Posts Tagged With: JK Rowling

Guest Post: 5 Really Good Reasons You Should Give Up Your Dream of Being an Author (Sahm King)

Today’s guest post is from Sahm King, fellow WordPress blogger and poet extraordinaire. Whilst reading this post, remember that Sahm’s a pretty cool guy, and doesn’t actually want to squash your hopes and dreams under his metal-edged combat boots. (I’m not sure if he actually wears these or not, but they seem fitting.) And now …

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5 Really Good Reasons You Should Give Up Your Dream of Being an Author

*Disclaimer – Read at your own risk. If you are prone to summing up what a post is about prior to reading the entire post, it is not a good idea to read this post at all.*

Alone-In-crowded-room-10We all have dreams. Some of us dream of being the next big name in writing. Some of us dream of seeing our book on a bookshelf at our local Barnes&Noble. And still others dream of subjugating the masses, reestablishing the Roman Empire in the New World, thus becoming the sole and absolute authority and god amongst men, ushering in a golden era of peace and prosperity. *Cgh* Excuse me. That last is my dream. My point is, we all have dreams, but we can’t all just live our dreams all willy nilly. Why? Because we have bills to pay and these cute minions – I mean children – to feed.

And you thought this was going to be a motivational piece?

I’m going to enlighten you, people. It’s time for you to wake up to the realities of your lives and get with the program. Dreams are for children. Why? Come close and I will tell you the 5 really good reasons you should give up your dream of being an author!

Reason #1: There Are Already Way Too Many Authors
snl-church-ladySo you want to be an author, eh? Let me ask you a question: what makes you so special? I mean, really? Why should I care that you’re writing a book? What makes you unique? What is it about your book that separates you from the thousands of authors proliferating the market? This is the first reason you should give up your dream of being an author. If you cannot identify why you’re different from all the rest, there’s really no reason for you to try. So you’re writing an epic fantasy novel. Okay, what makes your fantasy novel any different from the Wheel of Time series that Robert Jordan didn’t even finish before he died? Are you going to give me more of the same or are you going to make a statement? If you can’t look at yourself in the mirror, ask yourself the question what makes me different from the rest and answer it, honestly, in my opinion, you’ve already given up. Trash the MS Word document and consign yourself to working that dead-end job of yours for the rest of your life.

Reason #2: Nobody Is Going to Like My Work
This is one thing I’ve heard time and time again from would-be authors. “I just don’t think they’ll like it.” Well, you’re probably right. Let me ask you this? If you don’t think anybody’s going to like what you’re writing, why in the blue hell are you writing it? Why are you even dreaming of being an author? You know what that’s like? That’s like when a lady asks “Does this dress make me look fat?” then getting mad when her man answers “Yes, yes it does make you look fat.” I mean, you’re basically setting yourself up for disappointment from the beginning, so why not just kill the dream off the bat?

Then again, you’re probably right. Nobody’s going to like your work. Trash it. In fact, you should burn it and spread the ashes over the parking lot of your nearest Borders outlet.

Reason #3: You’re Much Too Weak to Handle Rejection
9770ce1d937657dc696184ac708d0b00Let’s face it, it’s not really a Walgreens world. Rejection is one of the harshest realities for an author. That’s one of the best reasons for you to quit. You’re going to come across agents and publishers that believe your work isn’t publishable or marketable. You’re going to come across editors that won’t give you the time of day. It’s going to happen multiple times. Some of you will believe that’s reason enough to shelve your dreams. And why not? You put in all this hard work. For what? To be laughed at and dismissed? You should quit. Take all your rejection letters and emails, plaster them all over your fridge and let the binging on Ben and Jerry’s ice cream begin. Let them serve as a reminder of why you should have never have had a dream in the first place,; because dreams don’t come true.

Reason #4: Time to Be a Grown Up
hook260710145941hook_1Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids and, unfortunately, so are dreams. Remember when you were little and you could be anything you wanted to be? Well, that’s not so true anymore. You can’t be anything you want to be, my friend. I want to be a dictator, but that’s just not going to happen, is it? Nope. And you’re not going to be an author. I mean, not unless that’s what you really, really want to be. Do you really, really want to be an author? Do ya? Punk?

Reason #5: The Status Quo ALWAYS Knows Better
20120208001011Some of my favorite people are the status quo. They know a lot about achieving dreams. They’ll be the first to tell that you the odds are against you. They’re right, you know. And if you listen to them, and believe what they tell you, you’ll quit while you’re ahead. People like J.K. Rowling or E.L. James are statistical anomalies. Disregard the fact that what they did took a lot of hard work. They lucked out and that sort of thing is just not going to happen to you. The status quo would have you believe that you can’t make it. And so long as you believe that the status quo knows what they’re talking about, they will always be right. You can only ever go as far as you believe you can go, so if you believe you can’t, you should just give it up and let the status quo have their day in the Sun. Again.

Never, ever let anybody tell you that you should give up on your dreams. No matter how dark it gets, no matter how long it takes, no matter how lofty your goal seems, keep striving for it. Keep reaching for those stars. You never know; you might just be the next J.K. Rowling. You might just put out the next book that Oprah Winfrey is boasting about. Whatever your goals are, keep striving for them. Never give up.

By Sahm King

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Categories: Guest Post | Tags: , , , , , , | 21 Comments

A Reflection on the Pointless Murder of Beloved Fictional Characters

This post was inspired by Zen Scribbles’s recent post Jack Did Not Have To Die!

Today we will be discussing something near and dear to my heart: when authors kill off beloved characters for no good reason.

Now, obviously authors can do whatever they want. If they want to kill off half their characters, that’s their choice. But what I implore authors to do before they start knocking off characters left and right is to consider the audience they’re writing for, and consider what impact these deaths will have on their readers.

Example #1: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Deaths include, amongst others, Hedwig the Owl, Fred Weasley, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks.

Why was it a bad idea to kill these characters? Because the entire series thus far had been about good overcoming evil — the idea that, if you’re true to your principles and willingly help others and try to do the right thing, you will succeed. This was a wonderful message to send to children … at least, until they read book 7 and found half their favourite characters dead.

Sirius Black’s death served a purpose — it was to teach Harry caution, to make him think things through before blindly jumping in. Dumbledore’s death forced Harry to man up and get s**t done. But Fred Weasley’s death served no purpose. Lupin and Tonks didn’t even get a death scene. And what purpose could there possibly be in killing off a fluffy owl?

I know that JKR was trying to impress upon us the horrors of war, but I feel that could have been done in a different way. Perhaps maim them, like she did to George and Bill Weasley. George RR Martin (Game of Thrones) can kill off all the characters he wants because that’s the world his story is set in, that’s the genre he’s writing for. But Harry Potter isn’t a gritty political intrigue — it’s about a boy hero facing down true evil and winning. And I believe that senseless deaths have no place in a series like that.

Example #2: Mockingjay (Book 3 of the Hunger Games)

Deaths include, amongst others (SPOILER ALERT), Finnick Odair and Primrose Everdeen.

Now, Finnick’s death I sort of understand, much as I’d rather not — he was deep within a warzone, after all, so death was a very real possibility. But Primrose’s death? Ridiculous. There was no good reason for her to be in Capitol when those bombs went off. She’s a child, for God’s sake. She should have been safely back in District 13 — by all logic, she would have been. And yet, there she was when President Coin’s ridiculous plan to explode everyone happened.

The point of her death, I assume, was to … um … screw up Katniss even more than she was already? I think Peeta’s alarming mental instability and constant attempts to kill Katniss had already screwed her up sufficiently — killing off her sister was just unnecessary.

Now, Suzanne Collins has more of a leg to stand on than JKR, because she had already established that her series involved killing mass amounts of people. But prior to Mockingjay, people had been killed in a context that actually made sense. Primrose being in Capitol during the final wave of attack made no sense. Not to mention that the assorted people back in District 13 who were Katniss’s friends and confidantes would have been looking out for her sister while she was away doing totally pointless things in the Capitol.

Pro Character-Killing Tip: 

You can judge whether or not a character’s death is appropriate by viewing your readers’ reactions.

If they read the death scene in utter shock and scream, “Noooooooooo! [Insert Name of Character Here]! Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!!!!!”, then you did well. Congratulations. The death scene you wrote was touching and believable within the context of the story.

If they read the scene with an expression of increasing disbelief, followed by them snapping the book shut and saying, “That was just stupid. Why the hell would the author do that? That made no sense!”, then you might want to consider a rewrite.

Thus endeth the rant. Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments.

Unrelated images of the day:

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 66 Comments

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