Perhaps it can be a new genre.
Yes there is always happily ever after and a formulaic plot but I try to add my own spin. Whether that is anyone’s cup of tea, well I’m starting to find out. AGAIN? No this is about something else. Well sort of...
I believe there was a writer within me for a long time but I wasn’t listening. I only wish I realised how much it would become part of me, I would have woken up sooner. But I didn’t. When I started it was rough. No ‘skills’ and a bad memory meant I had to learn again. I read how to books, I got advice from writers I admired and I tried to get better. I hope I have. So when my first story went free on a little place called Amazon Kindle I was so not prepared for what would happen.
So from the first moment of plotting out my first, short, rough draft of my first story to the day I discovered it to be ‘taking off’ as a freebie, three years had passed. I still don’t think I believe it. After many, many hours of reading other amateur’s work (like myself) on authonomy, where I could also learn by reviewing which in turn helped me to find out how to improve myself, editing and re-writing scenes and the thing I’m worst at, cutting (I don’t write enough as it is), Spoilt was born. My first ‘finished’ manuscript. Was I ever wrong. After being so dumbfounded by winning the ‘First Chapter of the Month’ competition at Night I went through it all again. Editing, rewriting.... My point out of all of that is; I am only a ‘young’ writer but I believe I have stories to tell.
What I got from all this, the most amazing thing of all, was the friends I made. From all over the world I have a community of writers who I can share my woes with and they will pat me on the back, give me a reality check and send me on my way. I can share my news with them and they are excited. I can share their joys and say yay for them. All of that plus many others who support me, always, is how I keep going. Nothing could ever replace that community and what it has done for me and my writing. At the top of that is Tim. I have shouted out for him this week already. When I considered throwing in the towel this week, Tim supported me through every high and low. To him I am the most grateful.
Then there is the emails I have received, the 'fan' type ones that aren't public, that people don't see... these are touching and make it all worthwhile. But writing isn't just about the 'accolades', it is about the love of it but knowing you are bringing something to someone's life... that's pretty cool too.
At the end of the day, I was lucky but with that luck came nastiness. I may be an average writer with three stars who disappointed people enough to write bad reviews but 17 out of 60,000 isn’t too bad. Maybe the people who haven’t reviewed are enjoying it. That is all I can hope for.
I may write poorly and maybe I should give it away... yet I will still write because I love it. Because the muse comes calling and being in the zone...is unexplainable. I do the best I can to hopefully give someone a few hours escape, like reading has been for me. So yes the bad reviews really, really hurt and I thought about giving it up. Instead I’m going to take a few days and re-group. Becoming a ‘bestseller’ was amazing and unbelievable and I wish I had been able to enjoy it more. After my retreat I hopefully will.
I have never said I wrote anything but adult fairytales.
This has been a remarkable journey.
This was how it started. It’s been a week. I read an emotional story, Empty Chairs, and wondered how people do this to each other and their family. Since writing this blog last week, Stacy has had further turmoil and it sickens me that some people are just so evil. It came from my daughter encountering a bully at school. It is about being bullied myself at school. It is about how words can sting. The subject I’m going to cover is a pebble in a pond but relevant to the feeling of hurt. I have banged on about it a bit already... but it has taken me days to get over it. It has, in a way, overshadowed my ‘success’ and I allowed this to happen. I enabled the hurt and drove people nuts with my moans. Instead of being completely happy about the amazing rise, I sulked. I have since kicked myself in the butt and said ‘You are lucky! There are other people who would love to be in your position.’ However, I let it be tainted regardless. I hope this blog is something all writers can relate to.
With success comes the jibes, and nastiness. Now I knew I would need a thick skin being a writer. I encountered some of this on authonomy. Yet as I sit amazed by the past week I still find the bad review stings. Sure not everyone is going to like everything they read. I know I don’t. Sure I have not written the next Pulitzer Prize. I have never claimed to have written anything but fluff. But we all want people to like our tomes. And we all want to be liked. Don’t we?
I have never given a bad review to anyone. This could be to do with being intimidated by confrontation. It could also mean I like to be liked. I like to think it is because I am nice. Do unto others? If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. So what motivates someone to take the time to write a bad review? They really passionately didn’t like it. So I think, great I made this person feel. It may have been vitriol but it was driven by emotion nevertheless.
We write because we have to, we want to be read. Unfortunately that comes with a price. I, of course, do not know the motivations behind the nasty review. There could be a perfectly good reason to slam. Like I said, I don’t claim to be a literary genius. I would like people to get out of my story what I get from others. Light, love filled entertainment. Don’t take it personally is really what should be considered. But how can one not when they have poured their heart and soul into something they truly believe in. Does a nasty reviewer remember there is a person behind the words?
I know I claim to be a ‘writer’ but in essence I’m more like a storyteller. There are so many writers I am awe-inspired by and know I will never be that writer. But commercial books sell regardless of your writing prowess.
Twilight is the case in point or even The Da Vinci Code. Now I am not saying that I am in the same ballpark as these books, far from it! But the point is, millions of people loved the books. Loads hated them, stating them to be poor. Maybe they were. I liked them but I write fluff. Yet these books sold ridiculous amounts. I can only wish I could do this well. I have been so lucky to have this amazing, dare I say, success but I like to think some of it has to do with my storytelling ability. My ego thinks I do alright, sometimes.
I could never have anticipated what would happen. I dreamed of course that it would. I want to entertain people as they have me. I want someone to read my book and get lost by the sheer romantic fluff of it all. I hope that out there that is happening, somewhere.
So today on Manic Monday, I reflect on my week and thank my VERY supportive friends who helped my bruised pride cope with rejection and bad reviews. I also want to send a special thank you to Tim. Thank you for putting up with and encouraging the sensitive writer!