Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dyad, a poem

I wrote this poem many years ago when I was in high school.  It has remained, largely untouched, since then.  I will admit that I have edited it for this post.  I was, after all, a lot younger then and my understanding of language has evolved, as all things do, over time.  The heavy use of dashes in this poem is a stylistic technique that I use consistently in my poetry.  I have also used ellipses, but I don't know if there is a difference, in my head, for the two.  I used it to break up the rhythm of the poem visually.  It is up to the reader, as with all writing, on their interpretation of the marks.

A "dyad" is, according to, a grouping of two.  In the case of this poem, I used the term to suggest the personal duality I felt at that time.  It is a poem of opposites and one that I really identified with at the time.  The concept of a "dyad" is a recurring theme in my early writing.  For those of you wondering...yes, my blog was named after this poem.

I am a creature born unto the night
Yet raised in the day.
A child of Darkness and of Light--
Without reason or way.

Twin in soul--One in body--
Logical and conceptual,
Sensible and insane--
Angry and alone.

I am the son Evil
And the daughter of Good.
Dancing amongst the graves,
Praying in the tombs--
Not sure what has, fearful of what will--

I have hated the light,
I have loved the dark.
Through peaceful thoughts I roam,
Alive in twisted madness.
To touch the Evil at the core--
To feel the Good beyond it.

And so I remain--
Eternally divided, tet always one.
Lost in Life--Found in Death.
A child of Darkness--
And of Light--
Without reason or way.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

This may be opening a can of worms, but I wanted to weigh-in on this subject.  I'm sure that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of sites out there that espouse one over the other.  If you are looking for that kind of site, look elsewhere.  That isn't the purpose of this entry.  I think both have their purpose.  Both have good points and bad points.  Pitfalls and positives.  No matter which way you go, the bottom line should not be money.  Yes, you can make money, but the focus should be on getting your thoughts/ideas/dreams out there.  To weave a tale that people will remember, and more importantly, enjoy.  If money is all that you love, save us from yourself and become a lawyer.

Back to the point.

Self Publishing
This is the easiest way to get your story out there.  It's free and easy and you can get something published in literally minutes.  There are several self-publishing sites out there, the two that probably have the most exposure are and (see links below).  All you have to do is follow their directions, and boom!  You have a story ready to be delivered to the masses.  You even get a sizable profit from the sales (over 70%).  Like I said, quick and easy with a high payout.  You don't have to fight with thousands of other manuscripts to get the attention of an editor (or their assistant).  You don't have to wait to get it published.  Sounds awesome, right?  Maybe not so much.

The biggest mark against self-publishing is the lack of a professional editing staff.  Wait! Didn't I just say that you wouldn't have to worry about getting the attention of an editor?  Yes, I did.  However, the lack of a professional editing staff means that you don't have someone scrutinizing your work and ferreting out all of the mistakes that might detract from your story.  Even if you have a really good reading circle, they may not find all the little things that an editor might.  I've read some self published stories.  The ones I have read had some really interesting story concepts and characters.  However, all of them had issues that seriously detracted from the story that an editor would have found.  Issues that made them almost unreadable at times.  It was a pity because I really enjoyed what I was able to read.  Some of the issues were typos (spell check won't find them all!), irrelevant historical information that had NO bearing on the story, excessive use of "Deus Ex Machina", overly successful characters, and even one case where the first person view changed to another character and I couldn't tell the difference (very confusing!).

So, if you are wanting to go the route of self-publishing, push your reading group to really scrutinize your work.  Don't assume that everything you write is perfect.  Write.  Re-write.  Re-write some more.

Traditional Publishing
Although it is a lot harder to get a book professionally published, there are some significant pluses.  For one, you get the experience of a professional editor and their staff to help you maintain a coherent story from start to finish.  Another thing you'll get is distribution to all markets.  You also get the marketing power and prestige of a publishing company.  Once you get published through a professional publisher, a LOT of doors are opened.  Some publishers only take manuscripts from agents or published authors.  Someone who is self-published won't necessarily get the attention of an agent and you won't be considered a "published" author by some companies.  Agents and publishing companies do cut into your profit margin, but at the same time, they can shop your story around to people who wouldn't normally look at your work.

The downside to traditional publishing is that it takes a lot of time.  You have to compete with a lot of other writers.  You have to research all of the publishers and what they do, and do not, want, write cover letters, format the manuscript, and spend money on postage (most publishers won't take digital submissions).  The Writer's Market is a good place to start.  They have a print copy of their book as well as an up-to-date site full of just about everything you could imagine.

Final thoughts
Whether you are self-publishing, or going the traditional route, you need to make sure that your story/poetry is read by as many people as you can find.  The more feedback you get from them, the better.  Encourage them to be honest and take their criticism with grace.  After you do that, sit down and figure out which way you want to go.

If you are interested, you can check out my self-published short story here: The Forgotten Arch (ebook).  It was submitted to for their short story competition as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  It is also Free.  Shameless plug, I know.

Till next time (I promise I'll have a new story soon).