me: i’m gonna write
me: [reads another person’s writing]
me: i’m never writing again
Get over it and write anyway
Yeah, why are you comparing your initial drafts to final products anyway? It’s like comparing a bag of flour to a croissant. We all start off as bags of flour.
Underestimating plot holes
Legit Tip #97
There are no more truly original ideas.
If you believe that your idea is 100% original, it’s not.
If you’re seeking a story idea that’s 100% original, give up. You won’t find one.
This doesn’t have to be the death knell in your writerly ambitions. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. It’s liberation.
Stop worrying about how to make your story original and focus on being open, honest, and above all interesting in your writing. The thing that will make your story original is you. You are the only one who can tell your story in the specific way that you want to tell it. Once you figure that out - and you figure out what it is that makes you (and therefore your writing) unique - then you’ll be able to create something fresh, exciting, and … dare I say it?
Marketing your story using a Reverse Snowflake method
You may have heard of the Snowflake method for writing a story. It goes like this: write a sentence, expand it into a paragraph, expand it to several pages, and so forth.
I’m here to tell you how to reverse the process for marketing your already written story.
1) Summarize the entire plot in ONE single-spaced page. Ideally, you should have four paragraphs, one for the Introduction, the Rising Action, the Climax, and the Ending. This helps you prioritize between major and minor details. If you end up with something longer than a page, cut it down more. Figure out what really matters.
2) Condense single page into ONE paragraph. You’re taking the paragraphs you’ve written in Step 1 and compiling each into a single sentence. Remove the fluff, the semi-fluff, and the almost fluff. Get to the point as quick as possible. Include the spoilers. This is the stuff you put in queries: your novel in a nutshell.
3) Breakdown the paragraph into a SINGLE sentence. This is your elevator pitch, the tweet that helps sell your book. It should include who the story is about, what’s the conflict, and why the reader should care. It’s a lot easier to pick the strongest description when you’re working from a four-sentence paragraph than a 50k novel.
I’d suggest doing this over the course of several days so that each step has time to cool down before you pick at it again.
We’re all cats trying to fit in boxes we don’t belong in
I review books.
Updating you on the whereabouts of my official review blog, Entropy Alarm Reviews.
On average, I do 3 quality reviews per a month, usually 300-400 words in length. My genre of choice is everything. Seriously, I read Young Adult, Erotica, NonFiction, etc, so there’s something for everyone.
My top rated reviews:
Grammar vs. Human Value
I recently got a rather disturbing piece of critique:
You refer to the [alien] bartender consistently as “their.” I thought for a while that maybe the [alien] had some sort of dual consciousness or two heads… If [the narrator] doesn’t know the sex of the bartender (or if they’re sexless) it should be “its” or if they have human-comparable binary sex ‘assignments’ (for lack of a better word), it should be “his” or “her.”
OK, let’s assume the editor is saying this out of innocent ignorance (please no hate-bashing). She’s concerned about grammar first and foremost, but there are implications to her statement that have a broader impact than she realizes.
1) “They” is an acceptable singular pronoun that is grammatically correct when the gender of the person is unknown or undisclosed. “Using the plural pronoun to refer to a single person of unspecified gender is an old and honorable pattern in English, not a newfangled bit of degeneracy or a politically correct plot to avoid sexism.” (source)
2) Why would you call a person “it”? “It” signifies an object. You can wave your arms around and claim you don’t mean to associate the person with an object, but our minds are nefarious for associations. “It” is a table or a book. “It” is not a person, gender known or unknown. Even if I’m writing about an alien, I’m endowing this being with personhood, and “it” is a very rude way to refer to anybody ever. (Alas, I am aware of BDSM and how some people have a kink for being objectified. This requires CONSENT from the person being objectified, and if you’re arbitrarily deciding on calling the person “it” without extensive negotiations, you’re doing it WITHOUT consent.)
3) If you insist on “he” or “she” pronouns based on the physiology of the person involved (i.e. male=man, female=woman), you’re not going to win any fans from the Transgender/Genderqueer/Non-binary community. Just saying.
In the end, I decided to forgo the gender-neutral pronoun “they.” But I did it on my terms. Here is the revised introduction between narrator and bartender:
I still had some difficulty in figuring out [alien] genders from appearance, so I’d taken on the habit of casually asking.
'Use she,' the bartender said with a wink.