People Pleasing

Jambo! (means hello)

Was yesterday as fabulous for you as it was for me? Yes? No? I got to walk in the rain and jump in puddles.

A group of fantasy writers came together to talk about the cliches commonly found in RPGs and novels. Apparently, there is a common theme dealing with giant rats in RPGs…  Giant rats?!

There were other familiar themes that  seem no longer desirable like:-

  • The conquering hero also known as the chosen one, who just needs a bit of training in order to save the World.
  • Anything that looks like it was copied from JRR Tolkien, Stephen Lawhead, JK Rowling and George RR Martin. (Elves, warring brothers, fighting houses, magical swords, orcs/Zombies, Wizards with long beards… you get the drift)
  • Zombies
  • Killer chicken

The challenge many writers face is pleasing their audience because a happy audience buys more of your books. Sometimes the reason for writing is because you saw Lord of the Rings and thought it was absolute garbage and wanted to write your own story. However, hobbits, elves, wizards and orcs keep popping up with a floppy disk of power that will down the alien zombie ships using a specially written virus.

I’m exaggerating, of course, but the sentiment remains. How do you write an incredible Zombie story without upsetting those who don’t want to read about Zombies?

Many solutions abound. Mine? I write what I want to read.

Osibegye! (Stay well!)

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Killing me softly

Karibu!

Your presence here is greatly appreciated! How is the weather where you are? Toronto is cold and our Mayor is probably high right now.

I dislike rules. Not the kind that stop people from killing each other (if you have that much malice in your heart then you’re not my target audience), but other kinds of rules. Arbitrary rules that come out of nowhere and don’t do any good for anyone.

Rules of a story, the kind being peddled on the internet, are even more aggravating. I’m struggling with one particular one today. Kill your darling.

No. I won’t.

I’m a Potter head, so today’s reference is Potter related. Sirius did not need to die (neither did every single Potter from James’ family who could have taken that child in). Lawd!

Dumbledore may have needed to die, but I doubt he would have come between Harry and mouldy Voldemort since he knew what the prophecy said. Tonks? Mad-Eye? Lupin? Fred? Colin Creevy? C’mon now. However, Harry Potter is not my story. It was Ms. Rowlings and she killed a whole throng of happy people to save her story.

Since there are tons of murderous cretins writing stories and then killing the people they make us fall in love with, I’m going to choose to be someone else.

Surely there are creative ways to write a story without going on a ruthless rampage. Surely.

Back to writing!

This Honesty Thing…

Still here. Workin! Just peeking in to say hello and mention one small thing that happened to me today.

I have come to the conclusion that I was telling myself a strange story. The theme has been Impatience. I’m impatient to get started on ____. I’m too impatient to _______. I repeated it to myself till I believed it.

My bestie, hard nosed career counselor and part-time diagnostician, looked me in the eye and said, “You’re not too impatient to____. You just don’t want to do it. You’re not impatient to get started on ____. You’re just not willing to put the time and effort into the preparation.”

I growled at her, but it was the stinkin’ blinkin’ truth. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I like to think I’m usually completely honest with myself. Turns out, I don’t just like telling stories to others. I like telling them to myself and then I believe them.

Busingye (peace)!

The Cost of a Story

Kulika yo!

What a super sunshiny day it is in Toronto! I wish you were here to share it. We could have a proper discussion.

I have the privilege of being part of a few writing groups online. I have always thought that if you’re seeking support for your work, you should give support. Some people are incredible at the social networking thing. I’m still learning.()

Sometimes an author will be done with their work, pay an editor, pay someone to format the book, pay someone to design a cover and then post it online for sale at $2.99. $2.99 for a 300 page original story!!!

If this were a business and I was counting $$s…

  • Idea generation (collecting them from the “Ether”) – $100
  • Writing for about 3-4 hours a day for six months at minimum wage (in Ontario $10.25) – $10.25 x 3.5 hours x 5 days a week x 24 weeks = $4,305 before tax.
  • Paying an editor 2 cents per word for an 80,000 word novel – $1,600
  • Paying for someone to design your cover – $500, generic $40, doing it yourself 3-4 hours at minimum wage – $36

So the book that is sitting on the shelf (real or virtual) is worth anywhere between $5,900 and $6,400 without the cost of marketing, packaging, printing, distribution, shipping, Amazon.com fees or taxes. To break even an author would have to sell  over 2,100 copies of the book at $2.99 to break even.

Really… I can’t e’en.

Support your local author, don’t be a Grinch.

Chasing my dream…

Karibu Reader! Are you ready for Saturday? I wish I could say I was!

I’m chasing my dream and it is not always the easiest thing.

Sometimes it’s hard explaining to people what you’re doing…

As a child, I wanted to be a doctor/engineer/lawyer. By the time I was a teenager, I’d picked Doctor after reading a novel that romanticized medical school. One night in the hospital was enough to change my mind. So I tried becoming a computer scientist, but was disillusioned about sitting behind a computer all day. THEN I latched onto engineering, white-knuckled through it and ran out the gate waving my degree in the air before anyone could notice what they’d given me and take it back.

Did they just let me take it?

I’m not one of those people who are burning with words they cannot keep behind closed lips nor is my message  one that must be heard by one and all. I just like telling stories. When I have a great one, I make it longer. If the inspiration was a blip in the time-space continuum, then I’ll have a short story. Try explaining that to those who bankrolled my college education.

But this is my dream. This is what I want to do. Make up shit in my head, write it down and have someone pay me for it.

Defiant

Reader! You flatter me with your presence, Karibu.

Today I had a lot of cooking to do and decided it would be nice to finally find out what Defiance was all about. In case you’ve been asleep at the Sci-Fi wheel, the story of Defiance (the new name of St. Louis, Missouri) is set in the near future. Aliens came hoping to terraform Earth, but found it already inhabited. They sought asylum, however, a douche with a gun killed one of their representatives, enter war, enter devastation… you get the picture. So everyone, including various humanoid species is living together in mutual tension and loathing.

Great premise. Dunno why everyone is scared of showing wars nowdays (especially since we’re all bank rolling it), so no war for you. But here is a cookie!

This is a summary of my first reaction to the show.

  1. Why does dystopia always devolve into
    1. a scene from China town (pick any city with a China town) in the middle of their New Year celebration?
    2. a slum in some African country/India?
    3. the old west?
  2. Why are these places always hubs and suddenly legitimate businesses
    1. brothels
    2. weapons trafficking
    3. fight clubs
  3. How come there are no
    1. Chinese/Japanese/Korean Americans?
    2. Latin American Americans (did I say that right?)
    3. Other black dudes. This IS St. Louis after all.
    4. No Jazz or hip hop, just whiny meow meow music (not quite sure how else to describe the awful howling).

I feel like I’m stuck in a really bad version of a futuristic, half sci-fi, half steampunk Deadwood, which was much better written and had more interesting characters (watch it till the end! Aaaaaa! *faints* I gotta watch this show again!).

I know, don’t knock it if you’re not writing something better, right?

I’m workin’ on it!!!

Bee-bee-dee Boop!

Are you doing okay? Wanna talk about it?  Leave your comment.

Today is a smoggy day and I’m grateful to have and be near my computer. It also means that I’ve got to find a way to be productive and allow my fingers to speak for my brain. Telepathy will come soon enough. If we cannot figure out a way for our brains to do it, then we’re going to make machines do it for us! HURRAH!

I began a story yesterday. It is complicated and rough and filled with all the familiar tropes I’ve been trying to get away from. I had the opportunity to check out a post regarding challenging those familiar plots we have all come to accept as the truth or reality.

Writing stories is a way for me to live an adventure that I could never really have away from the story. Magical things are all around us in nature, but magic itself remains hidden. I read about new scientific discoveries every day and see how technology is going to shape our future, but right now I’m just breathing in Toronto’s smog and driving places instead of teleporting. So in my stories I can do things and experience life that is more grand than I think it is right now. I can be fabulous doing those grand things.

So enter new story. Great story. Wonderful tale. Things exploding everywhere, people running in all directions, blood guts and gore. All is well with the World until I realize that my main character is way too human for an alien. We have not met them yet, but when we do I’m not quite sure they’ll feel the same way about things the way we do. I’m not sure the multiverse is populated with Klingons, Vulcans, Romulans, Cardassians, Ferengi, Wraith, Aasgard, Nox and Gua’uld. You know what I’m sayin?

I’m heading back to the drawing board and working through this again. Coz if I’m writing for me, then what has that got to do with an alien species?

Kapla!