Wednesday, August 18, 2010
So, as I acknowledge that big isn't for everybody (though it can lead you to the same fulfilling outcome), I turn this idea inward and wonder about my own writing quest. Is publication about the mode of transmission or the story I'm telling?
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
This year's Beloit College Mindset List says that writing in cursive is one of those things the class of 2014 just doesn't do. (And I can attest to that. While my oldest learned cursive in second grade, both my younger two rolled right through the early grades without it. I'm told it's a less-than-useful skill in these modern days and precious curriculum time can be devoted to some other subject.) But back to our topic.
The references we use as writers to frame setting are often mired in tiny details like planners for work, post-it notes on the fridge, CDs in drive time. But depending on your target reader, they might be accustomed to a life with PDAs, text reminders, and those fancy iPod hookups in the car. Your assumption that you're on the pulse of the times might totally disconnect your reader from the story and compel them to write you off as old-fashioned or not their type of author.
Admittedly, we can't predict every new tide changing times bring. For example, I was reading a Dean Koontz book last year (sorry, can't recall which one), and a single character action snatched me out of the story: There was a doctor in a hospital and he went into the lounge to have a cigarette.
I immediately turned to the front of the book and searched for the copyright. I found that the book had originally been released in 1972 (or thereabouts), which explained why the doctor was lighting up in the hospital. We all know that doesn't happen nowadays. In fact, I know of at least one local hospital that prohibits smoking anywhere on the property. Obviously, smoking was still 1950s cool when Dean penned that manuscript. Who knew that two decades later it would rank right up there with the plague? lol
So, we should -- I think -- do what we can as authors to remain timely, yet timeless, and true to our characters. That takes research, social perception, and a little leeway from readers if we're blessed with Dean's longevity.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I can't even think of a word to describe the knotted, pit-of-stomach, ball of dread and confusion that news caused when it tore across the internet like wildfire, vanquishing hopes and expectations -- not to mention good-faith agreements -- in its destructive wake. Dramatic turn of phrase? Well, yes. But our publisher going e-book and POD (print-on-demand) is huge, game-changing news. And we didn't take that second hand news lightly.
After all, we're authors. We write. We publish. And with Dorchester, we expected to see physical, hold in my hand books. Downloadable, read on a screen text is fine as an option at this point in the industry's evolution. But for many readers, it's still about choice. To me, Dorch's chosen course is a bit like the Big Three automakers deciding to produce only electric cars as a way out of their financial woes. Sure, we drivers believe in green living. But are we all ready to free ourselves of gasoline run cars today?
As one of those Dorchester authors with a book "in the pipeline" I can tell you I'm a whole slew of tangled emotions at the moment. I'll let you know how this all pans out.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Some writers outline and plot, others “wing” their stories. Some need silence to create, others rely on music to set a mood, or field trips to develop a scene. Personal styles and craft techniques run the gamut of approaches among authors. Yet, I’ve found one practice common across genre and experience level: stepping away from the story.
I think I happened on the tactic accidentally with my first novel. I’d finished the book and so I set it aside to focus on getting it published. When I started getting feedback on the manuscript, I revisited my story and found myself reading it like it was the first time I’d seen it.