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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stuff on Writing OR Uh-Oh

Although I have degrees in psychology and counseling, I can honestly say that I do not understand people.  But that's cool.  I don't think anyone really wants to understand everyone.  That would be overwhelming, plus their brain would probably combust in a spectacularly nuclear event of cosmic proportion.  (Think of when Bruce Willis's character found out he was really dead in The Sixth Sense or maybe when Obama actually beat McCain.)  (Did I slam Dems or Repubs there?  Haha.  I don't even know myself.)  So I don't understand people.

I love this cover which is why
I jump at the chance to
insert it into a blog every time
I get a chance.
What makes me say these words?  I've recently gotten another comment about Brownie and the Dame.  Brownie and the Dame is a novella that I published lately.  Brownie is a character in my Bubbaverse.  (I like that.  Bubbaverse.  I'm actually so arrogant that I'm calling my inner world by a specific name.  Incidentally that was HIM who came up with it.  HIM, for all of you not familiar with my blog, is the man to whom I'm married, and of whom I tease mercilessly.  Well, mostly mercilessly.  Sometimes I let him off the hook.  Sometimes.)  Brownie is a ten-year-old who causes wreck and havoc wherever he roams, which is a pretty ideal character for me.  So he had a mystery to solve and got Willodean's eight-year-old niece involved.  Rousing mystery ensued.

Here is the comment: "Brownie is not exciting.  Bubba is exciting.  You need to write more about Bubba."  Also there was another comment: "There is not enough Bubba in this novella.  I want more Bubba."  I feel compelled to add another comment from a reader: "This was written for kids.  You use too big of words for kids."
I need a step stool for my desk.
I have to take a brief respite to gather my thoughts and to discourage my daughter's moron cat from digging his claws into my ass.  (The cat seems to think this is a great way to get my attention and stupidly I fell for the ploy so Skinner was right about another animal.  Behavioral theory, ya'll.  It works on bipeds, too.  Case in point, HIM no longer leaves his socks on the floor.)  (Anyone hear a hiss?)

Here's my break.  (Did anyone hear an audible snap?)

Okay I'm back.  I often tell writers who ask me for advice to get used to criticism.  Good criticism.  Bad criticism.  There's a lot of it out there and a writer needs to develop a thick skin.  The thicker the better.  I tell them that somewhere, somehow, someday someone will be heavily critical of their work and probably poopoo it up the hooha in a way that will make the writer's toes curl upwards and backwards.  (Try to imagine a little dark room with someone sitting in front of a computer monitor screaming, "NOOOOO!  Not that!  It is better than the liner of a bird's cage!  IT IS!")  Sometimes a writer even needs to dig out the good bits from a bunch of bad stuff.  Or...or...OR...don't read reviews.  Don't read comments.  Don't read Facebook, email, and signatures on their websites.  Honestly, it's a little hard to do.

I luv using this drawing over and over and over again.
Mostly I get positive stuff.  (The negative stuff is why I don't generally write bad reviews about books I loathed.  I just hate the idea of an author reading my snark about their blood, sweat, and tears.  I will make a comment about formatting or horrendous typos, which can put people off.)  (There was a whole time period on B&N where people were complaining about one of my novels changing fonts and I tore my hair out trying to fix it, because that would drive me nuts.  I can assure you that I did not change fonts on purpose.  It was the formatting program from Smashwords that messed me up.  I ended up hiring a professional formatter because I could not solve the problem myself.  Serious headache.  But I wouldn't have known about the problem if readers hadn't commented on it, so for that I'm grateful.)  (I love Smashwords but I want to fly to California and slap around their IT people with a wet noodle.)

Therefore I'm somewhat confused.  The book was supposed to be about Brownie.  It was about Brownie.  Did I promise somewhere that it was a novella about Bubba but with Brownie in the title?  The description of the novella was explicit.  (Not that kind of explicit for those of you with explicit thoughts.)  Brownie was the protagonist.  It was implicit. Yes, I know that there are some people who just love Bubba.  After all, Bubba's a great character (and just wait until Book 4, because it's getting good) and he's fun.  But Brownie's fun, too.  He's got a stun gun and Sharpies.  How can you go wrong with that?  (I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to insert dynamite and a potato launcher into the novella but hey I can write another one.  I have a great idea for another Brownie novella or even a Brownie novel.)

I just don't understand people.

Therefore the moral of the story is no matter where you go, there you are.  No.  No.  No.  That's not the moral of the story.  The moral of the story is you can't make everyone happy.  I have displeased the die hard Bubbaphiles.  (I just made that up.  It could have been Bubbites or Bubbettes, but I liked Bubbaphiles better.  Literary Bubbas.  How can I go wrong with that?  I do not know but undoubtedly someone will be pointing out something to me very soon.)

Off to redeem myself by writing the fourth Bubba novel.


Cindy said...

I love Bubba! And, really, just about everyone in the Bubbaverse. (Bubbaverse -- fabulous) I have so enjoyed these books. Haven't read your others but they're in the queue. (ha! I got to use a fun word! queue, queue, queue)

But . . . (You knew there was a "but." This is a minor, minor criticism. To return to the But . . . ) Ya know, Brownie's book did not have the stun gun or the sharpies in action. (I mean, the stun gun was absolutely priceless. A highlight. Can you ever top that scene? I dunno.) But that was in the previous book! For action, we had Bubba running through the background looking beat up. We needed more Brownie action -- more havoc. Potato launcher! Burning buildings! yes yes! Bring it on.

Cannot wait for the next one. THANK YOU for all your hard work.

Anonymous said...

I have read most of your books and love each one! I only say WRITE FASTER ;) The Bubba books are hysterical, Brownie is perfect ( i have a child just like him, lord help us all) .I also love the Lake people and the death of bb had me rolling.Sea of dreams and Flight of the scarlet Tanger are by far my favorites , your books and talent do in fact" Rock ". Thank you for hours of reading enjoyment!
Liz, mom of 3 & looking to escape in another fantastc clbevill book

Mitch said...

Back in the days of my misspent youth, the theater was my calling. I had an actress friend who, in the midst of a hundred praises, would go into a blue funk because of a single, less-than-stellar review.

Brownie is charming, engaging, and loads of fun. I would hope to see more of his adventures, (with or without Bubba), in the future.

Carwoo said...

I wasn't really hinting for compliments but thank you all. And Cindy, I swear the next Brownie novella I write will include potato launchers and dynamite in some fashion.

Andsetinn said...

People are different from each other. There will always be negative criticism of your books because some people will not like them. And there will be positive reviews because some people are on the same wavelength as you and like your books. In my opinion they are pretty good but does that mean that they are faultless? Of course not, but it is always easier to see the faults. The only thing you can do is listen to the criticism, see if it feels right, and if you feel it is right, try to avoid making the same mistake again. If you feel the criticism is wrong don't listen to it. Remember that you are writing for your own enjoyment. Write at your own speed, no matter how impatient your readers are. My grandfather had a saying; "No one asks how long it took to do this. They ask who did this."

quilty mama said...

I love Bubba. I love Brownie. I love that Brownie has his own novella. Thank you for writing!Looking forward to the next one.

Carwoo said...

Thanks Andsetinn! Thanks Quilty Mama! Quality really counts in the long run.

Andsetinn said...

I'd like to direct you to a drawing from the sometimes politically correct, xkcd, that explains online rating.

Carwoo said...

Love the rating system. Going to post that on Facebook.