Monday, November 15, 2010

Don't Take It Personally

I learned an important lesson on writing last week. If someone or some people don't like what you write, don't take it personally. About 99.95% of the time, the reason they might not like your writing is simply preference, not the level of writing skill. Different people like different things; just because a couple people don't like doesn't mean others won't either.

For example: at the last meeting of my school's writing club (Writer's Guild) a friend of mine and I decided we wanted to have a poem war. We both submitted a poem, anonymously to ensure an unbiased vote, and had them read to the group. Then they voted. My friend's poem won 4 to 1. We talked about it today a little and she said that she was surprised she won because she thought mine was so much better, yet I thought she did better. We're both equally good writers, a vote doesn't make one better than the other.

Yeah, so I lost. Who cares? It's all about preference, not skill. Even if you fidn people that don't like your writing, there's always that one that does.

Unfortunately, that last 0.05% is skill, but keep practicing and that percentage will vanish.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Origianl Who-Dun-It

I can pretty much guarantee that most of you have never heard of Wilkie Collin's "The Moonstone" before. That's okay. I hadn't until I saw it on a table in a bookstore. What sets this book apart from others is that this is the original who-dun-it. Literally.

"The Moonstone" was first published in 1868, making it the first mystery to be written in the English language as well as the model for mystery novels that were to follow. Think of your cliche mystery novel scenarios: someone is murdered, someone is missing, something valuable has been stolen. Yep, it's all here.

"The Moonstone" is the story of a legendary Indian diamond called The Moonstone. The night it is given to a colonel's niece for her birthday, it mysteriously disappears from the drawer she kept it in, the only clue being a smear in the fresh paint on the walls of her bedroom. In one novel there is theft, murder, romance, and death by quicksand. There isn't anything like this anywhere else.

I have read a lot of mystery books and none of them have been quite like "The Moonstone." Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" is one of the most famous mystery novel series, but even the cases of the ingenious sleuth do not seem quite as suspenseful as the case of the missing Moonstone.

So who stole the diamond? Read for yourself. I'm not telling.