Monday, May 11, 2015

What's your thoughts?

I'm sat at the dining table, all the tools of trade strewn across the varnished pinewood; laptop, notepad, 3 different coloured ink pens, some fact sheets constructed from various internet sites, a brief loose map of the story backbone and.... a cup of tea. The basic component parts to my writing position. With the exception of Barney, our rescued multi-bloodlined, faithful hound, (a 'mongrel' by any standard), the house is empty, and peaceful. I'm not one of those authors that demands complete silence, or locks themselves away for weeks at a time in order to scribe a story but I'm making the most of this opportunity.

So, screen up, glasses pushed up on top of my head and let's get to it.

At this point I have three books published, with a further six now waiting to be completed, or waiting for finances to avail themselves facilitating progress through to editing.

I am, without doubt, my own worst critic; I write great stories, or at least they always seem 'great' to start with. A few weeks after finishing the story I'll reread it, they just never seem quite as good as I remembered, and that's when the red pen comes out. I've also noticed a distinct 'pattern' to my writing; I love to jump around, weaving a dozen plots at a time, gradually meshing them all together for the final scene, it's just the way my mind works. But that's not the pattern I'm referring to. I'm one of those authors that seems to like to start the story quietly. I would liken my style to music masterpiece 'O Fortuna' (Carmina Burana) - gentle introduction, draw the reader in, gradual build then BOOM! and hold that pace until the end.

It's that gentle start that is bothering me. I've read many blogs and articles around the merits of the 'BOOM' start, straight into the action, then reveal how the characters arrived at the scene retrospectively. Remembering that Amazon has a 'Look inside' feature which allows the would-be purchaser to view the early words of a book, I can see where this sort of beginning can act as a good hook, a very valuable opportunity to tempt the reader into purchase... so why don't I use this technique? Dunno. I delved deeper into my brain in search of a plausible explanation and believe I have uncovered it...

As I was growing up my reading preferences including story's like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series, The Hobbit, and naturally the Lord of The Rings. I then moved to Sven Hassel and David Eddings, before spending a while in the wilderness of Autobiographies - Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Robson, Lady Diana, Brian Clough, Sharon Osborne (the 1st one), Billy Connolly, Michael McIntyre and a few others. It seems that (unsurprisingly) my writing style reflects my reading preferences. Does that make me old?!

Maybe I need to try the "Boom' start, see how it goes. Every book I've read seems to have that fill-in chapter or two - the information dump, or scene setting, painting the picture, too much detail that slows the tempo but increases the word count. And there it is! There is the point, or the maybe the problem? My story's seem to be quite polarizing; people seem to love them or 'did not finish'. With some it is the frantic and exciting pace that absorbs them, that they love - yet others complain that the characters aren't 'developed' enough. If I slowed the pace to give depth to more characters those that love the pace would probably become the complainers, and the complainers would become the advocates. Tough decision eh?

Actually, it's not, I write the stories as they come. I tend not to conform to the traditional, and I don't write for the masses. It is still early days, and I'm still learning my craft (so to speak). I've learned that I love to write, I'm just waiting to find the right niche, those people that will read my books and enjoy the way I write - it's fun to be different! (Providing your living doesn't depend on it).

One thing that Amazon has definitely done is to have prized away the power and control of the big publishing houses. They (the big five trad publishers) no longer dictate the reading material available to the masses. People can now try new things, explore new genres and styles, experience authors that they would never have been exposed to had it not been for Amazon and the Indie Author/ Self publishing opportunities. That has to be a good thing yeah?!

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