Monday, February 21, 2011

It was Col. Mustard in the Library with the Beef Log

As an unpublished author with only one manuscript out of 11 to have actually made it to "Complete First Draft" status, I try not to read too much about how to get published. I feel it's a bit of putting the cart before the horse to immerse myself in the politics of publishing, getting an agent, etc. I don't have anything to show them. So my first priority has been and will remain, finishing projects. Getting them to that coveted "Complete First Draft" stage so I can get to editing, polishing, and preparing a draft to be reviewed by an editor. I'll worry about query letters etc then. Other aspiring or published authors may disagree with my process. Please feel free to tell me why you think I should do things your way. I may or may not take your advice, but I promise I'll be nice about it.

Speaking of being nice, that's one of the things I read about "What to do to become an author". It was more of a what NOT to do, and that is: Do not ever bash another author. Basically, this article said not to give scathing reviews of another author's work. Really? Why not? If I genuinely did not like the book, I can't say WHY I didn't like it? I'm not saying I think it's OK to say horrific things about an author because that's just mean-spirited and juvenile. I wouldn't want someone to do that to me. But to be told I can't express my opinion about their work? What the hell is literary CRITICISM for if not to point out what we don't like about a story and WHY we don't like it? Why are there even guidelines by which to judge a manuscript's quality?

As a book-buying member of our society, I think it's perfectly within my rights to complain when a book I purchase with my husband's hard-earned money disappoints me thoroughly. Movie critics do it all the time. In fact, Roger Ebert just labeled I Am Number Four as "shameless and unnecessary." Obviously, Mr. Ebert isn't afraid of hurting Michael Bay's feelings. And I noticed Mr. Bay doesn't file lawsuits against everyone who dislikes his work. But we have to walk on eggshells about other authors or else we won't get our own work published? Hmmm. Where's my Dislike button?

Here's a blog post my Twitter Turncoat pal Jodi sent me today. Here's an example of criticizing a dangerous piece of YA literature, without personally attacking the author. And I could not agree more with Maria Goodson's assessment. So read the critique and let me know your thoughts on this Don't Insult Anyone's Work Or Else conspiracy. And for the record, if I ever wrote a vampire story and Stephen King read it and called me a hack who should have her fingers broken before being allowed to write again, I would still be excited. I'd be thinking, "Stephen King read my work! Sure he hated it and determined it wasn't worth the paper it was printed on, but still. THE Stephen King read it!"

As to the title of this post... well... Let's just say I find humor in the oddest places, including the top of Jodi's refrigerator. I'll explain later.
Happy Reading

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