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…

😉

Bravo Joanne

anglo_2000x1125_cormoranstrike

On BBC television, thanks to J.K Rowling, we have another brilliant private detective – Cormoran Strike. I have just finished watching the two part second story – Silkworm. This time Rowling delves into the often bitchy, certainly murky world of publishing, here in the UK.

While unpublished writers and the general public will think it’s just another fictional scenario. In actual fact Rowling has hit the nail on the head! Everything she reveals about the literary world in Silkworm is painfully true as most published authors will privately acknowledge.

UK publishing is full of narcissists, failed writers turned literary agents and editors, not forgetting the greedy publishers they work for as gate keepers. All of them have an inflated opinion of themselves and their position in society, thanks to their massive egos, combined with an air of superiority and an almost pathological hatred of all wannabe writers!

I enjoyed the first story she came up with. In this instance as a published author, I can tell you that everything she alludes to in Silkworm rings true. At one time or another as a writer you will try to get your manuscript seen, first by a literary agent. Then hopefully by a chief editor prepared to consider your work for publishing.

I recommend ‘Silkworm’ as compulsory viewing to all writers and potential writers worldwide, published or not. In the US it will probably be found on PBS. For writers in the UK click on the link below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b095blsk

I take my hat off to her for finding a way to make public the UK literary world as it really is. Had she ever dared to say anything publically, she would now be persona non grata, just like the rest of us who now inhabit the self-publishing world.

Bravo Joanne…

😉 x

 

Totally Irrational Thinking

free-ebook-image

The one thing that every writer, whether traditional or Indie, whose books are published in e-book form have in common, particularly in non American markets like here in the land of the literary curmudgeon where the printed book is still preferred, is the vehement prejudice against the relatively new publishing format we choose to use. Because they hate the idea of the e-book, they are missing out on so many great tales. Whether they like it or not, the e-book is the next evolution in the history of publishing.

As far as they are concerned, if they can’t hold a book in their hands and physically turn the pages, from their completely illogical point of view the electronic file is not a proper book.

What utter bilge!

I wonder if any of them realise how totally irrational they sound? Whether they like it or not the e-book is here to stay.

Before the first seed change in publishing occurred when the printing press was introduced to the UK in the fifteenth century by William Caxton, the only way itinerant storytellers could pass on their stories was by word by mouth. What the printing press did was to collect their stories in one place, the printed book, for everyone that could read and write, long after the stories would have disappeared when the storyteller eventually died.

Despite the gate keepers, today’s storytellers can be published in a format available to literally everyone who owns a smart phone, laptop, desktop, tablet or a purpose-built ereader such as the Kindle. What the traditionalist stick in the mud’s simply fail to understand is that they are a rapidly diminishing minority.

From the point of view of today’s publishers, it makes good financial sense to publish in e-book form rather than paper. This is a second seed change in publishing that is slowly being accepted by all five major publishing houses. From their point of view, if an e-book doesn’t sell they haven’t lost much financially, unlike remaindering, where to sell the printed copies in stock they have to offer them at a much cheaper price. Either that or pulp thousands of them after taking a financial gamble on what they thought would be the next best seller.

If the publishing houses fully adopt the e-book, it would not surprise me in the least if they cease incentive payments in the form of a financial advance to writers they are considering signing up in the future. Every publishing house is driven by the fact that to remain solvent, above all else they must make a profit. If they spend a lot of money on their stable of writers, they need to recoup it for every book they publish before they show a profit and can afford to pay out royalties. That simply does not occur with an e-book…

A thought just occurred. Maybe the reason why curmudgeons hate the e-book so much is because they cannot bend the ereader back on its spine like a paperback, nor fold the top corner of a page over to act as a book mark. What do you think, am I right??

 😉

Of Words And Other Things

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 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 in the first book written by a new writer? Either that, or their incorrect versions.

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. Damn, there are two more – 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 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 publically condemn, and by definition, earn yourself a reputation as yet another vicious troll. If I ever feel the need to offer criticism, its usually in the form of advice done privately, well away from the gaze of the general public, either by email or when chatting to writers on Facebook.

You should try doing the same…

Well that’s enough for today. It’s back to my current W.I.P.

😉

It Helps If You Are Completely Bonkers

10425133_10153011513071291_4441772034110361536_n

Vain, selfish and lazy? Speak for yourself Eric Blair aka George Orwell. Most writers I know are none of those things. These days the only people you will come across like that are certain editors and literary agents as well as some professional critics. The latter category, especially the odd one or two who write for newspapers and literary magazines here in the UK, can definitely be said to be vain and selfish. To those two unsavoury qualities I would add a few others – condescending, snobbish, scathing and vicious, particularly when it comes to one leading newspaper’s literary critic and his deep loathing of Indies. Compared to him, internet trolls are rank amateurs.

As for the rest of what Eric is quoted as saying – writing is a long exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness, he’s perfectly correct. It is. With a few exceptions, I seriously doubt that anyone who reads books has the faintest notion of what we go through when writing one. Blair was also right when he said that – one would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist, nor understand.

In my own case, what drives me to write is not so much a demon as the burning desire to share a story with you the reader. So the next time you read any book, whether you liked it or not, ask yourself what kind of hell did the author of this book put themselves through when he or she wrote this? How many sleepless nights did they suffer to bring the story to me? How many times were they afflicted with the one problem all writers suffer from on a fairly frequent basis – writer’s block?

As if all of that wasn’t enough for the writer to contend with, there are the endless attacks by internet trolls. In some cases they are actually disgruntled fellow writers who are seriously annoyed that people buy, like, and praise your work while shunning theirs. Some trolls are nothing more than malicious individuals hiding behind pseudonyms, thriving on hate while hoping that you will react, judging by their often incomprehensible one star reviews.

Do I still want to write for a living? Hell yes, even though it often drives me to distraction. Once you have been bitten by the writing bug, everything else in your life apart from writing posts like this, and chatting to readers and friends on Facebook, rapidly vanishes into the distance.

You heard it here first folks. It helps if you are completely bonkers with a masochistic streak when it comes to writing.

😉

A Case of Blatant Pretentiousness? Sadly Yes.

winesnob

Pretentious adj. attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed.

***

Why do some people insist on adding the word author to their name on Social Media sites like Facebook? For the greater majority of these people, if you Google them, or type their names on Amazon or any other book site, you will find that very few have actually published anything!

Maybe it helps to boost their flagging ego somehow. Perhaps they delude themselves in believing that it will impress their friends, or somehow elevate their place in society. Sorry people, all it does is confirm the suspicions of everyone who knows you personally, that you are nothing more than just another poser.

So, posers please take note – the only time the word author comes into play, is when a writer is referred to as the author of a specific book. You do not author a book, you write one!

Genuine published writers do not adopt such nonsensicle tactics. You will find that most of us just use our given names. Attributing the epithet author, or even novelist, is for others to use when referring to a writer, not for you or I to assume as some kind of title.

Despite the fact that with a few judicious inquiries, the lie these people are living will be easily exposed, they still persist in referring to themselves as Author Joe Bloggs ,or Joe Bloggs, author. Why? What’s the point? Who do they think they are kidding?

When challenged, not only by me, but by others over recent years, a few of my FB aquaintances said that when they were first creating a profile on Facebook, when it came to filling in the various fields, without thinking they inserted ‘author’ instead of leaving that part of their profile blank, at the time seeing nothing wrong with using the word, being totally unaware of the subtle difference between both words, even though they refer to the same thing. None of my published writer friends, nor myself, have adopted either word as an epithet. Funny thing that, we don’t need to. Our work speaks for us…

Think about it? Does Wilbur Smith, J.K Rowling, Dan Brown or any other writer you care to name refer to themselves as ‘author’? No of course not!

So, if anyone reading this associates the word author in any way, shape or form with their name, believing that it is somehow prestigious, or perhaps means that they are a cut above hard working genuine published writers, think on!

😉

Cyber Bullying On GoodReads

It’s to be expected given that it is now wholly owned and controlled by Amazon, who allow cyber bullies to attack anyone and everyone who publishes books. A lot of rhetoric abounds from both sites about ridding themselves of the problem, and yet to date nothing positive has happened. While I’m all for freedom of speech, there are limits!

Cyber Bullying On GoodReads.

Creative writing courses are killing western literature, claims Nobel judge

I totally agree with what Horace says. How about you?

Creative writing courses are killing western literature, claims Nobel judge.

The Publishing Establishment’s Delusion | Just Publishing

Derek exposes the way the publishing establishment sees Indies

The Publishing Establishment’s Delusion | Just Publishing.

Remember That Words Are Our Craft

personality-words-1-400

As writers we are always on the lookout for those personality traits which each human being has within them when creating our characters.

To that end, besides acting as a means for our readers to get to know us, blogs are a positive gold mine, especially when certain commenters lose their composure, and drop their guard. Remember that words are our craft. What you say, or don’t say, how you react to a post, gives all of us useful information to draw upon. So don’t be surprised if one day when you are reading one of our books, that a particular character seems very familiar to you.

People simply can’t help themselves when any blogger writes a piece that they feel needs to be commented on. Some have extremely strong views on a specific subject. Others simply agree with what was said. Yesterday’s post on spamming and unsolicited book links in proposed comments certainly qualified. One or two of the commenters where forthright in their opinions.

Some hopefuls even attempted to chastise the blogger in question, taking offence at what was said, often resorting to foul languge. Needless to say, certain comments wind up in the bin, unpublished, having given us useful information for a particular type of future character, usually of the evil kind.  Still others tend to go off at a tangent, talking about something else entirely.

So, to all of you, bear in mind that once your comment has been approved by the blogger, literally everyone who reads the blog, and your comments, instantly forms their own opinion about you. In short, unless you are careful, you will expose your real selves to the world and everyone who reads a blog, intentionally or otherwise.

Having spent twenty-five years in a university in New Zealand, without exception every one of the academics I worked with gave me an endless supply of character traits, which I have used in two of my books. The same can be said for the people I met and served alongside in the military back in the nineteen-sixties. In their case I created military style characters for two of my science fiction novels.

Even talking to our friends give us useful character traits. So, if you don’t want to wind up in any writer’s next novel as a shady, or even a bad character, think long and hard before you loose all sense of decorum…

On second thoughts, don’t. We need you to lay yourselves wide open. Far too many books these days contain shallow uninteresting characters…

😀

 

%d bloggers like this: