Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dr. Writer and Mr. Hyde

First of all the winner of the contest is *drum roll* Marissa! You win a copy of WHITE CAT by Holly Black. Just email me your address at paranormalpov at gmail dot com and we'll take care of that. Now back to the blog:

Even writers have feelings. Yes, it's true. We can be a tough brood. 432 rejections and barely a tick. Right? But sometimes,
sometimes, under the light of a full moon, in the solitude of the computer room, our darker natures fight to free themselves. The beast wants out.

Many a writer has ruined a perfectly good career by failing to control her darker nature. Picture this: You get yet another rejection from an agent. She said she liked it. She wanted a full. But two agonizing months later, you get an email that states, "I liked the voice and the pacing was great, but I'm afraid I just didn't fall in love."

You stare at the screen until the words begin to dance like ants across the page. Your breathing grows shallow, uneven. The hair on your neck and arms stand up. A growl grows from deep in the pit of your stomach and before you know it your fingers are twitching over the keyboard. Mr. Hyde has come to play.

You type as fast as you think. You wouldn't know a great piece of literature if it bit you in the behind! You'll be sorry. Your finger hovers over send. Then you have a better idea. Post it in a public place! Trash her in front of everyone then she'll be sorry!

Uh-oh. Slow down. Give that monster a tranquilizer. Wait a day or two. Re-read. She LIKED it. She complimented it. If she had said yes and then didn't have her heart behind it, how would that do you any good? She did you a favor.

Lets look at a different scenerio:

You buy a book by another author who has been lucky enough to get a deal. You read it only to find *gasp* it isn't as good as you think it should be. Mr. Hyde whispers in your ear, "How did she get a book deal when you can't even get a request for a partial?" Your vision's tinted red. Your nostrils flare. You decide to write a review.

This book could have been written by a fifth grader! There are so many adverbs I thought I would drown in a sea of Ls and Ys! Where did she go to school? The thing was one giant cliche and I'm using it to line the bird cage!

Whoa there. Get a grip on that sly dude. Publishing may be a subjective business, but it doesn't take a degree in Psych to know that someone's a little frustrated. I'm betting it wasn't all that bad. And even if it was - do you really think you should post that review? Don't recommend it if you don't like it. But don't trash it either.

Everything you say, every word you write holds power. Use that power wisely my friend. Never say anything to "trash" anyone else. If you are giving constructive criticism, do it kindly and with balance. Nasty comments spread like wildfire. Plus, editors and agents google you know. You could have the best prose in the world, but no one will want you if you're a loose cannon. Negativity like that only reflects upon you.

Now, I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir. But, I had to acknowledge that inner beast that lies within us all just waiting for the right moment to come out. Keep the creature locked up tight before he destroys you.


  1. Haha, my poor husband has to listen to my inner beast far too often. Other than that, I keep it in a dark, isolated room (most of the time, anyway). :-)

  2. Funny how our families love us anyway.

  3. This is so true! Did you read Alan Rinzler's post this week about pre-pub background checks? Anything y ou say online -- and they will find it -- will come back to haunt you.

    But there's nothing to say we can't let out our inner beasts by howling at the moon. Or better yet, about writing a new book about creatures who howl at the moon.

    Thanks for this reminder! (Going to throw this into the Friday round-up!)


  4. Martina - I'm honored. Yes, there are far more constructive ways to let the beast out for some exercise.

  5. Lisa, yay for our win! Thanks so much! I will send you an email asap :)


  6. Excellent advice, Lisa. You may want to approach that agent again some day. And whatever you post online lives forever.

    Straight From Hel

  7. Helen - thanks for stopping by! Yes, the things we later wish would go away usually have a way of haunting us. And seriously, you may approach someone like that again because the example I used would be a really NICE response!! LOL

  8. Wonderfully put! We all need this reminder every once in a while. The publishing community is just that, a COMMUNITY. People talk and word gets around. The wrong words can end your career before it starts, and more importantly, hurt someone. Excellent advice.

  9. Thank you, Heather. :) I really LOVE this community too.

  10. No need to let any beasts out. If a rejection is the worst thing that happens, our lives are pretty darn good!

  11. Ha ha you said this the best!!! It's important to remember to lock up the beast or just share it with someone close, one my blog friends and my husband. I stick with people close to me... that seems best!

  12. Jen - you got it. Keep that baby on a tight leash!!

  13. Congrats to Marissa!

    Yeah, we need to embrace the positive words and advice industry professionals may give us. And while rejections aren't fun, they're a part of it. The big picture is writers, agents, and editors are all on the same team. Being nasty won't solve anything.

    I hope you had a nice weekend. :)

  14. Thanks Dawn! My weekend was great - hope yours was too. Very well said, btw.

  15. Ha ha you definitely reminded me of my own inner beast that rears its head occasionally.

    Btw, have you profiled anyone yet as a genie or a jinn?

  16. Margo - I take back my gnome decision, you are clearly PSYCHIC because I just finished scheduling something with a genie mention for next week. Plus that's what my new WIP is about. :) SHH!!