Hello , Margay and readers. It’s great to be on your blog today. I’m wondering if this type of experience has happened to any of you.
HOW TO LOSE A NEW FRIEND--FAST.
I purchase all my appliances from a local appliance store dealer that I have known since I was fourteen. That’s a long time. Let’s call him Jim, for anonymity’s sake.
One day, after I had a few short stories published, I walked around Jim’s store looking for a new microwave. He came over to me and asked me how the writing was going, etc. A middle-aged woman standing next to us overheard the conversation.
After I purchased my microwave, she came over and took my arm. “My name is Kelly, can I speak to you outside for a few minutes?”
What? She didn’t look dangerous, so I went along with her. Besides, my curiosity flipped into high gear.
Well, we introduced ourselves further, chatted about where we lived. Very nice lady. Then she dropped the bomb. “I heard you’re a published author. I have a book I wrote, would you be so kind as to read it and give me some pointers?”
She was so sweet with her big pleading eyes, I thought, why not. At least I’ll have a friend in my area and in the same field as I am. How great!
I agreed, and she ran to her car and brought me her un-subbed manuscript, her info written on the top of the first page. I told her I needed time and would call her in a few weeks then meet her back at Jim’s Appliance Store. The woman was elated.
Oh my, I started reading her story at home. Need I say how terrible it was? Obviously, she had never written a word in her life. Mostly narration, no scenes and she jumped from one place to another-- from train to plane, to city-to-city. Didn’t introduce or describe characters and I couldn’t follow the dialogue. I had no idea what the story was about. It was a garbled mess. I think the drift of the story was about some kind of vacation with all her family members. To this day, I’m not sure.
I didn’t know what else to do but to be honest with her and as tactful as possible.
We met at Jim’s, her eyes agleam with excitement. Honest, I was tactful.
It didn’t work.
Her face kept getting redder and redder, her lips tight with anger. Ten minutes later, she snatched the papers from my hand. Eyes shooting death at me, she said, “What do you know? You must not be much of a writer. My whole family absolutely loved this story.” She stuck up her nose and stomped to her car.
Alas, within weeks, I made a friend, then gone, poof. I do learn the hard way, but I did learn a lesson. Since then, I have learned to say NO to anyone who isn’t published.
Let me introduce you to one of my books.
Sheriff Cole Walker is fearless, except when it comes to critters. When a runaway ringtail monkey decides to adopt Cole and won’t leave, he has more woes than he can handle.
Cole has a powerful yen for the newly arrived Mattie Wells, the pretty woman who can jingle his spurs with just a smile. Mattie takes a shine to men who have pets, and she adores the monkey. So do all the town’s folk – until their smaller valuables start coming up missing. But Cole has no choice but to put up with the thieving furball if he’s going to win Mattie’s heart.
But Mattie is holding a dark secret and refuses to get married. Cole tries every which way to make her see that she’s the only woman he wants, but with cattle rustlers and a miniature thief on the loose, it’s all Cole can do to find time to take her to a picnic.
Cole and his deputies, Wade and Sully, are given a month to find the thieves before Mayor Farley calls for outside gunslingers. Cole knows that’ll spell disaster for the town and likely unemployment for him. Can he overcome Mattie’s fears, bring the rustlers in, and teach his new unwanted furball sidekick a lesson about property rights before the town implodes?
With the help of his deputies and his unwanted sidekick Beggar, Cole must find a way to win Mattie’s heart, bring the rustlers to justice, and bring peace once again to Cold Creek, Kansas.
Yep. Cole has a heap of trouble on his hands.
“So,” Cole groused. “You’re gonna have dinner with Preston?”
Mattie nodded and her eyebrows pulled together. “Why do you have such a glum face?”
“I’m just looking out for you. You know he owns the Sundance Saloon, and uh….” How did he explain the kind of man Preston was? Silk-tongued and an overblown jackass.
Mattie put her hands on her hips. “I’m not a naïve schoolgirl, Mr. Sheriff. I’m older than most married women, so get that notion out of your head right now. I’ve met men like Thaddeus Preston before. I know about saloon women, bar fighting and such things. I did live in New York City. I don’t need anyone looking out for me.” Her eyes narrowed. “Do you think I’m a complete fool?”
Cole jerked back at the fire in her eyes. He felt like he’d just swallowed his whole boot. “No. Course not. I’m sorry I butted in.” Guess he had no right advising her, but he still didn’t have to like the idea.
“Well, I do thank you kindly for your concern, but I’ll have dinner with whomever I please.”
Cole tipped his hat. “Yes, ma’am.” Even spittin’ mad, she was so dang cute.
Buy site http://www.amazon.com/A-Heap-of-Trouble-ebook/dp/B0099VXLLG/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1348757143&sr=1-4&keywords=lorrie+unites-struiff
Lorrie lives in West Mifflin, PA, thirty minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. She lives at home with her favorite toy—a computer.
Once a gold medalist teacher/manager for a big-name ballroom dance studio she has retired and now enjoys the quiet life of writing and watching TV. But she loves to have lunches with local writers to keep abreast of the challenging world of publishing.
Lorrie writes in many genres so you never know what she will come out with next. She never wants to bore her readers and enjoys the thrill of entertaining them by writing a good story.
She would love to hear from her fans at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “reader” in the subject line. Thank you for choosing my book.
Hi Margay, I really appreciate you having me on your blog today. I'm wondering how many other authors had this experience. Let's hear if you did or not? Am I the only one who didn't know better?ReplyDelete
Oh dear, Miss Lorrie,ReplyDelete
I learned that lesson as well...Now when someone asks me to read their work, I just always say I'm so bogged down with contracts that I really don't have any spare time,which thankfully is the truth....Love your excerpt. Can't wait to read heap of Trouble....Good luck with it and all your books....Tabs
Aha,Tabs. You had it happen to you, too. I don't feel so foolish now.Delete
Yes, this has happened to me as well. I've since learned to find a way to say no.
Hi Chris. Oh yeah, I've learned how to say no--fast.Delete
Oh, Lorrie, I never knew this happened to you. How awful. It wasn't your fault though, she didn't really want pointers, she just wanted you to praise her and say how great it was. She didn't want the truth or to become a better writer. Sorry this happened to you. And that's probably good advice, don't crit anybody who isn't published or at least that you don't know.Delete
Hello Lorrie! I must say it never happened to me, but that's because I only got published last October and nobody has ever asked me to look at their work. That's a tough one, isn't it? How to be honest, yet not destroy someone's confidence and hopes. I used to belong to an online 'critique' group with a rating system. Some of the comments and suggestions were so helpful, if a little painful at times. Others however were just plain nasty or fell beside the point. I once got a 'critique' of the first chapter of 'Angel Heart', my first historical romance set mostly in France. The reviewer rated it the lowest possible score, yet all he had to say about it was that the names sounded 'too French' for his taste! Well, I did get a little angry...ReplyDelete
Yes, we have to devolope very tough skin. But, you also have to learn when not to listen and go with your gut.Delete
Honest, I wasn't cruel to this woman,I sandwiched my remarks, but wow, did she take to heat.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. The fastest way to lose a new friend who is an amateur writer - or an old one, for that matter - is to agree to read and comment on their work. No matter how gentle or constructive the comments, what they really want to hear is how fabulous it is. I don't do comments except for seasoned writers, professionals, and even then I'm very careful. After all, amateur or pro, this is their baby!ReplyDelete
You're right Heather, but I think professional writers would expect the crits to be honest and straightforward. If they've been in the business for a while. and can't take the remarks, they are in the wrong business.Delete
Okay, I know this post wasn't meant to be funny, but I find myself laughing. Not at you or the situation, but because I've had a similar thing happen to me recently--with a published author no less!ReplyDelete
I received a request via my blog to review a book by a first-time, self-published author. It was a monster of a book, too, over 600 pages. But it was an interesting premise and I needed a blog post so I agreed. I made it clear to the author, before I started reading, that the review was solely my opinion and that I wouldn't be harsh, but I wouldn't sugarcoat it either. Basically, I was going to be honest. The author agreed.
I read the book, wrote a very long, detailed, and well-thought out review. I won't lie. The book had issues. Grammatically, structurally, the characters were horrid! The post wasn't up for more than an hour and the author emailed me trying to argue every point I made and defend her work. I apologized for offending her and removed the review.
So, Lorrie, it doesn't matter if someone is published or not. Some people just can't handle criticsm of their work. It's sad, really, because people like that will have a very hard time in this business. All you can do is focus on those who appreciate your help and forget those who don't.
Very good advice. I can laugh at the situation now, but I was flabbergasted when it happened. I don't go around hurting writers,ever. But no matter how tactful,it felt like a slap in the face.Delete
I've had that happen, with published and unpublished writers both. Being a published writer does not mean a writer is good. I just give truthful assessments, because lying does no one any good. It might feed the ego, but if a writer truly wishes to learn, they have to take the bad with the good.ReplyDelete
Someone who would get mad over something like that is not a true friend, anyway.
I also try to remember that when the shoe's on the other foot lol
I must have rhino skin. My critters are honest with the good and bad points. And I appreciate the honesty. There is nothing like it to make you a better writer.Delete
I've had similar experiences in several writers' groups. Newbies have to learn to let their emotional attachment to their writing go, or never improve.ReplyDelete
I've been on several writers groups myself. When I was a newbie, my very first story I posted on a group, and the very first crit I received, well, it was harsh. I almost cried. But when I thought about it, and this guy was an oft published author, I realized he was right, it stunk. lol. And I took his advice.Delete
Hi Lorrie...great post. I stopped editing for this very reason. New authors often refuse to admit don't know it all and have been "endorsed" by their family. I had one story where the author wanted to describe every tree in the yard and what was in every kitchen drawer. I tried to explain the reason why it wasn't important, but he wasn't having any part of my experience. I thought explaining that if a bird was singing in the tree outside the heroine's window or she moved through the kitchen preparing dinner and pulled a knife from a drawer made more sense, but he insisted everyone know where the potato peeler was even though it played no part in the story. I think that was when I started yanking out my hair and decided I'm not cut out to be an editor. But, I really am nice to my own. I won't even mention trying to explain head-hopping and not using the character's name to begin every sentence. *lol*ReplyDelete
Oh, Ginger, that's funny. What an experience for you. And I know you give great crits. I'm still laughing with the picture you put in my head about pulling your hair out.Delete
Thanks so much for sharing that with us.
The best thing to do is direct the person to some of the critique websites like Critique Circle (which is where I met Lorrie among several other writers). If they say they don't have internet, then shake your head sadly and say they'd better find a way on-line or they'll never be published. That used to be an almost-true. Today, I think it's absolutely true.ReplyDelete
Yes Marva, and I bless the day we found each other. I have suggested CC to many. If they want critted, best be by someone impartial, and the newbie either joins and learns fast, or drops off the site because they can't handle the crits. A sad thing.ReplyDelete
I understand your pain. When someone asks how I got started I'm honest too. I tell them I took a lot of online classes and attended a lot of seminars and joined writers groups. Because it was with a lot of rejections I got the message that I had to learn the craft before I could be published.ReplyDelete
Good for you,Marion, I think we all went through that painful but fun process of learning first. Thanks for dropping in.Delete
So glad you shared this story because I thought I was the only dumb one to accept a story from a friend. Oh, no, never again. He just wanted me to tell him how fabulous the pages and pages and pages and pages of narrative and thousands of characters were...and not point out the awkward sentences...like my previous one!! Wishing you continued success in your writing career.ReplyDelete
Thanks JQ. So, you've been through this too.Delete
I guess we live and learn. Me, mostly the hard way. So, you see, you are not alone.
Cheer up guys. My BOSS decided to write a book. A fictionalized account of one of his ancestors who was a Confederate prisoner of war, how he survived, how he made his way home, how he became a State politician. (True story, fascinating for history buffs. The true story that is.) He dictated a page and a half. I polished it up so that it was actually a cohesive narrative, all page and a half of it. He emailed it to all the firm (we're about 60-70 folks)with the announcement that was the start of his book. And of course he emailed it to his kids. That was, let's see, three or four years ago. Hasn't mentioned it since. Well, he has, a time or two, proclaiming that he has to get back to it but can't seem to. Oddly enough, I'm not terribly supportive and encouraging when he makes such comments.ReplyDelete
Oh Gail, that's another funny one. When I went to my hubbys class reunion, we sat with one of his classmates that was a math professor. He told us all about a book he had written. His horrible life growing up and how he became a professor. His story sounded like too many that are already out there. I didn't see the written words,but he could not fathom why it was rejected so many times he had to give up.ReplyDelete
I'm assuming it was written very poorly since he just sat and wrote off the top of his head and never bothered learning how to write. I kept my mouth shut, and just giggled under my breath. I know, I'm bad.
I have been on the other side of this situation. However, I have also been a member of critique groups where you have to be honest. It is difficult to be honest and tactful at the same time!! As I said, I have been the one waiting for someone's opinion about my writing. Before my book was published I let a good friend of mine read it. Thankfully, she fell in love with it and with my main character. Then she told me she had not wanted to read it, because she had an experience like Lorrie's with a good friend.ReplyDelete
That's a different take from the other side of the coin.ReplyDelete
You got lucky, lol. Yes, it's hard to be tactful and honest at the same time. But with newbies, we try. Even with published authors, I think it is how you phrase your words.
Thanks for the comment.
Some people can't take the truth. Best not to get involved. Enjoyed your post and excerpt.ReplyDelete