One man’s success story is another man’s tale of woe
A fellow struggling writer friend of mine recently had a considerable personal success. He got to meet one of his favorite authors, R.A. Salvatore. Not only did he meet him, but he had several interactions with the man throughout the course of a day at Gencon. Kudos to him, I say, even if my own thoughts of R.A. Salvatore are somewhat different. Gary Vanucci’s recounting of the wondrous event can be found here: http://eyeonashenclaw.blogspot.com/2011/08/meeting-of-lifetime-ra-salvatore.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EyeOnAshenclaw+%28Eye+on+Ashenclaw%29.
It’s not his writing that has me miffed, you see. He’s successful and certainly does a good job. Heck, I even enjoyed his writing quite a bit when I was younger. I won several of Mr. Salvatore’s books, to boot. The problem I have is that he delayed my own attempts at becoming a writer by years because of his primary character throughout his books.
You see I was once a gamer myself. Not video game so much as the kind of kid who sits around a table with pencils, paper, and a bunch of dice with other kids. Well, adults do it too and there’s certainly nothing wrong with it – it can be a very fun time. There’s nothing amoral or disconcerting about it, rather it’s a chance to do some ad-lib acting and brainstorming in a social setting amongst peers.
So anyhow, I had this character who was similar to Mr. Salvatore’s main character (Drizzt Do’Urden) in many superficial ways. The thing is, I’d never heard of Drizzt because The Crystal Shard, Salvatore’s first book, had not been published yet. Anyhow, my character (a chap named Kelnozz Risingmoon) did his thing and went on to be the star of some of my first novels. As a matter of fact he starred in three of them, each a little better than the one before, with plans for more. But by the time I got around to submitting them to various places Drizzt had hit the scene and stolen my thunder.
Kelnozz had a short run on a couple of websites as a freebie, but that was back in the days when I still sucked as a writer (in spite of people telling me otherwise – I shudder when I go through those early stories). With the help of an editor things could have been considerably different, but the door was shut for me at the time and I needed to come up with something else altogether.
I did, a fun tale about an anti-heroine named Yamara. Disillusioned and convinced that I’d never get anywhere she enjoyed the same successes as Kelnozz, which is to say a few free story sites with no real hope for a future. The writing was better too, though only marginally in my opinion. Apparently it was better enough, I received word a few years ago of someone who had stolen that story and published the early parts of it in an anthology. I checked into it and it was true, but thanks to some legal action taken by myself and some other wronged authors we got the entirely frabricated book eliminated. Some sign of success, eh?
I still think fondly of Kelnozz and hope one day to rewrite his tales so that they don’t suck. It’s not just Kelnozz’s tale that needs to be told, after all. There’s also the story of Alesha, Nordan, Martin, Pompey, Bobocateya, and a host of other characters that I only had the honor of writing about, not creating. And did I mention the paladin who mistakenly burned a nest full of giant wasps that also had some captive people trapped inside of it? Oops…