This post is so many things that I don’t even know where to begin. First, it’s a wonderful bit of advice for writers on how to push the envelope and write gripping fiction. But it’s also a great opportunity to introduce you all to the wickedly funny and radically talented L.W. Patricks. And finally! His debut novel, Shadow of Wrath, is officially releasing today! Whoah! How much awesome sauce can you pack into one post? A lot. Clearly.
The Art of Controversy
Let’s face it; the worst thing for an indie author is to live in obscurity. With so many self-published books saturating the marketplace, how on earth can you climb ahead of the pile and get yourself noticed and discovered?
Here’s one solution: Be controversial, be outstanding, and be different.
If the first thing that pops in your mind when I say “be controversial” is to go and kick a puppy in the face and steal an old lady’s walker, then you’ve got it all wrong, not to mention the fact you probably need psychiatric help.
My definition of controversial when it comes to books is the following:
- Do the unexpected and keep your readers guessing. Make them feel that the world you created is unique, surprising, and most of all, dangerous.
- Take an idea and push it to the edge as far as it can go, while still maintaining the integrity of your story. Are you writing about sex? Push the boundaries emotionally (not just physically). Tell us how the sex has destroyed this person or made this person feel empowered over others. Writing about drug use? Send your characters as close to death as possible or into situations that they can never recover from. In my case, my book Shadow of Wrath is all about violence amongst children and teens and the effects on them living in an environment where death is as common as the rising sun. I did many unexpected things in the story, pushing the boundaries of violence and danger. Ultimately, the fate of some of these characters shocked even me as I wrote the book, but I could have it no other way.
- Shake up the story when things are getting comfortable. Sometimes you create such a perfect little world in your story where everything’s neat and tidy and all in place like a quant little home. However neat and tidy is boring for readers and as the writer, you need to unleash the mad bull through this perfection and shake everything up into a destructive mess where your characters are left picking up the pieces. It’s in these times of change and emotional distress that the characters you created can truly shine.
Of course, along with controversy comes the backlash. But here’s the one thing I’ve learned. There is not one book in existence that can receive universal acclaim and 100% satisfaction. Your writing will bring out the best in people, and possibly the worst, and it’s up to you to decide whom to listen to. My advice is to stay focused on your story, believe in the impact its creating, and let it ride out through the turbulent waters of criticism. There’s nothing worse than being average and normal as a writer, and by being dangerous and controversial, you’re one step ahead of the marketing game.
That’s it for now. Please check out my new book: Shadow of Wrath available on Amazon. (For the cheap price of $2.99 for a limited time only).
You can also chat me up on the following social networks:
In the Arena, you’re either a killer or a victim.
If survival meant murdering an innocent person in cold blood every week, could you do it? Are you able to stick the knife into your opponent’s heart while they look at you with fear in their eyes? Life in the Arena turns everyone into sinners.
A homeless boy is kidnapped from the streets and finds himself imprisoned in a far more horrifying place: the Arena, a place where teenage boys fight to the death for the pleasure of various lowlifes in a modern gladiator pit.
The Arena is the brainchild of Ryker, an ex-convict addicted to alcohol, gladiatorial-esque combats, and money. When not devising new ways for boys to kill each other, he’s ruling his small empire with a ruthless fist, rewarding his guards with sex slaves and punishing those who oppose him with barbaric executions.
Renamed Dog, the boy from the streets must turn himself into a killing machine if he is to continue surviving, but as he leaves a trail of bodies in his wake, the ghosts of slain boys haunts him, and the violence threatens to wake a beast inside him.
Allegra, a slave girl in the Arena and a victim of Ryker’s constant abuse, is his only key to salvation. She has lost everything already — her family, her innocence, and her dignity — while her will to live hangs on by a thin thread. Can she save Dog’s humanity before she too succumbs to the horrors of the Arena?
Seeking to defy Ryker, as Dog rises to power as his champion, the stage is set for something to give in this murderous world of young gladiators.
A tale about survival, tragedy, and human perseverance, the complete Shadow of Wrath is the first book in the Sins of the 7 series.
Fans of edgy and controversial dystopian books will love Shadow of Wrath.
L.W. Patricks is the author of SHADOW OF WRATH and the literary architect behind the upcoming Sins of the 7 series with Book One: AWAKE THE GHOSTS to be published late 2013.
His short fiction works has been published by Crow Toes Quarterly Magazine, Fiction and Verse literary magazine, and upcoming Denizens of the Dark. He enjoys writing contemporary fantasy with an emphasis on creating urban mythology for his stories.
L.W. Patricks was born in Toronto, Ontario where he graduated from University of Toronto’s Fiction Writing course. He has travelled all over the world including Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Austria, United Kingdom, Thailand, Hong Kong, Cambodia just to name a few. His diverse experience amongst other cultures provides inspiration for his stories.
He currently lives in Toronto with his wife where he enjoys the hot summer days and the cold winter nights.
You can visit him at his website at www.lwpatricks.com