Tag Archives: author

Authors Answer 144 – The Writer’s Ego

Everyone has an ego, right? The ego is an interesting thing. Some people have a big ego and think very highly of themselves. Others are the opposite, and don’t have much of an ego. They still have an ego, though. It has to do with self-esteem as well as self-importance. But we usually hear about the self-importance part. So, how does it affect authors? This week’s question is from Eric Wood.

Question 144 – Does having a big ego help or hinder a writer?

C E Aylett

I’m sure there have been cases of both — the genius who knows it to be so and is uncompromising in taking advice from others ‘beneath’ him/her and wins out in producing a masterpiece and the humble author who listens openly to suggestions and takes on board what fits with what s/he’s trying to accomplish.

However, in most acknowledgements in most novels, credit is given to those who gave sound advice to the authors during the creation of the book.

If you mean ego = confidence, I don’t think there’s any harm in having confidence in what you do, because nobody else is going to do that for you until you’ve been published and proved yourself to the wider world. Also, if you don’t have some confidence – or ego – in yourself, you’d be too scared to put any of your work out into the world and push for your goals. But ego that takes on arrogance is only going to end up making you look silly if you fall on your face, no one else. I’m thinking of those self-pubbed stories that completely lack a sense of self-awareness because of the author’s ego telling them they’ve written the best story ever without first finding out if that is the case in accordance with the rest of the world.

A writer’s ego is a fragile and conflicted creature, too scared to be brazen yet needing to be so in order to realise its own ambitions. Sweep it too far under the carpet and it will never resurface into the light, but buff and polish it to be too shiny and people will naturally turn away from its garish nature.

H. Anthe Davis

A certain amount of confidence is essential to being able to wade through the pain and suffering of endless edits, rewrites, concrits and reviews. Believing oneself to be the be-all and end-all of writership, though… Well, I guess it works for some people, but personally I believe it eventually turns one’s work into a parody of itself, and keeps one from growing as a writer. It’s important to be able to consider criticisms as well as shrug them off — and big egos can’t do that. If you’ve ever had a favorite writer whose quality of work seems to have gone way downhill the longer they’ve written, ego-issues could be at fault; like a celebrity, a writer can reach a point where they’re only surrounded by yes-men, and lose the ability to edit out their bad ideas.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I think it can be a little bit of both, to be honest. On the one hand, having a big ego can mean that you’re unwilling to accept criticism, even when it’s absolutely warranted. I’ve met fellow writers who were so full of themselves that you couldn’t give them even the tiniest bit of advice, which is a terrible way to be if you actually want to grow as a writer. On the other hand, having no ego at all can also be a bad thing because you’re inevitably going to take a mental and emotional battering as a writer. If you can’t read unnecessarily mean reviews, for instance, without being able to turn around, put on a smile, and know that the reviewer is just an ass who wants to put you down, you’re never going to be able to survive actually becoming popular in any sense. Remember, with views/followers/readers/etc automatically comes trolls.

Eric Wood

I don’t know. That’s why I was asking. I would assume since most writers are introverts, a writer’s ego is usually moderately sized, like a grapefruit. Unlike an athlete with an ego the size of a pumpkin. I guess it just depends on what kind of characters you create. A big egoed writer could more easily write characters who are more boisterous, full of themselves.

Gregory S. Close

Having a big ego will not make or break a writer. Talent will. Ego expressed as self-confidence may help in pursuit of agents or publishers without the pesky interference of self-doubt. Ego expressed as arrogance could alienate an author from fans and hurt sales. In the end, it’s just one trait, and that one trait probably won’t determine much all by itself.

Jean Davis

It would seem that having an ego is necessary to being a writer. If you don’t believe your work is good, you’re not going to submit or publish it. Yet, if your ego gets too big, you may not be open to criticism or advice which can hurt the quality of your writing. There’s a happy medium, somewhere between having your soul crushed and being on top of the world.

Paul B. Spence

I’m guessing a little of both. If you mean an ego about writing… I think it would hurt. A writer has to be able to self-critique and take advice from an editor. On the other hand… you need to have enough ego to put yourself out there and say, “I wrote this. Buy my book, you’ll like it!” You have to believe in yourself and not give up. I think that is at least twenty-five percent of writing.

D. T. Nova

Depending on the situation it could do either one, but I’d say it hinders more than it helps. Especially for anyone who doesn’t already have a big name to go with it.

Cyrus Keith

Depends on how big the ego is. A big ego dreams big, and doesn’t know the meaning of “You can’t do that.” A REALLY big ego has no concept of constructive criticism, because everything they do is “perfect, how dare you question my genius!” In my opinion, a writer has to have a big enough ego to fearlessly push the edge of the envelope without being so self-superior that he/she cannot receive correction.

Jay Dee Archer

It really depends on what you mean by big ego. But I’ll guess that it means someone who has a very high opinion of themselves, extremely self-important. So confident that they’re better than everyone else that they appear arrogant. That kind of person can be an incredible pain, but they also have a lot of confidence in what they’re doing. That can definitely help them. But the drawback could be that they can’t take any kind of criticism. I know there are actors like this. The directors and other actors hate working with them. An author with an ego like this could be difficult to deal with from the point of view of publishers, agents, and editors. That can hurt them.

An ego can be good in terms of confidence. But it can be a hindrance if it means they can’t take criticism.

How about you?

How do you feel about an author having a big ego? Is it an advantage or a hindrance? Let us know in the comments section below.

What I’ve Learned While Not Writing

It’s no secret I’ve had little luck with writing lately. I’m not going to repeat the reasons here. But I have learned a few things while I haven’t been writing much.

Stories keep piling up.

I keep thinking about different story ideas. And they don’t stop. They’re in my mind, and they keep multiplying.

Taking other creative avenues.

I’m still remaining creative. My creativity has moved largely to YouTube. With my new science channel, I’ve been working a lot more on the editing and trying to make it look better.

I’m not reading more.

I’m writing less, but I’m not reading more. My reading seems to suffer when I don’t write. Why would that be?

Being busy doesn’t help.

I’ve been busy in many ways. This really doesn’t help my writing. If my days were simpler, I’d be able to write a lot more. But life isn’t simple.

While I may not be writing much, I’m still thinking about the books I want to write. And I want to write many.

Authors Answer 6, the Video Edition – Writing Mistakes

In my continued bid to revise my old answers and put them on video, I present to you Authors Answer 6. The original question was:

Which mistake or bad habit in writing is the most difficult for you to stop doing?

My answer is mostly the same, but I elaborate more on it. Check it out.

Did you enjoy the thumbnail image at the beginning?

Let me know what problems you have when writing in the comments section below.

Authors Answer 3 in Video Form!

Earlier today, I edited together my answer to Authors Answer 3. And my answer has changed from the original! The question was: How difficult do you find it to write characters who have vastly different beliefs than you? Take a look.

What do you think about my answer? Do you agree? How do you feel about writing characters of different beliefs than you?

How to Resume Writing After a Hiatus

One of these days, I’m going to get back to writing. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have any privacy to be able to do any serious writing at the moment. But, I will. To prepare, I need to do a few things.

Have a place

When the room in the basement is ready for me to put my computer on the desk and a chair to sit on, I’ll be there! Once it’s all ready, I can start writing.

Re-read what I’ve written

I need to get myself back into my world. I have to completely reacquaint myself with the story. Actually, I don’t need to do that, since I know it by heart. However, by reading, I get my mind back into it, and I can rediscover the feeling.

Prepare my maps

I have a lot of maps. By going over the maps, I can explore my world again and live there in my mind. There’s still a lot to develop.

Notes, notes, notes

I need to review my notes and write more notes. I need to write notes on all the characters, all the places, all the story lines, everything.

Update my author website

I need to add some content to my author website. In particular, I want to get the Ariadne Encyclopedia started. It’ll be my online reference guide for the world. I plan to have character profiles, country profiles, and star system information available.

Write and edit

I actually have several parts written but not up on the website yet. However, I need to get them critiqued and edit them. I also need to write my novel, not just Journey to Ariadne.

Keep everyone updated

I want to keep my readers updated in several ways. One is, through this blog. Another is on YouTube. Another is through my Facebook page. And the other big one is Twitter. Eventually, once I have a Goodreads author page, I’ll be updating that, too.

There’s a lot to do, but I’ll get it done. If you write, what do you do to prepare? Let me know in the comments below.

Authors Answer: The Movie Part 1

Authors Answer has come to the big screen! Okay, not really. It’s come to YouTube. Every week, I’m going to make a video answering the original Authors Answer questions! It’s been quite some time since they’ve been answered, so some answers will be different. I’ll also be able to show you some things with video. So, watch my first answer!

And if you want to see my original answer, go here. If you want to make a video answering the same question, you’re very welcome to do so.

If you have any comments, please leave them below!

Authors Answer 68 – Authors Research the Strangest Things

Authors appear to be very intelligent, don’t they? Well, a lot of the knowledge they’ve gained for writing is through research. And there are some bizarre topics that they’ve researched. I’m sure you’d be surprised, amused, or horrified if you went through an author’s Google search history. But don’t worry, it’s all for the book!

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 68 – What are some of the most unusual things you’ve researched for your writing?

Allen Tiffany

Whether or not a dual star system can have a planet orbiting one of the stars. There seems to be one line of thinking that it can be done if the planet’s orbit is at a 90 degree angle to the plane on which the two stars orbit each other. I also saw an article that said it was not possible, and tried to explain why with mathematical equations. I gave up trying to understand it, and I went with the first article because it fit my story.  🙂

H. Anthe Davis

Oh I’ve researched LOTS of stuff.  The most interesting to me was eye enucleation, but some recent ones include properties of silk armor, pre-modern heating and cooling, farming techniques, volcanic hazards, photosynthesizing sea-slugs, bee vision, unusual riding animals, fungus crafts, scar mobility exercises, eyeliner tattoos, and alpine survival.  All relevant to the story/world, even the sea-slugs!

Jean Davis

As with most writers, my search history can be quite disturbing depending on what project I’m working on. I’ve can’t think of anything too far out there, but I’ve definitely hunted down a lot of details on dead bodies and everything between the best horse breed to pull a gypsy wagon and various methods of space travel.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Ooh…I have to think about that. I’ve seen some pretty insane research topics pop up during NaNoWriMo, that’s for sure, but those weren’t usually mine. Actually, come to think about it, I don’t do a whole lot of researching because I write more fantastic stuff, the kind of stuff you can mostly just make up from scratch. I did once research how far a human can walk in a single day because I was worried that I was being ridiculous in my estimations of time passing during a long journey. I’ve looked up information on guns because I didn’t want to sound like I had no idea what I was talking about. Ooh…here’s a good one…while I was writing my zombie novel, “Nowhere to Hide”, I took to Google to find out if it was feasible for a 130-ish-lb girl to use a sword to hack right through another human’s neck. That one probably got me on a few government watch lists.

Paul B. Spence

Oh, my. Where to begin…? The fact that it takes longer than anyone wants to think about to explosively decompress? The effects of nuclear radiation on human tissues? Serial killers? Ancient Sanskrit? Penis length of great cats? I mean, who doesn’t want to know that? Right? The list goes on.

S. R. Carrillo

The only one I can think of off the top of my head would be the different kinds of acid and which one is used in pool cleaning. Like most writers, however, I research the wildest of things in pursuit of my craft. I’m sure there are much more heinous things out there I’ve Googled that I simply cannot recall. ^_^

Elizabeth Rhodes

My research into the Black Death turned up some strange things. I specifically looked into plague infections in animals, human superstitions surrounding the plague, and previous attempts to treat it. The topic may not be as strange as some of the others mentioned in this post, but the results sure were.

Linda G. Hill

Hahaha! I often say that if anyone peeked at my search terms on Google, they’d wonder a) what kind of disease I have, b) how am I hiding all those addictions, or c) what kind of psychopath I am. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m on some sort of international watch list for the criminally insane.

Gregory S. Close

I spent an inordinate amount of time determining whether or not some characters were eating pottage or porridge at an inn.  (It ended up being porridge, for those who want to know).

I also really enjoyed researching insults – it’s pretty cool to see how different terms have evolved into insults and to recreate that in my world-building.  The key elements of insults: they are almost always derived out of religion or bodily functions, and often the conjunction of the two!

Eric Wood

Thanks to the inspiration from a fellow blogger, every Friday I do a post where I answer questions my two kids have asked throughout the week.Therefore, I have had to look up everything from baby crows to the coldest temperatures on earth. I’ve looked up what blind people see and earthquakes. It’s great fun!

D. T. Nova

Geographic distribution of eye colors.

Whether or not you can “draw” a weapon or tool that isn’t in a sheath or holdster, or if there was another word for it.

Multiple instances of “I need a name that means X” result in spending a lot of time on baby name websites…and the fact that I’ve also researched pregnancy might give anyone spying on my search history a very wrong idea.

Which reminds me: the effects of certain drugs.

Jay Dee Archer

I’ve had a few interesting searches. For my Ariadne series, I’ve researched wind directions depending on latitude, the effects of an electromagnetic pulse on electronic systems, climate zones, injuries caused by a chisel, mineral hardness, and information about male and female plants. For my future Solar System series, I’ve researched Holst’s The Planets.

Future topics will be the psychological effects of rape, PTSD, government types, urban planning, and genetically modified plants and animals.

How about you?

What are some of the strangest things you’ve researched for writing? I wonder who has the strangest topic. Leave your answer in the comments below.

Book Business Cards and Cheat Sheets

In last week’s Authors Answer, one of the more common questions we hated to answer was “What’s your book about?” It’s a difficult question to answer because we usually don’t have a rehearsed description of the book we’re writing. So, I thought, why not just write down a brief description of the book, like it would appear on the back cover, and give that to anyone who asks?

Turns out, this kind of thing is real. But they’re simply author’s business cards. However, you can put a book blurb on one side of it. That’s fine for if you have a published book, but it doesn’t work for a book you’re currently writing.  And why would you write the blurb before you even finish the book? That’s not an easy thing to do, since your book may change drastically by the time you publish.

So, make a cheat sheet. Just write down what you feel is the best description you can make of your work in progress, and keep it in your wallet. Whenever someone asks, pull it out and read it to them. Even better, memorise it. Or if you like, print out a bunch of them on paper and hand them to anyone who wants to know, along with your name, email, and website’s address.

Anyone ever seen something like this? What do you think?

Blog Spotlight – C. K. Rich

Hailing from the south of the United States is a blog/website run by author C. K. Rich. Caren is a contributor of Authors Answer, and she’s also been a major commenter here from time to time. Her blog is self-titled, C. K. Rich.

ckrichWhen you arrive at the website, you’ll notice something. Waiting to welcome you is an alligator. Well, Caren is from the south. The design is simple and uses light, neutral colours. The landing page is a static page, so you need to use the menu above to access the blog. However, there’s a category list on the right column, as well as an archive.

Looking at the menu, we have Home, Blog, Contact, About, and Books. This is very straightforward and easy to understand. Of course, Home is the landing page.

Blog takes you to her blog. You can find her posts, which are writing related mostly. It’s pretty focused. She writes mysteries, by the way.

The Contact page is just that, a contact page. From there, you can fill out a form to send her an email.

The About page takes you to a brief, but concise page about herself, including what she writes and even where she went to university.

The Books page has her published writing, of course. First is The Fruitcake, which is available for free! The other is The Christmas Gift, which was published in an anthology.

Definitely check out her blog, where you can enjoy her southern hospitality. She’s quite active on her blog, so there are always frequent updates.

Personal message to Caren

Thank you very much for being a great member of Authors Answer. I’ve always enjoyed your answers. You’ve been a great contributor to the comments on my blog, as well. Glad to have you around!