View Full Version : What I am looking for is...

07-29-2004, 01:52 AM
I would like to meet someone who would be willing to show me how to do the research I need to write the books my mind has imagined.

A Mentor/Teacher who will not charge me for their services... one who will be open and honest but not brutal and unkind... someone who can get their point across without adding insults to their criticism... A person who can take me by the hand and point me in the right direction and know when to let go and let me fly solo... some one who is published and knows what they are doing... someone who can help me take my ideas and turn them into a peice of art without crushing my creativity... someone who will work one on one with me and let me benefit from their knowledge and experience...:hail

Any takers?:huh Am I asking for too much?:(


07-29-2004, 08:53 PM
well, you are asking for a lot, tammy!... i don't know anyone else who does all that for free, as i do... but if you should hear from anyone else who does, please let me know who it is and how to contact them, so i'll have someone to send folks to when i can't help with a particular piece of work, due to violent content, ok?... i've been hoping to come across another for a long time and haven't yet...

love and hugs, maia

07-30-2004, 02:27 AM
Be very careful, Tammy. I made the same request here, only because I saw a sort of open invitation. The criteria that I have quoted from you were met in this way: open and honest lost out to brutal and unkind, insults WERE the criticism, and worst of all, crushed creativity seemed to be the desired goal.
My husband was thrilled along with me when I told him I had a mentor willing to guide me, without cost, in my quest for a more refined writing technique. After a few days he asked me how it was going. I couldn’t tell him that the “critiques” of my writing included; “who’s gonna give a flying fleep where the door is situated on the building?...”, “she just went into the bleeping diner, for cripes’ sake… get it over with!”, “.[‘gag me with a spoon!,’..... purple prose to the barf-making max”, “barfaroo!”, “this para. is so dull and simplistic, it sounds like a third grade reader”, and finally, “this is as far as I can go… it should show you some things that you need to learn how to do, to make your writing more interesting”!
My husband wonders why my life-long interest just suddenly faded.
I wonder if “free” translates to “target practice” for the giver. I give my time freely in community service, but never do I throw a food parcel at a needy person just because he can’t pay for my services.
I have not been able to write one creative word since then. I had occasionally written for my local (small town) newspaper when asked. I am not sure quite why, but I freeze up at the thought of sending them another word. I know by some of the various, more civil remarks (relatively speaking) in the critique of my work that the aforementioned mentor could not have more than skimmed my words, but it did make an impression on me that I can’t shake after all these months.
Don’t even try to convince me that pain is the way to progress, or emphasizing the worst brings out the best. There was not one positive comment in the critique. In the entire 5000 words (or whatever it was), could there not have been one thing to comment on to encourage me, but so many things to tear apart? Could be, I’ll never really know. Were her comments valid? Maybe, but I just can’t imagine how they could have been intended to help. Even telling me in a friendly way that I am not destined to be a writer would have certainly been acceptable, but to make me feel like a fool for trying was not.

aka eraser
07-30-2004, 03:29 AM
Myranda and Tammy, drop me a line either via EZmessage or the address you'll find when you've clicked my nickname and seen my profile.

07-30-2004, 05:57 AM
Oh Myranda!!!!

Now I am scared to death. I can take creative criticism.... but mean and nasty I find hard to swallow. Now what am I gonna do???? With so many preditors out there to get to the new writers, am I just prey to be scavenged???:huh :( :huh :( >: :head

aka eraser
07-30-2004, 06:30 AM
No Tammy, that's not gonna happen here.

Somebody'll be along to vouch that I'm harmless....any day now....

<eraser taps his watch..shakes it..holds it to his ear...>

07-30-2004, 06:48 AM
Well Tammy, all I meant was for you to be careful. I’ve met so many wonderful people here that I know mine was a rare experience, whether my writing stunk or not. I meant-be prepared, which I was not. I felt like I went for a walk in the woods with a trusted friend, (I was “softened” first with words of camaraderie) then robbed at knifepoint. Sound silly? Sound out of proportion to the whole thing? Not if you had hopes and were excited by the whole process, and then were made fun of.
I’m sorry if my words seemed strong or harsh (or am I?). I guess I am guilty of the same thing I’m complaining about, but after just this past week coming back to these boards since that “experience”, and then seeing your post, I just had to comment.
My writing may be feeble and weak, but my attempts do not warrant scorn or ridicule, nor does anyone's. And that was ridicule.

MacAl Stone
07-30-2004, 10:55 AM
There are a lot of really wonderful people on this site. And hardly any pills, really.

Every mentor does not work for every mentee, of course...that ought to go without saying. What I find of enormous value in AW is that there are so many writers here, of different levels of skill and experience--and we all honestly try to sort it out, every day. I know of a number of smaller online writing-crit groups who've formed up as a result of meeting in AW.

So hang out, meet people, read the other boards, get a feel for the people you can learn from, and connect with. Myranda, I am really sorry to hear about your bad experience. And I hope deeply that you do overcome the negative associations of that experience--and write again. Start with a single line, perhaps? Or pop over to the new Prompts, Games and Writing exercises board--and just play a bit until you can lose a little of that anxiety, maybe?

Tammy, hang in there. Don't be afraid :) --take the time to make a few friends here--and it will, in fact, all work out okay.
Feel free to ez-mail me, as well.

Oh, and I will cheerfully and enthusiastically vouch-for, endorse, and otherwise recommend AKA Eraser as a guide. Eraser is kind, gentle, respectful, and often displays a really fine amount of good common sense. And the guy knows his fishing, too.


07-30-2004, 12:21 PM
Myranda, sorry about your experience. But not all mentors (or self-proclaimed mentors) are like that. There are many wonderful people here.

But you're right, just because someone offers doesn't mean they're qualified. Some people critique/mentor others to make themselves feel superior and better about themselves. They're not willing trying to help another fellow writer.

I concur with Mac. Stay around, check the place out, talk to people, read the threads (much good information), and get a feel of who the good and bad guys are. Ask questions. Some of us are willing to help (time permitting).

p.s. I too recommend Eraser. He's a really good guy.

07-30-2004, 03:08 PM
One bad experience does not a site, make; or a bread, bake; a pill, take; or...or... (psst, Maestro, help me out here)

Just take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and relax. Send Mr. Eraser a message and see what he has to say. He's a talented writer and a fine fellow.

By the way, feel free to e-mail me or stop in AW chat sometime and say hello.

I can't and won't offer any mentoring assistance unless you need technical information on military or law enforcement subject matter, but I'll be happy to meet you.

07-30-2004, 08:29 PM
Myranda, I'm so sorry to hear you had a bad experience. Unfortunately, sometimes we don't get quite what we expect from others. I've also had experience with an "editor" that I discovered did not quite mesh with my style. But, you can't let the bad experience ruin the joys of writing. Even if you aren't the next top-selling novelist, that doesn't lessen the importance of your writing. You need to get back in the saddle, so to speak.

I am thirding the recommendation of Eraser. He is a kind, wise soul. Please, stay and get to know us. You may just make some new friends around here. So many of us have.

Lori Basiewicz
07-30-2004, 10:08 PM
Tammy and Myranda both, please do stay.

And I will fourth-vouch for Eraser. He is kind and nice and spiffy, if a tad bit hung up on fish.

Same goes for Liam and Spook. Mac is evil, but only in a good.

07-30-2004, 10:50 PM
Notice how Lori skillfully skipped mentioning me. It's your cue: stay away!


07-30-2004, 11:16 PM
Hi, Myranda and Tammy,

Like you, I've had a terrible experience in my writing but this came from a READER who posted her thoughts on my work publicly on the Internet, for all to see. She didn't just go after my ability to write, though; she also made some (hurtful) comments about my appearance. (I am a burn survivor with burn scars on my left cheek. It kind of makes my left eye look strange in pictures.) To say the least, this daily attack really, really made me fearful of ever submitting work again, let alone writing. But, you know: I found that the best solution was to IGNORE IT. To just write anyway and submit, too. I had to give myself some pretty big pep talk to get over my pain and fear. It took a long time before I did.

Time heals all wounds.

I am very sorry for what you have experienced. That is just awful and that person should be ashamed of calling themself a "mentor" to writers if all they do is put writers down. A REAL writing mentor will see the trouble spots and kindly help you fix them.

I also vote for eraser. He actually helped me out with a couple of articles I wrote and the results were very satisfactory. They were a huge improvement to my articles. Please consider checking him out. He knows his stuff.

Good luck!


Lori Basiewicz
07-30-2004, 11:18 PM
Ah, but Ray, you defy description. :grin

07-31-2004, 03:02 AM
I have decided to stick around!!! I may not be the next John Grisham, but I am definitely the only Tammy Swift(like me, anyway)

Mommamaia, To you I want to say that I have found someone who is talented, kind and published to help me out (or at least is willing to try). I don't know if they want it broadcast or not so I am not willing to give up their name at this time.

To Eraser, I want to say that you are one of a kind... That is for sure and I will email you with any other thoughts or words I may have. But I will say you should be proud of all the people who have recommended you and praised you. That says alot about your character (something that alot of people don't have these days). I have not seen anyone else spoken so highly of on this board or any others I have found so far.

To Myranda, Please don't give up! I think we newbies should stick together and learn and grow and share our experiences. Please feel free to email me. We can jump into this writing world together if you want.:hug

To all of those who have offered encouragement and advice, Thank YOU!!:kiss I sincerely mean it. I had a little bit of a rough experience but now I am going to just put that and those comments behind me and go from here. Learning and hopefully growing along the way.

tfdswift68@yahoo.com For those who want to email me, MYRANDA!!;)

aka eraser
07-31-2004, 05:39 AM
Gee. Shucks even. What the heck: Holey Moley.

If I'd known that 5 bucks each would buy such praise I'd have hired you guys to review my book on Amazon! ;)

07-31-2004, 11:45 AM
I also want to add my thanks to all you water cooler guys and gals who commented in public, and in private. I really did assume that my experience with a mentor was probably a rare one, especially from this place. I could actually read the welcome and willingness to help in most of the posts on the entire board, before and after that disappointment
The way Tammy worded her post, and the first reply to it, though, just made it difficult not to comment. I didn’t intend to put you off about anything Tammy; I just meant to say what was bothering me. I was incredibly confused at the extreme reaction from this mentor who had offered to help for free. For some reason, I told her that her words did not bother me, but I said they might bother someone else. It wasn’t true of course, as I have already explained. I never heard back from her after that, so I don’t know how she felt about my reply. Maybe I was just overreacting. Maybe if I would have told her what I really thought, it wouldn’t have stayed with me so long.
It’s funny how her comments, combined with my husband’s overdone flattery, took away all my perspective (not sure if this is quite the word I want) of my writing. I just really wanted something genuine but helpful. (Not to slight her knowledge; she did comment on my overuse of “the”, etc. That kind of thing alone would have been some of the help I was looking for.) I do know it was a lot to expect, but when it was offered so willingly, how could I resist? Some of you have said you might be able to help as time permits. Any restrictions like time or subject matter should certainly always be respected, but I have the feeling you wouldn’t slap a few insults on it, then send it back just so you could call yourself mentors.
Well, for now I feel so relieved, and again see this place the same way I did in the first hours I spent here. I think I might try working on the same story that caused such a gag effect. Writing used to be such a relaxing thing to do. It will be awhile before I feel like exposing my writing to scrutiny again, but I was really touched by each offer. You really are a great group of people.

07-31-2004, 11:58 AM
I went to your website, and found some very funny stuff there. And the River. I enjoyed that very much. I also found out what "What Fish Don't Want You To Know" meant. I'd always wondered. I didn't realize what good stuff was buried in the layers beneath these posts. I recommend to anyone that never clicks on those personal links in people's posts to start clicking. Or maybe I'm the only one who usually didn't.

aka eraser
07-31-2004, 09:07 PM
Glad you're going to stick around Myranda and thanks for the kind words about my site/stories.

(Aside to Mac, Maestro, Liam, Lori, Dawn, Tammy et al: Myranda only charged me $3. Some friends you guys are!)


07-31-2004, 09:21 PM
it's great that you've found someone, tammy!... if they feel like revealing themselves at any time, maybe you could ask him/her to let me know by email if i can recommend them to writers i can't help due to violent content in their work?

i'm delighted to hear you're sticking with your writing, myranda... what sometimes may seem like harsh or cruel criticism to a sensitive beginner, is often just truly caring, constructive comments delivered in a bantering manner... one person's idea of a bit of injected humor is not always seen as funny by everyone else, right?... when you can't hear the tone of a person's voice saying the words, you can't always tell how they mean what they write... in any case, it was wise of you to not let that experience stop you from writing any more... keep up the good work!

love and hugs, maia

07-31-2004, 10:37 PM

I'm tone deaf anyway.

08-01-2004, 12:35 AM
I hope you noticed, AKA, that on the back of the receipt for that $3 was a coupon good for 50% discount on any haircut between the hours of 2 and 4 AM on Fridays or Saturdays in July 2004 at your local Cut & Run All Night Drive-Up Salon de Beauté. If you were to take advantage of that, your haircut would be only $3.00--or another way of looking at it, that $3.00 to me would be canceled out! The help could then be considered free! You KNOW the value of that!

(Disclaimer: This statement was made for humor purposes only, and no feelings (should) have been hurt in its creation or presentation.)

08-01-2004, 01:11 AM
Eraser seems so genuine,
So kind and yet so sweet;
I clicked upon his website,
And found him to be neat.

My compliments and praise
I want to shout out loud;
For all the things he says,
He does this board right proud!

My price just went up to $8.00!

:rofl :rofl :thumbs

08-01-2004, 02:07 AM

aka eraser
08-01-2004, 02:51 AM
ok ok ok. Stop. I'm broke. But I nearly always need a haircut....


08-01-2004, 06:22 AM
All jokes aside... Thanks everybody for the encouragement, ideas and recommendations.

By the way no groupie here just a starving writer. ;)


08-01-2004, 02:20 PM
Uh, Frank, does this mean the $5.00 is in the mail? (and please, no more Canadian nickels!)

aka eraser
08-01-2004, 10:19 PM
Um, my cheque is good right? And sure...it's in the mail. Yeah...that's the ticket!

08-02-2004, 06:23 AM
What's wrong with Canadian nickels?



A Pathetic Writer
09-01-2004, 12:21 AM
I have found, one of the best ways to find a pro mentor is to enroll in writing courses. As many as possible, because -- if your writing has any promise at all -- you're going to find a teacher who thinks you have promise and is willing to work with you above and beyond the schema of the class to move forward.

This is, in my opinion, the most valuable benefit of a college education -- a preloaded network of contacts you can fit into.

09-01-2004, 06:59 AM
I read somewhere (naturally I don't remember where, so I can't vouch for the truth of it - or the truth of my memory), but anyway... I read somewhere that a critic's scathing critique of one of his works silenced Tennyson for ten years.

Harsh criticism can hurt (although I'm a big fan of telling the truth as I see it in a tactful way, even if the truth as I see it may not be what the writer wants to hear). The important thing is to criticize the writer's work constructively, not toss off insults at the writer personally.

Myranda, I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I wish you the best of luck getting over it and getting on with your writing.

09-02-2004, 02:49 PM
I just want to say I hope you find the right mentor.

Just because someone is a mentor does not necessarily mean that he/she is YOUR mentor.

We're all different. Our beliefs, ideals, likes, and dislikes all affect how we we in various ways.

I personally dont get phased by verbal abuse or criticism. I've learned to grow a thick skin to the world. I DONT go on the internet to make friends. I go on the internet to seek tips and advice on writing/publishing.

Not everyone in the world will be nice to you or like you no matter what you do. Its life. So just find those that accept you and can work with you...

Good luck in your endeavours and dont let anyone stop you from achieving your dreams....

09-07-2004, 05:06 PM
Hi all

Tammy and Myranda, hey definitely stick around, there are some really great people here, ready to give help and advice.

I asked for some help on an article and got some great, kind, straight, helpful crit/help, Thanks again Maia (hope you don't mind the mention, but credit where due.

Every now and then there will be some bad'uns slip in here, but odds are they'll slip back out just as quick.

I have kind of noticed one thing tho.....it helps to be a little bit crazy around here....or maybe thats just me! Mmmm, now I'm confused.....need to lay down.....:grin

Happy writing