I called this ‘ADD TITLE’ just because that’s what wordpress had in the title bar. I’m sure they were trying to be helpful or something. I just don’t take well to being told what to do or, in fact, to authority. Yes, if you were a teacher, I was THAT child. The noxious brat that questions everything, that usually knew far too much about the subject and deliberately used that to undermine your authority and sow chaos and disruption. You have my sympathy, and if it’s any comfort my sons were just as bad. Not that I can’t take orders… I’m just a bit tetchy about who or what they come from. Orders from some unknown programmer– who assumes, perhaps correctly, that many blog-post-writers are thick — for some illogical reason, pushed my buttons. Even if, yes, I had to add a title.
Being an anti-authoritarian, independent minded type is perhaps not the ideal match for ‘picking writing novels as a career’. It’s probably a better match than ‘anarchist’ (at least in modern ‘translation’ of that term. I find it very funny that the actual Fascists wore black shirts… some things don’t change, even if the names do) because at least in a day-to-day operation I don’t take orders, and I actually get to think.
But in practice, of course, all writers (at least those who make money – be it from a traditional publisher or from selling directly to the public) do ‘take orders’. In Trad Pub, those are the instructions of your publisher (and fulfilling their expectations). Yes, I don’t think JK Rowlings has to worry much about it. But for the rest of us: unless you have FU money, that’s what you do.
Now if you’re in Indy as a writer, it’s slightly worse. You’ve just swapped one boss for a whole lot of them. Not the self-declared arbiters of what you may or may not write – while loud, these folk are actually few, and mostly not where much if any income comes from. It’s math. The teeny-weeny group of intersectional Polyandrous Trans Gay Easter Islanders is not a big market, and neither is their self-elected champion, the upper-middle class white woman with a Liberal Arts degree. But the while a few of the real bosses (my readers, your readers) may occasionally demand the next book, or ‘why did you kill off so-and-so?’, they generally keep their ‘orders’ to either ‘we’re buying, take our money’ or ‘we’re not buying = you’re fired’.
They have expectations. And sometimes that may include you being a smartarse. Sometimes that may include you surprising them with a twist (but strangely only if they expect a twist, not if a twist is not what they wanted.)
Great move, Dave. Perfect for the guy who doesn’t like taking orders: Now you have ‘orders’ – fulfill those expectations, which you realistically have to guess at (having a knowledge of the genre, and really popular authors, helps.) or get ‘fired’.