According to Wikipedia self-censorship is defined as the act of censoring or classifying one’s own work out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities or preferences (actual or perceived) of others and without overt pressure from any specific party or institution of authority.
I hate to admit it but I’ve been totally guilty of doing that. Unfortunately although I thought I’d been doing it for the right reasons, it actually went against my writing instinct and method. In the original version of my novel “Disintegration: A Memoir” it started with the following line:
The first time I saw someone die was when I was seven.
From there it goes into the time when the main character, as a seven year old, kills a class bully. But the doubt that lives in some of us new writers got the best of me. I began to fear that people would be put off with reading about the death of a seven year old, bully or not, and not want to buy my book. So you know what I did two weeks after uploading the original version?…..ugh, I removed the first couple of scenes taking out the death of the kid and the killing of a noisy dog. Totally chicken-shit in hindsight. So a halfway decent Chapter 1 with a first-line hook (or at least an attempt at one) turned into a half chapter of descriptions and the reader having to get through several pages before he/she gets to some conflict.
It’s taken me 3 years to realize that maybe I could be doing better with the book if I hadn’t taken out the hook. Having a hook early on is Writing 101 shit, man.
So I uploaded new versions of the novel to include the original Chapter 1.
Lessons to all you thinking about writing a story:
1) Have confidence in yourself.
2) Trust your instinct
3) Your story is your story. It is what it is…and hopefully people think it’s something good.
4) Don’t kill the hook!
First, I hope this post works because I haven’t used the iPhone to upload anything to this site yet.
Just released a new short story on Smashwords a couple of days ago. You can view it here:
The story is a contest entry on writing.com.
Just uploaded the new short story to Smashwords. It’s available for FREE in several formats. Click the title below.
Hope you like it.
Man, this dark-themed site is bringing me down. That and the rainy weather down here (which is rare) is just…ugh.
Gonna have to change this thing up and breathe some brightness into it.
I’ve been referencing The Harvest a lot throughout this blog, I’m having trouble jumping back into it because I feel constricted. Constricted because I have 3 parts online already and I feel it’s removing the freedom I should have as its creator to change things, especially if I have to change some of the foundations of the story.
For this reason, I’ve removed The Harvest (Parts 1-3) from Smashwords. For the hundreds that have downloaded these 3 serial stories, I apologize for taking so long to come out with part 4. Not sure when I’ll be able to churn out/modify what I have to get you the whole story but I’m revving the engine of my writing machine. Of that I can assure you.
I don’t know what the mystery is behind it but some of my best ideas for stories or music come right within the first minute or two of waking up in the morning. It never happens most mornings when the blaring alarm wakes me up. I just hit the alarm clock and roll out of bed for work. If I’m lucky, though, and this usually happens on the weekends, I can just stay in bed for a few minutes after waking up on my own. In these instances my mind allows itself to get creative and just roam free. And in that short transition period the good stuff rises to the surface.
The challenge has always been for me to capture that good stuff, especially when the good stuff is music. Music is the hard one because sometimes I’m just too lazy to get up, grab a guitar and hit record. But on the rare occasion that a cool story premise comes to mind, I just grab the iphone and punch in the idea, saving it to my Notes app.
Got a good one this morning…or it seemed good as I was still half asleep. Short story…fantasy. Working title is “Aunt Jamaica.” We’ll see what happens but this one whole story came together within a few minutes, beginning to end. That’s freakin rare.
And now to bring the idea to life in words…
Blowing the digital dust off some old stories and the project I put on hold since Spring 2013. I can’t remember what inspired me to get back into writing but I’m wading back into the giant pool that is my imagination and love for words. It could be that I’m eligible to retire in 2017 and just working on my writing chops for the next phase of my life when I can actually dedicate a lot of time to writing. For now I’m just hitting it after work in the evening and more on the weekends.
I am working on revisions to The Harvest and actually have some of it released in parts (1 through 4) on Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JohnSouthcross) and Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6542034.John_Southcross). At this point I’m not even sure I want to keep the same premise but I do have a lot of hours invested. Bottom line is that if it doesn’t work for me then it probably won’t work for my readers either.
More updates soon…or at least before another 2 years go by :)