Saturday, April 23, 2011

Advice that at best distracts and at worst derails

I love this article over at the YA Guide to Fantasy.

One of my favorite bits of bad avice she mentions is that you must publish short stories before you write a novel. I used to believe this one enough to share it with others. "You've just GOT to have some publications under your belt if you want to get an agent or a publisher..." Yet, what a complete waste of time if you just don't write good short stories. The novel and the short story are two completely different animals, and one is not better than the other. The novel will get more attention, but a truly great short story (while taking less time to write) is, I think, more difficult to write.

And not everyone can write them and get them published. I've had a little success with online publications, but I don't know if my work would ever make it into a so-called literary journal. I'm all about story, and when I try to write all literary and forget about plot, it comes out crap. There are some amazing literary writers out there that do it all, and there are some that I think are horrible (it's all very subjective, I realize this), because they don't SAY anything. But that's another post.

End of the day, some of the points in the article will work for you while some of them might not. I'm not on your timetable with your characters or your style, and you're not on mine or with mine. Quit trying to stuff your shoulders into that expected, square peg. It's not about the money or even the end result-- it's about the process, the words, the story. Let's put away the rulers and try to enjoy the journey as much as the possible success at the end of it.

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