5 Things to do When You Feel Like Your Writing Sucks

If you are like me, then you are your own harshest critic.  Noting you write is ever “good enough.”  You May receive compliments, but all you see are the flaws in what you produced.  Being introspective is a good quality for a writer, but some times we go too far and feel like we should quit.  We may be struggling to sell our book(s) and only have a few hundred followers on our blog, but should we give up? No not at all.  Here are a few pointers for those moments when you aren’t sure of yourself.

 

  1. Know that becoming established takes time.
  2. If you’re that worried about it, find someone you trust and get honest feed back from fresh eyes.
  3. Remember you aren’t alone. Most people struggle with feeling like they aren’t good enough in their careers.
  4. If you are writing regularly and have stuff published, you are further along than most. Many people claim to want to be writers but don’t do anything with that desire.
  5. Building trust takes time, and it is difficult to sell things online to strangers who’ve never heard of you. Just because your book isn’t selling doesn’t mean it’s terrible. 
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Ideas: The Sequel

I think it’s worth revisiting the topic of ideas.  There are several out there floating around that are purely emotional and not logical once any time is spent thinking about them.  Yet, there are many who passionately adhere to them.  I find that fascinating.  To me it proves that humans aren’t always rational.  We often believe something because of how it feels.

Something we tend to forget is that ideas are rarely new.  They get repackaged and recycled, but they aren’t new.  As I watch what’s happening in America, I see a political/ideological gap widen because of these ideas.  Some of them are good, many are not.

This is where the importance of examining our beliefs and knowing why we adhere to them comes in.  It is easy to be in a group of people and start adopting their way of thinking.  It is also intellectually lazy.  However, this appears to be how many people operate.  We surround ourselves with like-minded people in life and social media, and only listen to political commentators we agree with.

It is scary confronting our beliefs, especially the deeply held ones.  I think there is a part of us that would rather be wrong in our beliefs than face an existential crisis.  When we realize a deeply held belief might be wrong it is painful.  That doesn’t mean an examination should be avoided.  This is the best way to root out absurd or destructive ideas from our lives.  It is something we all need to do regularly.

Villains Meeting Their Fates

What makes a satisfying end to a Villain’s story?  Is redemption the most meaningful?  How about an epic showdown between the villain and protagonist?  Are climactic showdowns preferred?

Good villains make the audience love to hate them and revel in their demise.  Sometimes that’s not what happens.  Sometimes the author is led to end the villain’s arc more quietly.

For the sake of risking spoilers, I won’t name the book series, but one I read recently had the major villain reduced to an insane shadow of himself.  The background and reason for it was given in a flashback and I couldn’t help feel cheated.  This big bad that was the mastermind behind the protagonist’s troubles was reduced to nothing before the main characters reached him.

Personally, climactic battles between the forces of good and evil have the biggest payoff and are the most memorable.  This may be a common way to tell a story, but it has endured for a reason.  I like to see the villain win sometimes, because in the real world bad people do win occasionally. I want the villain to feel secure in his power and make that security believable.  Once that happens, that is time for the protagonist(s) to confront him/her.

Redemption is satisfying too, but only if it makes sense for the character.  Vader is a great example.  His ending is beautiful in the novelization of Return of the Jedi.

How do you like villains to meet their end?  Do you prefer they sometimes win?  Do you like epic showdowns between them and the main character(s)?

On Dialect in Literature

In a creative writing class, I had several years ago, the teacher cautioned against writing in dialect.  The irony was that at the same time I was taking an Advanced Placement English class that assigned several books written in that particular style. Throughout high school and subsequently college I have periodically read books written in dialect, and I can see why it isn’t common place anymore.

“There Eyes Were Watching God” is often hailed as a classic, and assigned in classrooms all across the country.  I struggled to get through it, I could barely make out what the characters were saying.  I love reading, obviously since I’m a writer, but reading books written entirely or mostly in dialect is an insurmountable challenge for me.  I can figure it out, but my brain wants to fix the words which means it makes reading slow.

Authors are called to “show nor tell” in their stories, and writing in dialect is one way to accomplish that.  To me, though this shows the pitfalls of relying too heavily on showing and not implementing it wisely.  Sometimes, writing short bursts of dialogue, such as a few lines, might be a creative way to show a character’s accent.  Writing an entire book that way is clunky.

That isn’t me saying I claim to be a better writer than these classical authors, but I share this perspective to let others know that if they feel the same, they aren’t alone.  If you are like me, then dialect can be not only clunky, but distracting from the overall plot.  Thank goodness it is a product of the past.

Can Anyone Else Relate?

This is how I feel when people fluent in English constantly use “to” when the context requires the word “too.”  It’s almost like people forgot the word “too” exists.

Meet the People of Goandria: Ferrorians

Periodically I will give brief and basic descriptions of the races that populate the fantasy world of Goandria, the novel series I wrote.

Ferrorians- A diminutive people that were enslaved to the worlox during the demons’ reign.  They now reside in an underground city called Untervel.  These creatures average about one to three feet tall and have snow-white skin and bright-blue eyes.  The leader, Jennendelf, is larger and has wings, unlike most of his kin.  He took it upon himself to lead the ferrorian people once they were forced to live underground amongst radiated minerals that slowly poison his people.

The Story Behind “The Cursed Forest”

I am interested in the mysterious, strange, and unexplained.  As I have explained before, discussing the paranormal is important.  I don’t think everyone has to become a believer but listening to those who believe they experienced something otherworldly is important, belief then becomes irrelevant.

The Cursed Forest takes place in Freetown State Forest in Massachusetts. In previous blogs I detailed the legends and encounters people had there, so I won’t get into that topic in this post, except to make the point that the vast number of stories that have come from the forest are inspirational

The Cursed Forest delves into the lore around the Freetown State Forest and serves as a back drop.  With that, I play with “What if?” scenarios.  Such as, what if the paranormal activity experienced today was exacerbated by cultist activity long ago?

Cults and their power and secrecy is something else that interests me.  Partially what makes them so compelling is that they can allure folks who once led normal lives but became enamored by the cult’s cause and in many ways become completely different people.

Tragically, there are many historical examples of cultists committing suicide for their beliefs.  What drives people to do this?  There are many proposed answers, but there is still an element of mystery to it, and this question I play with in the book as well one of which is, “what if supernatural forces drive cults as much as human psychology?”

Great fiction speaks truth, and that’s what I attempt with this book.  Often straight-up lies are not effective.  Something that is blatantly false is more easily seen as such, but injecting truth into a falsehood, no matter who wild the untruth is, makes it much more potent.  When this happens, misinformation and lies are readily believed.  This is one of the main themes of the book, and despite the fact most of us know this intellectually, so much deception is still believed and vigorously protected.

This is just a glimpse into the reasoning and inspiration for The Cursed Forest.  Do you find these topics interesting too?

The Purpose of Writing

As I have mentioned in other blog posts, I wanted to become a writer since I was twelve years old.  The journey to becoming one, like any area in life, had its twists and turns, and for a while I even deviated from the course.

Throughout my life I was told things like, “You cannot make a living off writing,” “You will never get rich,” or “You can’t even form a complete sentence!”  Okay, so the last one was a legitimate critique at the time, but it’s something I have learned to improve.  But writing isn’t about getting rich.  For me it is about reaching a goal to get my works out there, where they can be enjoyed by others.  Ultimately, I want my fiction to inspire people.

Writing, like anything in the arts, requires a lot of patience in order to get established and maintain a regular audience.  The process for me has just begun.  Learning how to reach my audience is slow, painstakingly so, and can quickly become very discouraging.  Being in the arts is a continual uphill battle, and convincing people to buy a book from a new author is more than a little challenging, especially on the internet.

However, anything in life worth doing is difficult.  Marriage is difficult, yet it is so rewarding I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and the same goes for being a parent.  If everything came quickly and easily, there would be very little reward.  So, I stubbornly plow on with my writing and try to market it to the best of my ability.

The goal has never been to get rich off writing.  The goal is to make my writings available.   I know fame and fortune are rare in the book world, and I’m totally fine with that.  I don’t believe those things should be the end goal of anything, but they may happen more as a byproduct of hard work.

I want to give people a new, original, and deep fantasy adventure.  I wish to deliver a story that I would want to read and never put down.  I also want to make my books accessible to people who are not typically fantasy readers, hoping that I can change their thinking on fantasy stories.  This is what I strive for, if I eventually make more money from it, that would be frosting on the cake.

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Meet The People of Goandria: Osodars

Osodars- Ghastly servants of Zontose (the antagonist).  They typically are draped in red or black cloaks over gray tunics that conceal their true forms.  They are all that remain of former wizards who fell into evil centuries ago.  They no longer have physical forms because the toxic power they used eroded their corporeal form to demonic shadows. When seen without their cloaks, they look like sickly, translucent skeletons with a yellow aura and glowing blue eyes.

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