Friday Morning FYI – 1/19/2018

Eyes dry and vision blurry, I crane my stiff neck to peer up from my manuscript. I shape my sore, crooked fingers back into something resembling a human hand, and wipe dust from the lower right corner of the screen.

Can’t be. How could so much time have passed without a Friday Morning FYI?

Must. Fix. That.

***

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (been-revising-my-MS edition) – my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

I decided to crawl out of my no-blogging hole to address something I keep hearing/reading: that creative people are bad at, well, everything that folks consider uncreative. You know the story…

“It’s okay, Cynthia. I never expected you to finish on time. You’re the creative type.”

“We can’t give that project to Scott. He just does creative stuff. He won’t be able to coordinate everything.”

“I’m not good at managing my time, or my money, or my life; I’m a creative. Wanna do shots?”

Utter nonsense.

Baring some life tragedy, I make my deadlines, for instance. Be it day job stuff or writing stuff, I get done on time. Just because someone can draw/paint/write/sculpt/design/make original music/act/dance/Photoshop (yes, I used Photoshop as a verb, move along) doesn’t disqualify them from effectively managing their time, carrying out defined processes, or meeting deadlines. That’s this week’s FYI:

To anyone working with creatives, please stop assuming we’re one-dimensional art monkeys who don’t know how to (or care to) tell time or have any other appreciable skills besides sleeping late. That’s silly.

To creatives who perpetuate this impression, please stop honoring only your creative side. You’re doing yourself (and the rest of us) a disservice. We’re more than an elegant turn of phrase, and understanding of color theory, and perfect pitch. Those things are pretty cool, though ūüėÄ

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 3/17/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (prob never gonna get one of these done on a Friday again edition) Рmy chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

This week, I sat down with my final beta reader (lucky #6) for my latest novel. We had a few drinks, some pizza, a few more drinks, and talked/laughed/debated about/over my book for around two hours.¬†It was a¬†fun time, and I got some good feedback, as always.¬†That brings us to this week’s FYI:

Writers, you’ve seen me write this before, but¬†I’m going to beat the drum again: Beta readers are important. You’re too close to your story, even if it’s been locked in a drawer for a while. Fresh eyes always see things you don’t/can’t, providing perspective you don’t have. Before you query, give your book to people whose opinions you trust (yes, even people you suspect might not like it) and ask them for their brutally-honest opinion. Once they ‘ve provided that, honor the commitment they made to you by spending time considering their feedback. They won’t always be right, but they don’t need to be.¬†Just getting you to look at something the way they saw it can expose problems you never recognized.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 3/10/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (it’s like we’re going back in time edition)¬†– my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

Not only do I heart my beta readers, I also enjoy beta reading for others. It’s an honor to have people ask me to help improve there stuff, and something I take seriously.¬†Over the last month, I’ve beta read two novels and a bunch of¬†short fiction. I’ve got another novel¬†coming my way shortly, which I look forward to savaging¬†reading and annotating.¬†Let’s make that¬†our FYI for this week:

No one’s writing is perfect. Don’t be afraid of that, either as someone showing your work to someone else or as someone reviewing another writer’s story. As much as you may need to hear what’s wrong with your story so you can fix it, you need to tell others what’s wrong with their work for the same reason. We’re all just trying to get better. Honor that with honesty (without being a d!ck) and forthrightness (but not abuse), and¬†ask for the same.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 3/3/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (it’s probably easier to write these every week than having to do three at a time to catch up, but I’ve been busy so whatevs edition)¬†– my chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

I’m a huge believer in enlisting beta readers for your work (more on this in the next few FYIs, too). They find big plot holes you didn’t know were there, and also the small details you missed/omitted/denied, which, if you agree need addressing, sharpen your story¬†with minimal changes. I had one of these in my new novel, around a character smoking at the beginning but then never having another cigarette. I had a reason for that, which I thought I made clear, but obviously hadn’t. Good catch, easily fixed, and potentially quite important. Let’s have that be our FYI for this week:

I’ve seen writers say to their beta readers, ‘Just look for big stuff’. This is a mistake because it’s often the little details you, as the writer, think are meaningless that pull a reader out of your story. This happened to me, in a published book I was reading a few months back – one¬†detail about a subject with which I’m quite familiar, that was dead wrong. I found¬†its wrongness so distracting I abandoned the book. That might sound dumb, and maybe you’re thinking I should have let it go (and you might be right), but the fact is, as a reader, it made me walk away.

So, writers, don’t restrict what your beta readers can report, and don’t dismiss out of hand the little details they find confusing/wrong. Readers aren’t always right, but at least you’ll get to see what they’re seeing and have the chance to make a choice on the matter.

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}

Friday Morning FYI – 2/24/2017

Welcome to your Friday Morning FYI (still playing catch up, and going a little deep on this one edition) Рmy chance to share observations/wisdom/rants in short, easily consumed form.

So I just got a new tattoo, which always prompts conversation with coworkers and friends. The most common argument I hear from people for why they’ve never gotten one is “I want one, but it’s so permanent.” That brings us to this week’s (philosophical) FYI:

Nothing is permanent. That’s right, nothing. You’re only going to be here for a while,¬†and then you won’t be, along with that tattoo. Same for your favorite t-shirt, your spouse, your car, your home, your town, your state, your country, your continent, this planet, the sun, this galaxy, etc.¬†Each of those things will, sometime in the future, no longer be because permanence doesn’t exist. The nature of, well, nature, is change.

So where does that leave us?

Write that book you’ve always wanted to write. Take that trip you keep putting off. Cut your hair or let it grow out. Get that stupid, silly little tattoo that no one else will understand. Do the (reasonably-safe) things you want to do. Have fun ūüôā

 

Thanks for reading,

{RDj}