You are looking at the cover for my forthcoming collection of short fiction. I am in the final stages of approving the printed version before it is made available at Lulu, as well as Amazon sites across the globe.
This started as an attempt to put together some ideas that I have long wanted to write. The end result is a collection of experimental satire dotted with different themes and influences. The pieces in this book were started in between edits for my first book Planned UnParenthood Creating A Life Without Procreating. As a few pieces materialized, it was becoming clearer that I might end up with enough pages to put them together in a collection that could be the second release under my publishing label of Frogsong Productions.
The cover is meant to give off a slightly blurred effect of a set of dice just being thrown, coming to rest in the position they are in. The cover is also inspired by some older books I have seen in bookstores and on shelves in older homes I have been in. Plenty of times I have run my fingers along a bookshelf and ran across something that has an old-looking photo on the front with a lightly faded background surrounding it.
The title itself reflects the concept of taking a chance. It is a theme of gambling on something in order to make something happen. For too long I might have been afraid to take a chance on writing some sentences which read funny, and also sound funny when being read aloud. Humour is a gamble no matter what. A stand-up comic with a large following has that large following because people find them entertaining and guaranteed laugh-givers. No matter the level of popularity, humour of a particular comic is subjective to the interpreter.
When I ran a few of these pieces past a few readers I received critique and feedback from both ends of the scale. This was perfect proof of how individuals react to words. One particular piece “Westville Ice Legends” was read by two different people who gave me the exact opposite reactions.
This particular story is a fictional tale loosely based on a men’s recreational hockey team in small-town Nova Scotia. One reader loved the descriptions of each of the characters, while the other said the humour starts great but then falls flat in places.
Perfect. This is the kind of range of reaction any writer should be happy with. Sure it would be great for a writer to have every single reader enjoy the work they are putting out. The reality is that writers, comics, actors, artists of any kind, cannot please everyone in the audience. No matter how valiant the effort.
When and if I have the opportunity to pass along any advice to newer writers, one of the most important things I will impart is to take critical feedback with an open mind. This is so you can learn from them. This all comes back to the theme of throwing the dice on your work. Take a chance and write something different. Create a story that you may have been hesitating to piece together.
Throw the dice.
William (Dann) Alexander is a Nova Scotia, Canada based freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter @WriterDann