Random Friday


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call them, enjoy these writers’ quotes!

This is true however you publish, whatever you write.
Writing begets writing. Writing sells writing.
Writing is an act of doing. It is an act of making.
It is also an act of persevering.
And surviving.
A lot of writers simply can’t hack it, so they quit. The road ahead and behind you is littered with the corpses of writers who just couldn’t hack it. (And spoiler alert, some of them are the desiccated carcasses of shit-flinging gibbons.) They couldn’t deal, so they gave up and gave in.
Writing is you not quitting. It’s you taking a bite and digging your teeth deeper like a cranky-ass bulldog who refuses to let go. It isn’t you being a crap-tossing primate.
Be the best version of yourself.
Let your writing be the guide.
Write the greatest damn book you can write.
And don’t be a shitty monkey.
The end.
Chuck Wendig

Let me tell you something someone mercifully told me: If readers do not empathize with what your character wants by the end of your first page – and that’s the stubby little three-quarter page of text floating under the title – it will be remarkably difficult to sell your book.
Now read that again: not just understand what your character wants.  To empathize.  As in, to go, “Oh, I could want that too.”  You need to trigger a resonant emotion within 250 words or so.  It likely won’t be a deep emotion by that point, but that first “I get this person” has to be birthed on Page One.
You don’t get emotion by explaining things to people.  And as such, “Everything is inverted in The Uploaded!” became a liability.
Ferret Steinmetz

Oh, and one more thing. I get that writing about spaceships or elves or super-spies or whatever may seem frivolous in times like these. I’ve been there, man. We should be out there donating, marching, calling representatives – spending our time better, right? And yeah, I’ve done those things as well, and I’d encourage y’all to do that too.
But writing really does matter. I had a reader reach out on social media recently just to tell me that reading one of my books was a welcome respite from all the craziness out there. And wow, let me tell you, that was something. I hadn’t really thought of my stuff that way, and it was incredibly awesome to hear that.
I wrote 2,000 really good words that day.
So yeah. It’s OK to be angry, scared and/or discouraged at the world – or your own personal stuff, for that matter, because life throws curveballs all the damn time. Do what you gotta do to get you through it. Watch crap movies or call your reps. Donate, cry, march, hide, scream. Take care of yourself. But know that when you get back to the keyboard, you have a chance to bring stories to life that can help people think about a better future, or get some solace from a rough present.
Saddle up, wordpeople.
Michael J. Martinez

Writing by committee makes dullness. It takes out your writer voice, and often your character voice.
And I honestly have no idea why writers don’t have more pride in their work. That is the aspect of all this that bothers me. No one touches my work. It is my work. Period. Good or bad.
And I am proud of that fact. Good or bad.
The Solution?
Just stop. Go cold turkey.
Grow a backbone and believe in your own writing.
Maybe have one trusted reader and then ignore anything they say that doesn’t fit with your vision.
Get a copyeditor who will only find typos. Ignore anything the copyeditor says if they try to change your style or writing in any way.
Think how much easier that will be.
Keep learning skills and craft and applying it to the next story.
Bad grammar be good in right times and right places. Toss out the Chicago Manual of Style unless you are writing nonfiction.
Toss out the window your copy of Strunk and White unless you are writing nonfiction.
I am talking fiction here.
You are an artist. Allow your characters to live on the page. Allow your own voice (which you can’t see) to be there for your readers.
Always focus on the next story, not the last story.
Just stop even thinking of using beta readers to destroy your work.
Because that is what beta readers do.
Dean Wesley Smith

Almost nobody else is judging our progress. We might imagine that all of our Facebook friends and all of the relatives we see at Thanksgiving dinner are always thinking about how we’re falling short of expectations. The truth is, almost no one is thinking about our writing success at all.
Nobody is making harsh judgements about our return on investment except the imaginary judge we’ve invented for ourselves, and we can kick that person out any time.
(…)
If you love writing, you have to learn to be shameless.
That way, you can always enjoy it, no matter what comes or doesn’t come from it.
Shameless” is a funny word, because we use it as an insult. But we accept “shameless” is negative, then we have to accept being ashamed of ourselves as a positive, which is madness.
The really good things in life rarely result in money and accolades. Walking in the moonlight. Playing with your dog. Turning up the music and dancing around your apartment.
Bryn Donovan

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Random Friday


Mm ‘kay, I didn’t appear in the Sunday linky link, so I’m not going to bother again. And I’m going to close the month with a few words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call them. Have a great weekend!

You’re a writer.

Your most valuable asset is, ideally, your writing.

If it’s not, that’s a problem. A problem with you, to be clear, and not a problem with the rest of the world. It rests squarely upon your shoulders.

If your best way to get attention for yourself is to throw shit instead of write a damn good book, you are a troll, not a professional writer.

Your best advertising for yourself as a writer is to write the best book you can write.

Your best advertising for the last book you wrote is the next book.

Your best boost to your career is to be the best version of yourself. Online, in-person, all-around — summon the ideal version of yourself and present that face to the world, to your potential audience. That is how you earn your audience. You don’t build them. Your audience isn’t a fucking chair. They are a group of people who you can, in part, earn as readers and as fans. (I say in part because you can never please everybody, nor should you try.)

Chuck Wendig

Pick any of the seven reasons above – finishing a book, being creative, achieving a flow state, growth through learning, celebrating failure, finding your tribe or bravely showing your vulnerable side – and use it to pull yourself out of your negative state. Find your smile again.

Use this newfound positive state to problem solve.

Look back: find possible reasons why the book has not sold and come up with ways to improve its sales. Or use being happier to look forward: tap into that creativity and productivity from before and write the next book.

Instead of being a sad, rejected loser you are now a courageous and creative author. Yes, it is simply a variation in language, but you are a writer so you know just how powerful words can be.

Julie Schooler

But how about YOU? What are the things that you have achieved and accomplished? Even if you haven’t published the new project you were hoping to get done, did you at least get started on it? Have you at least made progress on it? That counts, and it puts you THAT MUCH closer to the achievement. And it’s okay to pause and celebrate that.

Too often, we also compare ourselves to others, and often to only those who are more successful than we are, failing to recognize that there are likely more authors “in our shoes” than the giants being celebrated by the larger media. The fact is that there’ll ALWAYS be someone doing better than you. The thing to measure, instead of comparing your own success, your own sales, to someone else’s, is to compare your own achievements today against your achievements in the past.

– Mark Lefebvre (KWL Newsletter)

Every single finished book is a struggle and a triumph and is merely abandoned (the knowledge that it could be better haunts every writer, every time).

But, and here is the good news; if there is no shining ‘after’ to counteract the wasteland of ‘before’, that means all there is is the writing. The daily work. The being a writer. The thinking up stories. The day dreaming. The delicious research. The learning.
That is all there is for any of us and you are invited to join in.So, take a piece of paper. If you prefer your invitation to come from me, consider it extended (with my warm wishes and a free hug if we ever meet in person!).But you can put whatever you like on your paper:

I am an author

I am creative

I am a writer

I write

Whatever resonates with you. Now put that paper somewhere you won’t lose it, but will see it regularly. In your wallet or on your desk or bedside table.

Sarah Painter

Look. Cats belong in boxes. Stories don’t. Yes, it can be helpful for marketing, and yes, readers have certain expectations in certain genres, but it isn’t one hundred percent necessary. It isn’t a precursor to getting published, or to success. When I was writing Girl, I had to learn to let it go. When someone asked me what I was writing, I started answering, “I don’t know.” It was honest. I wrote the book I wanted to write: it’s historical, and contemporary. It’s both science fiction and fantasy. It has time-travel, but only one jump…so is it reallllllly a time travel book? Does that matter? Not really. I wrote the story I wanted to tell, and it blends genres until I can’t see distinct colors anymore. I’m really glad I didn’t force my book into a box. I love cats, but my book is not a cat.

Katherine Locke

Random Friday


And since not much is going on – again – here are a few writers on writing, words of wisdom and whatnot. Have a wonderful weekend

***

When you’re having a bad writing day, a hard writing day, remember that.

And remember too that when you sit down a week from now, or a month, or a year, the days the writing was hard and the days the writing was easy will be indistinguishable from one another. In fact, sometimes the easy days produce worse work than the difficult days. You never know. So don’t let it stop you. Put the bucket over your head and run at the wall anyway.

And remember that all of this is just a draft, that it can all be fixed and changed, that what doesn’t work can be made to work. It can always be made to work with enough practice, with enough blood.

You’re having a hard day of writing, write anyway.

Do it because it’s hard.

Forgive yourself because it’s hard.

Don’t let one bad day be the gravestone for the rest of the days.

Chuck Wendig

Thanks to Quiet by Susan Cain, many writers are happily claiming their introversion. I’m an introvert, which means I get my energy from being alone. I hate small talk and large groups. I’d rather think than speak, and write rather than talk. I rarely answer the phone. I’m INFJ on the Myers-Briggs scale, and many authors fit a similar model. This also means that conferences and events are tiring, so I can’t do too many of them a year. If you’re like me, then we’re super lucky these days, because online marketing suits introverts. We can attract an audience online and connect with readers, while still spending time alone.
Joanna Penn

There’s nothing like studying the bestseller lists of bygone years for teaching an author humility. You’ve heard of the ones that got filmed, normally. Mostly you realise that today’s bestsellers are tomorrow’s forgotten things.

(…)

I’m convinced if I keep going one day I will write something decent. On very bad days I will observe that I must have written good things in the past, which means that I’ve lost it. But normally I just assume that I don’t have it. The gulf between the thing I set out to make in my head and the sad, lumpy thing that emerges into reality is huge and distant and I just wish that I could get them closer.

Neil Gaiman

The proper response to a rejection is to send the story out to a different publisher—not to rewrite the tale. So don’t fiddle with your language. There are times when it might be wise to make a “substantial” revision, one where you change the very bones of a story. For example, you might decide to write a new opening scene, or extend a climax, or something like that. In that case, it’s like re-setting the bones of the story, not applying new lipstick to the face of it. You’re fixing the underlying structure.

David Farland

That’s the kind of writer you want to be. You want to be the writer whose work they buy because they love your work, rather than the writer who distracts them for one weekend and whom they never read again.

(…)

We all want our latest releases to sell millions of copies this year. Most of us—99.9% of us—won’t achieve that. But we will have published a book or two or three, and we are working in our chosen field.

We’re the day-to-day folk who provide the best entertainment possible in a non-special-event kinda way. And that’s what most readers want.

Remember that the next time you see a lot of hype.

And realize that the hype isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

Kris Rusch

Random Friday


Haven’t been doing much, so I’m posting the Words of Wisdom, Writers on Writing, whatever you want  to call them, and happy new writing year! 🙂

Keep your ear to the ground. You can’t just hide out in your writing cave. Remember, the market changes. You need to be able to alter course if necessary, so stay informed of what’s happening in the industry, what other authors are doing, what the book trends are, etc. That doesn’t mean you jump on everything that comes your way, but you need to be aware of it. Don’t be the last one to catch the train.

Pay it forward!!! Support your fellow authors. Buy their books. Review their books. Share their releases and successes with your followers. I can’t tell you how many opportunities have come my way because of friendships with other authors. It takes a village to build a successful writing career, and your fellow authors are your village.

Cara Bristol

I love to write. A lot of you love to write, I bet. But, as with any love, there are days you hate it. Some days, writing feels like endless toil. There are days when writing acts distant for no apparent reason, because writing can be a passive-aggressive jerk. Writing is the sort of lover who breaks up with you, then slinks in naked while you’re taking a shower, like nothing happened. You’ll stay up all night with writing and regret it when you have to go to work in the morning. There’ll even be times when you’re trying to focus on something else, but writing won’t stop talking to you no matter how politely you ask.

Simply put, writing is an asshole. Writing steals your money and spends it on stupid things, like another gimmicky book on how to write better, and then it acts like it bought that book for both of you. Writing will take you to heaven and back all day long, but the next morning it’ll be gone without even leaving a note.
Because writing is love, and love is hell.

Robyn Bennis

Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.

– John Green

If you are the kind of writer who can write the same thing over and over again and not get bored, then you might be able to develop the kind of brand loyalty that Child is talking about.

I can’t. I don’t want to repeat myself. So even though I know what he did is very smart, it’s not something I can or will replicate. I have to plan my own brand work around that decision.

That said, I am much more interested in building brand loyalty than I am in building customer loyalty. I didn’t have the words for this until I started this series.

I don’t want people to buy my books because they’re discounted or because I keep offering better and better variations of a good deal. I want people to buy my books because they enjoy my books.

Kris Rusch

Impostor Syndrome is real. Flip the script on it. Don’t let it have power over you. Admit you’re an impostor. Then admit that we’re all impostors — none of us belong here because art and story are forbidden, interstitial places. This thing we do is Buccaneer’s Den, it’s Mos Eisley, it’s a secret moon colony. Not a one of us “belongs” here. We all booked illegal passage through blackest night and sharky waters to get here. We’re not one ship, we’re countless life-boats strung together — a glorious flotilla of freaks.

This is who we are. It’s what we do. And what we do is sometimes hard. It’s hard for me. It’s hard for you. It’s hard for Stephen King. It’s hard for J.K. Rowling. King probably thinks that Rowling does it effortlessly, and Rowling probably thinks King sails through every draft, and the truth is, it’s hard for them, for you, for me, for every penmonkey that ever done monkeyed with a pen.

When a story reads effortlessly, it was not written effortlessly. In fact, the more effortlessly it reads, the more effort probably went into making it read effortlessly.

It took work.

Chuck Wendig

Random Friday


Words of Wisdom, Writers on Writing, whatever you want to call it, here’s the last quotes of the year! 🙂

Write if you’re gonna write.

You’re never too old to write.

And you’re also never too young to start.

But don’t wait. That’s the caution. That’s the danger.

Don’t sit on it. Even if you’re likelier to be more successful later, that later-in-life success is often built on the heaps and mounds of a lot of unsung, unpublished work in your youth. Use that time to build a mountain of glorious failures and fuck-ups. You only get to know what you’re doing by not knowing what you’re doing. You only get to the rarified air of success by climbing that mountain of shit work and fuck-uppery. It’s not a waste of time to write badly. It’s no waste to write in the wrong direction. The path may be circuitous, but the path is still the path. And writing is how you walk it.

The work won’t come to you.

You gotta go do the work.

That’s true whether you’re 16 or you’re 60.

So go do the work and stop worrying about age.

Better yet, don’t compare yourself to others. There’s always somebody out there doing it differently, and doing it better. Always someone younger, older, with more books, more awards, better sales, nicer hair, whatever. What they do isn’t what you do. Who they are isn’t who you are. Their path ain’t your path. Scrap all that worry and write.

Chuck Wendig

As writers, we don’t get a lot of moments like these. Moments where things line up and we get to look back and appreciate what we’ve done, and turn around and look at the future with some optimism. A lot of the day-to-day is loaded with stress, rejection, please-love-me posturing and loneliness. It is not a profession I would suggest to someone who doesn’t take criticism well, that’s for sure. But that’s what makes the good times so meaningful. The times when you realize why you do this, why you sit alone for hours pecking away at your keyboard in the dark, telling a story first for yourself, then for everyone else. We do this stuff because we have to, and I’d probably write books for myself alone if that was the extent of my audience. But it’s nice, hell, it’s essential, to sometimes feel like you’re pushing that boulder up the hill for a reason.

Alex Segura

Now, if we can only get rid of it from the writer side. If we can accept that our assumptions were formed in another century, a century that is stunningly different from ours.

We can write and publish what we want. We aren’t even doing it in the dark.

So, let’s embrace the present and publish our works. Let the future take care of itself, and drop as much of those past assumptions as we possibly can.

And remember—if you find a book that’s spectacular, share the news with someone else. That’s what’ll keep books alive for the next 100 years.

Just like it did 100 years ago.

Kris Rusch

The threat of writers block always looms. It can take a variety of forms from not having an idea to explore, to not feeling like writing, to feeling like you have nothing worthwhile to say. Writer’s block tells us something. Maybe that the story is not ready yet or that the idea is not viable. When I come to a blank page, I spend a lot of time beforehand arming myself. I have research. I have brainstorming notes. I have snippets of dialogue, a rough outline, and description all so that I can avoid any sort of block. My actual writing routine involves preparation the night before: thinking through what I’m going to write, making a plan, mapping out the scenes or chapter. When I’m writing, I might stop mid-paragraph or mid-scene rather than write them to completion so that when I can sit down again, I can slip right back into what I was writing. I may have multiple projects going so that I can switch to another should I get stuck on one. I prepare, prepare, prepare … whatever it takes (whatever works for me) — both in rhythm and habit—to keep putting words on a page. It may not just be writerly angst, but it can be worked around. Your mileage may vary, but give yourself space and time to work your story out.

And be kind to yourself while doing it.

Maurice Broaddus

Now realize I have believed all my work sucks for forty years, yet over 23 million people now have bought my books and more every day around the world. If I took that number in, I would be too “important” to ever write again. But if I believed there was no point because anything I tried would just suck, I would never write again.

So the balance is just creating a space in our own heads. Nothing is important really, but everything should be done the best we can do.

Be a window cleaner. Make the window so clean no one can see the glass and take pride in that and then move on to the next window.

Writing is no different.

We should all take pride in the work, do the best we can, keep learning, and then release and move on.

Dean Wesley Smith

Random Friday


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, writers’ quotes, call them what you like and enjoy them! Have a great weekend!

There exists no one way to write any one thing, and as long as your writing has a starting point and an ending point, I think whatever shenanigans go on in the middle serve you fine as a process as long as it gets you a finished book heavy with at least some small sense of satisfaction. If you’re not finishing your books, you need to re-examine your process. If you’re not at all satisfied with your work, then again: re-examine that process.

And that’s it.

Everything else is just picking out drapes.

Chuck Wendig

A few weeks ago, I told some writer friends that I’d rather have 1,000 true fans on my mailing list than 50,000 people who signed up because maybe they might get a free book from some contest.

I really value the fans, and the readers. They like my work, they support it. They keep me honest, and they think of things I never would have. They write email, and most importantly of all—

They give up their time and their hard-earned dollars to wander around in my imagination for a few hours.

What greater honor is that? I’m very grateful for each and every one of them. I know how precious reading time can be, and I’m so pleased that they choose to spend some of their time with my work.

Kris Rusch

Being a bestselling author is like being an Olympic medalist or an Oscar winner. After the first time, you are ALWAYS a NYT or USA Today bestseller, whether you make it once in a lifetime or a 100 times. So I’m taking my letters and going home. No more chasing the lists. No more gaming the system. No more losing my mind trying to get the highest possible spot on lists that readers legitimately do not care about. Most of them wouldn’t know where to find the lists online or in the papers. Chasing lists becomes an ego thing. It does not matter to readers. At all.

So I’m putting my ego in a box and sticking it on the shelf. I’m putting my readers first, which is what I should’ve done all along. If they want books on Fridays, I’ll give them books on Fridays. If they want release week contests that last two weeks rather than five days, I’ll give them that, too. After all, they’re the ones who keep me in business, and they need to be more important than my damned author ego or need for validation, which I can get every time I look at my sales dashboard or reader reviews.

Marie Force

Piracy doesn’t harm authors. I have written ample posts about this topic.

Hiring companies to police the Internet, looking for evidence of copyright infringement and sending out DCMA notices, does hurt authors. Lexi had an Amazon link to her website, that even seven years later still gets traffic. Now her link is gone. That can’t be helpful for an author. And I can guess I’m not the only blogger who is getting notices like this. How many writers, thinking they’re combating piracy, are actually limiting their own reach?

Probably a lot. So I’ll say it again:

It’s a waste of time, and money, and also potentially career-damaging, to fight piracy. I say this as someone who has been pirated a lot for over a decade. People pirate me. And I don’t care. And there is absolutely no verifiable evidence that ebook piracy harms authors.

If you’re concerned about piracy, make sure your ebooks and audio are easily available and affordable.

But, as I said, you shouldn’t be concerned. People are going to share files. It’s part of the human condition. Anti-piracy laws are about as successful as anti-drug laws.

The enemy is obscurity, not people reading your work for free.

Joe Konrath

Breaking news: writing is hard. It’s loaded with insecurity, rejection and silence. There are less painful, more lucrative careers that probably require less work. But, at the end of the day, those of us that stick it out and choose to peck at our keyboards daily do it because we love it. Because we’re passionate about the stories we want to tell.

But before I get too close to the Bummertown city limits, let me also say that writing creates some amazing moments. Moments where you think back and say, ‘Damn, I will never forget that.’ Like the first time you get to hold a printed copy of your book, or the first time you signed a copy for a fan or when you found out a teacher that inspired you as a kid is actually a fan of your work. That kind of stuff is rare, and spread out. But it matters. And it feels pretty good.

Alex Segura

Writer Wednesday


Since I’m still traveling, I’m postponing the actual Writer Wednesday with a summary of this Business Masterclass. But I’m not leaving you high and dry! Here are some writers on writing/words of wisdom/writers’ quotes to keep you company until I come back! Have a great week!

Right now you are best writer you can be at this point in time.

Believe that, keep practicing and sending your work out, keep learning everything you can learn.

Understand that the more you write, the more you learn, the better you will become.

But right now you are the best writer you can be.

And that will be better than the writer you were a year ago, if you are doing things right and writing and learning.

And it won’t be as good as you will be in a year if you keep learning and practicing.

Imagine how much more you will know and how much better a storyteller you will be in forty years…

Dean Wesley Smith

Should A Writer Get An English Degree, Yes Or No?

This is apparently a question, so I will attempt to address it.

I have no idea what you should or should not do. Every writer tends to carve their own writer-shaped door into the industry, and then they seal it shut behind them, Cask-of-Amontillado-style. (I can make that Poe joke because I was an English major. I have a license for such literary shenanigans; if you are caught making such a pun without the proper degree, you will be hunted.) There exists no One True Way to become a writer except, you know, go read stuff, live a life, and write things down.

Keep reading stuff, living your life, and writing things down until you get sorta okay at it, and then later until you maybe get sorta good at it, and hey, ta-da, you’re probably a writer. Maybe even a professional one of some level of success from MEAGER TRILOBYTE to MIDLIST INKSLINGER to GRAND CONQUERING PENMONKEY OF THE REALM.

There, the end, go do it.

Chuck Wendig

Now, all that said, it takes more than writing to market to get a book that makes money and has oodles of readers. It takes more than writing to a niche to get that smaller but fanatically loyal fan-base. You also may write that cannibal comedy so well that it gets attention from readers across the board and starts the next big trend. You can’t predict how your book will do once it’s published.

You have to start by writing a great book of whatever genre you pick. You then have to either put the work in to get an agent or publisher, or publish it yourself and be willing to do your own promotion and marketing. Your writing has to be what sets you apart, the rest are no more than paths your writing takes to get to your goal. It’s a smart writer that spends some time considering which path they want to take.

That doesn’t make you untrue to your art. It makes you an artist who has a goal for their art and makes a plan for how to get there. There is nothing wrong with art for art’s sake, but if you want people to buy your art, then you need to have a plan.

Julianne Johnson

Be yourself.  Write to your standards, your taste.  The road will be lonely, because you’re the only one on it.
Know that when you put a book out, there may be elements beyond your control that bring it down.  You can control the quality, but you can’t control much more.

David Farland

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.

Douglas Adams

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou(I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings)

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.

J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)

Random Friday


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call it, enjoy these writers’ quotes and have a great weekend! 🙂

Do not make escaping your day job a goal for your writing.

I hear this all the time, but the pressure is too much on the writing because the day job, the “real job,” is what makes everything tick.

But don’t worry, if you keep the writing fun, keep your family supporting you, keep learning, eventually the money from the business side will overwhelm the day job money. And by then you will have gotten help to deal with it all mentally, right?
Just don’t make the writing so important, so special, that it threatens the “real job.” If it does, you will grind to a halt fairly quickly because how we were all raised doesn’t allow threats to what pays the bills.

Dean Wesley Smith

 

You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.

– Octavia E. Butler

 

I think it’s fairly common for writers to be afflicted with two simultaneous yet contradictory delusions – the burning certainty that we’re unique geniuses and the constant fear that we’re witless frauds who are speeding toward epic failure.

– Scott Lynch

 

So, what am I telling you, exactly? Am I telling you not to seek help?
No, of course not.
But I am telling you to trust yourself and your instincts as a writer. Your voice is what makes you who you are.
Sometimes your voice isn’t suited to a particular subgenre of fiction. That’s okay. Genres and subgenres are >marketing categories, nothing more.
Write what you love, and you’ll always do better.
You do need to learn your craft. You need to learn the rules of grammar before you can break them. The same with the rules of storytelling—whatever your culture. (Not every culture appreciates the same storytelling rhythms. Accept that, too.)
You need to keep learning and growing and improving—which is precisely the instinct that caught both of these stupendous indie writers. Because in continuing to learn, they forgot that they already have mastered a certain level of craft.
They also both asked the wrong questions.
Kris Rusch

 

Don’t screw around with history. The study of history isn’t just an exercise in saying where we came from – it is an examination of who we are now. We all of us will see the past through the lens of the present, and if you decide that your past is a shiny one in which busty maidens loved to flirt with sword-wielding kings of justice while happy peasants enjoyed a humble life of shovelling cow-dung, then your world is… in need of a bit of a kick in the nethers, pardon my saying so. Because if you cannot see the past, and cannot see that the act of seeing expresses something about yourself, then you will never know your present.
Screw around with history! I know you put a lot of effort in finding out exactly what kind of throne Suleyman the Magnificent sat upon while holding his divan… however if it doesn’t have a bomb hidden under it, or the secret of eternal youth hand-stitched into the upholstery, it is dull. Atmosphere is not the same as pastsplaining. You’re here to create fun stories full of sound, colour and soul. History is full of stories that can be the starting point for something else – and if it teaches us to see ourselves differently, then permit yourself to see it through the prism of wonder and imagination too.’

Claire North, “Hurrem and the Djinn”

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, call it what you want! Here’s a break from Sci-fi July with lovely advice from wonderful authors.

I pretty much considered myself a failure by everything I had been raised. A successful person would be working a “real” job, raising a family, saving for retirement. A successful person didn’t work as little as possible to give myself more time to type made-up-stuff on a typewriter.

The concept of being a fiction writer was so alien to how I was brought up that I didn’t even realize until I was almost thirty that real humans wrote all the novels I read.  Yet I loved the challenge of telling stories.

And I think I loved more than anything that making up stories wasn’t a “real job” that people would accept. My estranged mother, right up until the day she died, thought I had wasted my life.

Wasted my potential” as she used to say.

And by the time she died I was a major bestseller. Didn’t matter. To her way of thinking, the real job way of thinking, I didn’t really work.

I didn’t get a paycheck, cash it, try to make it stretch until the next paycheck. Therefore I was a failure. Period.

The very real fear of not having a real job if you were raised in that kind of thinking is almost impossible to break. To this day I honestly don’t know how I escaped it. And I haven’t escaped it completely.

Dean Wesley Smith

I’d like to offer for your approval the highly unfashionable idea that good storytelling trumps everything else. Writers whose characters are made of purest silly putty and who can’t parse a simple English sentence regularly end up on the bestseller list because they know how to tell a story and keep readers turning pages.

There seems to be a school of thought that lovely writing is all that literature is about. I love to bask in beautiful writing, but I much prefer writing to be in aid of something, which is to say a good story. Likewise, I fully appreciate well-drawn characters, but well-drawn characters with nothing to do but gaze at the wall and soliloquize to themselves are pretty darn dull.

– Walter Jon Williams

I’m also confused by the fact that such a large part of recently written science fiction is very pessimistic. It worries me particularly that in SF aimed at children and young adults, dystopias have become the popular and most frequently published subgenre. I myself am naive enough to believe that we would feel better if we could read about a future that is worth living in. I’m also naive enough to believe that we currently have all the information we need to create such a future. Why, then, do so few science fiction writers nowadays describe this kind of alternative? This remains a mystery to me but it would be nice if more writers were to even give it a try.

– John-Henri Holmberg.

Remember This: Human Beings Learn Best Through Storytelling

We live inside stories. We learn empathy from stories. We gain other points of view and other ways of thinking from stories.Stories open new worlds. Stories create community.

Stories have great value—not just as entertainment, but from one human being to another.

Your readers might love your characters, characters those readers would hate in real life, and those characters might make it easier for your readers to understand their corner of the world.

Finally: Value Your Art

Kris Rusch

Hope is your beacon of light during the darkest of times as the tiniest sliver of light shines brightest just before the dawn. The best advice I can give to you for the difficult days ahead is to find the things and people they give you hope. Follow them. Support them. Do what you can to ensure the things that give you hope can continue.

Do not go gently into that good night. Fight. Hold on to your hopes and dreams for the future. Art harder. Live bolder. Become the best and strongest version of yourself that you possibly can. Take care of yourself and your fellow humans.

Love with all of your might, but whatever you do, never give in, never lose hope.
Steven Spohn

Random Friday


Since I don’t have anything new to report, here you go with words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call them! Have a great weekend! 🙂

The formula for long-term success is easy.

1… Write what you love, what entertains you.

2… Learn continuously about the craft of telling stories.

3… Learn continuously about the business of publishing.

4… Learn continuously about how to handle a business and money.

5… Write more stories and novels than anyone else.

You want to study how I went from stalled to making lots of money with my writing?

Just buy all 36 issues of Smith’s Monthly and study them. 36 novels, 160 plus short stories, tons of articles and non-fiction, serial novels, and so on. And realize I laid out the first thirty of those issues out, from cover to interior to ads. Yes, I did the work on them as well until just last spring.

Write that much in three years, keep learning, and find innovative ways to get your stories to readers and you will be surprised how much money you can make.

But you can’t do that writing to market. At least not for long.

Only writing for love will allow you to maintain that pace and have fun at the same time.

So now I have, as Heinlein said, “Given away the secret.” Now anyone can do it.

Anyone can, actually.

Have fun.

Dean Wesley Smith

If we add up the sheer volume of TIME involved in the old way, why are we griping that we have been self-published three years and aren’t yet J.K. Rowling?

I have mentioned the problems with Millennial Authors (these are writers who have “come of age” during the digital revolution and they could be 22 or 67). I know the “old way” wasn’t better, but it does lead me to believe that writers of the “old days” have better tenacity because they didn’t enter the profession in the Age of Instant.

Yes, our first book might only sell a handful of copies. But guess what? In the “old days” odds were we would only sell a small number of copies as well (refer to statistics above). But, unlike the “old days” we can keep writing more books. We can keep at it until something sticks or until we decide to move on.
Kristen Lamb

2017 is going to be fascinating because the world economic situation is in flux, just like our industry is in flux. What we do know is this: People read books in good times, and people read books in bad times. We just have to figure out how to get people to read our books.

How do we do that?

First, we write the best damn stories we can. That’s why people read. They want to escape (or get information and escape, in the case of nonfiction).

Second, we produce the best product we can, in as many formats as we can manage, so that our readers have choice.

Third, we let our readers know that a book is available. Note that Open Road succeeded by putting backlist books on bestseller lists. Five years ago, traditional publishers said such things were impossible.

Fourth, we plan for the good and the bad. Readers want us to keep writing. They want their favorite authors to publish as many books as possible as fast as possible. Readers also know that we’re not machines, so they move to other writers while they wait for us. But readers will wait.

So if you’re having a rough year, figure out what it will take to survive that rough year. Then return. And as you plan for your future after that rough year, plan for the good and the bad. Try to be debt free. Try not to overpromise. Start learning your business and grow, slowly, so that you can be around ten years from now.
Kris Rusch

To me sketching is like taking notes of thoughts. You practice and practice to build up that sense of shape, form and beauty, but not to just do beautiful drawings or paintings. I think too many artists are obsessed with doing a perfect drawing every time. It is not about doing a nice drawing every time, it is about being able to do a nice drawing when you need it. That is why you practice, that is why I doodle.
– Claire Wendling (Barb’s note: this applies to writing as well… just sayin’!)

(…) there are so many layers of competency you have to take on in writing science fiction and fantasy. When your writing concerns only reality, there are things you don’t need to question. Writing science fiction and fantasy means you need to question whether there’s even a sun. And then question what direction that sun comes up in and what color it is.
– Nalo Hopkinson

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