Posts Tagged ‘Advice’

I guess I owe you one

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Crazy times here at Jewel central. I’m sure you’ll all be happy to know I am hard at work on The Next Historical which is taking the bulk of my time, blogging may be sparse until after the book is turned in, in case you haven’t noticed that already.

Somewhere on the web recently, and I just don’t remember where, someone opined that writers who eventually get published have given up other things in order to pursue their craft and mentioned things like getting up early or staying up late. While these things are undoubtedly true, if you want to write there’s no getting around making time for it, for some reason my reaction to that was mostly this: For gosh sake do not think you can take the time out of your sleeping hours.

So that’s my public service announcement to everyone looking to carve out more time for a creative endeavor.

Yes, something’s got to give, but it shouldn’t be sleep. The creative brain needs sleep and a sleep-deprived brain will make you pay for thinking you can short-change your sleep. My recommendation is to take the time out of TV watching. If this applies to you, what did you give up? Or what would you give up?

There. Go forth and . . . er . . . sleep.


I read this and went, Huh?

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Do NOT read this post if you are a girl-editor or don’t care for swearing. You’ve been warned.

So Susan, in the comments to another post here included a link to this Writer’s Digest article entitled 5 Tips to Polish Your Fiction by G. Miki Hayden. The tips given in the article, while definitely useful, don’t fit the kind of thing I do when I’m polishing. I would even say I don’t think any of those things really qualify as polishing but there’s some good stuff there. Number 5, however, threw me for a loop. Like this:

This sheep is named Thirsty. She looks puzzled

Thirsty the Sheep Looks Puzzled

5. Limit your use of possibly offensive language.
Reasons exist for characters to swear. But remember that, nowadays, most books are bought by women and many women don’t like swearing for swearing’s sake (even in gritty or naturalistic novels).

WTF? (Um, that stands for What the FUDGE, okay? It DOES NOT mean What the Anglo-Saxon-word-for-copulation.) Oh, all right. I meant What the fuck. Sorry. Okay, I’m not really sorry.

Number one, that is not advice about polishing your novel. That is advice about what you should consider doing to sell your soul novel.

Could we please dispense with stereotypes like this? It’s not even true. I am reminded that someone over at some review site said of my RITA finalist paranormal My Forbidden Desire, something along the lines of (paraphrasing) my hero was foul-mouthed. She actually hated the book for that reason alone. In fact, she did not touch on one single plot element of the book. She just hated my foul-mouthed hero. But she was a reviewer. Not an editor. And not my editor, who happens to be a woman.

It’s true that most books are bought by women. But “many women don’t like swearing for swearing’s sake” — But men do? Is that what the author means? And even if it’s true, what does that have to do with buying a novel? “(even in gritty or naturalistic novels)”


In other words, women who acquire books will impose their personal moral dislikes on a book and make their buying decisions accordingly. The subtext, of course, is that a male editor would not do such a thing and that books, as a result of this this imposition of feminine delicacy, are in danger of too many rainbows and unicorns. And cute kittens.

Here’s a rejection letter such an editor might send:

Dear Author:
Thank you for sending us your novel THE WEREWOLF’S BAD HAIR DAY for consideration. This is one of the finest novels I’ve ever read. Even Marketing agrees this book will sell millions and that the publisher stands to make millions more from licensing and movie rights. Unfortunately, your delicious and tortured werewolf protagonist says “fuck” 37 times and “bullshit” 50 times. Also cock, penis, petaled folds, and asshole. Sadly, for this reason, we cannot offer you a contract. Best wishes for your future success.

Ellen Editor.
P.S. Please let us know when your novel is published!

Oh, for fuck’s sake. That’s really stupid advice. If your characters are the swearing type, they should swear. If your book is great, an editor will buy it.