Tuesday, February 8, 2011

You're All Just Along for the Ride

Sometimes I have to wonder about these topics C.J. picks for us to blog on. They’re making me think too much. Usually, I just throw stuff out there, so having to have the kind of deep thinking I normally reserve for watching movies like Inception can give me a headache.
Still, I must soldier on.

So, who exactly am I writing for?

After some deep soul searching, I can now say that I write for me.

The rest of you are just along for the ride.

Seriously, I believe that I write for myself.

Long time ago, I used to try to make my writing fit into a known category. That is probably why I don’t have any of my writing from my early days. It was all garbage, stuff I forced up like that tofu taco I sampled last week.

I’ll leave the art of changing to fit someone else’s ideals to Sarah Palin.

No, I’ve found it better to write and let people find my stuff, like they did at Writing.com.

Does that sound egotistical or vain?

Maybe it does but my style doesn’t seem to fit into any of the current popular styles. Hunters is old school vampire hunting. I just got tired of perusing the book shelves at Publix, eh, I mean Barnes & Nobles and seeing all the books glamorizing and sexifying (okay, I got that word from Family Guy) vampires.

Couldn’t let that stand. Even Brian Lumley was straying into Twilight territory by the end of his Necroscope series.

Before Hunters, I decided to let other readers decide if I’d found an audience. Of course, I really couldn’t tell if the reviewers on Writing.com really enjoyed my work or the gift points I offered. Eventually, I got a hardcore following.

My path isn’t original, by any means. Many writers before me just wrote what they loved and let the readers find them. H.P. Lovecraft for example. I’d hate to think that the master of macabre, depraved horror was actually writing for any recognized audience. Those stories of his were downright weird and must have been his readers (I should know; I read his stuff in my heady junior high school days).

That said, it doesn’t mean I’ve never tailored my stuff to a specific audience. Short stories written for a particular publication often mean alterations to fit the theme. Farspace 2 was geared toward space travel, so I created a short story for it. Stephen King wanted to do full-length novels, but spent his early career writing short stories geared to the magazines he sent them off to (with each version slightly altered to fit the specific magazine).

My bottom line is this. Write what you like and what you feel comfortable with.  That means you can put your passion and full energy into it.

If it’s good, your audience will find it and  you.


  1. I agree with, "te what you like and what you feel comfortable with." It'll show if you're writing outside your calling, you know?

    Great post. Thanks!

  2. Very nice, Greg! And no, I did not pick the topics. Our darling and creative Jimmy and Ana did! Inspired, in part, by the creative George, I think.

  3. Well, you put it very nicely, that little rub that comes up every day for writers. We are writers, whether or not we are pubbed. That's for sure. Now as for getting paid to write, well then we need to be mindful of the rules, and then, with craft and skill, break them to become a fresh read, or keep to them but show something different.

    For me, writing for publication is a kitten of another litter, as George would say. The next best thing could be the stories we're writing right now that appear to break all the rules.

    Sometimes, this process is a little painful, but in the meantime, it's important to just keep on writing. Every day.

  4. Very truthful words, indeed. You're right, Sharon, about writing for publication. We do have to skew our words towards a certain audience. However, if we force ourselves to do it, in a vein we don't really like, just for the money, it will show quickly.

    Lynn, thanks for the comments.

    C.J., I know you don't come up with all the topics. I was just razzing you. Somehow, I don't think I had yanked your chain yet in 2011. Of course, I have a long way to go to make up for all the times you harrassed, bullied and intimidated James and I.

  5. I can see your point, Gregory.

    And with the way you put it, maybe I write for myself more than I realize.

    I know that I started writing boys in love with each other back in fifth grade (much to the chagrin of Mrs. Vanderveer - I may have caused her retirement.)

    I continued writing same sex stories (some with romance, some fan-fic, others were plain fiction, but the main characters were always gay) - simply because I grew up in a time where I grew weary of NOT being able to read books or watch television where I could see and identify with those who were like me.

    Your post also made a neon light flash above my head. You got me thinking... you brought up Steven King writing short stories at the beginning of his career. You know, I've been suffering the same thing. Trying to shove my round peg into someone's square hole. (Okay - I know that sounds kinky, but bear with me here...)

    I can't write a short story to save my soul. They suck. I get frustrated. I miss deadlines trying to write by someone elses rules and I become self-loathing (*face palm - 'You idiot! It's a simple short story! Why can't you do it?") My comfort zone is within longer works - 50k-80k.

    So, what have I been doing? I've been trying conform, to write for someone else in order to get multiple works out in the reading world, to get my name out there.

    In other words, I've got my genre down. I know my readers will be women and gay men. And I know as long as it's interesting and well done, my stories will be read and enjoyed by many.

    However, I've wasted all this time working on shorts that never went anywhere. I set myself up for failure, because I didn't take into consideration I need to write what I 'want to write' (which is novellas and novels) - not what is a popular length for quick demand, on-the-go readers of today - flash fiction, short pieces and short stories for anthologies and collections.

    Hmmm. Food for me to feast on. Thank you, my friend, for opening my eyes.

    However - although I am with you on the old school vampires (they rock!) - ummm, I do have a guilty indulgent. Once in a while, I enjoy reading the occasional sexy romp with a randy vampire -- providing he's gay and doesn't sparkle... (*snicker)

  6. Hey, Greg. Thanks for posting. I certainly hope that's how it works; writing for one's self and the audience finding the work. I know I fight the urge to please everyone before myself sometimes. Thanks for the good word!
    Okay, I'm "Darling" and Anastasia is "Creative"? Hmm? ;)