Friday, April 8, 2016

If you build it. . .then what?

Authors always hear, “Build your platform”. It’s a buzz word. Not that a writer doesn’t need to establish herself in terms of what she writes, but I really think the books themselves do that. If I read something good by a particular author, it’s likely I’ll read more. It’s more like building credibility, but the following articles are good starting points.

Nevertheless, I took a few planks from how-to articles and put myself ‘out there’ as someone who writes for those who don’t need graphic sex and obscenities to enjoy a story. I know, I know--these things sell, and I don’t begrudge an author her royalties. But she is herself, and I am me, and there’s room (and readers) for all of us. 

My characters are real people, so they aren’t perfect. They may let loose and swear (briefly), but their conversation isn’t peppered with the ‘F’ word or worse. Actually the ‘F’ word has lost its effectiveness. How many books have I stopped reading after it appears half a dozen time on successive pages? I’m not so much offended as I am just plain bored. I like to think I have a wider vocabulary and can write more imaginatively to get the point across that someone ‘turned the air blue’ in a moment of crisis.
My characters are real people, so they’re tempted to take the easy way out. I usually stop them at the last minute, not because I’m moralizing but because deep down the characters know better and decide to make the right choice. I have one book in which the main characters were together before they got married, and I thought long and hard about it. The reason I went ahead was because, given their circumstances, what they did was reality even though they didn’t excuse it as right.
Everyone has her own idea about what constitutes a ‘clean read’.  I remember one review on the Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series (I think it was Book 1) chiding me for saying it was ‘clean’ when there was too much ‘sex talk’. One character as trying to, as they say, ‘come on’ to another, but he never pushed it, and she told him more than once he was barking up the wrong tree. Now, she was tempted to give over more than once. She was a living, breathing woman who’d been alone too long. Finally, in perhaps book 5 or 6, he apologizes to her for trying to break down her core beliefs which, at one time, had been his, too.
In the end though, when my grandchildren are old enough to read Mimi’s books, I won’t be spinning in my grave--and that’s good enough. Maybe I won’t leave them a fortune, but every day when I pray for them by name, I pray to leave them, collectively, a legacy of faith, integrity, and the will to survive. It works for me.

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