Have you ever visited a writers forum before, felt possibly some kindred spirit between struggling writers, signed up with great hopes and maybe some trepidation, only to realize that most likely most of those users are really just the Debbie Downer types who don’t really care about offering any beneficial critique? Who really just care mostly about tearing down, and shredding any questions or work you put in before they actually see your work or really get to know you?
I dunno. It may be just a case of “who am I to judge”, but let’s face it; the internet is nothing more really than a cultural wasteland of dubious benefit that really has only helped porn addicts get their fix without having to walk down to the nearest porn shop and spend forty bones on some fetish gang bang like back in the (ahem) good ole’ days. And really, what does the internet offer that can’t be had anywhere else?
Want information on that hard trig assignment due on Friday? Well by jove! Head to the nearest library! Having problems paying for an electrician for a wiring job? Well hey! Once again your local friendly library is just around the corner! Music? There are still some indie record shops out there that cater to many genres.
The point is, is that relying on what some stranger thousands of miles away who’s supposedly some “expert”, is kinda like allowing some dude you met at your new job take care of that vintage 1968 Ford Mustang that you spent years renovating? Sure, he may actually work as a mechanic and know his stuff, but would you really trust anything this guy or gal says let alone does? Enough to take a few spins out on the freeway? Enough to take advice on any upgrades?
My advice? Engage and form a bond between a college professor who you know knows what they’re talking about. State, UC, private, hell, even community would work fantastic. That way at least, they most likely know the contact of someone who knows someone else who is actually reputable when it comes to what you write. Just don’t sit around typing to strangers who will always just remain strangers.
Is reading such a subjective point of view that there really is no such thing as a bad book? This is a simple thought I’ve had about an hour ago that I’m surprised found legs inside of my imagination. Is it the flow, strong deep characters, or the story itself?
An interesting analogy to this would be that Tom Green movie Freddie Got Fingered that came out years ago. Openly vilified by professionals and amateurs alike, for some reason, I ended up loving that movie possibly for all the reasons everyone else hated it. Which is strange, considering that I never really dug his television show. Anyways, I did a lot of soul searching on why exactly I loved this movie considering the vitriol it still receives to this day. And then it hit me. It was original. That’s why. It wasn’t a sequel, or based off a graphical novel, or an actual written novel. No, it was written and produced by Tom Green. A completely original work. And now that I look back, that’s the reason why.
As long as someone actually tries something different, then no matter how terrible the execution or content may be, at least the original creator is trying something different. And I can respect that.
So with that little rant being said, is it originality itself that makes a good story? Something that’s never been tried or thought of before? We can use another analogy if we want. That if a novel is structured the same way as a big blockbuster movie, would that make it a terrible book? What makes a good story? When I get some followers, then maybe I can get some opinions in here.
Okay, now I would first like to mention right off the bat that I am an amateur writer. Meaning that while yes I have several completed works that vary from screenplay, to short story, to full blown novel, none of them have been published so far. It certainly is not from lack of trying. It’s very, very difficult working a part time job, going to school, and writing a big project on top of all that.
So my point in all of this? Well, that I’m still messing up. A lot. And I did mess up pretty big as far as one major issue is concerned. Not that I entirely blame myself. I am like I said before an amateur writer, and thus, I have read a plethora of non-fiction on the craft of writing. And absolutely none of them that I have browsed through so far, offer any advice on how to properly break a story up into paragraphs.
This actually surprised me that I didn’t catch this sooner. My guess is that the really good writers out there craft their work into such a way that we the reader don’t even stop to analyze exactly how they decided to break their words in a certain way. It’s like how you succumb to the flow of the book where you don’t even recognize that they are just words on a paper. That you transcend using your imagination to the world of the writer, and consider yourself lucky to be carried along into this new world.
And how difficult it is! How difficult it is trying to tear yourself away from feeling empathy, anger, sadness for a character into something so clinical as analyzing story development and structure. And if we retrain our minds to think like that, can we ever just dive into that story like we did before and enjoy it on that type of level again? I suppose I could use the Christmas analogy, where when we were younger and Santa Claus kept us up all night giddy with excitement at the presents he would bring for us. Then came that crushing moment when we realized we had been lied to. That it was all just a facade that we foolishly bought into. Yeah, sure, we can still enjoy the presents and yuletide feelings, but that initial innocence whisps away into the graveyard of youthful hope.
Okay, it looks like I’m going into rant mode, so I’ll stop. I’m still not sure how to properly break up my work so that flow is still there. But I’ll just trust my gut instinct on this one. Maybe I can grab that innocence once again though. Delve into my character and lose myself. Maybe by bringing back that love of reading and pushing aside the cold calculating literary professor is how discover how to rearrange my story into paragraphs that ebb and flow with a natural ease. I’ll let you dear reader, know if I lose myself once again.
So as you all know from my last post, I’ve been working on my third draft of Torn Lace. The funny thing about writing, or at least writing for an audience is how subjective such a medium is. And it’s the same with any form of art whether written, visual, or audio. What you like is what you like. Some prefer Fifty Shades of Grey, others may lean more towards the classical works or the writing style of Cormac Mccarthy. It all depends on the reader. No matter how poorly you feel you have written, there is bound to be someone out there who likes the crap you put down.
The only problem with that line of thinking is that you really want to make sure your writing is as strong as possible to reach as broad of an audience as possible. Let’s use the Star Wars analogy. Certain film snobs may hate the George Lucas trilogy for what it did to modern cinema, but it can’t be denied for even the most jaded of cynics how great the musical score of John Williams turned out. And that’s kinda what I would like for Torn Lace. That there is something for everyone. Maybe they don’t like my writing, and consider it amateurish, but hey!…that’s a damn interesting story! And vice versa.
This leads me into the direction of hiring a good editor to help me along. Because the last thing I want to do is tarnish my beginning rep with an absolute piece of rubbish. The only problem is the cost itself. Did I mention that I’m a rather poor student trying to find a new career? Well, I am. And that means shelling out thousands of dollars for a pro might be out of of my price range. Ah, what a conundrum. Do I just finish the third draft, put it on amazon.com, pimp my book, then hope for the best? Or should I just hope and pray to come into a small fortune instead? What to do…what to do.