Who Asked You? (Brian Katcher)

 I once asked an author friend if he was a member of a writers' group. "No, I don't need five people telling me five different things."

All well and good, but what happens when you have five people telling you the same thing?

They're still wrong. Everybody loves good Laverne and Shirley fan fiction. When will Laverne realize that Lenny, not Carmine, is the man she should be with? It's not a 'dumb idea' that will 'never sell' and 'No one actually invited you to this writers' group meeting.'

Well, advice, like little things at Walmart that fit in your pockets, is free. But here are some poor writing suggestions I've received. I'll post the private phone numbers of these people in the comments so you can call them and tell them they're stupid.

Never look directly at what you're typing; always keep your head turned to the side.

This was from my 10th grade keyboarding teacher who insisted that we keep our eyes on our rough draft, not on the typewriter (yes, I'm that old). She wanted to make sure that we weren't looking at the keys. However, she absolutely could not get it into her head that sometimes people didn't write something out long handed before they typed it.

You can't just write about farting and masturbation.

That was my 12th grade writing teacher, grading my poetry notebook. She later invited me to speak to her class. When I showed her the comments on my old assignment, she cheerfully admitted she'd been wrong.

Never ask a librarian for help unless you are absolutely stumped. You should be able to find everything on your own. Bothering the librarian is a last resort.

 That was my 5th grade school librarian. She was trying to teach us to be independent researchers, but as an elementary librarian myself, that still kind of cheeses me off.

Does this character have to be Black?

Ex-member of my writers' group. He'd forgotten a secondary character wasn't white and basically suggested I make him 'normal.'

Do you really have to go through your agent? Can't you just submit your books to the publishers without telling her?

It shocks me how many people do not understand WHY I have an agent.


  1. To write my first published book, I took off my glasses! that way, I couldn't second-guess anything. Reminded me of the don't-look-at-your-hands advice. :)


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