Tag: Writers

When Genre Writing Is In Name Only

zombie hordeActually I have never met anyone who acts in pornographic movies so I don’t know for sure, but I think I would. Where I intend to go with this concerns an article I saw, Why Science Fiction Writers are Like Porn Stars, on io9. The piece is a rebuttal of sorts to Glen Duncan’s review of the book, Zone One in the New York Times. That is where you will find the comment about intellectuals dating porn stars in regards to literary writers tackling genre fiction. Now having read the review but not the book I am sorry that I am committed that much to this internet dust up. That being said I thought my two cents on genre writing might be worth, well, two cents.

I aspire to write literature, I mean who doesn’t. What I think most do not understand is that, much like history, it is up to the decision of time. Using fancy words, or complex plot structures, or even nouveau cliches only gives your work the semblance of aspiring to be literary. On the other end of the spectrum, throwing zombies into your look at modern life only makes it genre in the same way McDonald’s made pizza. Writers are a fickle lot and nothing grinds our gears than someone writing poorly in our chosen genre or even writing quite well and making more money. What separates true genre writing is not what is in it but what would be missing if it was not there at all. Gadgets and Victorian clothes do not make a Steampunk novel any more Steampunky (?) than a strong protagonist with a wit and a bit of a rebellious nature do. If you remove the airships and Tesla Cannons and the story reads like a Wild Western Romance, you haven’t written a Steampunk novel. The same goes for horror. If the monsters are a metaphor for the ills of society, or even worse, nothing more than set  dressing you haven’t written a Horror novel. What genre writers seem to get better than others is all of the pieces matter and not just the ones that assemble the main picture. I think that is what Mr. Duncan was alluding too but somehow went about it in a very literary way.

Listen To Joe

You have to try hard to miss the name JA Konrath when looking up independent or self publishing. His blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing has been in my RSS feed for a few years now and I always find his posts entertaining and helpful. His latest hammers in the same point that some writers, I fear, still seem to miss.

Don’t Pay To Self-Publish

Read it and please be on the lookout for scams. There is a whole cottage industry in operation whose sole purpose is parting naive and hopeful writers from their hard earned cash. That list covers everything from contests, conferences, books, author services and reviews. True it takes money to make money so you will have to spend a little. Just make sure you spend it on the important stuff, the editing, the formatting, and that cover. If you’re paying for anything else you are being had. Or worse, you are signing away the rights to your works. Knowledge is power. You’ve been knowledged.

Blog Re-Cast: Is Talent Overrated?

I will state this now, I am not a talented writer. I am a skilled one. My first few stories blew as many chucks as the next writer’s. I listened, studied and learned, and I still have more ways to go. For me, the first step in becoming a success at any endeavor is knowing and understanding what you don’t know. For more I suggest you read this great post from Anne R. Allen’s Blog – Is Talent Overrated? 8 Things That Are More Important Than Talent for Writing Success.

Great Time at the Sci-Fi / Fantasy Panel

audience at author panelThe authors and aspiring authors came, listened and asked questions. This was the first in what will hopefully be a regular event at the Think Spot at the Mesa Public Library Red Mountain Branch. The funnest thing about sitting on these panels is you never know which way the discussion will go. Sometimes it focuses on the nuts and bolts of putting a book together, other times it’s the ins and outs of publishing. Today’s discussion was an inspirational exploration of the creative process and writing habits. I think I may have wowed some with my admission to being a fan of writing in noisy crowded places. The room buzzed with energy and I felt my creative juices stirred up and ready for action. If you missed it, I hope to catch you at the next one. I know I am looking forward to it.

Rats On a Sinking Ship

To understand what I’m talking about read this article from Think Progress. http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2014/09/29/3573171/hundreds-of-authors-want-amazon-investigated-for-illegal-monopoly-tactics/ 

Author’s United is just the big 5 publishers’ latest way to enforce their antiquated system. The irony is that practice that these authors claim the government should investigate Amazon over is the same one that Apple used to force their way into the digital content market with the iTunes store. I hate to break it to these authors, but this is not about censorship. This is about a retailer wanting to sell their items at a price that the market deems appropriate. $15 eBooks, just because you have $25 hardbacks to move is not supported by the market. Amazon knows this. Some authors know this but the publishers do not. It will be interesting to see where this goes. As an independent author I have a vested interest in rooting for Amazon, and, no, I am not at the least worried that $9 or even $5 eBooks will devalue my work. It’s a shame millionaire best selling authors do not have as good a view of their own work.

Well There’s Your Problem Right There

Open-bookI kind of figured this but seeing it in map form is scary. http://gizmodo.com/america-doesnt-read-much-says-map-1534623889 In truth you only have to browse a Facebook feed to see that sad fact of America’s fondness for illiteracy.

I am often surprised by the number of writers who are not reading. If you ain’t reading you ain’t writing. There are two questions every writer should have an immediate answer to. What is your latest work? What are you in the middle of reading right now? My writing has improved by leaps and bounds once I began reading regularly.  By that I mean as soon as one book is done the next one in my que hits my Kindle or Nook app. I find it is also useful to read outside your genre of interest and even books with some issues. It all goes into making you a better writer.

Writing Places

DBG_022014While out and about this weekend with family I visited some of my favorite places and some new ones. The experience started me thinking about places where we go to write or to recharge our scrivener’s batteries.

One of my favorite places is the ocean, but that isn’t an easy get to here in Arizona. A close second is the zoo. I think it’s all the life there and being close to the animals. I also feel recharged any time I come back from somewhere outdoors be it a hike or trip through a park or garden. This week we hit the Desert Botanical Gardens, World Wildlife Zoo and Butterfly Wonderland and right now I am itching to write. I also notice I write better in active environments. Get me in a quiet room and my brain seizes up. Put my in a library or hotel library, even the airport, and my fingers are spewing words. I guess I am just strange like that. What about you? Let’s have some fun in the comments section. Tell us some of your most creative places and or where you go to get your writer’s cap on.

What Indie Authors Do Well

This is an older post that I’ve been meaning to get back to. I can’t think of much to add to it, however. It is pretty self explanatory. One thing I struggle with and it is something I think we do to ourselves is perpetuate the label of Indie Author. When you do a search on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You get a list of books. There are no warning signs, “Work is From and Independent Author Your Reading Pleasure May be Compromised.” All the books are listed. So to the person looking for a read there are no sirens going off. Yet we still continue to feed the gulf between traditionally published authors and independents. I wonder why? If you have any thoughts let me know and enjoy the read, I found it very rewarding.

5 Things Indie Authors Do Very Well by Dr. Alison Baverstock on http://indiereader.com/