Writing Process · Young adult writing

BOO! Five Things That Scare Writers.


Okay, so it’s Halloween. I’m not allowed to dress-up at work (what’s with this “Harvest” substitute for the dark reality that is All Hallows Eve anyway? Not like it’s gonna make October 31 go away!), I’ve had too much candy when I’m not supposed to eat sugar, and I feel the need to feed my blog. With this in mind, there are a few things us writerly folk fear (perhaps more, but we’re being brief this morning!):

1. “Your story wasn’t what I expected and hoped for.” Words like this tumble from an agent’s mouth (or in most cases, a canned letter). The hopes and dreams that your story had stirred in the powerful literary agent fell flat once she got hold of your full. She’s not giving you a reason why it fell flat, either. That is just plain spooky. Possibly even evil.

2. “There is something about your voice that didn’t grab me.” A voice that grabs and demands attention… could it be shrill? Or baritone? Does it dance along the water or carry you under to drown? A voice is like a thousand ships… it can sail an agent or editor or send your story straight to Davy Jones’ Locker. Boo-hoo.

3. “I just signed a writer with the same exact story.” I beg your pardon? Was it me in a parallel dimension? Did I get to you first, Mr. Agent Man? If it was me, even though not the me you see right here, I should get your representation, right? Right? RIGHT?

4. “Your processor died. Nothing we can do, ma’am.” Including not being able to extract your work-in-progress which you forgot to back up onto Dropbox. Smart move. Now you’re up the creek without a paddle, and the zombies are out to make a blubbering, whining fool who spends all of eternity in the graveyard of motherboards and processors gone-by.

5. “It’s carpal tunnel.” Frozen hands can’t do a thing – especially type. Your mangled wreckage of appendages won’t do your bidding anymore, friend. Voice dictation? Maybe your voice will go next. Perhaps you should give it up altogether and go live in the frozen woods of writer damnation for all eternity.

If you have any “boo” moments in your writing career, please post them here! I know there’s got to be more. I believe in them. Don’t you?

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5 thoughts on “BOO! Five Things That Scare Writers.

  1. I’m not a professional writer, but I use writing a lot for my work. What scares me the most is #2. To have someone tell you they don’t like “your voice”–well that’s a big part of writing style, so they’re pretty much saying they don’t like you. Worse yet is that there’s no easy fix other than rewriting and losing your sense of ownership over the piece!

    1. I’ve had a few agents tell me that my voice didn’t grab them. Then I’ve had others say that I have the authentic voice of a teenage girl. Go figure … creative work is always scary because it takes a piece of your soul.

  2. I think when someone says “I didn’t like your voice” it’s code for “I don’t have an imagination and can’t say anything original about your work.”

    It’s the same when they say “I didn’t identify with any of the characters.”

    I’m not an agent but I liked your novel. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Vanessa! LOL – good point on what the true meaning is of someone’s reason for not liking the writer’s voice. My, that was a lot of words out of my fingers! 🙂

      – Julie

  3. Carpal tunnel sounds scary. It hasn’t happened to me yet.

    1 and 2 would puzzle me, but I kept querying on.

    I’ve been able to salvage my work after technical difficulties, thank goodness.

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