So you can read my books

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Sometimes it feels as if there isn't any hope, doesn't it?

Wendy Tyler Ryan had an intriguing post

And Donna Hole has another one (and no, not just because she mentioned me ... well, maybe a little.)

It does seem as if the publishing industry doesn't have any room for readers or writers interested in what the over-thirty dream, yearn, or struggle for.

Take Edward the sparkly 200 year old vampire. What does he see in a shallow, angst-filled, self-absorbed teenager? Isn't he really just a young looking pedophile?

Maxwell Perkins, editor of Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, would have tossed Stephanie Meyers' work in the reject pile with a disgusted sigh.

But it is a different market : a youth-oriented, visual, me-generation market.

Everyone get up, look up at the night with its fading moon, and say it : CRAP!

All right, now that we have it out of our systems, what can we do?

There are several approaches :

1.) We use both a young protagonist and a mature mentor. Think AUNTIE MAME, THE SWORD IN THE STONE, the first STAR WARS. I'm choosing this route with my THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH.

2.) Focus on an older protagonist with a youngster needing protection. Think THE ROAD, the new movie THE WARRIOR'S WAY, LONE WOLF AND CUB, and the Tom Hanks' movie, THE ROAD TO PERDITION.

3.) Use an intelligent adult for your protagonist and place him/her in a situation that chills the blood or staggers the imagination.

As in these two set-ups :

A) Your MC goes into a confessional, only to hear the priest babble about becoming Other, then the priest shoots himself.

Your MC throws the door of the confessional open only to see the priest is half-circuitry, melded into the very metal of the small room. One by one, all those your MC knows become Other in some strange way or other.

B) You wake up one morning, go to work, only to find your co-workers have faded like a photo left out too long in the sun. Day by day they fade more and more until they are all black and white, leaving you in a world full of color.

Worse, they become more and more dead-faced and robot-like until you catch them whispering ominously behind your back in a strange buzzing not unlike worker bees.

There is hope, fellow strugglers. THE LORD OF THE RINGS caught the hearts and minds of high schoolers and college-aged with hobbits, old wizards, dwarfs, elves, and a long-lived human named Aragon.

How can you bring hope to your novel?

Make the magic real. Even if your protagonist is older, keep a child-like sense of wonder and curiosity to his/her world.

And now, a little practical nuts-n-bolts advice that was sparked by Donna's post :

If you find yourself feeling hopeless with the words dammed up inside your wheel-spinning mind, it is probably caused by one of five things :

1) Overwork -
Stop writing for a few days. When you're ready to start singing tales into the night once more, you will know when the keyboard stops being forboding and starts to become a delightful toy again.

2) Boredom -
Put your novel down no matter how close you are to the finish line. Start that new idea that has been buzzing around in the back of your mind. Trust me. If your novel has begun to bore you, it will certainly bore the agent to whom you submit.

3) Self-Doubt -
Starting something new will work here as well. The joy of the new idea will spark your love of writing which led you into this profession in the first place. Then, read the first few new pages and see if you can find echoes of your old work in them.

After a few days of your new project, go back to where you were in your old novel. Read the five pages prior to your stop-point. Then, write on the novel again. It will be reborn. Trust me.

4) Financial Worries -
Tough one. No easy remedy here. You must solve them or lighten them somehow.

If it means stopping the writing to take a second job, then that is what you must do. Family comes first. Dreams second. Those months spent apart from your keyboard will sow your unconscious mind with new ideas.

5) Emotional Problems -
If charged relationships are shortcircuiting your muse, you must find a safe, neutral way to sit down with your loved one and talk through what is eating away at you.

It will clear the air between the two of you or bring a much-needed lance to a painful boil. Have a rear-exit stragedy already in place just in case things should go south. No relationship or person is or can be perfect. Look at areas where you can grow.

In the end, the only person you can change is yourself. Sometimes retreat is better than painful staying in an unhealthy situation or relationship.

There is hope ... for your writing ... for your life -- if only you do not give up on yourself and your own worth.



  1. More pearls of wisdom from a mentor who really knows how to influence and support the writing community.


    I really don't know how you come up with so much for us to absorb daily. I also agree with you on adding an older mentor in a novel. Although my mc is and her friends are trying to fight an evil foe, they have the help of Amber's uncle and her friend, Nina's mother to piece the puzzle together. I loved having them in the novel to add a bit of humor and wisdom.

    Thank you for stopping my blog today. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. Life has its ups and downs, but it's reassuring to have this community to help us through the rough spots, and although I've only known you for a few weeks, I am positive that you helped many. This is a gift that should be treasured, So when you get that horrific rejection letter that we all despise just remember your writing inspires us all with your compassion and heart. Don't let the icy fingers of the publishing world strangle you pure thoughts and dreams.... See how you inspire. As my blog says In TIme ... anything is possible.


  2. Michael : Thanks. Your words rang a chord within me. I have basically given up hope that an agent will pick me up. I write on because while I've won and I've lost, I have never quit. I write because I'm a teller of tales, singing them into the darkness. Your words let me know that someone hears them. Thanks again.

  3. Yes, we hear them and look forward to more of them.


  4. I wish I would have started following your blog sooner- many thanks for the valuable motivation and inspiration.

  5. I loved your "hopeless" advice.

    As far as the publishing industry, one thing is predictable: It changes constantly. One year this genre or type of story is the "big thing." The next year it's something else, youth market included. Remember today's youth is soon to be tomorrow's old farts. Life is short and things change constantly. I still say, write what calls to you.

    Another great post Roland!

  6. Good post, Roland. Definitely great advice. I just don't know if I'm willing to try and "force" my writing into something it isn't. Maybe that makes me doomed, I don't know.

    I am leaving my post up for another day as it has sparked a lot of wonderful dialogue in the comments sections.

  7. Good post Roland. To be honest, I try not to think about publishing my novel. Whenever I do it makes me feel hopeless. Almost everytime I log on to my computer I read that another author has been rejected. It's downright depressing.

    Since I'm only a quarter of the way through the second draft of my MS.,I try to keep my eye on finishing the novel and not what comes after.

    I guess the long and short of it is, I forge on with my writing because I enjoy it. My characters give me a sense of worth. Also, it is nice to have something that is just for me. Don't get me wrong, I love my family and for that matter my life, but earning a living as a fictional writer is my trifecta. The idea of this provides enough motivation to keep me writing.

  8. Cheech and Chong used "magic dust" to make their dreams come true, but that is probably not an option, and is in fact very inappropriate . . . forget I said anything about that.

    I do agree that the New York gatekeepers of what gets published need to be replaced. Maybe because of rising Kindle sales they already have been replaced. Kindle is the savior of the small press, and the future of publishing.

  9. Wow, thanks for this useful and timely blog post--I so needed to read what you wrote right now!

  10. Roland, you are akin to a wise old owl. I don't know how you churn out these posts so prolifically, but without your tireless conviction, many of us would be lost.

    I hope 'your dream' is realised.

  11. Oh, Roland.

    Edward wasn't 200, only 109--ouch I just admited publically that I read the books.

    Okay, now that I'm past that...

    When I started writing it was never to get published. It's always been to write because I can, because characters and plots fill my head, because I can articulate life better in writing than by speaking.

    Sure, the same dream lives in me that lives in every author (now at least)-- to get published and see that people are reading my work. But I refuse to write for the industry that is supposed to work for us.

    I write what I like, if the industry doesn't want it now they may later. C.E Murphy had ten (or somethiing like it) novels done and shelved before her first was sold. Steve Berry had five sitting on the shelf and sold his sixth. Both authors have since published their shelved works. (and yes, they are adult novels and do not include emo sparkling pansy vampires who date teenagers)

    So you see, there is hope.



  12. Thanks, everyone for such great comments. Each one deserves a personal response. But I have had one of those 10 hours 300 miles days as a weary blood courier. Whew!

    So I will just say each of you is my hero. Thank you again. Roland

  13. Roland; you do have the prolific blogger award somewhere on your site, don't you :)

    I remembered seeing the "monkey or wrench" post and thought I commented on it yesterday; and this morning I saw this but didn't have time to read it before I went to work. At lunch I started to read, but didn't have time to comment before I had to get back. Now there is another one to read . .

    See, if I had this much energy to put into blogging and writing I'd never give up hope myself.

    thank you for inspiring me with your posts. Very thoughtful of you to mention me here, and in such awesome fellow blogger company. I'm totally flattered.

    For me its not the loss of hope that I'll ever be published that bothers me; its the lack of desire to write. But I've been blessed with many encouraging friends such as yourself who keep my spirits up, so perhaps that spark will rekindle itself.

    thanks for all your support and sage advice.

    I'll try to catch up again on your posts; but since I'm behind on my beta-read schedule b/c of blogging/posting last night instead of reading. I need to stuff 6 hours in the next three before bed.

    I hope you're spending some time in your own bed, catching up on the miles you've traveled, and the creative energy you've expended here.

    Such awesome insights . .

    Hmm, that reminds me I need to send you an e-mail with a question regarding your honest hipocracy entry. Tommorrow.

    Good night Dear Heart. Pleasant dreams.


  14. For me, it's different. Again. I need deadlines, accountability, and the right to say no-to tv, to facebook, texting, people, blogging, movies-anything that I am using as an escape or saying yes to out of guilt.

    NaNo is breaking all kinds of chains off me that have existed so long that they've grown rusty. And I'm liking it.

    Fantastic advice!