indie publishing, Reading, Reading preferences, Uncategorized, writing fiction

No one loves every book

book.loverYou don’t have to love my book, or read it. I understand completely. If you’re a writer, I hope it’s okay that I may not love your book or poem or even choose to read it. I trust somebody will, and I hope your work will find the audience it deserves.

Seldom does a book come along that everyone loves. We might be surprised if we could know what works published today will be read 50 years from now. Probably not the best-sellers. I don’t expect them to be mine. Possibly something obscure, a book that was ahead of its time. Sometimes art is like that–when it’s unique, it takes the public a long time to catch on. Or catch up.

The variety and amount of available fiction reminds me of the cereal aisle in a large supermarket, or an eight-page menu that allows each diner to have his favorite food. If we were truly hungry, we’d be grateful to eat anything. Long ago, with less choice, more hunger, and maybe a less well-developed palate, I read anything.

Since I’ve devoted so much time to writing, I’ve lost my ability to read for pleasure. I’m sad about that. Most of the time I read like an editor, either marveling at the excellence of word choices and sentence construction or wanting to rewrite the whole thing.

Today I get enthusiastic about a story only if it’s different, not a new twist in a plot I’ve read too many times. It must be well written, and I like it even better if it illuminates cultures, concepts, settings, periods, or technologies I don’t know about. I love extraordinary writing; there’s never enough of it. I like to connect emotionally with characters and their stories. I dislike some genres, even when written extremely well. I envy people who enjoy almost any story. I love finding a book that inspires me to write better.

The fact that all writers can now put their work up for sale without the backing of a publishing house has resulted in a lot of poorly-crafted books on the market. A blogger who reviews books under the name “Read 4 Fun” reported on one of these recently, under the headline “Please Do Not Publish Such Annoying Work.”  The review is kind of humorous, but I feel sorry for the author, who may have erred only in not seeking the advice of an editor. The reviewer says it could have been a good book. Maybe the writer will learn from this review and do better the next time.

Though I seem to have lost the ability to lose myself in a good book, I’ve been rewarded with hours of enjoyment (and angst) in crafting my own, and I’ve made many friends of indie authors as well as readers. I’m certain that one day our freedom to publish will result in the emergence of extraordinary products, and maybe a few of those will still be read in 50 years. Best wishes to all.

Book reviews, indie authors, indie publishing

Indie Authors: Where Are They Now? (Part 5)

If not for my decision to read all the books in John L Monk’s awesome indies project, I would never have read page one of Dan’s Lame Novel . Especially not with its plain lame cover. I mean, we’ve all read enough lame stuff. We should subject ourselves to something deliberately lame?

Yes. If laughing improves your day. lame-novel-ecover

I have so many things to say about this work that I don’t know where to begin. Does the writer break all the rules or uphold them? Both, if you look sideways. For example, almost every chapter starts with the weather and the location of the character, an aid to readers in case it’s been a while since we set the book aside. Now I kind of like that technique in a novel–it keeps me on track. But since his intentions are lame, Rinnert goes over the edge, describing his own weather and what he has been doing between chapters, and how his character hasn’t moved or accomplished anything. He also talks confidentially to the readers and berates his characters (who may hear him and talk back).

Yes, the author is a heavily felt presence in this story, I think the kind of entertaining guy you’d like to have at a party. The novel is more about his writing process than about the character. To avoid all possibility of making his main guy a hero, Rinnert gives him a ludicrous name: Dryer Vent. And because a main character’s path must be full of obstacles, he puts Dryer Vent in a bunch of impossible situations then ridicules his difficulties.

I had to keep reading because the writing is so good. Rinnert manages to repeat without seeming repetitious. Here are a few bits. (I hope you get the joke without the context.)

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be a real street name anywhere, but I don’t feel like searching online to find out, so I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and remind you it’s a fictitious address, so don’t try going there…Let’s carry on.” (Author commenting on setting).

And later:

“Oh, I never mentioned the bushes before? Shame on me. Anyway, they were there, and he found an opening, so he’s ducked in there, hoping to evade the car.” (More authorial comment).

The whole thing is a parody of the writing process and lame fiction, perhaps genre fiction in particular. Savvy writers (you and I, of course) and anyone who needs a break should love it–just carry it around in your phone or e-reader, dip into it when you’re exhausted, when you need a chuckle, when you’re waiting somewhere. Or when you think your WIP is a POS.

And it’s only, what, 99 cents? Treat yourself to flawless writing with absolutely no pretenses. Then we’ll all have this joke in common and can just repeat the title and laugh together.

Dan’s Lame Novel!

(Don’t skip the Forward.)

(Buy it here.)

So what is Dan C Rinnert doing now? He says “I have about sixty-eight works-in-progress.” Here’s a bit about his current top three:

1. In the semi-sequel to “In Search of the Legendary Phineas Ray,” three friends brave the outlands of their world to find a way to defeat an up-and-coming tyrant, unaware of a larger threat looming over them all.
2. Investigating several murders in a small town, an experienced detective finds his world is not as normal as he’d thought and stranger than he ever imagined.
3. After a man loses everyone and everything important to him, will he ever be able to win back the first love of his life and find happiness again?

Dan, message me when you publish the next one. @carolervin6 Meanwhile I’m going to go “like” your Amazon author page.

beautiful writing, Bob Summers, David Lawlor, ebook publishing, indie publishing, John L. Monk, Lindy Moone, sequel, Writing, writing a sequel

Blogs that make my day

Every time I open WordPress, my blog reader gives me images and words that make me look and think more than twice.

I’ve explored only a few of the millions available, for talent abounds and there’s little time. Here are some that give me joy every day.

The strong, sassy, self-deprecating attitude of Bob Summer’s blog, which doesn’t for a minute conceal the caring writer behind it. This short story shows Bob’s talent:

The art of Ray Ferrer, stark black and white images, some or all done with spray paint. Check it out here:

Almost daily I get my snorts and giggles from Lindy Moone and John L. Monk, the quickest wits I know.

Like this from Lindy: Do you suffer from Premature E-Publication?

Both Lindy and John dazzle me with their language. Here’s John’s “Disturbing incident at work today: they found out I’m a writer.”

I enjoy discovering side bits of history on David Lawlor’s blog, History with a Twist. Check out his archives, starting with “Mrs. Nash, the Transvestite with Custer’s Seventh Cavalry.”

Some blogger personalities shine, and that’s what I like about run4joy59’s blog. I was profoundly moved by this post: Doing the right thing?

Finally, the award for most uplifting–my eyes are filled with wonder at every submission by nature photographer Janson Jones,