To Compose a Writer’s Group

Photo art by Marvin

Accountability is a rare commodity to have.  Everyone needs it, everyone but Charlie Sheen.

“I have a different constitution. I have a different brain; I have a different heart; I got tiger blood, man.”

Charlie is dangerous to himself and anyone he touches.  Much like an author who thinks he can do it all alone.

In order for writers to be successful, they must have accountability.  Do-it-yourself, “I’m the man!” mentality has no place in good literature.  For this reason, some people, like Glory and Stuart from the Eclectic Review, are against the notion of self-publishing.

My roommate, fellow aspiring author Jason Craft, wrote them an email about this.  The above link is the Eclectic Review’s thirty minute response.  In short they believe that publishers still have a role to play in the future of books, even on venues like the Kindle and Nook.  This is because publishers can do what self-publishing authors can’t… format the pages in a creative and artistic way that catches the eye… kind of like what I just did for this post.

The Eclectic Review point out something I quite agree with though.  The word “self” in self-publishing can be misleading.  Truth be told, no one can publish a great book without a little help from his friends.


Self-publishing gives you the power to make the final decisions for your book and ideas.  You must choose how to tell it, what editors will look at it, and what cover artists to delegate your work to.  On top of this, you must find accountability partners, authors with like-minded goals, willing to walk with you to the end.

This is naturally accounted for in publishing companies.  For 60 years, the best authors have flourished under them and I don’t fault their success!  There’s a reason why every book I have bought, up to this point, has had the publisher’s seal of approval behind it.  Truth be told, I will always buy a good, recommended book, whether it is indie or otherwise.  This is because as a consumer, I could care less.  As long as the story is good, I’m going to read it.

Three Books by Van Gogh

Not all published books have been great though.  Readers must learn to distill the hogwash from the gems.  This is done traditionally through word of mouth.  A friends recommendation is invaluable.  Someone has to be the pioneer and read it first though.

Some believe self-published authors will produce so much hogwash there will be few, if any, gems for pioneer’s to find.  The terrible truth of it all: this will be the case… if the indie author does it alone, which is why they should unite under effective writing groups.

I have been blessed greatly in this!

On my journey in completing Void Voyage 1, two colleagues, who are themselves aspiring authors, tag along for the ride.  In the same way, I tag along with them in their own endeavors.

Our group is three chords united, moving to become professional authors.  We have kept the group small so that every voice can be heard.  This allows for each person to be treated as an equal.

Though I tend to set the agenda, there is no leader to our group.  This means that every person has their say and mutual respect.  This is key to an effective writer’s group.  If one man dominates it all… the rest just sit there while he boosts his ego.  That is NOT good!

Amanda White, Jason Craft, and I meet once every two weeks.  After eating a delicious supper, and rolling our eyes at Lance’s pun-ridden jokes (Amanda’s husband), we move into the living room to chat about our books.

Their advice and ears are invaluable to my craft.  Speaking of craft, let me introduce Jason Craft (See what I did there Lance?).

Jason is quiet around crowds, but very caring and focused with his close friends.  His BS degree in Computer Science, gives him a pragmatic, mater-of-fact sort of mind.  This makes him the perfect balance to me and Amanda’s artistic tendencies.  I can always expect his honesty and professionalism.  He has our back and we have his.

His personal venture into self-publishing is coming along quite nicely.  Supremacy is a volume of serial fiction, mixing science with fantasy, set deep in a large galaxy (not so very far away from our own).  The technology of Q gates, for interstellar travel, is countered with whole worlds remade by the magic of the gods, who have left their people and empire long ago.  Powerful relics are the only clues to their existence.

Though Jason does not yet have a due date, I wager it will be out by April 2011, around the same time as Void Voyage 1.  Read more about Supremacy: Reformation here.

Amanda White (not related to me) is my third partner in crime.  She is the wisest, and best-looking of the bunch.  Her experiences in life are matched with an unfathomable energy and zeal to make it as an author.  Having a master’s degree in clinical psychology has made her the premier, go-to girl for character development.  Jason and I have a tendency to miss certain important details.  Amanda’s perspective balances this.

She is writing a fantasy novel for kids and grownups alike.  Transformation is set on three worlds, one fighting for dominance over the other.  The third world is oblivious to it all, a little known place called Earth.

In the midst of tragedy, a teenaged boy, uncovers a chilling portal while running from a being of unearthly powers.  Trained in the ancient weapon called a sling, he crosses over, equipped and ready to face any goliaths that dare cross him.

And then there’s myself: B. L. White.  I’ve been working on my writing ever since my college days eleven years ago.  I graduated in 2005 with a Bachelors of Music degree in Music Theory and Composition.

I have always loved stories.  Even before I took writing seriously I would write poetry and songs.  This has made me very astute with the flow of words.  All the unnecessary stuff is cut out in writing a focused, compact tale.

Being a musician and a composer tempers this flow with artistic perfectionism.  I read and edit through my stuff more than anyone else.

I’m very critical of my work.  This has toughened me against criticism from others.  I do not mind taking it in and learning from it.  May the best idea win, is a saying I take to heart.

 

On top of these personal projects, our writer’s group is collaborating on an urban fantasy: Tales from Carson City: Shadeskin. More on this as it develops.

We are coming up on our first anniversary.  For the longest time, I walked alone in my dreams as a writer.  It is such a blessing to find two colleagues right there with me; or as Jason puts it, “Friends don’t let friends publish crap!”

The three musketeers couldn’t have said it better!

Art by Boston Madsen

 

4 thoughts on “To Compose a Writer’s Group

  1. Very cool to stumble upon a blog about a writers group in Carson City who write and are interested in some of the same stuff as me! Hope you’re going to WorldCon in Reno this August! Just wanted to drop a note and say I liked the article. Good luck to you all!

    • We are actually located in Shreveport Louisiana, but our story is based on a fabled Carson City set in Louisiana… perhaps we should change the city name in our story to avoid further confusion. I would love to go to WorldCom though… if they ever come to Dallas that is.

      Good look on your own personal endeavors. Glad you liked my blog! Stop on by anytime:)

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