Monday, May 26, 2014

I Hate it When Authors Say...

When a person says, "I have a degree in engineering," or, "I'm a doctor," you pretty much know that person's level of knowledge and experience. When someone says, "I'm a writer," you have no idea what you're dealing with. 

There are certain kinds of writers who -- while I value their talent and contribution to the art -- drive me nuts. They quite often use these phrases:

1. People will steal my work if I'm not careful.

You wish people would steal your work. This thinking is so egotistical to me. It's hard to get people to even read unpublished books, much less claim them.

I have a hard time believing theft of intellectual property is as big of an issue as some writers make it out to be. A friend of mine won't submit her work to an agent because she thinks the agent will steal it. Another person I know won't connect his computer to the internet because he's afraid of being hacked.

2. I don't believe in genres

Many authors want to work outside of the restrictions of genre rules, and that's a very pretty idea. It just doesn't work. Unless you're Tolkien and you invent a new, revolutionary way of writing, your story will fit into a genre whether you intend it to or not.

3. I don't read when I'm writing because I don't want authors to influence me

Actually, you do want other authors you influence you. That's how you learn to write. The key is to read so many authors that you don't imitate only one person's voice. Your style should be a collage of all your experiences, including books you read.

4. I'm a published author! My publisher is Lulu.

It's wonderful that self-publishing is an option for authors. Traditional publishing is stringent, demanding, and unlikely to yield results. Now we all have the freedom to put our work into book form. 

The thing is, anyone can get self-published. Anyone. It's not impressive, so quit acting like some kind of celebrity.

5. I was published when I was 18!

I appreciate when teenage writers are so driven, but most of us wrote books when we were 18. They all sucked (except for Christopher Paolini's). I'm more impressed that a teenager raised enough money to be self-published.


What are your writing-related pet-peeves?

4 comments:

  1. Great vent. Ref 'I don't read when I'm writing because I don't want authors to influence me' My only objection to reading when writing is one takes away from the other in terms of time. Quite often I'll resent having a book to read because I want to go back and see what's going to happen next in mine. :)

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  2. Influences while writing often lead to marvelous things in my work. I'm all for reading and other creative influences.

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  3. I agree to all the things you mentioned except the last one. You can't just say that every teenager writes horribly. That's a bit discouraging. :(

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