Friday, August 19, 2011

The blog post I almost didn't publish . . .

So normally I like this blog to be a place of positive thought and energy. There's just so much negativity out there that I strive to mostly talk about the good things in life, or at least about overcoming the bad, rather than wallowing in it or getting in a mud fight. But lately, there have been some things that have me feeling, well, GRRRRRRR!!! And I need to get a few things off my chest so I can move on and get back to working on my writing. I've debated publishing this post, but ultimately decided it needed to be said.

Every Wednesday, one of my fave radio programs creates a list of "things that must go" in order to vent about stuff they are currently finding irksome. Occasionally, they include "things that must go" contributed by their listeners.

I know it's Friday and not Wednesday, nor am I on the radio, but I decided to compile my own such list here.

(Side note: You may find this list more entertaining if you imagine it being explained in the voice of Jeffery Donovan - a.k.a. Michael Weston from BURN NOTICE. For an example of this, click here.)

MY LIST OF THINGS THAT MUST GO:

1. Authors who insist on mocking or belittling pretty much every book or genre that is not their own. We get it; you think you're the most awesome author on the face of the planet. NOW GET OVER YOURSELF.

2. Authors who find it necessary to belittle every other book in their own genre (similar to above, but still different enough to warrant its own number). We get it; your book is different and therefore better than every other book in your genre--making you the most awesome author on the planet. Again--GET OVER YOURSELF.

3. Authors who say definitively that if a story has X,Y, or Z in it, then that book is weak, or an example of bad writing.

Just because you might not care for dystopian or paranormal books (or whatever genre) does not mean that authors who like to write in these genres are weak writers, doing a disservice to YA fiction, nor does it make them bad people in general.

Just because you might not be a fan of love triangles, does not mean that a story with a love triangle in it is a sign of weak plotting or bad writing. Many readers and authors happen to have an affinity for love triangles. I, personally, happen to be a sucker for unrequited love--therefore often making me a sucker for a well-done love triangle (which sometimes actually looks more like a love "V"--but I digress). You guys know how much I love THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (TV show) and there is no way on earth you're going to convince me that show is an example of bad writing because it has a love triangle.

Just because something doesn't float your boat, doesn't mean it's weak writing, poor plotting, or bad. It's just not what you personally like. There are a few plot elements and writing styles out there that I am not a fan of-- but I'm not going to call every author who uses those things a bad writer. Everyone is welcome to their own opinion--and to each his/her own.

4. Authors (or people in general) who use cuteness and/or humor as a way to thinly veil rudeness when mocking or belittling everyone around them.

Just because you put a ;) [winky-smile] after saying something rude, does not make the rude comment okay or funny or oh-so-cute.

5. The idea that all stay-at-home-moms-turned-authors started writing because they were BORED. I started writing over 12 years ago--long before getting married and having children--and worked deliberately toward the goal of becoming a published author. Admittedly, one of the things that factored into my decision to try to become an author was because it was a career that would allow me to stay home with my future children, but I write because I love it. Boredom has never been a factor. And honestly, I don't remember the last time my brain wasn't whirring with ideas enough for me to be bored.

6. Authors with one book (or maybe even two or three) published who act like they are the authority on everything. I love when aspiring authors and other writers ask me for advice, because I feel like I've learned on a lot on my journey to being published. I love to help where I can. Dispensing advice is rewarding, and often helpful--but I realize that in the grand scheme of things, I'm no Judy Blume or Meg Cabot yet, and I'm relatively new to the game. Acting like the authority on all things writerly (or otherwise) just kind of makes you seem full of yourself--not really the best way to win friends and influence your peers.

7. Authors who write blog posts that are supposed to be "honest" or "heart felt" but are really just whine sessions geared toward manipulation and aggrandizing themselves. Or when their "honesty" is just another attempt to mock or belittle every book/genre that is not their own. (Yeah, the mocking thing has been bugging me a lot lately if you can't tell.)

Meanness, whining, and snobbery should not be confused with being "honest" and "heart felt."

Oh, wait a sec . . . I'm writing an "honest" post in which I'm whining about things that must go. I hope that doesn't fall into this category. Does it? Oh crap . . .

And that leads to my last thing that must go:

8. Hypocrites. ;) ;) -- (double winky-face. BAHM!)

And there you have it. My list of things that must go.

Please forgive my need to vent. I promise a return to positivity very soon. In the meantime, what's on your list of things that must go? Have you been watching BURN NOTICE? (Hubby and I just started season 3.) So . . . do you think you could win in a bar fight?

31 comments:

prerna pickett said...

couldn't agree with you more!

Jamie Manning said...

A most excellent post! I couldn't agree more--esp. with 1 & 2. I don't think it is appropriate at all to mock or belittle anyone's book...especially if you're a writer. You of all people should know how much work goes into writing, right?!

Oh, and don't get me started on #3. That one makes me mad. I'm a fan of the love triangle (or "V", which is much more accurate 99.99% of the time!), and no way in Hades is The Vampire Diaries a sign of weak writing--couldn't be more polar opposite!

Thanks for such a great post, Bree. It's so refreshing when an established, multi-published author reminds everyone that no matter status or success, a writer is a writer is a writer...and we all need to respect the craft AND each other.

Nisa said...

This was very honest. You can't be a hypocrite and tell the truth. Isn't that an oxymoron? I don't think venting is wrong occasionally. It's better than exploding. (For the record, those things bug me too.) It's NEVER a bad thing to remind us all to be nice to each other and courteous.

Aprilynne Pike said...

Yes!!! And as a new author (yes, after three books I sometimes consider myself even greener than when I had one, *snort*) I seriously live in terror at doing one of these on accident, because I NEVER want to be seen as one of THOSE authors. EVERYONE works hard for their books. Popular, literary, anything in between and some of both. Everyone.

**OMG, my word verification is PROSE!!! How apt is that?!?!?**

Bree Biesinger Despain said...

Glad I'm not the only only who has been thinking these things! Thanks for the comments.

Aprilynne- I know what you mean. With my third book coming out soon, I almost feel greener now than I did as a debut author. It's like the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.

brickhouse79 said...

Since you ask, I totally think I could win in a bar fight with Michael Weston's advice. I almost want to walk into a bar, pick up a stool and a glass and screem at the top of my lungs... just to do it.

Bree Biesinger Despain said...

Brick- I wouldn't put it past you.

Leah said...

I agree totally. I'm not an author, just a reader, and I've noticed a lot of this cutesy "hey guys, i'm so funny, look how i just speared the YA genre like the stupid, predictable fish it is. damn i'm amazing!"
It is SUCH a turnoff. I was all set to read one author's book because I heard it was good, then she did this whole "I am the all knowing all seeing all lampooning goddess of YA criticism" blog post and I was like, nope, on to the next. There's so much good YA to read, why would i read the work of someone who seems to hate the genre, and ps, why is she writing it? She just hit the NY times bestseller list and has been pretty much insufferable since. Plus, she actually complained on twitter about another author who was criticizing YA, but writing it. I was just waiting for someone to dub her POT.

Charlotte Bennardo said...

Amen, writer-sister. One little addition: non-writers who go for blood. Hey, it's hard work being a writer. We understand not everyone will like our book, and you have personal prefs of POV, genre, etc. No need to go homicidal on us personally. Say what doesn't work for you, what you think we could have done better, what you did like, and rate it.

Michelle said...

Oh Bree, just when I think I couldn't love you more you go and do this...

And honestly, you probably have better advice on how to work towards becoming a published author than Meg Cabot...because let's face it, she is in a very exclusive author bubble.

I FREAKING ADORE LOVE TRIANGLES BY THE WAY, AND IF YOU STOP USING THEM AS A CRUTCH THEN I WON'T READ ANYMORE OF YOUR BOOKS! ;) :) ;)

Robin Weeks said...

Bree, you're advocating against prideful know-it-alls who diss other books... while humbly acknowledging that you, yourself, know very little and that even books you don't like have value.

That be the opposite of hypocracy.

Katie Alender said...

Amen! I am just tired in general of this general up-puffery of authors. The rules for published authors are the same as the rules for common decency everywhere: if you don't have anything nice to say, try to refrain from saying anything. And for heavens sake, we're not rocket scientists or pop stars, so the high horses should stay in their giant stables.

I'm on my third book, too, and when I go back and read my "writing advice" blog posts, I'm basically mortified. I know now how much I don't know.

I confess it puts me into a funk. Lately I log onto Twitter and end up rolling my eyes and logging off... and it's never the readers who make me feel that way.

Sue Ford said...

LOL - It must be something in the air. I'm posting a blog entry today on Author Talks versus Workshops because of the bad things I've seen authors do at conferences. But, I'm only showing positive examples of what we want to see. www.susanuhlig.com

Emily Clawson said...

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. I, being an aspiring writer, have often wondered if this is just the way it is supposed to be. I've even been extremely discouraged by being around other authors who seem to feel that they belong to a higher plane than I do. They were in my shoes not too long ago and yet now they know EVERYTHING. I think it comes back to the old playground phenomenon that children who feel insecure (no matter their age) tend to belittle others to try to make themselves seem better.

I've also been dismayed to read the new, first release by one such individual (who has snubbed me significantly, repeatedly) and discovered that it was ineffable twaddle! I hope that isn't me mocking something because I think I'm better. I really just thought it was very poorly written, pretty much from beginning to end.

Enough dissing on "those" people. :-)
What I AM grateful for are people like you and a few other wonderful ones that I could name who have accepted me kindly into the ranks of professional writer, though I haven't sold my first book yet.

I appreciate the understanding that we are all on the same path, just in different places.

For the record - we girls (at least lots of us) LOVES us a love triangle. Mmmm, hmmm!

So, amen and amen.

Oh, and Aprilynne, my word verification is "Clouts." What do you think of that?

Alyosha said...

Well said, Bree. This kind of thing bothers me so much that I have become a defender of Twilight and Stephanie Meyer, even if she is not my favorite. Enough with the hate! Also, ditto on the stay-at-home Mom thing.

Bree Biesinger Despain said...

I appreciate all of your comments so much!

Katie- I've been doing the same thing with twitter lately. Even though I do love to tweet!

Sue- I'll have to check out that blog post.

Emily- I always try to remember that I've been in the same shoes as every aspiring writer out there. You're right, we're all just in different places on the same path.

Rachel+Co said...

Funniest part of this post: the idea that stay-at-home moms are bored. That's just, well hahahaha! Let me catch my breath. I think writers by nature tend to be the type that are never bored. We have all these voices in our head to keep us company, afterall. ;) Great post!

Mundie Moms said...

I couldn't agree more!!

Saundra Mitchell said...

I'm glad you said this. I'm working on Book 4 and I still feel like a total backwards dorkahol sundae. The genre take-downs and smack talk make me self conscious and miserable and frankly, I end up hiding from the Internet for long periods of time. Lonely is better than feeling like a loser who's doing it wrong.

And in that vein, my word is belpier. I think verification likes Aprilynne better.

Melissa Buell said...

This is an EXCELLENT post. Thank you for writing it! I'm also a new author and I hope I don't develop any of these bad habits that you listed. It really bothers me to read tweets or blog posts where authors blast others. We should all be on the same side. Right? :)

-Melissa

Lesli Muir Lytle said...

First, I could win a bar fight without opening my mouth. My being nuts is no secret, which brings me to...

Second, were you on mglitchat last night? When I couldn't hold my tongue anymore and said they were all nuts? Even though I'm an authority, I was wrong to share that expertise.

Third, nuts and flowers. It's really all I know. I'll stop pretending otherwise.

I suppose the only thing I'm not guilty of is knocking the work of others. I might call them on their tweets, but I'd never knock someone's writing.

My bad, but not that bad.

Jenni Elyse said...

Fantastic post, Bree! I don't feel profound enough too say anything to really add to your vent. However, I want to tell you that I whole-heartedly agree with everything you said.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Love your post, Bree.

"Oh, wait a sec . . . I'm writing an "honest" post in which I'm whining about things that must go. I hope that doesn't fall into this category. Does it? Oh crap . . . "

This made me smile because I've experienced this with my kids. I'd whine and complain about how much they were whining and complaining. Sometimes these things need to be said--by us--just to get them off our chests so we can move on.

Sophie said...

Bree - Two words -- thank you.

An Again said...

I hate romance--the genre, not romance itself. Hate, hate, hate it. I have since childhood. I've hated it even more since publishers have made a mess of the dividing line (imaginary as it is) between urban fantasy and paranormal romance. And I've been really, really vocal about it....

UNTIL: 1, I realized I sounded a lot like the lit-genre snobs that looked down their noises at sci-fi/fantasy, and 2, as a would-be-novelist I met a lot of romance writers who go through the same things processes, hopes, and fears as other writers. I learned to respect them even if their genre isn't to my taste. Hopefully whoever set you off will get the same lesson. ;)

Lindsey Leavitt said...

Preach

Kristin Rae said...

FAB post. I hear you on ALL of this.

Love me some love triangles. Love me some Vamp Diaries (*cough*Damon*). Love me some Dark Divine ;)

Jonathan S said...

Bree,
This is Matt's friend, Jonathan. I just wanted to say thanks for letting me hang for a bit with the cool kids in LA. It was a pleasure.

Also, I hope number 4 isn't related to something I said then. When I went back to my room, I felt pretty bad for a bit of wit went wrong. If this offended, I'm sorry. If not, :)

Either way, great post. These are all too common and easy traps to fall into.

Bree Biesinger Despain said...

Jonathan- It was good see you again! And this post is in no way a reference to you. I can always appreciate a good sense of humor. It's just intentional meanness couched in humor that irks me. You are a funny but also nice guy.

Caryn Caldwell said...

I love, love, love this post! Thank you for sharing. I especially loved (could I use this word more? Yes. Yes, I can.) the part about stay-at-home moms.

My 18-month-old is not in day care. My husband tries very hard to help out at home, even though he works full time, because he knows that my writing is important. Some of the people he works with do not get that. They've asked him why he can't cover for them or go on extended trips for work or switch his schedule all over the place because, after all, his wife is "just" a stay-at-home mom, so why on Earth does he have to help out? Isn't that my job? Grrr.

There's this impression that writing is something that happens because you have way too much free time and need to think of some way to fill it. As if one day as I was in the middle of yet another diaper change I thought, I know! I'll write a novel! Perfect! Then I won't be bored! Nope. Filling my time isn't the problem. There's always stuff to do. I write because I want to, because I'm driven to and, like you, I wrote long, long before I had my daughter. I'm just a lot more productive now because I have to MAKE time to do it, and I therefore treasure that time more.

(Mandi) said...

*Golf Clap with a Standing O!*

Amen Girlfriend!

P.S I TOTALLY heard Jeffery Donovan giving this as a monologue! It was sublime! LOL