Friday, January 8, 2010

You Lie!

Or, Playing the Lottery.

I hear this one a lot: "Oh, I just write for fun. I don't expect to sell anything." I usually hear this when someone tells me their new novel is about vampires in high school except they're not shiny, they make a nice humming noise or smell like tangerines. Or else the writer has a screenplay about snakes and terrorists on a bus that crashes into an office building.


Basically, picture yours truly offering advice or a critique to a writer. I may express certain reservations as to their project as it stands. Heck, once the minor suggestion was to repair the misspelling in their title. The response? "Oh, I just write for fun. I don't expect to sell anything."

This is the lying part. Because it's like the person holding a lottery ticket saying they don't expect to win. Reasonable as that is, you're holding a lottery ticket! Well, in a numbers sense it's easier to get a novel published than it is to win the lottery. But in the work sense it is almost infinitely harder.

Don't coast. Don't just throw together X-thousand words and send it out there to see what happens. You're just cluttering the landscape. Try. Try hard. Because if you took the time to put those words together, you care, and you're not fooling me when you pretend you don't.

Your book isn't a lottery ticket. There's not enough money in this gig.

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