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R Is For Readers

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

READERS

I talked about how authors are the worst, now let’s discuss the other side of that terrible equation: readers. It turns out they aren’t going to just let you cram whatever inane disjointed idea you come up with down their throats and swallow it happily. They want things like substance, plot, sympathetic characters, and interesting storylines. Back in my day, we walked ten miles, both ways, uphill, in a blizzard, just to read self-important, boring, structureless drivel. And we were grateful! Kids these days.

If you’re going to write, you’re going to want someone to read it, and then you’re going to have to put up with people’s opinions. You can’t please everyone all the time, but you probably want to please a few people for at least a couple hours on Friday. Before you try jumping through those flaming hoops, consider this:

– Some people will just never like the stuff you write. You can try showing up at their house and smacking them, but I’ve been told it doesn’t work and ends in restraining orders. However, some authors wrote their best stuff in prison!
– Once you create beloved characters, they belong to more than just you, they also belong to your audience. You have to be true to the story, or you’re doing your readership a disservice. Let Misery be a cautionary tale in killing off characters you’re just tired of.
– Inevitably, some people who read your stuff will want to review it. Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone has to go on a reviewer’s website and write a long diatribe about how the reviewer is a flaming bag of dog feces. I mean, unless you’re tired of your career and want to end it right there.

Readers, of course, are why we write. You can keep your diary private (and please do) but most writers want their work to be read. There’s nothing like having a devoted readership, to have people give you their honest, heartfelt opinions of your work, and to know you’re not screaming into the void. I mean, except NOT writing, which gives you altogether less anxiety and desire for the approval of others. Try something less stressful and public, like being a politician.


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.

Megan Morgan View All

Urban fantasy and paranormal romance author.

31 thoughts on “R Is For Readers Leave a comment

  1. And this is why I haven’t shared my ‘love children’ with more than a tiny group of close friends. ~grin~ Maybe someday. We’ll see. Happy Writing!

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  2. Do you remember A Million Little Pieces by James Frey??? Sold as a memoir about alcoholism and drug addiction – made Oprah’s book club. Turned out to be pretty much BS – well, the worst parts did. Random House offered readers a refund. The readers won … boo 😉

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  3. I want to know more about this prison thing. Have you tried it? Or is this all hearsay? Because how do we know they wrote this great works in prison? Maybe their being in prison made all their friends feel bad enough to where they published works in the author’s name, writing on his or her behalf so as to encourage the one who was in prison…as kind of a “cheer-me-up” gift. Or maybe their prisons had a Rumplestilskin who would help them out, literarily, in exchange for something else. I mean, it’s prison. We can’t possibly know what went on behind the stone walls, right? 🙂

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  4. Readers are such a fickle things… everyone of them thinks that just because they can read a sentence that they know everything there is to writing, and tell you, “Oh, I can help you with your book.” So why not, you need a beta reader. So they read it and say, “It’s Good. I loved it.” Then you release it and it gets 5,000 1-star ratings, because your epic fantasy is only 3 pages long. Said “beta-reader” then states, “Oh, I just read how well it went, I wasn’t checking for any problems.”

    YOU’RE A FUCKING BETA-READER… THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO!!!!!!!

    OK, it was never this extreme, but I keep finding beta readers that simply say it is good, with no feedback whatsoever. Makes me wonder if they did read it, so then I often quiz them just to see if they did. And even if they still read it, they offer no suggestion to how to improve it. But once it’s released, it’s easy to find readers who will give you a critique, but it comes with a certain number of stars.

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    • This is why I think the best beta-readers are other writers, especially writers who have been in the craft for a while. They know what to look for and how to give specific feedback. Of course, I think some people are afraid of giving honest constructive criticism, because they think the author will get mad. I for one want specific feedback and to be told what’s wrong so I can FIX it. If an author is too sensitive they won’t make it in this game–trust me, if an author’s stuff lands in front of an editor it’s going to HURT, and hurt a lot, because a professional editor has no mercy. They don’t care about your feelings.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I try to soften the blow by pointing out when they do something good with the areas of opportunities. Hell, I call it “areas of opportunities” than what they actually are: mistakes.

        Still, a lot of would-be writers out there do get easily offended, and turn on me that I have no idea what they are talking about, preferring instead I blow smoke up their ass and tell them they’re a genius. I don’t play that game, plus I don’t have a smoke machine.

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    • People don’t know how to give feedback. It is learned skill. Some of us do it naturally and others don’t. I know in reading about HOW to give feedback, what authors REALLY need to know and asking the AUTHOR what type and kind of feedback they want to help me tremendously in becoming a better beta reader. I was already fairly decent and as a writer, it has taught me what it is I really want to know from beta readers because I was not always sure. The more they consistently do it the better they will get and learn what is needed to be a successful beta—however, if they are only doing it to read the book free not much can be done.

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  5. Listen, I’m an author. i knwo better than anyonw. It is my story and nobody is going to tell me how to write it. People like it? Good. People don’t like it? Then that clearly means they are illeterate who probably sign their paper with an X.
    And of course I don’t expect them to understand what art is. Rules? Art doesn’t know rules, everybody knows that. So of course artists don’t even care to learn rules, since they are going to break them anyway. But then, I’m a genius, poor me. I can’t expect common readers to understand me.

    Oh, wait!

    I’m a reader too. And honestly, since I’m giving up my money, my time, my expectations, my emotional involvement for a book, I at least expect that it will be written decently, in good grammar, it will have a descernable storyline and engaging characters. I’ll say I don’t even expect it to be written with passion, but at least with competency.
    And I’m sorry to say, dear author above, not all books I’ve read meet these (admittedly very loose) requirements. I mean, as a reader I’m quite tollerant, but some author really stretch my patience soooooooo thin.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

    Liked by 1 person

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