Thursday, May 9, 2013

My top ten tips for Writers (sort of)

Okay, Readers, you'll just have to bear with me whilst I write this post as I know most of you don't come here to listen to me talk about writing. However, it’s come to my attention that at some point almost every writer likes to impress with their top tips for writers. Almost inevitably, these are a variation of the same stuff which makes it exceedingly dull - especially as it seems like everyone who's ever written anything at all - from a childhood essay which won third prize in the under thirteen "My Summer Holiday" category to retired pensioners who previously have only written exclusions clauses in their will -are all now writers. Writing is the new big thing: it's almost as exciting as wearing a onesie.

So accordingly, as an (almost) writer I’d like to give my own take on the top tips for writers. I think that's only fair. So here we go:

1. Most writers say:

Keep a notebook handy so you can jot down all those random thoughts that pop into your head in the middle of the night.

Mrs T says

Keep a luminous covered notebook handy so you have at least a vague chance of finding it when you have that "random" thought in the middle of the night. I still wish you good luck with finding it though as when I wake up in the night I am either so disoriented I wouldn't spot an elephant standing next to my bed or I leap out of it like Usain Bolt and fast-track it to the loo.  In my opinion, the only creative things a writer should do at night is have sex or get drunk or have sex and get drunk at the same time.

2. Most writers say: 

Write every day: get a routine and try to stick to it.

 Mrs T says: 

Don't forget to buy a yellow sticky notepad, stick it on a high visibility area on your desk and write on it: "I am a writer." Then after you've stared at it for an hour you can take your laptop down to the local cafe and pose artistically for an hour, sighing and moaning and looking all melancholic like an eighteenth century poet. Not only will you then have convinced yourself you are a writer but you will also have convinced everyone else – although a good percentage of them might also think you’re a twat as well.

3. Most writers say:

Read, read, read.

Mrs T says:

Read, read, read. In fact, read as much as you can except writers' discussion forums unless you are writing a young adult paranormal romance in which case you should definitely read all the writers' forums so you can hang out with other YA writers and discuss someone else's ideas in a really positive, awesome way. Hopefully, then you'll be discussing it so much you'll stop writing and the bottom will fall out of the YA paranormal market and the rest of us writers can make a collective sigh of relief that the reign of paranormal romance is over. We will then take to the streets singing:

Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
Give me joy in my heart, I pray;
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
Keep me praising to the end of YA fiction

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
Sing hosanna to the King of Literary Fiction
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
Sing hosanna to Mr David Mitchell

Give me peace in my heart, keep me wishing,
Give me peace in my heart, I pray;
Give me peace in my heart, keep me wishing,
Keep me wishing for the end of paranormal romance

Give me love in my heart, keep me hoping,
Give me love in my heart, I pray;
Give me love in my heart, keep me hoping,
Keep me hoping for the break of Twilight

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
Sing hosanna to the King of Literary Fiction
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
Sing hosanna to Mr David Mitchell

As we non-YA paranormal romance writers sing we will rejoice in the fact that as the paranormal romance genre slowly burns out so will all the posts on the forums which begin "Hi, Everyone, I've got a great idea for a YA paranormal romance... 

Deep joy.

Paranormal romance - please, please, please, make it stop. Somebody, please. I beg you.


4. Most writers say: 

Don't over promote yourself in writer's forums it looks tacky and you will annoy everyone.

Mrs T says:

Hypocrites.

5. Most writers say:

Develop a thick skin. You will need it when the damning critiques and snide reviews come in. Remember you can't please everyone all of the time. 

Mrs T says:

Forget the thick skin. Just get a sense of humour. Particularly if you're in the middle of a writing a young adult paranormal romance. Haven't you heard? The market is crashing...

6. Most writers say:

Don't try to emulate other writers. Find your own voice.

Mrs T says:

Most writers don't know what their own voice is. However, the very best writers actually hear voices inside their head. Usually these writers are either mad or they are one half of a Siamese twin.

7. Most writers say:

Get a professional editor, especially if you're self-publishing. You don't want to look a jerk with numerous typos.

Mrs T says:

I absolutely agree. Can I also suggest that if you're writing a self-published young adult paranormal romance you also get a professional ghost writer?

8. Most writers say:

Don't use exclamation marks or use them sparingly.

Mrs T says

Bollocks! If you know when to use them, then use them.

9. Most writers say:

I don't review other writers’ books. It's not wise.

Mrs T says:

I do review other writers’ books. It's fun and one day I hope to get paid for it. In the meantime, I would be delighted to receive any free books, especially in the young adult paranormal romance genre.

10. Most writers say:

Don't use clichés.

Mrs T says

Don't use clichés and if you can refrain from writing anally retentive tips for writers please do that as as well.

10 comments:

  1. Very funny food for thought, Mrs T. You've brightened up my grey Friday morning.
    I was glad to read point 4. But at what point is over promoting reached?
    And point 5 - HOW do you develop a thick skin or sense of humour?
    I'd be very interested to know your thoughts on both.
    Finally, and most importantly...I'm trying to work out if you wear a onesie. Thinking leopard print.

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  2. Hi Karen:)

    I think over promoting is reached when:

    a) You start getting anonymous letters saying "I want to wrap your head around a lamp-post."
    b) Even your own mother won't talk to you.
    c) Even YA writers break off from discussing paranormal romance in writers forums to tell you to get lost.

    Seriously, some people just take it too far. I have been perusing some writers forums and popular writer/agents websites and some names just appear over and over again. I think there's a lot to be said for engaging people but some people don't know when being friendly/engaging just becomes being a pain in the arse. People are smooching high profile agents like Rachel Gardener often with the sole purpose of raising their profile and linking to their books but sometimes with comments that don't add anything to the conversation which reveal their true purpose. In the self publishing arena it's worse! Truthfully, I'm not sure when you know you've reached saturation point - maybe when you spend more time in forums than writing? It's a difficult one - I think I am attracted to traditional publishing by the thought of being part of a team and having advice on hand to help you negotiate the pitfalls.

    On the other point - from my own experience - keep asking for feedback. Invariably it will not be want you want to hear (certainly wasn't in mine)For a while it hurts but then as time passes you grow immune and learn to take what you need and leave the rest on the floor. That said, I think there is a right and a wrong way to say things and anyone who has trained as teacher will know that - editors etc haven't been trained in teaching techniques so they can be brutal, I have certainly felt that some of the advice I have has been cack-handed and could have been approached in a more positive and productive way.

    Not sure about how you develop humour... that's one for me to think about for a future post!

    I like the idea of a leopard skin onesie. After the weight loss:))

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  3. Heh Jane great news - my next novel is going to be a YA paranormal romance - isn't that just brilliant :-)

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  4. Mike, that is MEGA AWESOME news!!!

    Can I just ask one favour?

    Please, please, please can I be your editor? I will even do it free of charge....:)

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    1. Sure you can do the cover as well ;-)

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    2. Excellent, my creative juices are stirring already!

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  5. Oh, write some more, please. I'm in a really good mood after readomh this. Thanks, Mrs. T!

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  6. Hi Teagan:) Thanks for dropping in:) You must get writing if you are in a good mood - it's always helps me with creative process! (As does alcohol but that's another story.)

    I'm actually thinking of doing some more top tips - maybe not for writers but possibly some of the related professions. Not that I necessarily know anything about them - but that's never stopped me from offering my advice before:))

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  7. Haha... I LOVE THIS!

    As a fan of "xxx things to do to xxx your xxx" blogs I found this post very amusing.

    I am a writer of social media blogs and it does annoy me when people rehash other people's content and make their own, but hey, that's life.

    I do like a good ranty post in answer to others though, so I say amen to this post!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Warwick:) I'm afraid I have this innate desire to take the opposite position of almost other writer. It's the rebel in me!

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