Now I know I've been out of the loop when it comes to my street lit. I mean that's what got me writing since I was...well as long as I can remember. I probably came out of my mama's womb with a pen and a pad in my hands! With that being said, what the hell has happened?! Are you people serious?! Everybody cannot and should not write hood stories or write for that matter on the topic, especially if you were not brought up in the hood.
Two days ago I started this book that I had my mouth watering for. Moth to a Flame. Great title, great cover, synopsis (description on the back of book for you Hooked on Phonics readers) on point. It's like they invested more on the outside and stopped there! You know what I'm talking about ladies, it's the summer time so the fellas got the clean big body trucks and drop tops out, system is heard way before the ride is seen. He calls you over and you all excited cause he leaning low looking delicious, then BAM! Far away brotha resemble T.I. but up close disappointingly he looking like Pitbull, chopped and screwed teeth and all! That's how I felt when I started this story.
For all my aspiring writers and established ones please understand there really might have been a reason the big wig publishing houses did not want you on their roster. I'm proud of my entrepreneurs making a gateway for us to make our mark in this publishing game, that's why I want to start my own. But get your ish together before you go plopping some hood name on a letterhead just to say you getting your hustle on!
Read up on having a business, network with other publishers, editors, and authors so you have connects so when you are ready to hop on the publishing game you have a solid business fam. Get your work out there whether thru your own blog site (like yours truly), newsletters, magazines just to name a few outlets. Don't depend solely on your friends. Half of them cannot read, most of them are 'yes' people that will not tell you your ish sucks for fear they will not be on the thank you page and the rest of them are not experts! If the highest level of education they've acquired is the sixth grade, well then Houston, we have a problem! Cause I seriously think that is what happened in this case. And say what you want; 'She ain't published nothin'!' or 'What has she done?' and 'She hatin'!' No I'm not hatin' or any of that other stuff I'm just going to tell it like it is out of love.
First off, writers need to seperate their writing from how you speak in reality. Meaning unless someone in the story is talking do not put slang in your writing. 'Pookie nem was seen walkin' down the block' is not a legitimate sentence! This is going to sound harsh but do not proudly show how ignorant you are!
Second in all of the writing books I've studied (yes, studied! I'm always looking for ways to perfect my craft) one thing that I try to accomplish is showing, not telling. I'm going to pull an example from this damn book:
'She could see that Raven was into him and
she could tell that her husband wasn't fond
of the idea at all.'
Now this example is not as bad as some of the others but it's bad enough for me to point it out. I get that her husband was angry and all but wouldn't it be better to have given me a more descriptive sentence? I can't just take your word for it that the man was mad. And how mad was he? A little? A lot?
'She felt a wave of something foul and
followed it until her eyes locked onto
her husband's face. The whites of his
eyes were crimson red. The vein in the
side of his forehead pulsated.'
You get the drift. If there is a way you can express it thru the five senses take that road instead of just simply saying 'he was mad' or 'J.J. was the best sex partner' show us why, ya feel me?
Another thing that bothers me, and I pinky swear this is it, is all hoods across this wonderful world is not the same so stop creating the same ish! Female writers tend to make the female character 'boss bitch' who is running thangs on the streets and then falls head over heals over the kingpin of the streets. The fellas tend to write about the brotha who is womanizing, into drug pushing and gets caught up resulting from greed. It's all running together, how many ways can you write the same ish? Seriously we go thru the same stuff every other race goes thru. Take a story line that seems out of place and put a hood twist to it. I promise you people will jump on it. Don't create a mediocre story just cause it's hot right now. I stepped out of my comfort zone and wrote a psychological thriller and I enjoyed it!
My point to this rant session is that now that we have somewhat of a legit piece in this writing industry and people all over the world are taking notice of our talents, lets take it to the next level. Right now it seems as though these 'urban' publishers are putting out crap just to say they have some titles under their belt! That is an ingredient to disaster. If they are picky about selecting bestsellers than so should you!
Now am I going to finish Moth to a Flame? Heeeeeeeeeellllllllllll no!
Peace and Love