Saturday, April 05, 2008

Breakable Vows

Ten Things Writers Swear They'll Never Do as Pros

1. Allow a publisher to slap a title/cover art/back copy on the novel that makes you break out in hives, puke, or lock yourself in a dark room so you can weep for twenty-four hours straight.

2. Argue against and then cave in and go along with an inappropriate/ridiculous/supremely stupid marketing idea for a series just to get the damn thing in print.

3. Cast a thinly-veiled version of an agent/editor/former writer friend as an idiot/red shirt/traitor in a book.

4. Date a fan because it was easier to get them to show up on time.

4a. Take a fan as a date to an awards banquet because they wolf-whistle if you win, or cause a commotion and shout "That's complete bullshit!" if you don't.

4b. Marry the president of your fan club because, well, let's just not go there.

5. Lie about where you got the title for a story so no one else would raid your secret well.

6. Take crap from anyone, period.

7. Tell an editor what you really think about their great idea when they ask, "Give me your honest opinion."

8. Throw up from nerves in a bookstore manager's office trash can just before a booksigning.

9. Use the eff word, the cee word, and the other cee word.

10. Write a blunt, factual memoir about your experiences in Publishing and name everyone who messed with you, including the people who still think you don't know it was them.

Let's see, I've broken about half of those so far. What are some of your writer vows, breakable or otherwise?

20 comments:

  1. 3. Cast a thinly-veiled version of an agent/editor/former writer friend as an idiot/red shirt/traitor in a book.

    Gasp.... you mean we SHOULDN'T do this? I've killed off several people who ticked me off in my books. I thought it was considered free therapy!

    None of my editors, and I do adore my agent, but a couple of backstabbers... *G*

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  2. Shiloh wrote: I've killed off several people who ticked me off in my books. I thought it was considered free therapy!

    Hey, you're supposed to be saving that for the tell-all memoir from #10, remember? :)

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  3. As many characters as I've killed in my books, not a one has been based on a real person, in or out of publishing. In fact, I don't think any of my characters have been based on real people. Color me weird, I guess.

    The one personal writing vow that I cling to, even when it seems the whole world wants me to do the exact opposite is - It's always about the story, never EVER about the money.

    I don't give a flip about the money part. I guess I'm weird that way too. Sigh.

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  4. I'm with Tam. It's always about the story for me as well.

    My personal writing rule is not to cave in to pressure to do all the promotional "have-to's."

    And on a unrelated note, I finished the ARC of Twilight Fall yesterday and it's fabulous. I think it's the best book yet in the series.

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  5. "3. Cast a thinly-veiled version of an agent/editor/former writer friend as an idiot/red shirt/traitor in a book."

    Being a standup comedian, I can get away with this. In fact, I plan to reduce a lawyer at BigHugeCo to tears when I do my next gig because he's a whiny, needy little bastard who worries that someone somewhere in the company is more important than him and is sick of his boss's admin telling him so everyday.

    And then, because I've humiliated him in the name of Open Mic, I'll be expected to put that character in a book and emasculate him in the most comical way possible.

    Besides, I'm just evil.

    "4b. Marry the president of your fan club because, well, let's just not go there."

    Actually, I'm divorcing her. Does that count?

    "9. Use the eff word, the cee word, and the other cee word."

    Aren't those also known in some circles as "commas"?

    "10. Write a blunt, factual memoir about your experiences in Publishing and name everyone who messed with you, including the people who still think you don't know it was them."

    I want people to pay me NOT to write the memoir. So anyone who mistakenly believes they want to feud with me, my PO box is in the appropriate directories. Start turning those pockets inside out. I wanna see some checks. Fork, people. Or I tell what you only hint at in public. Mwahahahaha!

    Besides, I'm evil. See above.

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  6. I always vowed that I would find some way to help talented, struggling writers once I'd made it myself. And it may be from my rocking chair in the Assisted Living home, but I still plan to do so. ;)

    (Btw, it took me a minute to think of the two cee words, but I effing did it...)

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  7. "3. Cast a thinly-veiled version of an agent/editor/former writer friend as an idiot/red shirt/traitor in a book."

    Jeez, that's why I got into writing in the first place!

    As a book reviewer, I've already agreed to read someone's unpublished manuscript, although I did turn down a tempting offer to help a guy's tome that describes the perfect formula for achieving success in life. He even offered me half his royalties, too!

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  8. Tam wrote: It's always about the story, never EVER about the money.

    Excellent attitude.

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  9. Darlene wrote: My personal writing rule is not to cave in to pressure to do all the promotional "have-to's."

    It's tough to resist, and the unrealistic expectations and constant pressure on writers to fulfill them never really stops. It's twice as hard when you see that kind of stuff apparently working for other people.

    Thing is, I know better now. I know I can reach plenty of readers via PBW, giving away books or putting a promotional e-book online. I don't have to blow my advance checks on expensive web sites, book trailers, trade advertising and so forth. And I'm going to keep looking for low or no cost ways to do that, because frankly writers can't afford to be writers anymore.

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  10. Evil wrote: I want people to pay me NOT to write the memoir.

    Yes, but then one of the whiny-ass little crybabies decides to call the Feds, and next thing you know you're trying to write the memoir really fast before you're arraigned on extortion charges.

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  11. Raine wrote: Btw, it took me a minute to think of the two cee words, but I effing did it...)

    The female cee word is still a hot button, but we've kinda accepted the male cee word, haven't we? (I blame Sasha White. I'm sure she had something to do with it.)

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  12. Bill wrote about #3: Jeez, that's why I got into writing in the first place!

    Lol. I think that one lurks in the corner of every writer's heart.

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  13. Darlene, I meant to add a thank you for the kind words for Twilight Fall. I'm really glad you liked it.

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  14. One vow I made to myself is to walk away the second I can honestly say I'd rather be doing something else more than writing. So far, I've drawn a blank when I try to come up with what that would be.

    I've also vowed to make myself happy first. If everyone else likes what I'm working on, too, then great. If not, oh well. That lesson was a hard one to learn, but well worth it.

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  15. I think #6 should be #1.
    To add to that,take crap from a 'good friend', that doesn't write and thinks every protag homicide detective NEEDS a drinking problem or it won't be an interesting story.

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  16. To never write a protagonist I wouldn't respect if I met her/him in real life.

    So far, so good.

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  17. Jordan wrote: One vow I made to myself is to walk away the second I can honestly say I'd rather be doing something else more than writing.

    I've tried to walk away. In my case, it followed me.

    I've also vowed to make myself happy first.

    That's a really good one.

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  18. Big T wrote: To add to that,take crap from a 'good friend', that doesn't write and thinks every protag homicide detective NEEDS a drinking problem or it won't be an interesting story.

    Sure, just like the hero NEEDS an STD to make the romance interesting.

    I take King's approach. I'd never give a neurosurgeon advice on how to operate on a brain. I don't need advice from non-writers on how to do my job. :)

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  19. Selah wrote: To never write a protagonist I wouldn't respect if I met her/him in real life. So far, so good.

    I'd have some issues with a few of mine, but yeah, if nothing else the respect has to be there. Be nice if it would be mutual. :)

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  20. I'm still trying to figure out what the other cee word is.

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