Category: don’t do this

Three Huge Mistakes Men Make Right After a Divorce

I normally wouldn’t post something like this here on the blog. But the article was so good, and so on target, I decided to post it hoping men who are either recently divorced or are going through divorces take a moment and read it.


We all know the cliched divorce, where the middle aged husband meets a twenty-something year old bimbo and leaves his devoted, spectacular, ever-loving wife of twenty-five years high and dry. Books have been made, films have been made, and I think there was even a Broadway show once with this theme.

But we never hear about the WOMAN who leaves the husband because SHE’S sleeping around with younger guys. In some cases it’s just one younger guy. In other cases it’s one young guy after the other. And it’s happening more frequently and it’s taking men by surprise. I’ve seen it with male friends of mine and I’ve seen it with family members. I’ve seen it devastate kids.

So if you are a man and you’re going through a divorce right now, or you’ve recently been divorced, please take the time to check out the link I’ve provided above. The article really is spot on in every single sense. And, it’s the first time I’ve seen an article like this anywhere because men are the last ones to talk about their issues in public.

Damn, it was hard to not offer my opinions in this one!

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules For Writing Fiction

I’ve posted about how I hate seeing “said bookisms,” in fiction. I’ve posted about a lot of common mistakes new writers make, always trying to back it up with good links and facts.

Here’s something I love. It’s ten rules for writing fiction by Elmore Leonard. I hope readers take heed with this post, too. In fact, I think it’s especially important for readers to know these things nowadays being that they are reading so many inferior novels and don’t even know it. You are, as readers, going through the slush pile at times and you don’t even realize it. And you can spot these mistakes now in most excerpts on retail web sites where e-books are sold. I see them all the time.

This way, as readers and paying customers, you’ll know the basics of what defines bad fiction. And when you go over to goodreads to leave a review for an author and you say something was poorly written, you’ll know what you’re talking about this time.

Here’s what I’m talking about now. You can get there from here.

Elmore Leonard started out writing westerns, then turned his talents to crime fiction. One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, he’s written about two dozen novels, most of them bestsellers, such as Glitz, Get Shorty, Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch. Unlike most genre writers, however, Leonard is taken seriously by the literary crowd.

What’s Leonard’s secret to being both popular and respectable? Perhaps you’ll find some clues in his 10 tricks for good writing: *

1. Never open a book with weather.

2. Avoid prologues.

3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. (Mr. Leonard said, “Never.” He didn’t grumble, “Never.” He didn’t mumble, “Never.” He said, “Never.”)

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.

5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.

6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Things Authors Should Know About Social Media

I ran across an interesting blog post titled, 25 Things You Should Know About Social Media. You can get there from here.

I agree with most of the things in this post, especially this one:

Writers are content creators, and so it behooves us to share what we love. You’re generally better off showing positivity rather than sowing the seeds of negativity. For the most part, the Internet is a monster that thrives the rage of countless disaffected white people, so I don’t know that it does a writer good to be a part of that noise. Your audience cares more about what you’re into rather than what you’re not. After all, I don’t particularly care for a lot of things. Most things, really. If I spent all my time talking about them, I’d be little more than a septic social fountain spewing my bitter froth into the world.

I’m going to add my own comment here. In some cases, I have seen writers get immediate attention with social media by being extremely aggressive, insulting, and negative. I’ve seen them get into flame wars and bitter confrontation…in public for all to witness. And yes, they do get attention for a while. But I’ve also seen that after people listen to them rant long enough, they grow tired and forget all about them eventually. I have never once seen anyone who does things simply for shock value survive. One of the things authors need to know is that you’re in this for the duration, at least you’re supposed to be. And if you attract a huge following in the beginning based on shock value and negativity, you might wind up regretting it in the end.

And for me, one of the biggest turn offs is when I see authors discussing politics too much…unless of course you have a viable political platform. But if you don’t have a political background or platform, I don’t care which end of the political spectrum you’re on. Niether does anyone else.

This is a good one, too. It’s well put, in plain English:

Show the World You’re Not a Raging Bonerhead
The Internet is like hot dogs: it’s made of lips and assholes. A writer does well to set himself aside from all that and use social media to reveal that he is, indeed, not a giant bucket of non-contributing human syphilis.

Here’s another link, titled The 18 Most Annoying People on Facebook. This one is a little more difficult because we’ve all probably been guilty of one or two of these things in the past. But that doesn’t mean we have to continue to make the same mistake time and again.

One Thing that Really Freaks Them Out…

I get e-mails and messages all the time from new writers who are looking for advice about querying agents and getting published. I try my best to advise, in a general sense, based on my own personal experiences in publishing.

If I don’t know something, I will direct people to either a publishing blog I like and follow, or a literary agent blog I like and follow. There’s a lot of great advice out there for free, but you have to know where to look and whom to believe.

If you’re querying an agent or a publisher, the one thing you always want to do is look professional, and at least sound like you basically know what you’re talking about. If you are not careful, there are are few little things that can ruin the entire query no matter how good it is. One of those things is when you refer to your work/works as a “Fiction novel,” or “Fiction novels.”

I know this sounds petty. But this is one of those *things* that even people with the most basic knowledge of publishing understand. And you wouldn’t want a small mistake like this to hurt your chances of getting published. You can refer to your work as “fiction,” or you can refer to it as a “novel.” But don’t refer to it as a “fiction novel.” Just trust me on this one and don’t try to rationalize it. It really freaks them out for some reason. It’s not a big thing for me, but I’m not the gatekeeper who will decide whether or not you get published.

The Bitches of Bad Romance…

I’ve talked about how authors should react to bad reviews several times in previous posts. But I’ve never talked much about how authors should react to other authors who make negative comments about them. I think I touched on this once. But not very often.

And that’s because it doesn’t happen often. Most authors I know are always willing to support their fellow authors…this even crosses genres. I’ve shouted for a few YA authors I love, and they’ve done the same for me. It’s a small, civil, pleasant circle between writers, which makes it all the more worth while.

But every so often there’s one bitch that ruins it for everyone. An author friend e-mailed me yesterday afternoon about how another author has been making fun of her and posting snarky, negative comments about her in public. First, my author friend was floored. She never expected this kind of behavior from another author. Second, my author friend wasn’t sure how to respond. My friend, whom I love dearly, isn’t shy. Her first instinct was to go after the bitch and bury her. A perfectly normal way to react, too.

Thankfully, my friend e-mailed me first and we talked about it on the telephone for almost an hour. I talked her out of responding to the negative comments with a counter attack. I believe that when you are attacked by another author, to respond with a counter attack would just promote more negativity. I told my friend that it’s not worth the time, the energy, or the e-ink. Anyone who is a professional and has even the slightest amount of decorum won’t pay attention to the author who made the attack. If anything, people will think much less of the author who made the attack. Besides, why give the author who made the attack an ounce of free publicity? In some cases, I think the few asshole-authors out there who do attack other authors are looking for free publicity. And why should they get it?

I’ve been through this myself a while back. It only happened once, with an obscure romance author who has more mouth than book sales. And I was shocked that another author whom I’d never even met would attack me in public for no apparent reason. Without knowing a thing about me, she attacked my writing, my books, my background, and even my personality. At the time, my first instinct was to go after the bitch. But then a good friend of mine I’ve mentioned before, a literary agent who’s been in the business for over 30 years, talked me out of it.

So I passed his advice on to my friend yesterday. And she felt so much better. Though I’m still sure she wants to fight back, I think I talked her into just ignoring the negative comments and moving forward. And now I’m passing this advice on to anyone who has ever gone through a similar situation. Like I said above, it doesn’t happen often…most authors know how hard other authors work and they wouldn’t even think about attacking another author in a personal level. But when it does happen, the best thing to do is simply ignore it. Nine times out of ten the author who is making the attack will eventually disappear and never be heard from again anyway. In the past twenty years, I’ve seen that happen more than once, too.