I thought I might be able to get some writing in this morning…have the writing meeting this evening. I like that I don’t have to race around getting ready to dash off for a 30-minute commute (and that’s short by the standards of the Washington DC area). I often started the day stressed because of that.
Today, my alarm gets me up a little later, so it doesn’t leave me time for anything else. I grab a five-minute session on Twitter, then I do my walk in the dark under the glow of the half-moon. I think about getting a little bit of writing in, but time’s not on my side this morning.
After work, I have my evening writing meeting. Several of the topics make me think about how our culture has become tip-focused.
Everyone wants easy and quick to get to the next thing. People surge into writing fiction for the first time and they want tips to become a best selling writer. Someone, they leap from the actual idea, past the creation of the story to “It’ll be a best seller and I can quit my day job.”
So the writing books of today don’t actually talk about the craft of fiction. Their audience is the person who has decided he’s going to write his first novel. The goal of the book is to help them write the novel, not get published.
That’s right, not get published.
Because that’s hard. They can’t give authoritative tips and sound like an expert. But our tip culture is focused on now and fast.
What is it doing to fiction writing?
The tip culture isn’t that new. Back in the writing chat room we both used to frequent (I haven’t been there in 10 years or more), we used to post bits and ask for feedback.
I remember someone (call thon Jill, because I wouldn’t use thon’s real username even if I remembered it, heh) posted potential back cover copy for her book and asked for feedback.
The blurb was a description of world/society that didn’t tell a lot about the plot let alone any character’s reactions to the world/society. My immediate response was, “No characters.”
Jill’s immediate response was, “Any tips?”
And all I could think was, “Other than redraft the whole thing? How am I supposed to answer that? What *tips* could there possibly be for this situation?”
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Everyone wants their hand held. It’s nuts. I remember one guy posting his error-ridden story for critique. It was so bad that no one would touch it, and a couple of us finally told him he’d have to clean it first. His response? “Nevermind that! Tell me what I need to change to get published!” He kind of missed the point on that one….
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