” Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book, your composition of yourself is at stake.” ~E.L. Doctorow
One of the things I love most about being a writer is being able to enjoy another writer’s work, especially when that writer is completely different from me in style, story-telling ability, and topic. Even if we’re technically in the same genre, I know where I excel and I know where I don’t. I don’t compare myself to anyone because I know I’m not the absolute best in the world. I’m also not idiotic enough to consider myself completely without talent. The nice thing about writing is that there’s an audience for everyone, and no true need for everyone to attempt to compete with anyone other than themselves.
I admit I had a moment about a year and a half ago when I was in a Barnes & Noble with my Aunt. She knows what I’m writing, she absolutely loves the story and the characters, but she hadn’t realized up until that point exactly how much competition is in this genre. Aisles and aisles full of nothing, but books you either pick up or leave behind.
Sci-Fi used to be more traditional in the sense that the sections were very clearly labeled. If you wrote about vampires, werewolves, witches, warlocks, etc., you fell into the Science Fiction and/or Fantasy genre. There weren’t a lot of sub-genres, but now sub-genres are a constant. You have a ton of books in the Young Adult Fiction section, and a great many more in Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dark Urban Fantasy, etc., and it is very easy to get confused in the fiction section because so many of the covers jump out at you, but not every single story is worth every single person’s time. That’s why there are enough writers for all the readers of the world, we don’t all write the same things and we don’t all read the same things.
One very important thing for me, as a female in a new-to-me side of writing (Previously I wrote nothing, but outspoken opinions and facts. You will find that even my fiction work has a lot of factual information in it because of that. I do my research in an almost obsessive compulsive manner.), is to try to be as uncritical publicly about other female writers as humanly possible. I’m sick of women constantly bashing each other, constantly behaving like we all need to be put in separate corners, and just plain being mean and catty, when we have the choice to be polite and respectful. If you don’t have anything nice to day, don’t say anything at all. We’ve all heard that at least once in our lives, but acting on that tiny bit of poise and grace seems to be lost on a great many people.
Many years ago I openly admit to writing some pretty scathing, unpleasant reviews of Tanya Huff’s Blood novels. If you were a fan of the show “Blood Ties” and read the books which they are loosely based upon, you might be able to understand how shocked, dismayed, and utterly disappointed I was when the books and the show were 100% opposites of one another. Most of us can say that about a lot of books that are later turned into a TV show or movie, but for me, these were especially distracting. The show was so fantastic, so well written and well acted, and a huge part of me expected the books to be on the same level.
I refuse to say more than that because I’d be breaking my own rule. Right here, right now, I publicly apologize to Tanya if she ever read those reviews because as a writer, for me to criticize another female author’s work is just plain disrespectful. It’s one thing to tell a friend or a family member that you didn’t like a book and why, but to publicly tear it apart on several different forums where my book reviews are highly rated is wrong. I only have the ability to delete them from one site, and I plan on doing so because again, it was wrong and I own that. I would not want to be treated that way when my books are published, and I have to pay Tanya the same courtesy, kindness, and respect that is warranted.
For the record, I know I’m not for everyone and I do not expect everyone to fall in love with me, my work, or the style in which I write. I will have plenty of people who will dislike me, and many won’t even know why they dislike me, but it’s the nature of the beast and I’ve been there before, so I know how to handle it.
I have just finished reading “Ever After”, the 11th book in Kim Harrison’s Hollows’ series, which is a series of books I have been reading since day one. It is because of Kim that I became a reader of Vicki Pettersson’s Signs of The Zodiac novels, books I love and highly recommend to others. If Kim had not given Vicki’s work such high praise, I may never have read those books, so I thank her for that gift that keeps on giving.
After finishing Kim’s last book, “A Perfect Blood” in February of 2012, I casually mentioned how much I enjoyed it on Facebook. I can’t tell you how shocked I was when, later that same day, I received a response from Kim. That left a real impression on me. I like her and I respect her work, even though I threatened to stop reading her books several years ago after the death of a character I was extremely attached to. These books have become a yearly main-stay for me. Every year around January or February a new Hollows’ novel comes out and I pre-order it several months in advance.
I enjoyed “Ever After” in a way that puts my own work into perspective for me. It reminds me that I’m writing something different, even though the genre is the same, and that my current manuscript is chock full of my bizarre and twisted sense of humor.
Believe it or not, I am the person that can laugh at a funeral. Not because someone’s death or grief is funny, not because I’m morbid, but because I can tell you something about that person that will make you laugh and smile, and remember them in a positive way. On the way to my father’s funeral the limo driver actually turned to me to say “Are you sure we’re going to a funeral?”, because everyone with me was sharing stories and telling jokes, and it helped lighten a very heavy day where, at times, my anger was thicker than the laughter. We laughed, we cried, we had our moments of silent remembrance, but we were all being honest and real and to me, that is always genuine, quality humanity. Even if the day ended with me wanting to commit murder, tell people off, etc. I am sure we have all felt that way at one time or another in regard to family.
I have had to write this current novel as a means of healing from a lot of loss. It didn’t start out that way, but it became therapeutic at some point to get it all out of my system. I come from a huge extended family, but there are days when I feel like the sole survivor because out of my immediate family, I am one of the only people remaining. It’s a painful part of life, but we survive, we move forward, and someplace along the way maybe we end up less alone than when we first started.
If you’re on the fence about “Ever After”, it is 100% worth reading and completely unlike my own work. It was a good outlet for me to read it this week, and now I can go back to writing my own work which was re-vamped early last week and is moving closer and closer towards the finish line.
Until next time…..Lisa
**For those that are interested, the ABOUT LISA section has been re-vamped as well.**