Hello everyone. I’m André Leroux. I joined under another name a few months as “wedding-guest,” after a character in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which was my mother’s favorite bedtime story when I was little (I guess, with that sort of literary exposure, it’s no suprise I wound up where I am).
I re-registered after trying to join Dr. Yeoman’s Academy program, to find, in the end, I’d found myself at the beginning.
My goal remains the same. I consider it modest. I would like to make a living by writing and selling fiction. I would prefer to write fiction of some literary merit, but not so high-brow as to be unpalatable to the typical reader. I don’t want my friends and family to furrow their brows and shrug and frown and plead with their eyes, after giving up halfway through the first chapter.
On the longer term, I’d like to see my name regularly perched between Stephen King & James Patterson on the New York Times Bestseller List. I can write well enough and often enough to land there, I’m sure of that. I don’t know if I have the luck, or the marketing skills. Bordeaux and Bugatti may remain in my dreams, rather than my hands. I suppose I can live with that. Most people do.
Welcome, Andre. You are an habitué of the program, indeed a vexillary! Seriously, it's good to see you back again.
'I’d like to see my name regularly perched between Stephen King & James Patterson on the New York Times Bestseller List.' Wouldn't we all? But could you live with your conscience, if you had to write the kind of dreck that would position you - week after week - in the New York Times Bestseller List? (My reluctant respects to King and Patterson notwithstanding.)
I look forward to seeing your work here, and to commenting thoughtfully on it. Do add your feedback to other folks' excerpts. The forum is getting lively!
Oh, come on, every now and then something good hits the NYTBSL; all the Harry Potter books made it, and they weren’t dreck (or, at least, didn’t seem so, when I was a boy—alas, the kaleidoscopic lens of nostalgia indreads me too deeply to even attempt to re-read them; far too much of my ethereal youth has been stained or smeared by my attempts to relive it).
’Sides, I could care less about the size of the audience; I just want their beaucoup royalty checks. In fact, I’d hate that kind of attention—if you’ve ever taken a visit to Stephen King’s rather dull public website, you are doubtless familiar with the palpable distance he maintains from his fans; “Mr. King” this and “he’s very busy” that. I suspect Rowling and Patterson and the like all have the same problem. Isn’t it funny? As writers, we spend a lifetime trying to get just famous enough to sell enough copies not to worry about whether the cockroaches will toss us out of the apartment for failing to pay our half of the rent, only to don trench coats and sunglasses to dodge the people who feel so dearly (and falsely) connected to us once we finally achieve the success for which we so yearn.
Or so I heard, anyway.
I’m not … great … at feedback. I never know who wants me to smile and nod and adorn their crown with laurel leaves for expressing in under three thousand words all the anguish and clamor and bliss of humanity, and who wants actual feedback. And then there are the people who want the nice-sucks-nice chain, wherein you sandwich the important bits between fulsome flattery (at which I am notoriously lousy—“I liked, um, the vowels, they were well-chosen”).
I'm glad you like our little haven, Andre. It's a far cry from the trolls and kiddies you'll find in some forums, isn't it ? Yes, giving feedback is a delicate art and I'm not sure I've mastered it. Even thick-skinned veterans like a critic's gall to be mixed with honey. There's always something good to say about a story (and many of the stories here are very good) so we should say it.
I can relate to the arrogance of celebrity authors. Patricia Cornwell drives to her book signings in an armoured car, flanked by bodyguards. But it's not necessarily hubris. It may be self-protection. A celebrated novelist I know well had to move house after she was stalked by a fan. Oh, that we might achieve the dizzy heights of Salman Rushdie, when all our royalties go to pay for security guards! Well, perhaps not...
Andre, I can only speak for myself, but when I ask for feedback, I want honest feedback. That means the good (if there is any) along with the bad. What worked for you, what you liked, and why if possible; and what didn't work for you and what you didn't like and why. (That second why is usually easier than the first one.) For me, the order doesn't matter much, though we are taught that for some it does. But if I post something, it's with the hope that others can help me improve it.
Oh for sure you've mastered it, John, the honey u use taste faintly of tar and we all love it.
As for Andre Leroux, I have to welcome you most sincerely. I have a sneaking suspicion I have read um ... heard you elsewhere? We-ell, waddehel! You and your wit are most welcome on a forum like this, where things can sometimes get oh, so serious. Normally I am sure one has to be serious about ones writings (otherwise, who else will be?). But it is never a bad thing to be able to laugh at oneself. I for one enjoyed your tongue in cheek introduction, whether you were serious or not,
Welcome, I hope we'll all entertain each other together (performed according to the tune by um u know: Paul The Cartney)