Friday, March 12, 2010

Oh hell I might as well write it here too...

This day, in response to a post by Miss Snark's First Victim... my comment to her today's post...

It was nice to see you, like me, is a thunderstorm person. “It was a dark and stormy night” and you have to admit, they are a wonderful word backdrop for an old mansion in which its inhabitants are connected by both accommodation for various reasons and… murder. In fact you can almost believe, as you read that first line, that third murder of the night, that dead body of an old lady in the library. And finish off this awful discovery with the words…

“She must have been murdered. She knitted so carefully.”

Well, given that… Sanguine? I believe the word is more closely connected to masochism. You don’t live in the Philippines and participate in that Christian self-flagellation, or, jump in over the barrier to a street in Barcelona which is squashed, squishy tomato spattered blood-red, and let yourself be chased by a bull, or climb the Himalayas rather than wait at the bottom for the video… you, Authoress, write. With quivering heart and mind you chase those words which will set a pathway for you to clash head on with the future and hope… or is it hope and the future?(?)? < this was a cyber shrug by the way. Negativity is part of your make up. Because you have imagination, you can imagine the letterbox or the inbox with that sinking heart when your radar detects signals an imminent and spectacular fall from grace. You sit around eating a box of chocolates. You don’t care if you put on 19 kilos and your face ends up looking like the pestilic red middle of a volcano and you ring up council to come and collect your computer. You go to bed, and turn into Thomas the Tank Engine… I can do it – I know I can – I know I can and ring council the next morning, cancelling the collection order.

You are a religious masochist. You belong to the cult of publishing. To the cult of I write therefore I am. It’s an exclusive cult and sanguine is not quite the word. I think the description is more like, indomitable belief. It’s not ego. You are a Citroen and your logo is: The end of the road is not the end of the trip.

It’s an exclusive cult, and it’s members are few, because out of all those people who claim “One day I will write a novel” you are that one that has never said it. Never said those words. Because there was no beginning. It just spontaneously combustioned like a celestial event. J.K. Rowlings is a member.

But there is one cult you wouldn’t want to be in. The Cult of the Rejectors. It’s the equivalent of publishing hell. There’s a few editors in it. All crying over missed opportunities.


Angela said...

Just hoping you go back to finish critiquing the last few posts on MSFV...Your feedback was spot on...Enjoyed it!!

Zara Penney said...

Angela what I can do is one of two things. I refuse to go anonymous. But there has been a certain amount of meanness there. One person has accused one of the writers of plaegarism. It is a subtle accusation but it is there. And I can tackle this from Anonymous. But that's coward castle.
There are readers following this who do not know the subtleties of authorship GMC and other issues appropriate to authors. There is a lot of assumptions made with regard to me when they know nothing about me.
What I can do is stay truthful to myself and only comment on those I approve of and say nothing on those whose M/s deserve comment and feedback.

But there are those that deserve feedback and on those I am being accused of being unkind.

If anyone I have left out wants genuine feedback, they are welcome to my feedback and advice or encouragement.

One person commented on my saying that m/s space is severely limited.
They are the ones whose rejection slips upset them, yet they want their mother to tell them how good they are. None of us is good.

None of us is worthy of being told we are perfect.

And there it is.

There are some of the last of the m/s that I thought were wonderful, but I will not comment further. If they want to contact me privately --- welcome.

I hate anonymous posts. What they don't get is that by putting their m/s 250 words out there is for feedback.

What's the point if they don't like hearing what they are told.

Maybe in future I will just accept what I think goes and works and leave the others wondering whether I thought they should join the successes, don't like them, or just plain lurked.

Angela said...

I'm sorry that some of the followers on MSFV have been so rude in response to your feedback. I thought it was awesome that you took the time to post feedback to almost all the entries...Feedback is priceless to us as writers, no matter the you have my permission to give me feedback on Post #5...because, alas, that's why I posted and I'll take every bit of wisdom I can get.(Even if I don't get a golden ticket to Hollywood :p )
Thanks Zara! Keep on keeping on and Happy Writing!!!

Sheila said...


I appreciate the fact that you do not post anonymously and that you state exactly what you feel. That's honest. I've read many MSFV contests and often people are very kind in their critiques, which is nice, but in the long run, it doesn't help the writer.

There are some people who can't take harsh criticism, it's true. And maybe they should rethink posting. Most people on MSFV are there to learn, and improve.

Writing is subjective. What works for one person doesn't work for someone else. I think some people took offense at your comments because, to me, and probably to them, you come across as condescending. It's a simple matter of phrasing.

"No. Opening doesn't work." - is your opinion, but you state it like it's a fact.

Why not phrase it as your opinion? "For me, this opening lacked specificity and left me wondering where the story is going."

Put yourself on the author's side, who is trying to improve, instead of being a judge on American Idol.

The only reason I'm saying this is because I think you made good points, but they get lost when you immediately make writers feel defensive. I think anyone who comments on all the entries has made a supreme effort to help. So, thank you for that.

Zara Penney said...

I can absolutely assure you that this has been the last time I will leave comment on this site.

I may come across as arrogant but it far better to know why at my end rather than have an agent/editor telling me that I am rejected and giving no reason.

This is a harsh business and being brutally honest can sometimes be better than being like a piece of wet spaghaetti.

A children's book editor can have 3,000 submissions in a year. When they are up against 10 places in publishing so?

Brutal I may have been. Subjective? Of course. That's what it's all about. Kind? Truthful? That comes back to subjective.

But I withdraw my opinions because it's not worth the angst of the reactions I have received. On American Idol this evening I have seen one of my faves eliminated.

That's what it boils down to. Personal choice.

That's the way the cookie crumbles.