Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Work in Progress

Writers use this term a lot, but today I want to apply it to something other than any books I'm writing now. I think we, as writers and humans, are also works in progress. Our careers are anything but static, and it can take a lifetime of constantly reinventing yourself to stay fresh and make sure one book doesn't turn out like the others. I've seen that happen with some favorite authors as they age, and it's always such a deep disappointment.

Sometimes, though, it's hard to refresh. It takes effort to stay current enough in language and technology to write from the point of view of a 20 or even 30-something heroine. It takes work to make that 50th paranormal being just a little different than the ones before, so he or she is a character in his/her own right and not a rehash.

One thing I've been doing lately is attempting to revise some of my earlier works, to which the rights have reverted. It's weird to be analyzing them critically, now 5 or 6 or 7 years later. I've grown as a writer, in both technique and voice and yet, there was a certain freedom of style in those early works that I think would be good for me to recapture.

Any thoughts? Do you tend to like books by new authors or established ones? What would you like to see veteran authors do to stay fresh? If you're an author, what do you do? I'd love to hear your take on this.


CaroleDee said...

I don't have a preference for establish or new authors.

I enjoy tried and true authors, as long as they attempt to keep things fresh. Some of my favorites have a bad habit of writing the same story, while just changing the names of characters and a few details. But I have a few go-to-gals that I know I can turn when I need a book :)

As for new authors, I love living in the era of e-books. There are so many independent and small press authors that don't fit into the neat little box that the big publishers love, and likely would never have been published in the past. Unfortunately, there are a lot of rocks to sort through before finding gold :/

Not every book can be a winner, but that doesn't stop me from looking for them!

Naima Simone said...

So true, Cindy! I love my established authors but like CaroleDee, I enjoy discovering new authors too. I think authors--myself included--have to keep themselves open to the new. We can't become compliant and rest on the last book's success or reception. My father gave me one of the best pieces of advice. "Every book has to be your best book." In other words, write every book as if it was the very first one! Have as much enthusiasm, passion, joy, excitement and even trepidation. Each one has to count.