Friday, August 29, 2014

Confusing Gibberish

Primordial Soup    

When you use a stranger to critique your writing, it is about trust.

I research and read blogs, ebooks, and websites about how to self publish your first ebook. They screamed at me -Don’t Publish Before You Have A Professional Editor! Looking up professional editing services for a 60,000 word Young Adult book, it would cost me at least $1000. Yikes. It is not that I don’t see the value in what a professional editor does nor that I want to publish unedited crap, but I just don’t have $1,000.

Briefly, I pondered - Okay, I’ll publish the traditional way. The knowledge of the gallery world reminded me why the big five publishing companies weren’t for me. When a gallery represent you: A. They take a large percentage of your profit which I don’t deny them for the work of getting your art bought by a client. B. They may never sell your art, yet the gallery might have had you sign a contract not allowing you to sell your art on your own. C. You will barely be able to buy materials to keep making art. As I understand it, when you work with an agent and a publisher: A. They take a large percentage of your profit. B. They may never sell and or promote your book. C. They own the rights to your manuscript.

More research lead me to find web sites where beta readers or other writers are willing to spend their time to read a strangers writing. You might be asking yourself, why not have a friend read the novel? Or a writing group? These might be helpful in their own way, but they won’t slap you into reality. What you thought was a well written, edited story is a novel full of holes. What you thought of as clever writing is confusing gibberish. The comments awakened me to the possibilities of what my writing could be. I could not image art school without having art critiqued by peers. And now, I can’t imagine having my writing being published without a beta reader or three, reading it or having critical fellow writers read it.

This blog was going to be about the laugh-out-loud funny things some critiquers wrote about my work. I wanted to share how their critique writing outshined my writing. In sharing embarrassingly bad writing and entertaining critique comments, I hoped to help other writers feel empowered to share their writing with a stranger.

Courtesy and manners in the writing world say it is a big no-no. Why? Because of trust. If a writer wrote a critique and thought I might blogged about it, they wouldn’t critique it honestly or at all. If a beta reader agrees to read your novel and make comments, you trust them not to share your manuscript with anyone nor even tell anyone what they are reading. And, they trust you won’t lambaste them on your blog. The useful world of online critiquing would cease to least it would cease to exist for the writer who bad mouthed his critiquers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I am a visual thinker; why am I drawn to writing?

I am drawn to writing because my style of painting is about color and patterns, and not an Hieronymus Bosch paintings telling a story with many figures. I started to write bits and pieces of stories in a black and red notebook. It excited me. I can make characters live in a world where anything might happen. Writing became a creative outlet that was an escape. Then, NaNoWriMo found me. One November, I wrote a complete rough draft of a novel.

Wow, I liked my story even though working with words instead of color was difficult. The papers, written in school, came back covered in red. Writing more than three pages was a daunting task. Spelling confounded me; my brain saw words as pictures and not as letters. When I write, a slide show plays out in my head showing me a story. I translate it into the alien world of words.

I started to edit without knowledge of this process and researched how to submit it to publishers. If it was rejected, it would be part of the process. Sitting in art class and having your peers critique your art has to be more heart wrenching than a piece of paper saying, ‘This story is not for us at this time…” But, submitting work felt like writing a research paper and looking for a job all rolled into one. I hated updating resumes and writing cover letters, therefore a book proposal was tedious. I procrastinated. Excitement returned when self publishing became an acceptable form of publishing a book.