I read a lot of advice floating around the internet and twitterverse and the like, some from awesomely published authors and some from readers and a lot of it makes sense.
But some of it – very specific parts of it – piss me off to no end, especially since they are so absolute about it. And since most of the authors who bust publishing myths don’t worry about the other side of the coin and being politically correct, I won’t either. But please do know that I respect everyone’s method. (couldn’t resist. i’m like that – it’s my Libra rising – fair and balanced)
Myth #1: Butt in chair, hands on the keyboard and forget the muse. There is no muse.
Um, hey, I have one! It’s not someone who flies down in flowy white robes (oh, that would be cool, though) but there is something that separates me from the zillions of people who talk about wanting to write a book and never, ever do. My muse / imagination / mystical thing inside my brain pushes me to sit in the chair and write it all down. I’m not saying it’s easy or that I want to write all the time. But I have to believe that people who write or paint or sculpt or whatever have something that differentiates them from the rest of the population who doesn’t write or paint or who can’t write or paint. I laugh and cry with my characters – I’m way sensitive (probably too much so, some would say) but all of that enables me to write books.
Myth #2: From readers point of view: Authors who ‘see’ their characters and talk about them as such are doing something kooky and weird because they want to draw readers to their kooky weirdness. From writers point of view: Please stop being kooky and weird so I won’t be labeled kooky and werid.
Why do we want to strip away the kooky, weirdness that it artistic creativity? Why is that necessary? Does it really stop your enjoyment of a book if the author claims she channeled the characers? I’m not sure why this annoys some readers so much…the author isn’t asking you to channel them. The author who talks about it is just answering a question asked of her and frankly, the author that first said, I hear voices in my head of my characters, brought me great relief. Because I wasn’t alone anymore, wasn’t the only one seeing movies in my head or hearing the voices whisper to me. Dude, seriously, it happens to me. Can’t explain it, don’t really want to, but I’m not sure how or why this should bother you so damned much. Get over it. My process. And my process is a hell of a lot of fun most of the time.
Myth #3: The book of your heart won’t sell, so get over it.
Really? Because I’ve got the trilogy of my heart coming out. The problem is, I think we need to redefine terms here.
I’m not saying the book of your heart is the only thing you should ever work on. But if you’ve got books / stories / characters that have been with you since you were, oh, let’s say 10 years old (hello!) then why not write them? I chose to wait until I thought I had the experience, the skill and the chops to execute my books of the heart, because otherwise yes, they can turn into self-indulgent messes.
But stop telling unpubs that they can’t write the book of their heart. Instead, let’s tell them they need to be a little smarter about it. I’d much rather tell unpubs to back away from the craft books until they’ve actually written something, to stop relying on contests scores so much, to finish a book and move onto the next instead of polishing one to death. Move on, listen to your muse and let yourself go.
Whew. I feel better now. Hi, I’m Stephanie Tyler, I have a muse and I write much better when I’m inspired. That does not always mean that I wait around for inspiration. But I have to tell you, my writing is thousands of times better when I’m writing from inspiration.