Monday, April 15, 2013

For Writers, April 2013 Edition

Today I'm adding a new feature to the "For Writers" post: a writing prompt!

This prompt caught my eye not only because it is rich in possibility, but also because it can fit almost any genre: romance, horror, thriller, mystery, you name it. So break out your notebook/keyboard and write!

This month's writing prompt (from @DailyPrompt):

Two women meet at a film developing counter. They both have pictures of the same man.

Is it their husband/lover? Is it their father, and they had no idea they were half-siblings? Who is the man, and why do they both have pictures of him? (Note: if you have issues with the idea of a "film-developing counter" in this digital age, then feel free to change it to: the women are at one of those "print centers" where you can print out your digital photos; maybe one of them is even having the photos turned into a photo-pillow, or having it put on a celebratory banner . . .).

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A while ago, there was quite a dust up in the Internet world over an indie author who had a meltdown over bad reviews and behaved badly across several social media outlets. Well, indie authors aren't the only ones behaving badly. Here is a link relating to a traditionally published author (and her agent) who haven't quite mastered proper social media etiquette, either.

Wendy Darling's review of The Selection

And Publishers Weekly's article on the subject:

Should Authors and Agents Weigh In on Citizen Reviews?

I understand the author/agent's response, I really do. I used to sell items on eBay and would occasionally get the most ridiculous negative feedback. I required a Paypal confirmed address, and clearly stated it several places in my auctions; then, when I rejected payment from an unconfirmed address, the buyer would leave stupid negative feedback like, "Seller won't take my payment!" Well, duh! The really sad part is I was selling educational products, so if the buyer couldn't bother to read and follow instructions in an auction, how could they educate children!?! But I digress, lol.

I've also had a few negative reviews on my short stories, and I'm really glad that I haven't written a novel yet, because novels are reviewed SO much more often than short stories.

But I do know how it feels to have negative reviews, and I rant and rave and scream about them . . . at home, in private. And then I move on.

Responding to a negative review can never, NEVER end well. First of all, you aren't going to change the original reviewer's mind. Best case scenario, if you're extremely graceful in your rebuttal, you might--MIGHT--come across as merely egotistical or filled with sour grapes. More likely is the scenario we've seen played out time and time again: a volley of back and forth between author and commentor that escalates until it ends in single word postings questioning each other's genetic lineage.

For the love of all that's holy, even if you think you are Miss Manners, DON'T REBUT NEGATIVE REVIEWS. Don't draw attention to them, and, if you're lucky, they'll eventually be replaced with good reviews and fall back to page 147 where no one will ever see them. (SIDEBAR: also, don't have all your friends post false positive reviews in an effort to artificially push the negative review off the page; but that's a topic for another post).

This is one of those issues that makes me long for the good old days before every single move a person made was available on YouTube, and before there were nine million Internet sites for a person to rant on. Back in the good old days, as long as you kept the paparazzi at bay, you could behave as badly as you wanted, lol.
But in the social media age, everything a person does is out there for the whole world to see, and it sticks around FOREVER (thank you, "Way Back Machine").

Can you imagine if Hemingway, or Hunter S. Thompson, or Poe had their every move tweeted, YouTubed, and videotaped for Entertainment tonight? What a nightmare that would have been for them!

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Whew! Two rants in one month. If this keeps up, I'm going to have to change the name of the blog to "Ed Angry" (obscure reference to the Weekly World News, for those who care).

How about a couple of helpful links to put us back in our happy place?

Crock Pots, Commuter Trains, and Artist Dates: Making the Time to Write Instead of Just Talking About It, by Marley Gibson

The 22 Rules of Storytelling [Infographic]

Character Development Tricks! from @writingcraft

5 Must Read Blogs for Indie Authors

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See you next week!

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