I remember the days when I was an aspiring writer. I wanted to make it, and in a sick way, I wanted to prove myself not to the arses who said, "I couldn't" but to myself. Every story was a labor of love and so much sweat there were days when I wanted to tear my hair out. It all boiled down to one thing – investing in the story.
Today, that's changed. There's so many publishers out there that it's more a case of pick your poison on their side than sweating out the little stuff in the story. You see, when I started writing there was no internet. Shoot, a computer was something that took up a whole room and needed fifty workers to care for it.
It was an age when every story had to count. Each page had to have that spark that got your foot in the door and, potentially, a contract in your hand. That's what I come from. Where it was the effort you put into the story that counted.
Maybe I should hang up my old typewriter and say, "Characters don't count. Plot doesn't matter. It's all about banging out the story and selling it then waving the credit in front of all your crit partners because somehow that makes you bigger or better."
Sorry, but that's sad. It's not that I don't think prolific writers don't exist. I know they do. My main beef comes down to how much garbage is out there. Don't say there isn't because we've all come across at least one crappy story in our days.
You can tell who's invested in their story. It's obvious and if nobody is willing to tell you that then I will. In my own mentor's words this is a matter of sit-down-shut-up-and-listen.
There's another side to my beef. That's where an author has the unmitigated gall to say – "I wrote it but it's the editor's job to fix it".
What planet are you on? And how did you get lucky enough to get a contract?
Then you get the author who will sit there and say – "But my crit partners tell me this or that or the other thing."
You didn't enter into a binding contract with your crit partners. And for the record, about fifty percent of them are about as helpful as a pilonidal cyst. They tell you to do one thing, so you follow that. Then another says something else, so you follow that. Finally you end up with a mishmash of words that has stripped your story down to a lovely skeleton that's baking on the desert sand or have twisted it inside out. (Can you tell I could go on and on about this?)
Invest in your story. Use your common sense when it comes to crit partners. And take the time to create the best story you ever could have.
Okay, I'm done ranting. It's your turn. Can you tell when an author isn't invested in a story or am I just blowing smoke? Do you think it matters and that authors have to get tougher on themselves when it comes to investment?
Until next Tuesday, cheers and happy writing,