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Welcome to the blog and site of Iowa Author Buzz Malone. I always enjoy hearing from readers. Please leave comments and send me emails to let me know what you think. Your opinions matter more than you might think. Your words inspire me more than you could ever know. To find out more about my writing and books, please click above on the book titles or email me at buzzdmalone@gmail.com

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Hard Luck Life

Some people don't believe in luck at all. Others tend to think that you make your own luck in this old world, and they are usually, not coincidentally, the ones who have usually received the most luck. Ask any billionaire, for instance, and they will tell you that it is their hard work and intelligence that got them there, and not the fact that they inherited $100 million to get them started, or that their grandfather's farm with the rundown barns happened to be sitting on the largest oil reserve on the continent. Trust me. You're not that smarter than everyone else. You're just really lucky.

This week, the old proverbial black cat crossed my path just about every time that I took a step. It all began early Monday morning when I got a call to go back to work (yeah, I do it too sometimes). It's nice because despite the tens of dollars that my book sales rake in, and the eighteen cents a quarter that I make off of this blog, I can always use a little extra (strike the word 'extra' as it implies that there is already some, and that more would be adding to it) dough. Still, money woes or not, a writer is always torn to walk away from works in progress for the real world. It isn't easy...especially when your job is in construction and the project is at a waste water treatment plant (smells exactly like you'd imagine...shitty).

But 'work' wasn't the only four letter word screwing up my week. the ABNA second round results were in on Tuesday, and my unpublished novel, LOSING MEADOW BROOK, was on the way to the quarter finals. I was hoping to make the next round only to get a full read on my newest work by professionals. I guess I'll have to get back to the drawing board on my own instead.

It wasn't a total loss, however, because I did get two reviews out of the deal from the judges. Reviews and what people think about my writing always perplex me somewhat. It's a different strokes for different folks world, this writing business, but when you read the two reviews of the partial, you'll see what I mean...

EXPERT REVIEWER #1

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The writing is technically not bad and it is easy to read. The author would seem to be an able storyteller were it not for the story's lack of originality.

What aspect needs the most work?

The overuse of worn-out, cliched dialogue and blanket geriatric generalizations makes the prose static and dull.  While the composition itself is for the most part grammatically sound, it simply lacks any depth or verve to really pull the reader in. It was a slog for me to get through this excerpt; nothing compelled me to want to read further. I would also urge the author to find his own voice and be aware of the difference between emulation and imitation inasmuch as this piece is a derivative rehashing of the same old themes seen time and time again in books and film.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

This excerpt lost many points with me because it is derivative and lacks originality. It is an oft-told tale of cliched cantankerous geriatric patients following a cliched narrative arc.  I think the author should seize upon a new angle for both the story and the characters while ratcheting up the pace a few notches and adding a little spark to the inert characterizations. Otherwise the narrative is stuck in the predictable same old same old.

EXPERT REVIEWER #2

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

I love the humor in this excerpt. Although nursing homes are not the most upbeat, cheery places, the residents in this home made me smile and chuckle a bit to myself. Walter, despite his inappropriateness, is very funny, and therefore, very likeable.

What aspect needs the most work?

Within this excerpt, I didn't find anything that was noteworthy needing editing. I enjoyed the comedy of this story, and am curious as to where the story will go.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I liked this story a lot. I also think that as Americans age, there are many people who can relate either from their own experience or that of a family member. 

A lot of people new to the writing game would have stopped reading after the first review and thrown themselves off the top of a tall building (or into a giant vat of human waste if you were working on a construction project at a waste treatment plant and had access to one). You have to be just a little twisted to make it though, and a little cock sure of yourself. It's a little ironic though, because even if the first reviewer was room temperature in their warmth, the second one would have pulled me through. Damn you, free will and individual preferences!


Here's the other thing. I have come to believe that the truest success a writer can experience is to make someone feel something. I made one of the reviewers smile, and I made the other one...well, inexplicably angry. Either way, it is a win, win. If you haven't made someone really angry yet, then you haven't written enough. Now, I gotta go do some laundry. All my clothes smell like old poop. So much for the luck o' the Irish.

Thanks for reading!

Buzz

12 comments:

  1. Maybe...just maybe...you always smelled like old poop.

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    1. That is a possibility and would explain a lot about my limited dating opportunities in high school.

      Buzz

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  2. You aren't even enough Irish to declair the Irish heritage.

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    1. Thank you anonymous poster who has taken the time to research my family lineage and "declair" something.

      Buzz

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    2. Come over here and say that, ya Orange bastard.

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  3. Well everyone does have a right to their opinion so mine is - Screw the first guy! He doesn't know what he's talking about and will be one of those forgotten in a nursing home when his time comes. You are a fabulous writer. Good luck at the poop plant! Hope it doesn't take you completely away from writing. We need you!!

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    1. Thank you, Megan, for the encouraging words and enlightening opinion on critics. Honestly, I have come to appreciate even negative critics. They all have tiny little bits of usefulness in their words (sort of like bunny poop). In fact, the people who have hated my work have improved me the most over time. It's not that I change everything to suit them. I don't. But, I do consider the thoughts of everyone who reads my books, and if you only ever hear from your mom about it, then you will never really grow.

      Thank you again, Megan, for reading, and for all of your continued support.

      Buzz

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  4. Lol, I laughed off and on through these posts. I enjoyed them very much. You are right in saying that writers, the good ones, make you feel something when they read your work. I believe that's what writing is all about. I look forward to reading more. I, too, have clothes that need washing lol. My twins consider my clothes as their own napkin, or dart board for food. Keep it up! I'll be reading from afar. Thanks again. :)

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    1. Adrianna,

      I'm sorry to hear about your clothes. I understand what you're going through. I once received a mouthful of projectile spit-up (the politically correct term for baby vomit) from my own son while laying in bed playing airplane. We didn't play airplane after that day. Instead, we opted to play games that kept our feet on the ground, and my head elevated above his by at least four feet.

      Good luck with your washing, and thank you for reading and taking the time leave a comment.

      Buzz

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  5. I used to watch the Gong Show when I was a kid. Some seriously interesting acts often got gonged just for gonging's sake. Had I been on the celebrity panel, I would have been the panelist clamping down on Rip Taylor's arm to protect your knee-cymbal and one-man tuna can orchestration of Fly Me to the Moon from the mallet.

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  6. Leave my tuna can out of this...and what the hell are you doing sneaking around in my archives?!?! Stay on the approved pathways, and admire the Chaunce Stanton book link atop the upper right column. You people are ruining all of the grass in here.

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