Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | October 23, 2013

The Path I Choose Is My Own

Rebellion_by_domnxWhen I started this venture as a writer, I had naturally assumed that I would be free to do whatever I wished. Because when you get down to it, writing is more about the freedom of expression than political expediency.

In the mainstream world of publishing, you have to do everything that your publishers tell you to do. You don’t have a voice or a surrogate retainer to stand up for you and negotiate terms to your own personal liking. In this world, it’s a business that is unforgivable and inflexible. It doesn’t excuse mistakes–either in publishing, writing, or marketing.

In this world, you live and die by the sword. Or by the book that you’ve written. So you have to make it the best that you can possibly make it. Which means you’ll be burning the midnight oil and then some trying to make sure that all your i’s are dotted and your tee’s are crossed.

But when it comes to someone like me, why do some parties still insist that the same rules apply?

I noticed in some comments that I got on my now completed Codename: Velocity novel, some people are still intent on changing the formula and molding me into the “perfect” writer–that everyone can grow to love and adore by the millions.

Thing is, this isn’t what I want. I don’t want to be molded and changed into whatever persona that people are desperate for in writers today. (“Everyone has to be like Stephen King” or “Everyone has to write like George R.R. Martin”.)

As such, I don’t want my books to be like everyone else’s. This isn’t why I started writing in the first place. I wanted to get away from the rules and the stipulations and the demands of perfection that is a commonplace thing in the mainstream publishing industry.

I don’t want perfection. I don’t want carbon copy novels that are “like” other people’s previously published books.

I want flawed novels. I want less than perfect characters. I want to be able to write in my own voice and be happy with the end results–even if other people are saying, “Change your beginning so that more people will be hooked.”

Other people? Has it ever dawned on the masses already that I am not a team player by any stretch of the word?

In the end, I’m going to be self-publishing my books. Which means that by the end of the year, I’ll be lucky to have sold a hundred copies because of the stigma still attached to self-publishing. And the fact that social media has become such a friggin’ joke lately (with few if any people communicating/interacting with you on a daily basis).

So why should my books read like the same as The Ender’s Game or The Way We Were? Or how about To Kill A Mockingbird?

If you’re intent is to mold me into the next best-selling author, you can forget it. It’s not something I want. I want to be able to have the freedom and expression to write my novels in my own way–a way that defies conventional thinking and extra-traditional methods.

After all, we’re all still excited about Fifty Shades of Grey and that book’s writing is horrible as it is, but people love it, so why not what I write?

Then I’m reminded (as I often am) that I’m dealing with the mindset of the mainstream. I am always going to be dealing with it, even after I spend a mint on editing and copy-editing and editing some more, even after I self-publish. People are still going to be demanding absolute perfection in their books and won’t settle for nothing less.

So I’m wondering…is this the death of the dream? The part where we are free to explore to our heart’s content and not worry if it what’s being written comes standard like everything else?

I’ll admit, I like some of the books coming out of the industry’s slush pile of novels, but I also like books that are seeped in differences and variation. After awhile, the carbon-copy routine begins to get stale and I quickly find myself wishing there were books out there which defied the standards which have been set forth in stone for these many years.

Then I think about my own books and I’m thinking, “Why the hell not?” Let’s do something radical.

So I spend the next 8 months writing my heart out–trying to create those books which defy the odds–but seem to piss off a lot of people in the process.

And I’m left thinking, “You know…you can’t have it both ways.”

It’s either one or the other.

Which are you going to choose?

For me, the decision’s already been made. And I’m not afraid of the outcome. I really am not. Most people these days don’t pick up on the little things like some do. Their minds are geared towards instant gratification and happiness. And unless you’re a full-time editor (or critic), I very much doubt that you’ll be able to figure out what my game plan really is when you get down to reading one of my finished books–other than the fact that they don’t read like your standard run-of-the-mill novels that are pumped out yearly by the mainstream to the tune of thousands.

But I still value the one thing that most writers take for granted: Their freedom.

I won’t let that be sacrificed. Not for anything. A writer needs to be in full control of their own destinies–for good or bad.

This is why I’ve been fighting against the mainstream for so long. I don’t subscribe to their little club mindset. I see writing as a doorway to bigger and better things. And the one thing that hasn’t stopped me from achieving my goals is my own ambitions. The more I dream, the more I think things are possible.

Even if it rubs up against conventional thinking.

So when I look at my 166,000 word novel, I’m thinking how happy and proud I am that I was able to come up with yet another book–one which flies in the face of such conventional wisdom and defies everything we were told about good writing.

And I’m fine with that. Because I know that when this book of mine gets published–or self-published–it’ll be different from everyone else’s novel for one reason and one reason onlyI didn’t follow the rules.

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