Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hi, there.

Small confession, right off the bat: I'm not a joiner. If there was a herd, I'd be the stray little pony wandering up the mountain, accidentally (on purpose) getting away from everyone else. Sure, there are wolves (as well as cliffs and Bigfoot), but there are slaughterhouses, too. Ain't no safety in numbers.

But I do make exceptions, most humbly, and with great appreciation; such as when I received the surprising invitation to join this lovely crew of writers. I don't know what kind of craziness inspired putting my name in the hat, but I'm glad to be here.

So, with that said, Bill Willingham has asked what we, as writers, owe our readers.

My readers and I have got a trust thing going on between us. No one's ever said that, of course, but when folks read your work, they're taking a leap of faith. Someone's out there, opening a book, saying, "Do right by me. Take me somewhere else."

And I try. I don't always succeed, but I try.

I owe readers to be true to myself, to write the stories I want to write, and to tell the best stories I possibly can. I owe my readers respect, because I appreciate it more than I can say when people take the time to read something I've written (whether they like the tale or not).

But, as much as I love my readers, I owe them nothing else.

I'm a hypocrite, of course. As a reader, who has lived in agony for the next book of my favorite author, who drools over excerpts that end too soon and joins newsletters and reads blogs for updates, and who daydreams about worlds that exist only on paper (or, now, those various e-reader devices), I demand satisfaction. I want adventure, and thrills, and just the right outcome. I want, at the end of a book, to feel bigger than my body (even out of body), ten feet tall and ready to take on the world. I want, simply, to have an experience. A good time. A great time.

That's what I search for. And I can only hope that's what I give. Not every time, but sometimes, for someone.

Anyway, that's it for now. This little pony is going to gallop her way up a mountain of deadlines and battle those wolves for words.

Thanks for having me here.


  1. I think one of the hardest lessons we have to learn in this business, as in the greater aspects of life too, is that we don't owe something just because someone else wants it -- even desperately wants it.

    As a reader there is so much more I would have loved to get from my favorite authors, not so much changes in what they did do, but in more (much, much more) of what they did so well.

    Edgar Rice Burroughs is the only one I know of who spun this desire into great advantage for himself. His readers, and therefore his publishers, wanted more Tarzan -- always more Tarzan. So he made a deal with those publishers that they would have to publish one book about something else for every new Tarzan book he wrote.

    Eventually of course the Tarzan books lost their luster. There's only so many lost valleys and lost empires one can find, even in a place as big (and unknown at the time) as Africa. Maybe ERB knew better than those clamoring for more, more, more of what they liked best from him. He knew that there's too much of a good thing.

    I want the next George RR Martin Game of Thrones book. (Yeah, I know the entire series is called the Song of Fire and Ice, but Game of Thrones is the better title, don't you agree?) I want a new Fredrick Forsyth book now! I want Robert Parker to kill off Susan Silverman in the next Spencer book (go ahead and give her a heroic death), and I want it all now. But I've learned to wait. If I got everything I want when I wanted it, I wouldn't get any work done.

  2. I really enjoyed both Marjorie's welcome post and Bill's response. :)