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Good Writers are Good Listeners

By on Nov 25, 2014 in The Scrawl |

Yesterday I posted a query in a Reddit thread asking what male writers got wrong when writing female characters. The thread exploded, more or less, with tons of interesting thoughts and and tons of great suggestions for male writers to be able to accurately write outside their own gender. And I am not going to spend this post trying to answer each comment or to give you much more than the summation that I agree with anyway. (Confirmation bias FTW) Good writers are good listeners. Ergo, bad writers are often bad listeners. The top comment, as of this writing, is from user octoberyellow: Conversations. Spend time in your local coffee shop eavesdropping on women. Notice how often they laugh. And how few times you see the whole ‘mean girl’ thing going on. Women speaking with women almost never happens in a book (where there’s a good chance she’s a token in a group...

Everyone is an Editor

By on Nov 24, 2014 in The Scrawl |

“A good writer is not, per se, a good book critic. No more so than a good drunk is automatically a good bartender.” -Jim Bishop One of the more frustrating things about writing and trying to make it as a writer but not being quite there yet is that everybody(er’ybody) is an editor. Some of them might actually be editors. I have interacted with editors before. Sometimes they edit magazines, sometimes they do copy editing, and sometimes they just use that title, editor, without knowing that there are actual qualifications for it. It’s obviously not just true in writing. Music, food, art… generally anything that allows for a creative expression. And everyone loves to share their opinion about what you should have said, what you should have written, what you should have done. Of course, they didn’t write your book. They didn’t agonize over every...

My Doubts About Kindle Scout

By on Nov 21, 2014 in The Scrawl |

Being a writer is often, by definition, being vulnerable. Not to be too morbid about it, but you tend to bleed your ink all over pages and then let others test the quality of your blood. So here’s a post where I will attempt to be more vulnerable than usual concerning some of my current places of doubt with my latest foray into publishing. Kindle Scout struck my interest almost immediately. I remember poring over the bits and pieces of the royalty agreement. I remember taking it apart, trying to find the “gotcha”. Sure, there were things in there that weren’t ideal – Amazon sets the sale price of which you get 50% – but the broad strategy contained in the idea was good. Allow readers to vote on the book they wanted to read and then work to market that book. I like that strategy. I do. So I entered. And then I noticed that no matter how many people...

Being Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough

By on Nov 20, 2014 in The Scrawl |

Creative writing, to earn a living, is a somewhat worse prospect than trying to earn a living doing professional philosophy or high stakes badminton. The odds aren’t just stacked against you, they’re actually built in such a way that you are more likely to die as a direct result of your pursuit of publication than you are to earn a year’s wages. Sort of the way you are statistically more likely to die in a car accident on the way to buy a lottery ticket than you are of actually winning the lottery. But the lie we tell ourselves, as writers, is something I read in a magazine(remember those?) many years ago: I just read X and X is crap, therefore if I write something better than X, I will be published. Well, no. The assumption that lie is based on is that what is preventing you from being successful is quality. Sure, if your writing is crap, you are less likely to get...

Why I Don’t Write Erotica

By on Nov 19, 2014 in The Scrawl |

This is likely to be a tricky post for me but it’s a thought I’ve had for a while and wanted to express in a cohesive, clear manner. First, though, let’s define what I mean by erotica. Erotica is typically literature that is designed to sexually arouse. There are examples ranging from literary(Anaïs Nin) to pulp(E.L. James), antiquated(Marquis de Sade) and recent(Desclos). Some of it, as I said, can absolutely be considered polished prose. Others are just horrific examples of debasement exalted for public consumption. But the point of it, generally, is to sexually arouse. To titillate, in other words. For the purpose of where we’re going, I will also say that numerous authors I greatly respect include erotic sections within their works. Dean Koontz, Robert Jordan, John Scalzi, Robert Heinlein all have some, at times even somewhat graphic, sexual content in their...