As an author, I have a certain idea of how my work should be perceived.
Archive for the ‘On Writing’ Category
As an author, I am pleased when people become invested in my characters, inspiring strong opinions both positive and negative. That investment often results in feelings of approval when one’s favorites triumph, and of anger and betrayal when they fail. The ultimate betrayal is, of course, when a character dies or is killed, his potential spent for the sake of the requirements of the narrative.
I knew, in an abstract sense, that authors have fragile egos. It’s inevitable, when you pour your heart into creating something, that you want people to respond positively. As Stephen King put it, “Authors are needy.” But I honestly wouldn’t have believed the kind of crap that some authors spew at critical reviews, and at the reviewers who write them. Then I started reading the angry reader discussion threads about it on Goodreads, which were often accompanied by extensive documentation.
I mean, it’s great when people love your work, but if others think your work is crap, they’re entitled to their opinions, especially when they’ve bothered to write you a review at all. And I truly despise the common tactic of talking all kinds of trash about the reviewers, making condescending asides and snide remarks about their analytical skills or education, then loftily declaring oneself to be above the fray and unwilling to participate in anything as vulgar as internet flame wars.
Meaning: “I’ve had my say at your expense, but if you respond, you’re a bottom-feeder.”
It’s ridiculous. Honestly, if we as authors are so narcissistic that we think everyone who doesn’t love us must be mentally deranged, then we have no business posting our work in public forums. Come on, people. If you want your audience to take you seriously, then show a hint of professionalism, and maybe even a little gratitude that someone took time out of their day to tell you what they thought of your work.
Sunset just got named one of the best vampire fiction releases of 2011, by the Barnes and Noble SciFi and Fantasy Blog. So, why did I feel the need to have it re-edited? In part, because after two years of writing as a second profession, I learned how many elementary mistakes in sentence structure, cliched expressions, word choice, passive voice, etc. I made by writing from my gut, without first educating myself in the craft of writing. As an exercise in intuitive writing, Sunset is outstanding, but there was a lot of refinement that comes from experience.
So I found a new editor, Karin Cox, who went through the text line-by-line and highlighted areas that could be improved or fixed. The result is a much stronger novel, in my opinion. Jason, my proofreader, said the changes were like reading an entirely new book. Which makes me happy that there was so much room for improvement. It’s still not perfect. It never will be, in my jaundiced eye. But it’s a fair ways closer to that goal than it was before. Thank you to those who encouraged me over the last few years while I found my footing in this massive undertaking. I hope the updated work earns your favor.
The revised ebook edition of Sunset is now available from Amazon.com, BN.com, and Smashwords. The Smashwords edition will be further distributed to some of the next tier of e-retailers over the course of the next month. The print edition of Sunset will be updated in the next few weeks, and hopefully, I will be able to start on the revised editions of Sunrise and Moonlight by the end of January. Starlight, the fourth novel, is still planned to have a March release, but I want to make sure it’s properly edited beforehand, so that an updated edition won’t be necessary, and my editors have their hands full with the first three novels of the series.
In the meantime, I am continuing to work on The Red Wind, the third novella, which tells the story of Luscian Firstborn. I will keep you apprised of new developments, and thank you for your support.
Tags: Arshad Ahsanuddin, author, indie author, indie writer, Pact Arcanum, revised edition, second edition, Sunset, vampire, vampire novel, writer, writing
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I started writing seriously in September 2009. Since that time, I have learned a great deal about the craft of writing, mostly through trial and error combined with self-study. There are things I know now that would have greatly influenced my earlier work, if I had known better. Then again, the exercise of simply making the attempt was an education in and of itself.
Everyone has heard of this slim volume by Strunk and White. I read the book (50th Anniversary Edition) for the first time recently. I suppose I was putting it off.
I just finished Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. This is a relatively concise book on the essential elements of writing craft and structure. I read about a third of it on a two and a half hour flight, and immediately picked it up again after I got home to finish it. By distilling down the required components of effective storytelling to six skills and nine plot milestones, he provides a blueprint which can serve as a guide to design a story of any genre. I found this book to be helpful and refreshingly direct. Some elements of his theories about story architecture I had seen before, but his explanations of the character and function of those structural motifs were quite enlightening. (more…)
This is a followup to my post of May 21, 2011. I finished reading Ingermanson and Economy’s Writing Fiction for Dummies this week. As much as I was leery of reading a Dummies book when it was recommended to me, I found this to be an excellent review of the basic structural elements of storytelling for the novel format. (more…)
While exchanging emails with the successful independent authors who managed the Blog Tour de Troops, I read one bit of advice that particularly interested me. The author essentially stated that today’s writers need to disconnect from pricing their works according to how much effort went into them, and focus on pricing to make sales.
What a concept!