Friday, May 25, 2012

Does hard work pay off?

First off - confession. I bought the currently 'disappearing-off-shelves-though-tawdry-and-naughty' trio of books, so very popular at the moment. I read them all. I even enjoyed a point but I ran into a problem I have been having a lot lately.

I spend a lot of my time writing...and revising..and beta reading/critting other people's writing so when I sit down to a book I find myself inadvertently looking for flaws, what I would fix, what I would do different. Some books I lose myself in, others...not so much. Some I think... these words were printed and mine are not? That's so arrogant, but I know we've all thought it.

I know this world we crave to be in is highly subjective but does that excuse bad form? Is the story what really drives it? I know plenty of books like this and there will be many more to follow. I know some where the writing is exquisite but they can't hold me to the characters. But there is one thing that all the books I love have in common - originality.

Now, I don't want this blog to tear down any one particular book, but since these books I speak of are such the word of the moment, I'll use it as example. Most people know it was fan fiction, it's going to be a movie, or many of them, and the author received an obscene amount of money in advance.

It's what we all dream of - success, money to live on while we flounder with words to create the next story and all the world to know the name of our book. So why am I so upset about it?

My main problem, aside from the copious use of about the same twenty adjectives, this trio of books seems to have very little original thought. At least, from where I'm sitting. The characters could be picked out on whom they are based even if one did not know of the fan fiction angle. ( Ex:The other boy who likes her is a Native American and his father ends up in a wheel chair and is best friends with the MC's father - and they go fishing and root for the Mariners.) But it's more than that. The sex scenes, many of which were hot and frankly my favorite parts, I had seen before in other places. Some were so similar to the Beauty books from Anne Rice I actually went back and reread those parts just to make sure I wasn't crazy. The piano top scene - hello, Pretty Woman! Even one scene in the third book was almost identical to one in the first of the series.

Now - as stated, I did enjoy them...kind of. It was an easy read and probably one I will make again. I find myself grinning foolishly when the hot CEO says dirty and romantic things to his clueless girlfriend. But that's not the point..well, actually, it is!

The point is me and all the writers I know are working our butts off to make something original that is being met with a resounding round of no's. Sometimes we're even told, it has not enough voice, not enough original thought. How can that be? I feel all I have is original thought. (Obviously, that's not true, because you are influenced by everything you see and read.) But I am certain my story has not been told before.

That's why I'm telling it. Because it's a story I want to read and it's not out there yet.

So my question is this...Is all the hard work worth it? Should I continue to break my back to make something a little out of the box or should I just put my characters into the plotting grid available?
A + B = something easy to sell.

This is a foolish question because I'm not built that way. If I want to do something, I want to do it well. The best way I can in fact. So this is just a musing. A moment of becoming all too common self doubt.

I'm in a weird place. Should I write how I want and do something different and hope it takes? This is what I want to do. But I fear if I do this, there will not be a market for it. No, I'm not writing to get rich - but I am writing to be read! I want my book on the shelves. I want to be able to put more on the shelf after that!

So what are the merits of original vs. unoriginal thought? Will people read what they haven't seen or what feels comfortable like an old blanket? Am I breaking my brain for nothing when something less than what I have will do? Are all my 'original' thoughts really just a reproduction of others and people will think my books the same old, same old rehashed too?

I tend to think that following my gut and doing what I want is the way to go. I've never been accused of taking the normal path. I suppose this time shouldn't be any different. And all in good time, I'm sure the hard work will pay off. Right? Right.

Until then, don't think me bitter. I'm not bitter. Just longing for the smear of ink on my fingers as I turn the page to be the fresh ink of my mind. Just longing impatiently.

Now, I'm going to go write something that I want. And after some more hard wok, someday I'll put it in your hand and you'll read it. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Writer's Voice Contest

So friends, fam, and followers...this is a groovy little contest called The Writer's Voice and I made it to the first round. Feel free to read and encourage (I highly recommend the encouraging part) the following query and first chapters. Follow my blog and leave warm, fuzzy comments below. Love in Real Life is Adult Romance. Enjoy! And wish me luck!!!!

Josey Blackman has moved to L.A. and found the perfect life. She has it all – the house, the kid, the husband and it seems to be enough. Running her dance studio and being a mother take up most of her time and keeps her mind from dwelling on the past. Still, Josey feels something is missing.
            Alex Blake is the biggest thing in Hollywood. Famous and successful from a young age, not only is he a star but also the owner of a production company. When the opportunity to audition for latest movie presents itself, Josey jumps at the chance. She can’t know how much that moment will change her life forever. Instant chemistry boils between Josey and Alex. She wins the role of his leading lady as well as his heart.
            But no matter what they feel for each other, theirs is a romance that can never be. Josey is married, has a daughter she adores and a past that will haunt her forever. Alex leaves a string of warm beds and good times in his wake. Both are perfectly happy with their lives until they meet each other. Now everything they believed they wanted has changed. The only thing they want is each other.
            When Josey is confronted with the secrets of her past and forced to take a long hard look at her present, choices she never dreamed possible rise before her to determine her future.
            Love In Real Life is an Adult Romance, 77, 118 words in length, about the curveballs life throws after you find happily ever after. It’s a stand-alone novel with series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Josey -
             I stepped into the shower. I had decided every little detail about it, Drew spared no expense when it came to me, so it was perfect. I guess that made almost 6 years of being spoiled that way. Wow. Had I really been married that long? I adjusted the water to the perfect temp and reached my hand out along the wall until I reached my iPod, sitting idly in the dock. I pushed the play button. “Time is Running out” by Muse. Great. . Please don’t be too prophetic. I washed my hair and tried to prepare for the day ahead.
            I stood in the shower longer than I should have. The hot water felt so good on my tense shoulders. Dancing as much as I had lately will do that to you. Make you one gigantic pretzel knot of muscles. I needed a massage. Imagining that, I relaxed each muscle as strong pretend hands worked out the angry spots, one by one, limb by limb. I breathed deeply, putting my hands on the wall in front of me, closing my eyes. Hands on my skin. Mmmm. So nice.
 Then I heard footsteps. It was Rose, my four year old. She came running into the bathroom. She was perfect. Smart, funny, beautiful, healthy. Exactly what I wanted.
            “Mama, did you make my lunch yet?”
            “Mama will be out in just a second. Are you dressed?” Same questions, different morning.
            “Yes.” she answered with her sweet little voice.