Writing a Dream

Posts tagged “Book

Heroes and Bad Reviews

Sometimes distractions can lead us away from our goals. Often times I find myself getting tunnel vision when I am writing an idea and that’s not always the best thing. For the stories I am developing, I had a point A to point B plan and that was not the way it should have been. There is more to a great book than who, what, when, where, and why. An explanation can be developed from those, but not a great story. Sometimes stepping away and doing other things can help you reclaim your idea from a narrow vision and assist you in turning a good idea into an magnificent book.

In October, I purposely stepped away from my stories and kept myself from writing. Why? I felt like I was becoming bored with the process. I still had idea I knew were good, but I felt like something was lacking in my writing. I needed to find a way to develop more than just an A to B story. My first book Rumbling Heart was more than an A to B story and it shows in the quality of the development not only of the work, but also the characters and the atmosphere. Sometimes reading a book can help you reevaluate and refocus on what you are trying to do. In my case though, being able to now see things from a different angle is a double-edged sword.

I looked over my work and even over some reviews and bits of feed back I have gotten over my work. The good reviews are always nice, but it is the bad reviews that always stick with you. Why? Just human nature I suppose. Here is a snippet of a negative review RH got and my response to it.

reviewNegative reviews happen. There is no way around it. Being a writer I accept that and I know there will always be people who either do not understand my work or, for whatever reason, want to find reasons to make it seem as if I did a huge disservice to the human race. I did find it interesting that this person thought her review was constructive. You can see my response to her review in the photo as well. Her response was once again nonconstructive. I liken this review to calling someone names because that is essentially what they did. If you feel the need to call me (or my work) “stupid” without offering any reason as to why you felt that way or any way to improve it, the review is completely pointless. Offering no way to improve on something is about as bad as crying because you didn’t get your way. If I were a coach and I told a child they were terrible at football or whatever other sport I was coaching them in, I wouldn’t remain a coach very long. Obviously you cannot really liken coaching to reviewing a book or a movie or whatever else you can give feedback on. Reviewers aren’t coaches. I realize that. But at the same time people who do offer feedback need to understand that the main reason you give feedback, be it positive, negative, or mixed, is so people who develop their ideas can improve and make things better the next time around. What is the point of simply calling people or their work names? Sounds to me like certain individuals either lack the ability to express themselves or they feel the need to tear someone down.

Success also breeds negativity.

I will not say I am very successful. I haven’t sold a ton of books and I haven’t made all kinds of money at this. It was never really about money anyway. I have over the last year and a half gotten hurtful messages and emails from people who see that I was somehow able to hash it out and write a book. Not many people can say they’ve done that. Sure, some people can write a small story, but my first book was 475+ pages. A little long, but anyone has to admit that writing a book of that size takes time and commitment. My followup to my first book is much shorter, but still comes in at about 300 pages. No small feat. Another big story for me which is about 70% complete will probably come in at about 275 pages. Again, not many people in the world can say they can sit down and accomplish such a thing. I am not saying I should automatically get a great review for the effort, but I would hope that people like me…artists…deserve at the very least a review explaining exactly why our work is either good, bad, or mixed.

A good review does not always have to be positive. If you gave me 1 or 2 stars, but explained why this or that was unappealing to you, I could respect that. Not offering any explanation whatsoever makes me think the person is either just looking to be mean or trolling. In a way, they are kind of the same thing.

If you are a reviewer like I am from time to time, do the artist a favor and explain why you think one way or another. In the end, we will thank you for it and so will other readers.

 

 


Rating Books

Something I’ve actually come to love about writing is deciding which material to use as opposed to other. What I mean by this is, as like movies, books are becoming something that can actually be rated depending on the content that is included in the work.

Why did I start using my own personal rating system?

It all comes down to who our target audience is. Example. I purchased and started reading a book solely on a recommendation from a friend. They said it was a good story and a well created world. I thought sure! I’ll give it a go. And they were right…to a certain degree. They story started a little slow, but that’s most books for you. I kept with it and the characters started developing nicely. I was starting to get into when like a bolt of lightning, I found myself in the middle of a hardcore sex scene.

Now…

I am the kind of person that feels people should write whatever they like to write. If you have a knack for action or fantasy or erotica, go for it. I will never ever tell people to censor themselves. If you like to include a lot of adult language or violence or sex in your work, I say do it.

If I am all for writing whatever people like to write, then why the self imposed rating?

Sure, most of what is written and released is categorized in various genres. We have thrillers, we have drama, we have romance, sci-fi, etc. The issue I found is that just because a work is categorized doesn’t always tell you what exactly is in the finished work. I know if a book is released within the Erotica genre chances are I am going to come across a few very detailed sex scenes. On the other hand, I may pick up a thriller and have gobs of violence and other things I may not have expected. The same can be said of Sci-Fi. I’ve watched many sci-fi movies and virtually all of them have a certain level of violence in them. Some of it is stylized while parts are grotesque and graphic. I’m not in the least surprised by what I read in books today. Not in the slightest, but being a writer I want to me sure that anyone that picks up my book…and I do mean anyone…will have an idea of what to expect while reading my work.

I don’t do spoilers. I hate those. There is nothing worse than reading a book only to have someone or something spoil the ending. This is not what I am going for. Here is an example of what I have done to self rate my work before release:

(This eBook carries a voluntary rating of 16+ for language, some graphic violence, some crude humor, alcohol use, drug references, and scenes of dramatic peril.)

As you can see, I didn’t include any spoilers so the story is still intact. All this does is give a heads up of what to expect when you read this particular work. The age noted is also key. It is there to give you an idea of what ages should be considered when giving my work to a minor. As you can see, I self rate similar to how movies are rated. You know when you go to see a PG-13 movie that teens will probably not see or hear anything they’ve not come across before. Anything under that age, well you may want to reconsider or join them for the picture. I do the same thing with my books.

Keep in my I rate my books based on my own opinion. In no way should my rating by taken as gospel. I’ve made it no secret that I do not have kids. I do however have nephews and nieces and I think about how they might react to something they see in a movie or on TV. Would I not want them to see certain things? Of course not. I wouldn’t want to expose them to graphic violence or sex. Besides, it’s not my call what they get to see. The call is up to their parents. Their parents are given a little guide with which to make a decision. Books are changing just as TV has. 25 years ago it was rare to see graphic violence or hear certain cuss words on television. That’s all changed now. Still, as you watch TV you probably notice the little TV-14 in the corner of the screen before the show (or another similar rating).

It’s not about censorship. It’s about keeping people informed. I will continue to write about things I want to write about and if they are violent and full of sex, so be it. That being said, I still like to give a heads up to people so they know what they are getting into before they start reading.

Here are examples of other ratings I’ve seen in books, all voluntary.

From “We Are All Retarded” by Ruby M Jones –

This electronic book voluntarily carries a warning of ADULTS ONLY. The material in this book is intended only for mature audiences. Persons under the age of 18 should not be allowed to read or possess this book because of its frank and explicit nature. Parents are strongly cautioned and warned that this body of work is not intended for children.

Here is the one I put in Rumbling Heart.

This book carries a voluntary audience recommendation of 14+ for language, adult situations, violence, alcohol use, and scenes of dramatic peril. Parents should exercise caution when purchasing this book for younger readers as is it not intended for those age 13 and under.

 


Book Release

I was thinking I would release my next refinished work Recorded Butterflies Some time in the early fall. I am rethinking that decision.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing on two separate projects. When I feel exhausted by one I switch to the other. This is going against my regular pattern of sticking with one project till I finish it. I’ve found that the worlds I’ve built in my books are really all the same one. With that thought in mind, I decided to have my new work based in the same world as my current one, but with a whole new cast of characters. I will still finish up the Rumbling Heart series, but the next work after that will have new people, new ideas, and will probably a little more extreme in many regards.

While RH has it’s lighter moments, there isn’t a large amount of comedy in it. The piece I am working on with all new characters is called In Search of the Dream Catcher and it will have more comical or lighthearted bits within it. That being said, I have also decided to make it, at times, much darker than my previous works. There will be a fair amount of grit included in it and I hope it will get people at the very least thinking about certain points and topics. While it’s not a preacher’s piece, it will ask readers to look into uncomfortable situations and have them think about the way the world is. In some ways, it will also consist of material that is even more personal that my past works.

People purposely avoid things that make them uncomfortable. Sometimes they will avoid them even if it means neglecting a friend or a family member. Many of us want to believe that when the chips are down and a friend of ours is hurting, that we will be there to help them. Sure, we all want to think we are the better person. Dream Catcher will drop the situation in your lap and get you questioning your devotion to those ideals.

With all this new information, I am also announcing that with my next release, I will release not one book, but possibly as many as 4 all at one time. Why you might ask?

People don’t like cliffhangers.

I’ve discovered while writing that often times you are forced to end a story at a critical juncture. While it can add to the dramatics of the story, it can also serious annoy your readers. I know, back when I used to watch television, I hated when a series finale was ended with a cliffhanger. It would make me feel ripped off and now suddenly I am being asked to wait all summer till the fall premiere to find out what happens. Don’ you hate that? It’s even worse for something like a movie or a book. In some cases, you have to wait years to find out how it all ends up.

Rumbling Heart, I feel, is a good enough story with a satisfactory ending…and I could have left it right there and I think people would have been alright with it. But no. I had more to write so the story continues and when I am finally done telling it, I don’t want to leave my readers out in the cold. It is my wish to release Recorded Butterflies, Emily Martin, and A Little Pain all at once so if people want, they can read the entire saga one right after the other without having to wait months or years to find out how it all ends. I am forced to break them up into separate books. Otherwise, the story would be about 1600 pages long…and that’s a REALLY big book.

Dream Catcher, as I mentioned, will be in the same world, but with different characters. I am not ruling out bringing back some of my older characters. But I’d like to be able to set them aside so that they don’t overstay their welcome. I think of it as sort of like a television series that’s jumped the shark. You and the rest of the audience knows that it should have ended way back in season 4, yet here it is in season 8 and the characters are turning into shells of what they once were. I never want my characters to end up like that. Can they come by for a little visit? Sure! But once ALP is released, that will be pretty much it for those characters. Could I revisit them in say 10 years? Maybe. We’ll just have to wait and see how that plays out. Until then, I am working like mad to finish up these two final works. Release date? I’d like it no later than December, but sometimes it takes a long time to figure out the best way to make things right.

In Search of the Dream Catcher working cover


Recorded Butterflies – Cover Reveal

Here it is. Simple, nothing splashy. Just the way I like it. Can you find the butterfly? You will probably miss it the first time.


Ruby Jones is Having a Promo Weekend!

In case you all haven’t had the opportunity to check out Ruby’s book We Are All Retarded, now will be your chance. Starting July 5th, her book will be free on Amazon.com. That’s right, 100% free. I must warn you though. It’s a book for adults only and you will probably be offended at least once. You’ll laugh the rest of the time. She’s harsh, she’s raunchy, she’ll hopefully make you think about how retarded we all really are. You can see her book listed on Amazon by clicking here. 

Remember! Starting tomorrow, July 5th, you can pick up the book for free so don’t miss out!


Frost Arch – A Short Review

Here is a review for Frost Arch by Kate Bloomfield that I did for Amazon.com.

I read over the reviews from others and I feel they are over analyzing the story. As a writer and editor (Yes, I actually went to college for this), I did find the editing lacking in many areas, but once I got into the story (which is what really matters) I found the concept intriguing and actually was a little upset that the author did not dive into the treatment of humans more. True, some of the decisions the main character made were reactionary and sort of unbelievable at times, but that’s the point of writing a story. If I wanted a story where the character did everything I wanted them to do, I’d write my own and read it over and over again. After the first few chapters, I simply forgave the grammatical blunders and focused on the story at hand so I could enjoy it. I don’t read books to find reasons to hate them. I read books to enjoy a story and a story was what I got. I think the author will take a lot from our reviews (the helpful ones, anyway) and improve on her craft. The lack of romance did not disappoint me as the concept kept me reading. I went into the book with an open mind and I was glad I picked it up. I read a book a day (really) and this one kept me interested till the end. I forgave the few lulls it had and kept on pushing through to the parts that excited me. I didn’t expect perfection. I just expected to be entertained.
I am honestly looking forward to her next work and yes, I would pay $2.99 for it. I actually frown upon those that sell their complete novels for only $.99, but that’s best saved for another time.


Popular Search Terms #5

Here we are again. Some changes have filtered through so let’s see what we’ve got.

rumbling heart novel

ruby+m+jones+we+all+retarded

ruby jones website

http://www.richardallenrh.com

richardallenrh.com

It seems Ruby still has a stalker. The best thing he can do is buy her book and read it. It’s not half bad either. So to Ruby’s stalker, go buy her book. If you’ve already done that, get your friends to buy it.


Is It Wrong of Me?

I know the first thing people are going to think. No, I am not bitter. I enjoy other people’s success. When people become successful, I am genuinely happy for them. That being said, I do find it ironic that people who don’t put as much hard work and dedication into their writing are somehow making it.

Example.

I am reading a book which will remain nameless as I don’t want this to come across as lashing out at this person. I do not know them personally so this is not a personal attack. Their book is doing very well, hanging around in the Amazon top 100. I pick it up and start reading it and think it’s not so bad…except for the editing. I am in no way taking away from the story as it seems decent and is keeping me interested, yet the editing is almost non existent. Virtually every single page has errors on it. I am not making this up. Pick a page and there will be an error on it. Quotations are incorrectly used throughout, periods are in the wrong places, ellipses are used and spaced incorrectly…yet it’s top 100.

Sigh.

Maybe I am being just a bitter pill. I work for almost 2 years on a book and go line by line, making sure it’s virtually error free, yet a book that would be rejected by a college English teacher is making it. Like I said, her story isn’t bad. Of course I would think mine is better, but it just pains me to see that more of us indie writers are still carrying this black eye because of terrible editing like this making it out there. The saddest part is I doubt anyone except writers and editors are even really noticing or caring. Call me old fashion, but if you are going to write a book, at least make sure you edit the hell out of it. A few mistakes are fine, but every page?


The Waiting Game

Sitting here and waiting for my book to arrive is gonna eat me alive. To know it will be available in print is beyond exciting. I ordered my proofs and that’s why I can’t sit still. Could also be Parkinson’s, but i doubt that. Technically, my meds cause Parkinson’s symptoms, but let’s not go downhill. Apparently, the books have already shipped and should be here in a few days. I ordered three copies so I can give a couple away. I want to keep one for myself so I can always have something from my writing days.


It’s Live

Rumbling Heart is now live on three major book outlets. Go pick it up if you like! I am sure you all will enjoy it!