Pseudo-experts and other lunatics

quote-4-open-mind

Here’s another post about some of the sharks waiting to pounce on the unwary writer…

~~~

As a published writer, sooner or later you will encounter one or more of the following!

Once you have published a book or books, it is inevitable that you will attract the attention of individuals with a doctorate obtained via the internet specializing in incomprehensibly stupid!

The day when Amazon opened the can of worms by giving everyone and their dog the privilege of being able to offer their opinion on your work on their sites worldwide, was the day the age of the internet troll and other non-entities was born.

Today, not only Indie writers, but also traditionally published ones find themselves on the receiving end of what can only be described as complete hokum by pseudo-experts. For the latter its bad enough that their editors are imposing their often misguided personal opinions on how a book should be written, often to the detriment of the story, instead of sticking to correcting grammar and punctuation. But now all writers are endlessly being bombarded by totally baffling comments by some other published writers, who quite frankly should know better than to openly criticise someone elses work in public.

What you and they have to realise is that they are expert in only one thing – destroying their own reputation just for the sake of pouring scorn on a fellow writer’s work. Not everyone can write a story worthy of being read, let alone be published. Which is why so many who entertained the idea of fame and fortune by writing the definitive novel of the age fail and soon resurface as literary experts and critics. Or worse, offer their services as editors, always for a fee of course!!!

What none of them are willing to accept is that first of all your story is yours not theirs. Secondly, who better than you to know its ins and outs, plot and counter plot?

If you are lucky, people will find it among the millions of books on offer and read it. Some will like it. Others not, so they do their damnedest to convince the public to stay away, which begs the question why? In the case of failed writers, it has to be that they are quite literally green with envy. More than likely, they’re angry that they didn’t come up with the best seller first. What other reason could there possibly be for all the bile and invective showered on successful writers that we see on most social media sites on a daily basis?

What about what the literary snobs, pedants, anal retentives, pretentious poseurs, grammar nazis and other self-important armchair critics who inhabit the internet these days say? If you will take some advice from an old campaigner – JUST LIKE THE TROLLS, IGNORE THEM ALL LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

Having read this, you will now know that I have zero tolerance for any of the above types. Guess what, neither have any of my published writing colleagues either…

😉

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Déjà vu

If this post seems familiar to some of you, it should do. I originally posted it on the 15th of February, 2015. Later I reblogged it. But as you know WP only allows a post to be reblogged once by any given individual. Hence the repost today with a couple of additional points included. Why? Because in these days of don’t read anything longer than a tweet, its message is still relevant – probably more so…

~~~

woodchuck

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck,
If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

If you are of a certain age, chances are that you learnt that tongue twister in primary school, just as I did back in the early nineteen-fifties. It is a perfect example of the overuse of specific words, even though in this case it’s just a fun thing for kids to learn and to attempt to recite.

Many emerging writers tend to rely on a limited vocabulary, even though most words have perfectly acceptable alternatives. How many times have you seen specific words endlessly repeated by a new writer? Either that, or the incorrect versions of words.

Chances are you will come across examples of words when writing, which while sounding similar when used in actual conversation between two people, are completely wrong in a given instance within any piece of writing.

Note to self – hmm, a lot of words beginning with ‘w’ in that last sentence. Must watch that. Damn, there’s another one!

If you want an example of similar sounding words think about there, they’re and their. They all sound exactly alike. But in each instance they have a totally different meaning. Even simple words we all use such as and, can and do become seriously overused by most writers. I’m no different in that regard. I’ve even been known to start a sentence with it on occasion, for example the one word question – “And?” But only during a conversation between some of my characters.

What I’m about to say, I’ve said in previous posts here on my blog. But just for you, here it is again – once you have written that first draft, go back over it many times during its edit phase. Make sure that one of your editing sessions is solely dedicated to deliberately finding alternatives of those words you are so fond of using.

How? Use the synonym function incorporated into your writing software in conjunction with a dictionary and thesaurus. Even better, why not rewrite certain sentences using completely different words, that convey the same meaning as the original one?

Before some of you feel an attack of righteous indignation coming on, and are thinking of going on the offensive, I am fully aware that I have used several words in this post more than once. In this instance I am completely justified as I’m merely pointing out that every one of us needs to pay heed to the way we write.

In short folks, do your darndest to avoid using certain words too often. Here are some more similar sounding words that writers tend to get wrong – your and you’re, to and too. Allowed is yet another example of a word that sounds the same when spoken even when spelt differently. Its cousin aloud has a completely different meaning. The list is endless. Is it any wonder that so many people find the English language hard to come to grips with?

~~~

Next, I would just like to point out something to all of the various types of literary cowards who insist upon hiding behind pseudonyms, such as a number of the armchair critics, pedants, grammar nazis, literary snobs etc, who inhabit the darker recesses of the Internet, each of them purporting to know far more about the written word than most writers.

None of us likes a smart arse who deliberately sets him or herself up as a scathing critic.

To all of the above – I can only surmise that what you appear to be suffering from is the literary equivalent of penis envy. Remember this, apart from being counterproductive, jealousy tends to feed on itself. Never forget that. It’s the only reason I can think of for why you deem it absolutely necessary to be so vicious towards not only the newcomers, but also seasoned writers, whether Indie or traditionally published?

First of all, may I suggest that you get over yourselves. Secondly, instead of endlessly criticising new and seasoned writers, by issuing those interminably boring, often repetitious one and two star reviews you are so fond of placing in the public arena, in your pathetic attempts to destroy a writer’s reputation, as some of you still tend to do on Goodreads and Amazon (you know who you are), why not actually try to write a book yourself. Maybe you already have, which probably accounts for the way you behave. But go on, give it another try. Far better to occupy your time by writing a book. Once you do, prepare yourselves for when it is torn to shreds by your fellow trolls. In other words, I’d think long and hard if I were you before you feel the overwhelming desire coming on, to rubbish someone else’s work.

Like most writers, I always refrain from reviewing some books, especially those written by new writers, if they did not succeed in gaining my full attention by drawing me into the story. Believe me when I say that it’s always better to do that, rather than to publicly condemn, and by definition, earn yourself a reputation as yet another vicious troll.

Just cast your minds back to the so-called review of my historical story Autumn 1066 , which I posted here on my blog a few weeks back… If I ever feel the need to offer criticism, it’s usually in the form of advice offered privately, well away from the gaze of the general public, either by email or when chatting to my fellow writers on Facebook.

All disenchanted individuals should try doing the same thing instead of attacking…

😉

Criticism versus Reviews

source-criticism-in-the-media

What any writer dreads the most are attacks by members of the public, often with an axe to grind…

In days gone by every writer knew that the only individuals who offered opinions about their work were journalists working for leading newspapers, in the guise of literary critics. Back then they encapsulated the essence of a new work of fiction in one line of carefully chosen words taken from the text in question. Never once did their newspaper’s editor allow them to speak harshly against a given work. Instead, they chose to beguile future readers with the use of a single sentence from the book in question as an enticement like the following:

“A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

~~~

Sadly those days are no more. Today, every reader has the freedom to criticise by writing whatever they believe is a review, knowing that they can get away with blue murder, then posting it on book sites such as Amazon. Most are not true reviews at all. Instead what you will see are endless examples of critiques, or far worse! The vast majority believe it is their god given right to tear apart any and every book, in particular ebooks by both traditional and indie authors.

It isn’t! All you are doing is showing your ignorance to the world at large. Some, not all, make it their business to harangue the author of the work they have just written about. A small number will insist that they could have made a far better job of writing the story!

To all of them I ask this – how many of them have ever written anything longer than their own signature I wonder? Have any of them ever had a book published? How would they feel if the boot was on the other foot? Would they feel outraged about the product of all their hard work being considered rubbish by hateful individuals? These people who go on the offensive are too cowardly to use their own name, preferring instead to remain anonymous by hiding behind a pseudonym.

😉

Always be careful on social media…

slider_beware_of_scammers

A couple of days ago someone pretending to be the well known American movie star Scarlett Johansson who I consider to be an absolute stunner, befriended me on Facebook. The alarm bells should have immediately sounded. But for a few minutes they didn’t, because I was still half asleep and I admit that I was initially flattered, not to say puzzled. Although why a beautiful young woman like Scarlett who doesn’t know me from Adam should want to send a friend request to a man in his sixty-ninth year bothered me?

Within a half hour all became clear. I was dealing with a money scammer hiding behind Scarlett’s full married name. I kept them talking for a while before giving them a piece of my mind in the form of a few choice words – mainly expletives! What was the reaction? They disappeared like a rat up a drain pipe.

It turns out that at least two of my male friends of a similar age, one two months older than me, the other a few years younger were also targeted by exactly the same scammer. Fortunately for them, unlike stupid me, they were both wide awake and didn’t rise to the bait.

scarlett_johansson_girl_actress_view_11117_300x360

The real Scarlett

I know, I know – there is no fool like an old fool. But I can dream can’t I?

PS – it’s not just scammers that are on the hunt on Facebook. For instance, don’t take sponsored adverts at face value. Currently there is one appearing with the English actor Ian McShane’s picture on it about his death. DO NOT CLICK ON IT LIKE I DID. MY LAPTOP LOCKED UP AND A PHISHING PROGRAM DISGUISED AS A WINDOWS ALERT BEGAN TRYING TO COLLECT ALL OF MY COMPUTER’S PASSWORDS ETC. FORTUNATELY I KNEW HOW TO STOP IT. MANY DON’T..

😉

 

Pseudo-experts and other lunatics

quote-4-open-mind

As a published writer, sooner or later you will encounter one or more of the following!

~~~

Once you have published a book or books, it is inevitable that you will attract the attention of individuals with a doctorate in incomprehensibly stupid! When Amazon opened the can of worms by giving everyone and their dog the privilege of being able to offer their opinion on your work on their sites worldwide, was the day the age of the internet troll and other non-entities was born.

Today, not only Indie writers, but also traditionally published ones find themselves on the receiving end of what can only be described as pseudo-expertise. For the latter its bad enough that their editors are imposing their often misguided personal opinions on how a book should be written, often to the detriment of the story, instead of sticking to correcting grammar and punctuation. But now all writers are endlessly being bombarded by totally baffling comments by some other published writers, who quite frankly should know better than to openly criticise someone elses work in public. What you and they have to realise is that they are expert in only one thing – destroying their own reputation just for the sake of pouring scorn on a colleagues work. Not everyone can write a story worthy of being read, let alone be published. Which is why so many who entertained the idea of fame and fortune by writing the definitive novel of the age fail and soon resurface as literary experts and critics. Or worse, offer their services as editors, always for a fee of course!!!

What none are willing to accept is that first of all your story is yours not theirs. Secondly, who better than you knows its ins and outs, plot and counter plot?

If you are lucky, people find it among the millions of books on offer and read it. Some will like it. Others not, so they do their damnedest to convince the public to stay away, which begs the question why? In the case of failed writers, it has to be that their green with envy. Or more than likely, they’re angry that they didn’t come up with it first. What other reason(s) could there possibly be?

What about the literary snobs, pedants, anal retentives, pretentious poseurs, grammar nazis and other self-important armchair critics who inhabit the internet these days? If you will take some advice from an old campaigner – LIKE THE TROLLS, IGNORE THEM ALL LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

Having read this, you will now know that I have zero tolerance for any of the above. Guess what, neither have any of my published writing colleagues either…

Happy New Year.

😉

A rewrite is underway

7th age

When I wrote and published The Seventh Age back in 2012, my thinking at the time was to get it out as quickly as possible before the winter solstice in that year, mistakes and all. Why? To appeal to those who firmly believed the Mayan calendar predictions that the world would end on December 21st of that year. Obviously it didn’t happen, but the book enjoyed a lot of success, selling in excess of a quarter of a million copies.

Now, having finally got round to re-reading it four years on, its time to produce a second edition, correcting the spelling errors as well as adding the few words missing throughout the story, principally to get the damned grammar nazis and assorted idiots of my back! Let’s face it, by not editing I gave them what they wanted. Unless they can tear a book apart, they’re not happy. And yet what really galls them to this day is that a book written by an Indie author became an overnight best seller despite the editing errors and their worst efforts.

So, this morning I’ve already begun while the rest of the world was still asleep. I’ll keep you updated with its progress. Meantime here is a direct quote from the original regarding the love affair between the two main characters Ithis, a crypto terrestrial and the archaeologist, Dr Nick Palmer at a critical juncture in the story:

alien-hybrid

My heroine Ithis

From now on at night while he slept, Ithis entered his mind tenderly making gentle love to his soul, taking him beyond the normal wonderful sensations of lovemaking, ever mindful that she must not make actual physical contact – at least not just yet…’

PS – will it have a new cover? I have no plans to replace the original as it shows what the book is all about – time.

More later

😉

Why Did He Do It? What possessed him?

Forgotten

Do you remember the positive review for my best seller The Seventh Age?

Stand by to be flabbergasted! I draw your attention to the hate and vitriol that its sequel received from one individual in his one star rant. You can fully expect the same kind of vicious attack if any book you write becomes popular on Amazon. Before you ask, Angus is a pseudonym for a self styled reviewer in the US. God only knows why he launched into his tirade:

1.0 out of 5 stars An unfortunate waste of time, November 7, 2013
By
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Forgotten Age (Kindle Edition)

I really wish to forget this unfortunate book because it is forcing me to violate my rules regarding book reviews but I am angry. I do not generally do negative reviews. If a book is going poorly, the story doesn’t grab me or the genre is not my normal flavor and not changing my mind by fifty percent completed then I bail and give it the review of silence. This aberration drew me in past the fifty percent mark even through the poor editing and character development so here goes.

The Forgotten Age is a novella trying to paint a story of a pre-Pharonic civilization in Egypt using a protagonist who is supposed to be a modern English (pun-intended) Indiana Jones with all of his compatriots being Ukrainian mafia and corrupt Egyptian bureaucrats. Oops, can’t forget the clever American sidekick who has some unexplained religious beliefs that must come into conflict with the protagonist’s mystery solving because…it just does.

List of crap:
1) Do not build paragraphs by pairing three or more sentences saying exactly the same thing. Paragraphs have a point and supporting sentences, and yes there is a difference.

2) It is a bad idea to bombard the reader suddenly with hyped up drama where there has been no build up of conflict.

3) Point of view issues can be catalogued using this one work. Narrator dumps are an extremely poor method of telling fiction. Moving on.

4) Time scale within this story is so skewed you would have the reader believe the group of explorers spent almost a year under Ghiza with just the supplies they had carried on their backs.

Lastly do not try to suspend the disbelief of the reader so that in their struggle to reach the end of your…thing…they are rewarded by you pulling the ripcord and sealing (not ceiling) in the protagonists and all of his lemming helpers for the remainder of eternity just because your brain went on vacation. Was that sentence long enough to make it onto your radar?

The Forgotten Age will not be receiving any of my usual promo. I intend to post this on my blog, Facebook, Google+, Amazon and Goodreads as a warning buoy. ‘Beware, someone soiled themselves here.’ Now you know why I have my rules of review. I don’t like doing this. Enjoy.

~~~
Besides ‘Angus’ there was one other individual that had the temerity to suggest that because the story is based in Egypt, and one or two of the baddies in the story were locals, that by his thinking I denigrated all Arabs. Rational human beings who have read it know that is not the case.
~~~
Now for a few of those who actually liked it including the best selling author Robert Bauval:
on November 20, 2012
“Jack Eason is a master storyteller of this historic-cum-science fiction genre. His latest book Forgotten Age is a riveting page-turner tale..read it!” Robert Bauval, author of The Orion Mystery
on November 28, 2012
The Forgotten Age I don’t often give out five stars on a review but Jack Eason’s The Forgotten Age deserves all five. This book that follows on from The Seventh Age, enthralled me from Prologue to Epilogue and all chapters between. I have to declare an interest here, as I’ve always been fascinated with Egyptology and archaeology so it was no hardship for me to read this new Nick Palmer adventure that kept rolling along like a runaway roller coaster – and with such credible characters for first-rate company along the way. I can say definitely worth adding to your wish list or better still buy it today.
on July 30, 2013
I started with this book, not the ones that came before. I am not a scifi reader, so I was amazed at this books ability to keep me up all night. This book focused on the action and characters. Well written and just wonderful. I liked the interaction and even though it did not have the depth of the other historical fiction books I usually read, I liked this book. I hope to get the next one and am interested to find out if and how this author brings the library “out” to the rest of the world. It is interesting to me that this story makes the premise that our history – world view has been the product of the few as opposed to what has really been found in archeology.
~~~
So there you have it. Welcome to the world of modern day literature. In the meantime I invite you all to make up your own minds by reading your own copy.
The Forgotten Age – Amazon.com
The Forgotten Age – Amazon.co.uk
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