Thursday, December 6, 2012

Really Bad Writing Advice: 5 Top Reasons You Shouldn't Read Books

I have just finished reading an extremely good book.  Well-written, poignant, moving. 

I was horrified!

I’m not actually going to tell you what book it was, out of concern that you’ll make the same mistake I did.  But suffice to say, as I made my way to the last page and gently closed the cover, it hit me, Big Epiphany: for writers, reading books, particularly good books, and without question outstanding books, is a terrible mistake.

Here’s why:

1.) When you are reading, you aren’t soaking up life experience or doing your butt-in-chair writing thing.  Everybody knows that all you need to create your stunning opus is life experience, a butt, and a chair.

2.) Really good children’s books are short, sweet, and rip your heart out.  Having your heart ripped out can distract you from your mission, and also get blood on your desk.

3.) Really good books are no doubt better than your struggling manuscript which, if you’re me, could remain in the shitty first draft phase for years.  Your book will no doubt never ever be as good as the really good book, no matter how long you keep your butt in that chair.  This realization has been known to propel writers out of their chairs and to the refrigerator for some highly comforting chocolate chip ice cream.  Ergo, really good books are fattening.

4.) Those fiends over at Goodreads no doubt liked the really good book better than they liked your book.  Reminding you that life is unfair, and depressing you so much that it becomes challenging to form sentences.  It is also possible that those fiends over at Goodreads hated the really good book, also reminding you that life is unfair, the reading public is dopey, and depressing you so much that it becomes challenging to form sentences.

5.) Paper cuts.  The really good book can give you paper cuts.  Also, if you spend your time reading really good books, you will be so depressed, bloody, and fat that you will never finish writing your book, and therefore your book will never give anybody paper cuts.  There is some form of irony in there somewhere.

Monday, December 3, 2012

YA for NJ

Hi All,

I'm taking a break from really bad writing advice to support YA for NJ, the brainchild of YA writer Kieran Scott, who lives in New Jersey.  After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, she sought support for fellow-Jersians (Jerseyites? Hmmmm....)in the YA community, and voila!, 206 ebay auctions with signed books, author visits for the NY/NJ area, Skype visits, a phone call with Simone Elkeles, and manuscript critiques from major editors and YA writers.

All of the proceeds of the auction go to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, so not only will you be winning something wonderful, but you'll be helping a very good cause.

This is the link for the whole shebang, so you can scroll through all of these wonderful auctions:

And here's the link to bid on a signed copy of WHERE IT BEGAN plus, a bonus, a signed copy of my new picture book, THE WOODEN SWORD, a folktale from Afghanistan that just made it onto the NYPL's 100 list for 2012. (Yay!)

Given that everyone here is a giant consumer of YA books, I hope you'll decide to acquire some through these auctions.

Kudos to Kieran Scott!


P.S. I just bid on Carol Tanzman's CIRCLE OF SILENCE, which I've been dying to read.  Let me know what you've bid on.