We Talk Story, Yeah?

English: Interesting Story

An Interesting Story (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Story.

Isn’t that what we’re really doing—writing stories, fictional or otherwise?

I read this article the other day, by Bob Mayer, and it really made me look at things differently! Bob’s got a lot to say in the post, but one of the things I came away with was that books are not the be-all, end-all. They’re a method to this madness, is all—and not the only method. Bob broke it down into three great lines (quoting from his post):

“Authors create stories and ideas.

Readers consume stories and ideas.

Everyone in between the two has to add value to that.”

What great insight!

What this means to me: I’ve been trying to get my work published through my agent by the traditionally published route. It hasn’t gone well. Over 4 years and not one sale. I never claim to be a Stephen King, Bob Mayer, James Patterson, or anyone else. I’m just little ol’ me, scribblin’ down my stories. But the point is, the traditional route isn’t working, and the traditional route is all about selling books. It’s not so much about selling stories. There’s an ever-so fine distinction there. It’s about the story and about picking different platforms, and all that goes with that. Mr. Mayer does a great job of it in his post, so I suggest reading it, but my point is that I’ve been resistant to trying the e-book only platform, having to admit to loving books, in and of themselves. I do, yes. As a reader. But as a writer, I’ve never been against any of the other platforms, like e-books. Just personally didn’t deal with them. My view has always been, if readers want to read on computer screens, smartphones, or tablets, more power to them!

So, I’m going to give this a shot. I’m going back over, for the umpteenth time in 12 years (I’ll post more about the long road in this novel’s journey once I get it out there), to my supernatural murder mystery, set in Gulf Cost Florida, and I’m going to publish it as an e-book. And I’m pretty dang sure I’m going to do it through Smashwords, but I’m still open to other ideas (I met Mark Coker last year, at the PPWC, and heard him speak; I was quite impressed with him and how he stood up to “Traditional Publisher Think,” or TPT—okay, I just made that up, on the spot, here, but feel free to use it!). And I’m pretty danged excited about it! This is a story that has been near and dear to me, on many levels, but, most importantly, it’s a story that’s important to me (or I’d never have stuck with it this far; I have given up on other manuscripts)…and one I think will entertain others, not to mention “get readers to thinking.”

So, let’s talk story, folks, and think differently about what it is we’re doing and how we’re doing it!

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About fpdorchak

Paranormal fiction author.
This entry was posted in To Be Human, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to We Talk Story, Yeah?

  1. J.R. Hall says:

    Thanks for the article. I am in the same boat as you (kinda), I have been brewing over a story in my head for about a year now, and I don’t know if anyone else will like it but at this point I want to tell it because it excites me. I have pages and pages of notes, several word documents, and sketches of maps I have drawn of the land.

    So I have decided to start writing it during the Camp NaNoWriMo this month and see how much I can knock out of it, and then hopefully send it to a few editors for their critique.

    I actually just this week started a new blog that is going to follow me through the writing process on my journey to becoming a writer.

    Thanks for the insight and let us know when your story is out.

    -J

    • fpdorchak says:

      Looks like my original comment got lost! Eh, this one’s better. :-]

      You’re most welcome and thanks for your comments, J.R.!

      Terrific that you’ve got an idea and want to explore and express it! Got for it! Excitement for a story translates to the page, so hopefully you will create a fun and exciting work that others will also enjoy!

      However, I must caution—strongly halt you—against sending it to editors for “critique.”

      Unless they specifically ask for it in that vein, such as at a conference, where they *may* ask for 5-10-20 or so pages to read and critique, that is not what editors are there for. They exist to acquire manuscripts to buy rights for publishing. They simply do not have the time to read something that is not in a “final” (nothing’s every really final when sent to editors! They get to hack-and-slash through it!) state and ready for acquisition. If you want critique, the best place for that is within critique groups—or at least one other writer (preferably NOT a family member nor significant other). I recommend finding a group that writes similar to you, or creating one on your own. If not, find a writer or well-read reader to read your material and give comment. But have a THICK skin, because we don’t always receive critique well and take it personally, and that has to done away with. It’s best to look at your manuscript (ms) as if you were reading someone ELSE’S work and forget YOU wrote it. It’s also good to set mss aside after a draft or so, and get time away from it, THEN go back to it. Another great tool is to read every bit of it aloud. You will be amazed at what you see, hear, and catch. I do that with every piece I write (except blog posts, kinda thing).

      Go to conferences (at some conferences you can read aloud portions of your work before an agent or editor and receive incredible, rare industry professional comment–though keep in mind some of it might be “off the cuff,” and not “at a desk,” where they can perhaps take a little more time with it—but sometimes you can do that, too, submit it prior to a conference and get it back at the conference, kinda thing)! Take classes, correspondence or in-person! Read writing books!

      But, also, ENJOY the journey! Don’t rush it, take it at the pace it develops into. Everything has its own Zen. Have fun, J.R., and I wish you all possible success in your writing career!

      • J.R. Hall says:

        Thanks for the correction. What I truly meant to say but didn’t come out (I blame the half cup of coffee), is that I mean to send it in to a publisher by the end of the year. Tor books is on my radar for submission.

        You’re exactly right about joining a writing group for critiquing purposes. I found one online that fits my genre, and have been submitting sections of my writing for review. It does make all the difference, and “yes” you do have to have thick skin when you receive the feedback.

        I appreciate the support. It is fun and exciting every time I sit down and write.

        I will keep you posted.

        -J

  2. “Authors create stories and ideas.
    Readers consume stories and ideas.
    Everyone in between the two has to add value to that.”
    AND I’d say this applies to every product. A bed creates stories and ideas (yes chosen on purpose! 🙂 ), an iPad creates stories and ideas, an oven, a chair, a car, they all create stories and ideas…and consumers consume them and in between there’s value and profit to be made. What a fun way to look at capitalism… it’s all like writing and selling books.

  3. Marc Schuster says:

    Thanks for sharing Bob’s insight, Frank. I love the distinction between stories and books!

    • fpdorchak says:

      Most welcome. It’s such a subtle, one might say almost OBVIOUS distinction…but it really struck home! And, with technology, it really broadened the logistical aspects in ways in which we can “never go back.” Amazing epiphany.

  4. Pingback: Goin’ Indie | Runnin Off at the Mouth....

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