Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Writing and Pondering

Writing and Uncertainty

Every once in a while, I go back through all my books on writing and becoming a great writer. When I first started writing in college, I thought it would be the coolest thing to have my books make it to the classroom as part of some professor’s lecture. Something like: Trends in 21st Century Writing. But after having written ten books or so, I’ve realized that I actually don’t want to be a “literary” author and it would probably be better if no professor ever knew I existed. I just want to give people a bit of enjoyment, a laugh, a shiver, or a warm, cuddly feeling at the end of the book. I’m just not cut out to be the next critically acclaimed author. For one thing, I don’t live in New York, or Paris, for that matter, so it would be highly inconvenient to attend all those functions that critically acclaimed authors are supposed to attend. Not to mention the fact that I don’t think I’d fit in, at all. I’d wind up checking my Droid for unusual bird sighting and leaving early to see the Peregrine falcon someone spotted just a few miles south of town. So I'd probably go to the function in boots, snake-proof chaps, bug spray and a sun hat, because I'd want to be prepared for that early exit.

Besides you see, I know of very few literary books that leave you with any feeling other than a strong desire to slit your wrists and end it all now. Why wait? Life’s a misery, people are mean or cruel or both, and really, why bother? Most people already know that by the time they’re 21 so they really don’t need a book to point out how miserable life can be. Which is mainly why I don’t read a lot of literature and instead read genre fiction like mysteries, the old science fiction from the 50’s, and a few romances. And Chaucer. I do like the Wife of Bath’s story. I’m don’t want to give you the impression I haven’t read vast quantities of literature. I’ve even found a few gems, like Jane Austen.

I love Jane Austen, so you can see it’s not like I don’t read any literature at all. I’m actually thinking, though, that if one were to really be serious about classifying her work, it would probably fall in the romance genre. I think you pretty much have to make everyone completely miserable, or die, or both, at the end to escape the genre fiction label. ;) (Okay, you got me. I’m being a wee bit sarcastic. But think of Tolstoy and Kafka, not to mention the interestingly misogynist D.H. Lawrence, and you kind of see I’m not exaggerating too much.)
In a way, after reading all the books on writing and going through my shelves of real literature, I feel like I ought to apologize for my books. They really aren’t lasting works of art that someone 50 years from now is going to buy and read. But you know what? That’s okay. Because I’ve finally realized my real goal. I just want to give a few folks a bit of a laugh or a happy ending to make their day a little brighter. Or put them to sleep. Whichever is needed most.

Perhaps not all books need to be great works of art. Sure, my goal (as I once told my boss) is to be perfect. I’d like my books to be absolutely perfect with rich writing, endearing characters, and a whacky plot. I’d like to be Louise Penny, Jane Austen, P.G. Wodehouse, Shirley Jackson, and Saki (H. H. Munro) all rolled into one. So I’ll never give up working, working, working to make my books better. When I have a moment, I go back and study the books I love the most. Then I try to extend my reach as a writer just a bit more with each chapter.

So, I hope there are some readers out there who aren’t looking for the next “Moby Dick” and just want a few hours of enjoyment.

What do you think? Leave a comment - I'd love to hear your thoughts on books, writing, and what you love to read.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Guest Author: AJ Neust and Mystical Press

We're taking a break from my recent blogs on roses (a topic I just can't seem to shut up about) and meeting with author AJ Neust today. If you've ever thought about writing, there is a lot of good stuff here, so enjoy!
Mystical Press

Greetings and Salutations!

Many thanks to Amy for hosting us on her blog today! We’ve got some really exciting news to share with everyone so grab that cuppa and let the blogging begin!

September 1-15th marks the official
Grand Opening of Mystical Press Services!!!
This means 50% Off all our classes
and services through September 15th!

In case you haven’t yet heard about our website, allow me to introduce you to a place where you just might find the fulfillment of your dreams. That’s right! The talented folks at Mystical Press want to help you reach your publishing goals!
How do we do that? I’m glad you asked!
Mystical Press is the culmination of an idea that came from two authors and professionally trained editors—Arial Burnz and AJ Nuest—where we help authors bridge the gap between the form rejection letter and publication. In fact, we believe in this venture so passionately, our tagline is “Helping authors achieve their dreams.” 

At Mystical Press our primary goal is to help writers. As authors, we understand the frustration of not receiving constructive and useful feedback, the aggravation of navigating the murky depths of the publishing industry and that, sometimes, authors just need a place to vent. Well, we’re here to tell you, the insanity can end!

Like-minded individuals can gather online at Mystical Press to work one-on-one with professional editors who help authors prepare their manuscripts for submission. Whether you are looking for a Manuscript Evaluation, Submission Evaluation, or a full story edit, we will give you honest, encouraging feedback and work diligently with you on your story to make sure it’s ready to land on an editor’s desk. No project is too big or too small and all receive the same precise attention to detail.

Perhaps your submission is ready but you need assistance with smaller editing projects like a query letter and synopsis? Have no fear! Mystical Press is here! We offer a full edit of query letters and synopses with comments and suggestions that come directly from AN EDITOR! TAH-DAH!

And don’t worry! If your goal is to write your very own dynamite synopsis, at Mystical Press we believe in “teaching a man to fish”. Our Power Class, How to Write a WINNING Synopsis, is designed to easily guide you through the process of crafting your very own synopsis! Yes, that’s right. I used “easily” and “synopsis” in the same sentence!

The self-paced course curriculum at Mystical Press can assist in tackling those pesky problem areas as well (e.g., show vs. tell, POV shifts, realistic character and story development, etc.). If you’ve read books, articles and/or taken workshops and are still in search of that elusive contract offer, perhaps Mystical Press can help. Take one class or take a whole series—our online classes are designed to meet each writer’s individual needs.

Is your next project of the self-publishing variety? Mystical Press has a selection of pre-made covers we guarantee will only be used once! No one will have the same cover! Or, if you’d like, we can design a cover specifically tailored to your vision—you will work one-on-one with our talented cover artists! We are also happy to edit your baby and can even format the document to meet the specifications of most popular self-publishing platforms. 

Remember to mention Mystical Press to all your friends and fellow writing pals – here’s why. Mystical Press offers a free Referral Program. Just register on the site and we will assign you a Referral ID. If anyone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you earn a referral fee! Whether you choose cash or a credit for products or services on the site, consider this our thank you for helping us spread the word. 

Oh! And before I forget…we offer a wide range of gift certificates designed specifically with the writer in mind. Tired of searching for the “write” present for your author pals? Maybe that next birthday calls for an eGift from Mystical Press!

So now that you know all about us, please tell us all about you! Head on over to Mystical Press and register free on the site. Everyone who does will be entered into our drawing for fabulous gifts and prizes! Join our celebration and together we will strive to get your voice heard!