Thursday, February 3, 2011
There's been a lot of negative hoopla in the writing business lately. It all started back with Kidlitchat where it was revealed that an agent wouldn't sign a "would be" client if they'd given a bad review of one of their other clients. It kinda free fell from there into blog entries both for and against the idea as well as conversations on message boards and twitter.
So, now you're not supposed to give anything but 5 Star Reviews or it could come back to haunt you. This is coupled with how you shouldn't talk industry related stuff on your blog(for the love of God don't mention the sub process!) and it's probably not a good idea on Twitter either. There's a mentality that you almost have to constantly watch your back because the "Big Brother's" of the industry are watching you.
After some pondering and grumbling and resignation, this is what came to me the other day. To be a writer--published or unpublished--you kinda have to adopt a Stepford Wives mode of operation. And when I say Stepford Wives, I'm talking about the 2004 version, not the 1975. The 75' version really is a scary, psychological thriller that is not to be taken lightly(If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. The end scene is *shudders* scary!)
For those who haven't seen the movie(s), it's about a woman named Joanna whose family moves from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the quaint and overly idyllic Stepford, CT. At first, things look too good to be true. A vast majority of the women have perfect houses, perfect clothes, and perfect sunny dispositions. Have they deposited Lithium into the water supply? No, the robotic and programmed behavior can be attributed to the fact that the men of Stepford are killing their wives and taking up with identical robots.
Now, hold the phone....I'm not saying that the industry wants to make robots out of us--that's not the analogy I was going for at all. I do think an ideal is perpetuated where you're supposed to slap on a toothy smile and say how wonderful it is in Stepford---er, I mean, the Industry. And you're made to feel there's something epically Debbie Downer aka Un-Stepford about you for wanting to put negative aspects of the querying and/or submissions game on your blog or anonymously complaining about agents and editors in writing forums or finding fault with fellow YA writers books, etc. You're not supposed to notice that some authors get held to a different standard or there's a double standard with agents who maybe blog or tweet about negative things.
But dude. snap out of it! What are you thinking? Writers can't be human online....no wait, they can't always exhibit natural human emotions. You read a book with a million dollar advance that stinks or you get another rejection or you wonder why this agent hasn't gotten back with you--these are human emotions that you're supposed to keep inside. Or, talk to people outside the writing sphere. You know, the ones that have no concept of the game, lol.
Here's the thing....although I've never been rebellious and always wanted to do just what everyone else did, I'm NOT a Stepford wife when it comes to the writing game....I'm way more Joanna and her less than perfect sidekick, Bobbie. They question what's going on in Stepford, they don't like being squelched or having to look and sound like Mary Sunshine's all the time. They just wanna be their own person.
In the end when it all comes down to it, I certainly hope it will be me aka my writing that the publishers look at and not a 3 Star review or maybe a bad day when I blew off some steam. Hopefully, it'll be what the industry was started for and that's for great storytelling.