Friday, October 2, 2009

GET a 2nd and 3rd Opinion Says the Manuscript Doctor by Robert W. Walker

Never take one editor’s or one teacher’s opinion of your work. As a college freshman, I was told that I would NEVER publish a book. This by my creative writing instructor. I put him in a scene in Killer Instinct, making him a small town, useless pimp. Forty five books later, I can safely say he was a pimp to begin with. I am a real teacher, a good editor, and a fine speaker at heart, and I love sharing all the hard-won knowledge of the business and the craft of writing. Miranda and I are speaking at the West Virginia Book Festival on Oct. 11th at the Charleston Civic Center, Charleston, WV at 2:30PM on how to get happily published without any “title” or “content” fights and it is a library sponsored program and free to the public.

I also operate The Knife Editing Services wherein your book goes through a complete autopsy on my literary slab. I have ghost written books and helped develop books into the healthiest books they can be. More info on The Knife aka me, myself, and I can be found below. I am also teaching as Adjunct Professor at West Virginia State University at present. All this while writing the next novel and most likely editing someone else’s as well as grading English 101 and 102 comp papers! Meanwhile, I have never seen a book with Professor Pimp’s name on the cover. Moral of the story –

Turn on your BS Detector. Be wary of those who want to circle the wagons of negativity around you. Be wary of those who are so sure that you are not “good enough” while they themselves have accomplished nothing. Or the hardened, embittered burn out cases whether that be a run in with a Harlan Ellison or a professor or doctorate candidate who is all too anxious to hear the sound of his or her own voice rather than give you useful, practical advice. Be cautious of those who BS you. You go to a Professor who teaches poetry to allay you fears of having to deal with poetry and all he can say is he does not know how to help you and perhaps you ought best to NOT take his class…just a lazy jerk.

Hope this helps you to be a more determined writer and until next time, happy writing.

Rob Walker
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"Dead On takes the reader's capacity for the imagination of horror to stomach turning depths, and then gives it more twists than a Georgia backroad that paves an Indian trail." - Nash Black


Terry Odell said...

I've had several blog posts this week at my blog on editing as well. Including the different attitude one must take when you've got a book under contract. Feel free to check them out and offer your own techniques, etc.

jenny milchman said...

It gets even trickier once your ms is at the point of being submitted. Then you really see how subjective this business is. Being told you'll never be a writer is just over the top--unless that person has a crystal ball--but what about being told the opening is too slow? Do you trust editor X's take? Do you make changes if the criticism resonates with you? What if it doesn't? What if the next pass you get cites the opening as being too HURRIED?

It comes down to developing an inner compass as a writer to steer you (and your ms) in the right direction. Having a group of trusty readers--and/or a great agent--will help with this. I discussed compass building on my own blog a few weeks back...

Thomas said...

A good posting sir. Thank you for the honest advice.

Deb Larson said...

You tell 'em Rob! Small minded folks always talk down to those with dreams. Long ago I had a college English teacher tell me I was simply a big fish in a small pond - I had just won first place for a short story and a poetry contest the college offered.
I was simply taking the baby steps to get where I wanted to be - a published writer!
Great post!
DL Larson

Rob Walker said...

Man, the comments are BETTER than my post; I appreciate all your remarks and hope you will spread the word that every Fridy on ACME, I am firing off my big guns on subjects that cover the spectrum of concerns for WRITERS. All of your remarks are quite cogent and interesting. Sure you have to believe in yourself and your work...for sure, for sure.