Tag Archives: literature

The Problem with Modern Writing

Good writing is really meaningful, and it’s one of the – it’s still one of the best tools we have to get and capture people’s attention.
-Robin Sloan

The modern world of writing and literature is becoming obsessed with the “proper” style of writing or plotting stories.  If you’re like me and you’ve experienced even a small taste of editing, or if you’ve just done your research, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Nowadays, people write books about how to write books.  They blog about how to write “correctly”.  We have all these new phrases and rules for creating proper sentences, fashioning a plot, choregraphing a scene, crafting our dialogue…the list goes on and on.  Sooner or later, you’ll run into an editor, a friend, a fellow writer, who will quote another modern writer and say the equivalent of “that’s not how it’s done nowadays.”

Image result for pic of an copyeditor

It’s almost like we now have textbooks for writing.  Maybe it’s just me…but doesn’t that bother you?

Everybody needs help sometimes.  I’m not against books, blogs, or advice that helps me to become a better author.  My qualm with books about writing is not that they aren’t useful, but because they turn writing into a science.  Writing has become something that is less of an art, and more an act of conformation to the appetites of the current literary culture.

And to me, it’s disgusting.

Writing is an ART.  Art, people.  Art is not about conforming to what society wants.  It’s not about following the same path as everybody else.  It’s not about being the same.

Image result for pic of an author writing

That’s why I’m beginning to get highly annoyed with this culture of writing where there are so many rules.  Agents and publishers won’t even get through the first page of your book because they are so obsessed with the “rules”, the “dos and don’ts”.  It’s like we’ve created a checklist for writing to determine whether it’s good or bad.

“Did the author show and not tell?  Check!”

“Was all of that dialogue completely relevant?  Check!”

“Was that character arc done according to the proper arc of a hero? Check!”

“Did they utterly simplify everything to it’s utmost simplest form?  Check!”

The list goes on and on.

And you know what the problem is?  We’ve begun looking at ALL writing from this perspective.  And that’s not what writing, or art, is about.

Writing should make us ask ourselves the big questions.  It’s not about creating a perfect, movie-like scene.  It’s not about relevancy or irrelevancy.  If the author is trying to say something…well, that’s what writing is for.  Writing isn’t just about the reader.  It’s not even just about the story.  It’s about what’s being SAID.

And that’s what we’re forgetting as a society.

Don’t conform.  I’m not saying don’t improve.  But don’t conform.  Don’t let anyone keep you from SAYING something with your writing.  That’s what it’s all about.

 

When You Finally Get An Acceptance Letter from a Publisher

Image result for hard work pays off meme

Let me tell you, it feels great!

I’ve gotten plenty of rejection letters from publishing companies and literary agents alike.  They usually start out with a “thank you”, which is never a good sign…because after the “thank you” comes a “but”.

But not this time.

Recently, someone from Z Publishing reached out to me (through this blog!) and asked if I would like to submit an excerpt of my book to be featured in an anthology.  How could I refuse???  I still had to go through the submission process just like everyone else, but my excerpt would have a higher likelihood of being accepted because it was a “solicited manuscript”.

Still, higher chance of success or not, getting that email from Z Publishing was awesome, because it’s the first acceptance letter I’ve ever received.  Check it out 🙂

Acceptance Letter

Basically, it says that my submission was accepted, that it’s going to be published, and it also explained what steps have to be taken next.

To give you some more information: my excerpt is going to be a part of anthology.  The anthology features emerging writers in America…that’s actually what the series is called!  Every year, Z Publishing rounds up all the upcoming authors in America and compiles excerpts of their novels into an anthology.  To be counted as an “emerging writer” is certainly a compliment!

thank you gif

If anything, hopefully this shows that blogging IS good for something.  They found me through this blog, which means something similar could happen to YOU!  I’m not expecting that I’m going to become famous or anything (my excerpt is one among many!) but it’s still something that I can credit to my name in the literary world.  “With an excerpt featured in Z Publishing’s Anthology”.  Always persevere with blogging, it pays off!

I’ll be giving you more news about this crazy shindig as it comes to me.  Cheers!

You Won’t be able to “Write for a Living” Until You Need Writing to Live

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Writing to live, in the end, turns out to be an “all or nothing” endeavor, because it just won’t happen otherwise.  If you don’t put everything into your writing, into reaching your goal, you won’t ever reach it.  Nothing will be given to you.

If you try to publish traditionally, you’ll have to put everything into your writing through a contract.  Perhaps traditional publishing seems like an easier form of “all or nothing”, considering that “all or nothing” gets decided by your publishing company.  But it still requires your time, your heart, and your mind.

We self-publishing authors also know that we have to go “all out” if we want our writing to make it big time.  This is both the blessing and the curse of self-publishing.  In a way, like a big publishing house, we personally decide what “all or nothing” is.  But unless we are willing to spend buckets of our time (and even money!) promoting our story, networking, advertising, and networking even more, we’ll never make it big time.

And isn’t that what every author wants?   To have readers everywhere appreciating their work?

The bottom line is simple: if you want to write for a living, you need to make writing your life.  Are there any guarantees that your hard work will pay off?  No.  That’s what makes this endeavor scary.

Like I said, it’s all or nothing.  Are you willing to go the distance, knowing that you might not ever make it?

Are you willing to try?

Recently, I cancelled the self-publication of my series, The Golden Lands.  I needed to do some serious editing and “remodeling”.  Why?  Because it’s a necessary step to “going the distance”.  In order to gain ground, I am retreating on purpose.

I would encourage you to ask yourself some of the following questions:

Is my story where it needs to be?

What’s holding me back from promoting my story?  Are these reasons legitimate?

Am I not letting go of certain nuances in my story, simply because I’m personally attached to them?

How can I network better and reach out to readers?  Do I even want to try?

How much does my writing mean to me?   Who are some people I could reach out to for help in promoting my writing?

As aspiring world-famous authors, we need to work together to help each other achieve his or her goals.  Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated!  Please share your knowledge or your publishing experiences!

What do you think?

Make Some Ripples, Ride the Wave

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Every writer wants to save the world, I think.  That, or every writer wants to tear down the world, tell it a story, and then reshape it into a better world.

Okay, that puts a funny image in your head!

Ever been asked what it’s like to be a writer?  Maybe, maybe not.  But you don’t need me to tell you what writing is like.  Chances are, you’re reading this right now precisely because you are a writer.  And, like a lot of writers out there, you’re into blogging, which led you to stumbling onto my beautiful humble blog.

But once again, you don’t need me to tell you what writing is like.  We know how it is.  So, maybe this post is just stating the obvious…but sometimes we need the obvious.

What do writers/bloggers do?  We spend half our time daydreaming, the next half of our time motivating ourselves to sit down and actually write whatever we were daydreaming about…and the other half…

Well, we ran out of halves.

 

tired squidward
An apt depiction of the modern writer

Oh, but once we do finally get ourselves to sit down in front of that computer and get those words onto some virtual paper, that is when we make things happen.  That’s when we—small, tiny, insignificant bloggers—cause a tiny ripple in the sea of literature.  Chances are, the ripple isn’t very large.  We hardly ever make a “big impact” on the blogosphere or in the history of literature; we don’t get our name written in the New York Times.

HOWEVER…waves don’t come before ripples.  If anything, ripples are the cause of waves.

The goal, then, is to cause enough ripples to create a wave.   And then?  Ride the wave!

I don’t think I’ve been blogging for a very long time—certainly not as long as some of my other fellow aspiring-authors!—but I do know one thing: you don’t get a lot without giving something first.  Some people get lucky…and some authors get very lucky.  We look at authors like E.L. James, Christopher Paolini, and Andy Weir and we think, “Why can’t that happen to me?!”

Sometimes you just have to accept that the going will be tough.  You might have to move “against the grain”.  You might have to splash violently in order to make that wave in the sea of literature.  Maybe the wave will come, maybe it won’t.  Let’s be realistic: it’s a hard world.  Nothing is easy, especially when it comes to fulfilling your dreams of becoming the next J.K. Rowling.

The important thing to remember is that, when it comes to creating a wave in the sea of literature, don’t drown.  Don’t stop creating ripples.  Don’t stop splashing.

Pray.  Write.  Dream.  Persevere.

To quote myself: Let’s go tear down the world, tell it a story, and make it better!


Stay awesome,

Dominic (Aul)