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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Don't Listen to Me


All right, it's time to put out some more important writing advice. Over the years, I've made a series of tips (which I then promptly forgot about), critiqued various works of literature, cinema, & video games, created software to make better writing easier, and I frequently beta read at FanFiction.net and Critters. I've been published a few times, and I'm working on my second meant-to-be-published novel, which means I've got some experience. And I've figured out the best thing I can tell you people.

Don't listen to me.

Seriously, if you're looking for tips about the industry, about anything really, don't listen to me. I'm not a published author, in any meaningful way. I mean, I've sold a few short stories to some online magazines, but I'm not a professional. I'm an amateur. I don't know everything. In fact, I know very little. I've wrote one novel that's been through 40 queries, and not one bite yet. And I'm working on another that's better, but frankly, I would be surprised if it gets an agent. Not because it's bad, but because of the state of publishing, and how everyone is reluctant to pick up new auteurs.

I've only been writing with intent to publish for four years. Before that, I was writing fan fiction mostly. That means no feedback, no advice, no peer review, no editing, no studying the craft, no tips, no bookmarked grammar sites, no good advice on starting a story, and adverbs as far as the eye can see.

It's like practicing karate in your house. There's no teacher to correct you. You could be doing the wrong stance, the floppy punch, you may not even be blocking at all. And you certainly aren't going to survive a fight, unless it's with another book. There's no one showing you the subtle things you're doing wrong, tweaking performance, adjusting the power behind your punch. It's like drawing a line without a ruler. Eventually, you lose the hard edge.

So beta readees, Critters, and anyone looking for me for advice -- I am just as dumb as you. Even dumber. I may have a sword, but that doesn't mean I have the skills to wield it well. And I don't know how to teach you any more than what I already know about swordsmanship.
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