Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | December 20, 2011

How Succinct Do I Need To Be?

I posted last night on one of my writer groups that I was penning in Chapter 149 of Starchild Duel (on Chapter 150 right now) and left it at that–never thinking that it would dissolve into a full blown argument over semantics and other ridiculous shit that had me more wound up like an expensive clock than anything else.

So sue me. Y’know?

When it comes to writing, I don’t play well with others. I don’t follow the guidelines. I don’t want to write like everyone else.

I just want to write.

And for 24 years now, I’ve been writing for myself. And only for myself. I don’t have an audience in mind when I start penning in one of my books–be it long or short–I just write.

It keeps me focused on what I want to accomplish first and foremost with my writing. This way, I’m not distracted by what’s going on in the outside world. I’m not consumed with anxiety or grief over who did what and how soon, and how much money he or she acquired and the list goes on.

I’m just focused on me. And my writing. I don’t care if it goes beyond the level of most people’s general understanding–be it a reader, an agent, or a publisher.

This is what I want to do with my life. But writing for myself is not self-defeating–as someone openly suggested today.

When you start out on a task or a project in class, how it can it not be self-defeating when you’re following the basic rules or guidelines that are set out before you?

Writing isn’t any different. You’re free to choose which path that is set before you. No one has to force you to become traditionally (or non-traditionally) published. The same can be said on what methodology and approach you wish to employ to achieve your said goals in life as a writer.

I’ve tried to follow the same rules as everyone else and only ran into more problems as I went. Nothing was working. And it left me wondering if these same people were in the business of making money or just driving people like me knucking futz with aggravation?

Following the guidelines should be no problem and yet, there is a problem with the guidelines: They are either not up to date, or they are buried in some political obscurity which defies logic and common sense.

And then they expect us to understand what they want? I don’t think so!

For example, when someone says fantasy, what comes to mind? Well, it can be anything right?

So you spend three months, six months hammering out a fantasy novel that you think that even a five-year-old would be able to figure out, but no one in the traditional publishing industry has a fucking clue about?

I mean, how hard is it to understand mecha, dragons, magic, and two lost princesses anyway? Do I need to lay it out in simpler terms for people to understand these days? Or do I need to draw everyone a fucking map here?

Come on people! We can’t all be this brain-dead!

But when it comes to submitting the book for consideration (Stories of the Dead Earth-Book 1: Orphan), I got the usual generic rejection letters and one from an agent who couldn’t understand what fantasy was all about.

She had no grasp of what the book entailed and politely (insultingly) suggested that before I embark on another fantasy novel, that I first consult either a dictionary or a thesaurus.

(Makes one wonder if J.R.R. Tolkien encountered the same problem when he first pitched The Lord of the Rings. What was that again about hobbits, trolls, gnomes, and spiders? And a ring to rule them all? How hard is that?)

Like I told some people today: “I could pen a novel about three fluffy bunnies, two wayward bears, and one redheaded stepchild and still the agents wouldn’t understand what I’m writing about.”

The same could be said about The Starchild: The book’s about a teenage girl who inherits the legendary mantle of the Starchild of Ancient Lore. Simply broken down: Girl gets to be a superhero and saves the day. No secret identity required.

The Price of Freedom? A generational war in what used to be in the former United States between humans and an artificial army of horrors. Simply broken down: One hot guy gets to bang a really hot robot chick and blow shit up as a personal bonus.

Yippee skippy.

End of story. It can’t get any simpler than that.

But why some people have a hard time understanding what I’m trying to do with my writing, I may never know.

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Responses

  1. Hm, what rules/ guidelines are you referring to?

    – Genre?
    – Writing advice/tips?
    – Publishing tips?

    I think most are key to improving stories, but genre, for example, needs to be updated and expanded. Too many good writers are rejected because of it.

    • Submission guidelines.

      • Hm. I agree with many of the submission guidelines. For example, synopsis often make writers see their story problems. Having to sell your story in a concise format makes issues and problems appear that weren’t clear before.

        And I know I went on about genre before, but that part of the submission process has made me think of what I need to be aware of for the ‘type’ of story I am writing. Very helpful, also, for my audience.

  2. Really enjoyed this post. The fact of the matter is that you can’t please everyone. Writing isn’t a science and there is no right way or wrong way to do it (with that being said, there are “good writers” and “bad writers”). You just need to please one person (agent) for you to be well on your way to flipping off all the ones who doubted you before. All writers receive rejection letters before they get the one they really want. Just ignore the haters and do things your way…everything will work out in the end. 🙂


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