What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.
I have a question on how to handle a situation. I'm a part of an IRL writing group. I'm the youngest by a good 20 years at 25 and have already been branded troublesome and a 'hard ass'. There is a guy who decided to write a "biography" of a black woman from Houston. She overcame a lot of obstacles to get a degree and provide for her family. But he inserts himself into the narrative, talks down on her, plus is a white guy writing about her life , a story he has no real business telling.
he’s made jokes about her limited vocabulary compared to his “PhD four syllable one”. His log line is literally “ you can take the girl out of the ghetto but can you take the ghetto out of the girl” Ive brought up that he is telling her story through a lens. I’ve told him he is giving an extremely problematic portrayal and that it will hurt readers. He said I’m “too aggressive” for a girl and continues to work on it. What more can I do? I NEVER want this book to reach a soul.
Confronting Racist Ideas in a Writer’s Group
We feel you should call him out.
As a young woman, we get that you’re at a disadvantage, but you’re also white, and this would be a good way of using your privilege to point out this is an issue. (Although we do sympathize–one of us had to leave a writing group for similar reasons.)
You could refer this blog and/or other sources as a reference for him to read and educate himself.
Though in the end, you can’t make people take you seriously, and can only try to get your point across. If he’s as sexist and racist as he seems to be, there really isn’t much you can do but call him out. Chances are (and fingers crossed) his crappy works never see a bookshelf, but there is always a chance. And hey, it won’t be your fault when he’s on folks’ did-not-finish lists on goodreads with tons of one star reviews.
Another thing; just because you’re “aggressive” (dude, how condescending and tone-policing) which probably is an exaggeration on his part anyhow, doesn’t mean you’re wrong.
Finally, if this group doesn’t take you seriously and no one in charge assists in curbing this guy’s behavior, it’s perfectly acceptable to leave the group for something more suitable. Based on the group deeming you a “troublesome hard ass”, it doesn’t sound like a safe or comfortable environment at all.
This behavior is not something you should have to put up with.
IF AO NO EXORCIST HADN'T BEEN BY KAZUE KATO BUT...:
"You must destroy Kurikara in the blue flames it was forged in, Rin Okumura!"
Yuri loved Satan and Satan loved Yuri but Yuri's grumpy father didn't want them to be together and in the end everyone died.
Yuri had a huge crush on Satan, a lad out of her reach. So she brew a magic potion that made Satan fall in love with her. But sadly she died when giving birth to her son Rin. Rin grew up at the orphanage and hated his name, because there were so many Rins out there, but one special day a man named Mephisto Pheles came to visit Rin and told him that he is an exorcist and can come to his school, the True Cross Academy. Rin's hatred for normal humans grew and he founded a secret underground organization with his best buddy Lucifer Malfoy named "The Illuminati". Their goal was to get rid of human race and so they became more powerful. But there was another organization, The True Cross Order, that wanted to fight against the Illuminati. Lily and James Okumura, two members of the True Cross Order gave birth to their son Yukio. Rin tried to kill the family but Yukio survived and developt the same special ability like Rin: speak to demons. And so Yukio visited the True Cross Academy and became an exorcist and together with his friends Shura and Izumo he defeated Rin in an epic battle and destroyed Kurikara, his horcrux.
Yuri fell in love with Satan, who was a demon. Satan wanted to transform Yuri into a demon too, but first Yuri gave birth to her half demon sons Rinesmee and Yukio. The True Cross Order thought Rinesmee would be a danger to their existance and wanted to exorcise him. And then there was also this other guy, Shiro Fujimoto, who liked Yuri and always took his shirt off, but then he became Rinesmees godparent.
Satan was a nerdy crybaby who was influenced by his bad boy bff Mephisto Pheles. Then Satan fell in love with Yuri and made her pregnant, but Mephisto was an idiot and because of his actions Yuri and her Son Rin both died and Satan and Mephisto were bff's till the end of their lives.
"I am Rin Okumura, I'm not even human and I have HUGE daddy issues."
Yuri and Satan both die because their relationship is illegal.
The Illuminati planned an attack of the Vatican but the True Cross Order and Tom Hanks were there to solve their riddles, but there was a spy called Renzou Shima and in the end he died.
There was a war between demons and humans and the war killed everyone.
Rin Okumura wondered, why he started to draw runes but then he discovered he was an exorcist and had exorcist adventures.
Your age does not define your talent or ability to write and publish a book.
Young writers, old writers, please remember that. I’m sixteen, I write English books (my first language isn’t English) and on top of it all I have school and stress. The odds are against me.
I’m ashamed to say that I’m ashamed to mention I am writing a book. Because when I say it I can almost feel the pity. The judgment that I can’t do it.
Why do they believe that? Why do they not see this passion of writing -that is as important as breathing to me- as something other than just a hobby? Because I’m sixteen. Don’t ever let that stop you! I’ve been turned down by critique partners, I’ll probably be turned down by agents too before they’ve even looked at my manuscript because of my age. Honestly I try to avoid mentioning my age because some people think that if I’m sixteen I’m not good at writing.
I’m not hiding it anymore. Because age doesn’t define talent. Age doesn’t define passion or ambition, age defines the time you’ve spent on earth not what you’ve done with it.
Keep writing, keep striving towards your goal. Whether it’s publishing a book or just writing one. don’t be discouraged because the people around you don’t think you’re serious or talented because of your age.
Talent doesn’t come with age, it comes with effort and time. You could be as good at sixteen if you’ve been writing for 2 years as a 24-year old that’s been writing for 2 years.
You start out really enthusiastic, like, “this is gonna be amazing, and so pretty, and I’m going to be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor and people will stop by to see it and yeah, this was a GREAT idea.”
And then not everything grows. And sometimes you forget to water. And the WEEDS, oh my god, where do they even come from? Like, you did NOT put those in there. Or did you? Did you mean to plant that there? Doesn’t that go on the other side of the garden? And no, no, no, I do not need anymore volunteer pumpkins, go away pumpkins, you’re really not wanted, go join the zucchinis that also exist for some reason, why aren’t my apple trees growing!?
And your garden is going to be GREAT, really, because this was a GREAT idea and you’ll be damned if you let a few - a lot - of zucchinis get in the way.
Hi guys! To apologize for the lack of prompts tonight (they’ll be back tomorrow, as text posts for the time being!) I will share with you a story about why I make a face every time someone mentions Stephen King.
First off, I love Stephen King. I think he’s a stand up guy. Great at what he does. He also happens to spend his winters in my home town. Now, my town has many wonderful features, one of which is an abundance of Panera Bread restaurants. My favorite one is right next to a bookstore. Prime space. The most popular of the towns Paneras. I spent most of high school sitting in this Panera writing and eating breadbowls filled with mac and cheese (off menu but they WILL do it if you ask nice). As all of us who frequent establishments where it is acceptable to eat drink and work will know, you develop a fondness for certain seats. Sit in it enough, and you come to think of it as Your Seat. I’ll admit that more than once I have waited for someone to leave My Seat at this Panera before opening word and getting to work. The crushing disappointment when you realize someone is in Your Seat is a distinct emotion. Even more distinct when the person sitting in Your Writing Seat is Stephen King.
Listen, I’m not a petty person. But every time I walk in to that cafe and see Stephen King in My Seat, I want to kick something. It does not happen often. But when it does I ask, why Stephen? Of all the seats? Are you thinking about your next novel over that cup of coffee? Are you taking extra long because you needed a break after finishing up your latest bestseller? YOU DO NOT HAVE THE MONOPOLY ON GOOD WRITING SEATS STEPHEN.
Sometimes I daydream about asking him to move. I’m not home a lot these days, but if I ever see him in that Panera again, we will discover if I have enough gall to tell Stephen King to switch tables, so I can work on my writing.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of posts about reviews.
Authors pissed off at reviewers. Reviewers frustrated with authors.
Various genres, different people, but the same basic theme - a review
that rubs an author the wrong way, and an author who lets fly about it
publicly. Y'all, we gotta rein this shit in.
Here’s the thing – I
know it’s not fun to get negative reviews. I once had one that compared
reading my book to getting a spinal tap. Another speculated about my
sexuality, extrapolating (incorrectly) my orientation and experience
based on what I’d written. The former was funny. The latter was
humiliating. It killed my ability to write a particular pairing for *a
year*. So, I get it. I know how much a review can hurt, particularly if
it gets personal.
So what are we supposed to do? When a review
is nasty, or the person clearly hated the book, or when the reviewer
clearly hates the author for whatever reason?
We’re supposed to do….*nothing*.
Not a goddamned thing.
There are three things that are very easy to lose sight of, especially when a review hits a nerve or upsets you:
1. Reviews are for readers, not authors.
2. No review will ever damage your sales or reputation as much as your *reaction* to it.
3. Authors need reviewers, and we’re going to lose them if we make them feel at best unappreciated, at worst targeted.
Let’s unpack these a little.
1. Reviews are for readers, not authors. – Book reviews are product
reviews. Books are reviewed by consumers for other consumers, not for
the author’s ego or to give them pull quotes. Every reviewer has their
own tastes, rating systems, quirks, pet peeves, etc., and they have the
right to review your book accordingly. Yeah, sometimes we don’t like the
results. But you know what? Sometimes that 1-star review for “way too
much sex over the hood of the Ferrari” will be what makes the next
reader 1-click your book.
2. No review will ever damage your
sales or reputation as much as your *reaction* to it. – I think this is
arguably the most important point I’m going to make. Authors live and
die by their reputations. Unprofessional behavior will drive readers
away a hell of a lot faster than a negative review.
trying to tell you that you can’t have hurt feelings or that you can’t
be upset, annoyed, or pissed off by a review. Of course you can! But be
a goddamned professional about it. Vent, rage, scream, cry….in
private. To other writers. To your crit partner. To someone who knows
what it’s like to put a book out there and have it skinned alive right
in front of you.
The minute you start ranting about it in public,
it’s going to start reflecting on YOU a lot more than that review will
ever reflect on your book. Whatever damage the bad review might’ve done
to your sales will be a fraction of the potential damage of a public
response. You want to minimize the damage of a bad review? Don’t draw
attention to it.
I’m serious. Over the years, I’ve seen a number
of authors who’ve flipped out about reviews, and you know what? I can’t
remember the titles of any of those books or even what the reviews
said, but I can suuuuuure remember who the author was. I can remember
vividly who has ranted about mean reviewers, and especially those who’ve
sicced readers on reviewers, but I don’t remember the books. Make of
that what you will.
Do you want people to read your books, or do
you want them to mentally categorize you as an author who can’t take
criticism? Do you want people to review your books honestly, or do you
want them to be afraid to even mention your books because you’ve proven
you’ll go on the offensive if you’re not happy? Don’t think about how
much damage that 1-star review will do — think about all the 5-star
reviews you’ll lose by revealing yourself to be combative and unable to
3. Authors need reviewers, and we’re going to lose them if we make them feel at best unappreciated, at worst targeted.
Reviews sell books. On Amazon, on Goodreads, on review sites – fact
is, reviews make books move. Sometimes a review sucks, and yeah,
sometimes the sales suffer for it. Sometimes a review is awesome and a
book sells like hotcakes as a result. I know of what I speak because
I’ve had both happen, including a book that barely sold 100 copies its
first year, and suddenly sold thousands after a particularly spectacular
review on Goodreads. Reviewers make your book visible, for better or
But reviewers aren’t getting paid to do this. They have
lives. They have things to do besides fend off attacks by angry authors.
In recent years, there have been reviewers who’ve quit reviewing
altogether because authors sicced their fans on them. Just today I saw a
reviewer who was upset because an author lashed out at them for not
reviewing an ARC promptly. (Spoiler alert, folks: reviewing a book weeks
or even months after it comes out will STILL help its visibility and
The end result is we have fewer people reviewing books
across the board, and that hurts everyone. Particularly those of us in
Y'all, I get it. I do. I’ve had reviews that would
make your hair curl. Some of them have been personally insulting. Some
have suggested I skimmed a wiki article when in fact the subject matter
was something I live and breathe. If you added up all my 1- and 2- star
reviews from the last eight years, you’d discover I’m incapable of
writing, know nothing about sex, have zero ability to pick up on speech
patterns and emotional nuance, and have never been within 500 miles of a
military base. I’ve been there, yo.
That stuff stings, but it’s
part of being an author. You put something out there publicly, it’s
going to be consumed by the public, and the public won’t always like it.
Sometimes they’ll even say so.
Don’t be that author. Let people
review your books in their own way and on their own time. Let people
*hate* your books for any reason they choose to hate them. The readers
who love your work won’t be put off by it.
TL;DR: Your sales
won’t be destroyed by a 1-star review. Your career might, however, be
damaged by your *reaction* to that 1 star review.
So I was reading a thing that argued for authors to be paid higher, and the other person compared authors to surgeons, and for a second I thought, okay, yeah, doctors save lives. That’s more important. But then I realized: reading built me. A surgeon might one day save my life, but reading literally gave me. It gave me the imagination and creativity I have. It made me a stronger student to my core. It made me articulate, or enough to at least get my point across. It’s given me ways to connect to hundreds of different people, in so many ways. All the potential I have as a young, “smart” student, comes from the little girl my parents read to. My health is important, but reading? Gave me everything.
Margaret Atwood talks about The Handmaid’s Tale and current political state of the US.
And you can’t have human rights for women unless you have human rights. Think of that. You cannot. Because unless you decide that women are some class of nonhuman beings and should have special treatment, then you have to have a general category of human rights, which includes women as human beings.