Tuesday, July 13, 2010


First, a bit of a rant and then on to what I want to talk about.

I'm reading a novel right now by a best-selling author of many books. This is the first one I've read of hers. The writing is good, I'm pretty sure the story will eventually be good, but I'm so bored with the relationship between these two characters I can hardly stand it.

They have a history. I get it. But every time the storyline seems to be moving to THE STORY, their history is mentioned yet again. I get it already. I'm beginning to believe that this rather thick paperback could have used some serious editing. And frankly, I'm a little concerned about how many scenes might be incorporated later because "sex sells" even if it's gratuitous and has zilch to do with the story. (There has been none up until this point, but it sure looks like the groundwork is being laid . . . so to speak.)

End of rant.

So now . . . are you a writer or what?

I included something from James Scott Bell's The Art of War for Writers a while ago about acting as if you are a successful writer. Not in any kind of prima donna way, but with assurance and confidence. You can read that post here.

In the August 2010 issue of The Writer (a magazine I can usually always get something out of), there's an article where several top-notch authors share the best advice about writing that ever came their way. The price of the issue is worth this article alone.

I've picked one to talk about because I think it's important (and have recently discovered Alafair Burke). Ms. Burke tells readers that the best advice she ever got was to think of herself as a writer. Period.

If you don't treat yourself seriously, who will? I know of a wonderful best-selling inspirational author whose husband still thinks of them as "those little stories" his wife writes. Um . . . what?

We can begin to feel silly if we're not agented or published or selling screenplays or having people write us enormous checks for doing what we love to do. We get uncomfortable seeing ourselves as writers because we're a little lower on the writing pyramid, and it's a long way up. So, we let other things mess us up. We feel guilty for the time and effort this job requires.

My friend and critique partner, Kelly Irvin, once commented about how difficult it was for her to spit out the words that she was a writer. Her first book was published this year, with a second contract from the same publisher, and a two-book contract just in from another publisher. I think, for Kelly, it's a little more real now.

But what about the rest of us?

Repeat after me, "I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer."

(By the way, Sue Grafton said the best advice she ever received was, "Park your butt at your desk and get on with it.")

CR: Aha! You thought I might slip. Nope. No way. Unless I decide I really, really like this book, it's not gonna show up here.

It's all better with friends.

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