Writer Wednesday


Sometimes I feel I really have to justify how I write, LOL! :) With so many new followers this year, I guess it’s a good time to sum up things – it’s July, so you’ll probably just skim this and head for the beach, haha! Please note this is my writing process/experience and I’m not trying to teach anything to  anyone (I’m not a teacher and I don’t play one on TV). Take it as a ramble of a writer about her talent/skill/whatever.

You’ve just “met” me, so you probably don’t know the background – what I’ve been rambling about for almost 4 years. Some things haven’t changed much. See my musings on writing, rewriting and critiquing, then let me continue this rant.

My background (30+ years of writing in Italian) is very cinematic – actually, TV-like. When I started writing, I watched lots of TV and read comics. So my writing style is very “omniscient narrator” and not deep at all at the base. Only sight and hearing are used – much like in movies and comics (although comics allow “thoughts” balloons, while in movies you need the much uglier “voice over”). You can guess from this that I’m totally self-taught. I told stories to myself and then I started writing them. That’s how it started so long ago.

Then I started writing in English – screenplays, since the prose for screenplays is easier. But since screenplays have even more rules to stick to (by page 10 this must happen, by page 20 that, etc) than novels and Hollywood is even worse than traditional publishing, I eventually gave up and went back to my first love, prose.

In the meantime I have done courses and workshops and heard of all the rules for writing novels and the likes. But having 30+ years of storytelling behind, I don’t always apply the rules. I write what I want to read, and I’ve learned to cut down my cast (I can tell you my 20th century stories had dozen of characters and they were all the same – and I was a match-maker, everybody ended up living happily ever after and I even revived dead characters), but I still like having multiple POVs.

The BoI were a sort of experiment (all the books are tied to one sense in particular, but I tried to remember also the others when writing them), but normally I don’t put smell, taste or touch much. I’m afraid my prose is still cinematic and mostly lacks of setting. I try to go deeper (third person immersed whenever possible), but still feel sometimes a more “omniscient” narrator would be better. I still tend to do episodic novels (one chapter, one episode) and don’t like those cliffhangers at the end of chapters other writers are so fond of (because they’ve been told it’s the only way to keep a reader’s attention, that is).

As you can see from Kris Rusch’s post, it’s never the readers who criticize a writer – see what happened with J.K. Rawlings and in 1985 with Steven King… It’s the publishers who blame the writer… or it’s other writers bashing you. Not the readers. If you listen to other writers’ feedback, you’ll never publish, because they’ll lock you in Rewriting Hell forever.

I haven’t really found my readers yet (well, some, but they didn’t bother writing to me their impressions, they just bought my books), but the ones who complain the most are still other writers in beta-reading or critique groups, who probably can’t believe I can get away with no setting and only 2 out of 5 senses! :) No, I’m not selling hundreds of copies, but like I said, I need only 5000 readers and I don’t want to fit in the traditional markets (control freak, remember? ;) Yeah, it was easy to create one or two for Star Minds, LOL) – much like my O-characters.

Most of my protagonists are from the 4 “O” against society (something I learned at a panel at a Screenwriting Expo), usually either Outsiders or Outcasts – which is how I feel most of the time – sometimes Outlaws and rarely Others. For a clearer definition of the 4 “O”:

Outsider is his own worst enemy, he can’t get back into society unless he’s able to change.

Outcast recognizes that his skills carry a price and he cannot live in the embrace of society, so he stays out of it.

Outlaw is outside of the law and all society, doesn’t care what society says and follows his own terms, rules and laws.

Other is the society destroyer, thinks himself as a world-saver – the world is corrupted, and he wants to make a new one.

So, I write what I want to read, and it’s usually just character interactions – they go to places, meet people, no high stakes (mostly – at least no heroes saving the world in my stories, they have enough problems saving themselves, hehe!) and no real descriptions (I even stopped giving physical descriptions, they’re always very sketchy, or you’d guess the “model” and figure out it’s always the same faces, LOL!). I’ve started reading more prose since I started publishing, but I still haven’t changed my style. Whenever I read a description done as we’re told to do, my mind gets cluttered with useless details and I miss the scene. That throws me out of the story.

Now, I don’t know when I’ll get real feedback from real readers – the ones who actually buy my ebooks – but in the meantime, I’ll keep writing, evolving, reading and following those movies unraveling in my head! :) One last thing, that was mentioned in the critique post: reviews. I have changed my review policy and deleted most of my Goodreads shelves. I don’t do reviews anymore. Like David Farland says

Now, as a writer, I know that reviews can help, but they don’t make or break sales. I’d much rather have a great cover and no reviews than a moderate cover and fantastic reviews. Only about 10% of the readers take reviews into consideration.

I certainly don’t take reviews into consideration when I buy a book. So, if you’re an indie author, and want to show up on my blog, write a guest post – I’ll open again in September for that. Don’t ask me to review your book – I won’t. I might read it, discuss it with you in private if you really really want me to, but I won’t post another review. Sorry.

Star_Minds_Cover_for_KindleNow back to writing (I’ll do a summary of these two weeks of writing next week, since today’s post is long enough). On Goodreads I’ve discovered an award for indie books – although I doubt my books would win even that, so maybe I wont send any – it’s yearly and deadline is December, so plenty of time to think and decide! :) And don’t forget to Help Ben Wolverton – buy a book or donate for the health of David Farland’s son!

One last thing – I’m automatically enrolled in the sales at DriveThruFiction and, like Smashwords (50%off until the end of the month on everything except SMO), they have a July sale. Even Star Minds Omnibus is 25% off until July 28 – only on DTF… That’s really all for now, have a great week!

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