I was published for the first time. It happened last week Wednesday through a Facebook post. “We’re on Amazon.” I figured this couldn’t refer to a trip to the great river or rain forest, palling around with jaguars and dinosaurs, if you believe Professor Challenger’s account. There was no trip on the books, and surely I would have been invited for my intuitive and manly nature. I mean the hair on my chest and back? I could totally pass for a gorilla in a life or death situation where it was required I was mistaken as one of their own.
Anyway, I realized it was the anthology, and we were on the website, Amazon. What a remarkable piece of technology. I sat in the van, with my grandparents and parents, about to leave my brother’s call day, when I mumbled, “Oh, I’ve been published.” This caused a whirlwind of sorts, but it’s neither here nor there. What’s important is what I wrote for the anthology.
While agonizing over what I would contribute to this pot of fledgling authors, many of which can only claim the mantle of author now that they were put into an anthology, such as myself, I was reading stories from India. They were beautiful, enchanting, filled with descriptors and impossible events. There were talking birds which took their revenge on evil owls. Jackals made fools of lions until exposed and subsequently eaten. The endings consisted of all the mortals realizing they’re gods, and ascending back to heaven after fixing some fault in the past.
So I decided I wanted to experiment. I was going to write an Indian myth. It was criticized. I’ll level with you, the majority of modern readers do not like mythologies because they’re filled with tropes, deus ex machina, gods, beautiful people, and perfect endings. Aside from the Ramayana. What was that, Sita? “My husband can’t just accept things? Fine! The earth is going to swallow me and you’ll never marry me. Thanks for rescuing me from the demon king so I can willingly be swallowed by the earth.” If I were Rama, I’d go off with the bear and monkey and drink myself into a stupor. I bet you’re at least marginally curious about what any of that means. It’s a good read.
Anyway, the point is I experimented. It wasn’t necessarily appreciated by all. In fact about 15% of the story was not appreciated by any. But it’s a little like baseball spring training, where pitchers can have abysmal ERAs. You’re throwing the same pitch not to strike out the batter, but to perfect the pitch. I wrote an experimental piece as much to entertain as I did to grow and learn. What I got out of mimicking Indian mythology was a much stronger sense of description.
I experiment in most of my stories and world building. I use old mythologies to teach me concepts and techniques. Each culture teaches me something new, often ideas that we don’t really dabble in anymore. Funny story, it’s unique if no one’s really used it in 1500 years.
While you don’t need to experiment for the rest of your life, I do highly suggest you experiment. Find a writer and copy them, but in your way. Even make it publication quality. Go for it.
What experimentation have you committed? Where are your influences? What have they taught you?
Also, please do look into purchasing the anthology I was fortunate enough to be a part of. The writers are all young. Many of us, this is our first story. But more important than checking out our author pages, is that the money goes towards the World Literacy Foundation. There’s even a cute video of children reading around the world. I think the companies we are publishing through get a 30% cut, more on the physical copy, but the rest goes straight to helping people read in a global economy where reading is critical for high end employment.
If you want to pay full price, Amazon is a great place to get it. Not dinosaurs, but books. There are also dinosaur books.
For those who are a little more frugal, you have two options, both available until May 31, 2015.
For digital, go to the link and put in code VB87J for 25% off.
For physical, go to the link and put in code TGERED9J for 25% off.
Please do leave reviews on the site, and thank you for your patronage. More importantly, thank you on behalf of all those kids who will learn to read because of your contributions.