I write for myself, and I’m all the happier for it. Writing gives me a sense of joy as I dream up the scenes my characters must navigate. Over the years, many have asked me how I can write such horrific stories where brutality rules. Honestly, I don’t know, except that I tend to get bored with stories that gloss over the human condition and only deal with those seeking to resolve the event.
Yes, I write for myself, and it makes me happy. The other day I stumbled upon the following quote. Instantly, just like one of my characters, I was captivated.
“If you can’t annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.” – Kingsley Amis
I love this quote. Why? I feel in tune with the sentiment. Anyone who has read my books knows that I don’t usually write feel-good stories and there is always a twist to them. They are not for everyone. Nor can I envision ever writing stories that appeal to everyone.
I learned a long time ago that you can’t please everyone. You’re lucky to please most people, which I define as 51% of the population. Fifty-one percent is usually just enough to get a bill passed by our legislature and signed into law. Even then, I don’t believe that most people are happy with the result but are resigned to accept it as it probably better than the alternatives.
So, I don’t write to please everyone. I write to please me, all the while knowing that many will not. Hopefully, others will like what I write, especially if lots of people like my stories.
So, the question begs, since I write for myself, how can I know whether someone likes my stories or not?
Sales help a lot. I sell lots on a regular basis. Do I foresee one of my books making the New York Times best seller list? How about some producer picking up the option to turn one of my books into a movie? Not anytime soon, I grant you. However, I am hopeful. In fact, I feel that at least one of my books might make the cut and get optioned. Of course, I’m probably wrong. I just need to get the story noticed by at least one producer.
How does that happen? Usually, it’s word of mouth. That and also an agent. I don’t have an agent. I don’t even know how to get one. I’ll work on that one day. In the meantime, it’s word of mouth, which I do use via various means, including advertising.
Besides sales, reviews and email are what I use to determine the direction of my writing. While I post all of my reviews, comments, and direct messages weight more heavily in my decisions on whether to continue a series or write something else.
Case in point, my ‘Her Client’ and ‘Consortium’ series.
‘Her Client Trilogy’ sells well, despite the horrific circumstances of the main character and protagonist. Jolene suffers terribly at the hands of her attackers and turns the tables in the end. Yet many of the comments sent to me by my readers ask the question, “What will Jolene do next?” or they just ask me to continue her story. I seriously considered extending her story, but at this time, I’m not going to. I have too many other stories in my head waiting to get out.
In the ‘Consortium,’ I originally wrote it as a stand-alone novel, not intending to write further books about Avril. Well, my audience has spoken in both sales and comments sent to me. There is an overwhelming interest to read more of Avril saga and what she can do to overcome her situation. My readers will be pleased when I release the sequel to ‘The Trafficking Consortium.’ I am well into writing the follow-up book, hoping to release it by spring 2018. Knock on wood. (Ouch)
I Write for Myself
Whether you like my stories or not, I write for myself first and my audience second. I suspect that with this mindset, I may not make my millions but I don’t care. I know many authors who write based on their audience. That may be the path to financial success.
I’ve considered changing my style, and I finally have an idea for a feel-good story, one the general public probably buy and enjoy. But first, I need to finish the ‘Consortium’ series. I have two more books outlined, and I’m too into Avril’s story to bow out. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.
Stay tuned and find out how it goes.
This is Richard Verry, signing off for now, needing to get back to work. Have a great day and the happiest of new years.
Hello, everyone. I’ve been meaning to write and have gotten bogged down in posting an entry in my blog. Damn, it’s been, what two weeks, since I updated it. Sorry folks.
To catch you up, my regular full-time job that pays the bills interfered with attending to my website, writing, and of course updating my blog. Unlike most careers I’ve worked, the month of August is one of the toughest, most demanding months in the entire calendar. What I actually want to be doing is sitting on a beach, soaking in the sun, drinking a cocktail, read a good book, take a swim in whatever ocean I’m sitting in front of, and of course, writing my next great novel.
Not going to happen.
What is going on is that I leave work, spend an hour or more at the gym, and barely have enough energy to eat dinner and spend a little time with my girlfriend, only to fall asleep in the chair in the living room. I’m ready for bed by 8? WTF? Multiply this by 14, and you know what I mean.
On weekends, I’ve been able to recover somewhat through rest, but it takes the entire weekend to do it. However, I try to fit in a couple of hours either with formulating and writing several notes for my next novel or by working on my new website design.
I happy to say, I like the new design, and it’s probably ready for real-time. However, I can’t check the security cert yet, which means I can’t check the online purchase modules. Hopefully, I can work with my hosting provider and work out those details this week. If I can, I’ll be promoting the new site this coming weekend. Look for it.
I’ve also been checking sales, and pages read of my books. I’m pleased to see what’s happening. Thank you to each and every one of you who either purchased outright or read my stuff via Kindle Unlimited. The book release of ‘The Trafficking Consortium’ has jump started the lagging sales of my other books. Even the free copy of ‘Her Client’ didn’t do that, as I had hoped. Sales of my other books have also jumped back on the charts.
Thank you, everyone. You are making the months of July and August a happy time for me. One that I seriously need.
As I wrote the last couple of sentences, I couldn’t help but think of Snoopy (from the Peanuts® cartoon) jumping up and down in joy. You put smiles on my face over these past several stressful days when I needed them the most.
Next on the agenda, seriously begin writing the next great novel. Hopefully, I can get it ready for the winter holidays. Until next time, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
In my last article, I wrote about how I come up with my ideas for my books. I received several comments from people who read my books. I found them interesting.
The first comment comes from a reader who read my first book, ‘The Taste of Honey.’ At the time, this reader wrote me and, if I recall correctly, told me she had a hard time with the story. She considered herself to be a traditional, conservative person and didn’t read all that much. However, a friend turned her onto the book and while struggling with the storyline, discovered an underlying unexpected love story that she loved. It turned her around, and she eventually wrote a compelling five-star review.
The following is what I received in response to the article.
“I found it insightful as well as a confirmation of what I already felt in my heart was the way you find your inspirations. I’ve always believed you to be intelligent and extremely creative. It’s nice to see you finding the right outlet for that creativity (of which you do so well!).” jb
Apparently, she knows me well, and yes, I am acquainted with this person.
Another reader sent me this comment.
“It’s hard to understand how you can write that in such detail and emotion. And, not wonder about you. […] After reading your statements and seeing that your girlfriend felt the same way, I think I feel much better. Maybe, lol.” gd
I am only just becoming acquainted with this reader, having recently received several comments and messages regarding my ‘Her Client’ trilogy. After reading the first book, she contacted with a note indicating how much she liked it. After reading the second book, I received a second comment expressing the need “… to think about this one?” implying that the story might have been a bit over the top for her. [No surprise. This book is intentionally horrific and deals with the real monsters among us.] Her followup to this comment to this book inspired me to write my previous article. The last I heard, the reader was just starting the third book, ‘Her Essentia.’ I have little doubt that she will send me an additional note.
Interestingly enough, the ‘Her Client’ books are my best sellers. I never expected that to happen. As a result, those are the kinds of books I will continue to focus on as I write.
I received many comments on the article. I hope it helps you understand where I am coming from and where I am going. My stories don’t come from personal experiences. Rather, they come from observation and wondering, “what if …”.
That’s how my latest book, ‘The Trafficking Consortium’ came to life. I was at my doctor’s office and as I sat in the waiting room, wondered “what if someone behind the counter and sent the medical history of a patient to someone who had no right to the file?” From there, the pieces just fell into place, and Avril’s story came to life.
Then there’s ‘The Breakup’, a story about what a woman hopes will happen on a date of dinner and dancing. My ‘what if’ revolved around the word, dancing. “What was his definition of dancing?” Ginny is about to find out. The question is, will she be happy about it?
Overall, I don’t really know what to say. If you, my current and new followers, continue to read my books, what am I going to do but keep writing new ones that tickle your fancy and your emotions? I have notes on several ideas for future stories. Stay tuned.
Oh, and I almost forgot. I finally finished putting together my online art gallery. It’s called ‘maggicalExpressions.’ Links to it are on my book site.
Yes, that’s correct. I paint and draw when I need to disappear. Oh, yes, that’s what I do when I write. Well, it’s a different kind of medium, and I enjoy it. I hope you like them.
It’s a nice day today, blue sky, and lots of sun. I’m going to work on my book most of the day, and then I’m going to a party tonight. I can’t wait. It’s a themed party sponsored by a social club I belong to. It’s been way too long since I’ve attended one. I’m looking forward to it.
Yesterday, I received this intriguing comment from one of my readers. My life partner girlfriend also wants to know the answer to this question. She cringes at many of my stories. As many times as I try to satisfy her with a reply, sooner or later, she brings it up once again. I figure everyone of my readers is thinking the same thing. So I thought I would give it a stab and try to answer the question.
The reader asked the following question.
“Just finished the 2nd book. [‘Her Overseer,’ book 2 in the ‘Her Client’ trilogy] and I need time to think about this one? Guess my question is how do you think of these things in such detail? It was pretty gruesome. Are there things you write about that you’ve done or want to do? Just wondering.”
The book, ‘Her Overseer’ is gruesome. It is brutal and graphic. It is the second part of a three-part story within the ‘Her Client’ trilogy. There is a twist in book 3, ‘Her Essentia’ which I think readers will enjoy. My girlfriend cringed reading the first two books, but by hanging in there, she found redemption in the third book.
Frankly, I don’t know how I think up these scenes and describe them in such detail. They just appear in my head as I write them. To me, it is a natural progression of the story that seems obvious as I write.
I’ve been an avid reader all my life. From a young age, I’ve always been interested in mystery/suspense and true crime novels. Later I added science fiction to the list. The more fantastic the story, the more out there the characters behaved, the more I liked it. However, I’m not referring to fantasy stories such as depicted in today’s graphic novels and the like. I like realistic stories that are plausible and could happen in real life. Some of my favorite books from my early years included the true crimes of the FBI, which depicted the thoughts and reasonings of characters on both sides of the law.
My paintings and drawings reflect a naturalistic world. I love realism in my creative works. I don’t do abstract or fantastical creatures, such as depicted in much of today’s art. The one exception would be my love of mermaids.
But fantastic creatures that nature could not possibly develop on this planet through natural selection … no.
I also believe in monsters. Not the kind thought up by the creative minds of scary movie, no, I mean the human kind of monster. The kind that actually exists.
I write what I believe could naturally occur, here on earth, by humans. Nature is uncaring and brutal. Sharks and other predators don’t care about the feelings of their prey. They kill and eat what they want and move on. Orca whales have been observed playing with and tormenting their prey before killing them. From the lowliest of life on earth to the king of the jungle, this is how nature developed life on our planet.
All humans have this drive built into our DNA. Societal norms try to adjust us to not act upon our baser instincts but we all let it out, at some time or another. A husband beating his wife to belting a misbehaving child when a simple spank of the hand would do, are just two examples of human instincts struggling for release. I could list thousands of examples supporting my belief. Fortunately, most of us suppress this impulse as best as we can.
My stories delve into the realm of humans who drop their shields and let out their baser instincts. My monsters are real, and I have little doubt that the monsters depicted in the ‘Her Client’ trilogy, are real and they exist. They hide and stay out of the limelight, but they exist. In the real world, a rare few are discovered and make the news, but I believe that the known monsters are a small percentage of the total out there. No one can convince me otherwise. My scenes are gruesome and describe a realistic interpretation of the human monster hiding in all of us.
As to the reader’s follow-up question, no I don’t write about what I’ve done, nor what I want to do. Like 99.99999% of the population, I suppress my inner instincts in everyday life. However, I will grant you, that perhaps it is possible, that as I write, I allow a tiny fraction of my basic human suppressed instinct out, enabling me to write in such detail.
I’ve been told that writers write what they know. I don’t believe this. Look at Stephen King’s novels. Do you really think he did all that he wrote about? Do you think he thinks about really doing it? I doubt it. Do I wish I could actually do what I write about in my scenes? Definitely not. I’m a pacifist at heart. It’s all in my imagination, knowing full well that these monsters do exist.
On thing I discovered in my writing journey is that I like to write from the character’s point of view, rather than a third party, observers point of view. I like to write what the characters think and feel. At times I will bounce from the protagonist’s point of view to the antagonist’s point of view and back again. I find it interesting to reveal their thoughts and ideas. I like to expose their emotions of surprise, love, lust, anger, fear, rage, bloodthirst, relief and revenge as the scene develops.
In ‘The Taste of Honey,’ I wrote a scene where one of my main characters goes through an ordeal of her own choice. She is offered many opportunities to avoid the tribulation. Yet, she chose to go through the ordeal, knowing she would die in the end. All because she loves her family more than she loves herself.
I wrote the scene from her viewpoint. I tried to capture her every thought, fear, and desire she experiences. I tried to capture everything she endures, moment by moment, from her point of view. I attempted to convey all of her senses; taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell; as she lived and died throughout her ordeal. I believe I was successful and again, all from the characters point of view.
Just know that not all of my books are gruesome. My free short story, ‘A Mermaid’s Irresistible Curiosity’ is a love story with a twist. It’s not gruesome nor brutal. It’s a story about a misguided mermaid who lives a life of instant gratification who falls in love with a fisherman. You can find the short story on my website, RichardVerry.com. It free and you can download it and read it at any time.
I hope that this explains the question and alleviates any concerns about my writing. More importantly, I hope this explains things to the love of my life, my girlfriend, and committed partner in love and life.