Thursday, January 31, 2013

Really Bad Writing Advice: The Clueless One Preaches Doom

Well, here I am in physical therapy with my somewhat wrecked ankle (which is, btw, wrapped in cool, black spider-webbish tape and looks kind of Goth), and I’m still in a bad mood.   I am, therefore, going to send out into the world some of the Clueless One’s pithier messages of doom, so that I can feel more fellowship with writers who don’t have a wrecked ankle but whom I’ve nevertheless reduced to a state of unappetizing moaning.

You’re welcome.

Dear Clueless One,
Writing is hard, and I’ll never get this manuscript to sing.  Should I just throw in the towel?

 Might Be Incompetent

Dear Incompetent,


Dear Clueless One,

Revising is hard.  This manuscript has any number of problems that I just can’t solve.  Should I just throw in the towel?

 In Revision Hell

Dear IRH,


Dear Clueless One,

This re-revision seems to be making this manuscript worse and not better.  Should I throw in the towel?


Dear Head-Banger,

Yes. (And for the love of God, stop using hashtags.)

Dear Clueless One,

My publisher is terribly nice, but they appear to like this brilliant, well-established, multi-zillion dollar epic writer better than me.  She got to speak at ALA and I didn’t.  (Although that might be because she won the Newberry & I didn’t.)  Should I just throw in the towel?

Your friend,
 Peevishly Jealous

Dear Writer,


Dear Clueless One,

Damn the internet!  If not for the internet, I would never know that somewhere out there, there’s someone who hates my book.  A lot.  And not just one person, either.  Just after I flame this misguided Satan, should I just throw in the towel?

Best wishes (if you liked my book, otherwise not),
Judgment-Impaired Narcissist

Dear Internet Joke,


Dear Clueless One,

I don’t like your book and my publisher made me a poster.

 Anonymous For Reasons of Safety

Dear AFRS,


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Really Bad Writing Advice: 5 Worst New Years Resolutions for Writers

OK, so we’re halfway through January and after carefully refusing to craft New Years resolutions this year, I am now in a position to feel comprehensive, free-floating guilt about vast numbers of resolutions that I could have made but didn’t, and which I’m not keeping. 

Hence, I am the perfect person to give you, without further ado, the 5 worst New Years resolutions for writers.

1.) I will write X number of words / pages / chapters / pieces of stunning flash fiction / short stories / novels per day.

Sure you will.

2.) I will win a local award / a state award / a national award / an international award / the Nobel Peace Prize / a commendation from God that he reaches through the clouds and pins on my chest while others gasp in wonder.

All right, so maybe you'll get one or two of these.  But it still won’t be the commendation that God reaches through the clouds and pins on your chest while others gasp in wonder.  Deal with it.

3.) I will not be distracted by the glories of the internet.

Where are you reading this again?

4.) I will not be distracted by Downton Abbey.

Okay, what happened last week?  Ha!  I knew you knew.

5.) I will not give way to the sedentary aspects of the writing life, but will achieve fame, fortune, and artistic oneness with the universe while maintaining a healthful lifestyle and living, basically, on my treadmill.

Are you reading this from your treadmill? Sure you are.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Really Bad Writing Advice : The Return of Dear Clueless One

All right, so it's 2013 and I'm limping around in a livid green walking cast yet no workable instructions as to how to take a freaking shower without getting it wet.  

I am not in a good mood.  

What better time to send unsuspecting writers into paroxysms of failure, in the continuing hope that soon I will be the only writer left standing?  (Or limping, as it were.)  So there you have it!  The Clueless One has returned, graciously responding to one of the many, many heartfelt queries stuffing her emailbox.  

Dear Clueless One,

I have written the first several pages of a novel of extraordinary depth, universal appeal, and potential for a fifteen-part animated movie series that I’m pretty sure Sir Laurence Olivier will return from the dead to narrate.  It is a fun-filled tragedy of life and death, with an insouciant haiku about animal husbandry at the opening of each chapter.  

Obviously, I need no advice about my novel.  The thing is, just after I whip off the next 497 pages next week, I plan to sell one to two hundred thousand copies myself before one of the Big However-Many-Are-Left publishers offers me bazillion dollars, which I will turn down because, seriously, I’m a lone wolf genius who chuckles in the face of conventionality and the soul-numbing horror of the editorial process.

So here is the question: To sell my one or two hundred thousand copies, I plan to be invited to talk shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, NPR, and a gardening podcast produced by my Aunt Edith and viewed by between 14 and 76 people per week, mostly in Boca Raton. 

Also, I will expect everyone I know to send copies to at least 10 friends along with a chain letter filled with terrifying yet not entirely illegal threats to their health and welfare if they don’t do the same.

What do you think, Clueless One?  Is this a plan, or is this a plan?


Rare Literary Dynamo, Yet Not Too Hoity Toity To Eschew Unprecedented Commercial Success