Book Trailer for Pilikia

Friday, April 06, 2007

A few random thoughts

Jan Burke has a great article on self-publishing on her blog. You can read it here:
I agree that there are few reasons to self-publish fiction. The most common reason that people self-publish, to avoid rejections, seems to me the worst reason. Rejections are a writer's friend. Without rejections, there would be no revisions, and, without revisions, there would be no great stories.

Brian Thornton began a discussion on Crimespace about writing from the POV of the opposite gender. You can read the discussion here:

Here's my take on it.

Most of my successful stories have been from the point of view of a woman. I actually started with a woman's POV on the advice of Joe Lansdale. He critiqued a manuscript I'd written from the POV of a male but with a female second character. He hated the story, but liked the woman and suggested I try it in her POV and first person. His point was that to be successful, you have to take risks. My male POV was not successful because he was too much like me and not a real character on his own.

I think people make a lot out of writing from the opposite gender POV for two reasons. First, our culture makes a big deal of the differences between men and women. There's an entire publishing and pop-psychology industry devoted to it, trying to tell us men are from Mars and women are from Venus. The fact is that we inhabit the same planet, live in the same country, vote for the same candidates, sleep in the same bed and use the same bathroom. Men and women alike go to work, raise kids, care for parents, and grieve over the deaths of loved ones. The second reason this is a big issue is that we as writers are taught to write what you know, which we often interpret too literally. In fact, stories are products of our imagination. We write what excites us. I prefer Ken Kesey's dictum: Don't write what you know, because what you know is boring. Write what you don't know.

I think I've been successful writing from a woman's POV because I can't be lazy. I have to know my character fully and trust my imagination. An interesting aside is from time to time people in my writing group or my circle of early readers will pick something out and tell me no woman would ever say that or no woman would ever do that. Invariably, it's something I heard a woman say or saw a woman do and I threw it in because I was too lazy to use my character's own voice.