Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Art of Reading

As a writer I read a lot, and as me I don’t read nearly as much as I should. I would like to read more, I really would, but it takes so much time and there are so many other things I have to do on top of writing already. So for now, reading is more of a backseat necessity, one I do every night before bed.

What I’ve found through talking with some friends is how very different the reading experience is to each person. We each have our own ways of doing things and it fascinates me really. A recent discussion led to a friend and I talking about the Dresden Files and I don’t really remember about how we got onto the topic of Dresden himself, but we ended up talking about him and what we both think of him.

My friend said he envisioned Dresden as like a gaunt man, with his coat and what not, pretty much to a T of the description given in the books. I guess this is what you would expect someone to reply with. For them to describe the character as they are described in the book, but I learned during this conversation that I don’t do that at all.  It happens at first, but to me I get a good image of characters by how they talk and react.  I find myself completely ignoring their descriptions all together after a while.  What do I care if the book says he has dark brown hair and in my mind he has blonde, unless it’s mentioned every other page it likely makes little difference.

With this reading attitude I have, be it good, bad, or strange, I tend to place actors as characters. For instance my Dresden is Leonardo DiCaprio, why? He has that sullen feel to him that Leo shows a lot in movies like Shutter Island. Like the world is a dark place and he has to deal with it. Almost every character gets this kind of attribute. From Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn:  Elend = Will Smith,  Kelsier = Chris Pine, Ham = Hugh Jackman, Breeze = John Goodman. Whether or not these characters hold any of the real physical characteristics as Sanderson describes them I have no idea. But, in my mind this is the crew, and if you don’t see it, try reading one of these characters with the voice of their actor and I’m sure it’ll make sense.

I wonder how this method of reading affects my writing. Unlike when I read, when I write, my characters are unique individuals. I’ve tried casting them and I can’t do it. Yet, at the same time I know I don’t go into a lot of detail describing them physically either. I just don’t think it’s necessary; perhaps because of the way I read. I only give a few key details. Throughout my entire first novel I think the only reference to Quincy’s looks I give is that he wears a cape and a hat, and he’s the MC! But, I don’t want to bog the reader down. Quincy is who he is. He can come in multiple shapes and sizes and or forms, but he’ll be the same person, stand for the same things, loathe the same pet Easter Bunny every day.

 

-Your Strange Book Caster

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The Importance of Genre and A Young Writers Struggles With It

Genre is important but as a writer I find it impossible to place my work. I’m not the only one. I can’t remember where, but I do recall reading-or maybe hearing, for some reason I’m thinking it was on Writing Excuses- that it’s near impossible for writers to correctly label their writings. I mean, to an extent I guess some of it’s easy. If you were to write a story about a giant spider terrorizing a city it’d probably be a horror slash sci-fi.  Though, pending the point of view of the story, it could be a young adult mystery or something rather.

Incorrectly labeling a novel can lead to all sorts of trouble. It can make querying a lot harder, and if you self publish the thing might not be found. If someone finds a thriller in the romance section of Amazon, you can be assured the ratings of the novel will sink. It’s terrible, because the author may not intend to trick the reader but they still suffer, the poor author just doesn’t know.

Currently I find myself at this predicament. I guess I always have. To me Quincy’s stories are Quincy’s stories and nothing else. People can label them whatever they want. I didn’t sit down and write them with a genre in mind or a particular audience in mind either. I am writing them because they’re the stories I want to read. They’re the stories that I’m bursting at the seams to poor onto paper. The stories I need to share with the world.  And to be honest the more I write them the more they change, how can I label that?

Unfortunately, I need to find a label. The only thing I know for certain is that it’s humorous, at least as far as I can tell. But whether it’s YA or not, I have no clue. Is it considered a super-hero book? I mean he doesn’t have any powers, but he’s a crime fighter with some cool gadgets and there’s crazy villains, he even has a sidekick. Is it urban fantasy? He lives in a city full of things that don’t exist here, there’s magic, a talking penguin, Santa’s Elfs, omnipotent beings, and the like, but it doesn’t focus on wizards or vampires.

How do you choose?  You have to pick the right label or you could completely miss your audience.  But, I guess that bears the question of how do you find your audience How do you figure out what who will like your book and who what else their interested in?  This is stage I’m at. What about any of you other indie authors out there? Or beginner writers.

Your Struggling Newbie

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Being a Writer

I just sat down on my floor and coffee table to get some work done and instead decided to write a post.  It’s a long the same lines of my last one, but more about how it feels as a writer. Or at least delves into the thought process of what it feels like to be an active writer.

 

You see, as a writer we have, at least in our own minds, this great epic story to tell. There is nothing more important than this story. Whether it is actually the greatest thing since Harry Potter or will define an entire genre like Lord of the Rings is probably unlikely. But that doesn’t matter to the writer. In the writer’s head it is and it will be as conversational as Star Wars when it’s all said and done. I mean how could it not be right?

 

This train of thought leads writing to become an obsession. You have this brilliant idea that you need to share with the world. Every minute you’re wasting not putting pen to paper is depriving the world of this great story. You have to get it out. And as you work on it, edit it, fix this, add that, delete the part about the goose triumphant-ing over a dragon, reread it, hate it, throw it away, start over, hate that, pull the old version out of the trash and re–edit it; you love it more and more.  Each step makes it more and more brilliant. 

 

Sure, during the entire process you have doubts and stress out. There are plenty of moments where you feel like your beating a dead horse or that you have absolutely no talent. You take in the ridicule of 5 critiques that say your favorite part sucks and gain the tiniest pat on the back that at least your character  has a cool name, or that one sentence is brilliant.In short, the process sucks, but you endure this.  You endure it because you have this inner voice that tells you, your idea is brilliant and that you’re going to see it through to the end no matter what. 

 

I guess you could say writers are stubborn. That they don’t know better. They must be stupid to continue working on something night and day after constantly being told it’s garbage and having boatloads full of truck loads of  people say they want to read it but don’t- clearly that must say that it’s not even good enough to read past the first few pages. Even the writer spends nights thinking it would be unfair to the trash can to throw such a foul piece of junk into it. 

 

This all might be true. We writers may be dumb, stubborn, obsessive, self-loathing, and a bit insane. But I’m ok with that. Because the joy you get as a writer is beyond describable. When you sit down and work on your world, you get swept away to s perfect place. A story that you love above any other. It becomes your favorite piece of fiction, and whether or not everyone recognize’s your Bat Signal doesn’t matter. You love it, and want to share it with the world. If the world doesn’t want to see it, they’re the ones missing out.

 

And that, is what it’s like writing.

 

-Your Bursting at the Seams with the next big thing Story-weaver

Started From the Bottom – Drake

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