Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Finding My Genre

Think of your favorite author. Now think about what kind of books they write.
I venture to say that the majority of popular authors have a specific genre, or narrow set of relatable genres, that they primarily stick to writing. Even if they don't stick to the same genre they probably stick to the same tone or style because it's what they love to write most or it's what they're good at.
I'm at an age where, without the pressure of monetary gain or fans to please, I don't even know what my genre, style, or tone is.
Figuring out which direction to go can be hard.

When I first started writing as a serious enthusiast (around age twelve) I most enjoyed writing Stephen King-style horror short stories because that was all I could grasp having not read much and understanding that Stephen King was a popular author that I had heard of. I assumed it was the smartest person to mirror, but I also knew that I had no idea how to write anything longer than what was, in retrospect, flash fiction.

Now I've written a postmodernist meta-fiction short story with an ironic sense of humor, a romantic love-epic, and have plans to write a science-fiction trilogy, a dystopian future novel, and a drama or two. Not to mention that I have random little ideas to base short stories on weekly, some serious and some humorous. Besides the obvious fact that I have no idea what my style is or will be yet, if I become published for one or all of these ideas, how will people see me? I don't want to settle on one genre, and while that may change over time, right now I have too many fun ideas for all sorts of stories.

For now I guess I'll take things one step at a time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The First Year In Review

One year ago Today, this blog's first post went live.
In it I talked about the very first blog I started, and why I was starting this one. I expressed that I did not expect anyone to find it interesting to read when I said: "So maybe I have high hopes and low expectations, but isn't that what a lot of great achievers start out with? A dream with a lack of confidence?".
I am happy to report to my past-self that last month I had a record high of 161 views, compared to the 40 I had in my first month, I'd say that's progress.
My First Blog ("Yackemflaber" is my web name)

It was after that post that I immediately got into talking about my novella, which became somewhat of a long-running subject of my blog for the past year.

I also enjoyed scattering in some of my philosophies on certain subjects within writing. I even played around with talking about a childhood favorite video game. Sometimes I even confessed about something from my personal life.

Also in the past year, this blog has undergone some pretty notable changes, among them is that I changed the name, merged it with my website, and added twitter.

I believe this image is relevant yet again.
Believe it or not, with everything I've done, there are actually two blog posts that never saw the light of day. One was never written but was going to be a book review for one of my recent favorites, and one actually a pretty significant and mostly-finished post about how a particular idea of mine was drastically changing and taking shape before my very eyes.

So what's remained the same among all these changes? Well I still write in a personal journal as often as I can (though that's becoming less and less often it seems), I still have a passion for writing, I still have a passion for my fiancée, and I still love blogging.

So what do I see in the year to come? Well I hope my readers will be pleased to know I intend to do more of the same, and maybe try a few things I didn't get around to trying last year (like the book review, does anyone have an interest in reading that sort of stuff?). I also hope to upload even more content to the story, poem, and humor pages (though that all depends on dozens of factors). I'd even like to try doing something with videos in my blog, even if it's just linking to one of my recent YouTube videos and going on about it.
This photo is here for the sole purpose of keeping your eyes interested.
Lastly, I'd like to blog even more often in the next year. I currently average 2 blog posts a month, but would love to bring that up to three or four, which I think will be very possible because I typically have a lot to talk about, and maybe that means expanding this blog to talk about my other hobbies more (like video games, books, and movies), but we'll leave that up to time to tell.

Happy First Anniversary to this Blog! May there be millions more!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You Can't Please Everybody

I read through that stack of critiques from my fellow students regarding my latest short story.
This stack.
I admit I didn't go through that entire stack because some of it is copies of my story with edits written in (instead I read all the critiques), and I'm still thoroughly going through my professor's edited copy which I hold to be more valuable than the other edits which I may not even read through unless a person's critique prompts me to.

I am happy to report that I got a lot of good suggestions and input. Some of it was said in class and some wasn't. I made a list of all the suggestions and problems I found most useful, and I even made a list of the names of people who loved the story beyond an average amount, calling it the  "Fan List". There are a total of six names on the Fan List.
I also made a list of the people who did not like the story at all. Calling it the "Hit List" (sarcastically, I assure you). There are two names on the Hit List.
The class is 25 students, counting myself. That means 24% of the class loved my story, 8% hated it, 64% enjoyed it a normal amount (or didn't specify their opinion), and 4% wrote it (that's me).

I'm going to take the time to explain what some people said, and rebuttal their claims if necessary.
"As long as your story was, I read it fast because it kept my attention the whole time." 
 "Awesome story! The plot was really interesting, especially to me being a psychology major ... it's making my head spin, in a good way."
 "Wow. This story was awesome ... My favorite story of the class so far."
"All I can really say is wow. This is by far the best draft that I have read so far. I think that it is an extremely novel approach to writing."
"What did I like about it? A lot of things. I think this has great potential to be published."
"I kept reading because I wanted to figure it all out ... It almost seemed like an inside joke to the English world ... I am now questioning my own reality."
A special thank you to all the people who said these amazingly nice things. Others complimented my story, but you six praised it. It's hard to describe how it feels to read such wonderful comments from my intended audience. It reassures me that this is what I want to do with my life. Thank you all.
"Beyond page 2, I found it to be very uninteresting. I had to force myself to keep reading because it was an assignment, and I feel compelled to always complete assignments ... I had no vested interest in any of the characters, and the storyline was confusing."
"The punctuation in the entire story is horrible. Please take the time to learn how to punctuate [dialogue] properly. Without the proper punctuation the story becomes very difficult to read ... You have large chunks of exposition where a sentence or two would be more than enough ... I call it tedious because it doesn't add to the story ... By page 8 I was bored and wondering what the point was ... I was completely fed up with the story ... I was dreading having to read ten more pages of this. What was the point? ... plus do you have any idea what [rape] would be like for a girl?"
Hater #1, you were kind enough to give me constructive criticism, and I genuinely understand that the story can be hard to understand, especially when you lose interest after page two. It wasn't your cup of tea and I can respect that, and I thank you for giving it a fair shot by reading all the way through for the sake of your compulsion to complete assignments.
Hater #2, I can forgive you for not understanding the story because frankly you are not my demographic and you seemed to not read into the story beyond the face value of the printed words. I will reassure you though, that I do know what quotation marks are, and I'm sorry you spent so much time marking them around every line of dialogue in the story without realizing the significant reason they were missing. It would have helped if you were constructive with your criticism, and I wish you'd not been so harsh with your criticisms, but I still respect your opinion. Also I don't personally know how rape would feel, but I can imagine it would be intensely unpleasant, and I hope you realize that I did not intend to glorify it at all (hence why the victim in the story is traumatized by it). I'm very sorry if you felt I was somehow promoting rape.
There are just a few other comments I would like to address from people that seemed to neither completely love nor completely hate the story (though most of them expressed liking it)
"If you have a rape scene in your piece, or anything resembling a rape scene, you must include a trigger warning so people can either a. chose not to read it or b. be prepared to read it"
I can see how you would think that, because this is such a sensitive topic with  many people, and I see given the tone of the rest of the story how you would not be expecting this and be more disturbed by it. I will rebuttal by simply saying; isn't that the point?
"While other writers might find it amusing, this kind of meta-humor doesn't really appeal to a very wide audience. If you're okay with that, it's fine, but you should keep that in mind."
 This goes back to my previous point of my targeted demographic. I was writing this story for a Fiction Writing class, and had that in mind 100% while writing it (why else would I have a story-within-a-story taking place in a night class?). The overall class seemed to genuinely like it, so I believe I was successful in that regard, and I've actually shared it with several non-writers who found it to be equally as fun to read even if they didn't get all the writer references. So I respectfully disagree.

The point is that nobody can please everybody all the time. This is something I always knew, but this is my first experience in which people had drastically different opinions from the majority of others about something I've done. The good news is that the majority in this case was in favor for my story.
I hope to have the final edit done shortly and upload it to the site for everyone to read eventually.

Also, March 19th seems to be the first Anniversary of this blog!