Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

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cheekychook
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Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by cheekychook » August 7th, 2010, 4:38 pm

There's been frequent mention of non-writing friends/family members making comments or suggestions that, though probably well-intentioned, are not exactly helpful. Or reasonable.

Two I've heard way too many times are:

"Hey, your next story should be about me...." (Ummm, I write fiction...) [actually my preferred response is "You're not a very realistic character..." ;) ]

and

"Is that character based on... (insert name of person talking or other person they know)?" (Uhhhh, no.)

But my personal favorites have got to be:

"I like your book, how hard can it be to find an agent?" (Well.......)

and

"You should hurry up and finish, I want to read this as an actual book---just send it out now." (Yeah, I'll get right on that...)

So, what's the wackiest advice/comment/question you've ever heard from a non-writing acquaintance?
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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by WilliamMJones » August 7th, 2010, 5:14 pm

From my brother: You finished that book months ago, why are you still working on it? (Uh, it's called editing.)

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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by Down the well » August 7th, 2010, 5:15 pm

I already mentioned a few of these on another thread, the Oprah comment being the silliest. But I also have a family member who thinks that if I get published it means I'll be rich and famous. Because everyone who gets published makes a gazillion dollars, right? RIGHT!!

It's also hard to explain the query process. People seem to think that all you have to do is hire an agent. I wish. "Mastercard it, Mr. Bransford. And while you're at it, bring me some more coffee."

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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by polymath » August 7th, 2010, 5:19 pm

The dooziest and most frequent comment when whomever discovers I write, and I don't run on about it, "Won't be long now 'till you're rich and famous. I only hope you won't be too famous to remember me when you are." Duh-huh, like, as if.
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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by otherside89girl » August 7th, 2010, 5:49 pm

Without fail, people will bring up so-and-so, a friend of a friend, who writes lovely children's books but can't get them published. So, yeah, "good luck getting it published" is the best (unsolicited) advice people can give me, apparently.

Whatever, I'll show them...

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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by steve » August 7th, 2010, 5:59 pm

I don't write but I enjoy getting my writer friends riled up by saying:

Write what you know.

You should know Latin if you're to have any command of the English language.

Your MFA isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Your manuscript reminded me of Jackie Collins.
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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by Margo » August 7th, 2010, 6:03 pm

polymath wrote:Duh-huh, like, as if.
OK, who are you, and what have you done with polymath?

My favorites:

You should just put all your work up on the internet for a fee. That way you don't have to pay an agent or a publisher.

My cousin's wife's hairdresser's mother wrote a coffeetable book on potholders. She says you don't need an agent to get published.

You shouldn't do a lot of world-building for fantasy. Just pick some real medieval country and change the names of things to words you made up.
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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by Margo » August 7th, 2010, 6:05 pm

steve wrote:You should know Latin if you're to have any command of the English language.
Frighteningly enough, I actually agree with this one. Classical only, of course, not that medieval crap.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by Leonidas » August 7th, 2010, 6:18 pm

steve wrote:You should know Latin if you're to have any command of the English language.
I agree with this as well. You don't need to know Latin to write well, but I learn most of the wacky grammar rules and how to correctly apply them to my writing in my Latin class

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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by polymath » August 7th, 2010, 6:35 pm

Margo wrote:
polymath wrote:Duh-huh, like, as if.
OK, who are you, and what have you done with polymath?
Voice of a dilly-bob betty I know.

I'm engaged in a mind-numbing editing project that's going to take forty hours and is due Wednesday. No time or mind for deep creative thought. Just slogging through nondiscretionary commas and missing words and misspellings and and and . . . and pages to go before I sleep.
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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by sbs_mjc1 » August 7th, 2010, 7:07 pm

otherside89girl wrote:Without fail, people will bring up so-and-so, a friend of a friend, who writes lovely children's books but can't get them published. So, yeah, "good luck getting it published" is the best (unsolicited) advice people can give me, apparently.
Ha. I get this all the time-- I think it's standard-issue "misery loves company". Personally, I've been told "you'll never be able to X" since I was about 13, I'm pretty much immune to this, since the people were generally wrong (except about my adult height... I'm still short).
*
A howler someone told Mike the other day: "When you approach an agent, don't be shy about asking for money." Ummm...
Another person told him that the best query letters are the ones that say "my book will sell a gajillion copies and make me the next Dan Brown".

For some reason, no one has expressed doubt over Mike's ability to write a novel, but a lot of people think I can't hack it.
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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by Margo » August 7th, 2010, 11:24 pm

polymath wrote:Voice of a dilly-bob betty I know.

I'm engaged in a mind-numbing editing project that's going to take forty hours and is due Wednesday. No time or mind for deep creative thought. Just slogging through nondiscretionary commas and missing words and misspellings and and and . . . and pages to go before I sleep.
Ohhhh, ok. I get like that, too. I was like that for 8 months, during my practicum as a therapist. I don't think I used a three-syllable word on my down time for 18 months afterward.

Plus, with my (diverse) background I tend to have different dialects myself.

Here ya go: a virtual 12-oz cup of expresso with a bottle and a half of No-Doze stirred in and a chaser of Provigil.
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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by maybegenius » August 8th, 2010, 1:14 pm

My boyfriend likes to ask why I don't just "write" the entire book inside my head before I put it to paper. Then I wouldn't have to edit because it'd already be perfect, duh!
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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by Nick » August 8th, 2010, 1:46 pm

Margo wrote:
steve wrote:You should know Latin if you're to have any command of the English language.
Frighteningly enough, I actually agree with this one. Classical only, of course, not that medieval crap.
I don't agree on the "any command" but oh yes it does help. And yes, yes classical Latin. Dear god medieval and Church Latin.

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Re: Wackiest "advice"/comments you've gotten from non-writers

Post by dios4vida » August 8th, 2010, 3:11 pm

My mother-in-law (who is a substitute teacher) keeps telling me about ads that Scholastic places for agents to submit their children's books to them and wonders why I don't do that.
Umm...I'm not an agent...and I don't write children's books.

I love the ever-so-helpful, "Why don't you write something like <insert super-hot bestseller here> instead of that fantasy stuff?"
Umm...cause I write what's in MY mind, not what's in Dan Brown/Stephanie Meyer/Danielle Steel's mind.

And then the genre-specific, "Oh, fantasy! So elves and trolls and stuff, right?"
Not really, actually. I like to create my own species.
<stunned silence>
But that general feel and genre, yeah.
...Does that even work?
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