Writer's Read (and Write)
April 21, 2003 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Writer's Write. "Your one-stop resource for information about books, writing and publishing." An excellent resource site, filled with many links that may be useful to new writers. I especially liked their article titled "Writing Sketch Comedy That Sells".
posted by Joey Michaels (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Writers also get ripped off fairly often, but I'm sure sites like this one don't prey on that sort of thing.
posted by cachilders at 7:44 PM on April 21, 2003

I was thinking the same thing, cachilders. When I wasn't busy being disgusted that this is a FPP.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:35 PM on April 21, 2003

If you want to write something (and get paid for it or not), this site has all sorts of odd assignment possibilities.

If you're really serious, you could join the union.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:00 PM on April 21, 2003

This seems like a pretty good site, which I hadn't seen before. It's at least as good as "Writer's" magazines.

Being a writer, or deciding on a "creative" career field is a deeply personal process. So personal, that I do not think I am alone in being offended by people who take it lightly. Writing is a craft, and art is subjective, but I have seen far too many people take it lightly.

Myself, I identify with Mario Puzo. It almost feels wrong to even sell anything. Everywhere around you, there are people selling out. You wonder if it's even worth bothering, because the people who pretend to be artistic are also the ones who write the most ridiculously horrible stories.

I do enjoy reading these types of sites. The one you linked, about sketch comedy, was funny to me, because I had a collection of sketches and this Korean guy told me that most of them have been done on a Korean sketch comedy show. Example: Someone listens to "learn to speak a foreign language" tapes and ends up talking like a little girl.

In a big way, I see these types of publications as no more than the failed efforts of failures to bleed money out of their pathetic efforts towards understanding craft.

I admire the misguided intentions, but I see the publication of bad writing as being no better than the sale of a poorly constructed house. It is self-evident that popular, populist, or commercial writing is fundamentally flawed. The fact that it could be published in a commercial magazine alone is enough to discredit any advice in my book.

I do realize that I am not a published author, and I have not even submitted work for publication. It would be easy to dismiss these comments, as there is no evidence to support them whatsoever. I just think that these people are hacks intent on producing more hacks.
posted by son_of_minya at 9:43 PM on April 21, 2003

The On-line Writing Workshop is a non-advertiser-driven effort to provide a resource for writers of genre fiction. The OWW for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror has been around for several years, and many of its participants have sold novels or placed short fiction in professional markets. Users pay US$40 a year. The OWW for Romance fiction has just started, and OWW has plans for workshops for general fiction, young adult fiction, and mystery fiction.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 12:20 AM on April 22, 2003

Sorry - this seemed like a legitimate link to me. I have used it as a resource lately and thought other's might want to as well. I honestly didn't realize it was anything other than legit. Ah, being naive makes yet another person disgusted with me!
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:04 AM on April 22, 2003

It almost feels wrong to even sell anything. Everywhere around you, there are people selling out.

How can you talk about selling out if you've never sold anything? I wouldn't pass judgement on somebody who makes a little money from their writing after spending their life making little or no money from it. Most literary authors will be lucky to publish one book that sells 5000 copies, much less the chance to actually make a real living from writing fiction. I'm a writer, too, but who am I to comment on what somebody does with his or her fiction without knowing what I'm talking bout?

Joey - Despite all the gimmicky self-publishing stuff on this website, there are some useful things here, especially the list of markets.
posted by drobot at 6:33 AM on April 22, 2003

drobot: No specifics, no judgements, just my thoughts. I know, this is an incredibly wussy response, but I really do feel like "selling out" is the primary objective of a lot of people.

There's not even anything wrong with selling out, in moderation. It's when your ability to sell out over-rides your ability to come up with interesting and creative ideas while writing in an engaging style. That's when I start to worry.

As you said, though, I haven't even submitted anything. I'm completely paranoid, going so far as to think the police will come after me if I publish a novel. I am definitely not the person to make this argument.
posted by son_of_minya at 8:52 AM on April 22, 2003

I somehow ended up on a Writer's Write mailing list. It seemed to come right from the site owner, so I thought friendly requests to unsubscribe would be honored. However, they were more like those horrid trafficmagnet.com spams and I only got off their mailing list when I changed ISPs and lost that email address. Hence they are not my favorite web resource for writer's.

Lelilo's links are better, or join a local writer's organization. I'm a fan of the Society for Technical Communication, but that's more appropriate to my specific field. A google search will turn up local writers' groups, and if you're looking to make money freelancing, I have found that developing network contacts (try the aforementioned writers' groups or go to local chamber of commerce events) works best. If you want to have a book published and actually make money from it, write one and get an agent. If you want to publish stories or articles in magazines, try the appropriate Writer's Market Guide.

Note: I have no interest in selling out, but it's a very good feeling to support yourself doing something you enjoy.
posted by jennyb at 8:53 AM on April 22, 2003

if you need a site like that, you're not a writer. and as for mr. luff's excrutiatingly analytical strategies for attempting to be funny, he succeeds in nothing more than demonstrating precisely why he'll never succeed. blah.
posted by MaxVonCretin at 8:57 AM on April 22, 2003

If you want to publish stories or articles in magazines, try the appropriate Writer's Market Guide.

Writer's Market is a great resource, and contains tips and articles as well. Writer's Market Online isn't bad either, and you can always split the $30 with a friend or two and share a username/password (it's easier than passing Writer's Market back and forth in book form).

Anyone here submitting any fiction? Any comments, tips, or favorite publications?
posted by Shane at 10:07 AM on April 22, 2003

Also: Nothing wrong with the articles on Write Resource, Joey. It's just that things like this are scary and sound a bit like vanity publishing:

At a base price of only $199 when you submit online ($299 to submit via mail), Select is our most economical publishing program.

...although this program might actually work for an established author who wants distribution. I really don't know. But "pay to get published" will always tingle the spider-sense of many writers.
posted by Shane at 10:16 AM on April 22, 2003

MaxVonCretin - Don't you think that's somewhat judgemental? What makes somebody a writer in your opinion?
posted by drobot at 11:06 AM on April 22, 2003

It bothers me a great deal when people take the stance that anybody who makes money from selling their art is a sellout. It's a ridiculous argument to make. Unless you confine your writing to your personal diary and want nobody to see your writing, you are going to have to confront the problem of selling your story to somebody and be prepared for criticism and rejection. Reacting to criticism and changing your work is part of the process if you want to see your work published. Criticism and revision are good things. Sure, it'd be a shame if an editor asked you to turn your brilliant novel of ideas into a murder mystery, but it's not going to happen! There are enough publishable, market-friendly manuscripts out there to go around without editors resorting to forcing authors into compromising their precious artistic visions. If your novel (story, whatever) is really good, and you don't give up, it will find a publisher.
posted by drobot at 11:07 AM on April 22, 2003

Shane - Also, year or two out of date Writer's Market books can often be found at used book stores for a lot cheaper than the latest edition, and for the most part, they contain the same information. Most markets (literary journals, anyway) post up-to-date guidelines on their websites (many of which are listed on Writers Write, strangely enough, although I agree that the links to self-publishing are not in the best interest of beginning writers.)

As for literary journals, I'm currently reading and really like Fence, Open City, and StoryQuarterly.
posted by drobot at 11:13 AM on April 22, 2003

drobot: That is not the argument I make. I have no problem with anyone selling their art. What I'm against is people selling their worthless crap.

Take the "writing sketch comedy that sells" article, for example. It was decent reading for someone interested in writing. Easy reading. Sort of an opportunity to empty your mind of thoughts on other topics, like a light brainstorming session. Did I actually learn anything, though? No. Do I believe the author actually writes sketch comedy that sells? No.

I am calling the author of that article a sellout. It's rude, and maybe not even appropriate, considering I don't know the person. It just annoys me to see people nickle and diming their way to mediocrity.

Maybe "sellout" is the wrong word. Personally, I would love to make a lot of money... That's not really what bothers me. It's more about people who just don't get it. I wonder why these people want to be writers in the first place. Am thinking, also, about the "new canon" thread the other day; how it was mentioned that even filmmakers today don't know anything about old movies. So, I guess "sellout" to me would be someone who lacks passion.

I'm not painting a completely black and white picture here either. Cory Doctorow is an example of someone who's "sold out" and made it work. The idea of author-as-celebrity has some merit, I think. Douglas Coupland is also a genius at selling out. That's a whole other sub-category, though. I'm thinking more about the people who do it without class, by just sending out dozens of submissions each month with no thought about where they'll end up or even how good they are... Like they just want to build a collection.
posted by son_of_minya at 3:17 PM on April 22, 2003

Hacks, minya. I think the word you're looking for is hacks.
posted by damn yankee at 3:30 PM on April 22, 2003

Yes. Hacks.
posted by son_of_minya at 4:02 PM on April 22, 2003

son_of_minya - I still think those are harsh words for somebody who hasn't been there. I would encourage you to write and publish your novel and see how that changes your perspective on your colleagues.

I don't think you can blame people for selling crap when it's the people who buy their crap that keep them going. There are plenty of markets who publish what I'm guessing you would consider poor writing. But people read these authors - they're fullfilling a need, just as pop musicians, and sitcom writers fill a place in the market.

Second, I'm not sure what you mean by 'sellouts who made it work' - you consider Cory Doctorow and Douglas Coupland as examples of high-art (I assume) who have been fortunate enough to sell books. Yet they would easily be considered hacks in some circles - not by me, necessarily, I'm just saying - one person's genius is another persons 'hack'.

At any rate, good luck w/ your writing!
posted by drobot at 6:50 PM on April 22, 2003

« Older Democratic Excess?   |   Prom, other activities jazz up life for... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments