Who do you listen to when you write?
Dean Wesley Smith has written more than a hundred books over many years along with his wife Kristine Kathryn Rusch who has written equally as much. Both are Oregon Coast writers who know what they are talking about when it comes to writing and publishing. So it was interesting to read a blog where Dean advocated not having Beta readers or even writing groups. https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/killing-the-sacred-cows-of-publishing-beta-readers-help-you/ His point was that in the cacophony of advice, the author ‘s voice may be lost among the mumble of suggestions, and the story damaged or diluted.
I work with both a writers’ group and Beta readers because I find their input helpful in making my story stronger.
But he has a point. A very good point.
Some writers want to polish each word to a literary high gloss, while others encourage a stampede of action and excitement to keep their readers turning the pages. Others drench their characters with emotion much like a teenager in the throes of first love. And you, as the writer, may be pushed and pulled by their suggestions.
In The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon (mentioned in my last blog) I delighted in brilliant metaphors and similes until it became too much and felt like every third sentence was a finely crafted metaphor to show off how clever the writing was.
I love Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Series, but the strong emotions of the characters take center stage, leaving descriptions and action to tag along.
And anyone reading space opera science fiction or a series like The Expanse knows that action is paramount. Authors are told to have the first chapter start bang with strong action that hooks the reader and fill out the characters and setting later.
So a writers should decide what his or her voice is, or it could become a hodgepodge of other people’s suggestions.
Make no mistake, suggestions are helpful and often make for a stronger work, but only after asking the question : Do I know what my voice is and is this suggestion consistent with my voice and how I want my story written?
In my last blog, I mentioned the international aspect of blogs. Writers are blogging with other writers from all over the globe. It’s quite international. But now we have come to a whole new level when Google translate can instantly translate a blog into many different languages. My friend Diana Peach wrote a guest blog today for Christopher Graham. (copy/paste)
The blog was excellent, but what attracted my attention was the ability to tap the drop down in the upper right hand corner and immediately have Google translate the blog into a bewildering number of languages. Take your pick.
Think about that one.
I return to space opera this week for my science fiction suggestion. David Drake is a prolific writer of science fiction with several series, and I have been meaning to read him for some time now. Written in 1992, Starliner came out in trade paperback this past June with additional content.
Third officer, Lieutenant Ran Colville, receives his staff side position of making sure all goes smoothly on board the newest and largest starship, the Empress of Earth. Even with the efficient help of the attractive lieutenant Wanda Holly, politics, greed, young love and war threaten to disrupt the orderly passage of the luxury ship with its high class passengers. And Ran’s job is to see they are happy and safe. Different chapters describe various landings on interesting worlds, each one presenting a challenge to the ship. All through the story is the threat of pirates or a military fleet from a warring planet that would love to add this majestic ship to its fleet. Jumping through wormhole, exploring exotic world, dealing with dark politics, and fending off panting women all keep Ran hopping.
Drake writes a fast-paced story but keeps in mind his characters and their various emotions that drive their actions. This book is a stand alone, but I’m certain to try out other of David Drakes stories having read this one. Maybe this latest one.