Monday, July 20, 2015
A warning to all new authors...
OK, I think I'm safely far enough along the Author path to be able to give this piece of advice, and it's important for two reason's;
1) because I assure you that this will impact your peace and quiet.
2) because no bugger told me!
You are told to 'write what you know', this refers to drawing from your own knowledge and personal experiences. But that doesn't mean that you've done everything you write about, right?! Crikey, if that was the case I'd be in a whole host of trouble, actually probably just prison. Don't judge me - I wrote one story that involved some pretty horrendous medical experiments, a wee bit of killing and some other un-pleasantry's, set in Russia; One that is a tragedy romance and the last, a modern war, kill pirates, special forces tale. I can honestly say that I've never been to Russia, and certainly not in 1940 something - well not in this lifetime anyway. BUT, as more and more friends, family and colleagues read the material it is amazing how many of them think a character or scene is based on either them, you, or actual personal experiences. And be warned, they take some considerable convincing otherwise.
I make no apology for writing a scene, or creating a character, that has such authenticity it can resonate to that degree; but, in truth it's very difficult not to write something that somebody, somewhere hasn't already experienced, and not be writing fantasy. Authors tend to be a little more observant of people and environment, it's a sixth sense that hunts out potential story lines or character traits, and it stores them in the sub-conscious for future use. If you add to that that an author always leaves a part of themselves in every book, be that an emotion, a specific phrase or word, or one of a thousand other ways, it's hardly surprising that there will be some familiarity to the reader; even if you've only left an inherited trait shared by other members of your family.
Writing 'what you know' is one thing, but you'll be amazed how much more you get to know with a decent amount of research.
It's really ironic that your first 'hater' will be from within your family, friends and colleagues! :-) But it's also kinda logical.
To date, ALL of my hate mail (that's probably a bit strong) has come from that group - then again, maybe I haven't sold that many copies outside of that group - dammit.
In reviews, where the reviewer has mentioned that the authors 'personal experience is evident', (or words to that effect), I take it as a real compliment, even if there is no personal experience, or true event, behind it/them. So, despite the fact that one of your stories may cost you a friend, family or colleague, you could lose them to a compliment.
I'm only mentioning this because it is something that had never occurred to me, nor did it occur to anyone else to warn me about it.
Anyway, there's a new story coming people, 23,000 words into an American Drug/political thriller, it's gonna get messy.