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underthecity
10-23-2004, 12:08 AM
When I was in high school in the late '80s, I started checking out books from the library on the craft and business of writing. I knew I wanted to write and I wanted to learn the mechanics of how it was supposed to be done professionally: manuscript formats, editing, agents and publishers, and how to actually write a book. In college I bought books on writing so I could learn more ("How to Write and Publish Your First Novel" is one that I bought). When I started actually writing, I was pretty well educated on the basics of the business and mechanics of writing (knowing of course, that I was not an expert). Developing my own writing skills, however, was the task that I really had to work on. I made no illusions that my first attempts were pure gold. I knew my first stories were crap when I wrote them, but I continued to try to improve my writing by writing more, and reading whatever I could get my hands on that interested me.

But what gets me nowadays is how delusional many writers I run into or read about are.

For instance, I attended a small writers group last year at a bookstore, featuring a panel of published regional authors, and an editor for Writers Digest magazine. Most of the questions asked were "newbie" type questions, but here is the one I still shake my head about, asked by a 40ish guy.

He said he had sent his manuscript,which he and all of his friends thought was really awesome, to (I think) Michael Chrichton for his opinon. He didn't understand why the manuscript was returned with a note saying that the author didn't read manuscripts. He figured this author had the time to read it, and that it was very unreasonable that it was returned to him.

Now, what is up with that? Even when I was in high school I knew that famous authors wouldn't read unsolicited manuscripts for varieties of reasons!

Then there's that thread about the guy who tried to auction his manuscript on eBay for $150,000. I followed the thread on that linked blog and found it very interesting (but I still don't understand why all the vowels in that guy's postings were gone. It made his posts impossible to read.). Does he HONESTLY believe his manuscript will sell this way? HONESTLY? Has he NEVER picked up a book on writing and publishing? I mean come ON!

Then I read all these posts about authors who state that they just had their book published by PA and they are very happy they are now "published authors." Have they NEVER read a negative post about PA? The thread on Absolutewrite about PA goes on for over a hundred pages! If am following the numbers right, there are hundreds of PA authors who are disappointed with PA and are planning litigation. Bookstores won't even stock POD books because of the non-returns policies and quality issues. Doesn't anybody read and research before they sign on with PA? Aren't they aware that if they POD their first book(s), that can have a serious detriment on their future efforts with finding real publishers?

When I didn't think my Cincinnati Subway (http://www.allensedge.com/cincinnatisubway.html) book would ever get published, I didn't jump aboard POA. Instead I put the manuscript away and tended to other things until I found the right publisher a couple of years later. After 3200 copies it's still selling.

So, what is it with today's up and coming authors?

underthecity

Tish Davidson
10-23-2004, 12:20 AM
I run into these types fairly often and I know it is frustrating. I grit my teeth every time my local paper (which serves a city of 200,000+) does a glowing story on a first time self-published author and did get rather agitated when the local paper then refused to do a story on the 2 books I had published by Scholastic last year on the grounds that they were books for children!

However, I have decided it is not worth the time to try to de-delude these types. One of the great virtues of living in a capitalist society is that time and the marketplace will sort them out - and if it is so important to them to have "published" a book, then let them have the ego massage. It doesn't affect the quality of your writing or your chances of landing a contract with a traditional publisher.

SFEley
10-23-2004, 12:39 AM
underthecity wrote:

Then there's that thread about the guy who tried to auction his manuscript on eBay for $150,000. I followed the thread on that linked blog and found it very interesting (but I still don't understand why all the vowels in that guy's postings were gone. It made his posts impossible to read.).

Teresa Nielsen Hayden (who owns that blog (http://www.nielsenhayden.com/makinglight)) disemvowelled him because he showed himself to be a lunatic, and he was getting annoying. She considers it more fun than simply deleting objectionable comments -- and you can in fact still read the posts if you try hard enough.

As for people engaging in self-deception, I believe you get that in every profession. If writing is unusually bad, it's only because the actual business of writing is so poorly understood by the general public, and because it's one of those crafts (like cooking, or music) where people tend to believe that "anybody can do it."

What's missing is objective feedback to the contrary. Most of us can look in the mirror and realize, with varying degrees of frustration, that we're never going to make it into the NBA. The mirror can't tell you that your prose is lousy and your stories are boring. Your friends might be able to tell you that, but most of them won't.


Have Fun,
- Steve Eley

maestrowork
10-23-2004, 12:50 AM
Many people want fast and easy success without paying dues. It's in our culture, especially in the "entertainment" world -- yes, I consider novel writing "entertainment" as opposed to pure journalism. The allure of fast road to success (American Idol, Star Search, reality TV, etc.) makes people think that all they need is some "celebrity" to endorse them and they'll have it made. It doesn't occur to them that the people who actually succeed beyond the initial fame have paid their dues and mastered and continue to master their craft. The American Idols don't just wake up one day and decide to be a singer and become a star (despite the freak phenomenon that is "William Hung"). People don't walk into an auditon and suddenly become a movie star (it happened but it's 1:million chance).

Same with writers. Many people think they have great ideas and all they have to do is to pick up a pen (or type it in a computer) and they will have a best seller. They don't recognize it takes hard work, talent, and a little bit of luck... but most of all, hard work -- learning the skills.

I decided to write again six years ago, but I have always been writing when I was younger. And when I decided I wanted to write again, I didn't just whip up some first draft and call it a masterpiece. I went to school. I studied the craft. I learned. Then I started writing short stories. Some of them were good, and some of them were crap. I kept learning, and three years ago I decided I could do it. But it still took me three years to get to where I am now. I'm still not quite there yet, but that's the greatest thing about the writer's life.

Writing is for life.

cwfgal
10-23-2004, 02:16 AM
I think many fail to make a distinction between simply engaging in the act of writing, as in putting words on paper) and writing professionally (as in for publication). Because anyone can do the first kind of writing (assuming they know how to read and write on some basic level) there is an assumption on the part of many that simply putting the words on paper is all that is needed to become a "writer." The likes of PA have further blurred the lines by allowing anyone who can put words on paper to call themselves a "published writer."

To me it's like someone with no medical training picking up a scalpel and performing surgery. Can anyone cut someone else open and remove things from their body? Sure. Assuming you can get the victim to cooperate. But if laws were passed tomorrow that allowed anyone to perform surgery regardless of the quality of their work or the extent of their training, would you use just anybody or would you seek out the persons who have training and demonstrated skill?

Then there is the whole instant fame and instant gratification thing. So many people today have an air of entitlement about them, a perception that they can have anything they want and have it right now by simply asking for it. No need to work or put in any time learning the tricks of a trade or the skill needed to do something well. Just gimme gimme gimme.

As someone else mentioned, the marketplace will likely weed out the yahoos over time but I'm not sure it's going to happen very quickly.

Beth

Greenwolf103
10-23-2004, 02:42 AM
Tish is right: Choose your battles. Don't try to steer them towards the light. If these people are going to learn anything about the realities of being a writer/author, they have to learn it the hard way.

At the same time, you can't put someone down just because they didn't do their homework or tried to learn how to write. (Not that I'm saying that you are; it's just a comment.) While anyone serious about succeeding as a writer should indeed do their homework before submitting and take time to study the craft, not everyone is going to do this -- and they must lie in the bed they've made.

You made the right approach with your book, good for you. We can only hope there are other people that will follow your cue.

But don't take what you've seen and read to represent every single "up and coming" author. There are some out there who ARE doing their homework and taking time to learn how to write.

underthecity
10-23-2004, 03:21 AM
Perhaps my phrasing was a bit off when I referred to the up-and-comers. Obviously I didn't mean to imply that ALL new authors aren't doing their homework before writing and submitting. But I have seen (and so has everyone else here) plenty of posts from newer writers asking basic questions like "should I double space my manuscript?" I think my problem here is that a new writer can get all of his questions asked by picking up almost any book on writing, instead of visiting writers website forums and asking the questions.

Asking for advice on what you've already written is a different matter altogether, although many authors advise against sharing your work until it is completely finished. However, it is good to know right away whether what you're writing is on the "right track" in terms of grammar and structure.

THAT I don't have a problem with.

Thanks for the replies, though. I was hoping for some interesting discussion.

underthecity

reph
10-23-2004, 03:49 AM
Let's not neglect narcissism as a factor in the "delusional writer" syndrome. I think the unrealistic ambitions of these people (and of wannabes in other fields) are driven by fantasies about finally becoming recognized as wonderful.

vstrauss
10-23-2004, 07:16 AM
>>Then there is the whole instant fame and instant gratification thing.<<

This is one of the silliest delusions of all--the idea that writing is a glamorous celebrity-type activity that will generate loads of cash, recognition, and respect.

Ha!

- Victoria

luckky one
10-23-2004, 11:32 AM
Yeah, I know what you mean Victoria.

You know what writing gets me?

Being a writer means you are going to be lonely your entire life. No matter how many people you meet, you will never be able to get close enough to any of them. Either they will like you, but be intimidated by your talent, or they will completely hate you for something you have written, or no reason whatsoever.

This isn't a glamorous lifestyle. it isn't about money.

Another thing these delusionists seem to think is that writing will make them rich bloody billionairs:money like J. K. Rowling or something. if writers knew anything about business economics, we'd have better sense than to become writers.

I've had my 15 minutes as a "slam poet" and I didn't make a dime, i could've, but I didn't really try. forget hollywood, you sell your soul in the mires of independant publishing. you want to talk about delusions of grandeur and narcissicism...:ha go to a poetry slam.

Kempo Kid
10-23-2004, 12:44 PM
I'm trying to publish a novel with all the expected trials and tribulations. And I just have to grit my teeth so I don't bite the heads off people who come up with this brilliant idea of why don't I just upload my novel onto the Internet, or better yet, just publish it myself. Then I'll be a published author!

I tried to show them the error of their ways, but it's futile. Now I just smile, keep my mouth shut, nod, and go away.

I'm in the middle of a science fiction convention this weekend, and another writer brought up the subject of self-publishing because her uncle did that with his novel. I was steeling myself against what came next when she said, "yeah, and I think he got about $50 in sales, too."

Yeah, about right.

Mind you, I can think of a couple types of instances where self-publishing might be the way to go, but only a couple, and not with a commercial type novel.

I suppose I could have self-published my first novel, but I also didn't even consider it. If it can't stand up to the "peer review" of the publishing world, then it's obviously not good enough to be out there. I was very fond of it and I put a lot of effort into it, and since I don't have a trunk, it's tucked in the back of a file cabinet.

Risseybug
10-23-2004, 04:14 PM
That many "writers" may actually look into how to write a book, but not into the BUSINESS of publication. That's where they don't do their homework. They no nothing about what goes on once the ms. leaves their hands.

Which, I think (and I am by no means an expert, I just research everything I do to death) is just as important as knowing HOW to write a book.

Style and grammar and formatting can be taught. Imagination and creativitiy are inherent.
But if you want to see that book on the shelves, you really need to educate yourself. A writer is a business person too.

Writing Again
10-23-2004, 05:05 PM
I can think of a lot of instances where self publishing is the way to go, and I've helped people do it.

One is for people who make their living going on speaking tours. This is a lucrative business many people do. It helps if they have a table with a few books to offer the audience. These books give the speaker extra prestige and extra profit. Chances of getting these books published through regular channels are usually nil. Usually, for these people, there are much cheaper, more reliable, ways to go than the over hyped vanity press ads we see in the backs of writer's magazines.

There are people who write things for friends and family, often memoirs or histories, to give as gifts, or inheritances. It does not matter how well written they are not "marketable" in the terms we use. I helped a lady write a local history to be sold in the small, out of the way, museum she runs.

Of course there are academics who self publish as standard practice.

Some mail order businesses would not exist if it weren't for self publishing.

There is a legitimate place for self publishing.

However if you are looking to become a professionally recognized commercial writer, with a chance to become a midlist, or bestselling author, you are going to have to find your way somehow to the traditional publishing houses.

I doubt if that will change any time soon.

Kikazaru
10-23-2004, 06:38 PM
We live in an in age where people expect instant gratification, the media focuses on stories and events where ordinary people become millionaires or celebrities over night by winning the lottery, inventing a gadget that the world can't live without, or being an unknown, cast in a subsequently oscar winning movie. Yep all these events are rare, but because of the the attention they receive, they seem commonplace. I think it is no different for would-be-writers. They are emboldened by the few over night success stories; writers who put pen to paper for the first time and not only write a book, but get it published and it's a runaway success. A famous romance novelist (sorry it's early and her name escapes me) who after reading a ton of Harlequins told her husband she could write one, proceeded to do so and was consequently published, comes to mind. There have also been a few authors, who have achieved critical acclaim at a very young age, whose success would also fuel those "why not me" fantasies for some would be authors. Then there is the self publishing market - it also does much to promote the delusion that anyone can write.

People are also inherently egotistical. It is easy to become enamoured with your own words, and after receiving accolades from your mother and spouse, you become convinced that the world will also find your thoughts riveting.

I think also, that while people are perfectly aware when they do not have musical or artistic talent, they do not understand that writing is also an art form, one which takes years to develop. They cannot grasp the distinction between the basic ability to read and write which anyone can do, and the perseverance of actually learning the art (and it is an art) of writing well.

jmo.

katdad
10-23-2004, 06:55 PM
The instant gratification motive is fairly consistent with my experience.

For example, I've noted that in screenwriting forums, as opposed to novel or short story forums, the people seem to be a lot more crabby and spiteful.

They also can't spell their way out of a paper bag.

Aside from the self publishing thing, I get that recommended to me all the time. My response is that if all I wanted was for a lot of people to have my novels, I'd simply run off copies at Kinkos and hand them out at the mall. That's a lot cheaper than self publishing, and about as gratifying.

Jamesaritchie
10-23-2004, 08:32 PM
New writers expecting me to read their manuscript is one that my agents helps deal with. I have a clause in my contract with her that forbids me from reading an unsold, unpublished manuscript. This isn't an enforceable clause, and I sometimes violate it for friends, but it's there to help protect me from lawsuits, and it is useful.

I guess writing can be a profession that brings much fame and glamour, if you're a Stephen King or a Normain Mailer, but I've found many writers soon tire of the fame and just want to be left alone to write.

What I can't stand are all the new writers who hold the view that you have to know someone to get published, that's it's a closed business. Silliness. Or that you already have to be famous, or that it's all subjective and talent and skill and hard work has nothing to do with it. Or that you don't have to read as much as you write, or that you don't have to master grammar and punctuation and language and a dozen other skills. Or that publishers and agents aren't looking for new writers. Of course they are, they just want new writers who can actually write well and tell stories well.

It is hard to come to grips with the fact that you simply may lack the talent and the skill, that you just may not be good enough to make the cut, but it astounds me that so few take the time to sudy the business side of writing. As they say, "Writing is an art, publishing is a business." It's true.

maestrowork
10-23-2004, 09:27 PM
Many published writers do not read unpublished material. I learned it when I wanted to send my ms. to a friend of mine, who was a published author. She wrote back and said her agent advised her not to read anything like that, even from their best friends. She didn't give me a reason, but I think it has to do with lawsuits and liability. At first I was somewhat miffed, then I understood the issue.


p.s. the flip side of this thread is that many agents won't give a new/unpublished writer a chance if the story doesn't "fit their needs." So a lot of talented, good writers slip through the cracks and stay in the slush pile not because they can't write or can't tell a story, but because their stories don't fit the current "best-selling" trend. I have an agent telling me "no one wants to read male chick lit" and meanwhile Grisham, Patterson, Sparks and others all have and continue to write best-selling "male chick lit." So it's kind of discouraging when an agent or editor is close-minded -- they're more focused on the "story" they're looking for, instead of the investing in the writer; the golden eggs instead of the goose that lays them.

Greenwolf103
10-23-2004, 10:25 PM
You know what gets to me, though? These same delusional writers wondering why the heck I haven't, ahem, "sold out" to PA or their ilk.

Yeshanu
10-23-2004, 10:35 PM
We live in an in age where people expect instant gratification, the media focuses on stories and events where ordinary people become millionaires or celebrities over night by winning the lottery, inventing a gadget that the world can't live without, or being an unknown, cast in a subsequently oscar winning movie.

What these folks don't see is that instant gratification is a myth -- except possibly in the case of the lottery winner. But most lottery winners play consistently, spending lots of money on tickets. Inventors almost always have a garage full of "failures" (first drafts, if you will) and that unknown who stars in an Oscar-winning movie has generally had lots of acting lessons, and has been acting since he/she was a kid.

The famous romance novelist above may have had her first attempt published by Harlequin, but that likely wasn't the novel that made her famous. J.K. Rowling may have been a single mom on welfare when she wrote the first Harry Potter book, but she was an English teacher before that. She knows how to use the language.

I hear when James talks about wanna-be's who don't think they need to write a lot or read anything in order to become famous.

Get with the program, folks! Writing ain't brain surgery or rocket science, but it's still a skill that needs to be learned and practiced.

SimonSays
10-23-2004, 10:45 PM
Quote:

Being a writer means you are going to be lonely your entire life. No matter how many people you meet, you will never be able to get close enough to any of them. Either they will like you, but be intimidated by your talent, or they will completely hate you for something you have written, or no reason whatsoever.


This is a ridiculous statement, tragically romanticized, melodramatic, (dare I say delusional?) view on the life of a writer. Staring at that blank computer screen can make your feel terribly alone. But lonely your entire life? Never get close enough to anyone?

If you're feeling like you are alone and will never be close to anyone, Luckky, it is not because you are a writer. Writing may be your outlet for dealing with those feelings, but it is not the source of those problems.

I sincerely and in all seriousness suggest that you speak to someone about your feelings of isolation. They are not normal for a writer and they are not healthy for anybody.

Best of luck,
Simon

SRHowen
10-23-2004, 11:44 PM
Hmm, well I don't agree about the lonely factor. You do and can feel alone in the endeavor. Thus the number of people on these boards.

I have writer friends, some published, some not, some well known others not.

But in the circle of people I deal with everyday--my daughter's friends parents, customers at 7-eleven, girl scout people, boy scout people--family--you say I'm a writer and they give you the oh really look and the conversation either goes to I've always wanted to write a book or they melt away into the crowd.

When you sit and tap the keys no else is there--it's you and the characters, a lonely endeavor you do by yourself.

So those feelings can be very real.

Shawn

Yeshanu
10-24-2004, 12:37 AM
Hmm...

I sort of agree with Simon here. Alone does not necessarily equal lonely.

When I'm writing, I'm alone with my characters, but I'm not lonely. When I'm not writing and want to be with people, I can converse about a number of topics other than writing, if the person I'm with doesn't want to talk about what I'm writing at the moment. (Or what (s)he is writing at the moment, for that matter...)

That isn't unusual. When you're with a factory worker or a lawyer or a member of any other profession, do they talk about their work all the time? Chances are, if they do you're going to think they're a bore. So why do we writers automatically think that telling people we're writers should automatically shift the conversation to writing.

If you're lonely all the time, even outside your writing time, you may need help.

If you're lonely (as opposed to alone) while you're writing, perhaps you need a different occupation -- one that will allow you to interact more with people. Perhaps you need to balance writing and non-writing time (yes, there should be some.) Or perhaps you just need to accept the situation and live with it.

SimonSays
10-24-2004, 12:45 AM
Luckky didn't just say she was lonely, SR. She said was going to be lonely her ENTIRE life. Said she was never going to get close enough to ANYONE. Said people will either be intimidated by you or hate you.

And to me that sounds like someone who is extremely disconnected from others. And considering Luckky's profile says she's only 20, I say this is not a healthy view for someone that young to have. And, again, I say it is not because she is a writer.

I'm also a writer been a writer for quite some time, and in that time I've met a lot of people. Of course people react all kinds of ways when they hear that your a writer. But I've become very close to many of the people I've met since I've been quote a writer. I've become intimate with quite a few. It is ridiculous to say that writing leads to a life of lonliness or everyone you meet will be intimidated or jealous. It is a ludicrous statement. The process is lonely, the life is not - or at least shouldn't be.

And as for the reactions of people you meet, you'd get that reaction for any career people deem "interesting" and creative careers in the arts, are generally deemed "interesting".

I still say that if someone feels like they can't get close to anyone, they should address that and figure out why.

cwfgal
10-24-2004, 12:51 AM
<blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Obviously I didn't mean to imply that ALL new authors aren't doing their homework before writing and submitting. But I have seen (and so has everyone else here) plenty of posts from newer writers asking basic questions like "should I double space my manuscript?" I think my problem here is that a new writer can get all of his questions asked by picking up almost any book on writing, instead of visiting writers website forums and asking the questions. <hr></blockquote>

You know, a year or two ago I probably would have chimed in right along with you on this gripe. But I've come to realize that the times are a changin' and the Internet and its various resources serve as the library or bookstore for many folks today. When I think about how quickly I turn to the computer myself to do research, I can't help but wonder just how big of an offense it is when someone else does the same, even if it's for something I consider "basic."

So, a question...is going to a library or bookstore and buying/checking out a book on a topic somehow more worthy an effort than looking for that same info via computer, whether it be Internet searches or message board posts? (Personally, I'm inclined to say "yes" but if someone were to ask me why, I don't have an answer other than that I'm an old-fashioned fuddy duddy.)

Beth

Jamesaritchie
10-24-2004, 01:10 AM
"the flip side of this thread is that many agents won't give a new/unpublished writer a chance if the story doesn't "fit their needs." So a lot of talented, good writers slip through the cracks and stay in the slush pile not because they can't write or can't tell a story, "

To be perfectly honest, while you do have to write what people want to read, I think the above is the biggest myth of all. I hear constantly that a lot of talented, good writers slip thrugh the cracks, but in looking through many a slush pile, I've yet to find any of them.

vstrauss
10-24-2004, 01:16 AM
>>So, a question...is going to a library or bookstore and buying/checking out a book on a topic somehow more worthy an effort than looking for that same info via computer, whether it be Internet searches or message board posts? (Personally, I'm inclined to say "yes" but if someone were to ask me why, I don't have an answer other than that I'm an old-fashioned fuddy duddy.)<<

The Internet is the best research resource ever, as long as you know something about what you're looking for or know how to sift the results of your search. But it's also awash in bad, incomplete, inaccurate, and just plain wrong information, not to mention it's an arena in which folks who know nothing and folks who know plenty feel equally free to give advice. People with no experience simply don't have the tools to sort through it all. With a book, on the other hand, you've a better chance of getting accurate info (assuming it's published by a reputable publisher or is part of a recognized series, such as the Dummies books), because you can reasonably assume that the author knows something about the subject. Obviously not all books will be perfect or error-free, but IMO, until you have some context, they're a better place to start.

- Victoria

Jamesaritchie
10-24-2004, 01:25 AM
To add a bit, the world is not awash with good manuscripts that can't get published because they "don;t fit our needs." It may be more difficult to publish a western novel than a mystery novel because there are more mystery readers and teh market is bigger, but this just means you need to be a little better at writing westerns.

Doesn't fit our needs usually means one of two things. 1. You idiot, you ought to know we don't represent/publish this kind of novel. 2. Sorry, but we think your writing stinks, and saying it doesn't fit our needs is the kindest way we can think of to say this.

Reason two is far and away the most common.

There's an agent and a publisher for any good, well-written novel, whatever its type or genre or subject matter.

A novel can slip through the cracks, but it's a rare event, and is often far more the fault of the writer than of the publishers and agents.

There's simply aren't a lot of well-written, good novels out there. You can wade through slush piles for months without finding one by a new writer.

katdad
10-24-2004, 02:10 AM
Yes, some good novels do slip thru the cracks, and there's a lot of history on that. Raymond Chandler was passed up, so was Tom Clancy, Thomas Harris, and others.

But generally, if you're a good writer and you've written a good novel, you can get it placed. It just takes perseverance.

And yes, when you are told "doesn't fit our needs" in a form TBNT, it may really mean "your writing stinks".

Greenwolf103
10-24-2004, 02:33 AM
There's simply aren't a lot of well-written, good novels out there. You can wade through slush piles for months without finding one by a new writer.

This is quite true. I may be a poetry editor (and not a fiction one, let alone an agent) but I'm amazed at the amount of awful submissions I have to wade through to find that diamond in the rough.

Also, not that I'm trying to say that Luckky has a certain condition or anything, but that kind of attitude reminds me of when I was going through chronic depression. I thought that no one would ever be my friend, I would never be loved, there would never be any kind of happiness EVER, etc., etc. That belief can be very real and VERY convincing. It's scary.

Luckky, if you truly believe this, then please find some kind of counseling or something. Anything. YOU DON'T NEED TO BE ALONE!!

Risseybug
10-24-2004, 03:15 AM
A famous romance novelist (sorry it's early and her name escapes me) who after reading a ton of Harlequins told her husband she could write one, proceeded to do so and was consequently published, comes to mind

Ok, I can't really complain about this. My book, soon to be published,(by a small publisher, I'll admit) was the first book I wrote. Rather, the first book I finished, the second book I wrote. So I guess I'm in this boat.

Now, when I decided to write it, I was inspired by JK Rowling. Not by her her money or fame. The fact that she was a stay at home mom, living on welfare, never been a writer woman who sat down and wrote a book, and got it on the shelves.

I have no delusions about her success. But her story inspired me. Then I got to work- researching, writing, getting critiques, etc...

I just got lucky the first time out. It does happen. Of course, the success of my book remains to be seen. At this point, seeing it in print (and not by PA) is satisfaction enough.

Kikazaru
10-24-2004, 03:49 AM
Hey - good for you Risseybug!

Just a thought about people who ask questions that are easily answered in a basic writers manual. Yes they can check it out in a library book or on line, but I think that people just want to connect with other writers. Writing is solitary and it can be lonely, it is just so pleasant to converse with others who are doing the same thing - kind of like meeting in the coffee room. I don't post much here so I've kept my annoying questions to an absolute minimum, but I do lurk everyday and I am learning a lot from the questions others ask.

aka eraser
10-24-2004, 04:57 AM
I remember when I was a young, teen-20-something writer. I went through what I called my Tortured Agonized Genius phase. Eventually I read enough writers whose skills put my own to shame.

I somewhat-reluctantly dropped the "Genius" part of the tag; content for a while to just be Tortured and Agonized.

It wasn't too-too long before that got boring too. Not to mention unproductive.

I think there are a lot of us who go through a similar, egocentric phase when it comes to writing. We buy into the whole chain-smoking-roll-you-owns-while-living-in-a-garrett thing.

It's part of being young. I'd cut Luccky some slack.

SimonSays
10-24-2004, 05:38 AM
I didn't mean to sound like I was picking on Luckky. I was expressing genuine concern.

It could very well just be a tortured writer Poser thing, which will get old for her at some point in time, although not as soon as it gets old to those around her.

But some of the sentiments expressed, could quite easily be something deeper, and if so, I do hope she seeks help.

Gala
10-24-2004, 08:06 AM
oh please no...not the delusions of J.K. Rowling again.

Check the facts re her university degree, career, writing for decades, etc. Writing a successful novel in one stab rarely if every happens, and if anything her success proves how difficult it is, how much study it takes, and how one keeps writing until they get it right.

They don't even have welfare in her country.

As for the rest of the delusions. I care less and less what people think of my vocation. This position has evolved as I've gained in the daily joy of the work. And yes, writing is a lonely art, but since I'm a loner I love it all the more.

I have canned answers for every situation, some of which I recently got on AW, don't recall the thread.

Like, "I write ingredients labels." ("What do you write?

<img border=0 src="http://www.ezboard.com/image/posticons/pi_geek.gif" />

mr mistook
10-24-2004, 10:15 AM
Every response I've read to her post seems to fulfill the prediction she laid out with regard to loneliness. How easy it is to pummel the one who is down! Not to put her in too harsh a spotlight, but a quick glance at the profile shows this is a girl of 20. Who the hell among you did not find yourselves in a struggle to be understood at that age? Who didn't suffer the back-stabbing of competitive peers?

Who?

Because in my opinion, if you drifted through High School and College WITHOUT being picked apart and kicked to the ground by your artistic peers, you must have been astoundingly mediocre, and in my estimation, party to the evisceration of those more sensitive than yourself!

:teeth

maestrowork
10-24-2004, 10:40 AM
You are as lonely as you want yourself to be.

SimonSays
10-24-2004, 10:56 AM
Dear Mr. Mistook,

I didn't realize that pointing out that a writer's life was not by definition a lonely one and that suggesting someone who felt that alone might seek help was "pummeling" them. I thought I was being caring.

Silly me.

Far better to turn a blind eye to what may be a sign of a real problem, then risk hurting their feelings by pointing out there may be a problem.

I'm sure all the parents of teens who have committed suicide would rather have someone like me looking out for their kids as opposed to someone like you.

mr mistook
10-24-2004, 11:05 AM
I disagree.

mr mistook
10-24-2004, 11:09 AM
To trample over the legitimate complaints of a person who is reacting within sane boudaries to a very real problem is not "caring" at all. It is nothing less than condescention! It makes the problem worse.

mr mistook
10-24-2004, 11:25 AM
I'll just angrily add that every time I come to the defence of some normal youngster with normal doubts being kicked around on an MB by self-righteous adults who can't cotton to "negativity" I am invariably flamed off the board.

Here I am standing up for my conviction once again that a simple ounce of understanding does better than the preidictable metric ton of self-righteous platitudes. And here I am being socially expurgated in consiquence.

So be it! Am I as lonely as I want myslef to be? If the price for social acceptance is to join in the evisceration of those unjustly deemed "insane" then yes! I'm exactly as f***ing lonely as I want to be!

Greenwolf103
10-24-2004, 12:26 PM
Folks, please control your emotions.

Tish Davidson
10-24-2004, 02:03 PM
---------
But in the circle of people I deal with everyday--my daughter's friends parents, customers at 7-eleven, girl scout people, boy scout people--family--you say I'm a writer and they give you the oh really look and the conversation either goes to I've always wanted to write a book or they melt away into the crowd.
----------

Oh, yes, I know this reaction. That's why I usually tell people I raise guide dog puppies for the blind. It is a much better conversation starter - and it is true, although puppyraising is my volunteer job and writing is my for pay job. If you ever want conversation, raise a service dog. You won't be able make it through the supermarket with the dog without a dozen people wanting to talk to you.

Writing Again
10-24-2004, 03:13 PM
Luckky, guess what:

There isn't any crime in feeling lonely. Some people feel lonely all the time; some more than others; some, never. Being lonely in and of itself does not mean you are depressed; does not mean you need help; does not mean you do not find value in life.

Fact is Lonely is one of the most common emotions of humankind. Every poet has written strongly of Lonely. More songs are sung about being lonely than about love; in fact many songs that are considered "love songs" are really songs about lonliness -- And if you can capture it in your writing you have a guaranteed market.

Willy Nelson says it best in Mommas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys:

'Cos they'll never stay home and they're always alone.
Even with someone they love.

----------------------

Them that don't know him won't like him and them that do,
Sometimes won't know how to take him.
He ain't wrong, he's just different but his pride won't let him,
Do things to make you think he's right.


------------------------------

True, not all writers are lonely, but all writers have to live with alone. And writer's do have to live with being different, and seldom understood, even by other writers.

You don't have to be normal, and never let anyone tell you what is mentally healthy.

You have a right to be different: You have a right to be yourself: You have a right to love yourself as you are.

Risseybug
10-24-2004, 05:04 PM
oh please no...not the delusions of J.K. Rowling again.

I am not saying she wasn't educated. I believe her degree was in ... oh, something like Classic lit. or the like. It wasn't a "Writing" degree or anything.
And she was out of work, with whatever welfare type benefits that comes with. I've done my study on her too, b/c she interested me. With no computer, the poor woman had to type out each and every copy of her ms she sent out.

The point being, that she was not a writer when she started out. That was what I took away from her story. I said to myself, maybe I can do that too. I know my book isn't going to be as big a success as hers was, but it was just the way she started that got me going.

Writing Again
10-24-2004, 09:06 PM
God wasn't a writer either when he first started out; but he had to do something to get people's attention; now he's on the best sellers list.

Elyse
10-24-2004, 09:23 PM
I have to agree with Rissey on this one. J.K. Rowlings is inspirational, proving that you can write a book against the odds. I don't know if I would have had her gumption if all I had to work with was a typewriter (we take so many things for granted).

One thing I disagree with is that she had two adult novels started before embarking on Harry Potter. I read that in, I believe, her interview on the Scholastic web site. So, really, she was a writer before the HP books.

-Elyse

Eowyn Eomer
10-24-2004, 09:39 PM
What is PA or POD? I'm thinking Pennsylvania and Payable on Death. :b

What I'm wondering is why you would send your work to an author. As I understand it, you would want to send it to a literary agent who if they liked it, would then work to find you a publisher. And from what I understand, you don't generally send your entire story but a page description of your story and maybe the first chapter?

underthecity
10-24-2004, 10:02 PM
POD is "publish on demand" and PA is Publish America, which does POD. I won't go into the pluses or minuses of PA, but you can read 143 pages about PA here:
<a href="http://p197.ezboard.com/fabsolutewritefrm11.showMessage?topicID=209.topic" target="_new">A long PA thread</a>

Although we're not debating PA or POD on this thread, my original point was that more authors nowadays are finishing their novel and sending it right to PA for publication: not passing Go, not collecting $200, and not conducting research on PA first. The author then pays a pile of cash to get his book published, and then must market it and sell it himself--bookstores won't accept POD books because of no-returns policies, and that book buyers generally won't buy books written by authors they've never heard of, at prices higher than books by authors they HAVE heard of.

But read the thread and let it speak for itself.

My advice: if you want to get your book published, locate a traditional publisher.

If you've written a family history for relatives to read and nobody else, POD may be the way to go. IUniverse is cheaper than PA, and cheaper than self publishing, which is something else.

underthecity

Gala
10-24-2004, 10:16 PM
<blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>that you can write a book against the odds. I don't know if I would have had her gumption if all I had to work with was a typewriter (we take so many things for granted).<hr></blockquote>
I seem to disagree.

1. Writing a novel is always against odds. Read this thread and countless books on the subject. People think it's easy. It's not even under the best of circumstances.

2. I wrote on a typewriter for years before pcs kicked in. No harm done. Though I'm a computer guru, I still write most first drafts by hand. Many authors do same, and others still prefer typing. You might enjoy James Michener' Writers Notebook with photos of how he edited his typed pages (and we're talking a million words per) with and exacto knife and glue. I've rewritten an early scene in my current novel by hand perhaps ten times.

3. Wouldn't be bad to be in Rowling's position when she wrote Potter: literary degree and job on my cv, novels in the drawer from a young age, 20 years writing experience, and guaranteed income.

The "welfare mom, unemployed, poor, never wrote a novel" stories are all part of the delusion and myth out there re the starving artist mentality, imho. Steven King was "starving" by many definitions too; yet he had an English degree, years of writing and publishing before he became rich and famous overnight. Resemble anyone else we know? His biggest talent was persistence, and his greatest asset a supportive wife.

Many are inspired by these starving artist stories. I don't want to change their minds. What burns me is the "welfare mom no job" thing. The facts have a completely different meaning to me. That hard work at writing has rewards. For that I am inspired.

Excuse me while I go to my job composing ingredients labels on napkins with a dull pencil in the back of a run-down cafe that I have to walk to because no car no job, no family. (only the last is true; I'd take the rest to have them back.)

<img border=0 src="http://www.ezboard.com/image/posticons/pi_freak.gif" />

SimonSays
10-24-2004, 10:21 PM
Quote:
You have a right to be different: You have a right to be yourself: You have a right to love yourself as you are

You also have a RIGHT to be happy. And sometimes we are not happy and sometimes we do not have the tools to find the ways to make ourselves happy and there are professionals in this world who can help us with that.

There are normal self-doubts, and then there are feelings and viewpoints that keep us from having happy, fullfilled lives. There are feelings and viewpoints that HURT us, and we do not just have to accept them. We can change them. We have that power, however we cannot always do it alone.

It has nothing to do with insanity. The large majority of people who seek help in this area are perfectly sane.

There is NO SHAME in seeking help.

Gala
10-24-2004, 10:31 PM
Simon,
My suggestion to you is to search and replace "us/you/we" in your last post with "I". Unless you have a personal relationship with luckky.

Luckky--the internet i full of armchair psychologists. I pretend to be one myself from time to time.

Use what you can, ignore the rest. Oh...you are ignoring...well done!

(I'm assuming luckky's post is genuine.)

<img border=0 src="http://www.ezboard.com/image/posticons/pi_hippie.gif" />

HConn
10-24-2004, 11:14 PM
Ignoring the talk about depression for a moment, I have to say that I don't care about delusional writers. I don't worry about Dn Rc and his ebay manuscript or some guy who is outraged that his first novel attempt was *actually* rejects and who wonders who those people think they're dealing with.

They don't have anything to do with me. The only effect they have, maybe, is to make publishers and agents gunshy about meeting new writers. But I don't care about people who aren't published and never will be.

You know who I care about, and who I pay attention to? Uncle Jim. And Victoria. And Ann Crispin and Shawn and James A. Ritchie and Tad Williams and J. A. Jance and Jim Butcher and so on and so on. And also myself.

They're the professionals. I want to be a professional. I focus my attention on my own failings and strengths, because I need to be as good as those pros if I'm ever going to be one myself.

Nut cases may be a fun side show, for a little while. And I do learn a bit about the industry when knowledgable people correct the misconceptions of the ignorant. But it's a big mistake to pay these weirdos more that a few minutes of attention.

I have to concentrate on my own faults. Not theirs.

/offers $.02

ritinrider
10-25-2004, 03:36 AM
Might I comment? Rissey, I think the author you were refering to was Janet Dailey. She hadn't written anything, but I'm not sure her first book was published, it may have been I'm just not sure. One thing though is she had read thousands of romance novels, so in a sense she had studied the market and knew what the editors were looking for.

About newbies (such as myself) asking questions here that could be answered in a book, magazine or online. It seems ya'll assume everyone lives in an area where the library is well-stocked, and there are bookstores carrying writing magazines nearby. Not necessarily true. While we have a good library, I'm not sure they have an ample supply of writing how-to books to chose from. The nearest bookstore to me is about 75 miles away (I think). I actually shop at a bookstore 125 miles away, in the other direction. So when I first wanted to write for pay, I located a local author and asked her for advice. Also, while information may be available online, I would trust it more coming from a writing forum than just out there in cyberspace.

Thanks for letting me spout.
Nita

Greenwolf103
10-25-2004, 05:25 AM
Keep in mind, too, the folks that don't have transportation.

Also, getting an assortment of answers on something can help, especially with guidelines and such changing all the time.

Elyse
10-25-2004, 07:56 AM
In defense to a post of mine...

I meant that I admire Rowlings grit using a typewriter and typing EVERY copy she sent. I used a typewriter up until about ten years ago, and since I'm so spoiled using a computer, I MEANT that NOW I don't know if I would have it in me to use an old typewriter. Geez...

I don't mind if Rowlings background is a myth or not. There are millions of folks out there who love and admire her for writing these amazing books. I don't really give a damn if anyone agrees with me or not. That's my opinion. I agree with Uncle Jim. She IS a genius.

-Elyse

luckky one
10-25-2004, 08:35 AM
Well, I'm not ignoring, I'm just not one to spend a lot of time on-line.

The truth is, I didn't say I was lonely, I said that being a writer can be a predominately lonely occupation, to discourage those "would be" writers who think it will get them instant fame and gratification. I just used overly simplistic, rather melodramatic language to drive the point across.

And any personal insight was just my past experience with the back-stabbings of over-competitive peers. I get over it pretty quick, though. I don't not be friendly and connected just because a few people are jerks. Often I even forgive them.


Here I am standing up for my conviction once again that a simple ounce of understanding does better than the predictable metric ton of self-righteous platitudes.

Thank you, mr mistook for your understanding. Even a little understanding goes a long way. You almost hit the nail on the head.

JimMorcombe
10-25-2004, 11:57 AM
I need my delusions and I'm going to keep them. I like to call them "dreams".

One day I will write a best seller, become a house-hold name and have more money than I know what to do with. I will!!

I'd be a pretty sad person if I packed up all my ambitions and dreams and through them in the scrap heap along with all my unpublished work.

As for being lonely - writing may not be a team effort, it may require you to work by yourself without a secetary and coworkers, but so do many other professions. You don't hear artists, computer programmers and small business people complain about being lonely.

Your social life has very little to do with your professional life.

pencilone
10-25-2004, 03:47 PM
My 2p:

We certainly need our dreams to overcome all the self-doubt feelings that daunt the beginning of a writer's life (if not the WHOLE of a writer's life).
Who knows? Maybe being delusional is part of growing up as a writer... Maybe I am delusional by making the choice to write in the first place.

I understand why some beginning writers send their manuscript to published writers. Many writing books say that a published writer can recommend an agent or publisher (and make the connection needed to break the Catch 22). I wouldn't do that myself, and I believe it takes some courage to approach a published author with that purpose in mind.

I've read in many places negative comments about questions put by newbies... A Forum is for questions, answers, and opinions. If someone thinks that a question is too stupid to answer, then just don't answer. I think one should feel free to put whatever questions he fancies (there's also the case when one just wants to show off how intelligent one is, and she doesn't really need any answers, but that is a different thing).

By the way Luckky, I feel lonely sometimes too.

Writing Again
10-25-2004, 06:58 PM
When I was a child I was not lonely, nor unhappy: I was lucky enough to have a mother who was supportive of my writing, my creativity, my self.

But that is all psychobabble crap from the year 2000 an up.

Back then what people saw was a strong healthy young boy who would rather spend his time pecking out stories on an old typewriter than being outside everyday playing baseball and football like a true American Male: A young child who stayed home and wrote on Sunday instead of attending the Church of our choice.

They saw, as Mr. Simon sees, a situation that needed attention; that demanded addressing: They saw a young life that needed to be rescued from the depths of improper mental and spiritual attitude.

They would have told you they saw a lonely, depressed child, growing more Godless and less masculine every day: The fact I wrote so much humor only proved that I was intelligent enough to erect elaborate defense against my horrid internal condition, which only the more meant I could, and should, be rescued while there was still time.

I clearly remember the sight, the smell, the sound, of those church going, God fearing, PTA members who paraded up to my mother's door when I was a child, concerned for my welfare: Knocking on the door, rattling the doorknob: Saying there was no shame in seeking help; and oh so subtly implied that if she did not comply there were steps to be taken to see her child received the proper upbringing it so badly deserved.

Many things have changed since I was a child, but one thing has not: They -- And Mr. Simon -- Say almost exactly the same things; in almost the same words.




You also have a RIGHT to be happy. And sometimes we are not happy and sometimes we do not have the tools to find the ways to make ourselves happy and there are professionals in this world who can help us with that.

There are normal self-doubts, and then there are feelings and viewpoints that keep us from having happy, fulfilled lives. There are feelings and viewpoints that HURT us, and we do not just have to accept them. We can change them. We have that power, however we cannot always do it alone.

It has nothing to do with insanity. The large majority of people who seek help in this area are perfectly sane.

There is NO SHAME in seeking help.

And my reply is the same today as it was then:

You have a right to be yourself.

There is NO SHAME in being yourself.

You have a right to love yourself just as you are.

Risseybug
10-25-2004, 07:14 PM
Ok, I stand corrected. After running through a bio of Ms. Rowling that she wroter herself, I have a better understanding of where she is coming from.

However, I will say that she could have been one of the "delusional" that you speak of.

"I always wanted to be a writer"
"I've written lots of things, none of them published."

These are things direct from her bio, if a bit paraphrased. Point being, she sounds like alot of folks out there who did NOT "study" to be a writer. She had a great idea for a book, wrote it out, cleaned it up and got it published. She was accepted by the second agent to read it, and I think the publisher was the third or fourth (it was a low) number, that the ms was sent to.

In contrast, take another of my favorite people, Stephen King. Lately he's not been my fav, I may have outgrown him, but years ago I couldn't get enough. Now, he, on the flip side, DID study to be a writer, wrote and wrote and got a big 'ol stack of rejections before he became an "overnight" success.

Two different stories, two similar outcomes.

Personally, I never wanted to be a writer. I was told by a HS English teacher MANY MANY moons ago that I should be, but I blew her off. It was only years later that I picked up HP and thought "Hey, I could do that." And I did, just for my own enjoyment at first.

Everybody's got a different story.

I think the point of this thread is that everybody learns at their own pace, and in their own way. Just because one person spends a lot of time laying their own groundwork, doesn't mean the next person will. I didn't start researching how to get published until I actually thought my book might be good enough. I didn't start out with the intent of being a published author, but once I wanted to, THEN I did the research.

Was I delusional?

James D Macdonald
10-25-2004, 07:38 PM
A bit of a funny story.

Many years ago, when I was getting a home loan, I was filling out a bunch of forms with a bank person.

We got to the blank labeled "profession." I said "writer." (We had eight published novels at that point.)

"Did you go to school to be a writer?" the bank person asked.

"No," I said.

In the blank labeled "Qualifications" she put "None."

Yeshanu
10-25-2004, 08:50 PM
Uncle Jim,

:rofl

Ow!

maestrowork
10-25-2004, 09:11 PM
If you become a writer *just* to be a best-selling author ala King or Rowling, you're quite delusional.

King and Rowling didn't "strive" to become what they are now. They wrote because they had stories to tell, and they were passionate about them. Sure, they both would LOVE to make a living as a storyteller, but neither of them had stars in their eyes thinking "I'm going to be filthy rich and famous."

I see that a lot in the acting world, when actors would come in and think they're the next Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts.

It's okay to dream. But when your objectives are skewed and you had only fame and fortune in your eyes, then you're missing the point about the profession and I would calmly tell you, you're delusional.

underthecity
10-25-2004, 09:40 PM
If you have dreams of one day becoming a famous writer, those aren't delusions, those are dreams. Nothing wrong with dreams at all. I have those dreams. I dream of someday being a famous author that book buyers will go to the store and ask for my books. This is a dream that I can theoretically realize one day by telling my stories and working hard. I know that success won't come for me overnight--that would be delusional. I have to work hard to achieve success, as does everyone else here.

I've read many of the postings on these boards and have found that quite a few authors who post here have had their work published and available in bookstores nationwide. Print runs in the 50,000s are not uncommon here. And I would consider that a success. Here are authors who have worked hard, gotten published traditionally and have had their books read by hundreds of thousands. If that's not success, then what is?

I'm still relatively new on the published author scene, however my books are available in bookstores. People can walk in and buy them. To a lesser degree, I'm a success, but I'm no Stephen King. That will take a lot more time. But that's not a delusion.

If I finish writing my horror novel and send it off to PA (without having had it go through many major revisions) and pay to get it published, it would be delusional to think that I will be an overnight sensation. But the dream is still there. If I take the same horror novel, edit it to where it's just absolutely fantastic, find an agent and/or publisher and get it published, get reviews, and sell 50,000 copies or more, then it wouldn't be delusional to think I might be a successful writer from that point on.

Delusions are different than dreams.

Now, I have to modify an earlier statement of mine.

When I started this thread, I complained that many new writers aren't researching as they should before seeking information online. I stated that when I was in high school and college, I obtained books on writing and publishing and learned the basics without using a computer. I felt that modern writers should also do the same.

Well, that's where I was WRONG, and I will happily admit it. When I was in school, there was no internet. Guess what, times have changed. By doing internet searches, you can find information on manuscript formatting and up-to-the-minute publishing information available 24 hours for free. Granted, some of the information might not be accurate. But at the same time, forums like this one exist to help new writers and more seasoned ones to share information on just about any kind of subject anyone can think of.

While I would still recommend checking books out from the library or buying books on writing, as another person pointed out, it's not always convenient for everyone to go to the mall or the library. A book can always go into much greater detail on topics discussed on these boards. But the web is also a great modern tool for writers new and old.

I take back what I said. Up and coming writers: keep asking your questions. I know I'm still learning too.

underthecity

Yeshanu
10-25-2004, 09:53 PM
It's true that times have changed, and new writers can do their research on the net now instead of reading books (though, to be honest, someone who wants to write books yet isn't willing to read them may have a bit of a problem...)

However, even on the internet, it helps to read first, then ask questions that are left over after reading, or arise from the reading.

But for those of us who have been around for a bit, having patience with newbies is an important quality. We were all there ourselves, once upon a time... :b

Risseybug
10-25-2004, 10:21 PM
If you become a writer *just* to be a best-selling author ala King or Rowling, you're quite delusional.

I quite agree. I used those two examples because they were so very different.

Once I decided I wanted to get my book published, just to get it published was the goal. Once that is accomplished (sometime 2005), then I'll come up with a new goal. Probably to write a better book, or sell more copies with the next one, or something similar.

But, one can always dream about being fithly rich and famous, can't one?

maestrowork
10-25-2004, 10:24 PM
Of course we should dream. What separates dreamers from delusional writers is expectations.

Expectations almost every fail to disappoint.

Greenwolf103
10-26-2004, 12:33 AM
Would you call a writer who paid to have their book published delusional if they call themselves an author?

maestrowork
10-26-2004, 12:43 AM
Would you call a writer who paid to have their book published delusional if they call themselves an author?

For me, I'd say no, if they know what they're getting into and the pros and cons of "self-publishing" or "vanity" and be humble and realistic about it. However, if they "vanity publish," sell 50 books to their friends and families, and call themselves best-selling authors, I'd probably have to question their intention as well as sanity.

:b

cwfgal
10-26-2004, 04:04 AM
<blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>I take back what I said. Up and coming writers: keep asking your questions. I know I'm still learning too.<hr></blockquote>

Nicely said. I remember how much help several "seasoned" veterans were to me some 12 years ago when I first ventured onto a writing message board. I've tried to return that favor by being polite and helpful to anyone I encounter, whether it be in "real" life or ether life.

The only exception to that is critiquing. I used to critique other writers' works if they asked...always for free. (I did this because I remembered how desperate I was for objective, non-friend/family critiques myself over the years.) I made it clear up front that I would try to give an honest and objective critique and that if the writer was simply looking for blanket praise and comments on how brilliant they and their writing were they could go elsewhere, though if I found brilliant writing I would certainly say so.

I spent a lot of time with each writer's work and tried to provide a well-balanced and useful critique that pointed out both strengths and weaknesses. When I highlighted problematic writing I often demonstrated how it could be "fixed" by rewriting a sentence or two (to demonstrate such things as the difference between showing and telling.) I always strived to couch my criticisms in kind language and when I criticised something that I suspected was more a matter of personal taste than any actual writing fault, I would say so.

Out of all the critiques I did (and there were dozens) only a few people thanked me for my time and responded in a civil manner. The rest responded with hurt, outrage, and indignation, apparently shocked that their writing might be construed as wanting in any way.

After a couple of years of having no good deed go unpunished, I finally took the stand of not doing critiques anymore. It freed up hours of my time but I do occasionally experience a twinge of guilt when someone comes looking for a critiquer and can't find anyone -- I remember how frustrating that was for me. But I've learned that most people who ask for a critique don't really want one. What they want is praise.

Beth

Writing Again
10-26-2004, 06:37 AM
It may seem that a newbie who comes to the board asking a question they could easily learn the answer to by simply googling in the key words, is painfully lazy: especially when the same question has been asked every other day for the last month.

But at least they are asking. And in time most of them will learn how to google thier info.

The truly delusional writer is a different case. They work soley on assumptions that they never question. They are ignorant, think they are knowledgable, and never look for correct information.

The assumption of the person who auctioned their manuscript was that they could write as well as a well known author: That a big named author can earn big sums from any crap they turn into an editor: That big name authors are too lazy to write their own crap.

Truly delusional writers get offended when you point out gramatical errors, and will deny there are any. Sometimes pointing out that if you had read carefully three pages back you would have been able to infer what this sentence meant.

I'm not certain that all writers who publish POD are delusional. I believe some of them would listen to good information if they received it, but they do not know where or how to look.

When I was a kid I wrote for fun. I had no idea I could ever be published. One day I saw in one of the story magazines tiny print that said they would accept unsolicited submissions that met certain requirments and told how much they paid per word. From then on I wrote to be published.

If at that time someone had told me I could be a published author for only $500 the only thing that would have stopped me was the fact there was no way I could have obtained that kind of money.

I feel so sorry for those who believe they are "published authors" only to stumble on a forum such as this.

It must be heartbreaking.

FranMW
10-26-2004, 08:39 AM
Having the goal of being a professional writer seems perfectly fine to me. Having aspirations of being a best-selling, million-dollar-earning author seems fine as long as one acknowledges that this is more likely to remain a dream than an achievable goal. It's the writers who set up best-sellling, million-dollar-earning author as their =business plan= that I'd put in the delusional category.

<back to lurk mode>

La Belle Dame sans Merci26
10-28-2004, 01:35 AM
I don't think asking questions is the sign of a delusional writer.
Asking questions that seem blindingly obvious to others is something I've always done, and has meant that I understand things better. It's served me well throughout my life, including at University. And usually, for every one person who asks that question, there are many others who wanted to. I'll keep asking.
I have come across people who I would class as somewhat delusional, those who think they know the answers without asking the questions, and have got it badly wrong. And those who seem incapable of seeing flaws in their own work. I've found them mostly harmless to anyone but themselves, except when they hand out advice. That's why we need forums like this where people can ask the obvious questions and get something useful.

Gala, there is welfare in the U.K. The Welfare State was established (along with the National Health Service) after the Second World War. I grew up on it.

arrowqueen
10-28-2004, 02:40 AM
There's no such thing as a silly question. It's getting the answer and then ignoring it that's really stupid.

Unfortunately there's a lot of that about.

:smack
aq

JustinoIV
10-28-2004, 11:50 AM
" I said that being a writer can be a predominately lonely occupation, to discourage those "would be" writers who think it will get them instant fame and gratification."

Actually, it isn't a lonely occupation. And if someone really wanted to do something, why would words from the internet discourage them?

I became a screenwriter because people always told me that I told a lot of bizarre stories, and that I should tell them.

As for the notion that beginning writers shouldn't have ideas of commercial success from the beginning, that's hogwash.

Having goals, even major goals, isn't delusional.

There have been plenty of celebrities who have said they entered the business because they always dreamed of being a star.

I'm a screenwriter. Generally, if someone would come to me with a deal paying only a few grand, I would reject it. Said people generally don't have the money to actually film a movie if that's all they can pay for a script.

I originally interned in theatre. I wanted to be a playwrite, but the realities of being a playwrite in NYC mean for the most part you do not get paid anything. In fact, many playwrites in the Off Off Broadway circuit produce or co produce their own work.

I decided screw that, I'd rather be a Hollywood screenwriter. (read paid)

I know this is different from being a novelist. But even there, business sense is needed. A good novelist (one who ultimately becomes someone who people have heard off), is someone who knew very well how to sell himself/herself. Said people, upon getting published, promote themselves, hire publicist, go on Oprah, get interviewed by the New York Times, etc.

These people likely had major ambitions from the very beginning!

I don't at all see any "coolness" from being the starving, lonely image that some here want to project on writers.

Gala
10-28-2004, 10:55 PM
You said you're not a novelist. To me your opinion about the loneliness of it is, to use your word, "hogwash".

Are you indeed a six-figure income social-butterfly screenplayer?

Good for you.

Novelists have to spend thousands of hours alone to achieve success. A loner mentality is suitable for such work.

Don't judge what you don't know or you'll start sounding delusional.

OTOH, I've never written a screen play, but my delusion is it's nothing like writing novels.

:nerd

JustinoIV
10-29-2004, 12:40 AM
I think you maybe projecting your own personal feelings onto all novelists.

I've met novelists in cities like New York and Los Angeles, who were very social.

In fact, some of these novelists were aided in their careers precisely because of the social networks there were in.

The same goes for short story, and other writers. Beth Ann Bauman, who wrote Beautiful Girls, met the agent that got her the deal at a party!

I may not be a novelist, but I do indeed know people who worked in all aspects of the publishing industry, and that includes writers.

Many of these people are quite social! For those who write, when it is time for them write, yes, of course they stay at home. Doesn't mean they don't like to go out and hang with their friends and party. That goes for all kinds of writers, from novelists to songwriters.

Writing Again
10-29-2004, 01:15 PM
I'm a novelist writing a novel. I'm also learning how to write screenplays.

More aspects are the same than are different: You need a good story, suited to the medium; You need solid characters with understandable goals; You need to do your homework.

You need to sit home and plan and think and write.

SRHowen
10-29-2004, 10:21 PM
I think the entire idea has gotten off track--you can be very social, and still writing can be(is) a lone endeavor.

Do you write with a partner? Otherwise it is you, and your computer screen, for many many long hours. How many other writers are at those parties you go to? Yes, there are exceptions, those who live in NY and can network with the editors, publishers, and agents. But by far the majority of writers are those who live elsewhere, where the common response is "A writer, huh. I always wanted to write a book." Or the stall in conversation because there is no common ground.

Live in a farming community--farm issues abound at get togethers. Throw writing into that one and see how many fellow peers you have?

Live in a military community--Iraq, the election, when your next PCS move will be, toss writing out there at your company FRG meeting, see how many peers you have?

And so on.

Writing is most times a solitary craft. You can feel isolated, lonely, and alone. You do most of the time end up with very few peers--esp when you start out, before you've made the connections. Yes, there is the Internet--but face to face peers that you can make grammar jokes with, or talk about your latest rejections with--few and far between.

You'd be surprised how many people work at Wal-Mart or a 7-Eleven just to get out of the house and meet and talk to other live people.

Writing is one career where you can expect to spend a great deal of time alone, and even when you network (parties, conventions--and so on) how many other people are working on a story about a purple guy who lives in a crater on the moon? Your project is still your project with no one else you can really discuss it with, as you would with a 9 to 5 job.

So social or not, writing a book, a short story, or your memoirs is a lone craft.

Shawn

Gala
10-29-2004, 10:32 PM
Nicely put, SR.

In my experience, if a writer is socializing, they aren't writing at that time.

I socialize, volunteer, go to cafes to eavesdrop, and bookstores and librarys and universities to research--but that's not my butt in the chair, pen in hand, writing writing writing.

Writers write. Even when I'm on a subway or making notes on napkins a the care, I'm in that special tunnel by myself.

I don't feel sorry for myself or starving or lonely just because I'm a writer. But when I encounter another writer who understands, (like SR above) I am gratified.

:ack

Annie Dillard said something to the effect that writers make up stories about other people's lives, because they are so busy writing they don't have lives of their own to write about. Ha. (I'm not that extreme.)

Cya.

SRHowen
10-30-2004, 12:30 AM
I don't feel lonely either. But if I didn't have the Internet most of my contacts would be only when I go to a convention, or can make it to the Panhandle to attend a meeting of the writers org I belong to. But those chances are far and few between.

I ran into a writer not long ago at 7-eleven-- he was going to Austin for a book signing--we chatted away while I ran around the store and did my job. Chatted so long he was going to be late. I think that says a lot right there.

In my crit/support/mentoring group--we support each other and do spend time socializing--why? Because people are drawn to their peers.

So if you are feeling isolated, see if you can connect with another writer--it's still a lone craft, but a peer or two is great.

Shawn

ChunkyC
10-30-2004, 12:55 AM
see if you can connect with another writer
Which is why I'm here.

IMHO, the actual act of writing, the putting of words onto your chosen medium be it computer or paper, is a solitary act. How can it be otherwise? The words, the shape of the story, all are in your mind until you type or write. Only when you put them down or speak them out loud in the presence of another, can interaction with others take place.

JustinoIV
10-30-2004, 01:56 AM
Of course, when you are writing, you're not talking or being social at the moment.

But to say being a writer means you have no social life or that you don't have peers is a massive generalization.

I've lived in both Los Angeles and New York. I've known plenty of writers of all kinds. I've had internships where the people I worked with where writers of various sorts.

How any of us live as writers is up to us. Do you want writing peers that you can be face to face friends with? Then you have the option of moving to a large city, and getting into the artistic communities.

And yes, I have met writers who have written similiar genres to what I have written. NYC has 8 million people, LA is not far behind.

In these cities, you can meet fellow writers at the park, at the beach, at the nightclub or bar, at the the church, at the library, etc.

Mind you, if living in small towns is best for you, I'm not suggesting that you move to NYC or LA. But to say all writers don't socialize and live like the stereotypical housewife turned novelist is silly.

Risseybug
10-30-2004, 02:42 AM
live like the stereotypical housewife turned novelist is silly.

Hey! I resemble that remark :rollin :rollin

LOL. Stereotypes gotta come from somewhere, right?

JustinoIV
10-30-2004, 05:25 AM
"Hey! I resemble that remark

LOL. Stereotypes gotta come from somewhere, right?"

Nothing is wrong with that. Whatever works for you.:)

My only point of contention is that people made lifestyle generalizations which may apply to many writers, but there are many writers who don't fit thosestereoptical images .

I like to go out to nightclubs and drink. And I've met all kinds of writers at all stages of their careers at shows, clubs, and doing other fun type things (not counting industry parties).

Writing Again
10-30-2004, 05:59 AM
I've never met a real live commercially oriented writer face to face. I've met a lot of people who consider themselves true masters of literature and "above selling out." I've met a lot of people who never learned to read who still believe they are writing the next "Great American Novel."

I've a few people whose poetry I respected.

So the past year or so that I've been bouncing around online is my first experience communicating with like minded people.

SimonSays
10-30-2004, 07:02 AM
"I've met a lot of people who consider themselves true masters of literature and
"above selling out." <------ POSERS


"I've met a lot of people who never learned to read who still believe they are writing the next "Great American Novel." <----- DELUSIONAL

Writing Again
10-30-2004, 07:13 AM
SimonSays <----- HILARIOUS

mr mistook
10-30-2004, 08:59 AM
While it's true that many writers are quite social, There's got to be some upper limit to the partying. I've met many writers who intend to write, but never quite get around to it.

Here's my little thought experiment.

LAST MINUTE PARTY.

You've blocked out your saturday night to work on your novel. Your best friend calls on Thursday to invite you to a swinging bash that night. All your friends are going to be there. What do you do?

A. No Brainer! Go to party and brag about how you're working on a novel.

B. Judgement Call! Weigh importance of completing novel against guilt of disappointing your friends. Fun of party seems equal to fun of staying home & writing.

C. Thanks but no thanks. Politely explain that plans have already been made to work on novel and can't be dropped on such short notice.

HConn
10-30-2004, 10:38 AM
I choose:

D) Tell your friends you will be there, then cough into the phone. Saturday morning, call your friends and tell them you're too sick to go. Stay home and write. Next week, keep Saturday open and write on Sunday when you're good and hung over.

Kempo Kid
10-30-2004, 11:56 AM
I went on an interview this week for a corporate writer type job. The interviewer said that 80% of the job would just be sitting alone at my desk and writing. Was I comfortable with that?

Was I comfortable with that??? Born and bred in the briar patch, Brer Fox! Born and bred in the briar patch!:rollin

SRHowen
10-30-2004, 07:29 PM
Party?? Party?? Friends to socialize with?? Are you kidding? No brainer for me.

I have very few face to face friends. And having been in the military, (hubby) those I do have,(had) have since moved on---so are now Internet or phone friends. I have lots of those.

Am I anti-social? No, not at all. I'm just weird and filled with useless info. The last true social gathering I went to of non-writers was a tour of a castle in Germany. Someone in the group had injured their ankle a few weeks before, it was still swollen and hurting her. (A deep muscle bruise) She wondered why and I just blurted out the reasons.

She said rather nastily--IS their anything you don't know something about?

I run a large Girl Scout troop--all sorts of meetings there. (with other leaders as well) But do I socialize with the people? No, I'm not invited. I work at a 7-eleven, co-workers, and regular customers that you get to know--but no party invites.

Perhaps I am just suited to the lone life of a writer. LOL

Or maybe I'm delusional. ROFL

Shawn

James D Macdonald
10-30-2004, 07:52 PM
Party? Someone else buying the beer? Sure!

Set my alarm clock to 0400 on Friday, write from 0400 to 0600. Set my alarm clock for 0400 on Saturday, write from 0400 to 0800.

I've clocked a solid six hours of writing; I can go party! Time shifting is what it's all about.

aka eraser
10-30-2004, 08:16 PM
Jim, please tell me you nap.

maestrowork
10-30-2004, 08:40 PM
Get out more. Socialize. Have friends.

Part of being a writer is that we're essentially writing about people and their relationships. How can we write about them if we don't experience them in real life? Imagination, knowledge and research could only get you so far. You have to experience things, and then let your memories guide your imagination to create something realistic.

Jules Hall
10-30-2004, 09:37 PM
I've lived in both Los Angeles and New York. I've known plenty of writers of all kinds.

I think you've hit the nail on the head there. Yes, if you live in LA or NY (or London or Paris) you probably meet quite a few writers in your day-to-day life.

I live in Coventry, England. How many professional writers have I met in the area? Not many, because not many live here. I've met Ian Stewart (best known for his co-authorship of The Science of Discworld) once or twice because I studied at the university he lectures at. There are a few more who live locally, of course. But nothing like as many per capita as you'd find in the cities mentioned above.

ChunkyC
10-30-2004, 09:57 PM
Yeah, moderation in all things. If you do nothing but socialize, you never get any writing done. However, if you do nothing but write, you won't have much life experience to draw on and every novel will have to start with: "It was a dark and blinking cursor..."

Risseybug
10-30-2004, 10:46 PM
CC - I love it , run with it!

Jules - I would kill to live in Coventry, England! Aren't you the lucky one! My aunt is currently stationed just outside of Cambridge, and I so wish I had the finances to go for a stay.

I live in boring old Southern New Jersey.

maestrowork
10-30-2004, 11:53 PM
Go out and party. Get into a bar fight.

Then stage a bar fight in your book ( hi Mac )...

:lol

SRHowen
10-31-2004, 12:05 AM
LOL

Just because I don't "party," and I did plenty in my younger years, doesn't mean I don't observe and interact. I do work at a very busy 7-eleven. And you'd be surprised the kinds of folks you meet and interact with there--even idiots with guns.

Shawn

ChunkyC
10-31-2004, 02:22 AM
:ha Shawn, sometimes you totally crack me up. Only a writer would refer to being held up at gunpoint as "social interaction".

reph
10-31-2004, 03:05 AM
Shawn, sometimes you totally crack me up. Only a writer would refer to being held up at gunpoint as "social interaction".

Only a writer would refer to it as "material."

Sometimes I can kind of halfway see how an extravert might think partying was more fun than writing but then again, naah.

mr mistook
10-31-2004, 04:36 AM
Time shifting is what it's all about.

This is my first novel. I'm working a regular joe-job, so time is limited. I manage to get in 5 hours on the week nights, but I look forward to the weekends to really make progress.

I'm 35 now, so last minute parties are really a thing of the past. The old gangs broken up, moved away, gotten hitched, etc.

Sometimes I think, "I've I'd been more serious about writing in my 20's I might not be stuck in this boring job today."

But then I remember, that when I was 18 I sat down to write a novel and realized I hadn't anything interesting to write about. I decided to wait until I was 40, and I dedicated the years in between to observing life.

:)

JustinoIV
10-31-2004, 06:59 AM
"This is my first novel. I'm working a regular joe-job, so time is limited. I manage to get in 5 hours on the week nights, but I look forward to the weekends to really make progress."

That's still pretty good, though.

"I'm 35 now, so last minute parties are really a thing of the past. The old gangs broken up, moved away, gotten hitched, etc. "

In that case, you find new gangs. People come and go and are in and out of your life. It's good to get new people in your life.

Also, don't think for a moment that people well over 35 who are writers don't go and hang out. I've met guys in their 50s out on the beach and in bars.

"Sometimes I think, "I've I'd been more serious about writing in my 20's I might not be stuck in this boring job today."I decided to wait until I was 40, and I dedicated the years in between to observing life."

Everyone is different.:)

Risseybug
10-31-2004, 06:30 PM
I'm with you there, mistook. My 'gang' consists of my husband and my two year old. :grin
I do have friends, but I don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. My best friend and I used to tear it up when we were younger.

We used to close out the bars, then go to the after hours clubs. We could stay up all night, now we barely make it past 10 o'clock. We had an exciting conversation about new appliances recently.
It's rather funny when you think about it.

mr mistook
11-01-2004, 08:05 AM
It just struck me today what Stephen King would probably say about the issue of writers and parties...

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

:eek

preyer
11-02-2004, 08:39 PM
okay, i read the first three pages and skipped to the end when i found this:

'We used to close out the bars, then go to the after hours clubs. We could stay up all night, now we barely make it past 10 o'clock. We had an exciting conversation about new appliances recently.'

now that's funny. it reminded of the time my ex-girlfriend complained when i told her i thought getting a cellphone was a ridiculous expenditure, 'you've got your toys like your guitar, word processor (kinda dating myself here, eh?), and mustang, and i want a toy, too!' to which i reasonably explained that she had plenty of toys... a stove, a washer and dryer, a refrigerator.... she didn't see the humour in that for some reason.

maestrowork
11-02-2004, 09:32 PM
No wonder she is your ex now. :-)

It's like someone telling you your snow shovel and hedge trimmer are your toys.

HConn
11-02-2004, 10:12 PM
... she didn't see the humour in that for some reason.

If you thought she would, you belong in this thread. :grin

tjosban
11-02-2004, 11:20 PM
I am enjoying this thread and it at times makes me re-evaluate myself to determine whether I am delusional or actually hugging reality.

I have dreams of being a big success -- who wouldn't?

I also acknowledge that it will take hard work to achieve those dreams and I am willing to do that hard work.

As for the debate of lone wolf or social butterfly, I firmly believe in the combination of both. Observation is key to understanding human interaction. It varies so greatly. While I am still quite young (22), I observe the world around me constantly and have done so for as long as I can remember.

How else could I know all the gossip in high school without anyone telling me? I was only pretending to read that piece of paper while you two talked about everybody and everything from that party last weekend!

I know quite a bit about human behavior from this method of sneaky observation and I can accurately predict the outcome of people and action because I observe so much.

I knew this girl in my biology class wouldn't do so well when I overheard the following conversation on my way to our college course (May be a bit of paraphrasing but you will get the point):

"I couldn't drive my car to class today."

"Why? What's wrong with it?"

"Something about the engine wouldn't start, but I don't know what that is. So, ...(blah) (blah)."

:smack

Have a good day everyone!

TJ

Greenwolf103
11-03-2004, 12:31 AM
LOL She sounds like me. "Honey, can you put that thingamajig back onto the whatchamacallit?" :ha

But I agree with maestro here. You need to live life in order to write about it. Well, accurately, anyway. ;)

I used to get dirty looks, harsh comments and fight threats during my people watching. Since then, I've tried to make it as less noticeable as possible.

reph
11-03-2004, 01:51 AM
"I used to get dirty looks, harsh comments and fight threats during my people watching."

Sunglasses!

ChunkyC
11-03-2004, 02:21 AM
And the classic newspaper-with-eye-holes trick. :grin

Greenwolf103
11-05-2004, 11:08 AM
Ah, thanks! 8)

BitchyEditor
11-08-2004, 02:39 AM
Nope. You're right. I run into people who cannot spell correctly, let alone use all the words in a word. Normally I send them a "no" and am honest about why. However, I have been where they are and am also nice to them when I gotta let 'em down.

Gala
11-08-2004, 03:56 AM
And you never make typos either, right?


Nope. You're right. I run into people who cannot spell correctly, let alone use all the words in a word. Normally I send them a "no" and am honest about why. However, I have been where they are and am also nice to them when I gotta let 'em down.

I can't discern your meaning even from the context. Perhaps you'll consider assessing the writing of others with compassion now that you can't cast the first stone.

Normally I send them a "no"

Cheers.
:nerd

SimonSays
11-08-2004, 04:28 AM
Gala -

There is a vast difference between having typos or grammatical errors or other forms of sloppiness in a post on a message board and having them in a query or submission to an editor.

If you can't be bothered to proof work you are submitting - or are clueless to the fact that work you're submitting is gramatically incorrect or filled with typos than you don't deserve the gig you are applying for.

While BitchyEds error might have been ironic based on the subject matter - it certainly doesn't preclude her from basing her assessments on the quality of the writing she reviews - nor does it mean that she shouldn't expect professionalism from those submitting to her.

Risseybug
11-08-2004, 07:16 AM
I totally agree on this point. At the very least, a writer should have someone proof their submission, even their query, before sending it in. I have even read submission guidelines from publishers that say they will reject your submission if they find three errors in the twenty five pages they request, regardless of story quality.
It's just good business.

I would never hold my message board postings to the standard that I hold my actual writing - this is for fun and on the fly, after all.

SRHowen
11-08-2004, 08:03 AM
Proof the best you can, have someone else proof the best they can--that's all you can do.

In my query to my agent--I spelled his name wrong. When he asked for synop and sample pages I still had his name spelled wrong. I figured it out when I sent the complete ms--LOL I still landed the agent.

Does that mean you should be sloppy? No way. But errors happen, they are not the end of the world.

Shawn

Tish Davidson
11-08-2004, 09:25 AM
"I have even read submission guidelines from publishers that say they will reject your submission if they find three errors in the twenty five pages they request, regardless of story quality.
It's just good business."

Although I'm all for good grammar and accurate spelling and usage, publishers are in the business of buying writing that they think will sell. If they think they can make money out of the book, they'll buy it, even if there are more than 3 errors in the first 25 pages. This is not to excuse sloppy submission, only to say I seriously doubt successful publishers have hard and fast rules.

Greenwolf103
11-08-2004, 11:06 AM
The errors even manage to slip into a big name author's book.

preyer
11-08-2004, 02:07 PM
normally i don't even reread my posts. if there're errors (and i've seen more wrongly used 'there's' than just about anything else out of wordsmiths), i don't fret over it.

i have to agree, if a ms is otherwise outstanding, i think an editor would allow a small amount of mistakes. i supposed it depends on what they are. after proof-reading yourself, running it through the grammar/spell check on your wp programme, and assuming your agent has read the ms, there shouldn't be a whole lot to catch by that point. in that case, yeah, three per twenty-five pages is pretty high. you know how many errors i'm allowed per day where i work? zero. anyway, are there really those zero-tolerane editors out there whose criteria are so strict that common misuse of obscure grammatical rules makes them blinded by a few mistakes? who really is the loser here, the editor or the author who'll shop his stuff around and make money for someone else?

i hate to admit it, but in high school i dropped out of advanced english (big shock, huh) because i thought the rules they were teaching were antiquidated, unsane, impractical and often flat-out contrary to what people liked to read for entertainment and it sure as hell wasn't anything i wanted to write. that's not to say i'm completely unaware of grammar rules, but i'm not a technical writer sorting out words to the nth degree. if i come across an editor who requires that, i'm screwed and might as well be a journalist for the local rag whose newspaper i find an average of five typos a day. (grammatically, this post is @#%$.)

in his day, i wonder how grammatically correct shakespeare was, or poe or verne.

aka eraser
11-08-2004, 10:06 PM
While BitchyEds error might have been ironic based on the subject matter - it certainly doesn't preclude her from basing her assessments on the quality of the writing she reviews - nor does it mean that she shouldn't expect professionalism from those submitting to her.

(And no Simon, I didn't pluck out this quote to pick on you.) :)

If BitchyEditor expects professionalism from those submitting to her then she needs to exhibit it too. Sure anyone can make a typo or two and most folks posting on message boards are cut some slack. But BE could demonstrate her professionalism by paying her writers, or at least not make it sound like she's auditioning for slaves. You might want to check out the Nonpaying Markets board for an example of what I mean (though it may be shuffled over to Take It Outside before too-too long).

HConn
11-08-2004, 10:17 PM
Sorry, Frank, but I have no intention of clicking on "Non-Paying Markets."

I'm not *that* delusional! :)

SimonSays
11-09-2004, 12:07 AM
AKA -

Publishers & Producers who don't pay their writers is another issue entirely - and please don't get me started on that one!

I never even glance at the non-paying markets board, cause I would never work for no money. I have seen posts on the paying markets board that pay slave wages and I make a point of pointing out how putrid the pay is when I come across these posts.

As for professionalism - there is nothing that I say on these boards that I would not say in real life, although I would word some things a little differently if I was speaking to someone I was involved with professionally.

I work in Hollywood - I come across people who are egotistical and unprofessional on a regular basis. The key is to maintain a professional attitude regardless of how you are treated.

dub
11-09-2004, 01:17 AM
The only non-paying markets I contribute to are directly related to my church; oh, I did send a couple of short stories to a friend's church magazine, and everytime another friend sticks her nose in my door I give her a poem or an essay for her regional anthology. Otherwise, I sell everything to publishers.

Non-paying markets are strickly for non-serious writers - my opinion.

from the swamp - dub