Charles Colp

Reading for Writers

Charles Colp
Reading for Writers

Let’s face it, most of us began as super fans of one writer or another. We devoured everything they wrote. We waited in lines to get the latest book so we could be the first to read the next installment. Whatever the case may be, we are readers first. The problem with this method of teaching ourselves to write, is we often feed our brains from the same trough as millions of other writers. Whether it be the next Stephen King, or J.K. Rowling.

The hardest thing to do is reminding yourself there are so many other styles, so many other genres, so many other humans that write well. Many of my friends suffer through the writing blinders they have imposed on themselves. This is especially true of male readers who refuse to read a romance novel. The lack of exposure to this other world of writing a love scene is lost on them. It shows, even in well known published authors. The male love scene is so often about what it feels like, what it looks like, what it does for them. There are very few male writers willing to write about how the scenario makes their character feel. I am not a psychologist, but I am willing to bet it has something to do with perceptions and gender insecurities. Men aren’t supposed to feel more than four or five emotions and rarely are those emotions allowed to conflict or even cohabitate during a single scene.

I know writing this, half of my readers are scoffing at the idea. Their love scenes are different. Their values are far superior to the hindbrain activity and are of an elevated nature. The idea that there is something wrong with describing a woman’s breast as anything more than the direct object of desire would not even register.

I am not more elevated than my peers, I am not better in anyway. I am however aware that this exists. There is a simple test for any reader to see the other side of things. Read a novel written by the opposite sex, in a genre you would have never read, and judge the differences. Not whether they are good or bad, but whether they convey a different feeling. Two writers can write about deep passion and even the exact same scene, but if it was directly pointed out, very rarely would a reader realize they were both describing the same act. A characters emotions are key and women are just as human as men. Writing the damsel in distress scenario takes on a very different meaning when she was just about to pick the lock herself instead of pining for a big strong man to save her. I have never met a woman that wouldn’t fight and figure out a way to save herself.

In the interest of stopping the cardboard cutout of women in novels versus the fully fleshed out 3-D male superhero. Remember we are all members of the same human race. We just might approach problems and pleasure from a different viewpoint.

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Why I Write Strong Female Lead Characters

I was not a product of the 1950’s and so I was not raised in a house where there was such thing as the woman taking the back seat. My daughter is a powerful girl soon to be woman in her own right. I hope that these characters and stories reflect the inner fire I see in her everyday fighting a still male dominated world. She impresses me everyday with her ability to jump into male dominated subjects and clubs and take them on full steam ahead. I am proud of her work in the Robotics club, and even more for starting an Anime club when she didn’t find one. Both areas are very controlled by the belief they are male subjects. She is out to prove the world wrong and I can’t wait to be on the sidelines cheering as she proves they are a human subjects anyone can be good at and love. — feelingproud.

Charles Colp
Charles Colp, Kyleigh Colp, and Logan Colp at the Muppet fountain

Writing Something You Hate

Have you ever written something and wished you could delete the entire internet to keep anyone from seeing it the next day? Invariably, this will be the same time you have the highest number of people hit your site first thing in the morning to read it. I have done it plenty of times. I still do it somewhat regularly. I am trying to take the good advice from other writers though. I treat these stories like a biology experiment. I break them down into the parts that kind of suck, the parts that I must have been drinking to type in that manner, and the ones that weren’t so bad. What made them bad. Was it word choice? Did the subject drone on and on because you were figuring out where to go with it next? I used to delete these, I used to only post after the fourth or fifth time I had gone over them.

This translated into a much lower volume of material. I found many stories that only needed a tweak to fix. That is when I decided to start pushing out the good, the bad, and the ugly of my desktop. What ever came out that night in my writing went up. No questions asked. I would fix spelling and grammar issues if I spotted them. I found my writing getting better on the first draft. I was writing less junk, I was finding my voice faster.

I am still on that road of learning. I am still a novice. I have however, learned what I sound like on paper and what makes my voice unique. With all the editing all I was proving was that I could catch errors. I spent so little time writing and so much time editing I forgot I loved writing. I won’t be making that mistake again. I also hope to make less of the other ones as well.

la la la la I can't hear you
la la la la I can’t hear you

 

Growth and Series

I am in the process of publishing what will be my first book. It is a Novella. Many writers shun such work as being too short to tell a proper story. They can’t make enough off these books. I have heard a million reasons. The part I keep coming back to for myself is the growth of the story and characters as it continues. If I were writing a one off story I would agree that it was too short. The series aspect gives me room to introduce the main characters, chart the growth, and give some back story without ruining an otherwise perfectly good book with countless flashbacks. Flashbacks are fun for the author but tedious to readers. often the reader gets confused enough to set the book down. You never want them to put the book down until it is done. If you have a different opinion on this subject I would love to hear it.