Monday, March 24, 2014


Since I wrote that last blog post, I've been thinking about the comments on the blog and about my writing, trying to figure out what was wrong lately.  I think I know what it is. I took the passion out of my writing. I was trying too hard to please people. Thinking too much about how I wanted to sell more.

I don't know what most people believe an author's style is when it comes to writing, but to me it's how the author views the world around them. What an author finds interesting, what experiences she or he has had, the way they sympathize with people and process things are all going to color the way they write a story. Even the way an author speaks or has heard people speak is going to affect their writing. It's why a bunch of different people can take a similar idea, like writing a romance novel about vampires, and make it into totally different stories from each other. Because they view the world differently, so they are going to take the characters in different directions and focus on different aspects of what it means to be those characters. One writer, who is more in touch with feelings, might write more about what a character is thinking, while another, who studies martial arts in their spare time, might write about fighting more.

I've been very insecure about my writing style lately. I don't get jealous of other authors who sell more than me, I usually instead try to read their writing and figure out what it is about them that makes them better than me. See if I can improve myself through their example.

I notice that a lot of popular writers are ones who view the world like a fairytale-the kind that tune out real life horror stories, like people dying or being hurt-and favor a rosy view of the world. I, on the other hand, want to understand people's suffering. I have a deep admiration for characters that struggled and were at the end of their rope. I love reading stories that are positive and upbeat, but I don't think most of those stories fit my style of writing. I just kept thinking that you should write what you'd want to read and I know that I read a lot of upbeat stories where the characters aren't necessarily as emotional as my characters are, so I thought I'd try to write them, too.

I've been trying to change myself to make people happier and to sell more books. The only way to improve as a writer is to change, but to change the way you fundamentally write also takes a lot of the passion from the story. It starts feeling more like a stranger wrote your story than that you did. You have more trouble connecting with the characters because you didn't put much of your life into them.

I was starting to feel like passion for writing was bad. That it clouds your judgement of what is good that you wrote and what needs to change. I might connect, personally, with a certain chapter that I wrote, but readers might hate it, and I shouldn't blind myself from their perspective.

I still enjoy writing even if I put very little of myself into it, but it's not quite as addicting. When critique partners tell me I need to change something, I'm trying to fix it according to their brains, instead of finding a creative way inside my own brain to make the story better. It becomes mechanical and not my own.

But the passion is coming back and I'm very excited about that!

Friday, March 14, 2014


I haven't been feeling the most confident about my writing lately.

I bought some covers for stories I've been working on and shared them on the blog a few months ago. I like to give out any news that I can as soon as I can, but now I sort of regret it.

One of the hardest things for me is writing the blurbs on the back of a book I am publishing about which books are going to come next. I want people to get excited about the next books, maybe even look for them after they are published, but at the same time, I can never really tell for sure what story I am going to complete next.

Even if I already started writing them, whose to say I can finish them? What if the next book doesn't turn out right somehow? Should I publish it anyway just because I promised people I would? I doubt that I could do that, but I feel like I'm letting people down if I don't.

Even if I finish writing a book, like I did with these most recent books, there's always the possibility that I'll show them to critique partners and suddenly decide that I hate them, which happened to me lately. Ugh. I worked for months on giving and receving critiques. Now that I'm adding the critiques to my notes for my story, I feel like my story is the worst story ever.

On the positive side, I got really great critiques from my critique partners! If I can incorporate all of this stuff and fix my story completely, then it's going to be the best story ever.

On the other hand, the critiques I got were discouraging. I'm afraid it's not possible to fix it. Which is exactly why if I can correct this mountain of problems, it will become the best story ever.

In fact, one of the biggest critiques I received was that people absolutely hate my main character. Agh! Does this mean I have to change her story entirely to make her more likeable or can I just add little details here and there, where she does nice things, to make her more redeemable?

Not to mention that there are problems with the pacing and the romance of the characters, which drives the story. I even messed up a bit on some of the fantasy setting and rules.

I love being a self-published author, but to some degree, there is something I'm sad about when it comes to not having a publishing company. A publishing company would force me to focus.

Publishing Company (PC): "You finished romance novel 1, now write romance novel 2."

Me: "But I want to work on fantasy novel 3!"

PC: "I don't care! We are paying you to finish romance novel 2."

Me: "But I hate romance novel 2!"

PC: "Do it anyway."

And I'd get it done without procrastinating by writing blog posts, going on facebook, or working on other story ideas I have. And if it was really terrible when I was done, they would tell me. I can never truly know on my own whether it's a good or bad idea to publish something. I just have to do it and see what happens. Then I have to take full responsibility for what I've done either way.

Every new book you write, you want to be your big book. The one where people notice you. The one you can use to make a lot of money and use to justify to your friends about why you don't have a day job.

It gives me a headache to think about it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Your Opinions Matter

I have a confession to make and that confession is that I experience a lot of self-doubt when it comes to my writing. It's been bad lately. I received a lot of feedback from critique partners. I don't know about other authors, but I agreed with almost all of it. I'm afraid that I can't fix my book. I'm afraid I will have to move on and work on other stories, even though I've been working on these two for a long time and already announced that I will be publishing them.

I used to have a second pen name, but I wound up deleting all the stories I self-published under that pen name recently. This was also how I found out that you can't officially "unpublish" anything on Amazon. It won't be sold anymore, but records of its existence will always be there. I decided those stories weren't written well enough anymore.

I think I experience this self-doubt partly because I'm not as emotionally attached to books that I've already written as most authors are. Sometimes after I finish writing and editing a book, I wind up absolutely hating it.

To tell you the truth, when I self-published Pandora's Mistake, I hated it a little bit. I like my Medusa's Desire story, but feel a lot of times like it might not be the kind of story most people would like to read. I was wanting to write according to formulas more. And I tried to tweak the way I write a bit in the stories I've been working on lately. I want to experiment and give people more of what they would like.

But then I started getting a bunch of awesome and encouraging reviews. At the time, I was thinking about quitting writing the Fate of Eros series or at least putting it on hold for a long time. But when I read those reviews, they encouraged me. People were enjoying my writing. I was motivated suddenly to want to work on the next book about Sisyphus.

With indie authors, we don't have publishers telling us what to write. All we have is our readers, so your reviews actually mean a lot to us. I'm not saying that we will get angry if you write bad reviews. I am saying though that sometimes, if you really like a story, and tell an indie author about it, they might be encouraged to work on that series more, just for your sake. We want our readers to be happy.

Authors are more accessible than ever, especially indie authors. As readers you have more power than you think. In the past, it was publishing companies deciding what should be published and advertised to make popular. Now, it's you deciding what should be popular. I like that readers have power.