Friday, September 5, 2008

"PS: We Wanna Know"-- September 5th, 2008

"PS: We Wanna Know" is my dedication to responding to as many readers and fans as possible. I believe as a writer I owe it to the fans to make myself available, whenever they want to learn more about how I came to write the stories they love. And from an independent/self-publishing standpoint, I owe it to the countless other writers out there trying to "make it" to offer insight into my success as a self-published author, whether that be in guidance, inspiration, approach or simple tips & tricks to help them succeed.
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Ashley Nicole of Waco, Texas asked the following questions:

Q:) How long have you been writing?
A:) I have been writing on a serious level since mid-2000 when I learned [that] I needed to practice developing my writing instead of simply "writing" stories. I compare that statement to an artist who understands the principles of shadow, perception and depth with relation to a paintng. But, I have been creating stories within my mind since I was a child--a young boy day-dreaming and drawing blanks in class, staring outside the windows imagining worlds not emcompassed by four walls, limitations on learning and pre-determined classroom curriculum.

Q.) How did you get started writing?
A.)  I think I always had a desire to be creative, but whether that energy (I was the class clown remember???) was meant for writing, or perhaps acting or even stand-up comedy--I wasn't sure when I was younger. In my mind I always knew I was different. My mindset, the ways I think, my outlook on life was always different than everyone around me. Someone told me once that I had an artists eye. But on that same note people said I was simply a smart-mouthed kid. Being able to draw outside the lines makes life a bit more difficult than it already is and for someone like me, with a Type-A Personality, it was even harder.

I love telling this story of how I came to share my first real stories. Sometime in or around 2000, I met a man named Ladd Holder. Ladd and I shared common interests in literature; we enjoyed the same authors. I discovered other writers during my times alone with him at lunch or on breaks at work. One day I decided Ladd would be the person I share my works with...and with all my courage, I gave him a few stories. Being impatient, I couldn't wait for him to share his criticisms of my stories. When Ladd finally asked me to sit down with him he told me directly to my face [that] my writing sucked but that my stories were great. I remember being confused about how to take his opinion. On one hand I was thankful he was honest and on the other hand, I didn't want to be his friend anymore.  But like any good friend, Ladd took the time to explain his answer. Quite simply...this is what he said. He said I needed to learn "how" to write. Yes, I was just as confused with that answer as I was about how much my work sucked. But he went on to explain again and like my anology I referenced before, he compared writing to painting. He said I needed to learn point-of-view, how to structure a story with relation to character growth, etc. and he said I needed to spend enough time writing until I discovered my own voice.

I have been working to develop my writing skills ever since, writing for at least one hour a day.

Q.) Do you ever become frustrated with a book and wish you had never started it? I struggle with wanting to put too much detail in a story, do you have any ideas or suggestion for this?
A.)  My present project--"The Other Side of Glory"--is a prime example of my frustrations. I began work on this novel in 2002 and again in 2003 and one more time in 2005, never really getting anywhere more than a good idea and a few rough chapters. Each time I made any progress, I destroyed my own printed copies and deleted my only electronic version. But I am happy to say I am seven chapters in this time around and I have no intentions of stopping.
To answer the second question--about too much detail in a story--well, have you read Proud Souls? The first two chapters are detailed enough to make Tolkien proud of me. I say, whatever the story desires of you...that is what you write. Don't let others dictate how you draft or write a story. If someone doesn't appreciate the detail in your work, tell them where the nearest dime-store is and they can pick up a best-seller and two hours later tell you how much they enjoyed it.

Q.)  Did you ever wish to start another book in the midst of one? If so, how do you discipline yourself not to? Any suggestions there?
A.)  Yes. Even while being utterly consumed by the desires of my inner muse, I still have the earnest desire to start another story--while in the midst of my present project--no matter what that story may be. And personally, I think all writers feel this way. If we did not and were instead tied died by the notion that we can only work on "one thing at-a-time" then we would not be the free-thinkers of the world who once upon a time day-dreamed in classrooms only to later create the worlds others find therapeutic when they wish to escape from their worlds of "normalcy" and depressing "routine." So I say this: If you can write two stories at once or even one-hundred, then do it! That's more escape for the masses and less time to wait for it!

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If you have questions you would like to present as part of this blog, send them to: bobby@bobbyozunaonline.com with the subject line of: PS: We Wanna Know.
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I want to thank Ashley Nicole of Waco, Texas for her questions. In my next blog segment of "PS: We Wanna Know" I will answer the questions of another reader. So send them in!!!

Stay tuned for more insight into how I have successfully published my own novel, "Proud Souls" along with marketing tips and tricks, and last but not least, my mental journal of writing my second novel: "The Other Side of Glory."

Thanks,

~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"
http://www.bobbyozunaonline.com/

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