DL Richardson has a new release that entices me with all the right ingredients. Feedback is a YA action adventure with a sci-fi feel. It's calling my name on my iPad. DL is here to talk about success, and then we'll get a peek at Feedback. Welcome, DL!
Nature + Nuture = Success. That’s the formula shows like X Factor, Idol, and The Voice use to create stars. Find someone with Talent, Nuture them by teaming them up with a successful artist or manager, and you have Success. The same formula is applied to sports. Kid with talent joins local soccer team. Talent scout notices kid, signs him up with top training program, coaches kid to professional arena and kid becomes a winner. But is this Nature + Nuture method the best way to measure success?
Not only is the Nature + Nuture method limited, if it continues to be the only formula used for creating stars, in a few decades we will have an entire pool of manufactured talent and no real substance. How far would Madonna or The Rolling Stones make it on shows like Idol? They’re not the greatest vocalists in the world, but they are amazing entertainers and they possess what manufactured artists don’t – substance.
It seems that these days, if we want to be successful in anything we go straight to the mentors and leapfrog one very important aspect of what it really makes to be a winner. And that is substance. Substance is the essence of every character – the struggle to get where we want to go, the obstacles we face along the way, the agony of small losses, the joy of little wins… each of these things creates the very heart and soul of success.
Take this best selling fiction story and appply the Nature + Nuture = Success approach. Harry Potter is a talented wizard (Nature). He joins Hogwartz (Nuture). Under the guidance of the teachers he learns everything there is to know about magic and becomes the greatest wizard in the universe (Success). The End.
How horribly, incredibly dull. It’s hardly worth opening the book. What is missing is substance. Harry’s struggle with not belonging in either world, the obstacles he faces from an evil wizard who wants him deads, the agony of losing some battles, and the joy of winning others, these are the things that craft Harry into being the greatest wizard in the universe. Writers understand that it takes more than Nature + Nuture to create a book which people wanted to read. Struggle, conflict, obstacles…call them what you like they all mean substance. And substance is what helps readers connect with the characters.
Our characters face need to face obstacles in order to grow. They need to experience ups and downs. They need to fail and succeed along the way. Often they need to get broken and put back together. Writers don’t throw obstacles at our characters because we can. We throw obstacles at them because we must. Without conflict and struggle, all we would end up with is a bunch of characters who wanted something, got it, and the rest of the book would be spent flaunting what they got in the other characters’faces.
Another thing the Nature + Nuture formula doesn’t take into account, and this is sometimes the most important factor, is that the journey itself is often the story. What poor tales Thelma and Louise, Star Wars, and The Hobbit would be without the struggle and the journey. In the case of Thelma and Louise, Star Wars and The Hobbit, the journey isn’t the underlying story. It is the story.
Some publishers today are telling authors to get their manuscripts professionally edited and appraised before submitting them. This is sending the message that to succeed as a writer you only need talent and mentoring. This is so not the case. A great writer needs talent, they need a great editor/publisher/agent, but they also need an equal measure of life experience. I hope the X factory formula doesn’t make it into the writing arena. Struggle, experience, obstacles, conflict...all these things come from a writer’s experiences in real life. It is our life’s experiences that make our writing honest. And without honesty, what we write is nothing more than words on paper.
How do you measure success? By the end result, or by the journey?
D L Richardson is the author of young adult paranormal fiction.
by D L Richardson
Listening to your inner voice can get you killed.
Ethan James, Florida Bowman, and Jake Inala are three teenagers who receive much-needed organ transplants. Two weeks later they are inadvertently recruited by the CIA when a spy dies halfway through his mission. Three bacteria bombs are set to detonate, spreading illness and death across the planet, and it’s up to Ethan, Florida, and Jake to deactivate them.
Except that they have no idea where the bombs are located.
Kidnapped for information they can’t possibly know, and fuelled by the spirit of a dead CIA agent, Ethan, Florida, and Jake must look deep inside themselves if they are to finish the mission and save millions of lives. But they’re being held captive in a strange place by a man who believes in Feedback, the theory that information is retained in the memory of organs–in this case those of a certain dead CIA agent donor. And their captor will stop at nothing to get the information retained in their newly transplanted organs.