XXXL OR "You Won't Like This Post Much"

Personal Note: I totally include myself in this post and for the record, my fingernails are an awesome prismatic silver color (see ), Pandora just spit out one of my favorite songs from the 10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack, "I Want You To Want Me", by Letters to Cleo, and here's proof I'm not just mean to you guys:

So, for a while I very actively, slavishly participated in a website called Authonomy. You've probably heard of it. It had a lot of press in writerly circles. Anyway, so there I was, soaking everything up like a sponge and rather caught in the idea of getting my work in front of Harper-Collins' editorial staff's eyeballs (and for my part I have to say they've done just as they promised and they PR-ed it like no tomorrow) so I raced along, trying to charm, bribe, shock, WHATEVER my way to a higher ranking (every 30 days the top five ranked books get reviewed by HC) just like everyone else.

And then I got sick of it. Sick of playing nice and pretending not to be myself so I didn't step on toes. And I quit playing. This doesn't make me any better than the people who still 'Authonomize', than those who are making the mad dash for the 'Editor's Desk', but it's just not me.

I recently started popping in here and there to make contact with a few of the people* whose opinion I regard highly, asking if they'd be willing to search out weak places in Silver for me. In the process I had to wade a bit through the forums and comments and I actually felt dirty when I came back out. It was like walking down the seediest part of Vegas (I assume, as I've never been), only if Vegas were run by vulgar preschoolers. People prostituting themselves like crazy, people throwing huge hissy fits when they didn't get the critique they wanted, people slandering others, just really the worst of human traits splashed all over the place like a pride banner (being proud of your culture, your gender, your sexuality, your beliefs, that one thing, but to glorify the darkest, least redemptive aspects of your species? C'mon!)

And that brings us to the blog title today, a least the first part. XXXL.

What must writers truly think of themselves, how do we aggrandize ourselves to think this behaviour is acceptable? We bust have some ENORMOUS heads, seriously, to fit in all that ego. We come off sounding as if we're untouchable, our work beyond judgement, the standard to which all others should be held. What is WRONG with us?

I even fell into that pit a little this morning when I got in a line-critique from a writer friend who deals in a seriously different genre than I do. I got my back up because she kept pointing out places where I used an action as a dialogue tag (such as "Hi," he smiled.) and then, thankfully, I grew the Hades back up and felt grateful to her for pointing it out. I'm still not sure I agree with it (grammar rules aside--I know, *gasp!*) yet, but dagnabbit, that woman spent some of her well-earned three-day weekend to help ME improve MY brainchild and I am going to darn well be thankful for it. And I am.

Just remember guys, there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Always. Being 'a writer' doesn't excuse anyone for needing their share of modesty, and it doesn't make one infallible. If you've seen the early drafts of Silver and have recently seen where a year of learning and re-writing, and basically kicking my own butt all over the place because this is it for me, this is IT, you see what a heartbreaking/dream-making effort it all is.

If you love it, if it's part of you, if writing is IT for you, somewhere in your spirit you'll just know when it's time to put yourself aside and let someone else have a go, and while it certainly may hurt, you'll still appreciate it, because the pain is worth it. The pain is worth swallowing your protests, setting your "But, but, but!" aside and letting all the work.

Let someone else wash the muck off you. What's left will be truth, and as you know, it always wills out.

*I feel like I should insert here I DID make several very good, talented, helpful friends there who were very involved in my learning about the art of writing (you can often find one or two commenting here, in fact). Again, I stress Authonomy isn't all bad, just the parts that are bad are bad enough keep me mostly away. I do keep a copy of Silver there for safety's sake (so I have a digi copy out in the world; my computer has crashed on me once already) and because, yes, every once in a while someone finds it among the piles of slush and has something to say about it. I just don't promote it.


Anonymous said...

Hey, as 'that woman' I am very much used to the tag. Pedantic, hard-noses, bitch are all things that come to mind when I think about how people have descibed me. But I feel there is just no excuse for being complacent about a MS you believe in.

I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis of Authonomy. Then again, it brings me closer to characters I wouldn't normally interact with, and I have to admit there is some kind of perverse fascination in observing the jerks and seeing where to poke them to make them explode ;-)


Brianne M Heavey said...

I'm thinking that Vegas is a lot dirtier then you would expect. And Not just the bad parts of it. Im talking all of Vegas as a whole. Though I could ask my friend Eric, he did just come back from there...

Either way, you're correct in saying that writers like their ego's stroked. Everyone does have room for improvement

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