Why do we do it to ourselves?

In today’s literary marketplace, while a tiny minority of books become million sellers, most do not.
There comes a time when most of us who are committed to writing have to ask ourselves a fundamental question – why do we bother to do it?
We spend months, years even, agonising over, and getting a storyline out of our systems onto paper, or computer screen, sacrificing a normal existence and suffering sleepless nights. And then when we are relatively happy with it, we send it off to our publisher like a proud parent watching their offspring going to school for the first time.
Like all proud parents, we wish nothing but the very best for our ‘child’, and yet that moment of final separation is when doubt and extreme anxiety enter our souls. Will our ‘child’ be alright? Will it be treated in the best possible way once it is out of our hands?
Nothing within the world of books and publishing is an absolute given. As the doting parent of that literary ‘child’, deep down we want nothing less than a one hundred percent assurance that it will be nurtured by the publisher we send it to.
To write a book which grabs the reader’s attention is not an easy task. The whole thing is largely down to pure luck. Coming up with a concept that no other writer has used before is difficult in the extreme, especially these days when the market is being flooded by so much dross.
If you want your ‘child’ to be able to be seen bobbing around amongst the rest in the sea of rubbish currently available, it simply has to appeal to a wide audience. After all, the days of people having the time, or indeed the inclination, to want to sit down with a book and to hell with everything else, are sadly gone.
To put it another way, your ‘child’ has to compete in a marketplace designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator intelligence wise, which is saturated with endless numbers of mind numbing biographies, ghost written for shallow so called celebrities, or the plethora of cook books, Mills & Boon style romances, and the ever increasing number of poorly produced self-published works. Not an easy task when you take the time to think about it.   
Don’t get me wrong here; some self- published books are excellent. Most however are not.

And so I say – why do we bother to do it? Personally I believe it is simply because I have an overwhelming desire to write, and a tendency towards inflicting completely unnecessary mental torture upon myself. As for the rest of the writers in this world, you will have to ask them why it is they bother, bearing in mind the anxiety we all face when finally letting go of our cherished ‘child’.  
 

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Goblin Tales For Adults – Another Update

Merry Christmas to one and all from me, Glob, his brothers and Bejuss too. This latest editing session is going well. I’ve just seen the preliminary sketch for the map of Goblindom this morning – Christmas Day. It’s brilliant! It only needs a few very minor changes. Hopefully I will have it in its finished form in a few days time. What does it look like? Think how J.R.R Tolkien would have wanted it to look and you will gain some idea. 

More later…

Friendships

During my lifetime I’ve made lasting friendships with barely a handful of my fellow human beings. These are my closest and dearest friends, those who accept me warts and all, not that I have any you understand.
We all have many acquaintances we can name, but those closest to us, if we’re truthful, can be counted on the fingers of our hands – in my own case on the fingers of one hand.
Since the internet exploded into existence, the phenomena of friends and friendship, has taken on a whole new meaning. Most social sites these days have ways built into them designed for the user to ‘collect’ friends.  To my mind, this is a lot like collecting bubble gum pictures, or the cigarette cards of old, or even – god forbid – engine numbers while trainspotting!
Despite what the originators of these sites may have in mind, these ‘friendships’ are in effect nothing more than acquaintanceships, no matter how they couch them. The likely-hood of any of us actually meeting face to face is remote in the extreme. Each of us chooses what we wish the other users to know. None of us fully reveals everything about ourselves, now do we?
For instance, who among the billions living in internet land really wants to know whether or not I am a chain smoking writer, who loves drinking best English bitter all day, while listening to classical music or the blues, largely intolerant of today’s younger generation and the times we live in, who prefers his own company, and whose idea of luxury is wearing old jeans and tatty old t-shirts for days on end with a fag in my mouth – whoops!
Still, all any of my many internet friends had to do was simply ask…
Heh! I’ve just realised why I found it so easy to write my latest WIP about a bunch of goblins. I must have been looking in the mirror.

You’re Imagination and You

Whether you are an avid reader of books or an avid listener of plays on radio, undeniably, your imagination works overtime conjuring up in your mind what the characters you have been introduced to may look like.
The same is true from the point of view of the writer. Whether I’m writing a short story or a novel length work, in the back of my mind I have a mental vision of each character, no matter what mood they may be in in any given set of circumstances. The hard part is to convey that image of those characters to the reader.
In my own case I attempt to do it by their actions and reactions, their moods, their environment, and their interaction with the other characters inhabiting the page alongside them at the time. To be believable, your characters have to almost appear to be alive in your mind, and that of your reader.
When I was growing up I spent countless thousands of hours with my head buried in a book. Most excellently written books do not contain illustrations, meaning the author leaves it up to you to ‘picture’ the scene in your mind. This is all to the good.
These days however, there is a tendency among the growing number of lazy adult readers of this world to demand books be crammed with pictures. Where’s the fun in that?
Picture books are for small children! Having everything laid out before your eyes, leaving nothing to the imagination, is to my mind – nothing short of criminal.
A well-conceived cover picture on a paperback or the dust jacket of its more expensive cousin the hardback is one thing, but to want to have each bend in the story illustrated to within an inch of its life defeats the whole purpose and experience of reading.
Reading is a cerebral pleasure, designed to relax and divert you. Don’t insult writers by demanding that the books you want be filled with illustrations. Yes I’m talking to you! For those lazy adults among you, I repeat myself just once more – picture books are for kids.
Be brave and adult about it when you next visit your nearest bookstore. Pick up a book full of text. Buy it and take it home. Sit back and open it to page one. Then for a few hours, experience the joyous delight of exercising your imagination. 
Take it from me, it’s a wonderful feeling.

Goblin Tales For Adults – Editing Update – Even more

With seven more tales to go in this my third major editing session, I need to take a break for an hour or two. Whatever you do don’t tell Glob, or else he will be on at me to keep going. I heard yesterday that the the map of Goblindom is almost complete. I can’t wait to see it.

More later…