Thursday, April 10, 2014

#ThrowbackThursday An Opinionated Artist Runs Her Mouth @shannonihayes 1st published Nov.2012

An Opinionated Artist Runs Her Mouth

       
        So once again I find myself in the wee hours of the morning doing anything to avoid working on my WIP. I know, I know I should be tearing up the pages and getting my ass in gear, but I just have the feeling that I need to get this one, like so many others out of me.
       I was chatting up with a fellow author and our conversation fell into our opinions about writing, novel lengths, means of expression, all the argumentative shit. (Who knew I could be so deep!) Fortunately we agree pretty much across the spectrum. And here I was thinking that my Co-author and I were the only ones. I came to realize that the opinions we had while not popular are not a singularity.
     As writers we are all, each and every one of us, whether published privately, independently, or still banging our heads against the target on the wall, Artists.

We cry, sweat and bleed it into existence something where only nothing once stood. We do not ask you to understand it, if you do, perhaps you could explain it to us?
       But the dynamic changes when you are an Independent Artist. Especially if you are a weaver of words and phrases. Everyone creates differently, it goes back to the remark that I make every now and again. 

        “We are not all one mind, one body or one thought. If we were this world would be such a boring place.”

        I like many others use self-publishing not because I am unable to find a “real publisher” fact was my first novel was accepted by the first reputable publishing house I submitted to. I will not name them. Cuz why should I? If you've followed me from Facebook, I'm sure you’ll find them. If you don’t believe me go look. I can wait, there’s a photo somewhere of my holding up the contract I declined to sign. I chose to stay an Independent because I did not wish to compromise my artistic vision. My novel is over 130k and they thought I should edit it to two thirds that length.

Needless to say I had a good laugh. If it could have been that short it would have been.

         I write not simply because I am trying to make money, but because I am compelled to. Would I like to see the In Dreams...Series or Awakenings The Wrath Saga on the NY Times Best Seller list, or better yet acted out in all its phantasmagorical, rude, crude, explicit and sometimes down right Oh Holy Hell! Glory?
           
I would be a complete liar if I didn't shout FUCK ME YES! From the Mountain top.
           But I will not sacrifice my worlds to meet another’s word count.

         In the beginning of my publishing foray I actually decided that I would pay someone for a review and some website time. I figured that it would be good exposure and was a good price to have both books featured. They were supposed to run back to back, so it was like “cool, twice as long in people’s faces. That will do me/us a world of good.” So I gave her a free copy of each E-book and paid her. I was told what dates the reviews would go live, gave her all of my links, and such. Then nothing. The dates came and went, and just as I was about to pop on the wench, she gets back to me and tells me that she was going to have to refund my work because she couldn't deal with the run on sentences, and didn't want to give me a bad review because she couldn't concentrate on the story.
Yeah I was pissed.
To top it off it took her two and a half weeks to mail me a lousy thirty dollars.

            If you have spent any time reading my rants, you will find that I am an avid fan of the Oxford comma, and sentences that seem to go on for half a page. What can I say except “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..... Yeah check out the length of that opening sentence and then bash me again about run-ons.
            I think that karmicaly ... That was pretty foul. If I like someone or their work I'll give them a push. Not to receive one back or any other compensation, although it is nice, but because I believe they deserve recognition, as a writer. I know how much time and energy went into their work. I hope that someone will do the same for me, and look past the little fumbles here and there. Not because I did so for them, or because I paid them. But because they believe the same of my work. If I were paid for it, then there would be an obligation to do the job I was paid to do. If I don't like something I will stay mum about it at least publicly. I can not see being paid to endorse something and then not doing the fucking job.
             
              That’s just one of the reasons why I think that I,  like many Independent Authors,  am my own EDITOR.
           My computer has a few keys that like to stick, so often I will have to go back in and look for those words that are, but are not. Those times when from becomes form, or when hen.
            Occasionally I will ask my co-author to look at something, but usually what that means is he will sit there while I read what I have to him, and he has to wait as I stop and start all the way through as I catch shit and fix it. I am the first to admit that I am a bit of a Grammar Nazi. So much so to the effect that I don’t often cut texts short because the LOL’s and BRB’s hurt me to type. I can punch out the sentences faster than I can think of the acronyms. So far writing this the only issue my spell check has had was with the text speak.
               But I regress.

             I do not have an editor, B, my co-author, is not there to reel me in, he is there to push me. To force me to let my freak flag fly till it's tattered and needs to be replaced! He lets me know if he thinks I'm holding back, and makes me go to those less than comfortable places, and I love the sadistic and tawdry little bugger all the more for it.
             
              For those of us who edit ourselves, and do not feel the need to consult or pay someone else,  there are multiple levels of edits. I profusely admire those with a will for edits.  Those who go through a manuscript three, four or even seven or eight times! But you know what? Sometimes things are missed. Personally I rip through my work for grammatical every 50 pages, and leave it there. I hate rewriting. I don’t do it. Period. I rephrase, I tweak and I expand my thoughts, I cut and paste, I add fifty pages in between sentences! That is how I write. And for those words whose spellings elude me, I have a thesaurus and auto-correct  Don’t ask me to identify for you the difference between minuet and minute, spelling wise, when I'm actually trying to use the dammedable word in time references.
               
                 There are those who scream about typos, but I've seen some horrendous ones in more known print books, from Rice to Koontz.  It happens and let’s face it we do not all turn the same kind of phrases.
             Some take great pride in that fact, hell I think that most of us would be LYING if we claimed we were not protective of our work, to the point of getting very Grr argh!
              
           There are some who feel like they don’t match up because they don’t write 80--100k+ novels. There are a lot of books that come in under 100,000, even smashwords.com considers work over 100k to be Epic! It is those writers who are the most humble, who are some of the most passionate people I have encountered. They are so excited to have accomplished this task of finishing a piece of work and they break their asses to self-promote and still find the time to help others who are just spreading our Author wings. They, like many of us, hope to write something that touches people on some level. No matter how minuscule. It’s times like that, when I see independents working together that my theory about writers is solidified.
              I believe that there are two kinds of writers. 

        Writers for profit: Those who write what they think will get them attention and acclaim. Those who just picked it up one day and decided that they would learn to do it. They have a need to be up there with the "masters." 

           Then there is the true writer: One who writes because they have no other choice. They are driven by an uncontrollable urge deep inside them to tell stories. They write to engage with people, to teach, to share a piece of themselves. Those are the more sensitive writers, with each story told they showcase a part of them self, and it can be the hardest thing to do.
Unfortunately one type never seems to understand the other.
 And here in lies the place of conflict, the place where you come to see the differences between the want to and need to writers.

                  I strive to write to immerse the reader. I want them to be able to sink down into the worlds I create and forget about the craziness of their day. I work hard to bring a sense of reality because there is so much in this world that people do not see, or know about. I want to open others up to the journeys that are out there to take. Sometimes my work is disturbing, but so is life, there is harshness, and pain, as well as passion and comfort. I am not personally the most emotional of people, but my characters are there to show those things I am not able to so easily articulate. There are not always happy endings, and I am wildly protective of my soul, which is bled and cried into every creation. 


We write fantasies. 

For good or bad, I think that someone needs to, and since we have it in our minds to do it, so much so the better. I think that for writers like some of you and I, in the end all that matters is that someone gets it, enjoys it, even if only a little bit. It makes all the difference.

So what if your turn of phrase is not "normal." Who's to say what is normal?  
Fuck them.
                   The harder the so called "pros" and "scholars" push the duller they become.
Their time is gone.

                     I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'm rather cloistered when it comes to contemporary writers. I've read Anne Rice of course, and Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, some Nora Roberts, Danielle Steele. I tried to get through Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, after having it recommended to me, but alas my favorites are and forever will be the source material authors. Poe, Stoker, Hemingway, Alighieri, Homer, the list goes on. I like the classics. Strike that I LOVE the classics. How they set up scenes, really got into the twisted and damaged souls of their characters. They made me want to write.

                Walt Whitman was his own publisher, as were many of the truly memorable wordsmiths.
   
               It is high time that the stigma and bickering between independent authors ends, there are more than enough people in this world to go around and the fact is that the competition is really always going to end in a stalemate.
                      I took part in a critique workshop a few months back you know the kind where they looked at the first 100 words of a WIP and broke it down. They were focused on "voice" and POV.  It annoyed the hell out of me because I often give background before introducing a character. They were all like “this seems good, but who are we supposed to care about?’
                     
I was like care about what intrigues you.

                    I write what pulls me in, what want to see and feel.  If you do not like it, don't read it, but you will have missed a great opportunity.  It was frustrating to read a "pro's" opinion, because in the end that is all it is. I think that the "known" greats who are no longer with us, would kick most "bestseller" Writers of today in the head or at least throw a drink in their faces. The ones who are truly remembered, pushed the lines, they told the stores others were afraid to tell. Some like Oscar Wilde were banned because they wrote about who and what they loved.  Hemingway and Poe were drunks, others were drug addicts,  suicidal or a combination of each.  It's amazing to find out just how many of the best were just so  tortured.  
        Glad to see I'm in good company. * Devilish grin...*

                       Don’t get me wrong it's not all wine and roses, there are some bad writers out there, frankly in manuscript form Steven King is a prime example for me. I love his imagery, when he adapts it on screen, but his actual writing style is terrible, in my opinion. Fuck is a great word, but it is not suitable to me to be used as an expository verb,  it is a dialogical term. Or just fun filled action.

                    When you get down on yourself because of a bad critique just remember...
YOU ARE A WRITER!
 So were they. 
               They did not write to make money, most of them like any other artist didn't make any doing what they were driven to do. Look up some of those books that the literature departments in the collages make core curriculum and you will see some of the harshest reviews you could ever imagine.
                  Like my author friend +Eri Nelson said to me in our last conversation, which spurred this little saga of mine, when it comes to being an Indy Writer;

“It is an up hill battle but one well worth the pages it was told upon.”
Cheers!
And Happy Writing!

November 2012