Today’s Talk

It has been said that a huge part of writing is to know when to give out information and when to leave it out. You want to intrigue the reader enough that he’s interested in continuing reading.

However, this is a risk. Too little information can leave the reader confused, disappointed and uninterested. This is where the risk comes in: using literary techniques like red herrings (leading the characters towards an incorrect trail) can captivate or confuse. It’s the cross every writer/author must bear, and its the honing of this skill that takes decades, even lifetimes to master (if it can be mastered; there is always more to learn).

I am still learning, so be patient. If you have an author in your life, be patient. Help him/her. Encourage him/her. At the end of the day, encouragement is what counts.

Thank you for your time.

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Sorry I’m Late

I stopped writing on the blog because I haven’t felt inspired much lately. I’ve already told you about the Ink Well writing meetings I’ve been attending, and how they’ve changed my writing. I had a plan to give them the sequel to the book I’ve published. This way they’d get to know the real meat of my characters while encouraging them to wonder how they started developing into the characters they’ve been reading.

However, after a talk with some of the group members, I’ve decided to reverse the plan. I’m going to give them book one instead of book two. Hopefully, they’ll invest in the characters as they develop. It’s going to be like pulling a fast one on my fellow writers, but I’m getting stuck on early chapters and prologues. Again hopefully, they’ll understand. Wish me luck.

Learning To See

I’ve been meeting with a small writer’s group lately. We each bring a few pages of our work and get feedback from other members. I started going to these meetings thinking I was going to knock all their socks off with my writing. But it turns out I’m not. Without even realizing it, I discovered I was writing for myself. I knew the big picture, so subconsciously I wasn’t including precious details. That’s probably why my book sales suffered, and why I get more questions than congratulations from readers of my stuff.

Here’s the kicker. Bit by bit I’ve been noticing the lack of detail in my stories. I began to write for other people in mind and not just myself. The group changed my writing for the better.

So thanks to the Ink Well Writing Group. With their help, I’ve been able to focus on making sure the reader can understand my writing. The best part is, in terms of my writing, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Innovation

Writing is an art form. Thus it has rules defining the parameters of what writing is and isn’t. At the same time, art is subject to interpretation. Artists try to create writing that is outside the box in some way, thus creating a sub-genre of writing. Every writer wants to be remembered as a visionary, of creating something unique that will stand out amidst the pillars of revered writers. I tried to do that.

But it’s a gamble. In giving hints and details to the plots, you can fail to connect to an audience, and thus lose them to unclear writing. I tried to imply that my future society doesn’t know how to read. By making details obscure I thought I was setting bread crumbs for the audience to follow. But looking at the piece now, I knew all I had done was provide a lot of confusion for my audience. A confused audience will abandon the work in a flash.

Hence my lesson for the day: get others to read your stuff. Listen to what they have to say. Try to rebuild your writing on their suggestion. All the innovation in the world is nothing if the audience gives up on the reading. Good luck.

No Wisdom

Today I have no words of wisdom, no precious tidbits of a writer’s life. I’m been editing my work a lot lately. The first book isn’t as successful as I thought. Most of the blame lies with me. I didn’t market the general audience. Or maybe my idea of an audience was too broad (the book was supposed to be readable by anyone). I never thought to get feedback. There are hundreds of other reasons.

Which makes me wonder if I’m cut out of this at all. I spent my entire adult life creating this grand story, and when I showed it to the world, the world wasn’t interested. The only good reviews were mostly by my family members (a few who are only serious readers). Plus, I think I burned myself out.

So why keep doing this? I don’t know. Maybe because I don’t have anything else. Maybe I’m so invested in my fantasy world that the real world is terrifying.

I understand that this is a phase, a symptom of my depression. I understand it intelligently, but all the logic in the world can’t plug the hole in your heart. The world and I speak different languages. I just wish I could convey my translation. Thanks for the read.

Rewriting

In 2003 Stephen King produced a revised edition of his Gunslinger novel. He did this to make the first novel more accessible to new readers and to make the plot “more consistent” to the series’ ending. After Chased By Flame’s monetary failure (only 80 books were sold), I always toyed with the idea of revising the book. As a writer, I write down everything — scenarios, plot twists, things that are good writing but ultimately don’t fit with the narrative — I began to file down certain elements that confused readers (like the time travel paradoxes, the absence of magic, etc) as an experiment. I’m not ready to gauge the finished product until it’s finished. There’s also the danger of letting the revision consume my writing (an inability to let things go) by sacrificing time better spent on current works. Still, the relationship between a writer and his writing is an ever-shifting master/slave symbiosis, so I got to continue writing, no matter what. Wish me luck.

Egocentric View

I’m modifying an introduction of a character and I was stunned to realize that I didn’t answer certain background questions essential to an introduction: appearance, his physical disability for example. I wrote the piece for me, not the reader. Wow. Just stunned me that I did that automatically. Sometimes it’s hard to separate your own viewpoint of the character and the viewpoint of the first-time reader.  Looks like I have a lot to work on. Wish me luck.