Monday, August 24, 2015

Absence Does Not Make a Blog Grow Fonder

I have been away too long. I was reminded of this today when my oldest son proclaimed that he was starting a blog.

Giving him some advice, I was reminded how infrequently I have blogged. Ahem. Humility can be such a catalyst for me.

Is this the new me turning over a new leaf where I blog weekly? Probably not.

I am however interested in broaching a few topics. Some questions. Some tips about writing. Some observations about books I have read recently. Some finer points about story-telling, grammar, and editing. Even some things about the phenomenon of the blog itself.

So, I have a makeshift list of sorts of topics. Now, to find the time, the energy, and the discipline to do what I know I should.

I have not followed publishing much in the past year and I feel a bit out of touch. I have spent most of my time trying to motivate my latest book out of my head and onto paper. I have spent time reading reviews, reading books, and playing games.

As far as the reviews go, I think I have found a common thread among them that I think is something with which I can work going forward. I tend to be too "stilted" in my writing. I guess I use too many subjects and verbs not connected with an apostrophe (don't, won't, I'm, etc.). Who knew? I did not.

But, it begs an interesting question: why does this resonate with readers but they can ignore poor grammatical construction? I do not get it.

Oh! And I must fact-check more. I mis-spelled "Krav Maga" and put an extra "r" in there. I knew better. Got spell-checked and everything. Spelled it that way every time. Not sure why. Evidently, it was enough to rate the story a 2-star. That's the break, folks.

I reserve the right to not be too fazed by reviews. I am critical myself in my reviews of books and such. I complain about ignorant sports announcers. I "tsk-tsk" at grammatical faux pas in commercials, the newspaper, in other books. I cannot stand in judgment like that and not expect the same treatment in spades.

In the end, reviews are skewed. They are harder and harder to come by, for one. For another, many readers who are not the target audience for the book are often the most vocal about their disappointment. Why is that? I am not entirely sure. Sometimes you get it right, though, and that is satisfying. It's why we write in the first place, folks. To connect on a creative level, on a human level, with others who can share our experience with humanity. Since we all have different experiences, very individual lives that we live, making this connection can be dicey.

An example of this difficulty can be summed up in this analogy: the other day, for the first time since 1987, I met another human being that shared an appreciation of Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. I was too shy to ask if The Greatest American Hero theme song was one of his favorites of all time or if Alan Alda's voice gives him shivers. If he agreed with those, too, I would have freaked out. Too much of a good thing, I suppose. The point remains: it is a rare thing to share the way we do as authors and expect a massive outpouring of common experience. It can happen. Like lightning in a bottle. Like tapping into a global conduit, a hive brain of sorts, where thousands upon thousands of people share a similar like for what we express. That, my friends, is author heaven. Mass understanding and appreciation of our work, of our imagination, of the characters that inhabit our dreams.