Evelyn Chartres Author
General – Page 3

6 Hard Truths Every Writer Should Accept

A friend passed on this Writers Digest article about 6 Hard Truths Every Writer Should Accept and mentioned there should be a seventh.  For them —you’re not half as awesome as you think you are— is a lesson all authors need to know.

The list of truths is as follows:

  1. It won’t be your first novel.
  2. First drafts always suck.
  3. Your husband, mother, sister, best friend, co-worker or the neighbour who is a high school English teacher does not qualify as a critique partner.
  4. Your journey will not be the same journey as your peers.
  5. Being good isn’t good enough.
  6. Pay your dues.

Personally, I do not agree with a couple of the points made.

Pay your dues

In all industries there are people that are so well connected or at the right place and time that success is immediate. For some people, easy is the only path they follow since they have never tasted hard.

Sure there are always challenges, since those are inevitable in life.  However, one cannot help but wonder if some people are playing the game of life on easy, while others are on nightmare mode.

Now should we plan on such an outcome?  Hell no!  But it’s not a universal truth.

Your husband, mother, sister, best friend, co-worker or the neighbour who is a high school English teacher does not qualify as a critique partner.

I disagree with using people to critique who are not writers.  We all have a voice and it may click well readers (those who buy) and not other authors.  Another author may be experienced in writing a novel, but not work for what you have in mind.  Again these are not universal truths.

A good example of this I found while reading a National Post article titled Why America’s greatest humorist was Mark Twain in public and Samuel Clemens in private.  A quote from the article makes my point:

He (Twain) thought little of George Eliot or Henry James, two novelists still considered first-class, but he often praised the books of his friend William Dean Howells, who is now nearly forgotten.

mark_twain_underwood_1907_33433512Mark Twain was an icon who had tapped into the nerve of the literary public and yet denounced authors who made it.  It could have been personal, it could have been style, but his praise or scorn did not determine their place in history.

My friend commented that there are folks out there who are well schooled in certain genres and are willing to beta-read.  It could be just a matter of it being a hobby or even their passion.  Getting another writer you are chummy with is also asking for trouble, since its like asking a friend to say —tell me I’m brilliant.— That may not be your intention, but that’s how they will probably take it.

You’re Not Half as Awesome as You Think You Are

Likely one of the most poignant truths any author can discover.  However, this particular author may have assumed that such revelations need to be made by the author.

Slow and Steady

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Speedy Typing Kills Student Essays: Study on ottawasun.com

A recent study has determined that typing with both hands reduces the quality of responses and grammar.  An article on The Ottawa Sun titled Speedy Typing Kills Student Essays states that typing at speed permits someone to input at a faster rate than the mind takes to form coherent thoughts.

Two notable excerpts from the article follows:

Typing can be too fluent or too fast, and can actually impair the writing process.

The result of slowing down was a richer vocabulary in the one-handed writing. This allows a better expression of complex ideas.

I often found that my review process on chapters that were quickly produced were more tedious and painful.  Apparently switching to one-handed typing or imposing another handicap may generate higher quality works.

That or it would make my writing more flowery and eloquent.  That may work well for Victorian-era literature but not be necessarily suited for today!

Pictures From Within the Portrait

My first novel The Portrait includes pictures as well as prose.  In the gallery below includes all of the works excluding the cover itself.