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.