Thursday, 22 March 2012

Creatures Bedazzled

Since my book’s release has been made known, I’ve been getting extremely awesome feedback. People I have never met before have been pledging their future loyalty and, I must say, I’m truly honoured. It would be all so very Cinderella-like if it weren’t for those opposing opinions which would keep me up at night, had I not already grown an extremely thick skin over the past months during the querying process (thank you, publishers who would rather concentrate on kissing up to already known authors).

In the last few weeks, I have gotten pretty strange remarks about my dark creatures who can’t be blamed for my apparent “need to hop on the bandwagon”. Nowadays, if a writer has chosen to use blood-drinking creatures in their novels, they WILL have to explain that their monsters DON’T glitter in the sunlight while holding a carrot. My dragons are now under the scrutiny of anti-Eragon firefighters. If a character ventures so much as a cackle, an author WILL DEFINITELY be accused of trying to milk the Harry Potter cow for all its worth (I’d like to see a Malaysian witch being held at wand-point. Be assured that the owner will be laughed at to death).

We fortunately live in a free world and everyone is entitled to their opinions. Critics are an important part of literature because I really do want to know if I should keep on writing or if I should just get another pet. But what makes half the world so ready to stick their claws out at you?

"It's not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out where the strong man stumbled or where the doer of great deeds could have done them better" [Theodore Roosevelt]
"The proper function of the critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it" [D.H. Lawrence]
"A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car" [Kenneth Tynan]

Sounds to me like general dissatisfaction all around. All I can say is (and my novel would still not be publishable if it weren’t for my friends and family eliminating all the rubbish) that I make the corrections and enjoy the praise, but only if it means not losing my own voice.

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”—Cyril Connolly.

My novel is based in Malaysia where dark spirits and beings are a part of everyday life. There are people living in remote areas that still place knives at their front doors before they go to sleep because the Asian vampire is afraid of sharp objects. No one worth their weight in rice would go walking on the beach at midnight or utter their name in the middle of a cemetery or jungle for fear of being whisked away by ghosts. People go to fortune tellers and shamans to inquire about auspicious days for weddings and business deals or if the neighbour is going to steal their newspaper again. That’s just the way it is and that’s just the way I tell it in my stories.

I seem not to have gotten the memo saying that dark creatures are now all under copyright, soooorry! Being a writer means being able to swallow bad critiques without running through the streets and pulling your hair out (but feel free to do so when you get your first award!). Different tastes and opinions make the world a unique, lovable place. I just wonder who they’ll compare me to once they read my novel and meet my pervert of a goblin and his demon-monkey friend. (Evil grin….)

Have a great weekend, my nice other half of the worldJ


  1. I lurve the quote from Cyril Connolly. I write for a living for a multi faceted audeince and i am sure 90% of them dont give a toss as to the detail and only read the first 10 words or so of my many painstakingly crafted missives.

    And, yet I agonise over every word, spelling mistake, punctuation, tone, and how each and every word intonation by the reader may change the delivery of my message.

    I dreamt of being the next Enid Blyton (I am a child of the 60s) and then gave up that dream for fear of not being able to gather an audience. But now with the power of the net and inspired by your blog - maybe i too can tangibilise my dream and write about what I am passionate about. Thanks Ms Koeksal - you are an inspiration to young and old. - AXA

  2. Cool! Thanks AXA and make sure to tell us where we can find this future blog of yours:)

  3. A few of those acusing you of hopping on the bandwagon a merely judging a book by its cover. To be honest most people are so polished they expect stories like Potter/Twilight they dont know any different, and when something different comes along the change is hard to except. They will forever be looking for the cheese ;)

    This is an excellent post and you have stuck to your beliefs. The book sounds ( from the snippets you have given us) and I cannot wait to read it.

    Bonne Chance!


  4. I meant to say sounds amazing! -JMS

  5. Dear JMS, thanks for your vote of confidence:) Great to have you with us!!