Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Identity Crisis?

I need to preface this by saying I understand that not every reader will enjoy every book I write; however, I went onto Amazon and responded to a reader who appeared to take issue that my writing is all over the place, and that two different writers wrote BEING PLUMVILLE and TROLLING NIGHTS--the latter of which received 2/5 stars by a reviewer who also gave BEING PLUMVILLE a stellar review. I responded to the accusation by accepting the charges, so to speak. I DO write differently depending on how the characters come to me--I don't really have a "method" so to speak, other than listening to my characters and following where they want to go--because believe me, trying to do differently does not end well! On the other hand, I know there is a certain amount of risk implementing that writing style, one that will earn me the two not-so-great reviews I receieved. I am disappointed I could not provide these readers a product they could enjoy, and I probably broke some cardinal rule trying to "defend" my characters to them. And yet even as I did so, I was not very surprised by some of the objections, and more upset with myself I couldn't/didn't convey what I was trying to convey through these characters...or wondering if I DID convey what I was trying to convey, and the readers didn't like it. I don't know. This is yet another chapter of my ongoing dilemma--what the devil am I writing?! It's apparently not romance; I don't think it's commercial fiction. The only thing I know I am writing are love stories--at least I'm trying to do so. And I do not want to dismiss those who do enjoy what I write. Know my market. One day I'll figure out what that market is, because I can assure you my characters certainly do not care about it! They just want their stories told, and they chose me to do it.

To whom am I accountable? The market, or them?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Partial Career Update

I had a really good time at the book signing I attended two weeks ago. I didn't sell much, but the people I met were wonderful, and it was good to see so many self-published out there--and not just self-published, but bonafide publishers of their own. It was inspirational, truly. It was one of the best experiences at a book fair I have had. And now there's an article about African-American Romance and how people are finally waking up to the fact that black people/women read and voraciously, and that our stories...aren't as typical as the "mainstream", and that "our romanace" ain't like "theirs", and yet it is.

Pushing at boundaries, baby.

Which is probably why I am struggling through the end of a novel I am writing because it's taking very many twists and turns to get to the ending I see. I am a fly-by-your-seat writer because I let the characters do what they will. The times I've tried to force them in the direction I want them to go...they've never ended well. So I'm just a reporter on the insanity that is my mind and L'Hotel Characters Who Don't Know What the Devil They Want Other Than a HEA. So, I've been writing...other things that aren't so twisting and turning and angst-filled and heavy. I've gotten great response for it, but I still chug away at the novel.


So, as I've been "unemployed" since February, I'm shifting more of my focus on manuscript editing. I just finished a project for Aliyah Burke and I have at least three more to work on for her; as well as Shara Azod offering me work on some projects for her, and Jeanie Johnson and Jayha Leigh wanting me on tap for them once their publishing house gets off the ground. I'm truly, truly grateful for this, and I am also a little anxious. Editing someone else's work is nerve-wracking, especially because it's someone else's. I try my hardest to go a good job, but those times you don't...everyone notices. I want to lower the rate of those instances significantly, because the one time I didn't it turned into a fiasco that almost led me to severing relationships with people I truly admire and respect. I know life is like that, but that part of life ain't the business at all!

I also have to think of my own writing career--the above novel aside. I have another novel that, like I said in a previous post, that everyone in the romance industry who judged it tore into smithereens. Now I have to wonder if I should just scrap the entire idea or self-publish it on my own. Like the above novel, this one goes into some very "don't be going there!" territories in the romance genre. And maybe I just need to reread it again or...a fresh pair of eyes should read it. It got great response when I had it up on my Google Group, but, I don't know...yet, I do have a few others I could release. Then again, there are other avenues of publication and I should never forget those. I have to keep trying and not get so comfortable in DIY. And...I need to get more comfortable at DIY too! However, I'm getting dangerously low on my "already written" cache.

Hence the need for me to finish up that novel. And Felix's Story. And too many other stories I've started and haven't looked at in months...maybe years. You'd think with all this "free time" I have I'd know how to be more productive. But if my muse ain't there, he ain't there.

*please come back muse, please!*

I think the solution is to leave my house, not even take my computer, and handwrite. We'll see if I do that. But if I pretend I'm "going to work" (although, I am), I'll be more productive than staring at the same more-than-four walls of my apartment (have I mentioned I love my apartment? Yes!).

Yay, early Saturday-morning purges!