Posted by: penpatience | May 31, 2014



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Writers Words:  “When writing a novel a writer should create living people, not characters. A character is a caricature.” – Ernest Hemingway




I sympathized with “Betty,” a newspaper cartoon written and published by Gerry Rasmussen and Gary Delainey in the funnies this past week.  Poor Betty set her alarm for an early hour; the moon was a sliver in a dark sky when she got out of bed to write. Her laptop cradled under her arm, a coffee cup in hand, she fell asleep at the kitchen table.  The caption: “Writing early in the morning is a bad idea.” The next morning she again falls asleep at the table but this time the caption reads: “Things I hate about writing” and then there’s a long list.

I’ve enjoyed reading funny papers for years, but like Betty I’m not about to get out of bed before the rooster’s crow to write.  However, I thought about Betty’s list of things she hated about writing and decided to make a list of  my own writing likes – dislikes. Read on. I’m sure many writers might identify with an item or two on the list:

DISLIKE:  Rejection Form Letters – “Thank you for submitting your work………..Unfortunately, this piece is not for us.”   ……etc.etc.

LIKE: Rejection by an editor that includes a constructive critique – “I liked the story but the ending was weak and needs some work.”

DISLIKE: Non-paying markets. Writing is work, a job, and for many writers a career. Although often different than a routine “9 to 5” job all writing projects should be compensated.

LIKE: Paying markets. I’m pleased that some of my work has been published in paying and non-paying publications. Although non-monetary recognition is motivational and rewarding, it doesn’t pay for expenses (paper, ink cartridges, time, internet access, platforms). Writers creative efforts should be recognized with a stipend; a point worth repetition.

DISLIKE:  Lengthy response times for submitted work. Many publications don’t accept simultaneous submissions (writers forwarding a story/article to more than one publication at a time). A long response time can be detrimental, discouraging for writers who need to get the project out in a timely manner to other publications.

LIKE: Publications that accept simultaneous submissions and specify an approximate turnaround response time. Writing projects can be sent elsewhere when the expected timeframe has passed.

DISLIKE:  Mind-Fog Syndrome:  Creative juices that dried up and need a wake-up call; a story that didn’t work out after weeks of work ends its short life in the shredder;  the best descriptive adjective that you decided upon for your character slipped your mind (oops–forgot to write it down) and searching the Thesaurus didn’t help.

LIKE: All systems are go! You read, re-read, edited and re-edited the story/article. You liked it and hope the magazine editor does too!

My Favorite Like is Acceptance!

What are your writing “pet peeves?”


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