why I write by Tom Hollyday

I was reviewing the other day why I got into the challenge of writing a novel. I suppose the childhood effort to entertain my siblings with stories and drawings was part of it. Then I was entranced by years in the writing seminars at Hopkins. The encouragement was spotty as I never worked in writing jobs. I worked in business and education.

Along came the years after I had returned from the war -Vietnam- and there was this persistent urge to do something about the state of the world. I could not be a politician because I was not a personality type. So I sat back and worked on expressing politics any way I could. I drew cartoons and had them published. I wrote articles about Maryland and had them published.

However, even though I had written stories before, I had not thought of them as political stories. Now I did. I took the region of the Chesapeake much like other authors had taken their own homes. From this I looked at world problems like freedom, homelessness, racism, greed and terror. I engaged my characters in combating the evil that kept these issues form being solved.

As my characters and stories got better I received reviews that suggested I was on the right track. So here I am now, a political storyteller, in some sense fulfilled.

Audio books – is it reading?

Editorial: In defense of audio books

I’ve come to the conclusion that reading books by listening to unabridged audio books has to have more applause from all of us readers. To be exact, it’s got to have fans who think it may be a pretty good replacement for the drudgery and wasted time of eye reading. Think about it. Eye reading requires a quiet spot, stopping all that you are otherwise doing, and owning a book or computer which will have print the right size to see well. These fans would see the value of ear reading or listening, similar to the phenomenon that has propelled music to the point of using an substantial amount of our daily waking attention.

Centuries ago there would not have been such a choice about stories. Stories were told and retold orally at all levels of society. Narrators or storytellers had their due, rated as highly as any other actor for their inflections, voices and humor. The change came with the printed book and the act of possession of a story. The reader now owned the story as property and could read and reread with a personal inflection, good or bad.

Today, we can return to the oral storytelling if we wish. It’s not such a bad choice. Many times the eyes do not read as well as the ears. The mind and ear partnership can provide so much more enjoyment with the voice of a gifted narrator than what the mind and eyes can do alone.

So, its not always a bad choice to go backward to a better way of storytelling.

How the Writing World Has Changed by Tom Hollyday, Boston Writers

Let’s assume that we still write the way we were taught in the old days at our writing schools. The word was express yourselves, be true to yourselves, and whatever you do, don’t write for the money. To be absolutely sure you are true to yourself, you write only about what you honestly believe. You write without undue pressure to succeed. Yes, you might even get a real job and write only as a hobby.

Today if you follow that concept here’s what you have. Let’s assume you have come to writing later in your life after you have put away enough money to live on. You start by printing chapters of your book in a blog and gaining readers. Then you send your book to dozens of worthy agents using quick email. If you don’t succeed in these efforts to get a publisher, you publish yourself at a very low cost. Without a publisher footing the bill, you do your own editing. Added to that you hire a consultant to promote your book. Critical reviews can be found to improve your standing in the markets.

So what does this mean for the present day writer? The old saying is still good. Be true to yourself. Write what you feel. If you write well and your book is interesting, you should get attention. Note, I said interesting. Here’s the catch about being true to yourself. Many writers get a mental block that what they are saying is very important to the reading public. Then they spend a lot of time and money trying to convince that public that they are right. They may be wrong and that is why their books don’t sell. Just like in the old days, if it’s boring, better leave your book on your desk.

Let me know what you think from your own experiences.

How the Writing World has Changed

Let’s assume that we still write the way we were taught in the old days at our writing schools. The word was express yourselves, be true to yourselves, and whatever you do, don’t write for the money. To be absolutely sure you are true to yourself, you write only about what you honestly believe. You write without undue pressure to succeed. Yes, you might even get a real job and write only as a hobby.

Today if you follow that concept here’s what you have. Let’s assume you have come to writing later in your life after you have put away enough money to live on. You start by printing chapters of your book in a blog and gaining readers. Then you send your book to dozens of worthy agents using quick email. If you don’t succeed in these efforts to get a publisher, you publish yourself at a very low cost. Without a publisher footing the bill, you do your own editing. Added to that you hire a consultant to promote your book. Critical reviews can be found to improve your standing in the markets.

So what does this mean for the present day writer? The old saying is still good. Be true to yourself. Write what you feel. If you write well and your book is interesting, you should get attention. Note, I said interesting. Here’s the catch about being true to yourself. Many writers get a mental block that what they are saying is very important to the reading public. Then they spend a lot of time and money trying to convince that public that they are right. They may be wrong and that is why their books don’t sell. Just like in the old days, if it’s boring, better leave your book on your desk.

Let me know what you think from your own experiences.

 

Tom Hollyday, Boston Writers