Saturday, May 12, 2012

Is super authordom a good thing?

JK Rowling. Suzanne Collins. E.L James. Stephanie Meyer. Dan Brown. They're all authors who have risen to dizzying heights of super success. People will probably continue to read their books long after they die. They have crossed that thin line into artistic immortality. People will always know who these people are and what they wrote. Long after they are gone a little bit of their souls will remain in their books. A little bit of them.

They certainly have their fans, yes...but is super stardom always a good thing? Popularity seems to be a double edged sword. For every person that calls themselves a fan there are two more people laughing at you. Look at Dan Brown and Stephanie Meyer. These authors have had incredible success with their books and yet among certain circles of people they are laughed at and labeled terrible and untalented. Obviously, you can't please everyone. There seems to be an opinion among some that most of the world's successful authors have not achieved their success through talent but sheer dumb luck. People love to take swipes at Dan Brown's research or Stephanie Meyer's plotting and characters.

And that's all fair game. They're in the public eye. People are allowed to critcise them. Are these people bitter? jealous? Probably, on some level. Good luck trying to get them to admit it. None of the authors I listed up above are geniuses. I loved the Hunger Games books (the first one was brilliant!) but they were not without their flaws. I enjoyed the Twilight books but have since grown out of them. I continue to adore the Harry Potter books.

I sometimes imagine what it would be like to achieve success in gain loads of fans...and also become an object of hate and jealously. Look at E.L James the author of the Fifty Shades series. James started her series as fan fiction and after it achieved success on line she rewrote it and published it under her own name. Risky, yes. Frankly, I'm surprised that her publisher took such a huge, huge, risk like that. Now James is going to have to live with the stigma of being a fan fiction author for the rest of her life. In the eyes of many she is a lazy fraud who could not be bothered to invent her own characters or story. She just plucked them out of another, redressed them, gave them new names and there you have it...the world's current best selling erotic trilogy!

Anything she writes in the future will be judged for any signs of plagiarism. James has herself to blame for that. She could have written an original erotic novel. But instead she made the foolish and risky decision to publish fan fiction. Now she is sitting on top of the world and many believe she does not deserve to be there.

Is success worth it if it means becoming a laughingstock?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Feeling the excitement again!

I am really, really getting into my new short story "Carry Me Away" to the point where thinking about it gets me excited. It has made me realise how dead I was on the inside before I started writing this. I had lost all my love for writing. It had become a horrible chore. No, not a chore. Chores I can do. The idea of working on Deep Embrace had become like torture. Like ripping off my nails. Who wants to do that? All I can think about is Zeus. He's in my new story. His character fascinates me. I've written about him quite a few times. In my first story with him (Atlantis Reborn, trunk novel) he was a tortured, mentally ill bastard. In Forever in Your Arms (short story, trunked) he was nicer, because it was set hundreds of years before he goes nuts, so I got to write about him in a hero's role. In "Carry Me Away" he has a love affair with a mortal Leda to make his wife Hera mad. He is selfish and doesn't think about what effect his brief fling will have on Leda. Leda is a mortal who is miserable because she is about to marry someone against her will. Her parents are forcing her into it. Zeus feels a connection with her because he feels trapped in his marriage to Hera. So he seduces her, makes her pregnant, and then leaves and never sees her again. All this on the night before her wedding. He does not make her pregnant by accident. Oh no. He does it on purpose. He knows what he's doing. Why does he do it? Two reasons. To make Hera mad and he thinks he is giving women like Leda a "gift" of having his child. Zeus is miserable and has affairs to make Hera mad and because he is searching for his true soul mate. He wants the fantasy! A loving wife and child! He selfishly tries to live out that fantasy again and again with dozens of mortal lovers. He really thinks that he is "gifting" them with his children. One on level he is. The children will be half god and will inherit powers that they can use to protect their mortal mothers. At the same time...having his children will also make his lovers lives very difficult and even dangerous. They will have to spend the rest of their lives ever wary of Hera finding them and punishing them. And in most cases they will be chased out of their families and villages in shame for having a child out of wedlock. Most of these mortal mothers usually try to keep it secret that their child is a demi-god and who their father is you can understand! Is Zeus a bad person? No, he is fascinating though. He is selfish and arrogant but can also be caring and kind and generous. He is super fun to write about. I've wanted to write about Leda and the swan for so, so, long!

Carry Me Away!

I've been suffering from some terrible writers block for the past few months. I WAS trying to rewrite my novel Deep Embrace. I got about half way through and hit a wall that I had seen coming toward me for a while. Deep Embrace suffers from some major plotting problems. I've known it for a while. It was really hard to finish the rough draft sometimes because all my inner editor would do was scream "THIS IS NOT WORKING!" and I would have to go "LALALALA!" and try to keep going because I am a firm believer in finishing something. The problem with Deep Embrace is the plot is too thin and half way through it completely derails. I honestly don't know if I will ever go back and finish it. I'm leaning towards no...which doesn't completely upset me. Some projects fizzle. They're called trunk novels. It's okay to admit sometimes that not everything I write is going to be publishable. Frankly, I'll rather be honest with myself and say "This isn't working!" rather than get it published simply for the joy of being published. I want only my best work to be published. Deep Embrace failed as a short story and it has failed as a novel. I told myself for the longest time that I was not working on it because I was focusing on my university work. And that was true. But I could have found the time. The truth is I started putting it off because I did not want to do the work I knew was needed to fix it. I am taking a break from it for the moment and I'm working on a short story! Chances are high that Deep Embrace will remain unfinished. It is very important for me as a writer to enjoy the act of writing. When it becomes a chore and you start to dread it and deliberately put it off...maybe...just've run out of steam and it's time to stat on something new. So that is what I am doing. I am writing a short based on the story of Leda and the swan. So far it's going great. I'm really enjoying myself. I can see the whole thing maybe clocking in under 2k which is incredibly short for me! Highest it could be is maybe 5k? That would be a stretch. I actually found myself looking up short story markets today and feeling excited about publishing again. It feels real good. Like coming into the sun after being in the dark for a long time. I actually worried that I was drifting away from being a writer at one point. But that's not true! I just needed a new story to Carry Me Away again!