Monday, June 23, 2008

Words to Starve By

"I believe that in a good collaboration, the authors bring their strengths to the story; one author’s strength cancels the other author’s weakness, and back and forth it goes."

—Jack Dann

Monday, June 16, 2008

WRONG! of the Week (WOTW)

“You won’t get rich here, but you get a byline and clips. Good opportunity for writer just starting out.”

Who says? First, modest means low (and probably slow). Writers just starting out are worthy of their hire. You, Mr. Employer, still get a story or blog post you consider good enough to use, so pay! This kind of ad is like saying, “Let's all pitch in and make ME money, sound good?” And those clips—often phrased as “exposure”—who is going to go repeatedly to a website full of content worthy of only “modest” payment? And if they do, will they fall over when they hear what market rate is?

Words to Starve By

"You can’t say, I won’t write today because that excuse will extend into several days, then several months, are not a writer anymore, just someone who dreams about being a writer."

—Dorothy C. Fontana

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Words to Starve By

"If you believe everything you read, better not read."

—Japanese proverb

"People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it."

—Harlan Ellison

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wrong of the Week

"We don't pay deposits. Our company has been around
for years—we are not going anywhere."

Well, it is industry custom to ask for a deposit on corporate
work, and many writers aren't budging without it. As one writer once
said, "If the client does go somewhere and never pays the balance,
you are only half as mad if you had half on deposit." Deposits also
demonstrate check-writing abililty. Good to know.

Monday, June 2, 2008


In an episode of "The Wire" (HBO), the managing editor wakes up and calls the city room—he thinks he may have transposed a statistic in a story. I have lurched awake at night wondering this. I also have had sources tell me they were surprised I called—didn't reporters just make up quotes, รก la The New York Times scandal of a couple of years ago? Being a writer takes training and skill. That's why I steadfastly stand for writers getting a reasonable rate for their work. Those 500 words may stand for 6 to 10 hours of work. They are worth more than $30, as another writing website maintained recently. I was deemed a malcontent and was told no one would hire me. I wear the title proudly. I am worth something and so are my stories. 

Words to Starve By

An artist's career always begins tomorrow.
—James Whistler

A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it.
—Danielle Steel