Finding a Home for Your Story: Advice on Publication

Way back when I was about 22-years-old, I took a poetry class that changed my writing forever. I’m by no means a poet. I barely managed to write any decent poetry during the class. And since leaving the class, I’ve hardly ever written a poem – except for the occasional one that is born out of a purely emotional moment. But my lack of poetry skills isn’t what I took away from that class. It was actually quite the opposite. I walked away from that course as a newly-infused writer full of confidence and a sense of hope. As writers, we should always be filled with a sense of hope as we tell our stories. And we should always be hopeful that our work will find its intended audience.

That is probably the biggest take away that I received from my professor. She often spoke about “finding a home for your writing.” At first, we all thought she was talking about publication and finding the right magazine or journal to accept your work. That’s not remotely what she meant.

She told us a story about a series of poems she had written, which subsequently got rejected from every place she submitted to. Discouraged, she put them away in a file cabinet and forgot about them. Then, one day years later, she was going through the file cabinet and found them again. She was experiencing some personal difficulties at the time and her own words ended up being exactly what she needed to hear in that moment.

“Sometimes, you won’t always reach the broad audience base every writer dreams of,” she said bluntly. “Sometimes you’ll find that what you created will only reach a few people or even just one: yourself.”

The silence after she said those words covered the room in an impenetrable cloud of thought. I scanned the pensive faces of my fellow students as they digested what she’d just said.

Sensing many crushed dreams in that moment, my professor smiled as she added, “But you also have to keep in mind that your work serves a higher purpose. Everything you pour onto the page is intended for someone to read – to provide someone with whatever comfort they need in that moment. It will always find its intended audience so don’t be discouraged by your words. Use them. They will always be hope for someone who needs to read them.”

To this day, I still get chills when I think back to that moment in class. Every writer has a moment when they defined themselves as a writer – and that was mine, at the back of the classroom, quietly absorbing this poet’s wise words. Yes, we all want to be discovered as the next J.K. Rowling and have our stories printed for the masses, but those grandiose dreams are really us getting ahead of ourselves.

The journey to finding a home for our story doesn’t begin at the end of the road with a publishing contract and an advance; it begins with ourselves. We are our story’s first home. We are the ones who need to take comfort in our own words – after all, they live within us. Finding the hope within our writing will have a ripple effect. So far, I’ve had a couple short stories published and each one was the most honest version of the story in my mind that I managed to tell on paper.

See where I’m going with this? When you stop writing for the masses and write for yourself, you will be free to create the purest form of your story – and that version always manages to find its intended audience, whether large or small.

Introducing Author D.S. Durden

Dragon Soul Press proudly presents a man of many talents, Author D.S. Durden! Multiple titles of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror will be coming soon. Be sure to keep an eye out for announcements!


What inspired you to start writing?

As a kid, I was always artistically-inclined, which ranged across many mediums. The English language was always my best subject in school and I had this uncanny ability to get significantly better at writing every time I took a long hiatus from it. Drawing was my focus for most of my life, but writing had the ability to convey things that my art couldn’t. Anywhere from big details to the more fiddly things—I can’t draw without also writing in some form or fashion. They work together in tandem and probably always will for me.

What comes first, the plot or characters?

It wildly depends on the story. Sometimes I’ll just be sitting in my house and come up with some amazing plot that randomly flashes through my mind and I immediately start taking some weird, vague notes. Other times, I’ll see something and the concept of a character starts brewing in my mind. However, most of the time, I create stories around cool characters I spontaneously made.DSD_logo_noshine3

What does success mean to you? What is the definition of success?

Success is the accomplishment of some goal or a general feeling of accomplishment, in my opinion. Realistically I’m pretty financially-driven and always have been, but I feel like money-success is a different beast that can run alongside the “other” success. I don’t have a name for the “other” success, but basically, I want to be able to create what I want, share it with others, and have my creations be genuinely well-loved. I feel like that’s the big thing. Money-success is always nice, but if I hate what I create, it pays for groceries but doesn’t feed my soul.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

Oh, gods…most of it. At best, I’ll write a few scenes, but I worldbuild obsessively and frequently get stuck in a story if I don’t have the general setting mapped out perfectly. It both makes me a better writer and stifles me, if I’m being honest. Sometimes I just want to write this cool fight scene, but I have to name the continent first because one character references it during the intense dialogue. It’s crazy.

Who is your favourite character?

Of my work or other people’s works? I’m a huge nerd so that’s gonna be left for another interview… As for my characters, definitely Daryn. He’s just this terribly troubled guy who’s gone through a bunch of really wild stuff but he always makes it by, either through his own power or by his close-knit circle. For a while he’s motivated by a lot of “salt” and spite, but it eventually transforms into a journey of progression and betterment. He starts taking the wrong path and he has to pull himself back out. He acknowledges the horrors in his mind and wants to do better than that. But Daryn’s not a hero. He’s just the protagonist of his own life.

How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written?

More than thirty but less than a hundred.

 

What famous author do you wish would be your mentor?

Admittedly, I don’t really read that much, so there’s no author I’m aware of that I’d want to be mentored by. However, I would love to sit down with Yoko Taro the director/scenario writer of the video game series Nier. I just want to ask him a million questions, pick his brain, and learn a thing or two. He’s quirky and kind of reclusive and I really relate to that.

Favourite artist and favourite song?

I follow a ton of artists online so it’s a very difficult question for me. But one that comes to mind is Boris Groh. I don’t know a lot about them, but their art is phenomenal, creepy, surreal, and kind of everything I want to embody in my more dark work. Just a bunch of bones, machines, and ominous creatures. Some of which look terrifying but kind of have this essence that maybe they aren’t so bad. I love that.
As for song, that’s probably the hardest question of all. My favorite song varies week to week. But musicians, I love Joji, Celldweller, and Excision. Those are my top three. I listen to a lot of electronic, drum & bass, and lo-fi hip-hop.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Weird. Creative. Outcast.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

I’m currently working on a website and making my other social media accounts more active, but for right now the best way to follow me and my work is Facebook.

Author Interview with C.L. Williams

Dragon Soul Press sat down to interview Author C.L. Williams!

With a goal of 35 publications within one year, it seems nothing can stop him!


 

How many hours a day do you write?

I don’t normally go by hours. I set a daily goal of 2,000 words. If I feel I can do more than that, I keep going. If I need to stop then I stop.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Usually both. On days when I devote my entire day solely to writing, I am usually proud of how much I get done, but by the end of the day, my bed is calling me.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

The internet. Like many other authors, I’ll go online to look up something for a story or a clever word to use in a poem. Next thing I know I’m checking Facebook or watching stupid videos on Youtube.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

It varies. After writing several poetry books, I was asked to be more personal with my poems and I obliged. After that, I was asked if I could write more uplifting or positive poems and I also obliged. Right now, I’m expanding into fiction and I’m just writing in other genres to see if I can write a good story in a specific genre.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Unless they are writing nonfiction or something like analytics, then no.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Things do improve. It takes time (something my younger self will despise) but you will see improvements!

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Last year, I backed a Kickstarter for a comic con near me and my tier was to be a vendor at said comic con. Not only did I make my money back from selling books, but I managed to meet a lot of incredible people, learned a lot about presenting myself to the public, and I did a lot of networking. There were also people there that run other conventions and I was asked to be part of them. Also, you’d be surprised how many people will buy poetry books at comic cons.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I was a teenager, I wrote an anti-suicide poem. Little did I know, a friend of mine was having some problems and cried after reading it. That friend is now a husband and father.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I currently have three unpublished books, all planned for release later this year. I managed to release five books in 2018. I know I can release three more this year (I released a novella in February). No half-finished books, but I have several ideas written in my notebook or the notes app in my phone.

Where can readers learn more about you?

Learn more about me through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and my website.