Writing and Learning from your mistakes
I’ll be the first to admit, that while I’m extremely proud of the things I’ve done, I always look back and say, “Wow, I’m a better writer than I used to be.” That’s because I try to learn from my mistakes. I started off on this journey with writing, as a fan. I was a fan of other people’s works. I knew how good it felt to read stories, and I loved when people would enjoy my music. It made me want to transition from music and expand to fiction. If others enjoyed my songs, then why not let them enjoy the multitude of ideas I have in my head?
So my journey began. I looked into independent publishing for my first project FLESH AND LEFTOVERS and have stayed with it ever since. Would I like a major publishing deal? Of course. What passionate author wouldn’t, but I believe that things happen for a reason. The aforementioned novel began as a joke of sorts. I love zombies. I love the many takes on zombie lore. What I wanted to do was to combine them all, and that is why I went with multiple stories tying into one overall plot.
It wasn’t until halfway through the book that I decided to go on with vampires for the following novel. I decided right away that I didn’t want to be stereotyped into writing one thing. I didn’t want to be the “zombie guy”. It’s been done too many times. I knew that I could write sequels and make each one focus on something different, while continuing with the characters I love and keeping it something fresh and new.
Upon finishing the first novel, I began immediately writing BLOOD, THE SECOND HELPING, and mapping out more in the series. My mind was set. Then the reviews started coming in… There were an unbelieveable amount of outstanding reviews and feedback. It became overwhelming to the point of people wanting more zombie stories. I was adamant (still am) about doing more of the same in book form. This is where sCrypt comics came in with my brother. I could do spinoffs and appease that audience, while not
placing myself in a repetetive place.
Of course this is where my learning came in as well. I wrote book one hastily, and while it is certainly one of the best zombie novels out there (yes I’m biased haha), it has its flaws. Storywise it is fine, but I had no editor, so there are mistakes I made in writing. Plus, there is only so much that can be done creatively with a zombie story. I had a few messages telling me they found typos or that they didn’t like what I did in certain parts. The cool thing about the latter is that as you write a series, you can correct or attone for certain things. (I do want the audience to be happy too). The down side is that I now have six novels completed in the series, and while each one works as a stand alone device, my weakest book is the one that starts it all.
So what is a writer to do? Well, I realized this by the time I was finished writing BONES AT BREAKFAST (my werewolf novel). Then I decided, that if I write the series in trilogy format, I could have people really start with book 4 and then maybe want to go back and read the earlier novels.
Is this a good strategy? Part of me believes so. It makes marketing both easier and more complicated. As a series it becomes easier to sell the installments, but as a whole, the impression of amateur writing in my earlier installments compared to that of what I’d consider professional writing now can be difficult.
While writing novels has taken up much of my free time I have become limited to the amount of time I have to actually read. Now I’m hooked on books on tape of unabridged works. I tend to lean towards my influences on how to properly execute delivery of a concept. Anyone who has read my books can see the historical and mythical influences. I’m fascinated with legends and the unexplained. Writing allows me to curb this need to know by explaining it fictitiously. Point in case… the author, Bob Mayer, takes an amazing approach to explaining where things such as the Pyramids of Egypt came from and so much more. He’s been one of my influences who I feel has taught me (just through reading) what it truly takes to be a successful author.
Everyone mentions Dean Koontz or Stephen King, and while they are also major influences of mine, I tend to think they are oft referenced by too many authors. It is almost Cliche’. While I learn from these great people, I also learn from writers who I find are downright appaling. I could say names, but I won’t because I don’t condone trash talking, but there are writers who have had their books made into films, and honestly it seems as if a ninth grader has written their stories. I don’t care if a novel is geared towards a younger audience, literature shouldn’t be “dumbed down.”
In the end I strive for a few things. 1) I want to constantly evolve, and for my audience to see that. It’s not a pride thing. I do it for me sure, but I want to have people come back for more. If I don’t write on a level that I’m proud with, then how could the audience be entertained? 2) Helping others achieve their goals is important as well. Look, I may not be a NY Times bestseller (here’s to hoping one day), but I can guide others who are starting out or looking to learn. Artists, musicians, writers… I’ve been all three, and want to share my mistakes as to help others get past them. 3) I have a desire to entertain. While music will always do it for me, I don’t think it works on the same level. I have what I like to call “voices” in my head. These are my ideas. I literally have a dozen more books mapped out in my head. I just need the time to write, while juggling a full time job. 4) and finally, what this article is all about…. Learning. As much as my “pride” may be hurt by negative comments or reviews, I realize that there is no such thing as negative feedback. I’m a person who likes to take the negativity and turn it into something positive. So criticism is a wonderful thing, and having positive feedback with it is equal. They are the yin and yang of writing.
What are your thoughts? Are you a writer? If so, how do you approach your ideas? Please comment below. I’d love to hear how you work and learn. As always, I’d also like to throw a thank you out to my brother, Dan Pipito, for the artwork on the covers, as well as my wife, Roberta, who not only feeds my mind with amazing food, but also tells me when my ideas are good or bad.
August 18, 2014 | Categories: Media and Interviews | Tags: authors, Blood The Second Helping, Bob Mayer, bones at breakfast, Dan Pipito, dean koontz, Devil's Dessert, Flesh And Leftovers, learning, process, Rick Pipito, Roberta Pipito, sCrypt Comics, Souls 4 Supper, stephen king, techno feast, writing | Leave a comment