Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Change Of Seasons (A Poem)

We're having a beautiful Indian Summer, or Golden October, as we say in Germany. It doesn't exactly inspire motivation for sitting in the office all day. Alas, just as time and tide waits for no man, neither does the weather.
Fall always makes me think of the seasons, of change, and the inevitability of it. And it makes me feel lyrical.

This poem is the result.

The Change Of Seasons
by Pia Newman

Summer falls
with golden leaves
and blistering rain.

Winter rises
with misty breath
and mounting snow

until it fades
in melting rivers
and growing daylight

Summer springs
into blooming action
and brightly reigns

until its Fall,
as inevitable
as its Spring

Monday, October 17, 2011

To Be Found: A Balance In Publishing

There's so much going on in the Publishing World, with Amazon now entering that field as well, and authors being offered new choices to get past and/or avoid completely the NYC 'gatekeepers'. As Ilona Andrews points out, if this takes off - as, lets face it, it most probably will, this is Amazon after all - Amazon will be well on its way to creating a monopoly in which agents, editors and publishers are no longer needed, and will therefore no longer be in charge of putting out quality work or negotiating the best possible contracts for authors.

I believe that is a downside for the readers, who buy the books and (are allowed to) expect the best possible quality. Which, if it fails to deliver, will not turn said readers into the fans and auto-buyers an author needs and hopefully wants. In the world of books and publishing, it all comes down to the reader. It's the reader who buys the books and ultimately pays every worker bee of the industry their wages/royalties/pollen-to-make-their-honey. No matter what publishing looks like at any given time, that will never change.

Change is inevitable and should, in my opinion, be encourageed, but all changes the publishing industry faces and goes through revolve around this one fixed point, the reader. Where no reader, a.k.a. buyer, there no industry.

Which ties in to another recent post by agent Rachelle Gardner, that in future it will be progressively up to the authors to make sure their product is the best it can possibly be, without several editorial rounds overseen by experts. This means authors won't be just the writers of the story anymore, but will have to be their own editors as well. To an extent, they already are, of course, but I haven't heard of any author who dislikes having an expert go over their work and give their invaluable advice.

Of course, as an aspiring author myself, this publishing deal Amazon is building is something I might look into. It's one of the many options an author has these days of getting her work out there and I believe it's not one that will end up on the preditor-list of Preditors and Editors.

So what am I trying to say, exactly? To be honest, I'm not sure. I was just trying to get my thoughts down on virtual paper, to figure out my opinion, but in the end I believe what it comes down to is this:

Change is hardly ever as extreme as the prognosis makes it out to be. I don't believe Amazon will become so powerful a monopoly that all other publishing houses, editors and agents not involved with them go the way of Bobby Brown. I think a lot of authors themselves are cleverer than not considering them and leaving them out of the publishing process. As it is with everything, a balance must be found, and, because the reader is the focal point - not Amazon - and because displeasure has a way of surfacing quick, fast and hard on the internet these days, I believe it can and will be found.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Write Without Editing

Michael Hyatt had an interesting paragraph in a recent blog post about how editing while creatively writing will drive you crazy. The reasoning is that writing is primarily a right-brain function whereas editing is a left-brain function. If you edit while writing, you are constantly switching between the two hemispheres and can’t get into the proper flow of either one. This slows you down and can be extremely frustrating.

I didn’t know the reason for the frustration when editing while writing, but it’s totally true, at least for me. I’ve been having trouble lately getting into the elusive ‘flow’, and now I know why. That’s totally it! I’ve bogged myself down with trying to write everything perfectly in the first draft and don’t concentrate on the actual story anymore, don't let the story come to me. Before I can edit, though, I have to create something that can be edited. Kind of obvious, but sometimes you can’t see what’s right in front of your nose.

Write down those adverbs and adjectives, those repetitions, those clichés and info dumps, that rambling prose, those absurdities that flow like a sweet chocolate river from mind to fingers. You can beat them off with cursor and backspace later. But first they must be piled high before they can be carved into any kind of shape, just like a sand castle starts out as a simple mound of sand.

So my new motto and mantra is simply: Write. Write write write. Now.