I trust this wonderful Friday finds you well. What makes this Friday so wonderful? It's Friday, people, if you need a reason, you need more than my little foray's into escapism can do for you.
So, hey, since by the miracle of modern science has allowed me some extra time today, I thought I'd invest some time updating the fan base as to what's going on in the creative world. So we'll start with the idea of the alter-ego, otherwise known as the pseudonym.
For the last couple of years I've waffled about adopting one to represent the author of my escapist adventures. I've gone back and forth with it. art of me says, hey, you should be who you are and don't feel a need to hide any part of your interests. I mean, it's pretty harmless stuff writing kid's adventure stories with airships and swordfights, right? With openly gay characters, empowered women and more than one hero that follows the Muslim faith? These are the things that make the "punk" subgenres so fun. An author can take the fun aspects of the setting, while still upending the things that made these times, and our times, imperfect in a subtle but meaningful way.
Thing is, recently I've realized that I'm in a line of work, which will remain unidentified, where my role makes me something of a public figure. At least on a local level. It is not uncommon for good people, with the best interests in mind to do internet searches of people in my line of work. Hey, I get it.
What I also get is that people, good people whom I would probably enjoy meeting in person, could see someone in my role who also writes escapist fiction of the kind that I write, as well, someone less than suited to my role. Again, I get it. Not everyone is ready to acknowledge the power of the nerd. I'm cool with it. I'm not worried about keeping my job, I just want to make sure I minimize any and all unnecessary distractions.
So, in order to keep things simple, I'm removing all references of the real me form this website. Ignatius Hondo lives and he is the voice of Steampunk-a-Go-Go. This is the name I will use for all my escapist fiction. It will be what I use when I publish later this year. You gotta admit, it's kind of a cool name, isn't it? My favorite saint and western hero combined into one wildly caffeinated persona. 'nuff said.
Okay, let's talk feedback and what's helpful and what's not. You see, many people justify their harsh criticism of another's work by saying that a writer needs to have a thin skin. And I'll be honest, I've seen way to many people process their own insecurities and personal hatred into eviscerating not just my writing but that of others by using that excuse. I know of no small number of aspiring writers who have put something on a slush pile or have shared it with friends and family only to give up after someone made a cruel or dismissive comment.
Yes, a writer needs to have a thick skin. We need to confront the areas where we need to improve and grow. But here's what we, as readers, need to remember: once we decide to share our thoughts, we have a responsibility not just to be honest with our feedback, but to give it in a way that will help this writer grow, develop and become better. The way to do this is simple and it goes back to the guidance I got in the only creative writing class I ever took. You do this by talking about what works and what doesn't work. Don't say it's good, say what worked. Don't say it's bad or amateurish, just share what didn't work.
Now, true believers, for the most part you've stuck with this rule (see the top right). Even those of you who have shared that you love my work have given me feedback that helps me grow.
Thing is, some have not, and when I get an offhand, cutting comment attempting to be clever or superior, well, that just doesn't help the process. Seriously, how do I grow when I get a comment that says, "You've done better" or "You need to clean up your writing"? What guidance does it give me? None. Words like that are shared for one purpose, and that is to do harm because you don't like the idea of what I'm trying to do as a writer. And let me tell you, I can take it.
But here's what you need to keep in mind - throw it at me all you want, but don't you dare take this approach with the other writers and creators in your life. They deserve better. ' nuff said.
Okay, the future. Here's my plan. I hope you're a fan of the Gloria Star adventures, because the ride into the world of "Revenge of the Squid Queen" is just getting started. I've set a goal to serialize something every Friday for the foreseeable future, and I will stay true to that. Be warned, the drafts may be a bit rough. There will be the occasion, or the frequent typo. But they will keep coming. Why not.
I still have ambitions to self-publish this year, because of your encouragement, True Believers. It's supposed to be ridiculously easy, but... I'm busy. I'd rather focus on the work and keep my pace of getting this stuff out there as part of your weekend fun. I'll have time when I retire. Yeah, right...
Okay, 'nuff said all around. hug your family. Enjoy some escapist adventure. Create something because you know it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be yours, and yes, it's good enough.
Thanks for reading.