Tag: novel writing

Not Shooting Yourself in the Foot With Your Online Image

I have a confession: I’ve been going to science fiction conventions since 1976.  My goal for many of those cons were to see actors.  Some of them were nice people and others I wouldn’t want to know.  One I became friends with.  He was always a gentleman and very aware of his image he presented to the world.  At one con, he did an interview for a horror magazine.  So when it first came out at Borders, a friend and I snatched up copies right away.   I called my friend, a little worried because the interview was laced with f-bombs.  We’d both read all his interviews in the past, more than 20 years worth, and he’d always kept it very clean.  We debated about it and wondered if the writer had added the words for that magazine.

Nope.  The actor had gotten to drinking during the interview and said the words himself.  When he saw the interview, he was livid because he’d gotten the writer to promise not to use the profanity.  But the true problem was that he’d said them in the interview in the first place.

Concept image of a gun with the barrel tied in a knot against the backdrop of a grid.

There’s been a lot of that online lately from writers.  It’s like people have forgotten that they’re on public view.  Writer Unboxed just had a recent example of that.  It’s been taken down, but I saw before it was pulled (a discussion is on Absolute Write.  Scroll to the bottom post).  The writer in question took a fan letter from an eager fan that evidently offended her and explained how to “rewrite” it better.  The fan was guilty only of not being a skilled writer and probably being young.

Then there’s been the review meltdowns.  Writer gets a 1-star view or one that contains a reference to something not be good in the story (and sometimes it is very minor reference) or doesn’t give glowing praise.  The writer goes on the attack, ranging from telling the reviewer to take it down; getting the fans to attack the reviewer; or attacking the writer publicly.

I even got attacked in Twitter.  The writer asked me to do a review.  The book had been labeled as action-thriller/fantasy and looked like a detective novel in the sample chapters.  The pages didn’t give me action vibes, so I politely declined as being “not for me.”  The writer wanted to demanded to know why, saying things, “You say you’re an action-thriller writer.  Are you or aren’t you?”  Excuse me?!  I didn’t “owe” a review merely because I’m action writer.  I finally told him that it didn’t have enough action for me, and he had a meltdown in 140 words.

Maybe I would have read a future book from him, but now I’m never going to buy one because of his bad behavior.  No one remembers the good person before.  All they remember is the meltdown.

Our image is our words.  If we attack someone online for critique, a review, or because they don’t do what we want, that means we don’t have control of our words.

Getting angry and lashing out at someone online = bad writing

How have you been shaping your social media image?  Have you experienced a meltdown from another writer?

Writerly Adventuring

Cover from Darkness from Within showing an evil face glaring at youMy short story “A Soldier’s Magic” appears in the anthology The Darkness Within, available from Indigo Mosaic Publishing.  It features two women soldiers who have to make a tough decision to save a lot of people.


Doing What You Like — Writing. But It’s Not As Easy As It Looks

It’s Tuesday, and we’ve just had the usual rounds of complaints about Mondays.  A lot of people don’t like their job, so they fantasize about doing something else. @NKEllison sent this tweet:

Lots of tweets and FB updates about hating Mondays and working. Change what you do to something you enjoy and it won’t feel like work!

That’s not always possible, especially for a fiction writer, where the competition is beyond fierce, and the learning curve is a chasm.  Yet, most people don’t have an understanding of how difficult it is — even other types of writers.  It’s not uncommon to have someone think the process for writing and publishing a novel looks like this:



Screen reader: The image shows a woman thinking, “I’m going to write a book.” An arrow points to the next step, a book that’s labeled “best seller.”

Just a few “minor” steps missing.

Like writing the actual book.

Revising the book.

Sending the book out to agents and probably getting rejected a lot.

And it’s not just a matter of putting the words down.  Crafting a publishable story is very hard, and many people fail it.  When I shopped around two of my earlier books, I was shocked at how little agents accepted.   It was 5 percent of all submissions, and beyond that, about 1 percent got accepted by a published.  That means you have to really love what you’re doing and keep trying, but maybe not quit the day job right away.

Why do you think people believe that writing a novel is easy?

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Video Saturday – Advice to Writers – Anne Rice

I don’t know too many people my age who love speculative fiction who did NOT go through that phase where they either read or were urged to read Anne Rice.  While I read 3-4 of her books, I have to admit to feeling lukewarm about her characters, and the stories always felt a bit “overmuch.”  However, looking back, I am surprised by how much I remember of those novels so many years later.  So maybe I shouldn’t scoff.  🙂  Just a few months ago Anne put up a new video with advice for writers. It is 12 minutes long so a bit more in depth than our usual fare over here at Unleaded, but still a fun watch.

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