Excitement and dealing with feedback

My awesome critique partner gave me a pile of suggestions for how I might shorten my manuscript. Here’s my plan for dealing with them.

If you get my monthly digest, you might know that I recently finished the fifth draft of my work in progress (WIP) and enlisted the help of my wonderful critique partner, Anna Kaling, to figure out how to cut 40k words.

Anna got back to me at 3am this morning, and all I could do before work was read her email in a whirlwind of excitement. (Don’t you hate it when real life gets in the way of writing?)

She had some very encouraging things to say, and she suggested some characters and plot threads that she found less than essential to the story.

I was thrilled by her reaction. Then her suggested excisions sank in.

But everything needs to be there!

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Should you write for money or for art?

In the nether-reaches of the internet, shadowy figures argue whether authors who write for money are sellouts. These are their opinions.

If you push aside enough cobwebs, wander down enough dank corridors, and tiptoe through enough iron-bound doors you might find yourself in the nether-reaches of the web where shadowy figures debate the question of whether writing should be about money or art.

I confess I have no strong views on this matter, but that’s not an interesting way to approach a question, so for the purposes of this post let’s pretend I have all the strong views.

In case your socks got too wet and your candle burned out before you reached this nether-web, here are some of the arguments that may or may not be bandied about.

Against art: Writing only thinking about yourself is self-indulgent.

Against money: Trying to write what you think readers want is the best way to produce vanilla, derivative stories.

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How to be a writer: 13 required quirks

I was honoured when the lovely Lucy of BlondeWriteMore invited me to write a guest post, and I thought I’d share the intelligence I’ve gathered in my time undercover as a writer. (Yes, I’m watching Burn Notice again. How did you know?)

I had a lot of fun writing this piece, and I hope you have fun reading it: How to be a writer: 13 required quirks.

Eighty-three percent of people want to be writers, but not just anyone can be.

For the past six months I have been deep undercover in the online world of writers, learning their peculiar ways in order to better mimic them and hopefully one day become one of them.

My research has led me to the conclusion that there are thirteen quirks required to be a writer. Today they will be shared for the first time.

1: You must be crazy about cats

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How to explode with ideas for your sequel

I decided to write a sequel for my WIP, and in days I went from having no idea what it might be about to having dozens of ideas. Here’s how.

I try to avoid writing “how to” posts because I’m generally of the opinion that I know nothing about anything. This post is more “how I got lots of ideas for a sequel”.

(Sorry I deceived you with the title. I feel awful about it.)

I’ve always considered my work in progress to be a “stand-alone with series potential”. That is, the main story question is answered by the end of the book, and at least one of the main characters survives the climax to potentially appear in a subsequent book.

Rats, now I’ve let a spoiler slip. Well, what did you expect from me? I like happy endings and for people to get what they deserve.

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How not to use a thesaurus

Roget the thesaurus enjoys turning clear English into incomprehensible babble. Watch him mutilate a perfectly readable excerpt from my short story, The Emperor’s Cat.

I’d like you to meet my good friend, Roget. Roget enjoys long walks on the beach and messing with other people’s fiction. He’s also a thesaurus (which I suspect is some kind of dinosaur).

Good uses for Roget include remembering the perfect word that’s on the tip of your tongue and using your own vocabulary more effectively.

Bad uses for Roget include using other people’s vocabulary and looking up big words to insert into your magnum opus in an attempt to make yourself look smart.

Hint: it doesn’t.

Since doing things wrong is more fun than doing things right, that’s what I’m going to do here. Yes, it’s game. Here are the rules:

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