Tag Archive: creativity


SO I’M PRACTICALLY DONE WITH MY SECOND NOVEL!! There are just a few more passages that I have to go back and add, but for the most part it’s complete. I finished it up last night and looked back and couldn’t believe how much I’d written. I guess I was simply determined to stop at a good place. Afterwards I sat and felt…moved. It was like saying goodbye to a guest that frustrated you, made you mad, made you laugh, taught you things about yourself and showed you what you were capable of. Sometimes I feel like writing is simply another way of expressing yourself and other times I feel like it’s about discovering different parts of yourself. But the thing about it is that you don’t know what you’ve discovered until it’s all done and the final emotions and thoughts wash over you.

Creation

          Discovery

                   Accomplishment

                              Joy

                                        Sadness

                                                  Excitement

I’m gonna let it cool for a few days before I jump back in and put the finishing touches on it. Now that that project if FINALLY wrapped up, I can turn my attention to my neglected literary baby, Dark On The Rock. While I’ll still be writing about superheroes, Dark On The Rock doesn’t stick so closely to the rules and circumstances of our reality and I can allow myself more room creatively not to try so hard to make it so realistic.

I read a quote recently that said something along the lines of would I still write if I didn’t make any money from writing or never had my work published/read. I think the answer to that question is an emphatic yes. Although it would be nice to share my work with other people and get paid to do it, I think I’d be just as satisfied knowing that I had written something that changed my life if not anyone else’s. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that there are people in this world who don’t like to or feel that they can’t use their creative abilities or think that they don’t have any creative talent. But then again I’ve been writing since a very young age, so it’s hard for me to imagine myself as a non-creative individual, at least in the sense of artistic creativity.

While I’m both relieved that I finished the novel and sad to leave my character and their world for a while, I am excited about embarking on other adventures. I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Take care out there.

How do you feel once you’ve finished a writing project? Overjoyed? Relieved? Pensive? Ready to start your next project?

 

While I’ve always been a fan of music, I love it even more when there’s a message in the lyrics that apply to my life. A group of London DJs and producers called Bugz in the Attic have a song titled “Consequences.” The song is basically about keeping up with your current progress, not lagging behind or going too slow lest you pay the consequences.

I feel like this is something that especially applies to writers. We all know what it feels like when you spend several days in a row churning out pages and pages of material. Creativity is flowing and you feel better knowing you’re making progress and start to feel more like a professional writer and less like someone who only thinks or talks about writing. Then something happens and you go a few days without writing anything. Before you know it, it’s been a week since you’ve even opened the file on your WIP, and that feeling of accomplishment you once had fizzles down to nothing.

Trust me, I know how life gets in the way, but if you were once able to work on your novel, short story or screenplay for several days in a row, you can do it again. Even if your schedule becomes hectic, there’s surely a way you can cram in ten minutes here and ten minutes there. While every second counts, you have to make an effort to make it count. If you don’t keep up with your new writing level, you may pay the consequences. Consequences such as that feeling of emptiness you get when you haven’t written or done anything productive in a while, that feeling of taking three steps forward and stumbling three and a half back. You also run the risk of ruining a serious writing streak. You get your brain used to pumping out several words or pages every day or every other day and then you suddenly stop, slamming you mind into a brick wall. I’ve been working on my novel for the past few days, and I’ve been in nothing but a good mood.

Keep up with the writing spirit and let it have its way. You don’t have to write every day, but try to at least think of ideas and scenes for your story. Always keep a notepad and pen nearby to jot down ideas or use a phone app to keep notes. You’ll find that simply thinking about your story will get you excited. Think of writing like exercise. At first it’s grueling and your muscles protest, but if you keep up with it your body will eventually grow accustomed to it and you’ll be able to do more repetitions, go longer without taking a break and you might even start to look forward to exercising. If you suddenly stop, you run the risk of seeing all of that progress disappear every time you look in the mirror or go up a flight of stairs.

Don’t be afraid of doing more, of being more. And don’t be afraid that your writing streak is just a fluke that will wear off in a few days. Even when you don’t feel productive or creative, you can still study the craft of writing. That way, when another writing streak comes back around you won’t be struggling with scene, dialogue, tone or character arcs.

To end this post, I’ll leave you with “Consequences” by Bugz in the Attic.

Take care out there.

What are some ways that you try to keep a writing streak constant? 

Forging My Own Path

First off, I want to apologize for my lack of updates and for not keeping to my posting schedule. I’m sure you all know how life has a way of getting in the way of things. Part of my funk is that I’ve been having trouble coming up with things to post about, and the other is that I’ve just been lazy. Thankfully, I can be quite hard on myself and won’t allow myself to stray too far from my path for too long.

Now, on to this week’s post.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where I see myself in five years, ten years, twenty years. I’d like to think that I’ll be a successfully published author who also writes comic book scripts on the side and maybe help with screenplays and the occasional video game script. I have no idea how or when all of that will come to pass, but there’s one word in that sentence that really sticks out in my mind.

Successfully

What is a successful writer? One who is on the NYT bestseller list, goes on book tours, has several novels published and is well-known in the writing community? Or is a successful writer one who takes comfort and pride in the choices and progress that they’ve made no matter how meager they might be?

It’s easy to get our definition of success tangled up with the general idea of success. And that’s especially true when we’re constantly bombarded with images and headlines about authors who make millions of dollars and can churn out multiple novels in a year. We think of that as a success even though we don’t know what those authors had to give up or what they had to do to get where they are. I’m not saying that every successful person has had to give up a part of themselves to get where they are, but I am saying that we have to look past the dollars and glossy book covers to see what truly makes an author a success.

Even more importantly, we have to discover our very own, very personal definition of success. And that’s something that I’m slowly but surely doing every day. As my dad always says, “all we can do is take it one day at a time.” Taking it one day at a time is hard for me since I meticulously plan things out and analyze past events. I’m either too focused on the future or scrutinizing the past that I forget to simply be in the present moment. And that’s probably another reason that I haven’t been keeping to a writing schedule.

I want to be a writer. I want to be a happy writer. I want to be a successful writer. But more importantly than all of those things are that I want to be me. Not John Grisham, Stephen King, Alexandre Dumas, Charlie Huston or Jim Butcher. Just O’Brian Gunn. All of them are great examples of what can be accomplished with words and ideas, but none of them can tell my story just as I can’t tell theirs.

So what’s my definition of success?

Being the best me that I can possibly be. I hope you’ll do the same.

What’s your definition of success and how do you plan on making that definition manifest?

Take care out there.

P.S. You can now check out some of my superhero themed flash fiction at Super Flash Fiction! “In-xperienced” and “Lies My Heroes Told Me”

Why I Write What I Write

 

I don’t remember exactly when it was that I fell in love with fiction and fantasy. But I do remember there was an allure in exploring possibilities and impossibilities. Maybe it was growing up in Alabama where nothing ever happened that drove me to immerse myself in worlds where adventure was a part of everyday life, magic occurred as naturally as the wind and traveling in a spaceship was a standard practice. Reality was too bland, too boring for me, and reading was an escape from that. But reading fantasy was like dreaming while still awake. I guess fantasy and sci-fi were my Inception.

I’ve always had a vivid imagination and I’ve always been a daydreamer. I think you’d probably have to visit me in a psychiatric ward if it weren’t for a creative outlet like writing. And maybe that’s all that writers, artists, poets and other creative types are, functioning psychotics. Rather than allowing our insanity to consume us and drive us insane, we channel it and work with it to creative something…more, something beyond what we see and experience in everyday life.

I know that the world we live in holds much splendor and wonder, but sometimes all of that magnificence needs to be magnified times a thousand. I don’t want to travel in an airplane, I want to lift my arms and fly under my own will. I don’t want to simply travel to different states and nations, I want to travel to different dimensions. I want to live in the worlds I see in games like Final Fantasy, see what it would be like to have actual superpowers and have a vampire for a roommate.

For a while now I’ve been on a superhero kick. There’s just something about exploring the idea of how having superpowers changes who you are, either in a small way or a big way. Would the world be a better place if Captain America really existed? How different would the world be if it had a Captain Japan or a Captain Africa? What if the Avengers were villains instead of heroes? What if there was one person with the power to solve all of the world’s problems but they decided not to? I hope to write comic book scripts as well as novels someday, and maybe even a video game script or two. Even though I’m not up to date on the latest happenings in the comic book/graphic novel world, I’ll always be a proud comic book nerd.

When it comes to fantasy, I’m enamored with the idea of creating a new world, new rules, new races, new technology and new ideas. I believe that fantasy and sci-fi are the purest forms of creation. The genres force authors to dig deep, unravel thoughts and ideas that they’ve had since they were old enough to comprehend in order to make manifest a new universe where those thoughts and ideas don’t mean a thing. I have one idea for a fantasy story that’s been in my head for years. I dabble with it every now and then, and I’m just now starting to feel “old” enough to make an honest effort of writing it. If I do, I think I’ll have to pull  a George R.R. Martin and spend a few years on it.

As much as I love brazen, in-your-face fantasy and fiction, I also love the subtle nuances of a fiction or thriller. These are the kinds of stories that can keep me up at night wondering if the events and characters pressed between the pages of a book could actually exist. Movies like Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy make us believe that there could be a real life Bruce Wayne out there somewhere. While  characters like the Joker and Bane may not exist, the characteristics of those characters most certainly do. That is the type of fiction that I hold closest to my heart, the kind that really makes you sit down and examine your life, the world you live in and how you fit in it.

Fiction, sometimes it’s closer to the truth than reality itself.

Take care out there.

What are some of your favorite genres and why? 

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my serial DARK ON THE ROCK on JukePop Serials! Vote for it if you like it, and be sure to check back this Friday for Episode Three.

Back to Basics

 

Writers not only have to be writers, but business people as well if we’re serious about making  a career out of our passion. We spend time learning about the publishing industry, how to market ourselves, where to find the best critique group for our level of skill, finding agents and more. All of this can be very exciting and fresh, but it can also make us forget why we set out to become a published author in the first place.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been slacking in my writing. I’ve still been working on my writing career, I just haven’t been working on the very thing that will support that career: my writing. I’ve been reading articles, trying to find software to create my own cover for my JukePop Serials story (any suggestions would be welcome) and writing to pay the bills.

Last night I had a small mental breakdown. I was reading an article about how poor publishing is worse than not being published at all. I realize that we need to know what we may be getting in to it before we get in to it and I appreciate the knowledge. But one thing I didn’t appreciate was the way it made me feel, like attempting to become a published author is one of the most risky and foolish decisions a person could choose to do with their life. In the time it takes to write a novel, find an agent, find a publisher, get a book deal and finally see your book on shelves is roughly the same amount of time it takes to finish medical school or earn a PhD. I realize that becoming a medical doctor takes time and money where becoming a published author only takes time and luck. But sometimes it seems as though it’s smarter and less painful to simply follow a different passion, a more sensible passion.

So why do writers do it? Why do we put ourselves through the rejection, pain, setbacks and pitfalls of the journey to authorhood?  Why do we keep faith in our hearts that one day we’ll join the ranks of other successful authors even though we know what’s waiting for us out there? Why?

I asked myself all of these questions last night, wondering if maybe I should focus on another career goal and put writing on the back burner for a few years. At 27 I feel as if I should stop dreaming and wake up and join the real world. But then I remembered how blessed I am. I remembered when I first discovered that I loved to write. I remembered how there is nothing more in this world I’d rather do then tell stories, explore, examine and imagine.

I remembered the magic of writing.    

I don’t want to look at my life ten years from now and wish that I’d kept pursing my first passion. Something could happen tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. But I won’t be there to experience that something if I don’t keep going and keep believing that whatever or Whoever brought me this far isn’t done with me yet, that my journey could be nothing like the horror stories I’ve read. Times are different, my path is different and my circumstances may not be the same.

Almost anyone can be a doctor, graphic designer, business owner or any other practical job. And I’m not demeaning those occupations whatsoever. But not everyone can be a writer, world weaver, yarn spinner, storyteller. Or journey is a different one, with different obstacles and frustrations. And there’s also a different joy and satisfaction associated with what we do. I believe that writing is  the closest I’ll come to finding out what it’s like to bring life into this world.

So not only will I stay in the game, I’ll do my damndest to change the game and win the game. And I hope to see you at the finish line.

Take care out there.

Devil’s Webground

 

I haven’t been feeding my child of creativity lately because my child of responsibility has been crying loudly, endlessly. As I was discussing with Diem Burden on Twitter, I hate it how life gets in the way of writing. And that’s especially true when you feel that writing is your life. Writers are also friends, fathers, employees, bosses, businesspeople, advertising agents and tax payers. While we would like nothing more than to put up a force field to block all of that out and simply write, we simply can’t.

I hate that I have to neglect my work-in-progress for my job, but I also hate having a zero balance in my bank account. And that’s what it’s all about really, balance. Sometimes that balance is a daily thing, sometimes weekly and sometimes monthly. While I would really like to work on something creative every day, I realize that sometimes I have to put aside the writing that makes me happy for the writing that makes me money. My novel isn’t making me any money yet, but my freelance writing is, and that’s something that I have to live with whether I like it or not. Sure I could say the hell with making money, but I like having a place to stay, food to eat and new books to read. In order to have all of that, I have to be bringing in money. While I have faith that I will make a luxurious living as a published author, I realize the hard truth that it may take a while for that to happen. In the meantime, I still have bills to pay.

Something else that I feel I’ve been investing too much time in, unnecessarily this time, is the Internet. I know that this is something that all writers deal with. These days it’s important to have an online presence in order to build up your platform and audience. But spending time online is a piece of the puzzle we have to fit in with the other pieces juuust right. Twitter, Facebook, blogging and all of the other social media gems are no doubt valuable, but they have to be done in moderation. After all, you won’t have anything to promote on all of those platforms if you don’t set aside the time to write. Just as you won’t have anywhere to sit down and write if you get evicted from your apartment for not paying the rent…ok, so you can go to a coffeeshop to write, but you won’t have money to buy coffee!

I guess what it all comes down to is prioritizing. Even if I don’t work on my novel every day, I can still write down ideas and at least outline a scene or chapter. Even if I don’t have something insightful to say on Twitter every hour, there are plenty of people who do and I can share their information, information that could inspire a blog post.

Writers are so busy moving, thinking, churning and reading that we forget to be…still…and…just…be. Just because you aren’t moving doesn’t mean that you aren’t going anywhere. Simply because you can’t feel the Earth move doesn’t mean that we all aren’t hurling across space. There’s no shame in having priorities, but there is shame in having skewed priorities and warped perceptions.

Take care out there.

Krav Maga is an Israeli self-defense system, and in it there’s a concept known as “retzev.” Retzev basically means keeping up a continuous flurry of attacks and never leaving a gap to allow your opponent to escape or launch a counterattack. While I’m no Krav Maga master, I do think that the concept of continuous motion can and most definitely should be applied to writing.

 

I really enjoy variety and keeping things fresh and new even if it’s something that I’ve done several times. When it comes to writing, I try to keep up a continuous chain of “attacks” with writing, editing, blogging, re-writing, outlining, brainstorming and even reading. This allows me to constantly be working on something and have something to work on. With my second novel, I’m slightly changing up the format of my writing with some chapters. My latest chapter is comprised of nothing but training missions and an earlier chapter took a short break from the main cast of characters to focus on two other characters that inhabited the same world, just to flesh out the universe of the book.

As writers, it’s easy to be hard on ourselves and feel that we’re doing something monumentally wrong, or will never become a professional. What if a professional is nothing more than a person who never stops feeding and exploring their passions and making an honest attempt at fulfilling a goal? If a boxer does nothing but work on perfecting their left hook, they may have a mean punch, but they won’t know how to defend themselves or throw a combination to knock their opponent off guard. If you keep working on perfecting your dialogue writing skills, you may find yourself lost when it comes to character development or describing the setting your chatty characters inhabit.

One of the best ways to work on your writing style isn’t to constantly write, but to constantly read. Work on your editing skills by going back to the basics with the rules of punctuation and grammar. If you’re having trouble with pacing, watch a TV show or movie. In these formats you have to cut your material down to a certain amount of pages so it fits within a certain time frame. Attack your writing from different and unexpected angles. Are you better at defense or offense? Outlining or freewriting? Is there a way to transfer the principals of one to the other? Try out and examine different methods, even if you don’t think they’re a good fit for you.

This post is a little all over the place, and I think I like it that way. While I probably won’t make it a habit, I do enjoy the change. Keep the spice going in your writing relationship by switching things up. I’ve heard that it’s a good idea to stop writing before you get to the end of a chapter so you’ll have a great jumping point for next time. Edit snippets of conversations you hear while at the grocery store (I’ve done this before). This will give you a feel for how people really talk and how you should properly punctuate “real talk.” Read a sci-fi novel and a western novel at the same time. You never know how the mixed reading experience may help you. Keep things off balance and organize the chaos.

Take care out there, and keep those hits comin’ from every angle.

What are some ways you like to keep your writing life fresh?

I’m starting to work on perfecting my query letter(s) to send out to agents. *Pause for applause* I’ve been reading advice on how to write a query letter, what to include in a query letter and how to get your query letter trashed before the agent even finishes the first paragraph. While absorbing and taking note of all of this information, it’s occurred to me that writing a query letter is a lot like writing a book.

Let’s break it down like James Brown.

Target Audience

When writing a book, you have to know who your target audience is so you can craft your writing to reach as many people in that audience as possible. The same is true of a query letter. You have to know the name of the agent, what kind of material they accept and if they want to represent your material just as much as you like writing it. With both a book and a query letter, you want to make sure that your personality shines through. Although there are hundreds of urban fantasy series out there, each author speaks to the same audience in their own unique voice. Personality and individuality is paramount if you want to stand out on the bookshelves and in the inbox of agents.

Hook

If you don’t want readers to skip over your novel, you’ve got to have a hook. We live in an age where our eyes are constantly bombarded with stimuli, so if you want to snatch a person’s gaze, you’ve got to dazzle them. When it comes to books, the cover is what holds readers in sway. Once you’ve made them stop and stare, you’ve got to keep them enthralled with an original and compelling plot. With query letters, you’ve got to hook agents with your synopsis. I’ve always thought that blurbs are like movie previews, you don’t want to tell/show the audience everything, but you want to highlight the main points of the movie/novel and get their heart racing to see the full project. Authors have to come up with innovative and effective ways to get agents to ask for a full manuscript.

Trust

Bestselling authors aren’t always overnight sensations; it takes them time to build up their credentials before readers flock to pick up their new book the same day it’s released. One way they do this is by earning the reader’s trust and consistently putting out excellent material.  When writing a query letter, your trust comes from your publishing credentials. The more publishing credits you have to your name, the more likely an agent will trust that you know how to write and sell story, even if you’ve never written a novel before. If you don’t have many publishing credits, that trust comes from your personal background, what you’ve done before you decided to write a book and what makes you the perfect person to write a certain type of book.

Professionalism

In most cases, agents don’t want to deal with authors who don’t know jack about the publishing industry. They’re much too busy with other authors, editors, publishers and their own personal lives to give you even the nickel tour of the publishing world. The same applies to writing a book. Readers don’t want to waste time and money on an author who doesn’t care about grammar or learning the fundamental rules of novel writing, such as character development, plot and proper resolution. Remember, we live in a rapid fire age, and it only takes a few sentences for readers to decide if they want to buy a put or stuff it back on the shelves.

Now, I consider myself to be an intermediate-bordering on advanced writer, so what I’ve shared with you here is by no means holy gospel, only my personal observations on the matter. Writer’s Relief has a ton of posts on query letters, as does the illustrious Rachelle Gardner. Be sure to subscribe to both if you’re in need of a lighthouse while navigating the surging waves of the writing ocean.

Take care out there.

Origin Story

I guess now is a good time to expose my roots and tell you how I discovered that I wanted to be a writer.

I’d first have to thank my Aunt Ann. Without her love for reading, I don’t think mine would’ve been so strong. I remember sitting with her at my grandma’s house reading a book. That little seed would only grow and flourish as the years went on and I started to grow up. I mostly read fantasy novels, anything that was imaginative and took me away from the “real world.”

When I was…about 14 or 15, I decided that I wanted to be a photojournalist. I think it was a combination of watching Spider-Man and The Secret World of Alex Mack (anyone remember that show?). I never actually went out and bought a fancy camera, but I do remember taking lots of pictures for a short period of time. Then somehow I stumbled on fan fiction! For the uninitiated, fan fiction is where you write your own stories for TV shows, adding your own twist to them. It was like being pushed into an ocean with no idea of how to swim. But I was more intrigued than anything else. I had discovered an underground dimension, a galaxy of parallel universes.

So I started writing fan fiction. My first was a Power Rangers fan fiction. Yep, Power Rangers. I was a HUGE fan when I was young. So I guess I have them to thank too for helping me discover my passion for writing. While attempting to come up with ideas for my storyline, I was still under the impression that I wanted to be a photojournalist, even though ideas for original stories were constantly pouring into my head.

I remember one story was about a group of teenagers who were mystical ninjas with elemental based powers who had to travel to a different dimension and battle their evil twins. Another was about two sorceresses, a vampire/werewolf hybrid and a seer who were part of an evil group called The Deranteke who were attempting to bring back their dark lord…all while staving off the attempts of other baddies who wanted to curry favor with said dark lord. Sounds like bestselling material, eh?

This is where I began my dalliance with exploring the “bad guys.”

I believe I finally decided I wanted to become a writer when I started writing the Bo Quintin series. Bo was a feral (a werewolf who doesn’t transform) and bounty hunter who received his assignments from an unknown divine source. I remember how much enjoyment it brought me to sit at the keyboard fleshing out this supernatural world and coming up with ideas. I even had a playlist for when I was writing fight scenes, and to this day writing a good fight scene is one of my absolute favorite things to do when writing. I was writing the Bo Quintin series when Angel and Buffy were on, and I was most definitely influenced by the Whedon world. I even had a spin-off series for one of my characters much like Angel was a spin-off of Buffy.

This is also where I developed the habit of jumping from project to project and starting things and not finishing them.

Next I visited my good friend Noel  in Kansas where I saw the movie Sin City.

This is where I was introduced to my good friend noir.

I was immediately held in thrall by this film. The colors, the music, the dialogue, the lighting, the story. It felt like a dark angel had descended from the corners of heaven, kissed me on the lips, blew out my soul like a jittering old car engine and gave me wings of my own. I remember going back to her apartment after the movie and starting my own noir story, one about an assassin and a vigilante named Vigil and Whisper. They were both gay and lived in a world where there were no women, save one, and they only operated at night. “Sons of Entropy”, as I called it, was some of my absolute finest work up until that point. I had cowboys, clones, a femme fatal, swords, strippers, courtesans, a gritty romance, drugs and the classic twisted noir ending.

I think I need to pull that story out and take a look at it. Who knows, could get it published after I polish it!

After “Sons of Entropy” came “SanGuine” and various other short stories, some of which I tried to get published and received my first rejection letters. I’m not sure when I got the idea for my first novel, “Fury Us,” but I do remember that it was originally ” X-Treme Quarantine.” I started writing it when I realized that there was much more to the story, and that I had to go back before writing about the XQtioners.

Presently, I’ve written an ish-ton of short stories, some finished, some not, one novel, some scripts, several poems and I’ve got about three chapters to finish on my second novel. I’ve come a long way, and I know that I have even further to go. I’m glad that I decided to share this, even the part about writing Power Ranger fan fiction, which I was apprehensive about. I guess you never know where “that moment” will come from. It’s always nice to go back and retrieve wisdom, passion and smiles that you’ve experienced on a personal journey.

Now, back to working on my latest short story!

Take care out there.

Mum’s the Word

Controversy.

It’s a word that sends images and words hurtling through our minds. It seems as if we can’t go a single day without experiencing, reading or hearing about some sort of controversy. We may lock ourselves in our homes, cut off the TV, take a hiatus from Facebook and Twitter and escape to the fantasy world of a book. Only to find that our escape isn’t an escape at all, but another quagmire of controversy.

As writers, we may not want to upset or alienate our readers. They give us their time, money, attention and hopefully their praise. We don’t want to dissolve that tenuous tether of trust by having our characters deal with something like abortion, race issues, homosexuality, rape or anything else that the public feels strongly about. Even if we don’t outright announce our stance on the issue, we don’t want to run the risk of scaring off potential readers by bringing in real-world politics or have a character who is thinking about having an abortion.

I often find one of the best ways to unravel my emotions and thoughts is to write them down, put my characters in a similar position and allow them to show me the way. Sometimes I’m shocked at how intelligent my characters are, just as I’m stunned by how cruel they might be. Even though it’s me writing the story, I’m not the one telling that story. I write about characters who share my personal views and beliefs, and I also write characters whose beliefs I don’t agree with. And sometimes it’s the characters whose views aren’t my own who are the most enjoyable to write.

Imagine that.

Controversy is something that I feel cannot and should not be ignored. Writers are nudists. We show our naked flesh on the page, the ink becomes our scars, moles and stretch marks, the creases in the book are the creases in our skins. We offer ourselves up to our audience and hope that they will be gentle. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t. All of that being said, what’s the true risk in including an inter-racial couple, gay couple or a noble cheating spouse in your work? Not every reader will like what you write, even if they are fans of your genre. You have to ask yourself, are you writing to get your ideas out into the world, or are you writing to get a paycheck in your hand? Usually the answer is both, and it’s entirely possible to do both and still remain true to who we are, all with a little ingenuity.

As a gay African-American author, I know that there will be times when I’ll have to decide how much or how little of certain…possibly controversial subject matter I wish to put on the page, something that I’ve encountered already with writing my first novel. I’ve decided to not shy away from it, but also not to take it to the extremes. I enjoy creativity, and I want to not just put my own beliefs and views on the page, but do it in a creative way.

Creativity. Controversy. Creative controversy. Controversial creativity.

Blending them together gives them a totally different meaning, don’t you think?

Take care out there.