In the last blog post, I raised the question as to why my first novel was written for the Mystery genre, when my love of reading – which ideally, for the writer, should be the same – leaned toward fantasy.
In the midst of confusion, while caught up in a burning cauldron – I’m feeling quite dramatic today – of internal and external turmoil, I had the wherewithal to seek out, find, and join a local writers group. The complicated process was simple, really. I called the Tulsa Library, and the nice lady I spoke to, gave me the contact information for the Tulsa NightWriters, a group I still belong to.
As fate would have it, – I’m experiencing an epidemic of clichés too – after attending a few monthly meetings, I discovered that a select cadre of fiction lovers within the club were in the habit of gathering once a week, to read and critique each other’s work. I inquired about the nature of this group within a group and before long I, too, became a member of the quasi secret society of writers.
As it turned out, the secret society leaned toward the conservative side of writing and, therefore, did not readily take to my fantastical ramblings. They told me I should abandon the short-story, for there was no money to be made there, and embrace the long form of a novel. They also suggested, perhaps a bit more subtly, that I consider a style of a more salable nature.
Needless to say, I was crushed. Writers, especially those new to the occupation, or should I say obsession, do not take kindly to criticism. Some of them might not show it, choosing to take it quietly, but trust me, they take it personally. When someone expresses a negative opinion of something you’ve worked so hard to create – whether it’s warranted or not – it’s akin to them walking up to you on the street and telling you that your children are ugly.
Don’t let me put too sharp a point on this. Learning to take constructive criticism is a necessary and essential part of the writing process. And like I said, I’m feeling dramatic today. The help and criticism I’ve received from editors, publishers, and fellow-writers have been both appreciated and invaluable.
And now: actually with the next post; for the rest of the story.
With the help of my publisher, I’m putting together a program we are calling: Bob’s Reader List. With the list, I hope to offer true value to those who subscribe. Check it out by clicking the link below: