Friday, January 29, 2010

Writing as a Hobby

What I really hate is when people call me a hobbyist when it comes to writing. I don't know what you readers think of when you're called hobbyists, but I think of someone who just does it for fun, who has no desire to do anything with it. That's what photographers are called when they don't plan on doing anything with their photography--hobbyists. I'm considered an advanced novice because I do plan on doing something with my photography.

I'm not belittling hobbyists in any way, but for a girl who has published before and is still seeking more publication (plus an agent), being called a hobbyist grates my nerves. In this sense, it has a negative connotation. True, I may not be making a living off this, but that does not mean it's my hobby.

Obviously, I'm going to seek work when I'm out of college and not make writing my main job, but that does not mean I would ever consider it a hobby. A hobby is something you do in your spare time, and I DO NOT write in my spare time. In fact, with writing and everything else on my plate, I have little spare time. If you are serious about getting published, writing should never be done in your spare time in the first place.

Now to clarify, there is nothing wrong with being a hobbyist when it comes to writing. Even those who consider writing a hobby can still offer great insights into the world of writing. They can still make fabulous beta readers. They can do everything we writers-who-seek-publication can do.

But if you're serious about seeking publication (even if you're not thinking of publication because writers tell you to never think of it when writing your first novel), don't call yourself a hobbyist. You're just a writer with a dream. Not a hobbyist.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Writerly Frustrations

I'm sure as writer's we've all experienced it before: our significant other, or even a friend, complains about our writing too much. Of course, we all realize we shouldn't shun our friends and significant others for writing, but at the same time, it gets to the point where it's almost as if they don't want you writing at all. They complain every time you go to your computer, but you realize that if you don't get it done NOW, you may never get it done. You have a word count goal that you want to meet everyday, and you realize you're just prepping yourself for when you actually have deadlines to meet.

I've been having this problem for a while, and I cannot get my fiance to understand! This is more about my seeking advice from other writers than my giving advice for once.

Here's the dilemma: my fiance and I both go to college and get home around the same time. He has more homework than me because he goes to a tech school, and they insist on throwing everything on him at once. So while he goes and does homework, I go to my room and work on 1,000 words. Then, I go and spend time with him, and he's either finishing up homework or playing video games. Then, dinner comes, then a bath for me, and I get out and work on 1,000 more words. I finish and go to spend time with him. This is where the problem starts: he's still playing video games.

I tell him that I wish he'd put down the video game controller and actually spend time with me. He brings up the writing card, asking why I can't sacrifice writing time for him. I told him that writing and his playing video games are two different things. Unlike video game playing, writing is far more productive and will actually get me somewhere. He doesn't seem to understand the concept that I'm actually writing a novel that's under a deadline (ViNoWriMo. Look it up in Google). I do 2,000 words a day, and I want to get finished early so I can have extra days for light editing. Even if I weren't writing under a deadline, he doesn't understand the concept that once I get an agent or something, I'm actually going to write within deadlines. So I might as well start setting my own deadlines to get used to the concept of writing under deadlines.

He insists that he has a set time now everyday for playing video games. And everyday I ask him why he has to, he keeps asking me why I can't give up writing time. Seriously, now? 2,000 words. It ain't a lot. It doesn't take up much time. I don't see why it'd kill him to put down that stupid Call of Duty Modern Warfare crap and actually spend time with me. He can play it on the weekends.

And yes, I told him my writing time is more important than his video game time, because it is. They do not go hand in hand. He didn't understand that, of course. He sees them as one in the same.

Help me, fellow writers! Give me great advice that I can use to explain to my fiance why I must write! Or, you can even disagree with me and explain why.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why I Read Young Adult

So I was in my English 1102 class, which is still a writing class, but based off literature, and my professor just so happened to bring up that we aren't allowed to write on Harry Potter (or any popular books), and commenced to say it was crap. Afterwards, he said it was okay, but it was a children's novel. Does that make it any less compelling than a literary novel?


In any case, I began to reflect why I prefer young adult books over adult books. I've read adult books and enjoyed them, but YA books have been the only books to compel me. There's something about teenage protagonists that adult protagonists don't have. I think it's the uncertainty that teenagers have that adults in adult novels don't seem to have, that uncertainty about life.

Most of the adult novels I read have adults who have problems, but their inner thoughts don't compel me that much because it's like they almost have everything figured out simply because they're adults. When I read The Da Vinci Code, Robert Langdon is this intelligent college professor who has life figured out. He just doesn't have the mystery figured out. And even though in The Other Boleyn Girl the protagonists start out as teens, the novel doesn't explore the thinking of a teenager. It explores the thinking of an adult, which naturally wasn't as uncertain as the thoughts of a teen. Whenever I read YA novels, the teenagers are facing a whole slew of other problems that don't just revolve around the plot. They have to deal with their families, their friends, and their own emotions, which are still developing. Adults in adult novels may be dealing with other issues, like drinking (but so do teens), but the plots of these novels seem to focus more on the main plot, and the subplots are just thin strings that lead up to the big ball of yarn.

I like that teens don't have everything figured out. It makes the plot of the novel more compelling than just A tries to figure out B. I mean, not only does the MC in my novel have to deal with crazy visions and shadowy persons that stalk her, but she's trying to find herself in a world that doesn't have a place for her. Near the end of the novel, she tries to seek forgiveness from a boy who won't grant her it--on top of all the end-of-the-novel problems going on.

So, do you prefer YA or adult? Adult over YA? Or both equally? Why?

Monday, January 4, 2010

YA Highway Blog Post

I probably should have done this right when the link first came out, but here it is:

New Voices! Amber Forbes: Commercial Does Not Mean Inferior

Also, I haven't been posting teasers lately because I'm basically done with that. But, and this is a big IF, once I finish my newest WIP "The Crystal Horse" I may post teasers of that. It's the novel I'm writing for ViNoWriMo (you guys should totally join Key Publications Network, an awesome writing group), and so I'm going to see how events play out before I decide to tease you guys.

Another thing, I don't really do blogging on my wordpress account. Right now, it functions as my temporary website, because I like how easy it is to make it all nice and professional without having to no any HTML, which I have a basic knowledge of, but am too lazy to expand it.

I can give you an elevator pitch of The Crystal Horse, however, because it's a lot easier to come up a pitch for this one than it is for Witch Tourniquet.

Emily Welsh's desire to go to university takes her into a dark world of solicited sex, a poison called lye, and a promise kept with a crystal horse.

By the way, you can totally criticize the elevator pitch if you must. I will welcome it. Now, if only it were this easy with Witch Tourniquet...