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It’s been twelve months since I posted my original list of Ten important truths every writer should know.   I figured it was time for an updated version.

1. Writing is easy – it’s the rewriting what is difficult. 


2.
  In between each revision stage, commas and grammatical errors breed like rabbits at a Viagra testing facility.


3.
Writing for yourself is not the same as writing with a view to getting published by someone else.


4.
  Don’t send snarky responses to rejection letters. Editors talk to each other (so do agents).


5.
Self-promotion (engaging with people as opposed to just talking at them) is far more fun and a lot more effective than self-publicity.


6.
There’s a wealth of free information about writing on the worldwide web, but not all of it’s good, and none of it works for everybody.


7.
If all you’re looking for is a pat on the back, don’t waste other people’s time by asking them for a critique.


8.
There’s no such genre as ‘SyFy’. 


9.
To succeed in writing, figure out what works best for you and do that, a lot.


10. _________________________________
                                           

I left #10 blank. What would you put there? 




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Comments

( 105 comments — Leave a comment )
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mikandra
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
amen to no 7. I once critiqued a 180K novel only to find that the author only wanted praise and never returned the favour, even though that was agreed. Stupid me. Won't be doing that again.
jjschwabach
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC)
180K? And they got mad at you and wouldn't return the favor? Ouch!
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jun. 12th, 2010 12:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mikandra - Jun. 12th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jun. 12th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
mikandra
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
No 11:

No novel (or short story) has ever sold because an editor saw it on your hard disk
jongibbs
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:55 pm (UTC)
Ooh, good one :)
baggyk
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:33 pm (UTC)
Finish what you start.
jongibbs
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:56 pm (UTC)
...but remember, sometimes it's better to quit while you're behind :)
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 01:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
david_bridger
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:42 pm (UTC)
Write what you love.
jongibbs
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:56 pm (UTC)
Nice!
jakobdrud
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:43 pm (UTC)
10. Writing should always be a little fun, and preferably a lot.
jongibbs
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:54 pm (UTC)
Excellent! :)
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 01:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
gillpolack
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC)
Read lots!
jongibbs
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:55 pm (UTC)
and preferrably in your target genre. :)
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
jjschwabach
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Number 8 : Yes there is -- it's full of stupid Monster-of-the-Week movies that are poorly plotted, completely predictable, NOT science fiction or even good fantasy, and have graphic effects that could have been done better by a ten-year-old using only MS Paint.

Number 10: If it gets rejected, first check to see if the rejection has any specific comments. If it does, check those against the story and see if you agree. If you do, make the changes and send the story out again. If you don't, just send the story out again.
jongibbs
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, handling rejection is a post unto itself :)
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jjschwabach - Jun. 12th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jjschwabach - Jun. 12th, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
mikandra
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC)
don't write what you know - write what you can find out
msstacy13
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
Well, one probably ought to begin with what one knows,
but, yeah, finding out is a good step forward from there...

Several famous writers worked as patent clerks,
but none of them ever wrote a novel about it, did they?
(no subject) - jjschwabach - Jun. 12th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 08:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jjschwabach - Jun. 12th, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jun. 12th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
mtlawson
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... Let's see...

3. Writing for yourself is not the same as writing with a view to getting published by someone else.

Yep. You forgive yourself certain errors that won't last in a critical setting.

4. Don’t send snarky responses to rejection letters. Editors talk to each other (so do agents).

Unless your last name is Ellison. He gets away with almost everything, from what I've seen. (Almost everything.)

7. If all you’re looking for is a pat on the back, don’t waste other people’s time by asking them for a critique.

Yep. Agreed. 7a is "grow a thicker skin."

8. There’s no such genre as ‘SyFy’.

I thought that's where wrestling lives.

Seriously, SyFy is just a placeholder name. I expect that as the ratings for the non-SF/F stuff continues to outpace the real SF/F, we'll see SyFy just move completely out of the actual SF/F content. Producers go where the money is, unfortunately.
msstacy13
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC)
Producers go where the money is, unfortunately.

Not like writers, thank God!
(no subject) - mtlawson - Jun. 12th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Jun. 12th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jun. 12th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
karen_w_newton
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC)
I think they went with SyFy because they could copyright/trademark it. Sci-Fi is already in general use and can't be owned. Still looks dumb, though.

My #10: Persistence is as important as talent. A lot of famous books were rejected multiple times before going on the sell like hotcakes.

msstacy13
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC)
Some have the speed, and the right combinations,
but if you can't take the punches, it don't mean a thing.

--Warren Zevon, "Boom Boom Mancini"
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Jun. 12th, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Jun. 12th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
msstacy13
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC)
Sorry to be argumentative,
but if it really tests you,
it's probably not easy.
You enjoy it yes, because it's not easy.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 01:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jun. 12th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
phoenixfirewolf
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:40 pm (UTC)
get the first draft out, making it good is what revisions are for.
msstacy13
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
Depending.
I've known people who never finished anything
because it was never quite good enough.
If that's an issue, then, yes, get a first draft done,
make something you can actually work with.
At the other extreme,
I've seen people who had only two tools--slap and dash.
If everything you write is garbage,
put a little more effort into that first effort.
(no subject) - phoenixfirewolf - Jun. 12th, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 12th, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - phoenixfirewolf - Jun. 12th, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
phoenixfirewolf
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
PS
If you aren't having fun, you aren't doing something right. That was another thing I thought of. You have to have fun.
msstacy13
Jun. 12th, 2010 02:31 pm (UTC)
Re: PS
Re: PS - phoenixfirewolf - Jun. 12th, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: PS - jongibbs - Jun. 12th, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: PS - phoenixfirewolf - Jun. 12th, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
msstacy13
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:48 pm (UTC)
As if my fifteen minutes of fame hadn't already run long...
Hm. Number Ten.
Downing Street?

The thing that comes to mind is Moby Dick.

Generally considered one of the best American novels ever written.
But when it was originally published?
It was so badly received by the public and critics
that it effectively ended Melville's writing career.

Keep that in mind when an agent or publisher
expresses relutance to represent or print your work.
jongibbs
Jun. 12th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
Re: As if my fifteen minutes of fame hadn't already run long...
Absolutely! You have to have faith in your own work :)
lisa_schroeder
Jun. 12th, 2010 01:58 pm (UTC)
I love #9. SO TRUE!!!!

#10 Be true to yourself. Don't write for the trends, write what your heart tells you to write, because you have to care. If you don't care, readers won't either.
jongibbs
Jun. 12th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
Good one :)
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jun. 13th, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 105 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there















 











THE MEAGER PUDDLE OF LIMELIGHT AWARDS


Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

NJ writing conference - compressed

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