Sunday, September 12, 2010

Overabundance of Outside Opinions...

Those of you that are writers, you can feel my pain probably on the topic of this post. On dealing with people who are not writers or even slightly creatively inclined.

I’m not knocking those people, not in the slightest. There are days I would love the normalcy to not have a million thoughts running through my head, or that instant panic when you get a really great idea and can’t find a pen. There are days that I would kill to be able to fall asleep without the aforementioned thoughts playing a concerto in my head. To be able to listen to a song on the radio and not have a movie preview of sorts flash through my mind which sends me on a wild tangent of story ideas.

However, there are days that I love it. Usually, those days are every day. Today wouldn’t be one of them.

Allow me to explain…

I live in a house that is chaotic at best. Boyfriend, his disabled mother, his two sons, my two daughters, two cats, and two dogs and myself all share this house. We live next door to his sister and her three kids, his two nephews are here on a regular basis. That is a full house if you ask me. To find the time to write if you’re easily distracted is a feat in and of itself. Luckily for me, if I’m inspired, the headphones go on, music gets turned up and I can tune out the world.

However, that being said, I’m insanely picky about the advice or opinions that people give me. I’m blunt, and yes as a reader’s opinion, I listen and soak up every syllable of every word they utter about my writing. However my feeling is that if you don’t write, you admit to not having any inclination to write, and you haven’t read really any of my writing, what the hell gives you the right to have an opinion about how or what I should write?

Am I being mean in this? Someone please tell me if I have overstepped some unwritten rule to aspiring authors that their critics get to be anyone who has never taken the time or energy to read my stuff. A friend I know for example, yes, a great asset to have when I go to him for an outside opinion. Phrased such as if you were watching a movie and this is the storyline, what would you like to see happen, example A or example B? I phrase it as such because he doesn’t write, admits to not having a creative bone in his body when it comes to writing, won’t read my stuff because he doesn’t read much, but yet never stops telling me how I should be writing or what I should be writing. However he has been invaluable at times when I got stumped on my book as far as where I should go from one point to get it to the next. He has offered insight that I thank him for.

But he follows that up by giving me countless opinions as to if I really was as dedicated a writer as I claim to be, then sickness, houseful of people, stress of a recent life changing situation being dropped on me, work and everyday life wouldn’t stop me from having already cranked out 2-3 more novels. Um hello… haven’t even gotten the first one published. Same friend also doesn’t stop telling me what genre to write. That even though I like the supernatural realm of writing, things go bump in the night type fiction, if I was really a writer I would be able to drop everything and write a crime drama.

Is it mean of me to ask that if he isn’t going to read it either way, then what the hell does he care if I write about cops and robbers or vampires and demons?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

REVIEW - Dying Light by D. Scott Meek


Okay so I’ve done the nicey-nice review thing on the facebook page, and on amazon, now time for me to tell you all something…

If you haven’t read Dying Light by D. Scott Meek, you are seriously missing out.

I wasn’t a fan of the Matrix the way others were but that also might be because I was barely 18 when it came out, and the sole focus on my brain was guys and being an ignorant almost-adult. However the older I got when I watched it, the more I appreciated the intricacies that made it what it was. Now at almost 30, the same is happening all over again with Mr. Meek’s book.

Dying Light is a beautiful tale that will put you in the middle of a web of details, most of which made me feel that I wanted to dissect Scott’s brain and find out the inner workings of it.

The thing that struck me the most is in the midst of all of the details not only about the characters, but about the setting and locale of the story, was the fact that even though I felt this book and his style of writing was light-years ahead of me, I could understand it. I’m a writer, but I started out as a reader first, and the more I write the more it seems my desire to read has suffered. This book reminded me why I still love to read and how much I’ve completely missed the relationship, the relationship between reader and the story.

In a post World War 3 setting, where you have hover craft vehicles for every day use, man’s own personal dark ages is upon them all because of a blood virus that has rendered masses of people to be labeled as ‘Vampyres’. These people, just like so much of our culture now, are different and the people society would label as normal want nothing more than to annihilate them.

The other big thing I felt in this story, something I’ve never really been able to do in mine and what I’m seeing now in multiple up and coming authors works, is the ability to tell a multi-faceted story from multiple characters points of view. You will see the world of D. Scott Meek’s characters through their eyes, each one with different directions, different desires, dreams, fears etc. And the clincher to all of that is that you will, on some level at least, relate with all of them. Whether it be with Charlotte’s loyalty-bound servitude, or with Anna’s fear of facing her own mortality. Either way it will captivate you.

I pride myself on being a reader who can pick up a book when she wants and just read for the sole purpose of reading, or losing myself in another world for awhile. I don’t watch release dates for sequels or other books by even my favorite authors. However Scott’s ability to tell a story, to suck you in all the way to the final words of the last page is wonderful in a way that only a few other authors have ever done for me.

Well done Mr. Meek, Well done.

You can connect with D. Scott Meek on twitter

Dying Light can be purchased at amazon:

You can also see more of Scott through his blog Reading.Writing.Revolution:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Supposed Worst Critic

Well allow me to explain some backstory first…

I am almost 30 years old, I’m divorced and am raising two kids on my own. My father has been my worst enemy and my best friend depending on which section of my life I’m referring to. He admitted (even if only just tonight) that out of me and my three siblings, that he has always been the hardest on me because I am the one that is most like him in all the struggles he sees in his own life.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my father dearly, this is not a slam session or a woe is me tale. My father while yes, being a hardass is his strong suit, has a heart of gold and I’m reminded now more than ever that if I ever need anything he is a phone call away and would drop everything to help me, just as he would any of us kids. He is very opinionated both in his views on everything but mostly politics and religion. I was raised in a strict Baptist home with very fundamentalist values. So it was with a very big apprehension that I started my first book on the subject and with the content I did.

Allow me to explain. My book, titled The Devil’s Angel, is about a vampire with a very close relationship with the devil. All these things alone brought cringe factors when I would think of talking to my dad about it.

For reasons I can’t explain I have ALWAYS sought my Dad’s approval, when I didn’t feel I could get it I would do the exact opposite and go for him to disown me. But through all my childish stubbornness, he is still my father and his opinion is very important to me.

The entire time writing, through various dialogues between the main character and the devil, I channeled my father’s teachings. All the things he taught us growing up about how the devil would be was thrown into the character as I see him, but at the same time a nagging fear grew inside of me of the backlash I would feel from Dad reading my book.

Well 3 weeks ago I printed out the first draft and gave him a copy. He has been the only person I haven’t really followed up on about if he read it or not. Because I figured if he didn’t say anything about it, he was biting his tongue so as not to crush my hopes and dreams because he hated it and thought I was morally corrupted for writing such sinful filth. ;)

Last night, and then during another conversation tonight, my assumed worst critic boosted my ego to the point of bursting.

My father works overnights, gets off work at 7am, comes home, listens to Jimmy Swaggart for a bit and goes to bed. He sets an alarm to be up at 3:45 to be able to watch Glenn Beck and goes back to bed for a few hours after. Anyone who knows him knows you do not call between 4 and 5pm because he won’t answer, if you stop at the house, you can only speak to him during commercials. That is how much he LOVES Glenn Beck.

He finally pulled my book out Monday night and took it with him to work and read it on his dinner break, read on his other break and for awhile when he got home in the morning on Tuesday. He then proceeded to pick it up before Beck with every intention of putting it down when it started. He missed most of the show, barely following along because he wanted to finish the book! *insert squeals of excitement*

Now my father told me that because he’s always felt he had to be harder on me and keep me grounded I guess, that he was, no offense, not that hopeful. He figured there would be a lot of loopholes, with it being my first book and all, but he knew eventually I would ask if he’d read it so he wasn’t going to lie and say he had if he didn’t. He said if I don’t bust my ass and get published it will be the worst mistake I’ll have ever made. He is proud of me because he didn’t think I had that kind of talent and while he’s not a literary critic, and he is my father, he felt intrigued enough to keep reading and couldn’t put it down.

So it just goes to show that my own fears were unfounded, and that my worst critic turned out to be my best.

So all of you writers out there, who have you been most afraid to share your work with?