I’ll mention separately that John Scalzi has been on a tear about writerly subjects. On March 17th, he posted about his Book of the Dumb franchise; on the 18th, his take on Is it me— (he confirms that he’s the author of Patrick’s whom I mentioned but didn’t name); and on the 19th, the spectacular Even More Long-Winded (But Practical) Writing Advice, which he thoughtfully divides up under ten headings:
1. Yes, You’re a Great Writer. So What. 2. I Don’t Care If You’re a Better Writer Than Me.Here’s a nice bit from #3:
3. There is Always Someone Less Talented Than You Making More Money As a Writer.
4. Your Opinion About Other Writers (And Their Writing) Means Nothing.
5. You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop, You Know.
6. Until You’re Published, You’re Just in the Peanut Gallery.
7. Did I Mention Life’s Not Fair?
8. Don’t Be An Ass.
9. You Will Look Stupid If You’re Jealous.
10. Life is Long.
…Some fat bastard has been rewriting the same book for the last 25 years, and each “new” book is even more of a pointlessly smudged photocopy of his last book than the one before it, which in turn was a smudged photocopy of the book before that. And after his thick, retarded lummox of a book is planted in its own stand-up display smack in the middle of the store’s primary traffic pattern, the author is going to take that money, buy a gorgeous house on Lake Tahoe with it and use the excess cash to charm smart, pretty, ambitious girls and boys to have rampaging sex with his flabby, liver-spotted body while he watches Nick Jr. on his 83-inch high-definition plasma television. Because he can. Meanwhile, you’re lucky if a single copy of your achingly beautifully-written trade paperback, for which you were paid barely enough to cover three month’s rent on a bug-infested Alphabet City 5th-floor walkup, is shelved spine inward in a forgotten limb of the bookstore for a month before its cover is amputated and sent back to the publisher as a mark of abject failure. Welcome to the literary world!As I said in a comment there, my sole quibble with this is that trade paperbacks are whole-copy returns. Aside from that, it’s spot-on.