Low self-esteem is not humility. Quite the reverse. Often mistaken for humility, low self-esteem is actually the opposite although the symptoms can be mistaken for humility—downcast eyes, discomfort in the limelight, and deflecting praise; while the real giveaways are overlooked—avoidance of people, superficiality, and few friends. Rather than saying “I’m better than anyone else,” it is saying “I’m worse than anyone else.” Anti-pride is still pride.
Many prayers go unanswered because we beg God to do things Our way. We interpret such verses as Matthew 7:7 & 8, Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened unto you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened, to mean whatever is on my mind I will automatically get. An so we ask and ask and ask until we give up. The next step is either God doesn’t care or else we don’t deserve an answer. Many fall into this trap and stay stuck.
However, if you take what Jesus said in context with the Bible, plus study His life as an example, He always did what the Father wanted Him to do. His complete focus centered around doing the Father’s Will. For an example, read Matthew 26:39. Therefore, most prayers for our will to be done, wastes both our time and God’s. Instead, we need to seek to fit ourselves into His Will. Those He answers.
Salvation is always His will.
There is a Generation II
As the parent of a rebellious kid in 1950s west Texas, Tim’s mother knows just how to handle the son who caused so much trouble in There is a Generation: ship him off where every other frustrated parent sends their bad seeds, to the one-step-above-a-reformatory George S. Patton Military Academy.
Getting wind of his mother’s intent, Tim decides it’s well past time to return to the Mexican desert and rescue his missing buddy Hect. After locating him at a paramilitary compound dedicated to class warfare and the destruction of western society, Tim is shanghaied into the group’s cause, only to find Hect’s disdain for anyone born into wealth now includes him.
Targeted by the camp’s sadistic trainer and constantly at odds with Hect, Tim’s in over his head. Oh, if only he’d obeyed his parents and gone to military school.
There is a Generation II continues Tim and Hect’s adventures while taking a satirical look at the 1950s.
To pre-order your copy of There is a Generation II go to WHBuzzard@gmail.com and leave your email address and you will be notified of the exact publication date. If you do this by November 1st, 2015, a signed copy of the first in the series, There is a Generation, will be sent to you for the price of $9.38 plus shipping.
Be different. Characters who’ve already been seen in literature are not only boring, they’re unimaginative. But, someone might say, there are only so many characters in the world and they’ve already been done to death. Not so. Every character has different facets or habits. For example, Captain Queeg in Mutiny on the Bounty was a psychopath and, true, there are enough psychopaths in literature to overflow all the asylums. Ah, yes, but Captain Queeg rolled metal balls in his hand when he got under stress. That made him a psychopath like no other.
It’s not necessary to make a character like no other that’s ever been. It’s enough to give them traits, habits, tics or whatever that have not been seen. For a main character only one or two characteristics are needed, no more than three. For a minor character maybe one or at the most two. And be consistent. If a character is a skinflint, he can’t be in a scene and be generous on one occasion. The reader won’t buy his personality from then on. The only exception would be if he pretended to be generous into order to deceive someone or gain an advantage, but the reader knows why he’s being false to his true nature. Not only be consistent, but remind the reader now and then by intentionally inserted stingy acts to fortify his character trait and remind the reader who he is.
The Kirkus Review is the opinion of a group of editors on the book’s worth. The are a tough group to please.
From Kirkus Reviews
Two teenage boys see the many facets of 1950s America in Buzzard’s caper-filled debut novel.
Young Texans Tim and Hect are friends despite being from different sides of the tracks. After they burn down an empty shack, they think that they’ve accidentally killed a homeless man, so they go on the run. Intending to separately hitchhike their way to El Paso, they each run into increasingly intriguing and bizarre strangers. Tim winds up in Colorado, and then New Mexico, hitching rides with a touring band and the rich guardian of a Janpanese World War II general’s son. Hect falls into the path of T.J. and Becca, a father-and-daughter grifter team, who adopt him into their plans. Becca’s intense desire to be a movie star eventually leads her to run away with Hect; soon, they meet up with Tim, and the trio try to con their way through Juarez, Mexico, but quickly run into difficulty. Tim and Hect’s friendship is threatened by jealousy and resentment, and they soon find themselves in bigger trouble than they could ever have imagined. When they split up once more, Tim must do whatever he can to survive his trip home. The author admits to drawing inspiration from Mark Twain, and his protagonists are something of a mid-20th century Tom and Huck. Yet the real strength of the story doesn’t come from Tim and Hect themselves; their mishaps, close calls, and stereotypical rich-kid and poor-kid mannerisms may strain readers’ belief. Instead, the book’s power comes from the colorful characters that the boys meet on their adventures. The two cut a vibrant swath through the United States and Mexico, running into a diverse cross section of humanity, and these background players, and the lessons that they teach (or fail to teach), manage to keep the tale from feeling like an obvious rehash of Twain’s work.
An amusing, if occasionally implausible, coming-of-age travel adventure.
As long as I wrote on my novel everyday confidence never waned, hopes seldom dimmed, energy rarely flagged, and I looked forward to sitting at my desk, fascinated at meeting a unique character, solving a plot crisis or developing dialog (however, with less enthusiasm for cutting an overwritten scene, revising worn-out clichés, reorganizing whole chapters or worst of all, complying with my spouse’s editing advice). My only negatives concerned the future. When would the book ever be completed? Would I ever feel satisfied enough to say “Done!”? When did the editing and rewriting ever end? But these feelings, while mildly annoying, never approached disheartening in comparison to the joy of organizing, expressing, refining and, of course, polishing. Each day brought new heights of inspiration until at long last—Wallah! Rewrites accomplished! Revisions completed! Final edit finished!
Then arrived the next unexpected stage—the ugly offspring of publishing no one likes to talk about. Marketing. That post-published, head-on collision with a semi overloaded with realism. A more accurate description of marketing should be “literary cold-call selling.” The experience could be compared to skiing down a slope of fluffy, soft, virgin powder, overlooking scenes of mountains, white blanketed pines and incredible vistas when the snow runs out and rocks begin. From there on, it’s rough sledding, brother. The fun’s over. It’s all a poor novice can do to remain on his feet without emotionally crashing and dislocating all his joints. Art has turned to manual labor.
Why is this always the case? Is it disillusionment? Or false expectations? Or naiveté? All of the former, certainly, but mostly it’s plain old burn-out. Exhaustion. Too much time and effort has already been spent (some relatives might say “frivoled”), not only in writing and rewriting, but in reading, studying and learning the craft. Whatever the writers goal to begin with, whether to achieve fame, eek out a living, receive recognition, or arrive as an artist, it sure as heck wasn’t to start another career, especially a blue-collar trade selling door-to-door like marketing. What author started out with the ambition that, after all the hard work, sacrifice and long hours of solitude, to begin yet another business from the ground up?
If I’d wanted to hawk books for a career, I would have gotten a job clerking at Barnes and Noble’s. I started out to be a writer, not a merchant, would be the natural reaction of most. This isn’t why I took up pen and paper. I wanted to be interviewed, have reviews printed, and generally had my opinions sought after. Instead, I’m back to sweaty-faced grunting for a living.
If you’re lucky enough and good enough, you can hire an agent to handle all the legwork, but unless you’re a celebrity or have a “platform (following)” already, your chances of attaining notoriety would be better jogging in the fast lane of a freeway. Otherwise, be prepared for obscurity. Those are the harsh facts. So, know what’s coming beforehand, but above all, don’t get in a hurry. Don’t charge headlong into a brawl with NFL-sized editors, agents and publishers. You’ll get bloodied.
Stay as long as you can in the fun part—Creating! That’s where all the satisfaction is anyway.
Here are ways to develop interesting characters. They are:
1. Find “different” personalities. These are characters that haven’t been seen in literature before, at least not often. The same rule applies to characters as to metaphors—trite is boring. Fast-One in There is a Generation is one of my favorites. I noticed her in a rundown cafe. What struck me about her was her sense of humor in the most decrepit and gloomiest of places. Even though our meeting was brief, her impression never left me. Why?—because she was unique.
2. Exaggerate personality traits. This works well for minor, single-facet characters because it’s an easy way to bring them to life. Be warned, however, consistency is a must.
3. Start outlandish and scale back. Think of the most bizarre personality imaginable and then reduce their strangeness to believability. By the way, for major characters, only two or three traits are necessary and, in most cases, workable. For minor characters, one or at the most two is sufficient. That limits how bizarre a character can get right there.
4. Input feelings from the writer into the character. Readers connect by empathy. When I began my first novels I wrote in third person, but my protagonist came out plastic and lifeless, so I switched to writing in the first person. This forced me to put my own feelings and reactions into situations. My main character came to life, as well as other lesser participants.
5. Use dialect if you’re familiar with it, but don’t overdo. Too much dialect is not only hard to control, but will eventually confuse and weary the reader, so be sparing. Plus the fact, in order for dialect to work well, it only takes a little.
5. Combine any of the above. However, for believability, remember, consistency is a must
1500 books a day are published. The average book sells about 500 copies with the better authors retaining maybe a dollar or two per book. 75% of Americans read only one book last year and the number of readers, especially among young adults, falls as fast as the level of ignorance is rising. When such statistics are considered, anyone willing to spend 10,000 hours (the normal amount of time required to become proficient at an endeavor) writing in order to learn their craft, hone an extremely difficult art form, and finally create a novel or nonfiction book that is almost certainly destined to be lacerated by editors, ignored by the public and fawned over by relatives who then savage the work behind the author’s back, are one of three things:
2. Naive (speaking with restraint)
Writing today can be compared to the cigarette industry. Smokers are quitting in mass except for a few die-hards (pardon the pun); the industry is in sharp decline; rewards for selling the product are practically nil; so who in their right mind would start up a new tobacco brand these days? Has anyone seen an advertisement for an unfiltered, nicotine-loaded, tar-saturated cigarette lately? Nope. And yet, though the writing business is in virtually as bad a shape, people are putting out books at a higher rate than ever. Why? Is there a national desire to spend years and years of hard labor to end up getting kicked in the stomach? Has the American psyche developed a craving for rejection(especially in a Form Letter format)? Is there a psychological classification of workaholics who love failure and futility?
The answer is a resounding No! Rather, Americans have an inherent need to express feelings, ideas and concepts. The byproduct of electrical machinery these days is isolation, but man was made a social being, resulting in the need to interact. That is the reason a writer being ignored by agents, editors, publishers and the public is so personally devastating. The answer then is for writers keep on writing, but be aware of the very slim chance of others participating beyond commiseration. However, we write not for commiseration, but to entertain, to inform, to enthrall. So, shun the machines and interact with human beings face to face. It’s less frustrating and more satisfying.
And yet, being driven, I write; being naive, I hope; and the genius part…oh, well…
When asked if he loved to write, Hemingway replied, “Hate to write, love to have written.” His answer implies that he would much rather be doing something else, deep sea fishing for marlin off Cuba perhaps, but that he felt compelled to sit and write to achieve a result.
There are two main reasons to write:
1. Sales, money, fame,etc.
2. To express an idea or proclaim an event.
Hemingway wrote for the first reason and, I might add, achieved his goal remarkably. So did Herman Wouk and so many others. This is not to say these authors wrote tripe or unserious work. They certainly did not. They expressed ideas, philosophies and railed against social issues, but they mainly wanted sales and said as much. So do most authors, great or unknown.
However, some write for the second reason such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Varlam Shalamov. They cared less for sales and wrote solely to tell an idea or an event. But how, you ask, can a writers motivation be known to you? Because, these Russian authors wrote during the reign of Stalin and they had no chance of being published, ever. Their motivation had to be to tell those who might come across their manuscripts one day of the horrors of the gulag. Rather than getting paid, they faced prison and torture as reward for their labors.
So what’s the point? It’s simply to determine why you are writing. Is it for sales? Then before you ever start, determine who the readers of your work will be, what they like and what they want to hear. If you learn this accurately, you will more than likely be successful—eventually.
However, if you write for the second reason, your sales may never achieve significance, but you’ll experience a daily joy and an inner release from a sense of obligation. In my own case, each day I look forward to writing, unlike Hemingway, and when finished, I can’t wait to sit at my desk again. In fact, I’m grouchy and difficult to live with if away from writing very many days in succession. This is true even though it’s still hard work, sometimes exhausting, often frustrating, but inevitably pleasurable?
So, determine before you ever sit down, what your motivation for writing is to be. Success? An income? Recognition? Or is it to express an inner urging that won’t be quieted?