How to taunt your pet writer

And other charming things to do…
“Even better fun than force-feeding diabetics candy-canes, leading blind people over open manholes, and telling kids and Dave Freer there is no Santa Claus” -Ima Meeni (the late Ima Meeni. How dare he say that about someone I’ve been good* all year** for.)

I think the best is telling them that writing is the easy life, and they should try doing a real job. You get really cool purple smoke out of their ears with that one.

It’s almost as good as “I wish I had as much free time as you.”

Mind you for really really explosive reactions try the the well-tested “I’ve got a great idea for a fantasy/sf thriller etc. I don’t have the time to research it or write it, but you do it and give me 50 (0r 70 or 90%) (yeah, like authors are short of ideas. Well, maybe some are, but they just rehash the current politically correct garbage and no one raises an eyebrow. Try money or sales. They are really interested in those. I’m looking for just one more of AMW this month.
Make that two. Someone returned it. I hope not after copying it:-( Not a lot I can do about that except hope they have the fleas of 1000 camels infesting their armpits and fingernails which turn to fishhooks.)

An injured “I’ve just bought your book. (because I know you, not because I want to read such tosh). At $26 for a paperback don’t you think you’re a bit greedy!” Don’t listen or reply when they point out they get 64 cents and are in danger of starvation.

Another great reaction can be got with “You’re my second favorite author, after (Insert someone suitably despised#).

Tell them if you’re a first reader: “Your lead character has the same name as in a really well known book, I just can’t place it.” And then when they change it, tell them you were wrong

Tell them they ought to do some research about something they cannot help knowing, and you plainly don’t. Tell Sarah Hoyt her Portuguese character/ setting would benefit from research, tell Kate Paulk it’s a pity she knows nothing about Autralians or computers, tell Dave Freer that his South African character is just too American to be believable.

Finally tell the world that the book they worked long and hard on making entertaining but layered and complex with just about everything having multiple meanings and stories within stories… is a good airplane read because it is light.

By this time they’ll be gnawing the legs off concrete tables, joining the Finnish Foreign Legion or shooting themselves messily on the lounge carpet, which is such fun to watch.

And yes, all repeated examples taken from life. So: how about a few of your finest?

*for certain values of ‘good’.
** Time is an illusion. And I can’t remember before yesterday.
# I have, among others, got Atwood – gahhhhhhhhhh! Must be the lack of squids in space, which I will rapidly have to remedy rather than have that fate again.

27 comments

  1. Finland has a foreign legion?

    I haven’t been writing in public long enough to have seen any of these… I just wrote a blog on treating readers with respect (aimed toward some self-published ijjits, not you, O wise Monkey), maybe I need to write one on treating writers with respect, as well.

    1. All the more difficult assuming that Finland doesn’t have a foreign legion. Then you’d have to start one just to join it. 🙂

    2. Finns bake fish in bread. They must have everything :-). Oh I agree. I’ve just been reading comments by two female writers, in one breath bemoanng their lack of male readers, and in the next saying they’d told off some of the few they had for daring to tell them what they must write (which is the socially inept way – and sadly so many of us sf/fantasy people are a bit – of saying that is what appeals to them, and they’d love more).

  2. What? Australia isn’t one of our islands? Like Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands? I could have sworn…

    Has somebody been poking our writer with a stick before breakfast? Good way to get bitten.

    The most effective defense is having words: you can – and most of them can’t.

    PS Which Atwood is causing problems?

  3. “A writer who writes aliens well is rare. Ms Uphoff did not succeed.”
    I can’t decide if this one is a compliment–for the group I’m being included in–or, well . . . “Even the best writers swing and miss.”

    1. Well… I suppose it’s better than ‘a writer who writes aliens well is common’ – if it was the story I am thinking of, I thought the martians were pretty alien, and amusing.

  4. Finally tell the world that the book they worked long and hard on making entertaining but layered and complex with just about everything having multiple meanings and stories within stories… is a good airplane read because it is light.

    You once wrote the “Lord of Light” is a good book because it can be read at different levels for people with different IQ levels. Apparently, so can your books. That is a compliment.

    1. You are right It is, but a damaging one, as the reviewer was making a public commendation. Actually, I’ve had two of those where it was plain that the reviewer did understand at least some of the subtext, disapproved, and did their level best to make sure as few people as possible read the book. A scathing review would have incited curiousity, and perhaps a backlash, a belittling ‘oh this is just the usual plain mildly boring’ is more effective.

      1. True – reviewers can be evil, rather than clueless. Tom Kratman provokes reviewers on purpose, but his audience tends to be people who appreciate belligerence.

  5. Re. my non-fiction. “It must be so easy writing about dead people.” *blink, blink* Ah, if only it were so.

    “Oh, you went to [city] to do research? What an easy life!” Oh yes, because it is so easy to find a cheap, decent hotel in an international tourist city, and after getting a screaming headache and sick stomach from looking at microfilm for eight hours, there’s nothing I want to do more than take in the museums, art shows, skiing, and nightlife. On a $15/day food budget.

    “Only pervs put a fake name on their books.” Indeed. Politically perverse people publish pseudononymously.

    1. Oh, I had heard it, “Only cowards put fake names on their books.”

      Of course I’ll buy a children’s book by Stephen King! What could possibly go wrong? *headdesk*

    2. But TXRed it MUST be so easy to write dead people. Otherwise there wouldn’t be so many Zombie tales trundling out of the ground, dropping bits. Ow! It was a joke… really. Ow…. 😉

      1. *looks around for catfish to throw*
        You wanna play hardball, boyo? I can play hardball. *raises magic wand* May your next cover grace the winners’ list at GoodShowSir.co.uk !

          1. Sorry about the lack of warning. And yeah, I did. I think they are reaching: there are sooo many worse covers out there. The critiques sound like some of the tech discussions over at PhotoshopDisasters (aka “pictures that make you go, “wha—huh?”).

              1. Actually the most vicious Baen hater I’ve come across (a writer very involved in writer politics) spent a lot of energy rabidly attacking a right-wing lunatic… Eric Flint (Ok so neither intelligence nor research were her strong suite). She was living proof that a woman scorned has nothing on a slut scorned. It turned out she’d submitted her precious oevre to all the usual suspects of the left wing and further out of publishing, been rejected… and in desperation lowered herself to prostituting her art to that vile Baen whose output was so far beneath her art that they’d surely have to take it with slavering delight. It was sooo much better than their usual offerings… and of course she got rejected. When I found out the other habitual Baen attacker had also been rejected by them- from their slush, I began to wonder how many of these dear people had worked their way through their chosen publishers, ended up rejected by them, ‘lowered’ themselves to Baen, and reserved their hatred for this their last stage of despair. They’re not bright and couldn’t work out if the product didn’t fit their tastes, it didn’t mean they were superior. Judging by the comments of the chief Baen pillory artist on that site, who is an irrelevant writer -and so-called (by himslef) artist I’d say it was a fairly good gamble he’s another. Shrug. He’s a loser. The best we can do is outsell him. Or maybe nominate his covers.

        1. I’ve been there. And actually as this is the hangout for a couple of rabid Baen haters (I presume politics or possibly even more likely a rejection letter.)

  6. Ah, yes. Tell the writer who has been on a fair number of convention panels that she couldn’t possibly have been to any cons because her perspective isn’t the same as yours.

    And write nasty reviews because you didn’t notice the “alternate” before “history”. (Yes, I got one of those. In the reviewer’s defense, English was not his first language)

      1. I *was* trying to be nice. (sighs) I do that so rarely it never quite works.

    1. Oh, and also your cons don’t have any panels.
      Actually my favorite reviews are the ones that tell me I clearly never lived anywhere but the US, or that I could benefit by knowing another language. Then there was the contest “review” where the woman said my vocabulary wasn’t up to writing a supernatural romance and that I’d never get published in any genre till I corrected that problem. (This five years ago, when I had more than ten books out from someone who WASN’T published and who, btw, went through the manuscript carefully changing things like “stolid” to “solid” — yeah.) absolutely FAVORITE though are the ones that tell me I clearly am stupid because of… pick error Berkley — they of the appalling editing! — introduced.

      1. Oh… I have the tools to analyze and describe the actual vocabulary used in a corpus. It might actually be intriguing to run a set of supernatural romances through and see what comes out. Then we could run the Sarah Hoyt corpus through, and see what that shows. For extra credit, get someone to do a compare and contrast. Could be amusing!

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