Monday, 14 November 2011

Be Nice Now....

Normally I wouldn’t do this, but I warned you, I would voice my opinion. This is one of those times.

Someone recently reviewed one of our books. Now, while I'm not opposed to someone reviewing our work, I am opposed to having it dissected, and examined under a microscope.

It’s my understanding that a story is just that - a story. It’s not a lesson, and it’s not a lecture. It’s supposed to be entertaining, suspenseful and maybe have a moral.

As an author, I believe we should exercise a certain amount of ‘courtesy’ and ‘etiquette’ when ‘reviewing’ other authors works. No matter what other people might think of our stories and novels, to us, they are our ‘babies’ and should be treated as such. Who has the right to label anyone's story as good or bad? You might like it, whereas I may not. It's opinion based on preference. Take into account:

I see the Sun as warm, inviting, glowing and alive. It gives warmth; it promotes growth and has essence. My husband sees it as the star nearest to the Earth. It gives light and warmth, but it also means hard, unpleasant radiation, which can cause sunburn and skin cancer.
I see a puppy as cute, warm, cuddly, and a source of unconditional friendship and love. My husband sees it as furry, bouncy, energetic, sleepy and chewy, a kid-magnet, and a pooping pee factory. “It has nothing to do with toilet rolls - sorry Andrex.”

Am I making sense yet? I’m not saying this person is wrong, but I believe they could have been a bit more tactful about their views. I am not an expert. I did not go to college and obtain a language degree. I most certainly would consider myself as a professional. Maybe author does fit me. Let’s talk turkey here.

According to Wikipedia, an author is broadly defined as: the person who originates or gives existence to anything. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work. [emphasis added]
According to Merriam Webster - apart from the above example, an author is: the writer of a literary work. (book)
According to Oxford English Dictionary - an author is: a writer of a book, article, or document.

Well, let's see... do I qualify? According to the above examples - yes - I do. I have written stories, songs, poems, screenplays, plays, web pages, and am now working on my seventh book. Hmm... I’d say I've fulfilled the requirements – wouldn’t you? Now, do I qualify as a good author? Some would say I do. Should I consider myself as a bad author? Who knows - maybe?

My point - does it really matter? No matter how good or bad of an author you are, there will always be someone who disagrees. To be an author does not mean everybody out there will always understand or enjoy your work. If that was the case, then the World would need only one book. But, what book would this be, and who would decide? Some people want to learn, while others want to escape. Who’s right, and who’s wrong?

If I help someone to see things from a different point of view; I've done my job.
If I help someone to realise a dream; I’ve done my job.
If I make someone scratch their heads and think; I’ve done my job.
If my book or story allows the ‘my husband is cheating on me’, ‘my parents don’t understand me’, ‘why bother – there’s no use’, ‘my boss is driving me nuts’ person to forget their problems, even for a little while; I've done my job!

Now... What do I like? Easy - everything - but seriously....
I like futuristic, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, suspense, humor, romance and yes, maybe even a little sex. (Doesn't everybody?)
My husband likes technical manuals, murder, science fiction, thrillers, mystery, and adventure.
My best friend likes all of these, as long as there are no snakes involved. But that’s ok, I don't like spiders.

Something that bothers me is this. Because my books do not fall under the ‘known’ book categories, when I put them on Amazon, it's difficult to decide what category to put them under. My books have a little of all of these. It has murder, mystery, futuristic possibilities, science - pure and fiction. Romance with a hint of sex in most. All of these are sprinkled with a hefty measure of humor.

Why? Because in real life, that's what humans are like. I want my characters to be alive and realistic too. Yes, I’ll admit, I put a lot of ‘me’ in them at times. And yes, to some, I might go overboard. If you feel that way, that's your opinion, and you're entitled to it as much as I am to mine.

When I first started considered my books for publication, I did, what I would expect every newcomer does. I tried to learn everything about how to write, and how to phrase things properly, and how not to do something. I found myself pulling my hair out one strand at a time. One person said do, the other said don't.

Then I came across one that said it all... ‘Be yourself.’ Don’t try to conform to somebody else’s norm. You are your norm. You know what you want your books and stories to be like. That’s what makes you an individual. That’s what makes you unique. That is what's important!
I know you probably think this is all useless rambling, and maybe it is? Does it matter? In one word – no!

Life is about individuality. It’s about growth and understanding. It’s about sharing and caring. Mostly, it’s about me letting you be you, and you letting me be me. Together we are variety.
Does everyone like chocolate cake? No. Does everyone like chocolate? Maybe.
Does everyone like to read? Maybe not. Does everyone like stories? Yes – even if it’s an audio book or a TV show.

My advice to you, if you’re on my blog, and you don’t like reading… you’re in the wrong place. Like it or not, I consider myself an author and I like to write. If I don’t write something every day – I don’t feel as if I’ve accomplished anything.

Do I plan out my stories? Not always. Most of the time they write themselves. They evolve as I type. If you disagree - think of this as my way of venting.

Oops - rambling again. Oh - wait. This blog is called Ramblings. Silly me - I thought I’d stepped out of the norm.

Call me stupid. It doesn't bother me. Call me dumb. I can handle that. Call me normal? Now I'm insulted!

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