your share of bad reviews.

Bad reviews happen. How you deal with them says a lot about how mature you are as a person. An immature person goes screaming to the nearest authority figure, saying, “Mommy! (Teacher! Mr. President!) They’re being mean to me! Make them stop!” A mature soul looks at it and says, you can’t please everyone. Then the professional author tries his darnedest to make the next book even better, especially if the bad reviews pointed out errors in a previous book. An unprofessional author, on the other hand, just keeps repeating the same mistakes and then wonders why his books aren’t selling. A really unprofessional and immature author publicly lashes out at those who write negative reviews.

Of course, not everyone is going to like my book Librarian (once I get it published). I understand that. I’m ready for bad reviews, and I hope to handle them like the mature professional author I want to be.

Heck, not everyone is going to like this post, and some might even say so in the comments. I understand that too. Go ahead, fire away. I have thick skin.

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Morning Quote 8/28/13

You fail only if you stop writing.

  • Ray Bradbury

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August 28, 2013 · 6:39 am