Thursday, August 6, 2015
Life's a muddled tale...
Life is a story in progress.
Character development is key, I guess. Probably never as free-form as you'd like it to be. Life, like writing has its rules. Set the stage. Set your goals. The character is tested and grows (hopefully) as the story unfolds. And, the story continues stage by stage to its inevitable conclusion. But, the ending can be a surprise, good or bad. It can be comedy, romance or horror. Or, maybe something that nobody is ever going to understand or buy.
So, you're left with the question of whether to write the story that comes out of you, or the story you think others will want to buy. Sometimes, the self-defining challenge may lie in the second option, if you can pull it off.
I used to just sit down and write, for my own sake. An idea would germinate and grow, and I'd just let it out. Lately, I find myself pulled in so many other directions. In seeking to promote existing stories of mine, I seem to spend more time reading, reviewing and promoting other people's books than working on new projects. But, I also find myself hopping on every bandwagon that passes, dashing off short stories for contests or special projects I hear about through writer's loops or other contests. That part I like, because it sharpens my skill as a writer by making me answer the challenges others set. (I just signed a contract for a short story in a sci-fi anthology; always a good feeling.)
Writing, like life, is about survival. Nobody buys, you don't survive. 'Gotta' sell yourself. If you don't know how, you gotta' learn. If you're lucky, others will help, but it's on you. The hardest part is finding the right audience, the right reviewer, the right showcase. You often find yourself in company with writers that are going in decidedly different directions. You try to learn from them, but you wonder if the audiences they sell to are ever going to get your stuff.
And, like life, it's a journey, for better or worse. At its end, you find only yourself. I'll always write first and last for myself. Whether I succeed or fail, it just feels like that's what I have to do. It's just getting back to the basics. I've got some ideas I've let gather a bit too much dust. Time to do a little cleaning and salvaging in the attic. Wish me luck.