Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 5, 2012

Let’s see what’s great out there today…huh, nothing I’d call “great.” But there are some things that I’d call interesting or useful, namely:

  • There are three pieces on the writing process, two heavy, one light:
    • I admit I was put off by Mark Milan’s (@Mark_Milan) bossy, “I’m the expert, do what I say” tone in Five Steps towards Making Peace with Criticism on Write to Done, but if you can get past that, his advice is reasonably useful.
    • Lisa Cron’s (@lisacron) no-nonsense piece Unmasking the Muse on Writer Unboxed can be summarized this way: there is no muse, there’s a build-up of skills acquired over years and years of practice at your craft. “The muse in the basement is you.” That may be disturbing for some, liberating for others. My vote’s for liberating, but it does mean accepting responsibility for the quality of your work. Scary? Shouldn’t be.
    • On a much lighter note, Gabriela Pereira (@DIYMFA) asks What’s Your Creative Process? and invites everyone to share. This is the first of a week-long series of “process” posts on DIY MFA.
  • Rachelle Gardner (@RachelleGardner) offers 13 Things You May Not Know About Agents. This one, part of #3, shouldn’t be a surprise: “…the bottom line is that it’s the writer’s job to provide a marketable book.” The fact she needs to write that says a lot, and none of it good. Yikes.
  • And finally, Robert Bruce (@robertbruce76) writes on 101 Books about Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe’s (author of Things Fall Apart, a Time magazine Top 100 book)) suit against rapper 50Cent last year. Fiddy wanted to use the book title for a movie he was making. Achebe didn’t want to let him. Copyright wasn’t the issue, branding was.

And there we are. Did you find anything better?


4 comments on “Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 5, 2012

  1. Thanks, Mark. I see what your concern is. If it’s any consolation, one of the members of the Cochise Writers Group is also a Briton and we run into similar stylistic issues when it comes to his (fiction) writing. “Two peoples separated by a common tongue,” (to quote Sir Winston) to some extent.

    It’s all good, though. He and I are still friends and I hope you and I can retain a similar collegiality, at least!

  2. Mark Milan says:

    Thanks for the link to my guest post, Ross. I’ll give your criticism some consideration!

    I didn’t intend for my post to be bossy or to present myself as a know-it-all expert. I’d be interested to know what specifically gave that impression.

    • Hi, Mark. Interestingly, just one little phrase did it: in the five steps, the phrase “you should” comes across as directive, at least to me. By itself, “should” IS advisory, but when combined with the direct form of second-person address (you should), the tone changes. Compare the tone of “You should accept that you, like any other writer, can learn more about your craft” with “Accept that you, like any other writer, can learn more about your craft.” To my mental ear, the second form is closer to advice where the first is more of an order. If you haven’t done so already, try reading the advice portion of your original post out loud, with and without the “you should” phrases, and listen for any differences in tone.

      It’s quite possible you didn’t intend for readers to respond to the wording the way I did. That just illustrates how different readers will react differently to the same piece, something that’s utterly beyond our control as writers.

      Also, please don’t lose sight of the fact that I thought enough of your piece to include it in the day’s selections. There are many every day that don’t make the cut.

      Hope that helps.

      • Mark Milan says:

        When I freelance my clients, it is often important to them that the content I produce for them is authoritative in tone — perhaps it is a carry over from that. That said, I think it is better to be assertive in stating your opinions in such posts, to stand behind your convictions.

        I suppose I could have changed “you should” to “you can”, but it seems indecisive to me. I think this could result in the post not making as deep an impression on the reader. I guess the fact that it could also be construed as being a know-it-all is an unfortunate side effect of this.

        I truly appreciate the link to my guest post and the criticism. With my comments, I just hope I’ve conveyed to you that I’m not actually a bossy know-it-all! 🙂

        Thanks again.

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