|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
1. I am a believer in the never ending process of learning. In that cause I would like to put out an invitation to poets living in the Ventura, California area. Wednesday nights, for the next six weeks, at 7 PM in Ventura at the Vita Art Center, 432 North Ventura Avenue, there will be an ongoing poetry workshop. This is a great opportunity to sharpen your craft and gather with other writers in the pursuit of excellence.
WHO ARE YOU REALLY WRITING FOR?
Why Writing In General Is A Study In Mild Schizophrenia.
We touched on this in passing yesterday. The question of knowing who you are really writing for. This is that bit of agony that isn't taught by anyone outside of that great institute of higher learning, The School of Hard Knocks. But even a cursory search will bring up reference upon reference to this question. There's Stephen King's, 'Twenty Rules For Writers." Check out numbers 8, 14 and 20. Then there's the Ten Rules for Writers, found at Rookiemag. Check out rule number 10. Or how about Kurt Vonnegut's rule number 7.
By now you should see the reality and pattern. The only person you should be writing for when you sit down at the keyboard is you. If you're trying to write like King, Gresham, or JK Rowling, so you can appeal to what you feel is a ready-made audience, you are going to fail. They've already done it and anything you might come up with is going to be so thin, sycophantic, and copycatting that, should it even make it into print, it will be immediately be set on by critics like wild dogs on the savanna and the stripped remains will be left to the mercies of the public spaces. Think a couple of snarky, disappointed readers can't shoot you in your other foot? Then you seriously underestimate the power of social media. They can have egotistical sports figures eating their words in 140 characters or less. So what are your chances?
If you are serious about being a writer, then be serious about just that. The success part is, as I've said before, incidental and only attained after the hard work. Don't worry about how some other author would develop a particular character or how they would establish mood. How would you do it? It's your story and if you start patching it together with a piece from here and a bit from there, eventually you've re-created Frankenstein, and we all know what happened to that poor bugger! Write your story in a way that you find entertaining, engaging, and emotionally authentic. That is what the reading public will see and feel when they read it. Will they see it exactly the way you do? I doubt it. But they will recognize honest work and genuine voice. Anything else will incite the mob to pitchforks and torches!
Let's face it, how many times have you picked up a book, only to set it aside after a chapter or two because you knew the story had been done better already? We all have. Why is that? Because the writer was aiming for the acclaim and paycheck and not for a well crafted piece of fiction with depth and personal investment. Is writing a story that truly please you the easier road?. Nope! I won't lie to you, it can be a seriously difficult stretch. It may not be very commercial, either. What it will be is the most rewarding personal experience you've ever had. Bar none. So, just for grins, screw the world and write a book just for you!
Meantime...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis