October, 2011

are fiction writers screwed? part 2

Tell your story: your story is your truth and your truth is your power. Others need and want to hear it, as you need and want to hear theirs. — Gloria Feldt

In a recent blog post I suggested that fiction writers are screwed unless they come to terms with the art and science of (content) marketing.

Good news is, marketing isn’t necessarily the contrived evil fake huckster needs-to-be-scraped-off-your-shoe bullshit that you might think (and one of the comments following the post pointed out that no successful writer manages to become successful without being relevant, which is accomplished through marketing).

In fact, it’s possible you think this in the first place because marketing is a lot like plastic surgery: you only notice it when it’s done badly. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is not to be like an oddly placed pair of overly inflated breasts. click for more

Oct 31, 2011 · 5 Comments / ADD YOURS

badass creatives can change the world

I believe that you don’t know who you are until you know what you can do.

I believe that education and false myths about creativity have distorted our sense of our own creative intelligence, which can’t be measured in a tidy IQ score.

I believe that ‘good girl syndrome’ (and male equivalent) does a lot of damage: when we spend so much time trying to please others, we sacrifice ourselves in all the wrong ways. You can’t be yourself if you can’t speak your story. Yet truth itself is often difficult, messy, challenging to the status quo, and inevitably offensive to someone — qualities that are associated with the ‘bad’ or ‘fallen’ woman. click for more

Oct 28, 2011 · 9 Comments / ADD YOURS

are fiction writers screwed?

I was talking to a nonfiction writer who scored a major book deal with a Big Six traditional publisher. She said the same thing I’ve heard from other writers and agents: “It’s all about platform now. Publishers are only interested if you have a platform.”

She added, “Fiction writers are screwed.”

Which echoed something a successful New York agent said to me a month or so ago: “I don’t even know how you could launch a fiction writer now.” click for more

Oct 26, 2011 · 15 Comments / ADD YOURS

perfection is a size 6 (now a size 4): ode to the Sweet Valley High books

This is a piece I wrote a year or two ago for a group reading at a bookstore: writers were asked to rave — or rant — about books from our childhood.


Once upon a time, a long time ago, when MTV still played music videos, the young-adult Sweet Valley High series premiered its first book DOUBLE LOVE.

The year was 1983.

This, let us not forget, was the year of RETURN OF THE JEDI, so the same year that gave us Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield also gave us the Ewoks.

There’s a lesson in that, although I’m damned if I know what it is.


Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are better than you. click for more

Oct 19, 2011 · 3 Comments / ADD YOURS

vixen, temptress, slut: the art of telling old + new stories about women

If you want to learn about a culture, listen to the stories.
If you want to change a culture, change the stories.
— Michael Margolis


I don’t know her name and I’ve never seen her face.

But she haunts me.

Gang-raped in a mobile home on the edge of a small Texan town.

18 boys and men arrested, including two star athletes at the high school. Someone filmed the assault on his cell phone and showed it around (a student reported the video to a teacher, who contacted the police).

At a town meeting held to supposedly “discuss concerns about the case”, people expressed outrage.

Toward the girl. click for more

Oct 15, 2011 · 15 Comments / ADD YOURS

6 So-Called Rules for the Badass Creative Woman

“When a man gets up to speak, people listen, then look. When a woman gets up to speak, people look; then if they like what they see, they listen.” — Pauline Frederick

You’re at your most innovative when no one is watching, points out Jonathan Fields in his excellent new book UNCERTAINTY: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance.

He lists ‘fear of judgment’ as one of the ‘three horsemen’ of the creative process (the other two being uncertainty and exposure to loss). This could be why extrinsic motivators tend to make you less creative rather than more: incentives such as cash prizes imply that your work will be ranked and judged.

We wrestle with the questions: Is this good enough? Am I good enough? click for more

Oct 3, 2011 · 34 Comments / ADD YOURS
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