art

Is it worth admitting you made a mistake and trying to fix it?

Marilyn

Have you ever noticed most people are far quicker to criticize than to praise? I know it’s probably human nature, I even do it myself sometimes without wanting to, but since I was subjected to this treatment more than the average person, I learned not to be so quick to judge.

I became a writer six years ago, and like in any other job, I learned along the way. Even Nora Roberts and Stephen King have bad books. Nicholas Sparks admitted he will never publish his first two novels, because they were not as good as his later work. Unlike him, I published nearly everything I wrote. I don’t know if that’s unfortunate or not, because I learned everything I know about writing from actually making all the mistakes in the business. Sometimes I made them more than once, just to be sure I learned my lesson.  😒 But some readers don’t understand that one can become a better writer only with time and practice. Writers are human, like any other people, and no book is perfect. I’ve managed to revise most of mine, and among them is Unabridged, a romantic comedy that was a bestseller at the time of its release in 2015. Back then, the first edition received mixed reviews, and while it got a lot of five-stars, there were plenty of one-star ratings and comments from readers. Some of them were mean for the sake of meanness, but others raised valid points, which in the end helped me make Unabridged a better book.

This year I have finally managed to rewrite it with the help of my great editor, Susanne Matthews, and republished the new edition with a new cover to match.

I was happy about my accomplishment, and naïve enough to talk about it in one of the author groups I am part of. To my surprise, one of the members asked me in a somewhat harsh tone why I had published Unabridged in the first place if I thought it wasn’t that good. Her question took me by surprise, especially since this is an author of average romance with terrible cheap-looking covers (see, I have a mean streak too, but I try to keep it tamed! 😜 ). Anyway, I answered frankly, the way I always do, and told her I published the book because at the time I was proud of my accomplishment, I wanted to share it with the world, and yes, I needed to make money from my writing—because the damn bills won’t pay themselves, no matter how much I sweet talk them. What shocked me the most though was that no one in that group thought of saying a nice word about the fact that I admitted my mistakes, and that I cared so much about what readers thought I decided to rewrite my book.

Some of the reviewers said Unabridged was mean and judgmental, yet here I was, in the real world, among real people, on trial for admitting and fixing a mistake I made. WTH? I certainly did not expect any medals, but I hardly expected to be judged for being less than perfect.

In the end, this was a good lesson regarding the way people think. And although I have read several terrible books lately, some of them from my favorite authors, I decided not to leave any bad reviews. Because I know that writing a book, even a bad one, is a tremendous effort, and I’m in no position to cut off wings I haven’t built. Life is too full of drama as it is, and I agree with Marilyn Monroe: imperfection is beauty. Who wants to be perfect? It must be boring as hell.

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Musings of an Outlander

I very rarely write introspective posts, but somehow today I feel the need for it. I’m not sure what triggered this blue mood, but I think it was the latest teaser from Outlander, the Starz TV series written after Diana Gabaldon’s brilliant books.

OutlanderI’ll start by saying I ADORE these books, and they have been like a Writer’s Bible to me ever since I discovered them, years ago. When the TV series appeared, after agonizing months of anticipation, it was a bit of an anti-climax for me, as it was for so many other fans. I couldn’t quite see Caitriona Balfe as Claire, and Sam Heughan is definitely not Jamie to me.

Still, for the love I have for these books, which I’ve read dozens of times, I made compromises and I really wanted to like the series. It has beautiful parts, like the great landscapes, a wonderful soundtrack, and talented actors. But starting from episode #7, it was all sex. Explicit, plentiful, soft core porn sex. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to see this magnificent saga reduced to the only element that sells everything these days. And judging by the latest Outlander teaser, this is the basic element they want to promote. This story—this odyssey—is so much more than that, but of course, they are competing with Game of Thrones, so they have to show as much naked body parts and copulation as they can.

Is this all that matters in this world?shutterstock_3482142

Are we no more than pieces of meat and genital organs? Is this the example we want for our innocent children?

Humans have been having sex for half a million years or more, but it has never been such a public display. We are more primitive now than ever before. Haven’t people had enough of gritty porn—which is too elegantly called ‘erotica’ these days? All I see when I look at books and movie posters are naked hunks and six packs. Even the reputable publishers who I thought had principles and high standards have aligned themselves to this unbreakable fashion.

What happened to decency? What happened to originality? There’s nothing special anymore, and books of talented authors are sitting on Amazon buried under terabytes of junk, and of course, covers with decapitated muscled hunks. And this is supposed to be art? Isn’t it enough that we are plagued by wars, by illness, by cruelty, by death and all the evils unleashed upon us? We can’t even find consolation in art anymore, because art is dying too. All we have left is the legacy of the past: Agatha Christie, Edgar Alan Poe, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Scott Fitzgerald, and so many other titans, whose talents went galaxies away beyond cheap porn. They will soon be forgotten too, crushed by the likes of E.L. James and legions like her.

1That makes me desperately sad. And hollow inside, because I know that true art is lost forever. There’s no one to create and appreciate it anymore. I wouldn’t have imagined I’d live through such sad times, and before I’m even thirty years old. I shudder to think what the world will be like in another thirty years. I’m not even sure I want to find out.