It’s time again for the monthly meeting of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which convenes the first Wednesday of every month.
I’m still really floundering when it comes to marketing myself and networking, though I’d like to believe things will pick up when I have physical copies and am able to start distributing to indie bookstores. And given how my brain is wired, it’s not exactly second nature for me to go around asking people to promote me. It seems best to preface such a request with a line like, “I hope I’m not overstepping/asking too much/being presumptuous.”
It took awhile to mature and develop as a writer, so learning how to market myself is probably similar. As a Who freak, I can’t help thinking of how Roger Daltrey didn’t start out with the greatest range. The difference between his singing in 1964-69 and everything since 1970 is amazing. It took touring Tommy worldwide to give his confidence a huge boost, and that in turn improved his singing.
I’m also painfully aware of how much of my writing style is out of step with modern styles. I’ve mostly only read older books my whole life, so I naturally picked up an old-fashioned style. I never got the memo that modern writers are discouraged from using adverbs, speaking verbs beyond “say” and “ask,” directly telling the reader anything, using third-person omniscient, having an ensemble cast, spanning many years in one book, or deliberately writing a very long book.
It seems like a lot of people have no familiarity with third-person omniscient anymore, and so genuinely believe they’re being helpful when they say a writer is “head-hopping,” or pose a question like, “How would [Name] know this?” or “Would she really think of her cousin by his full name?” Tell that to all the writers who wrote third-person omniscient when it was still the default.
I’ve definitely learnt to modify my style to adhere more to modern standards, but not in a way which diminishes my own voice and style. I use adverbs when they’re called for, instead of wasting 5-20 extra words. I use different speaking verbs to enhance the writing. And yes, I know someone can’t literally smile, laugh, or shrug a line, but my understanding has always been that a character is speaking while smiling, laughing, or shrugging.
I hate caveats like “That book probably wouldn’t have been published today” and “That was just the style then; people today have shorter attention spans.” So? Good writing will always find an audience. We shouldn’t have to kowtow to modern trends just to try to get noticed. I actually find a lot of the books coming out of the huge publishing houses lately to be rather corporate and flavourless, and find many of them to be indistinguishable.
I’d rather be one in a million than one of a million.