Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day Dreamer

I suppose it is true of most writers, but I dream of what could be.  I can't help it.  I know the reality of things.  I will likely work until a week after my death, at which time I will still be in debt up to my eyeballs, and my books will have sold 16 copies each.  A tad bit pessimistic, I know, but I do still live in the real world.

Despite all of that, I can't help but daydream about how well my first book will do.  Will it be a bestseller?  Nah, but in my dreams it sure as heck is.

So, for the six of you who actually read this blog:
This round of edits is complete up through chapter 17(of 33), which puts me beyond the halfway mark.  The feedback from my crew of editors has been priceless, and quite honestly, I can't wait to get going on the next round of edits.  There has been some valuable information shared with me, as well as some praise on a few elements of the book that I wanted to come across just right.

I am still very excited with this endeavor.  And last night I amplified that excitement ten-fold.  I decided it was time to practice formatting the book for e-readers.  I spent about an hour with the manuscript and the conversion software and loaded the book onto my wife's Kindle.

Pardon me a moment while I slip into textese.


I can't explain the feeling I had when I saw my book title and C. Hollis Gunter as the author on the Kindle front screen.  I still get all silly feeling when I think about it.  As a matter of fact, my day dreaming just kicked it up a few notches.  I will probably pass out when I see it listed on the Amazon website this fall.

Until then, I will keep on day dreaming.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

You Discovered What?

So, if you glance down the right hand side of the page you will see that I am reading a book about the Inca's.  I enjoy reading histories about different cultures, how they lived, and how their lives may have differed from other cultures.  But, what struck thought with this book was the ethnocentric view of how the Europeans "Discovered" areas of the world that other cultures already lived.

In 900 A.D there were cities in South America with greater populations than London.  Kingdoms existed with much the same social stratification that could be found in Europe.  So tell me Mr. Balboa; how is it again that you "discovered" an ocean that South American boats were already sailing on?  And I'm thinking that there were some natives that could have disputed some of Columbus's "discoveries".

Can you imagine a Viking and a Spaniard standing on a beach arguing who found this land first, all the while a group of people who have lived there for years watch on?

I know, you are thinking that I am picking apart semantics.  Nobody really "discovered" these geographical areas, they were just the first Europeans to see them.  But not really.

The Europeans (much like today's Americans), felt they were far more superior than other cultures that may have existed, and from their conquests you'd find it hard to argue that from a military point of view.  With that in mind, nobody of any importance had ever been to the America's, nor had they sailed the Pacific.  Therefore, in their minds they truly believed that they had "discovered" a massive, populated, continent that was being cultivated and mined as they sailed across the Atlantic in search of slaves, gold, silver, and exotic goods.

And now, Biru is called Peru because the "superior culture" couldn't pronounce it right.  The Cherokee, Mohicans, Seminole, and many other tribes are called Indians, because the "superior" culture thought they were somewhere else.

Semantics, I know.  But, it is still ethnocentric.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Don't Make It Sunday

Despite what some literary snobs would have you believe, even us genre authors have something to say with our writings.  We also fall into the same pitfall; the sermon.

Terry Goodkind is the author that comes to mind when I think of preaching your beliefs in your novels.  Goodkind, quite often, went overboard with the use of his character, Richard, to tell the reader all about organized religion.  These sermons were intrusions into an otherwise engaging story.  Whether or not you agreed with his viewpoint, you were taken away from his world.  The character was no longer speaking, the author's voice came through loud and clear.

Annoying.  Goodkind actually made several good points while up on his soapbox, but it did absolutely nothing for the story.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  He wasted my time and several trees to force his viewpoint down my throat.  I can tell you that, no matter how much I loved his world and story, he will never waste my time again.

And I did the same thing.

I have a lot to say about a lot of things, but this book uses slavery as a tool to show how we like to hold on to wrongs done to us in the past and use them as an excuse for the wrongs we do to others in the present.  It's an endless cycle.  Culture blue was wronged by culture red.  They escaped the oppression and punished culture yellow and culture red, because yellow likes red.  As time goes by, yellow overcomes and punishes blue and they're also angry with red because they did nothing when blue were punks.  And on and on and on.  Need an example?  Read a little about the centuries old riff between Christianity and Islam.  Don't forget to toss Judaism into the mix.

There I go again.  At least it's not the book.

I found a passage in Chapter Fourteen, while doing this round of pencil edits, where a character says and thinks things that were totally in my voice.  I am so glad that I caught it, but it just shows me that as much as I hate something, I can fall into the same trap.  It was an accident on my part, and I am sure that other well-meaning author's have had the same slip up and it made it into print. 

What we have to remember when we write, as genre authors, the reader is there to escape the world.  You can say what you need to say without taking them out of your world.  You have to remember that the story is first; you have an entire novel (or series) to sprinkle in a bit of your beliefs.  Don't do it in a paragraph, page, or chapter long sermon.

Don't make it Sunday.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Titles, Working Titles, Sub Titles, Oy

Finished up my edits to Chapters Six and Seven and got them ready for the editors.  I need to string a few weeks of three chapters together to get on track for a September release.

When I began this project eons ago, I saved my word document using a working title type name, Drums.  I think I've mentioned this, but just in case I will throw it out there again.  It took most of the book before I came up with an actual title for the novel.  I love the name.  I even Googled it to see if the title already existed and found it to be (hopefully) unique.

Now that I have found a way to create the story in a manner that it was intended, I have to come up with a name for the series.  The Chronicles of..., The ... Trilogy (mine probably won't be a trilogy), etc. etc.  This is actually just as difficult as the book title was.  At the moment, I am leaning towards a sub title that reflects the working title.  Of course, I want to be careful that the sub title will apply to the rest of the series as well.