Journal, Writing Discussion

The process of posting up fiction here has been an eye-opening experience.

What I’ve learned so far:

  1. That ideas come in an endless supply.
  2. Sometimes when all the pieces come together, alchemy happens, and greater themes emerge unintended.
  3. People can take away vastly different things from the same tale.
  4. That no one can tell the difference between when a story was easy to write, and when it was difficult.
  5. That I’m the worst judge of what people will like.

Speaking of  number 5, most of the time I feel like I’m blind. I have no idea if a story will be successful when I’ve written it. Some of the time, I’m satisfied with what I’ve produced. Other times I don’t really like it at all, but I’ll post it up or send it out anyway.

More often than not, the stories I don’t feel strongly about, or I think were the most badly written, get the most positive attention. Some of the feedback here boggles my mind (Thank you! It’s amazing to get any kind of feedback so quickly, bad or good, I appreciate it all) and I have to scratch my head and wonder, huh? They liked that?

I’m trying to understand why this happens. Is it because I’m not so focused on controlling the story, that the randomness, that alchemy, has freedom to happen? Is it because what I enjoy may be too personal or particular to appeal on a wide scale? Or is it because, by some accident, I managed to tap into a deeper level of story?

I’ve encountered a few writers whose experience mirrors my own. That stories they never expected to sell, are sold first. It’s like digging for gold, finding something that sparkles, but not knowing if it’s gold or pyrite.

I wonder if it gets any easier, if one day I’ll know the difference. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to keep sending my stories out into the world blindly.

Does this happen to you too?



First there was darkness…

I’ve been thinking about violence in the context of my work in progress. I’m not sure if I’m writing something dark. I do enjoy action, but it always nags at me when there are no serious societal or psychological consequences to violence.

I’m often annoyed when movies studios cheat and present a faceless enemy. All the stunt guys wear matching uniforms and masks. If you never see their faces you won’t regret it if they die, right? Uniformed guard number 3? He hasn’t got a chance. Other times the enemy is not human (Disney, I’m looking at you). Maybe they figure if you can’t identify with it, you can’t feel bad for it.

Violence hurts, literally. I did martial arts for many years. One thing you learn is respect for your opponent, and an aversion to violence, except as a last resort. Why? Because it hurts! It bruises. You can get hurt, bones break, and you can hurt someone.

I do not believe that violence should be glorified. If it is in a story, I prefer that it should be real and painful.

On the other hand, I know some people have a low tolerance for violence. They would prefer that the grit is left out of the wounds, that blood does not splatter so widely.

What do you feel about violence in fiction? How much blood, and grit, and realism can you endure?

And then there was light…

Sunshine AwardStephen the Undiscovered Author generously passed on this sunshiney bloggy award for making his day brighter! Thanks so much! If you haven’t checked out his blog, it’s really well done, and offers insight into the life of a very busy  “writer on the way”.

These awards are meant to be shared, so I’d like to pass the sunshine to two wonderful women whose blogs never fail to make me smile, and who are always so full of encouragement: Kirstan Hoffman and Lua.