Stan Lee

I don’t buy comic books and I don’t know much about any of the heroes, but when my grandsons lived with us, they dragged me to see a lot of Iron Man, Avengers, and X Men movies.  And I enjoyed almost all of them.  Just like the urban fantasies that I love, comic book heroes always face overwhelming odds.  Good always versus evil.  The fate of the world is at stake.  And there’s so much action.  How fun is that?  So it surprised me when I listened to a quote by Stan Lee, after his death, where he said, “I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: Entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it, they might go off the deep end.”  (I got that quote from Screen Rant’s list of 10 most important quotes from Stan Lee:  https://screenrant.com/10-inspirational-stan-lee-quotes/ )

I love his words.  When I was a kid, I always wanted to do something important with my life.    It wasn’t about making oodles of money.  It was about changing the world, and in my eight-year-old mind that equated to becoming a teacher.  To me, teachers shaped kids’ minds and kids were our future.  And I didn’t change my opinion all through school and college.  That’s why I taught elementary for six years.  But it dawned on me that yes, teaching was important, but there were so many other factors that shaped a child, my influence was like a pebble dropping into an ocean.  And when laws changed, and Indiana wouldn’t hire anyone with a Master’s Degree anymore when I wanted to return to my old job, I told myself that raising two awesome daughters could change the world, too.  Still believe that.  And then when I discovered writing, I thought I’d found the perfect vehicle for more.

Somewhere in time, though, I realized that serious fiction might not be for me.  I was more drawn to genre novels.  At the first writers’ conference that I ever attended, the speaker asked us to raise our hands if we wrote genre.  My friend and I lifted our arms, and he sneered at us and informed us that we were hack writers, that we only worked for money.  (I wish).  Now, I knew that I’d never be compared to Margaret Atwood or Shakespeare, but that still ticked me off.  I took pride in what I wrote whether he thought it was worthy of literature or not.

A few writer conferences later (and I chose ones that focused on genre fiction), and the speaker asked one of the really talented romance writers why she chose to write “beneath” her.  Again, I silently fumed while the poor writer struggled for an answer.  (She came up with a good one, too.  Not that it satisfied Mr. Smirky Pants).  Since then, I’ve decided that it’s hard to write ANYTHING well.  And if you do a good job, you’ve earned my respect.  I’ve also learned that some people STILL have to have an hierarchy of what’s important literature and what’s not.  That’s their problem, not mine.  But I still fussed about the things that, in my mind, I couldn’t write well.

That’s part of the reason I had so much fun writing outside of my comfort zone for the three short stories I posted on my webpage for the beginning of October.  I’d told myself that I couldn’t write dark and dismal very well.  And when I posted those three stories, I was pretty satisfied with them.  I’d achieved my goal.  And do you know what?  It wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be.  Because they’re not the real me.  Yes, I could write them.  Did I want to write any more?  Not really.  And that was a revelation for me.  I’m happy writing what I write.  That’s why Stan Lee’s quote struck such a chord for me.

I’m grateful to all of the authors who write the books that I love to read, the ones that bring me so much enjoyment.  Stan Lee’s right.  Offering entertainment is an end in itself.  Yes, serious, weighty volumes inspire me, but so do cozy mysteries and smalltown romances.  The world needs people who care about what they do, whether they collect garbage, perform surgeries, sing and dance, or write comic books.  Do what you feel passionate about (within reason:)

P.S.  I won’t be posting another blog until after Thanksgiving, so enjoy the holiday.  And happy writing!

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New pages up for Beware the Bogeyman

This short novella came from the Babet & Prosper collection II.  I kept these stories short (trying for around 40 pages each) so that a person could read them over a lunch hour or a commute.  When I was writing urban fantasy, I really enjoyed creating these short pieces.  I hope you enjoy them, too.

https://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

An oldie, but I think it’s a goodie

For the next few months, I’m going to be busy pounding out my third mystery.  I won’t have time to write anything new for my webpage, so I’m going to offer up chapters from one of my early books that I self-published, an urban fantasy.  EMPTY ALTARS features my favorite Greek/Roman goddess, Diana, and an older Norse god, Tyr.  I hope you like it.  Here’s chapter one:  https://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

Do Some Genres Crossover?

The first books I published were urban fantasies.  I was proud of myself.  I’d gotten an agent.  Dystel and Goderich formatted my e-books to put online.  But I’d always written mysteries before I tried my hand at UF, and when I read a chapter of Fallen Angels to my writers’ group, they looked stunned.  Every person started his/her critique with, “I don’t really know this genre…” and then they asked why the only protagonists were fallen angels, vampires, werewolves, and witches.  Weren’t there any humans?  Etc.  Etc.  After this happened enough times, I pretty much knew that urban fantasy wasn’t and never would be their thing.  So I sort of stopped volunteering to read.  Which didn’t bother me.  We have such good writers in our group, I’m happier to listen.

When my agent pushed me to try writing a romance, so that I could get a publisher, I signed up to read again for my group.  And it didn’t really surprise me when my romance chapters didn’t impress them either.  I got more of the same feedback.  “I don’t ever read these…”  Which I knew they didn’t.  My group is made up of serious writers and serious readers.  That’s why I like them.  And my romances are lightweight, not serious.  If you ask many romance writers, a lot of them struggle to get respect.  Hell, I don’t read that many romances, but when I do, I can appreciate the skill that goes into writing them. The same goes for sci/fi and fantasy, memoirs and noir.  They might not be my thing, but I know that it’s hard to write anything well.

I write a webpage, as well as this blog, and when I first started posting a few romance blurbs between other posts, I got such a kick out of a reader’s comment.  She said that she really enjoyed my urban fantasies and was even going to reread some of them, but she just couldn’t make herself read a romance.  When I mentioned that I was going to try to write a mystery, she commented that she’d follow me to mysteries.  She liked those. And the truth is, that made me happy.

I completely undersand how she feels.  Some things appeal to you.  Some things don’t.  It doesn’t matter how good the writing is.  It’s just not your thing.  But I’m hoping that the readers who liked my urban fantasies might crossover to mysteries.  I never expected them to be romance fans.  It’s still iffy, though.  I’m not writing hardcore mysteries. Amateur sleuths might not excite them either.  But that’s what my editor likes:)  And I like them, too.  So I’ll cross my fingers and toes and see what happens!

 

P.S.

I put up chapter 7 for a Babet & Prosper story on my webpage:  http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

My author Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

On Twitter: @judypost