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.
Negative 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.
I read an article on Amy Winehouse and it gave her cause of death after a lengthy inquest to try to figure out how and why she died. Turns out she went on a sort of bender in the days leading up to her death. She died of alcohol poisoning. As before, the jokes about rehab and her song started swirling all over again. I couldn’t help but think to myself how mean spirited some people are. It seems its so easy to make fun of someone like a celebrity who had a real world problem. People seem to forget that there are millions of people out there deal with alcohol addiction, not just musicians, actors, or professional athletes. I think it’s also really sad that for some reason, rarely do other feel the need to defend people like Winehouse and only look to tear her down.
She had a problem just like anyone else in the world. It was a problem she needed serious help with. It’s unfortunate that the help came too late for her.
Things like this are no unusual in the world of entertainment. You have a lot a money and you have access to things like illegal drugs and vast amounts of alcohol. I think the main reason why so many celebrities fall victim to such things is because of the public. They have an image that they have to live up to so they stress themselves to the breaking point to try and fit that mold; to fit the model that the public wants to see. Sometimes they succeed. Other times, we get Amy.
It’s so remarkably sad that when it comes to someone with money, us everyday Joe’s feel the need to bash and tear those people down. We seem to think that since they have money that they should be happy. As the public, we love our sayings and quotes from famous people, yet when it comes to the downfall of a great person, we never hesitate to knock them. They are easy targets to us. Somehow, it makes us feel a little better to know that someone much more talented and gifted than us can fall. I am waiting for the first person to say otherwise. That person will simply prove my point.
It doesn’t matter who it is that has the problem. As with most things, it’s harder to create something than it is to tear something down. We as people have a choice as to what course we should take. Do we help create something to give to the world or do we just tear it all down. Someone once told me it’s harder to be good than to be evil. It’s harder to be a good parent than a bad parent. It’s harder to be a best friend than an enemy.
Which one are you?
I spend a little time and worked on the biography on the author page I have set up on Amazon.com. It seems pretty solid and I think I will leave it as it is, but I wouldn’t mind a little feedback. I tried as much as I could to focus on the work and how it came to be. Although I don’t have any reservations about keeping many of my personal details out of it, I still wanted to make the page about the books so that could be focused on and not so much on me. I figure if people really are that interested in the work, then they will eventually want to find out more about me. That will come with time. Have a look at the page here and let me know what you think.
I duplicated this data for the Smashwords bio page as well which can be viewed here.
All Links are live. You can access them here.
Ty all for the continued support. I’ve found that even now, I have a few people lingering around that would rather see me fail in my attempts to make something of myself. I also know there will always be people who hate me because I am able to do something they are not. I will not recognize their attempts at trying to derail my passion by mentioning them by name. All I will do is just keeping doing what I do. As the old internet saying goes, “haters gonna hate.”
The development of my short story into a film is proof that persistence can pay off. I spoke with the director last night and we have come up with some very workable ideas and it looks like we can really make it happen. It may not be tomorrow or next week or even next month, but it will get made. It will be taken to various film festivals and hopefully, we will gain some recognition not only from our peers, but also from those who never stopped believing in us.
We may not become rich or famous, but we will change people’s ideas about the subject matter that we cover. I think when all is said and done and our film is made, I can look back at all the hate that’s come my way and laugh a little, knowing that all their harsh words did was strengthen my resolve.
Not everyone can write a poem or a short story or a full novel for that matter. It takes endless nights of tedious editing and corrections to get the story exactly the way you want it. Not everyone can pull that off. I’ve done it now for the third time. There will be at least one more. I find it funny that people who say my work is terrible have never even read it so…how could they possibly know? I can understand criticism if you’d read at least one of my works, but to say my material isn’t any good when you’ve not even looked at it shows only a lack of self respect. I feel sorry for people like that because those same people who hate me are the ones that know deep down they could never do what I do. I’m not saying these things to show off my ego because I really don’t have one. Just as I do not hate those who work in other professions and do their jobs well, I would hope that others would at least do me the courtesy of being decent, but that’s people for you. People fear what they do not know and they hate others for no other reason than that they possess or have accomplished things they never could.
I may not end up with an Academy award or a Pulitzer in my hands, but I will still have my books. Even after I am gone, those will still be here. For generations to come, my words and stories will echo through time. What will you leave behind? What will be your legacy? Bitterness? Hate? Obviously, those are not very admirable traits. I know I’m not nearly a perfect person, but I do have things most yearn to have: passion, love, persistence, patience, and plenty of stories to tell.
You have a choice. You can either listen as I tell them or hate me as I move forward and write more. Heck, even ignoring me shows more than standing around and hating me. When you stand there and speak badly of me, it only goes to show that I’ve got your attention so I must be doing something right.
Maybe one day people filled with hate will be ready to move on and do something more with their lives. I don’t have the greatest life and I do not claim to be famous or rich or even popular. I am just me. A writer’s life isn’t all that glamorous. I sit in a room in front of a screen, typing out endless ideas and making them into something that might touch people…and I am ok with that. If I choose to give my art away, that’s my choice. After all, it’s my talent and not yours.
Who knows really when all this writing will end. Ultimately, that’s up to me. I’ve openly stated that I may not write another novel after the final RH installment. Maybe that’s all I have to give. Maybe I’ve said what I needed to say. Only I can make that decision. Know this though, when I’m heading out the door, I want to leave my work with people who will protect it’s artful quality and do something meaningful with it.
I’ve dropped the price for Recorded Butterflies to free via Smashwords.com. Currently, Rumbling Heart is also free so you can download both books for absolutely no cost to you. Head on over and check it out while you can. You can download it as a PDF or you can DL a file that will work with your Kindle, Nook, and several other popular eReaders. Thank you all again for your continued support of my work and I look forward to feedback. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @RichardAllenRH
17k words into the final book all while I still have Emily Martin in editing. The final book in the series is already turning out to be much more than I’d first anticipated. Within the first chapter, the characters have already gone through something completely different than any of the other books. Several lines will be crossed and already they’ve done that. Expect much more craziness from this book as all the madness will come to a climax and I promise an ending that will both satisfy, shock, and make your heart beat a little faster.
As I’ve stated in previous posts, I have held back EM as I wanted to be sure that I was able to get in all the information I wanted to and so that both books will tied together nicely. That being said, EM should still be out hopefully no later than early to mid October, maybe sooner depending on how much more I feel I need to do with it. EM was last sitting at about 170k words. I expect the 4th and final book to be slightly larger; perhaps 185k. As with EM, the final book will have different perspective and views, but in the end, it will ultimately go back to John, the original narrator. He started it so he should be the one to finish it, but not before a couple of others have their say. I am breaking the book down into 4 parts and as it stands, I’m not too sure as to which part will be the largest. Probably the 4th and final part, but who knows. Often times I find while writing I tend to go off into a different direction and toss in a few smaller, subplots before getting back and delivering the main point. Any extras will only further develop the characters as I don’t really like to toss in too much unneeded fluff.
The overall diction will remain middle to high as far as narration with the occasional lowering for certain plot elements. I’ve toyed with the differences between narrators, but with just a few adjustments for characteristic play, I doubt much of it will change.
I look forward to getting more feedback from all my readers and as always, thank you all so much for your continued support.
Got through the 2nd draft really quickly. Was happy to see that I only had to cut a few sentences here and there and of course fix grammatical errors. I added a couple of small story parts, but that was expected. Maybe 2 things about the overall story don’t flow well so I am working on those, hoping to get them done ASAP. I’ve actually already gotten about 4k words into the work that is expected to come after EM which will be my last, at least in the foreseeable future. At this point, I just want to get this series done because it was all I ever really planned to write anyway. A few short stories aside, I don’t really plan to write anything else, but of course; things can change. With my impending move back to Austin, I will be tied up taking care of those things and trying to get a good start back there. All I want is to have a job where I won’t eventually kill myself and that pays me well enough to where all my bills are paid. I want my own place where I can just rest and not have to worry about roommates or anything of that sort. I will continue to push the books, but I also have to accept that they aren’t very good. They were mostly just something I felt I wanted to do before I died so at least when it’s all over, I can say I left something behind.
All that being said, I am going to get back to work on EM so I can get it finished up and ready for publication.
On a whim, I wrote a short story of about 5700 words. I’m not trying to sell it at all, just did it for fun. The link is right here. You can share it all you want. Enjoy.
Here is the synopsis I wrote up on Recorded Butterflies. It’s not perfect, but when your book has this many big secrets, you really have to be selective with what you write and how you write it. I hope it sparks some interest. The link to the Facebook event is here.
In this follow up to his first book Rumbling Heart, Richard Allen continues the story of John as he moves forward with his life after dealing with the demons of his past head on.
It is October 2012 and John Allen has just gotten back into Eureka, California after spending several months on the road. Looking forward to meeting back up with his best friend Emily, he realizes that she is purposely refusing his phone calls and text messages. He finds her sudden absence from his life disturbing and feels as if she is phasing him out of hers. While his ideas as to why she’s suddenly disappeared continue to swim around in his head, she quite suddenly is thrust back into his world, and he eventually finds out the reasons behind her withdrawal. As Emily finally opens up to him and lets him in on all that has happened, he finds the truth about her hard to swallow, but then takes a step back and realizes just how hard life must have been for her since he left her side.
All the while, John is still managing his relationship with his new found love interest shortly after getting back into town after his time on the road with her. After some very serious consideration, he finds himself contemplating something that he felt he would never do again in his life. Finally realizing just how strongly he feels for her, they explore the reasons why they would want to permanently tie their lives together, and the two of them begin a journey that promises to change their lives forever.
Life seems good, and John feels that there is no way it could be any sweeter. While helping Emily deal with a major issue that shakes her to her very core, he still feels that life, as a whole, is looking up and that nothing could possibly bring him down. Little does he knows that just a few short months later, his world would be throw into chaos by something so devastating that it would quite possibly send his life into a tailspin, and that he could soon see himself heading back into that downward spiral he found himself in just a few short years before.
Filled with secrets, intrigue, love, heartache, and moments so sweet they would make most men blush, Recorded Butterflies explores John and his dreams, and offers insight into his mind like never before. It will even ask you to take a different look at him and his friendship with the beautiful and confident Emily as he finds himself looking at her like he never has before. After a few significant twists and turns, you are treated to an ending so explosive, you may want to have your heart medication close by, and you will find yourself begging for the next installment in the series.
It’s finished. A few slight oversights aside, it is ready for Amazon and BN.com. I kept getting feedback that my first book was quite long. Anyone who got through that work and felt that way will appreciate the fact that this one comes in at a whopping 278 pages so its much shorter. I would still recommend reading the first book though as this one picks up where the other left off. With the first book, I had to lay a lot of groundwork and with this one, all I had to do was simply touch on some of it as a sort of reminder. As a stand alone book, this one still has some good chops, but I think to really get into the characters, it will benefit most people to give Rumbling Heart a read as well.
All I really have left to do is type up a Synopsis and upload the work and it’s all done. I hope this book satisfies my loyal followers as it focuses on the same characters as the first book and continues to explore their lives. There are at least 2 major twists in this work. They are so big that they are pretty hard to miss…in fact, they may club you in the face. Be sure to check out the Facebook event as I will be giving away at least 2 copies of RB to those attending. Great thing about the event…you don’t even have to go anywhere or be somewhere at a specific time. All you have to do is click attend. Your support is greatly appreciated.