Skip to main content

Unsolicited writing advice

Blame it on a little bout of writer's block, but things have been a little lagging on the book writing front. Many bigger issues have come up and I've put the book on the side for the last few weeks. But last week, on a whim, I did something that has inspired me to get back in motion.

Thus, I'd like to share another bit of unsolicited book writing advice.

I can't stress how important it is to have a trusted source read your manuscript before you throw something out to the public. Whether it's your spouse, good friend, or family member, whoever can give you usable and helpful advice can inspire you in many ways. Ways that you probably never saw coming.

In my most recent case, I let my friend Amy read over the first chapter of When We Were the Kids. In turn, she let me read the first two chapters of a novel she's working on. Her feedback made sense. She dug the material. The only drawbacks she found were drawbacks I've wanted to work on/fix. And she didn't come across as a frustrated/bitter aspiring novelist in the process.

Feedback is important in getting out of your head. You will always know the material better because you wrote the damn thing. But in translating it for others to read, you have to take suggestions into consideration. If you're turning to a trusted source, this is about making your material better, right?

I don't respond well to critiques that rip apart everything I've done. Forget all those weeks, months, years you've spent on something. If it sucks on the page, then you suck as a person. Well, what kind of feedback is that? Not the helpful kind. Even if it pisses you off to fight back and come up with something stronger, you still have to run through murky swamps to get there.

You want to get your points across and tell your story. Thankfully, there are people who are willing to help you. And they don't have to cost thousands of dollars to help you in the birthing process.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It's a Long Way Down

There was a time when I listened to Ryan Adams' music practically all the time. Back in 2001, as I finished college and tried to navigate post-college life, the double dose of Whiskeytown’s Pneumonia and Adams’ Gold led me to everything else he had made before. It was countrified rock music that spoke to me in a deep way, mainly on the musical front. I don’t tend to really pay attention to lyrics, but I connected with Adams’ lyrics about being young and perpetually heartbroken. I thought some self-inflicted mental pain about awkward and failed attempts at relationships put me in the headspace to relate to songs by Adams, as well as Bright Eyes. There was so much time and energy spent on anger and sadness directed at myself for things not working out, so I found solace in songs like “Harder Now That It’s Over” and “The Rescue Blues.” As it turned out, there was a pattern in my life: if I had a little taste of a feeling of sadness or anger, I could relate to those who had it

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Catherine Wheel

Originally posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 Despite managing to release five proper albums, Catherine Wheel was one of those bands that always seemed to slip past the mainstream rock crowd. Yes, they got some nice airplay in their day, but people seem to have forgotten about them. You may hear “Black Metallic” or “Waydown” on a “classic alternative” show on Sirius or XM or maybe even on terrestrial radio, but that’s about it. For me, they were one of most consistent rock bands of the ’90s, meandering through shoegazer, hard rock, space rock and pop rock, all while eluding mainstream pigeonholing. Led by the smooth, warm pipes of vocalist/guitarist Rob Dickinson (cousin of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson), Catherine Wheel featured Brian Futter on lead guitar, Dave Hawes on bass and Neil Sims on drums. They weren’t a pretty-boy guitar band, but they weren’t a scuzzy bunch of ragamuffins either. Though the band hailed from England, Catherine Wheel found itself more welcome on American

Best of 2021

  Last year, my attention span was not wide enough to listen to a lot of LPs from start to finish. Too much went on in 2020 to focus on 10-15 albums, so I went with only a couple to spotlight. Well, 2021 was a little better, as I have a list of top four records, and a lot of individual tracks.  (I made a lengthy Spotify playlist ) So, without further ado, here’s my list of favorites of the year: Albums Deafheaven, Infinite Granite (listen) Hands down, my favorite album of the year. I was not sure where Deafheaven would go after another record that brought My Bloody Valentine and death metal fans together, but they beautifully rebooted their sound on Infinite Granite. The divisive goblin vocals are vastly pared-down here, as are the blast beats. Sounding more inspired by Slowdive, the band has discovered a new sonic palette that I hope they explore more of in the future. It’s a welcome revelation. I still love their older material, but this has renewed my love of what these guys do.  J