General

#WritingCommunity 3

As I wrote on Monday, I am alone in the house (the Mrs. is in Chicago) here in upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains. The nearest road (on which one car passes about every 15 minutes or so) is about 1/5 of a mile away down our driveway; our nearest neighbors are not exactly “next door” (and insofar as I have been able to discern, they are not even there); and there are no houses behind us for miles. So my reading out loud won’t be disturbing anyone other than maybe birds, groundhogs, deer, or possibly a bear or two. LOL!

[Catskills, New York. Photo by me, September 10, 2019.]

I am taking this opportunity to read the Tomorrow manuscript out loud. It is one of the last things I do: I find if a manuscript reads well spoken out loud, that means it flows, and I hope when read silently it reads at least as well. Finishing, uh, this manuscript out loud – my longest book to date – will take a while…if I don’t get Laryngitis first!

Writer problems. Speaking again of those, since I have offered a couple of recent posts (here and here) featuring tweets from Twitter’s #writingcommunity, I started to think I might also make it an occasional feature on here. So given after I click publish here I will be returning to proofreading out loud, I thought I’d share more of my hopefully wildly insightful, truly brilliant, and thoroughly entertaining responses to some other recent #writingcommunity questions…

Eh, careful there who you’re calling old… old, uh, sport.

“Villain(s)?” Why some people are just trying to create a more equal, just, and better world…

[Excerpt from Conventions: The Garden At Paris, on Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

…and to achieve that end, well, maybe they guillotine or drown or otherwise “creatively” do away with those they feel are getting in the way of all of that.

I do have a Facebook page, but it is really mostly just what is here reposted over there. Facebook helps some people find me here.

Some other people, I have learned, just seem to prefer to go first to read Facebook and don’t appear to want first to visit the center of my authoring universe here: this blog you are now visiting.

Even though they end up here via a link.

In the coming Tomorrow The Grace I have three primary characters: A (American) man (whom you have met above in Conventions: The Garden At Paris) and two (one English, one French) women. We see the world mostly through their perspectives, and they have no problems with letting what they think be heard. There are others as well who look on too and they share some of what they “see.”

Magic? Uh, the rest there doesn’t apply to me.

I don’t have conversations with myself to invent dialogue. I am a witness to what is happening. I am merely writing down what I overhear of their conversations. LOL!

I do remember that Star Trek episode with the humanoid aliens who were colored white and black vertically on different sides of their bodies. I forget which way it went, but the “rulers” were white on “this” side and the descendants of slaves of centuries before were white on the other side. However, in every other way they looked basically the same.

The original Star Trek, is, uh, about the height of my sci-fi knowledge.

So-called “beta readers” are not writing your book. YOU ARE WRITING IT. So write what YOU want to write.

I hate this “beta-reader” fixation.

Writing a novel is not like testing out new software.

I wrote in secret for the first six months while writing the bulk of my first book…

[Excerpt from Passports: Atlantic Kives, 1994/1995, on Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

I told my wife and a couple of trusted friends I was writing a book AFTER I was sure I would at least complete it. I was stunned by their reactions. They were all immensely supportive.

That latter was surprising given the tale was largely, well, obviously – if you knew me – essentially autobiographical “fiction”… and “Isabelle” is not my wife. Uh. Writing a book your wife reads in which it is obvious to her who is being fictionalized… and which is sourced from a time in your life that pre-dates her appearance in it? Yep, no problem writing THAT! LOL!

Most of my family still don’t know I write because I NEVER WANTED THEM TO KNOW. I write under a pen name for partly that reason, as well as not to infuriate anyone who may be fictionalized and they see themselves and don’t like what they see. For employment reasons I also don’t want my real name being Googled and turning up my authoring life and my books: I don’t want any potential problems in a workplace.

Actually, that would be an excellent first sentence.

Try the Catskills:

Plenty quiet here! 🙂

I readily admit as a teen I had a “crush” on “Cora” in The Last of The Mohicans.

As for writing? Considering I write often about former/current friends and even those who were, uh, rather more dear to me than that? I don’t get attached. Of course I was or I am still attached.

Ah, graduate school. Thinking great academic thoughts. Nothing like a “creative writing” course, eh?

Remember, remember, remember, if you feel you need an MFA to write a novel, you don’t. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that trap. Jane Austen barely even set a foot in a school!

Few writers make much money from their writing. My (now late) uncle (depicted in Passports above) was probably about as successful as most “ordinary” writers – meaning probably you and me – would hope to be. He had contracts with major publishers, editors, TV appearances, and all that, and he supported himself mostly from his books for about fifteen years – and it wasn’t easy: he was usually writing while living on the advance for his next book, so he HAD TO FINISH IT.

If by chance you find someone puts a contract on a table in front of you enabling you to live off your writing, understand if you do nothing else no matter what you MUST write to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head, and that is not necessarily a “dream” position to be in. Indeed, talk about PRESSURE to write! For the last fifteen years of my uncle’s life he had also been adjunct teaching university English and… creative writing… because he had by then become rather worn out from nearly twenty years of CONTRACTUALLY having to produce novels every other year and other writings that had to be DIFFERENT and EXCITING and WOW the critics…

The written word is probably worth less now than at any previous time in history, so don’t write expecting to make lots of money. The best hope for “success” – I witnessed with my uncle – is probably a film or TV adaptation; he had had one book optioned for a film, but the film never got made. If a major film or major TV series is made of your book(s), probably only THEN will you be able to feel truly monetarily secure without the day job.

What makes all of us unique is no one has lived precisely the same life we have. That is what makes our voice… ours. No one else is us.

And if my life is not my voice, I’ll be damned if I know whose life and voice it is…

…I write here as I am about to resume privately reading my latest manuscript out loud in that voice. 🙂

Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂