|That could just as well be a student.|
Sunday, July 29, 2018
Sunday, July 22, 2018
cj Sez: To say the weather is sweltering where I live would be an understatement. Today’s heat index reached triple digits…something like 110°. Needless to say I was not outdoors.
The following is an excerpt from comments by someone defending about fifty percent of the U.S. population (i.e. potential buyers and readers of books), from the published comments of an author. Given the penchant for hateful posts and responses I’ve seen on the Internet, I choose to keep the combatants anonymous.
“The other nakedly called supporters of POTUS45 bigots, xenophobes, homophobes, misogynists, etc. on Twitter. So I called him out that if that sizable chunk of his reader base is that awful, would be (sic) be magnanimous returning their money for previous book purchases--hashtag, don't bite the hands that feeds you/sh*t where you eat."
cj Sez: I happen to believe authors don’t have to agree with their readers’ (or other authors’) choices, and vise versa. But offending potential buyers/readers with personal diatribes is like cutting off your nose to spite your face (seemed like an apt cliché). Publishing insults is not the way to increase readership. (It’s all about the marketing.)
"…authors MUST be personable, engaging, in tune with their audience(s), and just plain-out decent folks. These people PAY their royalties, and word-of-mouth will make or break an author when writers are their readers, too . . . and word ripples to non-writers about this or that author's sourness. In this age of social media, you cannot afford to be a nekkid jerk. If you're raking it in, okay; if you're not, don't. Just don't in general, but that's just me :-).”
cj Sez: I’ll admit, I have, on occasion, like the angry responder above, felt the need to respond to comments that ticked me off. I’ll write down my outrageous rant on a “mad pad.” (I like pressing the pen down hard onto the paper and leaving imprints on the page behind.) When I’ve gotten the anger out of my system, I put the mad pad aside for a while, then either edit out the anger and post an abbreviated response, or wad up the paper and don’t respond at all.
Have you had a similar encounter of feeling insulted in print--where the published word "seems" to carry more authority? How did you handle it?
On a happier note, my grandson called this afternoon and invited me to dinner tonight. A spur-of-the-moment invitation that told me he was thinking about me. Now that he’s working, it was his treat. Love that kid.
Okay, that’s it for today. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Writers are always looking for formulas and rules to make
their writing struggles go easier. Eight rules on this, ten tips on that, three on the other. In fact . . .
My take on that is, the more I familiarize myself with the different philosophies and “rules” of the various writing worlds (journalism, creative, non-fiction, et al.), the better I am able to write the truth about my characters…their personalities and their worlds. In a way, I am
world-building for my novels, even though the characterizations are based on
people I’ve met and emotions I’ve felt.
Granted it's easier
to write “what you know”—i.e. the truth—when we write about the people and
places we know best. In my Choosing
Carter novel, the setting is Dinosaur National Monument and the Yampa River
that runs through it. And yes, I once did a five-day white-water rafting trip
there. Even with that familiarity, I had to do more research to make sure I had
the dialogue and sites correct. (Memories are notoriously faulty.)
excerpt is from regional writer Judy Alter who specializes in her familiarity
. . . “setting a book
in a particular region (doesn’t) make a writer regional. It’s essential that
the author absorb the setting so that rather than obviously telling, such
things as geography, culture, food, and manners flow naturally. Otherwise, the
background looks like those fake sets in so many grade B westerns.”
I’ll take Judy
Alter’s advice one step further: Regions are made up of cities, and to write
the truth about a city and its characters means the writer also needs to absorb
the city setting and its language. That’s why Elmore Leonard’s books are so
I know a slew of excellent
Old-South-regional writers; I also know I’ll never be that good. Writing things
Southern is its own genre. There’s a humor and a dialogue cadence that are
peculiar (and I mean that in the nicest way) to the South.
I would never
consider myself a regional writer, though not by choice, but by happenstance. Born
in Texas and raised in Michigan, I currently live on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. (I
guess I could do a decent job of characterizations and syntax of Detroiters.) As
a native Texan, I do populate almost every story with a character from Texas,
and now that I live in Mobile, Alabama, I people-watch intently. I want my new
characters to have some authentic Southern attributes.
|Ave of the Oaks, Spring Hill College, Mobile|