Writing great novels, or making money?

I know many would say the two go hand in hand, but in real life that isn’t always the case. There are plenty out there who will write quickly, churning out novels at an amazing rate, perhaps a new book every month, and see this as a means to make money and thus a living from their writing. I imagine some are capable of writing something half decent this way, but I cannot help but wonder just how good such novels can be.

Compare something that was written hastily, inside one month, over a hundred thousand words, with an all-time classic, or even a highly regarded bestseller of today. I wonder how good a novel can be that is written in such haste. I accept a good story can be written quickly, but my skepticism comes from the doubts over how well it is written. I firmly believe the heart of a good or even a great book is the story, because no matter how well something is written if the story is rotten then the majority of people will not enjoy it. If so then why not simply read poetry, because with such prose the story is not quite so important, or even necessary. With a full-length novel then the story is at the heart of it because without it a very long reading can become arduous and difficult to maintain attention.

Quality of writing is an issue, but if the story is great most will see past something that is clumsily written and simply take the story for what it is. Not all are like that, but most are. However, having said that, imagine something with a truly wonderful story and it is built upon some truly wonderful prose, the writing imaginative and lively, expressive and passionate, but also without errors or mistakes to jar the reader. That is part of what makes a classic because even a sentence can bring you alive, make you feel something special, connect you with the story, and the way it is being driven. You’re not just being told a story, you’re having it described to you in the deepest possible manner. You feel the words, live the descriptions, and know the characters, you can see them in your mind and be there with them for every important moment. Surely that is the importance of a well written and well-told novel?

That brings me to my point, that great novels and the best books we read don’t come from being hastily written and shoved out, or shoveled out, but what we care about in literature and the books we remember come from those that aren’t just written but are crafted, created in their whole with a passion about every aspect of their making. Those who think and care about every single word and every single sentence to drive their story on, those are the ones who create classics and books that will forever stand the test of time.

I cannot imagine a hastily written book ever attaining such a place, or being revered for what the author has done.

It’s a lesson I pay heed to, trying as best I can to create something worthwhile, to consider all that I write, with every sentence. I am not perfect as a writer, always still learning, but what matters is I care about what I author, and how it affects the reader. For me, I cannot imagine the focus being on simply making money as if I am stacking boxes or writing reports for an employer, for me it has to be the quality of every word and how I move the characters, set the scenes and hopefully craft something worth the readers’ attention.
I still believe that is what sets the vast majority of authors apart, from being simply independents to professional authors through a publisher, how much we care about what we put out, no matter how long it takes to write.

I believe readers feel the same way, and because of you, I will always to try ensure everything I write is crafted, not simply written.

David.


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My New Book & More

I’m sat here in my usual spot writing. It’s cold outside, but clear and bright blue skies. The weather has been a real challenge for most people in the UK, with freezing rain, flooding, strong winds and bitter cold. It’s certainly not a time to be out if you can help it, and all I can say is right now I’m glad to be inside.

Thankfully I have a heater on in here, so all I need to think about is what I am writing.

Anyone who has had a dog of their own will know enough about them to understand how attached we get to them, and what impact they have on our lives. Actually writing about them really brings it home, and gives a great insight into the small things we go through with them every day. Often things will happen and we will laugh about it, but in time other things will happen and we tend to forget about what it was that made us laugh. Writing about them is a great way to relive those times and moments, from whatever age, and share some of the joy we have for the company they keep with us.

The new dog book I am writing isn’t intended to be a long one, and should hopefully be on sale at the end of February. It will have a much lower selling price, but is still a full and complete, self contained story, one which is built on joy and happines, not to menetion all the fun we take from a new dog, and share with them,

It isn’t really like work, doing something like this, it’s just having a bit of fun and putting it into words.

I fully intend to set up a new newsletter all about my work and writing, my books and short stories, in fact everything I do connected with it, and will launch this all new venture soon. There will be a lot of free short stories, free full length books and constant snippets of books and things I am working on, and they will all be available free to my newsletter subscribers. Watch out for that.

Spring isn’t far off, thankfully, which means getting back out into the garden and enjoying the times with family, not to mention our dog! Roll on.

Feel free to follow me on Amazon, or on any of the below social media and of course I am always happy to hear from people, and always respond to any contact I have.

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Holidays Are Over, sadly. however…

Sorry, I know you didn’t need me to tell you that. Oops. Back at it, for all of us. Today is the first day of Autumn, and it seems as if Summer was here and gone in the blink of an eye.

Swings and roundabouts, because now I get back into my Summer House (Autumn house?) and knuckle down to finish The Dog Under The Bed 3. I’ve had a lot of requests for it, as people really want to know what happened next to Arthur. It is the conclusion of it all, the end of the trilogy, but I aim to make it a good one, and a bumper end to what has been a superb adventure, hopefully for the reader, but also for me as a writer.

I noticed a Youtube video from someone working to write and sell books. they showed advertising on Amazon, and other places. It made it clear that a lot of people don’t realize the cost of those ads. When someone sees a book they might be interested in, and clicks on a book cover, the author usually has to pay for that click. Prices for clicks can range from a few cents to over three dollars! For each and every click. So if people are just looking around and clicking on a few interesting items, it can soon add up for authors!
Without adverts our books never get seen by readers, so simply do not sell. It’s just an unfortunate part of the deal, but the cost can often be prohibitive.
Goodreads is the same, with an option to advertise, you might see small scale pictures of books, but when you click on those they tend to cost the author money, per click. I believe around $.50 per click, so obviously books need to sell otherwise the author can make quite a loss.

One thing about the weather and seasons changing, darker nights and all that, is we tend to stay in more, and frankly it’s a good excuse for us to read more books. I prefer being outside, in the garden and reading in the sun, but you still can’t beat being inside on a cold winter’s day, reading an enjoyable novel.

Who knows, you might like reading one of mine!


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Emotion In Books

When reading books we all go through a wide range of emotions. What and how we feel depends a lot on the type of books we read. When we read a thriller, this can open up a lot of differing feelings, however the primary element will be an increase in our heart rate due to excitement or tension, brought on my sudden events which cause abrupt changes. From this we can feel fear, a surge of adrenaline, or even simply being more aggressive within ourselves. For example if the primary character in a novel is someone we identify with, a good person perhaps fighting off some kind of evil or criminal actions, we can feel their aggression, their determination to succeed, and if and when this happens, we feel a sense of elation or joy. If we identify with a character that is evil, or carries out criminal acts and gets away with it, then we may feel an oddly similar kind of joy over this, or satisfaction borne of their odd success. I say satisfaction, because through books and our imagination we allow ourselves to act out that lead character, and do things with might never otherwise do in life.

A comedy can be different, in that we stand back, mentally, to look at the actions of people in the novel, and the things that happen to them. It is like watching something funny in real life, where perhaps something slapstick happens, like a cake to the face. We wouldn’t usually want to identify with that character, we don’t want to be the point of the joke, but we’re often happy to see others in that predicament. Still we feel emotions, humour tickles us, we smile and feel good, and are driven along, coupled with our imagination. There can still be other elements of emotion in what we feel when we read something like that, but our goal is to laugh, which tends to be why we might choose such a novel, knowing it is going to make us laugh.

Other novels, such as simple action novels, perhaps based on war or fighting, maybe makes us feel brave, allows us to imagine ourselves in situations of drama and risk without actually risking our lives or safety. From this we do still feel a sense of fear, but overwhelmingly we feel satisfaction when the primary protagonist succeeds in their work, no matter what it costs them.

Some novels make us cry, they expose us to emotions that we may otherwise shy away from, mainly because with a book we can close it, and go do something else, or interact with others in our lives. From this we have a reminder of how good our lives can be, as well as a peek into a world where others might suffer, another reminder of how life could be. We gain satisfaction in another way, a kind of schadenfreude, where others might suffer, and perhaps we might enjoy it, feeling better about ourselves without going through it first. That may sound negative, nasty even, but it is an element of human nature.

That then is perhaps what is most powerful about reading books, that they allow us to step into another person’s shoes, but to also experience everything they do and say, without cost, remorse or recriminations. We are a fly on the wall, a ghost sliding through the corridors of life, enjoying all the rampaging energy, the life, creation and destruction that writers expose us to. They are a doorway to everything else we can imagine, but don’t want to experience, and most of all they provide us with a route to a series of experiences from which we draw a full range of emotional experiences, all without cost. Why without cost? Because when we have had enough, for that day or that moment, we can close the book, and go back to our safe, normal lives.

Thank goodness for writers, for creators, and thank goodness for books.

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