10/15/13

Change of Heart

After almost a year of not writing anything other than blogs and a couple of picture books, I think I'm ready to start writing middle grade stories again.

A couple of things brought about my change of heart.

1) I don't usually look at the reviews my books get on Amazon. For one thing, I usually don't get reviews, so I don't chase them. I don't write reviews of books that I read, so I don't really expect to receive any. Plus, if a story is 'meh', you don't write a review, do you? People only write them if they have a strong opinion about it.

Personally, when I look at reviews (on any item, not just books) I tend to look at the 1-3 stars because they seem the most honest to me. As it's recently been exposed on various news programs, many 5 star ratings have been fabricated, some of the lower stars have been too, if someone has an agenda to trash everything in a certain genre. But that's beside the point. When I look at ratings, I'll lean toward reading the 3 star ones.

A few times a year, I might look at my books on Amazon to see if there is a different number after the book rating stars. Well, I have a couple of new reviews. This is the review that shook me out of my ennui.

FROM WHOM THE BELL TROLLS:   

3 STARS 
No Ending October 1, 2013
By jen1154
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
 
This was a good book but the ending was not complete and what does the words 'The End' mean? Is it the end of this book or 'The End' cause if this was The End nothing was resolved. This book was published in 2012 and we are now in Oct of 2013 and I am not sure if another book is coming out or not. This could be a great series if I only knew when the next book comes out. Otherwise, don't bother to buy the book cause it really just ends but doesn't tie up anything - you are left hanging wondering what happens next.
 
Actually, there is an ending, but there is also lots of unresolved issues. Let's just say the heroine doesn't die, but it doesn't mean others aren't in jeopardy.  
 
2) My daughter actually read my books. She's my target audience, so it hurt deeply that she didn't want to read them. But about a year ago, I gave up on my daughter actually reading my books. I finally figured out that these books just didn't interest her. So I gave up on the thought of any sort of feedback.
 
And then, when she was supposed to be studying for four major exams, she comes to my desk and says, "A Twinkie, Mom? Really?" It took me a second to realize that she had started reading the first chapter of FOR WHOM THE BELL TROLLS. I smiled and told her to get back to studying.
 
That night when kissing her goodnight, she told me that she needed to find out what happens next. . . and if the guy from the dungeon was her love interest.
 
Uh . . . I couldn't even remember the character's name, so I gave her a vague, "I don't know, honey, what do you think happens?"
 
"You have got to write the next story, Mom! I have to know what happens."
 
At this point, I'm torn. The child was supposed to be studying for FOUR big tests, and yet, I was excited that she was excited about my story.
 
*weighing the consequences with my hands*
 
Scold her for not studying. Or happy that she was reading and not vegetating in front of the TV.
 
3) Writing is hard. Oh, you hear that all the time. And it is hard, but what no one tells you is how emotionally tough it is, at least it is for me. About a month ago, I finally figured out why.
 
Here's the dealio: I'm a very analytical thinker. I worked in a laboratory for over twenty-three years. I had to think logically about situations, machine issues, and other things while working with patient samples. As an employee, you get evaluated on your work ethic, which translated into a numerical number equaling a raise. You also found out the areas where you needed to work a little harder and the areas in which you excelled. This evaluation is given to you by your boss. You knew in black and white if you were doing well or not.
 
I was very successful in this environment.
 
When you are a writer, NO ONE evaluates you. NO ONE praises your efforts. NO ONE gives you any positive reinforcement. I'm talking in the industry here, not your critique partners. Not your best friend. Not your mentor.
 
The negativity gets to you after awhile.
 
It's like being a stay-at-home mom. No one praises you for your clean house, your ability to juggle numerous tasks in a day, or your ability to fold a square fitted sheet.
 
No, all they do is complain about dinner not being on the table on time, or the t-shirt that gets stuck in the red load of laundry, or toys strewn all over the house because you couldn't train the dog to put her toys in the basket.
 
No wonder some women go bonkers with volunteerism, or OCD about their house, or start drinking . . .
 
Anyone can learn to write. It really isn't that hard. You just need a decent grasp of the language, a plot and the ability to string words together to make a story interesting. Different skills are involved to write different types of stories.
 
For example: writing a 100-word flash fiction story takes a certain talent to condense and use words to the best of their ability, while a 100,000-word novel involves using other skills as a writer, or to write a newspaper article, or a non-fiction piece of work, or a picture book.
 
BUT the emotionally draining part of the process are the rejections, whether from agents, editors, or even people who got a 'freebie' book and didn't bother to give it a rating.
 
The lack of input to 'fix' a story is mentally draining . . . for those of us with the analytical mindset.
 
You can't 'fix' things that are wrong because it isn't that the story is wrong, but that it isn't 'right' for the current industry.
 
Does that make sense?
 
I think those who are comfortable with their creative side first don't suffer the same doubts as those of us whose creativity comes second.
 
I don't know. I'll have to ask my friend, Jody. She's always been creative. She's always stood by her work. She's always been smart enough not to sell herself or her product short.
 
Well, long story short. I've started writing again. .. or thinking about writing. Sometimes the actual process is tough even when you have the beginning of a story written and a synopsis ready to go.
 
I do.
 
But sitting down and cranking out the words is simply a work ethic that I've lost touch with.
 
I've been meaning to finish GNOME WITHOUT A HOME and then I'll edit what I have on DRAGON. Hopefully, I'll actually sit and write in the near future.
 
But for now, I have to take a walk, and then run errands ALL DAY.
 
Yep, that stay-at-home mom part is busy today.
 
Later, Peeps!
 
 
 

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