Wednesday, April 18, 2018

How Being A Writer Has Changed My Book Buying Habits

Photo Courtesy of Visual Hunt

I’ve noticed a trend in my ebook buying habits over the past year. My purchases tend to fall into one of two camps. Camp number one represents either a book by an author I love (and hence a no-brainer purchase) or the rare book that really catches my attention (interesting premise, great voice, etc.). Camp number two involves books that are merely okay, but which have a voice or style similar to mine. I buy these books because I want to learn from them, to see how to craft sentences that work—not because the story is great. In other words, I buy it to satisfy the writer in me, not the reader. 

Not that I can't learn from the first group of books, but their writing is usually so far above my station it’s difficult for me to pick out the nuances. What I learn from this group involves aspects of story structure. Where did the character arcs occur? How did the authors pull off that intricate subplot? Why did they choose one method over another? The high level stuff. 

The end result of all this is that I’ve become jaded in my book buying habits. If a book doesn’t grab me immediately, then I won’t buy it unless I think I’ll learn something from it. No more middle ground. No more fun little reads. I already have so many TBR and IKINR (I Know I’ll Never Read) books on my Kindle, there’s no incentive for me to do anything else. 

Is it just me? What are your book buying habits these days?


Friday, April 13, 2018

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 187

This Week's Writing Links
Photo Courtesy of Visual Hunt

After not being able to write for two weeks because of bronchitis, I had to speed-write for a week in order to complete my submissions for my two critique groups, both of which met this week. I plan on spending this weekend relaxing, although my wife may have other plans in mind. 

We saw Pacific Rim: Uprising last weekend and were moderately entertained.  My my, how computer graphics have evolved over time. Mass destruction never looked so good.  The story itself was rather contrived and full of plot holes, but I've come to expect that in these kinds of movies.  Just load up on the popcorn and soda and watch the explosions, thank you very much.

Enjoy the writing links! 


Showing vs telling: ‘Show don’t tell’ in narration

How to Publish with Createspace & Ingram Spark at the Same Time

How to avoid spam filters and reach the inbox

Pros And Cons Of Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing

Writing a Synopsis

Mining Our Characters’ Wounds

7 Ways to Master “Show, Don’t Tell” During Exposition

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Insecure Writer And Knowing If You've Got the Skills To Be A Writer

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

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

Because I still wonder if I'm one of those people who'll never be a good/,average/passable writer. no matter how much I work at it. 

I’ve read posts and listened to podcasts that say anyone can be a writer if they work hard enough at it, but I know that’s not the case. We may not wish to discuss it in public, but the truth is some people will never be able to grasp the concept of being a writer—whether it’s an inability to write coherent sentences, or a lack of imagination, or being unable to describe a scene so that someone other than the writer understands what’s going on, or any of the dozens of other skills a writer must have. 

I have a knack for chemistry. I don’t know why; I just do. It makes sense to me. It’s not always easy, but I can solve complicated problems because I don’t have to worry about the basics. I used to think that anyone could pass a chemistry class if they worked hard enough, but after years of teaching I was forced to admit that some people will never get it. They might be smart and/or hard working, but chemistry will never click for them. And that’s okay—assuming they’re satisfied with never being a chemist. 

It’s the same for writers. Even passable writers wield words in a way that are beyond the ken of non-writers. They breathe life onto the page without consciously thinking about it. They may struggle at times, but the basics come so naturally to them they don’t even think about them anymore. Unfortunately, there will always be those aspiring writers who will never "get" these basics, no matter how hard they work. 

I’ve met all sorts of aspiring writers at meetings and conferences. Their skill levels vary widely, but I can see the understanding in their eyes. But I’ve run into a few people I know will never have that understanding. They’re enthusiastic and attend conferences and read books, but after speaking with them for ten minutes, it’s clear they’re never going to get it. I recall helping someone with their synopsis once and when I asked her to explain what her story was about, it was an absolute mess. When I suggested her story needed some kind of conflict she just stared at me like I was an idiot. 

It's a dirty secret, but some people will never be writers. It’s not their fault, and I feel bad for them. My only question is: Am I one of those people? 

Oh, by the way, I'm one of the IWSG co-hosts this month. Don't forget to stop by the other co-hosts too.   Olga Godim Renee Scattergood Tamara Narayani