Tag Archives: inspiration

Plastic fiction: What happens when writers give up on soul

Three years ago, Ursula K. Le Guin gave an impassioned speech in which she basically implored writers to write what they wanted to write and not what the publishing industry told them to write. She asked that literature in all forms return to being considered an art form. “Books aren’t just commodities,” she said.

I’ve often wondered if I would sell out if someone offered me the opportunity to sign with a big publisher that would basically guarantee my book would be a bestseller with an awesome marketing plan and everything all taken care of—but I had to write a book the publisher wanted with the plot all spelled out for me. Would I do it? Would I sell out? Would I turn out a plastic fiction book with no soul and no art just to gain readers?

I can’t answer that question. I fear I might. It’d probably be easy enough to write if I didn’t have to come up with the plot myself. And I have a respectable backlist now. Surely I should consider that in the equation. If I gained lots of readers with my plastic fiction—readers who enjoyed my style of writing and who would then consume my other books—wouldn’t it be worth it? But then, too, I’d be feeding the plastic fiction industry that has taken over the publishing world and made it more difficult for writers to be the artists they are meant to be.

Not sure you know what I mean by plastic fiction? Oh yes, you do. It’s especially prevalent in my chosen genre at the moment. For a while it was vampire romances (which has now morphed to include werewolves and shapeshifters and lots of other paranormals). I’m not saying these are all bad. I’ve even read a few that are exceptionally good. But those can be hard to find. And then there’s the fifty-shades phenomenon that is reflected in everything from content (way more explicit than just a few years ago) to covers (haven’t you noticed the trend to monochromatic still life since Christian Grey’s silk tie?).

I think the surge in independent publishing has been a reaction to writers trying to avoid the plastic fiction publishing industry. I’m proud to be a part of that surge. I love what I write, and I love publishing my little bits of art. They aren’t the highest quality—maybe they’re made of aluminum instead of gold or silver—but they aren’t plastic, either. I know this because they come from my heart and contain bits of my soul.

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Filed under Publishing, romance, self-publishing, traditional publishing, Writing

So Much Magic…

Since I have just returned to dry land after seven days on an Alaskan Cruise, I am now an expert on all the magical (and non-magical) aspects of cruises.

We’ll start with the non-magical. There are three. The coffee, to me, was the most important. The coffee on a cruise is just…coffee. It is what it is and you either make do or you actively dislike it and make yourself miserable.

But then you see something like this and suddenly coffee is no longer important because the world is magical. It just is.

Juneau moonlight

Juneau magic

The second non-magic thing about cruises is the toilets. As we found out the morning after we set sail when an entire section of toilets on our side of the boat stopped flushing because somebody threw a tissue in one. It didn’t take long to resolve, but until then, you had to go potty elsewhere. But then you look out the window at 10 p.m. and see something like this:

Sitka Midnight Sun

Midnight (almost) sun magic

Side Note: That’s a container ship on the right. One of those enormous things that dwarfs everything—or at least I used to think so.

The only other thing that I didn’t find magical on the cruise was the size of the shower. Tiny. Closet-sized. Impossible to shave your legs while showering. But then you approach British Columbia after a cool, gray day at sea and this sight greets you:

British Columbia magic

Sunlight magic

Of course with all this magic around me, I was amazingly productive. Seriously. I finished another pass through Movie Magic (coming October 31), and then I got an idea for a magical romance set on a cruise ship and started outlining and making notes…and writing. I say this a little sheepishly because I know it’ll be a couple years before I get this one out. My next magic book, which I plan to write during National Novel Writing Month this year, will tie in to Movie Magic and is tentatively titled Hollywood Magic. (You’ll meet Carole, the heroine, in Movie Magic.) So what the heck am I doing writing Magic at Sea now? Talk about getting the cart before the horse.

In case you’re curious, Magic at Sea will tie in with the adventures of Lady Lydia and Tony Hawke from Escape Magic. I had a lot of complaints about that book. It was my only attempt at a novella in this series, and evidently it didn’t work for a lot of people who wanted more about this particularly passionate couple. So, even though I feel I told their story pretty well (especially for a 99 cent novella), I’m going to pick it up a little more in this one.

But you’ll have to wait. Because before that can happen, I have Timeless, the last book of my Synchronicity series to get through (January 2018?), then Hollywood Magic (October 31, 2018). And then I’ll get to Magic at Sea. And you’ll meet Frankie, Lady Lydia’s protege, and her as-yet unnamed hero.

And just in case you think I’ve forgotten that magic can be found on land as well as at sea, here’s a little bit of heavenly magic perfection I found in Seattle:

Seattle rose

Seattle rose magic

 

 

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Filed under Sleight of Hand, Writing