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The man, the myth, the legend.

Tag Archives: new writers

Wronged Way

Cedar had an interesting post yesterday over at the Mad Genius Club (I actually missed the original post because I’ve been buried by basketball and finishing a book) and after reading it, I got to thinking (run! hide the women and children! he had two brain cells crash into one another on accident!) about professionalism in the publishing industry and how technology has changed the way it works.

I’ve been watching author interaction with fans now for over 7 years, mainly because I wanted to learn how to interact with my fans (all twelve of you… hey guys!) and what not to do. Then it dawned on me that I probably shouldn’t air my grievances against a publisher out in public (this is…. wise, one would think). This should be common sense but then you throw in the whole Internet thing and suddenly common sense takes a backseat to raging on a keyboard at the world.

Too often these days people forget about decorum because they are protected by the anonymity of online interactions. The web can protect folks from repercussions of their words online and gives people a false sense of courage. It’s easy to slam someone when hiding behind a firewall. It’s far more difficult to do it in person, to their face. There’s always the off-chance that calling someone a foul name to their face will get you kicked in the nuts.

One of the things I fall into the trap of is reading about when people are piling on an individual about some stupid thing they said or did online and nodding along, saying “Yep, they deserve what they’re getting right now.” It’s not really fair because, more often than not, what was posted was probably in the heat of the moment and the person wasn’t thinking clearly through their rage. I’ve been there, done that, copyrighted the hell out of it, so I understand completely.

So when Cedar talked about professionalism, I was kinda taken aback by the tone of some of the commentators on the private forum who had saved the epic rage-quit letter in question.

I felt that too many people wanted to revel in glee at the misfortune of the person in question (seriously, go read Cedar’s piece. It’s pretty good) and focus on the negativity, instead of feeling sorry for the author who felt that a rage-letter to her publisher was the way to go. I’ve seen many careers in the past go down in flames because of letters like that. Nowadays? Not so much, because most authors understand that everything they do online stays online. Publishers also understand this, though to a lesser extent. Authors talk to one another, as do publishers. It’s very easy to find oneself under a blacklist when you bad mouth a publisher (alternatively, piling on another seems to benefit others, but that still doesn’t make it right).

While I haven’t always been pleased with some of my past publishers and how they treated me, I kept my grievances mostly private. I’ve warned a few authors away who I felt may have been harmed in their business dealings with those publishers, but overall I simply let it be. It doesn’t help me one bit to attack someone who I don’t like or have worked with in the past.

Now, I know I’m not perfect. Sometimes when I get all worked up and pissed off I will go on a warpath (the Empress Theresa incident is a good example), but I do try to avoid this. In private, at home? With my cats staring at me like I’m insane? Oh yeah. They know how I feel. But everyone else? Nope. That stays between me and the cats (who were probably ignoring me anyways, so I’m good there).

What do you think? Should authors publicly call out publishers and other authors who they dislike or feel as if they’ve been wronged by?

The Relationship Dynamic

I think I’m recovered from the mad-dash weekend. The poor blog has languished here, wondering when I’m coming back and (no doubt) missing me.

I was thinking about relationships in writing over the weekend (thanks to Chris, who opened my eyes to this while we were talking about other novels and stories while I was visiting him and Janet) and was wondering if other authors pay attention to the detail of relationships they have their characters in. I’m not talking about the general romantic relationship, either. But how do you find a line in the dynamics without making everyone uncomfortable? I mean, in every friendship there is an underlying attraction to the person — it’s why we talk to that person in the person, because we like them. Doesn’t matter if it’s a guy or a girl, really, just as long as there’s a special dynamic to the relationship. If there isn’t one, generally the friendship tends to die out to “acquaintance” levels.

Then I took that dynamic and started looking at my characters and their relationships. I started with Corruptor, naturally, because that was my first published novel. I looked at Tori’s (obvious) dynamic relationship with Dylan, her conflicted relationship with Gavrie, as well as her odd friendship/relationship with Sergio. I noticed that people that Tori weren’t attracted to were pushed backstage, save for Raul and Stephanie. I was kind of startled that Tori’s dynamic relationships were pretty static and she had a “love ’em or leave ’em” sort of attitude. That was sort of startling to me, because I thought I had painted Tori in a different way. This, naturally, got me to looking at other works I’ve done.

In the original Vindicator, I had Nick and Amy’s relationship be an odd one on purpose, that flirty/competitive relationship that grows into something stronger as time moves on. But then you look at Nick and Shane’s relationship and I started to realize that maybe Chris was on to something about the attractive dynamics of every relationship. Nick is smart, but Shane is ridiculously smart. There is an attraction for Nick to hang out with similarly talented people (former Navy SEAL, former defense contractor, etc), to see the dynamics of the various relationships dictate who he becomes as he grows into the relationships.

But then I started looking at my more recent material and realized that as I’ve grown older, my characters and their relationships have really expanded. In the Christian Cole mythos, Christian and Jake’s friendship transcends normal friendship and into something of a big brother/younger brother mix, though it’s debatable who is the “big” brother at times. It’s interesting to see which one of them steps up and takes the responsible role for what situation. It seems like they’re seamlessly slipping between roles as it calls for it, which makes them far more compelling and deeper than a normal set of characters. There shouldn’t be accusations of one-dimensional characters here, though I do worry about the aspect of the two blending too closely together.

Then I look at Shannie (my current work in progress) and the dynamics of her relationship with Kat, Tripp and Augustine (as well as with Liza). As a younger character, Shannie (short for Chandra… somehow) has the ability to ask the questions that the reader wants to ask (but normal adults in the book are afraid to — which I shamelessly stole borrowed from Janet Morris) and nobody get really ticked off. Shannie’s relationship with Tripp, speaking of dynamic, is really interesting, because despite being younger than Tripp, Shannie takes on the protective older sibling role as everything progresses. Shannie and Kat don’t have a sexual relationship so much as a fear of sexual relations (hard to resist a succubus like Kat), while the uncle-niece relationship between Shannie and Augustine (in lieu of parents) makes for interesting confrontations later. It allows me to play with emotions in a way that a lot of new writers seem to be afraid of (as was I, once upon a time).

But… back to the main point: how do you fearlessly play with dynamics in your novel while not crossing a line that the reader might be uncomfortable with?