….Or the first. Time will tell. Having thus far avoided blogging for many reasons, I don’t anticipate a big change here. I’ve joined WordPress to be part of THE CLASS OF 2K13 (http://classof2k13.com/); made up of 20 fabulous writers; all with their first YA novels coming out in 2013! 19 of those writers will likely have very interesting things to blog about. Some already have… Visit them. The 20th? (And I literally WAS the last to join (and the only boy now that I think of it))… not so sure what he’ll do. I know, first, he’ll need to reset what a ‘blog’ is in his own mind. The traditional form just won’t work.
(1) A draft of my teen novel CAIN XP11 is expected in two weeks. I can work on THAT for two hours tonight or work on an insightful, helpful, original, witty, thought-provoking blog. I know which one my new editor at Simon & Schuster wants.
(2) Most of what I say ends up pissing people enough. Not all people. Not even most. But some. And even though I’m a tough guy from New Jersey who often wears a swell ‘piss-off’ face, I’m a writer/softy at heart and I get my feelings hurt when even ONE person is mad at me. It upsets me for almost a whole day (and we get only so many of those). The internet, as we all know well, opens us up to people being mad. And mean. Some guys love to stir the shit and are good at it. I’ll still do that with close friends. With strangers, I kinda just want to make more friends.
Could I safely discuss events in publishing? When ReaderCon exploded this summer, I was kinda disturbed by some of the nastier comments flying (referring to the event as ‘Rapecon,’ comparing what happened to ‘cutting off male genitals,’ etc.) I tossed off a quick message saying “What the Hell people? You want this guy dead?” Within THREE MINUTES, I had close to twenty emails… most of them calling me an enabler, a moron, and a ‘troll.’ [My teenaged son still laughs at me about that one]. Two people sent me viruses. Only one response was someone speaking to me as if we were face-to-face. I had better things to do that day than apologize to 19 strangers for seeming insensitive to an issue on which I AGREED with them (just not with the tenor it was being discussed). Hell, one of the guys I pissed off works at Publishers Weekly. He’ll probably be reviewing my book in five months. [When’s the last time you saw a review using negative numbers?] How to discuss why I think “YA ficiton for boys” struggles without insulting most of the people I work with and for.
Should I discuss politics and alienate (on any given subject) HALF of my potential reading audience. And with my particular world view, I’d likely alienate the OTHER half with my next day’s statement. I was mad a Stephen King for two years because of his political rantings (rantings I now agree with) and didn’t actively seek his new books during that time in grrrrr protest. Mr. King could handle a Constant Reader’s two-year boycott. Mr. Girard can’t. Should I discuss — oh, I don’t know — how lame I think retelling/reworking old fairy tales is? A bunch of the writers in my new group (and older writer pals too) have done just that. But they’re fine writers I support 100% and readers will love these books and I truly hope they all make a million dollars… That means keeping MY negative-Nancy fairy-tale comments to myself. And they’ll, hopefully, keep their ‘ohhhh-evil-government-science-project-gone-bad’ comments to themselves. ; )
Check out Jacob Silverman’s recent article in SLATE: Against Enthusiasm: The epidemic of niceness in online book culture. So good. So true. But when the internet allows people to (from the safety of their favorite loveseat) get sooooo cruel, and the professional writing community is sooooo small…. the ‘epidemic of niceness’ is, I think, the best way to go. Fight with your brothers in the privacy of your own house all you want. Out in the neighborhood (in public), you better have each others’ backs. Period. Writers/readers are my brothers and sisters.
(3) Finding something original to say. Another article on “Defeating Writers Block’ or how to ‘Create Dialogue that Matters’ etc. etc. (A) People who love writing blogs are already covering most of this crap a zillion times and better than I could and (b) [See #2 above] I’m in no mood to argue about how to do something/anything. There are 100 ways to write a short story, to edit, to do research, to flesh out a character, to start a novel, to finish a novel, to find an agent, do a signing, skin a cat, dispose of a body, etc. The second I say THIS is how you do it, you always get someone jumping in/on to say, “NO, THIS is how you do it.” Ok, yes. Fine. That way’s great also. There is no one way to do anything… and I have little desire to write a blog which covers all 100. How unoriginal would that be? Recently, I read a blog in which a male writer shared the process of how he’d interviewed several women to get his new female character down just right. I was thinking “great idea” as I’d done the exact same thing for a short story of mine (one of my best, thank you! Check it out in the Stoker-nominated DARK FAITH anthology). This guy, however, was ripped to pieces by just about everyone else who’d read his blog. He was, according to these folk, a “moron” for needing to do this, how “insulting to women,” etc., Meh. This, I don’t need. Dude was simply sharing what worked for HIM…. too many people can’t just let it go at that.
(4) I loathe writing. It’s hard to do. And anyone who claims otherwise doesn’t write well. If I have anything to say, it’s probably best I save it for the next short story, chapter, novel. I try to craft and polish my fiction writing so that it’ll last a thousand years. This blog? It’ll have typos, clunky sentences and thought, overused/misused words. Shall I rewrite it? Edit? Twice. Five times? Sure, I would my fiction. But this is a friggin’ blog. A toss off. A little ‘hello’ to anyone who might stop by. But it’s not. It’s writing. It’ll be up for you and others to read even more easily than my books. I was recently asked for a quote for my school’s year book (I teach high school english). The assumption was I’d quickly toss of some witty writer line and we’d all be done. I said “give me three days, I’ll get back to you.” My name was going to be under words. I wanted them to be the right words. Will I ever give that same time/effort/consideration to a ‘blog’ when the alternative <shudder> is allowing half-formed writing to be seen by others?
Worse, on a good day, I’ve got 1,000 words in me. I just used 900 of them on this.
Jeffrey Dahmer gets only the next 100.
Maybe he and I will see you again when we’re done…