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Today's Writing Advice.

"The reputations we gather for ourselves through publication are rather like the reputations we gather when our sex lives become public. Go everywhere, fuck everyone, do everything, and you'll get no respect. People might talk, sure, and the trashy men and women who buy and sell you on the cheap will think well of you, Hawaiian shirt and comb over and all that. But trash is easy to forget. Trash gets cleaned away once the moment is over and a body of work that is built on trash is, ultimately, trash. If, however, you're selective, have a criteria that must be met, and publish selectively, then your work will, slowly, begin to gain respect. And if people respect you there are more opportunities for you and your work."

Said by me, today.

I think I'd compare publication to working in the porn industry, though, if I gave the lecture again. Always missing my best moments by a fraction, I tell you. Still, it must be said that it is advice I've ignored from time to time, because occasionally it's just fun to fuck, and if you can't have fun, then what's the point?

Comments

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(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Nov. 2nd, 2005 01:15 pm (UTC)
i had a rare moment of insightfulness.
mariness
Nov. 2nd, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC)
I knew CafeIrreal wasn't a large or important site, but I liked it. And I knew, as well, that my little story was not the sort of the thing that "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" would have much interest in, and why waste their time?

Sure, I submit to the larger markets as well, and someday, The New Yorker is going to recognize my genius and apologize for its previous rejection slips and send me large piles of chocolate. Well, maybe not. But in the meantime, I have my little story up there.
benpeek
Nov. 3rd, 2005 05:23 am (UTC)
yeah, but you also know you've got to build up a body of work, too, and that appearing in cafeirreal for the rest of your publication career won't help you, yes?
ashamel
Nov. 3rd, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
It's a catchy argument, and allows you to compare writing you don't like to porn again, but I'm not convinced.

Who is doing the gossiping? Does anyone not read a Stephen Dedman horror novel because he has published game fiction? Or not read Gaiman because of Durn Duran? (to pick some examples from the air) It's certainly not going to increase his sales by much, but I can't see it decreasing them. Do editors care about it? I guess it depends upon the editor, but I don't see it being that big a deal. A professional attitude and a usable manuscript would seem more enticing.

Not that I can't see arguments in support of your stance. It seems to me the main people who do care about such things are other writers. In the short story market, that isn't to be underestimated, since it seems other writers are the principal audience.

Likewise, using pseudonyms for strictly money-driven projects is a long and undoubtedly useful tradition. (David J Schow advised young writers to use that avenue to help learn their trade, which seems useful advice with some caveats.)

But it does seem rather a more complex situation than your analogy and casual dismissal suggests.
benpeek
Nov. 3rd, 2005 05:22 am (UTC)
i can actually list more concrete arguments based on author examples, but in a rare sign of restraint, i won't do it here. but, that said, i was talking mostly to unpublished authors, and warning them against ending up in places like naked snake press. (www.nakedsnakepress.com i believe.) that was the kind of place i was saying that they should avoid.

the conversation we had was a bit more complex than what i put up here, too, i should say. but you know me, i like little catchy sayings that allow me to compare writing to porn. it's my hobby ;)
(Anonymous)
Nov. 3rd, 2005 07:24 am (UTC)
Emiliana Torrini is Icelandic...
Agnes
benpeek
Nov. 3rd, 2005 09:47 am (UTC)
yep. she's cool. did you have a nice dinner?
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