Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Photoshop Friday

(As you've probably already deduced, we rarely actually get to Photoshop Friday on Friday . . . But better whenever than never, right?)

As a new writer, just starting to explore the advice and camaraderie available in the online writing community, it's easy to fall victim to information overload. We hear certain ideas again and again, and something starts to happen . . .

The new writer reads between the lines of this usually well-intentioned advice and determines new, INDISPUTABLE TRUTHS. Truths that fill us with both fear and the hearty determination of the proletariat. But the new writer isn't the only one to feel the fear. Who among us has not pondered these "facts" at one point or another?

The Party is Always Right

The first "truth" that haunts every writer is the that of Publishing's TICKING CLOCK. Time is running out. If you don't finish this book, edit it, get an agent, and go on submission soon, you'll miss your chance! Publishing will be over! No one reads books now! And no one will print paper books anyway! You'll spend the rest of your miserable life mourning the DREAM THAT DIED BECAUSE YOU WERE TOO SLOW!!!
Work! Work! FASTER!

So you finish your book on time? It's not going to help unless you're doing everything you should. No publisher will touch you unless you've built up your platform! Do you have a blog? You'd better. Does it have a good following? (You call that good?) What about Twitter? If your follow-to-following ratio isn't impressive, no publisher will touch you. Are you networking? Kissing all the right butts? If not, you'll never get that awesome blurb, and (you guessed it) NO PUBLISHER WILL TOUCH YOU.
The Party says: Social Media is the only way . . .

Look, in the end, there's no point doing any of this if your book isn't amazing. Right? The Party demands perfect characters, snappy voice, and a flawlessly flowing plot. Don't have that? No? What do you think your chances are? Why bother trying? I mean, for realz.

Fact: if editors don't weep with happiness while reading your book, it's over.

Don't you want foreign rights? They'd better feel this way about your book.

I'll repeat the question I asked at the beginning: who among us hasn't had the words of The Party ring in our ears from time to time? I know I have. In fact, I'd say I'm visited by the Party two to three times a week.

But we all know what the real truth is, right? Let's all hold hands and repeat after me: The Party is always WRONG.

How about you? Any other slogans echoing in your mind?


Josin L. McQuein said...

Don't forget the rule no one speaks of, but everyone knows:

Stick to the list of 10 Party-Approved plots. If you buck The Party conventions, you and your book will disappear and never be heard from again. They will put you on lists and make sure no one will ever print your book because it's unconventional or controversial.

Miriam S. Forster said...

Bwahaha!! I've had ALL THESE THOUGHTS. Especially the first one.

Most definitely the first one. :)

Candice said...

Don't deviate from the party style of writing, but be unique and stand out. There are many contradictory party messages as well.

I'm so happy to see Photoshop Friday make a comeback! Even if it is on Wednesday.

R.S.J. said...

I sense the beginning of a revolution!

Renee Collins said...

Josin-Ooo, that's a good one. You must not rock the boat! No publisher will want to publish you anyway if your book doesn't fit in.


Miriam-Yes, me as well. Like I said, I go through that one every few weeks or so. :)

Candice-Oi, totally! The contradictions drive me insane. "We don't want to see more of the same." And then a More of the Same novel sells at auction for six figures.

R.S.J.-Yes! Rise up, comrade!

Amanda the Aspiring said...

Haha, that picture of Stalin weeping nearly pushed me over the edge. Some of those on the list are little, nagging worries that sometimes pop up. Number one is the big one. I must work faster to succeed! It's easy to get stuck thinking that. But it's not true. *whew*

Janine said...

Oh yeah, the work faster one is totally me. I am not a fast first-drafter. I don't write slow, I just don't have all the time I need. haunts me. All of it. Especially the idea that no matter how awesome it is it will never be quite the right time/market/length, etc.


Renee Collins said...

Amanda-It's definitely the most common fear, I think. The thought has haunted me from time to time, but I try to dismiss it, because it really isn't the case. :)

Janine-Just remember that they aren't true! They're propaganda we put in our minds. Not truths.

However, I'm a slow first drafter as well, for the same reasons as you, and it really does make me crazy sometimes. The head games. *sigh*

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

LOVE this post. You say things so much better with pictures, hehe! I get tired of all those things believed as TRUE by so many. There are kernels of truth to them, but that's about it.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Great post! Number one is a huge one for me. I always think that and have to tell myself to slow down. The others I've thought of as well, and I just have to take a deep breath and remember to push those nagging thoughts away and just focus on writing a book I love. Hopefully other people will love it as well. :)

Calvin Cohen said...

As an aspiring writer trying to get my feet in deep for a potential manuscript, I'm definitely hearing all that cliched advice in both ears. It's VERY STRESSFUL, but thanks for the central message of encouragement! Would have liked to see some Animal Farm references too.

Also love the Photoshop Fridays theme. I do a Friday Music theme on my blog.