The Freaking Out Over-Caffeinated Writers

It has been a while. I no longer use Twitter as you probably know by now, but I do read it occasionally. I felt it was time again to have a read of some recent random tweets I found about writing, books, and at Twitter’s #writingcommunity, as well as for the first time at a newish hashtag, #writersoftwitter:

So here come a few of the, uh, freaking out over-caffeinated writers of Twitter. LOL!:

That is certainly a good thing for some writers – who get shelf space. A trend toward “niche” bookstores carrying a certain genre has also arisen. But of course no physical store has the space to carry more than a few books regardless.

[Photo by Tuur Tisseghem on Pexels.com]

Hate online sellers (one in particular) all we may, but thanks to them we can find just about every book imaginable. We do not want to return to a world of ONLY bookstores; I grew up in that world and while it sounds great that is in most respects also rather misplaced nostalgia. If the shop around the corner or a cycle or drive away did not have what you wanted, and could not get it for you, you were out of luck.

I would have KILLED for a point and click and order just about any book I wanted and have had it delivered… back at age “18.” To say nothing also of the Kindle/e-books revolution? How many authors (including myself) might not have existed without the latter?

Bottom line, we certainly don’t want to see all bookstores vanish. We also don’t want to go back to only paper books and stores. There simply needs to be a good balance, that’s all.

Not every good new book is going to have lots of readers. That is just the way it is. In fact, it has always been that way – many a book that we admire now had few readers upon initial publication.

Sadly, many a writer only hits it “big” after they are dead.

Is this a competition? Does the one who wrote the most words get a medal or something?

That sort of an assertion definitely gets no praise from me unless I am allowed to read those “17,800” words… and then I will offer an opinion as to if those 27 hours were worth it.

See previous. Also I am on something of a sabbatical remember.

When I am actually writing, I write between a page and maybe ten a day – however many words that is. I do not do daily word counts. I just write the book.

Absolutely.

Unless you are writing a genuine biography, or fictionally recreating someone who clearly actually lived, even if you based him/her on someone(s) to some extent you are writing a fictional “character” – an idea of a person. That person is therefore not real. So they cannot be, by definition, a “living person,” no matter how well you write them.

I don’t. I ask someone(s) close to read the book and just tell me what they think. They are actual friends, and may even love me, and so will not want me to make a fool of myself; they are (I believe) the best “first” audience.

As for, uh, random types found through Twitter or social media… well, who knows what their motivations to read the unfinished book might be.

That above displays another reason I see “comment from a beta” from a writer and I groan. Why? Look at the “comment” that led to that tweet: That writer is actually asking on Twitter if “only” the “older generation” has pens, etc?

Dealing with “reactions” from “betas” that have you asking yourself “Is water wet?” is a huge distraction and waste of your time.

Yes, but even if they did delete it, they also wrote that they did read it and did get all the way to the end.

I cannot say I have. I have, though, read some reviews that prompted me to read the free sample at least.

I use Word, and detect lots of people out there are looking for apps that will almost write the book FOR them. That is not going to happen. Whether you use pen and paper and write long-hand and type it out later, or get someone else to type, or you type it yourself on a typewriter or Word or some word processor, or even if you dictate it by speaking it into your iPhone and it gets typed later, or however you create it, YOU have to write it.

I cannot say there was just “one.” I will say one that played a major part was…

[The Winds of War, by Herman Wouk, 1971. Photo by me, 2021.]

My most recent three novels in particular would most likely not exist if I had not read Winds. My mother had a copy of it on the lounge shelf when I was a kid. In my teens, I read it when the television mini-series was made… probably trying to compare the two.

Incidentally, the main character in that novel – “Commander Victor Henry” – is a short, stocky, and unimpressive guy… and so NOTHING like Robert Mitchum from the television adaptation.

Even all these years later, I cannot read any of that book again and NOT “see” in my mind Mitchum as that character. LOL!

To conclude. Not wanting possibly to get into an online dust up with a sort of “high-profile” writer (I don’t need that) should he see this post, I will not identify him. However, I think this needs pointing out in general terms – because it bugs me.

That author’s tweet I (mostly) “blacked out” above replied to a #writersoftwitter tweet telling a newish advice-seeking young author always to avoid adjectives and adverbs.

Seeing that I thought, umm, okay. My (now late) uncle, uh, “regularly” used adjectives and adverbs in his (usually well-reviewed) novels. (And as I think appropriate, so do I.) But seeing such adamancy from that guy, I decided to look up and have a peek at one of his books. Never having heard of him before seeing that tweet, I also clicked around and discovered he has a Wikipedia page and has indeed written lots, including for U.S. television – which would seem to give his view there some reasonable credibility…

…And then I saw in just the first two paragraphs of the Kindle sample of that book that “Mr. No Adjectives No Adverbs” on Twitter uses the adjectives “sweet,” “little,” “big,” “bad,” “evil,” and “real,” and the adverbreallytwice (in the second paragraph… “really”).

The takeaway here to me is not that author’s “professional” opinion offered on Twitter, but that it reminded me why I make a point of NEVER telling anyone glibly “how” to write. My main suggestion is when anyone behaves “know-it-all-ish” as they push “advice” on you about how to write, is before you take that “advice” you at least have a read of something they have actually published. Remember, chasing down an extended sample of any author’s actual writing is now, thanks to the Kindle and online access to e-books, easier than ever before in history. 😉

[Coffee photo by me, taken moments ago. Potton, England.]

And now some more caffeine. LOL! Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂

2 comments

  1. Great post, enjoyed reading it. The one tweet that stands for me is: “I’ve written 17,800 words in the last 27 hours”. I will never understand this numbers game myself. This tells me of quantity over quality, that’s all. That’s another reason why I am still shocked when goodreads prompts people to read x amount of books in a year. I’d rather have someone read just 10 books in a year, maybe classics, but really, really understand them – maybe they get really fulfilled by them or they imparted to them useful knowledge, then one hundred in a frenzy and not or hardly understanding any of them, not to mention the quality of those books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I find, as you obviously do too, the word counting aggravating to see. Only if you are told to produce, say, a short story of under 5,000 words, is counting then necessary. Otherwise it is not. Quality over quantity is, in writing, always better I feel.

      Liked by 1 person

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