At signings, in interviews, and in my inbox, many questions repeatedly boil up to the surface, much like the gritty, warm ooze bubbling beneath the softening head of a ripe boil. One of the most frequently seen Qs is “Do you have any advice for a new writer?”
I usually do, yes. It’s “Read and write a lot.” Sometimes I mention what I think they should read, but not always. The length of my answer usually reflects how hungover I am at the signing, or how much real work I have to do that day, rather than fucking about in my inbox for kicks.
I’ve got a lot of real work to do today. This whole week, actually. It’s mega. Void Stalker reaches halfway.
You’ve probably noticed that I don’t do many Writer Advice Guides on my blog. Other authors often do, and I tend to think they’ve got it covered. There’s also the fact I find writing those guides almost inhumanly boring, which is a vital factor in whether I’ll do a blog post, or go play my 360.
But this post will cover it. It’ll be the thing I link to / the thing I mention / the thing I reference each and every single time in the future that I’m asked if I have any advice for writers.
Yes, I do have some advice.
This is Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey, by Chuck Wendig. Buy it.
Here is where you can buy it: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/05/20/confessions-of-a-freelance-penmonkey-now-available/
Here are some reviews saying it’s amazing: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11424095-confessions-of-a-freelance-penmonkey
— “But Aaron, isn’t he your friend? Are you just pimping his work?” —
I’ve known Chuck for about 10 years. We pretty much started writing together, in the foul and treacherous trenches of RPG work, where men were men, women were usually men, and bikinis were made from the finest chainmail. At various times in our friendship, he’s been a nagging editor, my favourite colleague, an intimidating son of a bitch, and a good friend. At various points, I’ve been an unreliable weasel of a co-worker, a whiny bitch, a truly charming hero of the people, and a compiler of songs about werewolves. (One of those isn’t true.) But yeah, he’s my friend. You may have noticed that his blog has been in my link list since forever and ever.
He is also the finest writer I know. I’m not pimping his work. I’m saying “This is the best insight into being a writer” because it’s the best insight into being a writer. I’ve been waiting for Confessions for a long time, mostly for the selfish reason that I can now say “Shut up and read this” to that most annoying of questions.
I can also add “Now I’ve given you the advice, let’s talk about me again.”
I also mentioned Confessions in this month’s SFX magazine, which by the way I’m totally in.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of killer people, and the unpleasure of working with some right goobers.
Chuck (Chuck Wendig, because I like to associate with other souls possessing weird-ass names) is practically the only thing I miss from my days of writing in the RPG industry. He remains now as he was then: raw, brutal, and too good for this world. He’s also something of an asshole, which endears him to me a great deal. I look upon him and think If I could write a screenplay for shit, then perhaps I would name thee Brother.
Anyway, today Chuck’s yarked out more of his usual wisdom, and this applies to all the scum and scummettes that mail me all the time, too.
Go away. Just… just get out of my face, and go here, because it’s the best thing you’ll read all day: