The People We Want to Read About
In this wonderful world, there are certain people with special knowledge and we love it when they write a book. They could be astronauts who know what it’s like to live in space. Or they could be doctors who have a revolutionary theory of weight loss. Or, they could be famous people who we are so enamored with that we want to know everything about them. Side story. Did Linda Carter ever write a book? She probably has some great stories. Back to the blog.
Then there are people who have worked hard to make themselves interesting like an author that has written 5 wonderful books and we are on pins and needles waiting for book number 6. Or a person who spent their life learning about spiders. I bet they would know why spiders have 8 legs. Why not 6?
For some people, fate intervened and overnight some people became extradentary. I watched a video today about a man that climbed up the side of a multi-story building to save a baby. What a hero. I bet he could get a book deal. Others fell into it. The child of a famous person could easily get a book deal even if they have nothing to say. Or the person who lived next door to that famous/terrible/fun person. They certainly have stories to tell.
Tragically there are awful people and we want to know the terrible reason why they made so many bad choices. Do they just decide to be evil one day? Are they completely unaware of how bad the world perceives them? What was their true motivation for hurting so many people? Why did they claim to be innocent when it was so clear that they were guilty?
Then there are those who we wish would tell us about themselves. What happens in area 51? Are there really aliens living there? What really happened to Jimmy Hoffa? Could he still be alive? That guy at work who’s always happy. What’s his secret? Is he faking it? That lady that just walked past me. Why did she smile at me? Why is she wearing different colored socks? These deep dark secrets somehow remain out of the printed word.
Readers flock to purchase books that have this special knowledge about special people. The result makes for enjoyable reads and readers are filled with wonderful knowledge. This is one of the many sparks that makes life worth living and it drives the publishing world to reach new heights.
Yeah, I got none of that. Here are my best life experiences: I was scuba diving off the coast of San Diego during an earthquake. I knew something strange was happening and watched as the sand moved off the seabed. There was a strange dunk-dunk-dunk sound above me; like a large ship’s propeller. Only a few people ever have been diving during an earthquake. It’s likely that more people have been in outer space.
I climbed a rock face at the Gunks in New York. While every day at least 100 people climb the exact same rock, I considered this achievement to be one of the highlights of my life. I passed my second Electrical Engineering course on the first try. Not many people at my school did this because it was a gatekeeper class. I went skydiving once. I got really dizzy and wanted to barf. Never again. And finally, I got married. It was a really big day that had a lot going on. How did I feel about my best life experiences? Good at the time. Now, I don’t think about them much. In short, they don’t define me.
It appears that my life isn’t too exciting. Please do not misinterpret my words as being negative. I enjoy my life very much and appreciate every day that I’m privileged to be alive. My health is good, my family is normal, my friends are normal and my chosen profession isn’t too adventurous. I grew up in a nice part of San Diego with wonderful parents and a great sister. I have never been in jail, never been in a major traffic accident, never gotten into a major fight and I make a strong effort to be a pleasant person. The area where had low crime and not much happens. Not that I’m complaining, it is just that there are very few readers who would purchase my autobiography. In fact, you have just read all the major highlights. Presenting, average guy.
Now you might be tempted to think, “Hey, you just haven’t hit your stride. You can still do something great.” Not likely. I actually like living a boring life. I have no desire for fame and I go out of my way to be just a normal person. I never want to post a YouTube video, do something to get on the news or act in a movie. That’s just not my personality. I really don’t want to be recognized for anything other than being a good writer and potentially a good business person if I ever get back into trying to get something started.
In some ways, it is easier to be a normal writer doing normal things. Readers aren’t expecting something great. Hey, you won 4 Olympic skiing medals and you wrote about painting flowers? Boring! You lived through the great depression, fought in Iwo Jima, built a successful business and your book is about raising chickens? One-star review! With me, it is just some guy trying to write a book that I hope a few people will enjoy. I think that my work is easy to relate to because it is the product of my humble experiences in life.
In my opinion, it is a good realization that I understand my fate. In the Facebook group “Writers Helping Writers” I often read posts about people wanting to write their autobiography. I find that the vast number of these people are trying really hard to write something very big out of their very normal life. Often, I write the comment, “What is your hook? Lots of people have books like this. What would make me want to read it?” I understand that many of these people had bad childhoods or traumatic experiences. However, I feel that the vast majority of these soon to be writers have nothing exceptional to offer readers other than a depressing read or a desperate need for fame. I guess it is sad fact that so many people want to be recognized and loved by people they have never met. I realize that I’m fortunate that I need no recognition other than perhaps enough people to buy my book so that I can break even on my editing costs.
What I do have on my side are some basic life experiences and I read a lot. The works that I create take from this limited knowledge base and I try to write an interesting and plausible story. I hope that readers will relate to my “down to earth concepts” and this makes for a more tangible story. I fell a lot less pressure to succeed because readers aren’t expecting something amazing. Hopefully, they will be pleasantly surprised.
My lack of major life experiences does limit me in many ways. For example, I have an idea for a book where a princess in modern Japan has an adventure. What do I know about the royal Japanese, Japanese society or Japanese women in general? Nothing. Probably not going to write that story. In my first book, the main character is Russian. It took a lot of research to make her background believable. Fortunately, I was able to use the Internet and a Russian name generator to help me out. I also didn’t get too deep into her background. Hopefully, as more people read it, they will not find too many flaws.
What about the aliens in my second book? That is a perfect example of something that I have no knowledge about. Do aliens exist? The odds say that they defiantly exist. Physics dictates that it is very difficult to travel from a distant world to earth. As such, there has never been any real proof. The result was that I did my best to create a story that I feel could have happened with the little knowledge I have.
What will my writing future hold? I will keep doing my best with what little life experiences I have. What would happen if I were part of something really big and people wanted to read about it? Well, at least I now have the basic skills to write an autobiography.
You’re the best -Bill
May 30, 2018
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