Thursday, October 22, 2015

Can You Admit When You Were Wrong?

I was thinking of trying to start a new tradition (if someone hasn't beaten me to this one). I’d call it “Make Amends Day,” or “Admit Your Mistakes Day.” Maybe it could even be observed monthly. The idea being that you would get to unburden yourself (seriously, it’s a good, helpful thing to do for yourself and others) by saying, essentially, “I’m sorry I screwed up.”

Some background: I felt I had to apologize to a fellow writer today for being overly critical of some of his work. I realized I was being harsh because of a personal issue. I don’t like the idea of “writing to market,” i.e. seeing what trends are “hot” and trying to craft a novel or piece of writing that will fit the trend and ride it to success. Think about how many imitators of Harry Potter, the Twilight novels, and Fifty Shades of Grey there were. There are certain “marks” a writer should “hit” to make a work more likely to be published under this philosophy. Whole categories have been created by marketers to excite the public into buying books: “paranormal romance” comes to mind. And the latest one I’ve heard: “new adult fiction.” According to Wikipedia, it’s designed to appeal to 18-30-year-old readers. I’d always thought those were simply “adult readers,” but what do I know? 

But that’s me – I realized that, just because I don’t like things, that doesn’t make them bad or wrong. So I felt I had to apologize to my fellow writer. Some of my criticism was at least tinged with my dislike for what he was doing: writing to market. I realized I should really focus on how he is writing, not what he is writing.

Beyond that, I am getting excited for the Local Author Fair I’ll be attending (as one of the guests) this Saturday. I don’t really know what to expect. I will have a table with some books to sell, but I hope people will want to chat, too. There’s been conflicting information on whether we (the authors) will be reading from our work, so I will prepare something just in case. And, to add a plea to readers her, I HOPE people will leave reviews of our work somewhere! Sure, authors are their own first audiences, but we do hope others will read and get something out of our works. Short of talking to an author in person, the best way to acknowledge you liked (or disliked, for that matter) their stories is by leaving reviews. Please do so, even if they are short or not grammatically perfect. It really is the thought that counts. 

With that, I’m off, back to revising my novel. If I can, I may read a bit from it at the Fair!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Circling the Task

Hello my writing and reading friends!

So it's Halloween month in Salem, MA, which means crazy times here. We've been through the madness uptown a few times - vendors, people in costumes, eerie music coming from everywhere, and the Terror Fantasies Art Show. Quite fun, and good exercise (getting in my "steps" quite a lot this month).

It also means things like this come back to haunt me - Photoshop projects from when I was in school for Publishing Arts from 2007-2009:


And finally:

These were all the result of collage, made by merging several photos. I could put images up of the individual photos if anyone's interested.

Anyhow, things have been slower on the novel-revising front. I've tackled it and been pushed back a few times. But I know it's just a matter of keeping at it. I even got some advice from my uncle who's a writer, Marshall Cook, that's been helpful.

Meantime, since I've found revising at work next to impossible, I'm working on a new story. No idea if it'll become a novel or what, but it plays with campy superhero tropes a la Batman (1960s TV show). More news as it becomes available.

Finally, getting ready to put up posters for the author event my wife, EC Hanlon, and I will be working at on October 24th. Excited and nervous!

And that's the news from sunny, autumn-chilled Salem!