First the Write While You Wait Contest runs until the 29th of February so you still have time to enter. It's free.
I like TV. I like reality TV even though it's so far removed from reality .... it's like calling a bullet a missile. Nonetheless, I find watching reality TV as pleasurable as chocolate ice cream and peanut-butter. (Don't knock it if you haven't tried it, that's all I'm saying.)
On American Idol the judges are always on the contestants to "show America who you are as an artist." On Project Runway, the judges always encourage contestants to be true to their point of view. Last seasons on America's Top Model it was all about branding.
They use different slogans, but it really amounts down to one thing. Figure out what box you belong in and stay there.
Boxes don't have to be a bad thing. When I discovered that I wanted to write horror, it was so freeing. I finally had a box I belonged in. I set about exploring it, reading the authors in the box, discovering that made the box. Despite years of writing horror, I didn't know that was what I was doing. So at first, this box was a big wonderful place to play. But I also discovered other boxes my writing fit into along the way.
Maybe because I am naive, I continue to expand my all my boxes. Here's the thing. There is a huge difference, a monumental difference, between knowing who you are and playing to your strengths, and allowing someone -- fans, family, friends, agents, bosses-- to define the boxes for you. This is why I think advice like "brand yourself" is bad.
Be you. Not some version you think people will like. This is one reason why the Indy Revolution is totally awesome. You are free to be yourself. You don't have to fit into another person's box. Ain't nobody can stop you except....
I'm not an idiot-- Okay. So that's not entirely true. But on most occasions I can be counted on to know the date and time of a specific event. I got a notice this morning-- if you don't live in Korea, you probably got it yesterday afternoon-- the second round winners for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest were posted. This was a surprise to me because I had thought the news wouldn't come until the 28th. I set my own contest dates for the 29th, a day after the second round results from Amazon's contest would be announced. I even checked the dates before I posted. What probably happened is a little thing called biased. I don't know whether I saw it was the 23rd and forgot, or simply saw what I had expected to see. The brain is funny that way. Any author who has tried to edit their own manuscript can attest to how easy to miss errors because you see what you think you wrote, not efewth.
This got me to think about biases. I've always be intrigued bias. You cannot have an intelligent discussion with a truly biased individual.
Bias plays a huge role in a reader's relationship with writers. Previously, I wrote that I trusted readers to know what they want. Hence, I'm putting out both a horror and literary collection side by side.
But this bias thing got me to thinking. How often have I picked up a book because I know an author rights the kind of story I'm in the mood for?
If I go any deeper, this post is going to be really long so I'll just end it here by saying that I think it's much easier for a writer to define themselves as x, y, and z, than redefine themselves after years of being only z.
Here's a wiki link to a long list of biases in case your board and don't forget that thanks to my on biases the Write While You Wait Contest runs until the 29th of February.
Edited for clarification:
Sometimes I have very complex reasons for doing things, but I don't say them very well. I want to thank my friend Dorie for pointing it out.
As you may or may not know, I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. They'll announce first round winners on February 28th. I have my book of short stories coming out, but that's a hurry up and wait kind of thing. I also have a story that made it through two rounds of readers with Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. They actually only accept 1/20 of the finalists but its hard not be a little excited and a lot of hopeful. Selling a story to Andromeda would bring me one step closer to SFWA membership.
Part of writing is waiting. Hurry up, get this done... Now wait. So what are you waiting on? Does an agent have a full? Or maybe your just waiting to have something to submit. There's a boat load of frustration in that.
So, I've decided to host a contest. In 150 words or less, write a story using the five words below. Leave your story in the comments. Also feel free to share what you're waiting on. Enter as often as you want between now and February 29th. The author of my favorite will win their choice of a $25.00 Amazon gift card or $25.00 in cash paid via Paypal.
The economy sucks and I happen to be in a position where I haven't been effected by it. This may not always be the case, but while it is, I don't mind buying someone dinner.
hurry up and wait
Yesterday. I mentioned I was working on two collections of short stories. I've actually had my nose to the grindstone on these projects for months. I've got the covers done last week and sitting on them has been killing me. Anyway, I've decided to make it official. Midday Musings will release on March 4th with Midnight Whimsy to follow.
I think just about everybody knows what of Yin and Yang. They were two guys who walked into a bar... Just kidding.
Yin yang is the Chinese concept of opposites being interconnected. I was thinking about that today in relationship to writing. I write in several different genres, most often horror and humor. I wouldn't say that horror and humor are opposites because I see how they intersect. But my eclectic tastes as a writer has left me wondering, should I split into multiple identities-- one that writes only horror, one that only writes science fiction, you get the point-- so I won't confuse people?
Conventional logic says, yes, it's a way to lose readers. I wonder how solid this logic is? Publishers have long been deciding what will and won't sell. ( Read last week's round up over on Nathan Bransford's blog to get a better grasp on all the hullabaloo.)
I've decided that answer is no. In part because I feel that, for me at least, there's more of a continuum than division going on. The other thing is and think this is really important. Authors should trust readers make their own choices. To me it's that simple.
Sure I've read books I didn't particularly like by authors I adore. And I continue to devour their books. Why? Because for the most part, I like what they write.
So my next project(s) are a bit of an experiment. ( I always have multiple projects going on, so this too is a continuum.) I'm going to release two collections of short stories. One will be a collection of literary fiction. The other is a collection of horror and humor. I don't know if I'll release them together-- probably not. There's a lot that goes into prepping something for publication. But the releases will be close together. Sink or swim, this is just what I'm gonna do.
I updated my projects page to reflect stories that have been finished. I also added an excerpt to My Father's Heart. I've been working on this for the past month. I'm really excited about this one.
Part of today's text was shamelessly lifted from The Literary Lab. You can read the whole post be clicking the link.
I feel like with some stories I'm being confidently led from one stop to the next. The direction feels clear. At other times, I get frustrated because I feel like I'm just randomly going from place to place with no one guiding me.
As a member of several writing groups, I've often told writers their story needs direction. In his post, Domey Malasarn has managed to say exactly what I mean. Please lead me! Writers who lead often commit all the sins that writing instructors teach us not to do and it doesn't matter. When a writer leads, readers follow.
I've always wanted to draw water. After watching a few videos on YouTube. I decided to give it a try. the second drawing is just a horse. I drew a lot of them as a kid so this one's none too impressive. I was drying out the drawing program that came with my bamboo dock. That's why there's a grid in the background. I really like Art Rage but I found myself itching for a good old fashioned a pad, pencil and eraser.
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).