Sunday, June 14, 2009
Sunday Linkage and Other Things
First off, let me start by apologizing if nothing makes sense this morning. The dog, who happens to think he's a cat, decided it would be a very good thing to get me up at 0430, then at 0500, at which point I gave up and got up. As Sarah will tell you, this is not a good thing. I am NOT a morning person, especially if no one is up before me to have the coffee waiting as I stumble into the kitchen. So, here I am, fumbling to pull this post together and wondering why no one has invented a way to deliver coffee intravenously.
In my travels across -- over? through? -- the internet this week, I came across a blog I hadn't read before Rachelle Gardner's Rants and Ramblings On Life as a Literary Agent. Her June 12th entry, "Books, Books, Books" reminded me of an online discussion I followed some months ago on whether or not a writer should read in the genre he or she wants to write in. One of those commenting said they refused to read the genre they wanted to write in because they didn't want to be contaminated by what others had written. According to this person, they were afraid their ideas might lose their unique qualities if they happened to read what others wrote. Ms. Gardner simply says:
I believe that you, as a writer, should read lots of books in the genre or category in which you are writing. If you write literary fiction, you should read literary fiction. If you write suspense, you should read suspense. It's a great way to learn. I also believe in reading informational, inspirational, and how-to books about writing and publishing.
Another agent, Nathan Bransford, posted his Writing Advice Database this week. Like with any list of rules, it isn't complete nor is it to be followed without variation. It is, however, a good starting point. I do recommend you look at his Ten Commandments for the Happy Writer. Yes, they are common sense. Yes, they are things we should all remember but, hey, we're writers. Common sense is a fickle friend a lot of times. And, if you're like me, when you're in the midst of a writing jag, you tend to forget things like eating and sleeping, much less family and friends.
Finally, a simple reminder. If you have a blog, if you take part in online discussions, if you are part of online fora, think before hitting that enter button. Remember the old saying, "if you can't say anything nice, just say nothing at all." You might ask why. Well, the answer is simple and it is one that has come back to bite many a writer. You get that rejection letter in the mail or in your email and you know the agent or editor didn't take time to read your query or submission materials. How could they? You only sent that email 17 minutes earlier. It is so easy to shoot an email back to them, telling them off. It is even easier to go to your blog and write all about it, venting that frustration eating at you. That temptation to blast the editor who has completely altered your book is even more pervasive. Don't do it. Lucienne Diver has a great post on Blogging Do's and Dont's -- Advice for Writers on her blog.
I've blathered on long enough this morning. Besides, my coffee mug is strangely empty. Judging from the way the cat is bouncing off the wall, I suspect she drank it while my back was turned. So, I leave you with a question. What informational, inspirational, and how-to books about writing and publishing do you like and recommend and why?