Authors Behaving Badly: Two sides of a Story…

Recently one of my Facebook pals posted a series of status updates that offended one of their friends. At the time when I saw the posts, I found nothing wrong with them. I did think my pal had done it for the joke-factor more than anything else. But one of their friends didn’t find it funny; in fact they’d gone so far as to unfriend them.

I’d also commented on the post at the time and saw their response to the update under mine, no less! *smiles* And I ‘liked’ theirs, even though it contradicted mine. Why, you might ask. Because they were right.  

I was wrong. And they were right. I acknowledged that by ‘liking’ the comment. But I didn’t comment further on it.

I went on with my life and then much later in the evening, I opened up my Facebook again and saw an apology update from my friend. It seemed sincere to me, so I ‘liked’ what they’d done. I thought it showed maturity and respect for others. Also the willingness to admit, look I might’ve made a mistake here.

Then I read the comments under the apology status…and well I pulled a face and rolled my eyes at the ‘why should you apologize it’s your profile’ stank of entitlement. It displayed the typical behavior now found on social media, where people treat their profiles (owned not by them) as if it were their personal property where they could spew, post, attach, etc. anything and think no one would notice or care about what they did.

In real life, you know the real world where we have to get out from behind our laptops and get blown away by blizzards and scorched by the sun, and taste fuel on our tongues, you know that life; people do point out when you’re doing something offensive or insulting. So why believe that on social media this wouldn’t apply?

In fact, in real life we’re probably less likely to do or say something offensive. Or if we do say something, our friends and family who know us well, would know that we didn’t mean to offend. But look, I’m in South Africa, you’re in… (Insert your country)…we do not know each other personally. More to the point, we add people on social media constantly, so I might only be aware of you for a couple of weeks and know you like to post pictures of cats. That’s all.

So the first mistake most people seem to make is to assume that they can do and say whatever they want. You can’t. Life doesn’t work that way. Ask Hitler.

I silently applauded my friend’s response and privately (not online) dumped on the rest.

There are always two sides to a story, and in this case I read both. I acknowledged my own wrongfulness from the other person’s point of view. Just because what I found as funny didn’t translate as a joke in theirs, didn’t make them wrong and me right. It meant we interpret the world differently.

And someone who doesn’t realize this about humanity comes across as immature.

And here’s another thing, as authors we are public figures. Some of us are just more well-known than others, but it doesn’t exempt us. We need to pay attention when someone points out online behavior they don’t like, and then evaluate their critique. Discuss it with someone if you need to. Then respond appropriately.

I love how this friend didn’t dismiss the person and also apologized to others who might not have been brave enough to step forward and say, ‘look that’s not cool’, especially if it’s someone, like this person, who seems to have a big enough following on Facebook to cause serious upheaval.

 I applaud both of them. The one for acknowledging the other’s worldview and the other for pointing out a point of view others in their position might not have had courage to shine a light on.

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March Writing Tip 3

If writing was easy, everyone would be able to do it. Ghostwriters would be out of jobs.

There would be no reason/purpose for writing tips/advice.

And no matter how seasoned you are as a writer, you will get stumped on what words to use or in this week’s writing tip, overusing certain words.

In edits writers take care of this. But it’s good to keep these kinds of charts as a reminder of where to start once we get to editing.

March Synopsis Tip

An author on my Twitter shared this note they wrote at a writing event. It’s so short and precise that I had to take a screenshot of it. I can’t remeber who shared this on their feed, and I hope they don’t mind that I shared at here. It was so helpful to me and kept me focused while writing my synopsis that I thought I’d share it here.

#happywriting

#synopsis

March Writing Tip 2

I love reading cheat sheets like this. I definitely do not study them and stick to them religiously but they are helpful. One thing I’ve learned about body langauge in novels, is to not make too much use of them. It would be like overusing dailogue tags. The story would consist of nothing but characters’ body language, at least that’s what it would seem like to the reader.

With everything in writing we have to be careful of how we used it.

I found this one on Pinterest and there are more like them that include different body language you can look up.

#happywriting.

March Writing Tip 1

Every bit of writing advice/tip I’ve shared so far are ones I’ve used and re-used myself. This one in particular I stumbled across last year and..it messed me up!

I was on my second paranormal romance. I’d typed the end. But I wasn’t feeling as confident about it as I should.

I had a completed manuscript, ready for edits and I couldn’t make myself get it submission ready.

Until I read this.

Everything fell into place like it had never before. I rewrote the first chapter, then the next and when I came to the third chapter I had to ask myself what I had been doing with the first manuscript. And the first one was by no means a first draft. Let me just clear that up. It was a fifth draft. One that I felt okay about getting submission ready. Which meant self-editing.

I wrote all about this journey here on wordpress and on my Facebook page. I think I frustrated some of my readers because they were expecting another paranormal romance right after The Wolf’s Choice and here I was rewriting the whole book. Basically writing a new book.

I’m not going to lie, this was work. It had me busy up until December 31st, but it was worth it. I was excited to share my story with the world. I recommend this piece of advice to anyone who has ever had a completed manuscript but didn’t quite feel as confident about it as they should.

#happywriting

February Writing Tip 3

I love movies. And I love analyzing movie scripts and taking tips from them for novel writing.

Sometimes it feels dangerous to have so many pages to tell your story on. So dangerous in fact, you can write yourself in circles. There seems to be no end. With movie scripts there’s no place for endless pieces of paper…for endless scenes…chapters. Looking at the bones of a movie script helps me to get to the bones of a manuscript. Then I do what all novelist do, I add the ‘meat’ of the story.

This piece of advice has become really helpful in grounding my writing. I hope it helps you too *smile*

#happywriting

February Writing Tip 2

Processed with MOLDIV

This is a helpful tip for romance writers. I recently read a book where everything emotion/thought was over analyzed and I kept saying, “Just show the story. I get it. Your character feels like crap right now…but for goodness-sake can we get on with it!”

This is where a beta reader, editor or friend can come in handy. I usually give msyelf permission on the first draft and even second to get everything out. Then during edits and rewrites I check everything.

From the get-go I’ve been a strong writer when it comes to character development. The emotional journey is important to me. But I’ll never over do it and bog the story down or lose intrigue. The character can’t be self-aware from the beginning.

This tip is very useful and a nice reminer when self-editing.

#happywriting

#happypublishing

January Writing Tip 4

Funnily enough, this was a hard one for me to grasp in recent years.

As someone who wanted to write for Harlequin, I literally entered their So You Think You Can Write competition as a newbie author with no know-how whatsover. I wrote the kind of novel I thought they would want.

When I didn’t make the cut, I looked at my novel again and rewrote some of it. But it still had that Harlequin vibe. My second contemporary romance I wrote again for a Harlequin writing competition. I made it to the top 5, but didn’t win. That novel was also geared towards the publisher and though I cared about the story (like I do with all my writing), it wasn’t like this quote from Laini Taylor.

The Wolf’s Choice became this quote for me. If I walked into a bookstore or if I was browsing online in an e-bookstore…what book, what story will intrigue me?

It took me three books to get to a place as an author where I’m more interested in writing stories for myself than what I think I publisher wants.

Nothing wrong with that.

It just didn’t work for me.

#happywriting

#publishingjourney

January Writing Tip 3

I’m a romance author. If you didn’t know I just wanted to put it out there before you burn me at the stake for putting a ‘kissing tip’ here.

The topic got my attention last year when a Facebook writer friend had a mini ‘rant’ about kisses in romance novels that start with the guy kissing the girl to silence her. I didn’t know that could be upsetting to a reader. So I went and did a little search on kisses and also different types of kisses in novels.

So here are a top 20 kisses you can find in romance novels and of cousre other types of novels too.

Thank you to the person who compiled this list!

#happywriting

#happypublishingjourney

January Writing Tip 2

This writing tip I stumbled on on Pinterest and it’s been the most helpful in creating a balance between ‘showing and telling’. I’m on of those people who doesn’t need someone to write a mini-thesis on a subject in order for me to understand it.

Would reading/studying a comprehensive book on the subject be helpful? Yes. Will it take a lot of time you could’ve spent using the above little nugget and putting it practice? Yes. Am I being extremely helpful right now by confusing you, by suggesting you can read a compregensive book on the subject and by also saying you don’t really have to? Absolutely.

I’m not an expert *laughs* I’m just sharing what works for me when I need to ground myself in the basics when writing and editing.

#happywriting

#writingjourney