Friday, April 12, 2013

The Connection Between Book and Writer

When I write, no matter what I'm writing, I think about the connection readers might make between the words I write, and my personality.  There's no doubt that certain elements of my stories represent parts of my own personality, but not all of them.

Right now I'm writing a science fiction novel, and that carries a stereotype.  I must like Star Trek and Dr. Who, right?  Eh, I guess Star trek is okay, and I've only tried watching Dr. Who once, but I'm actually more into conspiracy theories.  Sure, Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies, but I don't think that defines me.

 I also like to write horror stories.  As a matter of fact, that's probably more of my preferred genre.  I prefer reader horror, and always have.  Does that carry its own stereotypes?  I would think so.

 What if I decide to write a fantasy series one day?  Does that say something about me?  Will people who read my science fiction and horror stories be likely to read my fantasy series?  Will they tell me to pick a genre and stick to it?

 It seems that a lot of times writers DO stick to certain genres, and I've heard that's good for business.

 If you want to build an audience, you need to build a fan base.  I agree with that statement.  On the other hand, I want to write whatever I want to write, and I want my fan base to stick with me because of my personality and writing style, not because I fall into their preferred genre.

 I would think that it's almost inescapable:  people are going to make assumptions about writers based on the content writers produce.  Of course.  It's not necessarily a bad thing, but I'd like to think that the relationship between writer and reader could grow over time.  I want my collection of work, and not just a single story, to shed light on who I am as a writer.

 I'm not sure if anyone else feels the same way I do.  I know that some people just want to writer thrillers and others just want to writer mystery novels, but one of the reasons I like to write is my broad array of interests.  I want to explore those interests, and learn about my own personality through writing.

 Let me know what you think.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

What do Writers Want?

What do writers want?

The appropriate response is:  I just want to write.

Okay, of course you want to write.  But really, what do you WANT?

I've had a great time writing fiction that I've never showed a single person.  I've deleted files that were probably 30-40,000 words long, and not a single friend or family member ever knew the difference.  That must mean I just want to write for the sake of writing, right?


Take a few seconds to absorb that information, and calm yourself down.  Surely, there must be a traitor in your midst.  A writer who doesn't write simply for the sake of writing?  There MUST be more to this story.

And there is.

It's true that I love to write.  When I was a kid, and I'm talking six or seven years old, I would fill up entire notebooks with scribbles.  I was pretending to transcribe the storylines from television shows, pretending to convert the stories into a book format.

Why?  I don't know, but I was doing it for free and I was doing it for fun... Yes, it was fun for me.  I was doing it, just because I wanted to.

Now that I'm older I don't get a lot of entertainment from filling up notebooks with someone else's ideas.  I've found my own ideas, and I want to share them.  Mostly, I want to create my own storylines.  I want to take strange and unique ideas, and turn them into things that feel real.

Would I do it for free?  Well, I haven't exactly been raking in the cash from my first two short stories, but I'm probably not going to keep putting forth a lot of effort in the future if it doesn't pay off eventually.

Blasphemy!  I know, I know.  I'm not supposed to want money for what I do.  I'm a writer.  This is supposed to be fun, not profitable.  If I wanted to make money, I should have invested in the stock market... or something.

But that's just it, I WANT this to be my job.  I want to make enough money from writing books to quit my day job.  I want to be able to justify having a nice, quiet spot in my apartment where I can write in relative peace (which I don't have, but sounds so wonderful, doesn't it?).  I want money, not for the love of money, but for the love of writing!  I want THIS to be WHAT I DO!

That, I think, is what a lot of writers are looking for.  They want to be able to wake up in the morning and know that "going to work" means working on their stories.  When people ask, "What do you do for a living?" they want to be able to say "I write."

And what's wrong with that?  When a doctor claims that s/he wants to save peoples' lives, nobody expects him to do it for free.  The same goes for teachers.  We want teachers who enjoy teaching, but we wouldn't ask them to do it for free.

Ah, but writing is ART.  Artists are expected to make art for the love of the art.  That's fine.  You can create art for the love of art, and hopefully you have a significant other who supports your habit, or a second job that doesn't take up too much of your personal time.  Otherwise, your art is more like a hobby.

There are people who really are satisfied with writing as a hobby, and I don't begrudge them one bit.  Writing is a GREAT hobby.  I'd rather write than collect stamps any day.  Still, I would guess that these hobby writers wouldn't mind getting some spending money from their work.

Getting paid for what you like to do is gratifying.  It's a sign that people are responding positive ways.  It's an incentive to keep up the good work (or improve).  Competition exists because of money, and money motivates writers to create quality content.  Without it, we'd all be downloading a lot of free, mediocre, poorly edited ebooks.

Why do I write?  I write because I love to write, AND I WANT TO MAKE A LIVING WRITING.  I write because it's my idea of a dream job.  I want to do work that's creative, easy on my back, and allows me to have a lot of freedom in my life.

I want the same things for my friends and fellow writers.  Thanks to independent publishing, we all have the potential to reach an audience, and hopefully earn an income doing what we love.  Good luck to all of you, and I hope you achieve your goals, whatever they may be.

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