Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?
All of us need to remember that all books are a team effort: writer, editors, and artist.
I’ve closed books because the copy was substandard. In not talking about a couple of mistakes. I’m referring to every page has an error. The story is incoherent. Because the team who should have cleaned it up to a squeaky clean finish, didn’t do their job.
After it’s published, there really isn’t much left to do. But before it gets out there? We should rally and help whoever asks us for honest input.
Yeah, I’m looking at you. 😉
Lots of work doesn’t get published because the critters didn’t bump it up.
What makes the difference?
Us. We are a community, and we are also on the publishing team. We are the critters, the beta readers and critique partners.
I warn everyone I read that I’ll be brutally honest because I know no matter how gentle I try to be, what I’ll say could hurt. I want the writer to be prepared—to strengthen their resolve—before they read a word of what I have to say.
Truth is truth. Being honest is hard. And each writer deserves nothing less.
No one is perfect. We all have weaknesses. For me, it’s mostly homophones and spelling. No editing program can point out all of them. Only my brave critters can save me there. I depend on them more than they know.
We all want to improve our craft. That takes bravery. Baring our soul and our words. So when agreeing to give feedback. Remember two things: be honest and be as gentle as possible. We trust you to be there for us and not stroke our egos.
Have you ever been let down by a critter? What did you change the next time around?
Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?
Like most of the IWSG questions, I had to give this one a long think.
I can’t say that my writing has to do with a time of year, or season, or even what the weather is doing on a specific day.
I don’t know about anyone else, but sometimes my history with all its demons kicks my behind and I can’t seem to make it stop. Or I couldn’t, until I discovered that every event that haunted me could enhance my writing.
It didn’t matter what emotion bounced around my head; there was a perfect scene it could feed. I remember the fear of the unknown when I left home, the excitement of making my own decisions and later discovering that with freedom came consequences.
I look back at how naïve I was. That one weird memory I’m not sure I even remember correctly. It’s been 40+ years.
But why I write is about me and Why someone would read my work is another thing completely
So I dove into research again.
Overly emotional scenes
Apparently when writing an emotionally charged scene, going too deep can make some readers uncomfortable. I can confirm this because when I can’t cope with what’s on the page, I skip ahead.
OR Skipping Scenes
Swinging the other way is just as bad. Anticipation rises mercilessly, then the huge emotional moment about to happen, and for some reason only known to the writer, they skip forward to after the event.
Has the reader been robbed? I don’t know. I noticed that in the Game of Thrones series that some—not all but some—of the bigger plot points on-screen were skipped in the books. My choice was taken away on the page. Although the characters discussed the turn of events to fill in me in, I missed the experience. Some scenes were pretty gross, so maybe it was a blessing.
What I discovered during my reading was, there is a safe zone. Getting feedback will save us from the extremes, and apparently that is what most readers want. They want to feel connected to the MC, enjoy the shared journey, but not be overwhelmed or feel left out.
What do you think? Is there a line that should never be crossed?
“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”
and Flannery O’Conner said:
“I write to discover what I know.”
OPTIONAL IWSG DAY QUESTION:
Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?
For me, these questions raised the subject of theme.
In many stories our players reflect our personal beliefs and let the world know where we stand on global issues. We give our characters opinions on both sides of a coin and let them subtly deal with the impacts, and emotional baggage those issues can cause.
I’ve taken the stance that everyone is equal. I told my son once that although some people act like they are more important than someone else, we are all worth a penny. Not more and not less.
All of us face the same issues in our daily lives. No one is exempt from loss in all its forms. And joy—earned or not—should not be envied but celebrated.
Does equality reach my writing?
I don’t know. Maybe somewhere down deep it’s there. I’d like to think so.
I write because I love it and not to do it would leave me feeling very similar to a volcano about to erupt.
What do I write? It depends on what caught my eye and how I’m feeling. I’ve bounced around a bit.
How about your characters? Do they duke it out over global issues or is it more personal?
When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?
THE WORKING WRITER…
I know what I think, but often that is so off kilter that I thought I’d better do an internet search to find out the rest of the world thinks.
Then I’ll argue my point of view as skewed as it is. *snort*
One website post suggested that anyone could determine if they were a writer if they read the ten suggested titles and stuck to a routine. Newbies drink this Kool-Aid—and they aren’t wrong—because we all know that the more we write the better we get.
But does that make us a working writer?
Chances are pretty good that you’re telling stories for other people to read and enjoy. If that’s true, then the bare bones truth is that you need to start thinking of yourself as not only an artist — but a business person.
Every writer owns a small business. We’re all start-ups.
Fine, if we produce something we can sell, we could call ourselves a small business. Does that earn anyone the title of working writer?
I don’t think it’s as simple as that.
However, I do agree that dragging something out of our imaginations and making it available for others to consume is being an artist.
FROM WRITER UNBOXED:
If you write, you are a writer. That’s pretty much how the definition works.
And you are a working writer.
The type of work you do, writing-related or otherwise, does not make you more or less legitimate. Starving does not make you better.
I wholeheartedly agree with Greer. People work in the home. They work in the yard. Not many determine if their work is of value by being paid. Raise a child. Mow the lawn. They simply have value.
The end result: a happy child playing on a nicely trimmed lawn.
I think I smell barbecue.
What was I saying?
Money has nothing to do with being a working writer. Time, effort, patience, digging deep are all the sure signs of what a working writer is all about. Writing is hard work. Putting down a sentence that means something is hard work.
Actually finishing a story—short or long—is hard work.
So if you ever wonder if you are a working writer, look at what you’ve accomplished in your writing career. Reread some of your work.
Remember: Not everyone can do what you do, but almost everyone can mow a lawn.