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blog Sometimes We Fail

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Black Dragon, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Chessie2 submitted a new blog post:

    Sometimes We Fail
    by Rose Andrews

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    Full admission here: I really struggled with the topic for this article. I considered writing on other parts of the craft but came to the conclusion that, if my musings help get anyone else out of a writing funk then this effort will be worth it. In the scope of this short article, I hope to share with you that even if we mess up sometimes we’re still writers, still creators.

    Several months ago, I published a dud. It was a story that I had thought about long and hard for a very long time, having been convinced that I could do the idea of a werewolf romance justice. Because my back list consists of historical romances, which I’m moving away from in the distant future, it seemed like a historical paranormal romance would be a good challenge to tackle. So I researched werewolf lore in the Victorian era and connected to my love and knowledge of such stories that I’ve read in the past. The result was a novella of an arranged romance between a werewolf and his unsuspecting bride. However, the book was not well received.

    It could be said that I hardly have an audience at this early point in my writing career. I figured the majority of readers that came across this title (now removed from my publishing catalog because failure) would not be my regular readers. Historical paranormal romance, having fantastical and horror elements, is very different from my typical western brides and 1940’s...
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
     
  2. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Thank you for being so forthright in sharing what was certainly a painful moment.

    We all have experienced failure in various aspects of our life. When you fail at something that is central to your identity, it can be devastating.

    Although failure never feels good, such moments can be learning experiences. If nothing else, they can teach us humility. On a foundation of humility, something new and beautiful can be built.
     
  3. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Oh man, this is a wonderful article. Thank you so much for writing it and actually having the balls to publish it.

    We don't often want to admit the reality. We don't want to admit that sometimes a story just doesn't pull together, or we lose the way, or we think we nail it but end up being the only ones who thinks so, lol. I've taken a few (a lot longer than a summer!) months off due to a similar experience... and I totally agree... Taking time away HAS made me a lot stronger.

    I spent the time reading, hanging out with my family, doing stuff I love... and trying to find the love for writing again. We can still be writers without writing every day. We all have our own journey and sometimes it doesn't seem to make any sense, until it does.

    I read a quote recently by Kurt Vonnegut that changed my life. "We are on this planet to fart around, and don't let anyone tell you different." I went through a phase where my entire identity was fixed on writing, that even the slightest criticism threw me into a depression. I am now in a place where I do it to just "fart around". Fart around with ideas. Fart around with characters. Fart around with settings. It works for me. I'm soooooooo glad you worked through your crappy tough time and found what worked for you!
     
  4. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    I agree. A good dose of humility allows us to see our shortcomings--how we can improve on those shortcomings--and helps us to appreciate where we are in the journey as writers. Thanks for your comment and the opportunity to share. :)
     
    Black Dragon likes this.
  5. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Hi, Jennifer. I'm glad you can relate and have shared your own experience here. Sometimes we do take ourselves too seriously so I like your renewed outlook. :) Best of luck in the future with your writing as well!
     
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  6. Loved this article! Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm so glad to hear you are writing again. Don't ever let the negatives take your love of the craft or your self-belief in your abilities away from you.

    This is similar to the only creative advice I feel qualified to give someone. I am fortunate to have made my living, for the last ten-plus years, as a maker-of-things. When people ask how I got there, as if I might possess a secret, I tell them it's that I sat down every single day and made stuff. That was my whole plan from the very beginning. Keep making, improving my skills, and I'd get there. That induces the total blank stare nearly every time. But it's true. they can't believe it's not about mastering social media, better SEO or having a slick website.

    Just — make — stuff. Every day. It's the only way to get better and sustain anything.

    But in the future, I'm going to add the phrase: Just fart around. :)

    It's such great advice.

    I realize that I allot myself one day a week of my writing time to do just that. Make maps, research, write the crazy idea that will never work, invent a magic system, draw characters, create models of buildings, invent coins or amulets — whatever. Fart around.

    It makes everything else I might be working on seem to flow better when I return to it.

    I'm glad you're writing again as well.

    The world needs every good writer and creative storyteller it can get.
     
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  7. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    The thing is (and I could be completely off base here) is that when you write that crazy idea and it doesn't sit well with readers it suddenly turns into "oh, this writer doesn't know what she's doing." At least that's the impression I've received from the reviews of my dud book. There were some things I agreed on, others not. The harshness of those reviews is what sent me into questioning everything I was doing. I don't think readers understand or much less appreciate that authors aren't always going to write a good book/a book they like. I had to get that idea out there and try to see if it stuck, which it didn't. By now I'm okay with it and know that hey, werewolf romance is not my thing. I'm much better at writing other types of stories and that's okay.

    I do want to touch on something in your post though: continually creating is the way to go. I can't imagine not writing ever again. I keep coming back to it because it's my passion. Not everyone is going to like my work and ultimately it's not always about the reader. It's about your message, it's about trying to figure out something in your head--make sense of an experience and spiritual maturation. Anyway, thank you for sharing your perspective.
     
    Black Dragon likes this.
  8. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Sage

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    My first (self) published novel was a total flop. It was primarily to avoid that from happening to me again that I came to this site. The story sucked, the research was not flawless, the plot was ... awful, the characters more wooden than Thunderbird puppets and so on and so forth. It was a textbook case of what not to do. Even now I hear that voice screaming "Oh, for the love of all that is good in literature, please don't write fiction again!"

    This article about failure is probably the best, and most refreshing, article I've read in a while because it addresses an issue that writers are often reluctant to talk about: our failures. My failures in fiction writing are legion. In fact, I doubt I have ever written fiction that was even remotely good but I am hoping that if I work at it, seek advice from people who write for a living and work at it like any other trade I will write something non-political that people do want to read.
     
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  9. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Thanks for sharing your experience. Hopefully Mythic Scribes has been helpful in getting you closer to where you want to be in your craft.
     
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  10. KJF

    KJF Acolyte

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    Thanks for sharing this. I'm in the process of stepping into another genre and I have all the same fears. There are all the fears of wondering if any story is any good, and then wondering if you can really do another genre well.
     
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  11. The Dark One

    The Dark One Inkling

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    A fail is just a step along the road to success. This is something I wrote in 2011. The publishing world has changed a lot since then but I stand by the article...

    The Importance of Being Rejected
     
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  12. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    It wasn't the audience but the book itself, which is why I wrote this article: to show that sometimes we mess it up royally. Although I do wish reviewers were kinder in their approach, they don't have to be. Ultimately my book is a flop and it'll never see the light of day again. It had the right cover, the right blurb, the right keywords and the right categories. I know exactly where it belonged and to whom I needed to market it to. The problem lies with the characters and the story itself. The romance lacked depth in chemistry and the heroine was immature/whiny. She did marry a werewolf and I believed she acted in ways that any human being would react in such a situation (especially a young adult woman in the Victorian era who was raised on proper behavior and societal norms). The story lacked consistency etc. I just did a poor job and can fully admit to that.
     
    Black Dragon likes this.
  13. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    I'll give this a read. Thanks for the link! I agree that there are many steps on the road to success, some backwards. :D
     
  14. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Minstrel

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    Thanks for this. It makes me feel less alone when I read of how other people face difficulties. That I'm not the only one. As you say, failure is part of the process. Failing forward is how some people describe this, and it can lead to better and more creative work later.
     
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  15. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    I'm so glad it helped! Best of luck in your writing endeavors.
     
    Ned Marcus likes this.
  16. AlexK2009

    AlexK2009 Dreamer

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    You tried something new, you failed, you don't know why. The idea seems good. Maybe the arranged marriage aspect?
    Try again with a slightly different idea or tweak the characters. Also werewolves are two a penny in fantasy, or at least not uncommon. Try a female werewolf and swap things round?
     
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