1. Gypsy Mamma
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    Gypsy Mamma New Member

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    Inner Struggle

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Gypsy Mamma, Jan 12, 2014.

    Hello All,
    I just wanted to get some feedback from someone else... other than my husband.
    This may actually be a two fold issue.
    Anyway, I have been working on writing my first novel and have been having some struggles. My issues have not been what I envision other people struggling with, but I may be wrong.
    First, I have been throwing the idea around of using a pen name. I think my family would prefer it. By family, I mean my parents. No, my parents are not famous, but I grew up as a PK... you know Pastor's Kid. So, I know that my parents would not appreciate me using my creative license as I saw fit especially if can be linked back to them.
    This brings me to my second problem, I am working on fiction, but, I feel like I cannot write the story that I want and need to write because of their opinions. A story that they would prefer would be a cross between Rin Tin Tin and a really happy version of the Scarlet Letter. In this book, the heroine, Goody Smith, would solve crimes with her trusty canine companion. My first book would likely be called "The Apple Butter Absconder". Also, in this story, Goody Smith would have to either have perfect parents or no parents at all because MY parents would assimilate themselves into any parental role in any story assuming it was actually about them.
    Well, now you know my plight. I am a married woman and a mother of three, and I still live under the shadow of my parents ever watchful eye.... like the eye of Sauron. (BTW I love my parents.)
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Using a pen name is perfectly fine if that's what you want.

    Regarding your second problem, you're going to have to forget about what other people, including members of your family, think if you're going to be a writer. Don't let others hold you back. If your parents believe that the characters you write are based on them, that's simply their interpretation, and they have every right to interpret your work that way. Maybe you could flat out tell them that your characters aren't based on them. If they don't believe you, that's their problem.
     
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  3. Gypsy Mamma
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    Gypsy Mamma New Member

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    I guess that's true. I could just tell them... don't try to find yourself in my characters because you aren't there. This isn't the Wizard of Oz.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could, of course, combine the two strategies--publish under a pen name and never tell your parents.

    Or you could at least tell yourself now that that's your plan, so you don't feel them reading over your shoulder as you write. When something substantial and solid is down on paper (or disk), then you could decide whether to tell them.
     
  5. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    If you are writing about actual events or people, I would suggest using a pen name. In my stories, I created not only a pseudonym, but an entire persona changing, among other things, my place of birth, parent's names, gender, names of friends & relations, the city I currently live in, and so on. Also, when writing I skewed the details of the events just enough that anyone involved may or may not recognize the character as themselves. They might see similarities, but it's just different enough to leave a doubt.

    As far as your parent's interpretation of your work, I would suggest using a pseudonym and not telling them you wrote it period. Take it from someone who once wrote a gay protagonist and made the mistake of telling their fanatically Christian family about it. Two have since completely disowned me over it, and still more wont even talk to me, and if they do, they continue to bring the issue up even several years and several stories down the line.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  6. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    First of all, relatives and friends don't count for several reasons. They know you and know how you speak, they can hear your voice as they read your prose, and that adds emotion that others won't get. Second is that they'll be kind. If a relative says, "I couldn't really get into it," for example, they're really saying, "I couldn't force myself to read that crap." :) On the other hand, if you give it to someone who doesn't like you, and they say like it...

    Next: relatives and friends are, for the most part, readers. They know something didn't work, and that fact matters. But what they give as a reason is usually meaningless. When they say, "I wanted more description, for example, it usually means you're not handling point of view properly so they're missing context that a strong POV would give them.

    So write the story as the story wants to be written. And when one of them says, "I think you should have..." the proper answer—unless you think they're right—is, "But that would be your story. And if you like, you can write it. But good or bad, this is my story, and this is how it goes."

    Now, that being said, let me make my usual pitch: In your life up till the time you decided, "I can do this," so far as writing fiction, your background, so far as training for the post of fiction writer, pretty well matched that of most people. You read the same sort of stories, took the same kind of classes in school, and fit, more or less, into the same society. So what makes you more, or less fit to supply the raw material to a publisher than those others?

    Remember, talent doesn't mean that we intuitively know what others struggle to learn, it means we have a predisposition to learn and use the skills of a given field. So when we leave school, unless we attended a course of study designed to fit us for a given job, we really know none of the specialized skills of any profession for which we haven't trained. Our history classes didn't make us historians any more than the math classes made us ready to work as mathematicians. And the general skill called writing doesn't make us playwrights, screenwriters, journalists, or fiction writers. It only gets us ready to learn that profession.

    So if you haven't taken the step of digging into the differences between how we learned to write and the necessities and realities of writing fiction for the printed word, it might pay to do a bit of digging, so you know what questions you should be asking. And in that, as a gentle but very useful introduction to the basics of creating fiction that sings to and involves a reader, Deb Dixon's, GMC: Goal Motivation and Conflict is ideal.
     

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