#IWSG Why do I write what I write? @TheIWSG #amwriting #WWWBlogs #amwriting

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

November 4 question – Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

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This is a question I rarely ask myself explicitly, but I do think about the answer, because so many people ask me, and on this occasion it’s the Insecure Writer’s question for the month, so I’ll do my best to reply.

As I understand it, this question has two parts, a) why I write and b) why I write what I write.

a) Why do I write?

I write because I can’t not write, the same as I can’t not think, or feel, or walk, or talk.

Once I learn to do something which is useful and rewarding, it becomes part of my life and I can’t unlearn it or undo it.

I can’t stop writing a poem when I see a beautiful image, or have an emotional thought, or memory.

I can’t help carrying a notebook and jotting down ideas for poems or scenes for my books, and I’m sure I’ll never stop doing it, in fact I shudder to think I could ever stop the creativity flowing through my mind.

Now to the second part of the question, b) why do I write what I write?

I write about topics which I feel strongly about. This doesn’t mean I’m on a mission to change or improve the world, I would never be so presumptuous, it just means that I write about what is significant for me.

I write poems because I love capturing my emotions with a few symbolic words and giving them an artistic shape and sound, based on syllables and rhythm or rhyme.

I write Victorian novels because I admire Victorian authors who gave me so many hours of joyful reading and inspiration, and in so doing, I offer them my humble tribute.

I write about Jane Eyre, because when I first read it in my early teens, it was the first novel that inspired me to even think about writing myself, and I’ve never been able to get Jane Eyre out of my mind.

I write my blog because I want to reach out to and communicate with other authors and readers. It’s thrilling to know I can ‘meet’ and interact with other people who I’d never be able to reach or talk to or read about in my day-today life, if I wasn’t an active blogger.

I could go on, and if we could sit and chat with a coffee, a tea, a beer or a glass of wine, depending on our mood and the time of day, we’d share more ideas and reasons, because I’d love to know why you write too, and of course, why you write what you write.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to like and/or share and/or leave a comment 🙂

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#IWSG POV: Protagonist or Antagonist? @TheIWSG #amwriting #WWWBlogs

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

  • March 6 question Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

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I definitely prefer first person point of view of the protagonist, as a reader and as a writer. My favourite novels, when I started reading adult fiction, in my teens, such as, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, David Copperfield, and Rebecca, to name a few, were written in this fashion.

The first person narrator, whether he or she is protagonist or antagonist, has the powerful advantage of speaking directly to the reader, but on the other hand, he or she also has the enormous disadvantage of limited knowledge and bias.

The first person narrator cannot be everywhere or be aware of everything the reader would like to know. Moreover, he or she is necessarily biased due to gullibility, innocence, ignorance, physical, or psychological problems, or he or she can be downright evil and purposefully lead everyone along the wrong path, which is usually the case of the antagonist as first person narrator.

The question posed, implies that only one narrator is possible, and that he or she is either protagonist or antagonist, but there are many more options available to the writer. There could be more than one point of view, and more than one protagonist and or antagonist, or the protagonist and antagonist could even be the same person at the same or different stages of his/her life.

The first time I read a novel with various first person narrators was Laura, by Vera Caspary, also in my teenage years. I remember being pleasantly surprised, as a reader, by two aspects, the multiple first person narrators and the presence of unreliable narrators, including the antagonist.

In one of my ‘A’ level texts, The Fall, Camus’ manipulative first person narrator, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, whose long series of monologues is a confession and reflection of his life, to a stranger he calls, ‘cher ami’, thus, mostly using the second person ‘you’. He is also both protagonist and antagonist, as he finally turns the mirror on his patient and unsuspecting listener/reader.

The options are endless. In my case, I’ve published three books and written five (two will hopefully be published this year), and all of them have multiple, first person narrators, including protagonist and antagonist.

Although I don’t mind reading novels written in third person, I can’t see myself doing so. I would especially avoid third person omniscient narrators, mainly because I think it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of manipulating characters, events and readers. I prefer to allow my characters and readers more space to grow and reconstruct their own novel.

I overcome the hurdles inherent to first person narration, at least partly, by having more than one first person narrator, which I believe gives the novel wider scope and perspective.

The Eyre Hall Trilogy has several, rotating first person narrators, and although some readers have complained, most readers have positive opinions. The use of various first person voices is innovative and enriching, but it’s by no means easy to juggle so many characters at once, and it’s not something I’m planning on doing again, at the moment.

My two latest, unpublished novels, both have only two points of view. In one case it is the protagonist and the antagonist, and in the second case a mother and daughter, who are both protagonists. So far, beta readers have responded favourably, and I’m satisfied with the end product, although, one still has to go through the final draft and editing stage.

I think two narrators give enough scope for multiple perspectives to allow readers more space to interact with the narrative.

I will probably experiment with other viewpoints in the future. As I said, I enjoy many  different points of view as a reader, but for the moment, I plan to continue writing novels with, at least, two first person points of view.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to like and/or leave a comment 🙂

What about you, how many and whose point(s) of view do you prefer as a reader and as a writer?

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#IWSG Avoiding Pitfalls @TheIWSG #amwriting #WWWBlogs

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts and concerns about our profession.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The co-hosts for the August 1 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe,Sandra Hoover, Lee Lowery, and Susan Gourley!

August 1 question – What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey? 

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The single best piece of advice I’d give an author, especially an author who is aiming to self-publish, is to find a good editor.

It seems obvious. I mean, everyone knows that, don’t they?

It also seems easy. I mean, there are plenty of editors out there, aren’t there?

Yes, to both, but authors can still make mistakes. I did.

When I finished my first novel, I found an editor via Goodreads. She was recommended by another editor an author I knew had hired, and she was reasonably priced.

I thought I’d got it right, until another editor, who saw my book, which had been accepted for review on Rosie’s Book Review Team, read my novel and pointed out some / too many errors in the first few chapters.

Most were punctuation, but not all. I’m useless at commas. I actually have nightmares with them, so I was relieved that an editor/proof reader had gone through my manuscript, but it hadn’t been done thoroughly.

I’ll forever be grateful to Alison Williams for pointing out these errors in my novel and for her patience and advice while editing the following two novels.

An author knows and expects that not every reader will enjoy their novel, for numerous reasons, style, characters, plot, etc. and that’s acceptable and to be expected, but what is unacceptable is to have editing errors.

All novels whether self-published or traditionally published should be professionally edited.

There are many editors available, and I’m really not an expert on finding the right one, I was just lucky I found her, or rather she was kind enough to find me, just a few a months after I published All Hallows at Eyre Hall, in May 2014.

I cringe when I think of those few months when my novel wasn’t in perfect condition. The good news is that amazon makes it really quick and easy to update your new version for both kindle and print.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to like and/or leave a comment 🙂

What about you, what pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid before publication?

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Pride and Prejudice: The Plight of Indie #Authors #IWSG

This article is written as part of the monthly group posting of the  Insecure Wtiters Support Group. 

Today my insecurity is due to the prejudice against independent authors, from within and without the publishing industry.

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Prejudice means disfavouring or disliking something without an objective or fair reason for doing so. Pride, on the other hand, can be a good thing if it means respecting yourself and feeling that you deserve to be respected by other people, however, it can be a very negative quality if it means feeling that someone considers they are more important or better than others.

When pride is coupled with prejudice, the latter meaning is implied, as in Jane Austen’s classic novel, in which love was denied and lives almost ruined due to unreasonable pride and unjustified prejudice.

My point today is the pride and prejudice endured by published authors, like me, who do not have a traditional publishing house or agent to back them, that is, Independent or Self-Published Authors.

Pride and Prejudice photo

If a traditional publisher acquires an author’s work they make most of the decisions and take on all the expense involved with producing the work. On the other hand, independent authors make their own decisions about when to publish on one of the digital self-publishing platforms, or in paperback. Indie authors have to make all the decisions and cover all the costs, such as hiring freelance editors and proof readers, cover artist, book formatter, and publicist, or they can do it (or part of it) themselves.

Why are independent authors listening to unfair criticism and dismissal by readers who say, ‘I don’t read self-published authors’, booksellers who say, ‘we don’t stock self-published authors’, and other writers who say, ‘self-published authors are lazy writers taking short cuts’ (Sue Grafton).

I wonder if they would dare say the same of independent film producers, musicians, or artists, who are usually respected by critics and the public.

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Who are the gate keepers?

Why is it that most self-published titles are not given the same respect or consideration, by readers, book-sellers, and writers, that traditionally published writers receive?

I’ve seen plenty of traditionally published novels, some are even big names, with negative reviews and very low sales ranks, proving that traditional publishers and agents aren’t doing their jobs as well as they like to assume.

Perhaps authors who would have approached an agent or publisher are preferring the independent route, sidestepping the traditional gatekeepers.

Today, thanks to the digital revolution in publishing, and the growth of publishing platforms, readers are the new gatekeepers. We should all be concerned with reaching readers and giving readers a quality product, which is well written, well-edited, proof read, and formatted, whether it’s erotica, historical, crime, dystopian, literary, or whatever genre.

Most indie authors sell their novels at 2.99 and occasionally at 0.99. When a big name author publishes at $16.00, they have to prove their novel is 16 times better value for money than an independently published novel, and quite honestly, it’s often not worth it.

Prejudice

I’ve been an English teacher all my life. I’ve read most of the classics, in English, French, and Spanish, and taught English literature from Anglo-Saxon verse to spoken word poetry. I still reread the classics regularly, but 90% of what I read today are other self-published authors in an attempt to support the brave and hard-working writers, who are walking up the down staircase in a very competitive industry, and in spite of this producing good quality work. consequently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading dozens of well written self published books last year. You can check out my reviews on this blog.

Don’t be proud or prejudiced, and don’t let anyone tell you what to read. Read whichever style or genre you prefer. Check the blurb, skim through some of the reviews, and read the first 10%, it’s free, and then decide whether you want to read the rest of it or not.

Reading Happy

 

A-Z April Blogging Challenge: Theme Reveal!

This year, for the first time, I’ll be taking part in the A-Z April Blogging Challenge.

My theme is going to be: Author Spotlight April 2015.

I’ll be including one author per day, whose name or surname starts with (or exceptionally includes), the corresponding letter for the April Challenge.

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Authors will all have a few things in common:

  • They will all be authors whose books I’ve read and enjoyed.
  • They publish independently or with small publishing houses.
  • They’ve started publishing on kindle in the last few years.
  • Many (not all) are debut novels.
  • Their books are on kindle.
  • They agree to being featured.

I want to keep the posts to as close to 600 words as possible, firstly because we’re all busy, and we all want to read as many blogs as possible, so the shorter they are, the more we can read. Secondly because as a result of taking part in Flash Fiction Challenges, I’ve learned (and try hard to apply!) that less is more (Please read my post about what I’ve learned from Flash Fiction) .

Each post will feature a short (150 word) review of their book by me, telling you why I loved it, and the answers to three questions I’ve asked the authors in (under 150 words each).

The post will also include:

  • One of their book covers and one author picture.
  • Links to their Amazon and social network pages.
  • The three questions they’ll be answering are:

Question 1. Pitch your novel. Why should a reader download your book, bearing in mind all those on offer? How is your book different? Engaging? What kind of readers will enjoy it?

Question 2. What are you working on now or what would you like to write about next? Have you started another book? Are you writing anything now? What type of novel is it? Is it different to your previous one, or is it a continuation or part of a series?

Question 3. What would you like readers to know about you?

As most of you know, although I’m a writer, I much prefer reading to writing, as I’ve explained in a previous post, so I’m really excited about being able to tell you about the books I’ve enjoyed this last year, and introducing you to all the wonderful authors 🙂

I love reading, so I love authors: the people who take the time and make the effort to write books for us to read.

On the other hand, it’s not easy connecting with readers, and there are literally millions of books available to be read, so any exposure which allows readers to connect with authors and books they might enjoy is a welcome thing.

I know it’s a very ambitious, but I already have my list of authors, and I’m in the process of contacting them. Many have replied already, so I’m all set, and you?

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My eldest grandson, Alejandro.

 

I enjoy all sorts of books, but there will be mainly historical and contemporary romance, drama, and comedy, as well as thrillers, mystery, and crime fiction, and some literary fiction, too.

Hope you have time to drop by and have a look at the amazing authors who’ll be joining me!

I’ll also be having a look at as many other blogs taking part in the challenge as possible.

Don’t forget to check out some of the other blogs taking part or sign up and join in yourself, there’s still time!