Providing Feedback

5 Feb

Every now and then I find someone who wants to read my novels to provide a review or feedback. I love people like that because it makes my novels better in the end. However, every time I email out my novels I have that sense of trepidation. That fear of failure. Will they hate it? Will they rip my writing apart? OMG, what do I do if they do?

And every now and then I read a novel for someone else. I’ve been lucky 4 out of 5 times and they have been lovely experiences. You know who you are – thank you for your wonderful worlds you let me see first. I love seeing other author’s styles. To see how they get dialogue just right and so believable. Sometimes I wish I could write like those people.

Writing is an art. It takes a certain level of talent. My daughter can paint the most wonderful scenes, for example. Me? I have no talent for paint and canvass. Nope. So I stay away from painting and admire the work of others.

Some authors are like me trying to paint. The intent is there, but the final execution misses the mark. 1 out of 5 novels I read makes me feel very sad inside. I dread providing feedback to authors whose writing is just not very good. “Good” to MY standard, mind you. It is all so subjective, isn’t it? But, I have to write a reply to these people and try to explain why I didn’t like their novel. It leaves me drained and emotionally in turmoil. I am far too empathetic. I put myself in the other person’s shoes and I HATE myself for the words I say. I believe in honesty and so I deliver it as best as I can and try to remove the sting. I don’t always manage to do that right. But always I don’t want the person to stop writing. Least of all, because of my comments. I couldn’t bear that.

If I have given someone negative feedback, I know you probably hate me. I hate me too when I have to be brutally honest. Sorry. But please keep writing.

Change Is A Good Thing

23 Jan

“Strange fascinations fascinate me
Ah, changes are takin’
The pace I’m goin’ through.”

David Bowie from “Changes”

So, I announced my retirement from the Royal Canadian Navy. I am changing my life, once again. I am transitioning to a civilian life but still working for the RCN. I couldn’t be happier. Change is merely a transition.

I have also transitioned as an author. It’s a subtle thing but the more you write the better you get and at points you can look back and wonder how you managed to get to the next plateau. I read posts from new authors, each struggling to find their way, and remember with a shudder going through those same pains and tribulations. I’m on a new plateau at the moment and it’s a wonderful view.

Then I look up and see all the other plateaus above me. It’s such a climb. But it’s worth it. The view gets better.

Musing: I’m not sure how many people see an author and think “that person is an artist.” Do they instead only think of musicians, painters, and sculptors as artists? Well, I think of myself as an artist. I always have, whether I was writing software or writing novels. Or even playing on my piano.

Writing is such a joy and expression of creativity. I marvel at the wonder of putting words together that illicit a stirring of emotion. You can write a sentence a hundred ways, much like you can paint a flower a hundred ways. It is writing that sentence until it is just right that brings joy to a writer. At least for me. Words are power. This civilisation of ours is a thin veneer of laws and beliefs that protect us from the underlying chaos. Some words make us stronger while others try to tear us down. Choose your words carefully. Try and make the world a better place.

“Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
There’s gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time.”

David Bowie from “Changes”.

Happy New Year

1 Jan

Today is the first day of 2018. Please take a moment to reflect back on what a year 2017 was. I think we can all agree it was one for the history books. I honestly have feelings of trepidation looking forward to 2018. The world is unstable and we have people of horrible character in charge seemingly oblivious to the negative rhetoric they foster. Sabre rattling is non-stop and we have rulers who openly embrace methods that most well-educated people and people who value tolerance shun. We all feel so helpless watching these machinations. These days anger rules reason and hatred rules compassion.

Enough of that. We should be more hopeful.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Yule. It’s a time for family and friends and reflection. ‘Mother’s Night’ has a long tradition in Anglo-Saxon lore and was borrowed by Christianity for Christmas. It is a midwinter night where we gather to feast and celebrate. The sun will hang a little longer in the sky and with it comes hope.

Be kind to this home of ours floating in space. Weather patterns are getting worse and worse. Gaea warns us. Stay safe and keep reading. Reading brings knowledge. Scientific method validates knowledge and lifts us out of ignorance. Fight those who would strip knowledge and science. And as always: embrace life.

Happy New Year!

Ciao

donald

Southern Writers Magazine

11 Dec

Southern Writers Suite T button
I was asked to submit a blog entry for the Southern Writers Magazine. I was quite pleased and was allowed to submit what I liked provided it helped writers. So I picked a subject dear to my heart: editing. If you click the cool button on this post it will take you to my entry.

In other news, I successfully completed the NaNoWriMo with a couple of days to spare. Here’s a fun story: I was so happy to have completed the challenge I decided to purchase their “I am a Winner” t-shirt, to celebrate. It cost $16 USD. I hesitated then said “why not?”. I then went to my cart and found out the shipping was a whopping $16 USD. “Wait a moment,” I said. I scratched my head and thought maybe it isn’t worth it. “Hogwash! It totally is!” I answered and smashed the check out button.

Fast forward a little over a week later. I get a notice from Canada Post saying I have to pick up a package at the nearest outlet. I head over and I find out I am being charged $12.77 CAD for a handling fee. No duty, but taxes, and they added a $9.99 CAD handling fee. “What!?” I exclaimed to the poor girl behind the counter. She shrugged and happily ran my card.

Back home, I went to the Canadian Border Services Agency website and found out that any small packages that require hands-on inspection get charged a $9.99 handling fee – EXCEPT when no duty AND/OR taxes is charged. I was charged $2.76 CAD in taxes, so CBSA added $10 more bucks. Cause, why not? I feel robbed, truly. My $16 USD t-shirt cost me around $45 CAD. Woah is me. And it’s really a cheap t-shirt. Dammit!

I hate the border stuff. I was once charged $20 CAD by a company that arbitrarily scoops up packages at the border and delivers it to you. Cough. DHL. Cough. I hate those guys. They grab your package and hold it hostage until you pay up. This is not a duty. This is ON TOP of the shipping and handling you already paid the company that shipped it to you. It’s a scam, all supported by CBSA. Grrr. If I buy a dozen of my novels to sell I then have to add that increase.

I wonder how their business model works?

“Hey, our quarterly revenues aren’t as high as last quarter,” says corporate exec #1.

Corporate exec #2 looks up from his rare wagyu steak, which he has just covered in ketchup. “No, really?”

“Yeah. Dammit. Call the border, tell them to scoop up, I dunno, say another thousand parcels? That should work out to a new Mercedes! Bahahaha!”

“Bahahaha! Make it two thousand!”

They laugh for an hour and then head home in their BMWs.

That’s how I see it going down….