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Thread: Just roaring and ranting.


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Elodie

Posts: 702
Registered: 03/23/14
Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Oct 31, 2017 6:41 PM
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Hi all,

This post is neither a cry for help, nor a swipe at all thing writing, although I do kinda feel like that...
Last week I was at a b-day party. I've only ever told my partner I write (because we live together, and it kind of goes without saying that he knows what I do with my time at home)...
Anyway, several years ago he told his family, who told their extended families and so on and so on...

So, I was at this bday party last week, and got asked how my writing and sales were going (this is where the roaring starts!!).
I told them it's 'OK, but not great' as I'm writing my first ever long novel (I come from article writing, so shorts are kind of in my blood).
In the past I published something at least twice a month, if not more. But my novel is taking me ages, I've never been able to write more than 10,000 on a single story, so getting to 40,000 now on my manuscript (and going for another 20.000 min) made me feel really good. Yet all I got at the party was negativity.
"Write more." "Write quicker." "Write a book a week."
None of them are writers, and none of them knows what it takes, so I kinda forgive them... But I still wanted to run out of the room screaming.
I know only you, real writers, will understand. But roar!!! I just wanted to tear my hear out and run out of the door.
If only for the suggestion "just write quicker"... ROAR. If only it was that simple!
It just made me feel a bit like; "Yeah, thanks Sherlock, I'll get right onto that!"
C. Gold

Posts: 517
Registered: 02/17/15
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Oct 31, 2017 7:03 PM   in response to: Elodie in response to: Elodie
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Ugh. So sorry you went through that. Here's some virtual hugs for ya.

If you are having trouble writing a longer story, try chaining chapters together where each chapter is its own short story with a beginning, middle, and end. String a few of those together with a little bit of glue and some foreshadowing at the beginning and before you know it, you have a full length novel. If you have enough trouble brewing, the book can easily explode to large size.

I've been very lucky to have supportive family members who don't rag on me for my slow writing. They are still getting a kick out of the fact that I actually have a novel with my name on it and a paper copy in my possession! Heck, I'm still stoked too! So ignore them, and write how fast or slow as you need to get a good tale written. The more you write, the better chances you will improve your speed anyway as you get more comfortable with the longer format. I remember the first time I went to write actual dialog and was like... oh... um... how do I do this properly? And when I first started it felt so awkward and I was slow as I hemmed and hawed. Now I don't blink an eye.
Ned Kelly

Posts: 1,096
Registered: 09/05/15
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Oct 31, 2017 7:09 PM   in response to: Elodie in response to: Elodie
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El, most "civilians" haven't a clue how long it takes to produce a good novel. I've been writing since the sixties for all types of media and a decent work of 60-80k words, for me, takes up to three months or longer. (Usually longer) I target an average of 1000 words per day for novel writing and continually come across people who tell me similar to what you've been told - and they of course would have difficulty in writing labels for flyspray cans (which I've done...) or the back of breakfast food packs (which I've also done) One work which totalled 110k words published in 1980 took me two years, averaging about 5 hours each day.

So bottom line...there are many who'll claim they can churn out a "novel" a month. I know I can if I had to, BUT it's not of the quality I would take pride in. So you have to work to your own standard and try to ignore the "experts" that abound who think that good writing equates firstly to quantity.

Cheers

Ned
Elodie

Posts: 702
Registered: 03/23/14
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Oct 31, 2017 7:31 PM   in response to: Ned Kelly in response to: Ned Kelly
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C. Gold and Ned, thank you both for your encouragement.
I'm hoping that just like you, C Gold, this novel will find its way on their bookshelves (and shut them up in the process 😅)
And Ned, you're right. These people are avid readers, but wouldn't even know how to write a description of a pair of jeans... I do also prefer to put quality over quantity. (It's what I tell myself anyway), which is why I'm taking a lot longer than expected.
Donna St Felix

Posts: 5,486
Registered: 09/18/13
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Oct 31, 2017 10:02 PM   in response to: Elodie in response to: Elodie
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Elodie wrote:
This post is neither a cry for help, nor a swipe at all thing writing, although I do kinda feel like that...
Last week I was at a b-day party. I've only ever told my partner I write (because we live together, and it kind of goes without saying that he knows what I do with my time at home)...
Anyway, several years ago he told his family, who told their extended families and so on and so on...

So, I was at this bday party last week, and got asked how my writing and sales were going (this is where the roaring starts!!).
I told them it's 'OK, but not great' as I'm writing my first ever long novel (I come from article writing, so shorts are kind of in my blood).
In the past I published something at least twice a month, if not more. But my novel is taking me ages, I've never been able to write more than 10,000 on a single story, so getting to 40,000 now on my manuscript (and going for another 20.000 min) made me feel really good. Yet all I got at the party was negativity.
"Write more." "Write quicker." "Write a book a week."
None of them are writers, and none of them knows what it takes, so I kinda forgive them... But I still wanted to run out of the room screaming.
I know only you, real writers, will understand. But roar!!! I just wanted to tear my hear out and run out of the door.
If only for the suggestion "just write quicker"... ROAR. If only it was that simple!
It just made me feel a bit like; "Yeah, thanks Sherlock, I'll get right onto that!"


People who know people that work at home, no matter in what capacity, do not realize what 'work' is.
They invariably say (1) work faster, (2) you can do that later - let's going shopping or (3) not working - just says is working.
Mrs Julia Evans

Posts: 671
Registered: 05/22/16
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Nov 1, 2017 12:01 AM   in response to: Elodie in response to: Elodie
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Elodie,

If it helps, I think most of us get this in one form or another. The patronising smile and the pat on the head, when someone says... "Oh, you write? Oh, how lovely! It's always nice to have a hobby!"

The funny thing (to me), is when that's always followed by someone asking how many sales you've had. When you say X, their reply is always, "Oh dear, never mind... It'll pick up soon!" Then they ask you roughly how much you get per sale from an e-book, and you tell them. You can virtually watch them trying to do the calculation! (The counting on their fingers is a dead giveaway!)

Then, as they get to an approximate figure of what you're making from it (which isn't megabucks, but a decent amount, nevertheless), I guarantee you the next question will be... "So, it's easy then... this self-publishing lark?" As though if I'm doing it, it simply has to be child's play!

I grit my teeth (most of the time) and smile, mentally sticking pins in their effigies.

More than half of them haven't got a clue what it takes to write an effective shopping list, let alone a book!

You put your heart and soul into your stories, create characters you fall in love with, even the baddies, and (if you're dedicated) you work tirelessly, right up to publication day, to make your work the best it can be. Then you sit back in relief, for all of five minutes, simply because it's done, before starting (or carrying on with) the next project. It's never ending!

My best advice to you is to ignore them... as you and others have pointed out, other authors are the only ones who really understand what it's like to write a book. Write at your own pace, as much or little as you like, and aim for doing it right, not doing it fast! It'll give you much more satisfaction!

Just my thoughts. J

:)
the_peartree

Posts: 982
Registered: 08/07/12
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Nov 1, 2017 2:15 AM   in response to: Ned Kelly in response to: Ned Kelly
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Ned, I entirely agree. What is more, the idea that one can write a worthwhile novel quickly is one of the fundamental causes of the notorious slush-pile with which Amazon will have to deal eventually.

Hundreds of thousands, if not already millions, of people see publishing ebooks as a get-rich-quick scheme - and also believe that the quicker they write, the quicker they will get rich. I have challenged posters here before to explain how they have published 35 novels in three years, and I've received a lot of stick for this, none of which has changed my opinion - that it is humanly possible to churn out rubbish at that rate but not to produce writing of any quality.

Like you, I work around a thousand words a day, writing almost every day of the year. If I push myself, I can complete two novels a year - I don't send anything away but do everything myself. And after all this, every time I read one of my ebooks, I find things that make me wince and think I could have done it better.

I cannot explain all the complexities of this business, but I do know that being able to write doesn't make you a writer any more than being able to run makes you Mo Farah.

Edited by: the_peartree on Nov 1, 2017 10:40 AM
Moshe Ben-Or

Posts: 466
Registered: 12/28/15
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Nov 1, 2017 9:09 AM   in response to: Elodie in response to: Elodie
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Don't sweat it. The ignorant have no clue. Ignorance is bliss, after all.

Yesterday, I wrote four sentences, and corrected two. To produce that output required two days of research and thinking about background details the reader has no idea of and possibly will never deduce. Multiple pages of notes, etc, etc.

A novel is like an iceberg. For every page a reader sees, six, if not ten, are sitting in notes, or lying on the cutting room floor. Add to this all the times you sit down to write one thing, and end up writing another, etc, etc...

And yes, even if I wrote full time, the idea of producing more than two to three full-sized novels per year seems quite far-fetched.

It is a great hobby. It is a labor of love. But it is labor, with all the joys and pangs thereof.
Carol Menges

Posts: 271
Registered: 12/10/12
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Nov 1, 2017 9:24 AM   in response to: Elodie in response to: Elodie
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All the comments here made my morning.

One thing I might add is that at least a few of the ignorant family and friends want to say anything at all to encourage the writer; but since they don't understand the job, they won't likely have a helpful comment. I like to hope that's what they're trying to do because their motivation is good regardless of the outcome. But, yes, plenty of them are merely putting the writer down for believing in his/her competence; hey, he's/she's not famous, so why does he/she think he's/she's any good? Only the famous should be noticed as worthy of support, of course.
uncle1282

Posts: 1,306
Registered: 12/20/10
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Nov 1, 2017 9:57 AM   in response to: Elodie in response to: Elodie
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Writing a novel is a bit of a marathon. Pacing should be like that, short of a burst of inspiration at times. Make an easy daily goal, either of time or word count. (For me 1,000 words every morning 5x a week does it -- a novel is done in 3 months or so of 60-70k words).

Friends and family are ignorant of what's involved. You should ignore them for that reason. Smile and laugh, either in their faces or behind their backs.

Short pieces are "in your blood" only because you established a habit of writing short pieces. My first novel came after 100 or so short stories, and was the result of "stitching" four short stories together--a helluva lot of work and not a method I'd recommend.

Just like a wall is built a brick at a time, so too a novel is written a scene at a time. Don't try to edit or revise too much, not more than a "quick edit" of yesterday's draft before drafting today's segment. I don't outline, just use the EL Doctorow method, but whether you outline or go by the seat of your pants as the spirit leads, you need to establish a new habit, one of writing a novel a brick at a time.
joe castagno

Posts: 140
Registered: 04/19/16
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Nov 1, 2017 10:52 AM   in response to: Elodie in response to: Elodie
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Ive often been told "well it's a good thing you have a real job..."

but I think my favorite is when my not so well-read brother in law told me "keep at it ya know it only takes one!!"

uh one what and for what?

the struggle is real!
writerbn

Posts: 5,252
Registered: 05/12/12
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Nov 1, 2017 11:04 AM   in response to: Elodie in response to: Elodie
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From the brilliant, twisted mind of Chuck Wendig (if the link survives moderation):

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/09/16/ten-things-to-never-say-to-a-writer/
Diana Persaud

Posts: 2,561
Registered: 10/07/13
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Nov 1, 2017 11:23 AM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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writerbn wrote:
From the brilliant, twisted mind of Chuck Wendig (if the link survives moderation):

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/09/16/ten-things-to-never-say-to-a-writer/

Totally worth reading. I love his style of blog writing. I even picked up one or two of his writing books but haven't yet tried a novel.

Elodie,

You know in advance what they will ask and what they will say so come up with vague answers and then change the subject.

How's the writing going?

Fine/Great. (Ask a question to change the subject.)

As to writing longer, it can be done! I felt that my strengths were in novella length books. I get to the meat of things without all that extra fluff and my readers seem to like it. But I wanted to challenge myself and write longer. My last book was much longer (48 k) and I wrote it in about the same amount of time it took me to write a novella.

A tip for you: Read your favorite genres and look at how the author(s) handle their craft. Then incorporate that into your current WIP.
For example: I read an old fantasy book by Weis and Hickman and realized their chapter titles indicated what was going to happen in that chapter.

I don't write chapter headings, but I do incorporate descriptive titles in my WIP as a guide or outline for that chapter.

C. Gold

Posts: 517
Registered: 02/17/15
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Nov 1, 2017 11:45 AM   in response to: Diana Persaud in response to: Diana Persaud
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Oh I love Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman! :) :)

At least people have a vague idea of what writing accomplishes (books). You should have seen the glassy eyed stares of utter confusion when I told family I worked as a software tester. I got really tired of explaining what that was over and over.

So true about the amount of research and work and stuff before even writing. I just created a new list of names and places for my new book and I need to describe the planet. Ugh. Really? How many moons will this one have? What about the seasons and where are these people exactly? Moderate temps? What climate? Mountains anywhere? Cause all this will alter what goes on in the story and needs to be set up in advance. Plus I'm gonna need more names. Ugh! Got a new race of people... so... what civilization can I borrow from this time? I hate coming up with names, but if I don't do it now, I'll really hate it when I get to that point in the story and have to insert something other than <NAMEGOESHERE>.

Ok, no more procrastinating. This is NoNawhatever month, so everyone should at least try to write a little bit each day! Good luck!
Moshe Ben-Or

Posts: 466
Registered: 12/28/15
Re: Just roaring and ranting.
Posted: Nov 1, 2017 1:19 PM   in response to: C. Gold in response to: C. Gold
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Moderate temps? What climate? Mountains anywhere?

It's a planet. If it doesn't have more than one climate, you'd better have a really good explanation. If it has no mountains, it also, almost certainly, has no geothermal cycle and therefore no life and no breathable atmosphere. If it has only a single culture, you'd better have a really good explanation for that, too.

Earth, a typical habitable planet like millions of others, sitting smack in the middle of the liquid water zone around an unremarkable yellow dwarf nowhere in particular on the outer edge of the completely ordinary galaxy locally known as the Milky Way:

Continents:
5 (subject to debate, some count Europe as a separate continent)

Climates:
31 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6ppen_climate_classification)

Global languages:
3 (subject to debate)

Dominant religions:
4 (subject to debate)

Total religions:
4200 (subject to debate)

Total languages:
6909 (living. Some dead languages remain in specialist use)

Total recognized sovereign political units:
195 (generally agreed upon. True number varies.)

Races:
5 (number subject to debate)

Unique cultures and/or ethnicities:
Tens of thousands. No agreed-upon count, subject to rapid change.

Written history: 6000 years.
Legend
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