Writing Advice and Feedback #1
What is this?
For a couple of years now, I've been threatening one of my writing groups to write blog posts about writing advice and feedback. I get a little cranky on these topics. They say, "Do it!" and then I never do.
That is about to change. More than a month ago, I was reading through multiple online writing groups and social media, and statements were made that were both in the good advice and bad advice range of my Writer Advice barometer. I may have written some responses, and may or may not have actually hit enter on sending them.
This will be a monthly, posted on the second Monday, blog post about Writer Advice and Feedback based around one or two or a slew of Writing Advice or Standard (or non-standard) Feedback and consists of advice within. Because it's not really feasible to comment upon advice without giving some of your own.
Because I made this plan more than a month before the first post, it means I wrote a bunch of these in advance based upon advice or feedback I've been ruminating on for years. Or it could be on advice or feedback I literally just received and wrote about - months before actually posting.
I could probably write a whole book on this, and twelve blog posts seems a reasonable start.
Who am I to give advice?
Unless something dramatically changes by January 9, 2023 (and it could), I am a published author with two pro-rate published pieces of flash, a third token-rate piece of flash, and one self-published short story on my blog/website. (Oh, and whatever flash and excerpts readers of my newsletter get.) I've also queried and trunked one novel in the hellscape of 2021-22 querying.
I am not a big name. Which makes me an excellent source for the first piece of advice I'm going to give.
What I have is advice and feedback I received in the 1990s when I was trying to write and publish back then, advice I've recieved throughout the years since then, and actively sought out advice and feedback in the past three years after writing ~350,000 words in a 4-6 month period that eventually split into short stories, novelettes, novellas, and novels, plus all the words I've written in the years since that outpouring. And I know what it's like when you're first trying to figure out Things About Your Writing and What Advice to Follow.
My posts will be aimed for newer writers, those who are searching for answers more than for established writers who already know all of this stuff. But maybe there'll be a few gems for those who have been writing for a bit.
I'll give you this for free
Take all writing advice and feedback with a grain of salt. Seriously.
This is why I'm the perfect person to give this advice. Because I'm not some big name and readers will tend to take my advice with a grain of salt. But when writers seek the advice of Big Names then the advice becomes Laws That Must Be Followed. All advice is given within context. But it's often relayed stripped of the context in which it was given. All people giving advice have who they are and where they come from to take into account.
Everyone has a motivation for giving advice and feedback. Some people are kind, caring people who want to help other writers. Some actively want to shut other writers down. Some are angry. (Most of this advice will come from an angry place for me. Just so you know.) It's kind of important to figure out why someone is giving their advice. Have they sold millions of copies of fiction and are constantly asked for advice so they wrote a book about it? Are they on their publication journey and have a few nuggets to share to help along those behind them on the same path? Are they someone who, whether consciously or subconsciously, wants to pull the ladder up behind them because they believe Publishing is a finite pie with only crumbs left?
Everyone has credentials for giving advice and feedback. I literally just listed mine above. Is the person giving their advice a writer or editor? What have they written and edited? When did they publish or edit? How accepted are the stories they published or edited? People who are bestsellers in the 1990s and people who are bestsellers in the 2020s probably actually have slightly different advice. Because markets change. Following older advice may improve your craft or storytelling, but it may not get you published today.
Okay, all my advice is free.
As you read through my picking apart or trumpeting the awesomeness of pieces of advice, consider what your goals are as a writer and what your goals are with advice and feedback.
Writers tend to give advice about Writing and Publishing assuming your goals are the same as their goals. I have definitely received advice that was not meant for me given as though it were personal. Because it was the advice that writer needed to hear when they were at the stage they thought I was. And maybe they misassessed my stage. Or maybe that advice just wasn't meant for me even if the stage assessment was appropriate.
Of course, I'm taking Generic Advice and giving Generic Advice. Some if it will be given as stage specific and I already suggested who might find my monthly posts on this topic helpful.
Enjoy the ride!
There you go, two pieces of advice already given with a little bit of shade thrown at all advice on writing. Stay tuned next month for more.
Reading Reflection 2022
2022 Reading Reflection
You can see by my Goodreads banner that I did manage to make my 2022 reading goal - 18 of 15 books! If you read my 2022 update about 2021, you'll know that this is actually quite an improvement over last year.
I had an amazing reading year in 2019 with 105 books. I also wrote 350k words in the last 4 months of the year. And bought a house and moved. I'm not sure how I did all of that in 2019. But 2020 came along and well, 2020. I didn't have a huge issue reading or writing during most of 2020. But many of the books I was reading in 2020 came from a reading group for discussion - all chosen by the reading group leader. And when books are chosen for you because you want to participate in a discussion, well, sometimes your reading speed drops off.
Everything caught up to me in 2021 and I read only 8 books. I read a bunch of work that was unpublished, and if I'd managed to track that then my reading would have been much higher. But the slowdown was, in fact, everything becoming more like wading through molasses rather than letting up.
Unfortunately, that slowdown continued well into 2022. Of the 18 books I read, 15 were completed in the last 4 months of this year.
Last Quarter of 2022
I went from a goal of posting about my favorite monthly read to quarterly read to silence. I'm back at giving quarterly faves and suggestions. I sort of did an entire year update back in September after reading 4 whole books in a few weeks!
Favorite Reads of 2022
All my favorite reads I read in the last quarter of 2022. Here they are.
Short Fiction Round-Up #70
I took the last week of the year for writing and reading reflection, planning my next year, and overall re-centering myself. Today, I have seventeen (17) stories for you to check out if you missed them when I posted on social media.
Apparition Literary Magazine published Silver Bells by Jaime Marvin in 2022.
Medusa and Herophile by L.M. Spann was published by Cul-de-Sac of Blood in 2022.
The Dread Machine published A Mortal in Armour, Among Immortals Walking by Ai Jiang in 2022.
Smokelong Quarterly published in 2015
Things You Won't Tell Your Therapist by Colleen Kearney Rich
The Butterfly Effect by Marc Joan
The Arcanist published in 2022
Dead-Go by Matt Tighe
Entropy in a Fruit Bowl by Nicole Lynn
Happy New Year! I hope to suggest many more stories in 2023.
Writer of spec fic.