My master’s degree is in popular fiction and if you’ve ever been involved with the program at Seton Hill, you know one of our favorite things is debating genres. No one writes romance anymore. It’s all paranormal suspense shape-shifter time-slip romance or historical zombie dystopian romance.
Perhaps this is why my own genre puzzles me. At the moment, superhero romance is shelved as a subgenre of paranormal romance. The more I think about it, the more I think superheroes should be genre-fied into urban fantasy.
You have a city and supernatural elements…so the kicker is the level of romance. For now, The Manhattan Ten series is centered on couples hooking up, so the superhero romance/paranormal romance genre fits. BUT if I ever extend the series into full-length novels with many more subplots, I like to think the books would cross over into urban fantasy.
Back in the day I had ambitions of blogging lots of craft tips. I had so many ideas and so many things to say.
Obviously, that hasn’t panned out.
There’s so much writing advice out there already that I don’t want to add to the pile. Half of it’s from writers who are a lot better than I am…and the other half is nonsense.
With the pressure to blog, writers who have no idea what they’re talking about drift toward craft topics. It inevitably echoes advice repeated so often it makes us stabby. Show, don’t tell! No adverbs! We’ve already heard it a million times along with a litany of writing “rules” stated as if they’re given. These types of articles seldom explain WHY we’re not supposed to use adverbs or what we’re supposed to show. They don’t tell us that rules can be broken.
I used to participate in critiques on different sites, but got disillusioned fast. Too many writers don’t actually want feedback. They put up their work to be told how amazing it is, and anyone that doesn’t agree is overcritical.
Bottom line, it’s a waste to give advice to someone that doesn’t care.
These days writers have to write and market and every minute is precious. Some people are great at both, while others write well and never get discovered because they don’t know how the system works. We’ve also got a fringe of authors who are great marketers and not so great writers. If you’re selling books, then good for you! Selling books is great. Every time someone puts your book in their cart, there’s a chance they’ll buy mine too.
The industry has room for all kinds of writers and I’m not going hate on anyone who’s selling. My point is that you shouldn’t take writing advice from amateurs who are still learning the ropes. You definitely shouldn’t take it from people who care more about marketing than craft (ask them for marketing advice). Don’t take it from me, either.
Look to established writers that you read and respect. I take my advice from Neil Gaiman, and his Eight Rules of Writing (via The Guardian) are the best I can offer you:
Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
Laugh at your own jokes.
The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.
I’ve been having a Twitter spring-cleaning. Too much of my feed was choked with RT’s from people I’ve never heard of, and the same self-promotional links repeated over and over and over again.
First, remember that I followed you because I thought you’d be interesting. I thought we’d be able to chat about our shared interests…because isn’t that why we’re here? I’m not dumping you because you don’t follow back—just because I like what you do doesn’t mean you reciprocate, and that’s fine.
I unfollowed you because:
1. You follow too many people. I’m not on Twitter that often, so when I see 3k+ or 10k, or 60k followers, I know you’re NEVER going to see anything I post. Even if you did, why would you care? You’ve got so many followers, you have no idea who I am or what I do. Inevitably you’re marketing something I don’t want, and filling my feed with RT’s that don’t interest me.
2. You don’t use @ replies. Your communication only goes one way and you’re just broadcasting information without interacting. If your feed is all “NEWS STORY via @whoever” the same applies. Maybe you don’t respond to my @’s and maybe when I check your feed, there isn’t a single conversation. If we can’t chat and you’re not a celebrity, then it’s unfollow time.
3. You tweet ALL THE TIME. My feed is flooded with contests you’ve entered and a million books you reviewed and EVERYTHING YOU’RE DOING. I like following bloggers and book reviews because I’m interested in finding new books. When I’m logged in at 3am and I’m still getting buried in your avatar and prescheduled tweets then I’m going to have to unfollow. With the volume of tweets you’re churning out, you’re blocking the rest of my feed.
4. With a scary combination of issues 1-3, you are trying to sell me something. Probably your book. That’s not the problem—I’m trying to sell books, and so are all the authors I’m following. The difference is that you’re using Twitter as a megaphone, and eventually I start viewing your tweets the same as those annoying promoted links. You have become a business, and are more tweetbot than person.
Even though I don’t like these behaviors, it’s still hard to unfollow. I know you’re doing your best and working hard to promote something you love. I still like you, but you’re the friend who wants me to book a Pampered Chef party every time I talk to you. I might buy a utensil or two (because Pampered Chef is nice) but once I know I exist as a marketing contact instead of a friend, I will start to politely ignore you. In real life, I’m pretending I don’t see you at the grocery store. On Twitter, it’s an unfollow.