Write What You Know

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

After months of using Covid-19 as an excuse to procrastinate, I finally forced myself to sit down and start working on the last book in my Blood Bond Trilogy. Thanks to the previous books, I already have an MC. I know what he looks like, how he dresses, where he works, what he drinks, and who his love interest will be, but…how to start?

Write what you know, right?

I trolled through my memories, more years of memories than I’d like to admit, and came up with a scene, something that happened eons ago. A tourist on my first trip to Ireland, I was checking out a small display case in some church basement and I heard a man talking behind me. His voice, his accent, truly charming. Naturally, I turned around, and the real world being what it is, the man was nowhere near as attractive as his voice.

Perfect. There’s my attention-grabbing first paragraph. Enticing accent, alluring voice—hail the love interest.

But…

I haven’t been to Ireland in decades. I can barely remember the accent now and I have no idea what expressions or slang they’re using in Dublin these days.

Write what you know?

I don’t know how this character speaks. There’s no way I can write dialogue for him, not without spending weeks researching speech patterns in Irish novels.

I’m in awe of authors who can create dialogue for characters of a differing ethnicity, nationality, or time line than their own. I have no idea how they do it. How exactly does a blacksmith in the eighteenth century speak, or an alien in the twenty-fourth?

Back to the drawing board. Ditch the accent and rewrite the first page, so far, the only page.

Write what you know?

What I know is, I never should have started writing this trilogy 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

Grammarly and Me

I used to be friends with Word’s Editor, but lately I’ve been visiting with Grammarly. She’s intelligent and polite, but a bit of dictator.

While I appreciate her gentle reminders on spelling and punctuation, I can’t help wondering if she’s trying to change me. She doesn’t seem to approve of my style.

Don’t say anything, but Grammarly can be opinionated. At first, I let her browbeat me into changing things around, but as we got to know each other better, I started to wonder…

Grammarly’s suggestions, although made with the best of intentions, are, dare I say it?

Boring.

Bland.

She’s not a party girl, if you know what I mean? No sparkle, no shine. It’s not that she’s wrong, but sometimes, she’s wrong for me.

Oh, we’re still friends. We’ve just agreed to disagree, and just between us… Sometimes, I ignore her.

Aimer at Amazon

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

I thought writing was easy, until I tried to do it. From that first kernel of an idea to the last page of proofreading, it’s a struggle.

If you want anyone to read what you’ve written, there are yet more hurdles to jump. Whether you go the self-publishing route or the traditional one, people have to find your book before they can read it.

Let’s say you’ve written an amazing book, you’ve got it on Amazon. Home free, right? You can sit back, watch the money roll into your bank account, ink a movie deal?

Okay, maybe Netflix won’t be calling you, but you can quit your day job, right?

Not so fast.

  • 50% of all authors are poor, earning less than the poverty level.
  • 80% of all authors earn less than what most people would consider a living wage.
  • Self-published authors earn 80% less than traditional published authors.
  • 2018 saw the release of 1.68 million self-published titles.
  • Statistics taken from an Authors Guild report based on American data.

In the entire history of the written word, it has never been easier to write and publish a book, or harder to make a living at it.

If I was twenty-one, just out of university, these statistics might make me rethink a writing career, but I’m not. Rather than depress the hell out of me, these numbers make me feel better about my not-so-stellar career as a self-publishing author.

1.68 million titles in 2018? The fact that I sold any books at all is a freaking miracle!

Aimer at Amazon

Second Time Around

I self-published my first book in 2014. I thought it was good. I was wrong.

I didn’t know it then, but I’d broken just about every writing rule there is.

To anyone who purchased Fireworks, my apologies. And thank you. Thank you for taking a chance on a newbie author and for giving me hope that maybe, just maybe, I could do this.

Five years on, and I’ve learned a bit. Not everything, not by a long shot, but enough to take a stab at fixing the mistakes I made the first time around.

So, here it is, the new and improved—I hope—version of that first attempt: Daniel Mine.

Aimer at Amazon

Caveat Emptor

Buyer Beware

Is it just me, or does there seem to be more to be wary of these days?

Scams and schemes abound, from the automated phone calls that threaten you with Revenue Canada if you don’t contact them to the truly horrific bogus kidnapping messages that claim they have your children.

And then there’s the people promising to change your life if you only hand over your wallet.

Case in point, recently I’ve been approached by companies offering to promote one of my books. Sounds good, right?

“You’re book has been recommended to us by …”
“We will flog your book on social media daily …”

I don’t know how much money these companies want because I hang up on them before they get to that point. Am I skeptical?

Hmmm… Am I breathing?

The first solicitor didn’t even know the title of my book. The second one sent me an email that could have used a grammar check.

Hmmm…

One caller said his company was based out of Las Vegas. Really?

So many books out there, so many that never get seen let alone read. Every indie author knows this — so do the companies offering to help you.

Caveat Emptor

Aimer at Amazon

 

 

51,510 Words

Four chapters to go on my current WIP … probably. Possibly. Maybe.

Writing isn’t an exact science with me, nothing even as concrete as theory. It’s more of a hope.

It’s magic really, isn’t it? A picture in your mind and then the search for the words to paint that picture.

I won’t even mention things like plot, character development, theme, point of view, setting and (shudder) grammar. These are all tools of the trade. Important? Of course. Interesting? Not so much.

They are the nuts and bolts behind every piece of writing. They bring coherence to the jumble of thoughts that circle your brain, but sorry, they make my eyes glaze over.

That’s not what writing is about, not for me.

Remember Lego? Latching all those tiny blocks together, making cubes that were supposed to be houses?

That’s what writing is.

Words are the blocks we build skyscrapers with. No, not skyscrapers, castles. Castles in the sky.

The wrong words and the whole thing collapses around you, but…

If you get it right, if your words paint your pictures — magic!

Aimer at Amazon