So you can read my books

Saturday, June 23, 2012



#73 in Books > Literature & Fiction > United States > Native American

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

Wendy Tyler Ryan once had an intriguing post

Donna Hole had another one some time back (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 chose 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. That's exactly what I see in Edward, not a sparkly vampire, a pedophile. *shivers* It's just wrong that such an attitude has become acceptable in fiction. However, I will admit that my attitude on the matter is colored by my profession. This is an excellent post filled with great ideas of a different route we as writers can take. Bravo to you my friend!

  2. Heather:
    Lately, I have been struggling with the issues that I wrote about. I thought if I were struggling, then there might be others out there in cyber-land.

    I wrote this for all of us struggling in the trenches. It means so much that you, not only enjoyed this post, but you are of a like mind as well, Roland

  3. Surprise! Yes, it's your long lost writer Pal. I am catching a quick literary breath.

    What a terrific post, Roland. Of course we all feel as you do! And especially about S. Meyers... I could barely get through the first book.

    It' s all about timing not talent. If you time it right, your book could make millions. Some "it" factor has to be in there. The prose truly doesn't matter, the subject does.

    Hang in there Roland. Writer's like you are gems. You're intelligence and literary knowledge is unsurpassed. I have LEARNED so much from you. Your soul and heart has nourished so many of us new-be writer's.

    But as you so strongly said, never give up. I might not be the best writer, but I am determined to struggle on this journey with my wonderful blogger friends.

    I hope you get some time to relax this weekend.

    Thankfully I should be leaving for home by July 2... I can't wait.

  4. Hello, Michael:
    I've been concerned, not hearing from you, hoping all was all right with you.

    Could it be that Ms. Meyers got picked up because she has prettier legs than mine as Sandra joked?

    I think you are right about the timing and the subject matter. Maybe lightning will strike for us both? We can only hope.

    I was surprised by THE LAST SHAMAN hitting #73 on the Amazon Best Sellers List. Perhaps Native American myth clashing with the modern world will be the new "IT" factor?

    Who determines the worth of your writing? The reader. So do not slight your own prose.

    Tomorrow will be my last day off for seven long, tiring days. I need a vacation!

    Be careful on your return trip home. Chicago has gotten even more violent of late. Thanks for the support, Roland

  5. There is always hope!
    I followed the first approach exactly for my first book. And now that I think about it, the second and third will follow the second approach.

  6. Alex:
    I hope there will be a 4th book as well. A young MC with an older protagonist is as old as Aristotle and Alexander (had to throw that one in, Alex!) and Merlin & Arthur.

    The classic Western SHANE had the second approach as well. Thanks for visiting. And I have to keep telling myself that there is always hope. One day maybe my mantra will stick! :-)

  7. Insightful post, Roland. Good advice. Thank you so much for the mention. You are a great friend.

    I know it's useless to say, but try not to work too hard. I could never handle your schedule.

    Take car,

  8. Thanks, Wendy:
    There are times when I feel that I cannot handle my schedule! LOL.

    I am your friend. I love to point your amazing blog to others. Take care, Roland

  9. Well said, but I'm not sure there's any formula for success. Just write what you find inspiring and hope for the best. Sure, you can write for the markets, but it may not be inspiring work. And, what works for one person won't necessarily work for another.

    Working seven days in a row is hard. I've done it many times. Basically, you put your preferred life on hold.

  10. Richard:
    You're right: no formula for success. Bill Cosby said the same thing but added that the sure formula for failure was trying to please EVERYBODY!

    I've decided if I only truly lived on my days off, then most of my life would end up merely endured.

    How sad is that? So I have tried to find something of worth and enjoyment in each hour at work ... even if I have to provide the laughs myself.

    Oh, what did one snowman say to the other?

    Is it just me or do you smell carrots! LOL. Hey, at least it was free! :-)