hello and help lol
So let me get this straight. You wrote a novel in high school, using the nonfiction techniques we learn there. You've done nothing to upgrade your writing skills and knowledge of novel construction to professional, or learned how writing fiction for the printed word differs from the general skill called writing we learn in school, and the verbal storytelling we do, daily.
And you feel you're ready to compete as a writer, and entice people to buy your work?
Ask yourself this question: "Why am I more qualified to write this story than all the other people who have my educational and cultural background, who read the same fiction, and who have my intelligence?" And if you can't come up with something that makes you unique, you might spend a bit of time digging into the nuts and bolts of fiction writing craft, to make yourself so.
Watching films didn't make you a director or screenwriter. taking history didn't make you a historian. Reading newspapers didn't make you a journalist. Taking math classes didn't make you a mathematician. Walking on carpets doesn't teach you to weave one. Taking English composition did not make you a professional writer. And reading books doesn't teach you to write one.
Like any other profession, it's not luck. It's not sincerity or desire. It's a matter of becoming.
Stepping in here to say a few things . . .
I want to welcome @cjtownsend to
Book Country—we’re very happy to have you! Thanks for joining us. Tomorrow, I’ll post some links to Creative Commons resources that might be
helpful to you as you create a cover image.
@Jay—your response to cjtownsend’s
post about possible work to be posted on the site was not cool. This
site is a safe space for writers to post their work.
It’s great that you are so invested in Book Country—critical thinkers and
readers like yourself are so valuable to the community—but be careful not to
take anyone down. No one in an “in-person” writing community
would tolerate such a dismissive response to a new community
Giving constructive feedback is
much different than silencing someone. Be mindful that to be a part of this
community—to share your work and to give honest, helpful feedback—is a brave
and generous act. What makes Book Country wonderful is that it is a place for
writers of all stripes, with varying levels of expertise and experience.
In the words of the great Natalie Goldberg (whose book WRITING
DOWN THE BONES rescued me from my own periods of feeling like I was being
silenced by folks in my writing community): "Say yes, stay alive, be
awake. Just write. Just write. Just write." Be willing to sit down
and do it, and then do it. Get your work out there on Book Country. Use the
feedback to make it better. Publish it. Figure out how to get it into the world
in a successful way. But first and foremost, just write.
Book Country Community and Engagement Manager
• @Jay—your response
to cjtownsend’s post about possible work to be posted on the site was not cool
Cool is in the
eye of the beholder. I prefer accuracy. I notice you didn’t say that what
I told the OP was wrong. Must one now smile at someone who is in the process of
making a serious mistake and killing any chance of a writing career, and remain
silent because self-esteem outweighs truth? Has it become politically
incorrect, on this site, to tell someone they’re not ready to self-publish
because they’re uneducated in even the most basic of craft for printed word
Writing is a profession. Sure, most of us never make it to the top, but it is. And
there is no profession for which the training consists of nothing more than having
gone to English class.
Did our history classes make us a historian? No. Did we graduate high school as
a mathematician? Again no. In grade school we learn general skills. We’re given knowledge that most adults will need to
become employees, and that requires nonfiction writing skills. Writing fiction
for the printed word is a profession, and like any profession has specialized
knowledge not obvious until it’s pointed out. Our OP is talking about self-publishing
on the strength of having a few friends read part of their story and saying they liked
it. And, the book was written in high school. How many
manuscripts by teen aged writers has Penguin put under contract this century?
How many since it was incorporated? That, alone, will tell you if I was being
cruel, or accurate and helpful. Not all
medicine is pleasant. That doesn’t detract from its efficacy—or the need to
take it.• This site is a safe
space for writers to post their work.
But the OP hasn’t posted anything. And the work, itself, hasn’t been discussed,
only the OP’s lack of preparation to become a successful writer—and to best
please a reader. Is it uncool to tell an unpleasant but necessary truth? Okay, then I'm uncool.
• No one in an “in-person” writing community would tolerate such a dismissive
response to a new community member.
Nonsense. I’ve been involved with writing communities for over twenty-five
years. I’ve owned a critiquing service, and when I was in the RWA ran the
chapter’s critique sessions. And I’ve even managed to sell a story or two. You’re
dead wrong. And anyone who cannot divorce ego from writing, and accept fair and
deserved criticism has no place in this game.
I asked our OP what made him or her more fit to write successfully than
everyone else who was equally prepared—or unprepared. That’s something every
writer must ask themselves, for every story: “Why am I better fitted to write
this story than anyone else? That’s something you’d be taught in any
professional writing course. Hell, I’ve seen that point mentioned by agents,
editors, and teachers. Declaring it to be bad manners to say exactly what
someone would be taught in the university seems less than informed literary
• Giving constructive feedback is much different than silencing someone.
No one silenced the OP. We have to assume that the people posting here are
adults and intelligent. So our OP is quite capable of responding without your
help. Perhaps there has been no response because he or she is busy looking into
the craft of writing.
I said a few months ago that because you’ve changed the site’s focus to
attracting customers to your self-publishing operation you would soon make it
mandatory that every poster is to be treated like an esteemed professional,
and that no idea, no matter how divorced from reality, be treated with respect.
I was right.
It's nice to know that some things on Book Country are still the same. Sigh.
Jay, you're being an idiot.
Okay, here's the deal Jay: you're not allowed to write Science Fiction anymore. Not until you've educated yourself. Go spend four years studying science (Physics would be preferable, but Biology's acceptable in a pinch). Graduate (a First would be outstanding, but anything but a Pass is fine). Then, when you can discuss Relativity and the implications of the Many-World Hypothesis, you can start writing Science Fiction again.
Stupid, isn't it? But that's what you're doing. I could refuse to accept anything you write on any number of stupid reasons. Oh you're writing about women? You're not one, so no. You're writing about Africa? Have you been there? No? You're older than me, so you're not allowed to write about teenagers or young adults.
Jay, the problem here is that you are making a blind assumption about someone's writing with no evidence either way. What evidence do you have that cjtownsend doesn't know how to write properly? He's a high school student? That's it? Hmm, I can think of words to describe such a poor assumption. They're not nice words.
There's a level of arrogance and blindness to your response that, again, reflect badly on you. I'll be honest, I think you're a poor reviewer. You're so monomaniacally focused on technique that you pay no attention to content. Still, that said, you at least try and improve an author's writing. That's not what you did here.
Here you slammed the gate closed without even looking at cjtownsend's writing, declaring that what he has written is unacceptable without even reading it! Under what circumstances can you possibly make that judgement? For all the two of us know, he could be the next coming of William Shakespeare! Without actually reading what he's written, how can you possibly judge it?
What's perhaps worse here is that you seem to not understand that your behaviour is offensive and stupid. You assert that cjtownsend hasn't returned to the site because he's off studying how to write, presumably at some lone Tibetan monastery dedicated to the True Art of the Novel. It doesn't seem to occur to you that there's a far greater chance that he's simply not bothered to come back to the site, as it's clearly packed with jerks who reckon he's not worthy to put pen to paper. How is him no longer using this site going to improve his writing, as you seem to think is the point of BC?
I'll be clear here Jay. I don't think you're a very good writer (I've reviewed Monkey Feet and Starlight Dancing and they both had issues) and it's clear I don't think you're very good at any other part of reviewing beyond a grasp of the technical aspects, but I genuinely think that you can be a decent guy, when you're not on your high horse. This thread does little more than damage that opinion, showing that you're more than willing to let your personal prejudices dump all over another person for no good reason.
Now Jay, I know you well enough to know you're going to respond to this, so here's some ground rules. Don't just cherry-pick random sentences out of this is as is your style. Actually read and understand what I've written. Try and understand what I've said, don't just dismiss what I've written because you know better. Otherwise you're just confirming my rapidly falling opinion of you.
Finally Jay, go back to Lucy's comment above. Notice that little phrase 'Community Manager'? It means she has the Banhammer. Stop annoying her.
And cjtownsend? If you're reading this: welcome to the site. Despite your initial impression, I've found this site quite useful. Stick around and see what comes up.
It’s always been the intention of this community that every member is treated with respect, no matter if they are a beginner or if they’ve been publishing for years.
Let’s start fresh by closing this thread and opening up a new one dedicated to the crux of @cjtownsend’s orginal post. My understanding is that @cjtownsend is looking for Creative Commons resources to use in creating a cover for a book to post for community feedback. I am still preparing some resources to share on this topic. As soon as I have them ready, I will start a new thread called “Creative Commons resources for cover art” with some links to online resources and some best practices for their use. I’ll post it on the “Online Resources for Writers” board.