I’ve recently been involved in a twitter chat with @valerievaldes regarding reader expectations and it got me thinking. What exactly makes you pick up a book, and what makes you put it back down again, half-read or unread?
Let’s discount, for a second, the possibility of you knowing the author and would pick up anything he/she wrote. We’ll get back to that option later. You just walk into a bookstore, looking for something new to feast your literary mind on. What attracts you to a book…
a) the cover
b) the blurb
c) review comments on the jacket
d) none of those you always research first by reading reviews
And conversely, what is it that makes you put the book down as not what you were looking for?
a) cover doesn’t match the blurb or vice versa
b) you’ve read a bit and it’s not what you expected from the blurb/cover/reviews
c) you don’t like the style
And what does this lead to for you?
a) give the author another chance, this may be a one-off mismatch
b) avoid the author because once burned and all that?
Pretty please let me know what you think, I’m really interested!
Hello my dearies and welcome to the Book Bunnies Blog!
It’s the second day of the fourth quarter of the year and I welcome all you fellow insecurists to our bunny home (and YAY to the new IWSG’s very own website!!).
Let me start with a short introduction – there’s eight of us in total, writerlings all. We found each other through a NaNoWriMo writing group, which should tell you something about how we like our writerly adventures – madcap and in a flurry, the lot of us. *snigger*
Our little bunny group covers a whole rainbow of subjects (and the use of rainbow is quite on purpose here). Kimberley, Bella, Sasha and Kerry all write erotica and romance of the lgbt variety. Becca writes historical stories, Three is an all-rounder, Michelle writes YA fiction and I myself write fantasy of various flavours. Some of us wrote fan fiction once upon a time, some haven’t, some are published, some are not (even close).
Objectively speaking, we don’t have that much in common, but we all write, we all have the same sort of problems with our writing (time or lack of it, mad characters annoying us and messing up plotlines, grammar, markets and marketing, to name but a few). And yet… here we are, and we even have the blog to prove it.
So here we are, writing. And loving it, loving the feedback (well I’m kinda assuming we all feel the same about that, but hey…what do you say, my bunny girls?), loving the sense of not being alone with your piece of paper or the empty screen in front of you. Writing is a lonely job, a solitary endeavour for the most part. Having a group of friends give you the right sort of push when you need it is invaluable.
That goes for all of you guys and gals, too – the Insecure Writers’ Support Group is exactly that sort of community. YAY for all of us!!
Do you have a special person you share your writing with in order to further your craft? A writing group, online or in real life? Is a sense of community important to your writerly life? Drop me a line and let me know!
Welcome to this First Wednesday of the Month Post!
And it’s a very special one today – today is no less than TWO-YEAR anniversary for the Insecure Writers Support Group!! Thank you, Alex, for the idea and the implementation and for keeping up with it for all this time. I’ve already posted a big THANK YOU to everyone over on my blog, but it bears repeating.
Today’s edition of IWSG is brought to you by Alex J Cavanaugh, Ninja Captain and founder of the group, and his co-hosts, Chemist Ken, SL Hennessey, Michelle Wallace and Joylene Nowell Butler, and there’s a whole lot of us out there being insecure and writing nonetheless (see here!).
So as a celebration, I’m going to keep this post extra short and try and visit as many of you insecurists as I possibly can. See you later!
Here, as promised, the second instalment of The Opposite of Nothing:
“How do you know me? Who are you?” I asked.
The man – about my age, I think – sighed and ran a shaking hand through his shaggy curls. “Are we back to that, then?” He stared at me, eyes so very full of hope I wanted to say no, I did know him, he wasn’t a stranger to me. I wanted to say anything at all to make him happy, but I couldn’t.
“Look, are you sure you know me? You don’t mean anyone else?” I hoped he wouldn’t cry. He looked like he might. What was I supposed to do with a crying man on my doorstep in the middle of the night? Pat his back? Offer tea and cookies? Hug him? I tried to ignore how happy certain parts of my body were at the thought of hugging my stranger.
“I mean you, alright,” he said, and the tone of his voice made something inside me clench painfully. I watched him comb through that lovely hair with his fingers again. “Look, Gabe,” he whispered, “Whatever it is that’s got you acting like this, could you please ignore it for a moment and let me come in? I need to talk to you.”
He stared at me, pleading with every ounce of his body. “It’s important.”
I know it’s only a short scene…sorry! My excuse: I just spent a wonderful week with friends in the north of England, and tonight I’m going to see Rhianna in concert!!
What do you think about Gabe’s situation? Should he let the man in?
Hello and welcome to The Book Bunnies, fellow Insecure Writers! I’m Tessa and I’ll be whining at you today (I’ve already done so on my own blog, Tessa’s Blurb, just so you know).
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group was brought to life by the wonderful Sci-Fi author and Ninja Captain Extraordinaire Alex J Cavanaugh. You can find the complete list of participants on his blog HERE. This month he is joined by three co-captains, namely Nancy Thompson, Mark Koopmans and Heather Gardner.
On my own blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what, I am a writer. I know this, deep down, and I have so many stories inside me sometimes I feel like they’ll just burst out of me. That doesn’t stop me from failing, again and again, at every single writing goal I set myself. It’s almost as if I’m scared, somehow, not to fail at this. I’m determined to keep trying, though. I’ve even signed up for Camp NaNo, though it’s already the 3rd of July (happy 4th of July in advance, btw, my American friends!) and I haven’t written anything yet.
How about you? How do you cope with writing goals? Do you keep to every single one of them, just a few, or like me fail at any (except NaNoWriMo, when I signed up I’ve always managed that one)?
Let me know!
It’s crazy to see myself writing here, when I can barely remember to post on my own blog.
You see, I have very little time to sit down & write much of anything. My reasons include too many jobs (three), too much laundry (it’s never ending), &
three two children (must remind myself that counting my husband is a child is not a real option). At least the people distractions are cute.
Just looking at that photo reminds me of approximately 500 other things I need to be doing right now. Like scheduling new photos. That is from a photo shoot some time last year. The little guy probably has four more teeth than he did, and my big boy will be five in July & has already lost a tooth. I did not handle that gracefully. And did I leave laundry in the washer this morning? Those jeans on my husband need to be repaired, I think.
That’s not to say I don’t have ideas. I’ve had one in my head for a while about a girl who works at a coffee shop & falls for a former baseball player. (It would seem we Bunnies like our ball players.) I even wrote an introductory chapter for it . . . two months ago. I haven’t written a single word since then. Mostly because all my ideas come in the shower or when I’m driving. I’ve considered keeping one of the bath crayons my kids have in my shower so I can write down ideas, then go back to them when I’m dry & have paper in my hand.
Which means I need to run out & get new bath crayons, because I’m pretty sure my two year old ate the last one . . .
For today’s post I meant to write you a drabble and post that, but no, that won’t do today. Instead I’m going to give you the beginning of one of my WIPs, working title “the opposite of nothing” (not very nice but it is just a working title after all). In fact, this WIP isn’t much more than this beginning and a vague sort of idea where it’s going…. ; )
The doorbell rang at what a bleary-eyed glance to the right told me was the ungodly hour of four a.m. It was still dark outside – as dark as it gets in a city full of neon lights and cheap curtains, anyway. I ignored the insistent ring but like a snooze button from hell the bell rang again and again until I dragged myself from under my blankets. I am not a morning person on the best of days, and last night had been a late one so whoever was on the other side of the heavy security door was shit out of luck. No way was I going to be nice.
As a matter of fact I was busy going through all the curses known to me (if not mankind) while I unlocked the four locks and dragged the door open as far as the security chain would allow. Imagine someone slamming a door? That’s what I did, only in reverse.
“What the fuck do you want?”
That struck me dumb for a good minute or two. Wasn’t that my line? Why was the guy on the other side of the door saying it? I glared through the gap into the sparsely lit hallway, trying to make out who dared disturb my rest. As usual I’d left my glasses on the table by the bed, so all I saw was a tall figure with fairly broad shoulders and a halo of yellow hair. Did I know someone with yellow hair? I swear my brain creaked and groaned as I tried to place the hazy figure before my door into some sort of context that made sense.
“Who are you?” I finally asked.
I think the man with the yellow hair closed his eyes but without my glasses I couldn’t be sure.
“Go get your glasses, Gabe. You’re going to give yourself a headache squinting at me like that.”
He knew me? Shit. I hurried to get my glasses, banging my knee against a stray chair on the way. Back at the door, I stared out into the hallway. Nope, still couldn’t say who it was, though he certainly proved nice to look at. The yellow halo turned out to be a full head of golden-blond curls, the broad shoulders belonged to a perfectly formed body as far as I could tell beneath the baggy clothes. His eyes were a vibrant blue that glittered in the faint light. Had he been crying? Why would a random pretty stranger turn up at my door, in the middle of the night, and cry? Although I guess he wasn’t a stranger, or thought he wasn’t, because he knew my name.
“How do you know me? Who are you?”
So what do you think? Do you want to know who the handsome stranger is, and what he’s doing at Gabe’s door in the middle of the night? Tune in to my next post on July 9th to see what happens…
Most writers I know have a large supply of ideas. Some people (see me raising my hand right there?) have so many ideas they are apparently incapable of sticking with just one idea long enough to get anywhere with it.
All writers I know have at least one idea.
So I ask you… why would you steal someone else’s? Plagarism in all sorts of forms is all over the place, in all kinds of forms. It’s a slippery slope of a problem, and all too often, people don’t even realize what they’re doing is wrong – definitely on from a moral viewpoint, mostly from a legal one, too.
Case to point: I went to my facebook homepage today to find an advert (and those things annoy the heck out of me anyway) for, I kid you not, academic ghostwriting.
I almost spurted coffee all over my laptop. Really? They have the gall to ADVERTISE for this sort of thing? Facebook LETS THEM??? I reported the ad as offensive, because that sort of thing is wrong. Perhaps it’s not exactly plagarism as most lay people would understand it – as in copying someone else’s work and saying it’s yours…but wait…actually it’s exactly that. And the fact that this is for works that are supposed to get you academic credit (and they go so far as to offer thesis writing) is, in my mind, even worse. Plagarism is always stealing, but to steal the respect of the academic community is a whole (not new because let’s face it people have always done that sort of thing) other level of disturbing and wrong.
Maybe you think I’m strange because I think it’s even worse to gain an academic title in such a way than it is to make money off someone else’s work (don’t get me wrong both of those make me want to hit someone and call a whole covey of lawyers to fix it) but that’s just the way my mind works. I’m currently trying to sort out a thesis of my own, so perhaps that’s why this strikes so close to home.
Quite apart from the fact that any sort of stealing is wrong, what do you think about “academic ghostwriting”, as that ad so nicely called it? Do you think it’s not so bad, maybe because the one who is pretending it’s his work actually paid the person who wrote it something? Or do you, like me, find this absolutely wrong, too?
A few days ago on Twitter, an agent commented on how many submissions she receives that are great, but not *quite* there in terms of being pub-ready. She stated that these seem to be the books authors write before they’re signed on for a deal. Then, I glanced up at the quote I have framed above my desk:
Between fanfic and original novels, I’ve written my fair share of stories over the past few years. And as I look back at each individual story, my evolution as a writer is clear as night and day. I would pay big bucks to make sure no one ever lays eyes on my first fanfic because . . . well, it sucked. It really, really sucked. But truthfully? I had no idea it sucked until a very kind, yet honest reviewer said, “Your plot is good, but I think you need a beta.”
So, I recruited a fandom friend as beta for my next story, and she’s been one of my most trusted critique partners ever since. Each story I’ve written has its own set of quirks: one was riddled with adverbs, one had serious tense issues, one had an implausible plot twist. All that aside, there’s something each one has in common: improvement.
When I wrote KINGDOM COME last year, I knew something was different about that book. I knew it was the best thing I’d ever written, and I’d never been more proud of a story. That’s why I decided to self-pub. I knew this story had merit, and I wanted to share it with the world. Then I wrote PLAY ON, my most recent MS. And you know what? THAT’S the best story I’ve ever written.
Do you see a pattern here? With each story, you grow. You get better. You may be one of the special few whose first book is amazeballs and people gobble it up, but even so, your next will be better. The one after that will be even greater. If the first book you wrote was fantastic, the third you write may be stupendous. On the flip side, your third book may suck. And that’s okay too. You shouldn’t strive for perfection. You should strive to write the best book you possibly can.
You have to write bad things before you write good things. You have to write good things before great. Keep writing. Keep pushing. No matter what, don’t you dare give up. Allow yourself to suck once in a while.
Hello, my name is Sasha and I’m an insecure writer. Welcome to this blog, which I share with no less than seven other writers, and I’m pretty sure we all have our insecurities.
So, today, in the name of the Book Bunnies, here I am blogging about it for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
In particular, I want to tell you about my Big Problem….
I have ideas.
But that’s a good thing, you say… ideas – and the imagination they spring from, isn’t that a vital part of being a writer? The fact that we can pull stories out of what, to everyone else, seems to be thin air? Everybody loves a good idea, a nice story starter, right?
I have too many of them, you see. Endless amounts of stories that want to be told, expanded upon…ended. And there lies the problem, or, as my friend Tessa likes to say, the sleeping dog (and isn’t that a story started in and of itself? But I digress…). So what do I do with all those ideas? Not a clue. I’ve got at least a hundred files on my computer, each one a story in it’s own particular state of constructions. Sometimes it’s just a character or two who came to mind, sometimes a particular situation, a tagline, an ending, even. The point is that a) I can never seem to decide what to work on and b) I’m rubbish at ending things. I get stuck.
Sometimes I wish that instead of lots and lots and lots of little bits of stories, I could think of one story from start to finish. Suffice to say, for most of my stories The Beginning is the End…
How does that work for you? Do you have an idea overload like I do? Or is your focus better and your ideas all relate to the story you’re working on?
Please let me know or just say hi,
thank you for popping in on The Book Bunnies! Don’t forget to check out some of the other Insecure Writers… there’s lots!!
Go check them out at Alex J Cavanaugh’s blog (he’s one of the Founders of the IWSG)!