Jan. 22nd, 2012

jasonandrew: (chucky)
The word amateur comes from the Latin word amātor meaning to love. It has come to mean lacking in professional skill rather than the earlier meaning of an engaging in a past time because you love it. I think we're socially discouraged from engaging in such things if we can't become professional at it. I think that is very sad. There are very few people that can be rock stars, but there's no reason you can't love making music and singing in a garage band. It is OK to produce entertainment as well as consume it.

The modern word for amateur is fan. Someone that is fanatic of a subject.

I think for me the best part of writing short fiction is to explore passions and fears that are not my own. The more interesting stories are about characters that love or hate something and then allow readers to experience that passion, even if they aren't interested in the actual subject.

If I am going to put the effort into a novel, the subject and the themes have to be something for which I feel a certain amount of internal passion.

Short stories are less of an investment and thus more freeing internally. It is a chance to see a subject through the eyes of someone that loves, hates, or fears it.

I've never had a fear of bees for example, but I've been reading about Apiculture Bees and Apiphobia (aka fear of Bees). It is fascinating how there is a tiny subculture of which I had no concept. I love to be surprised.

I think amateur is a word that we need to embrace as a culture.
jasonandrew: (Default)
Nick Mamatas recently wrote a post about writing advice. I think there are a lot of good points there and certain plenty to think about.

I don't agree with every point, especially point #4.

Nick Mamatas's style when blogging tends towards the caustic and it on occasion offends people with thin skins. In person, he is very warm and gregarious. He was kind enough to specifically invite me to a drink with some friends when I was a shy writer going to his first con as a writer not too long ago. It was very much appreciated.

Mamatas argues that what you post on the internet doesn't hurt your career in the long run. Maybe he is right. I wonder if Harlan Ellison had been less of an asshole, if he would have had a better career. (Yes, I know his career is way better than mine ever will be, but I believe he could have been up there with Bradbury if he hadn't gotten in his own way. Imagine the sort of things he could have written if he hadn't been caught up in so many feuds or legal battles.)

Note: Mamatas has never groped Connie Willis in public to my knowledge. He did, however, pat me on the bottom. (Author's Note: For the sarcastically impaired that was me attempting to be funny. Mamatas has never tried to pat my bottom.)

There is a lot of good advice here. I think every writer is a little different. What works for me might not work for you. I try to write every day to spark my brain and I post about it because I have a good circle of friends that either lie a lot to me (in a way that comforts my lizard brain) or they enjoy seeing my daily posts about writing.

You can see the post here about bad writing advice: http://nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com/1732344.html

You should check out some of Mamatas's writing. I really enjoyed his short story collection: You Might Sleep. I posted a review about it here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/266152347

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