The Journal: The Reason for the Perpetuation of the Myths

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: The Reason for the Perpetuation of the Myths
* Of Interest

Quotes of the Day

“[T]rust yourself. You’ve done the work, learned the lessons…. Now go for it. Send it out into the wild. … [Then] start on your next book.” James Scott Bell (wildly truncated)

“Publishing (and a few literary agency) contracts stand out for their audacious mistreatment of the counterparties (authors).” The Passive Guy

Topic: The Reason for the Perpetuation of the Myths

This is another purloined topic, sort of. In today’s edition of the Kill Zone blog, James Scott Bell added a new post titled “When Is Your Book Ready to be Published?” It’s an innocent-sounding but loaded question.

I’ve linked to it in “Of Interest.” However, I disagree with a lot of the post. But that’s just me. When I hear anyone being taught that they can’t do something, that they aren’t capable, I get disagreeable.

I don’t like teaching other people not to be confident and not to trust in their own abilities. I don’t like teaching that they ‘can’t’ do something, that they “need” input from their own conscious, critical mind (outlines, planning) and from the conscious, critical minds of others (critique partners and groups, beta readers). Yet some would claim I’m a charlatan handing out bad advice. That’s because they don’t want me upsetting the cart.

When Vietnam was still raging. in the face of claims that the US was a force for evil in the world, we used to say, “If you want to know who the enemy is, look at the direction the refugees are taking.” That’s still a valid test.

Today, if you want to see who’s taking advantage of insecure writers, follow the money. Look at the seemingly endless list of writers (many of whom have never written fiction) who churn out nonfiction how-to books that perpetuate the myths: they insist you must outline and use critique groups and development editors and book doctors and revise and rewrite etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam.

Folks, they keep the myths going for one reason: To keep you buying nonfiction how-to books. It’s a circle. The longer and more strongly writers don’t believe in themselves, the longer those writers will keep buying the “experts'” books, most of which reinforce that writers should not trust themselves.

The fact that some of those how-to authors of works that perpetuate the myths are also fiction writers is just a shame. Of course they’ll never be outed, but even if they were, in today’s society they’d simply spread their hands, don a mischievous smile, and say, “Hey, I was only trying to make a buck.”

All of that said, I DO like the truncated version of the final thought from Bell’s post in the Quotes of the Day.

To paraphrase the great Robert A. Heinlein, When you finish the first draft of your story or novel, someone out there will want to read it. Therefore, it is “ready” to be published.

And the likelihood that someone will want to read your work and will enjoy will increase almost exponentially if

1. you write that first draft as cleanly as possible at your current skill level, and

2. if you run a spell check, and then

3. run the manuscript through a non-opinionated first reader, meaning one who will point out real flaws like misspellings or wrong words or inconsistencies but withhold their opinion on subjective matters. (A good first reader will never presume to tell you, directly or by implication, how he or she would have written a passage of your work.)

Being positive is a good thing. Teaching others that they ARE competent and able and that they CAN write a novel by themselves is never a lie. And building confidence in another human being is never a bad bet.

Just think — if everyone suddenly became self-confident, hordes of how-to authors would take a much-deserved financial hit. Especially those who write and sell how-to books that only reiterate exactly what all the other how-to books say.

And a lot of non-writers would take a hit too, especially all the developmental editors and book doctors and fiction coaches and writing gurus out there who have never written a novel, yet somehow feel qualified to teach others how to do it.

Of course, I would take a very minor financial hit myself. I’ve written a few nonfiction how-tos. Then again, NONE of my books ape the same old tired bovine excrement that’s stinking-up the nonfiction shelves.

Besides, I don’t mind taking a hit. If a writer can’t afford one of my books, all s/he has to do is ask and I’ll send them an e-copy free. Because more than anything, I just want to get the information out there.

Be careful out there, my friends. Sharks abound.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Blogging and Bill” at

See “Publishing Contracts 101: Beware Internal Contradictions” at Be sure to see PG’s take.

And because PG specifically recommended reading and saving the full post, See “Publishing Contracts 101: Beware Internal Contradictions” at

See “When Is Your Book Ready to be Published?” at

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 840 words

Writing of Blackwell Ops 8 (tentative title, novel)

Day 10… 2303 words. Total words to date…… 20106
Day 11… 3134 words. Total words to date…… 23240
Day 12… 1257 words. Total words to date…… 24497
Day 13… 3078 words. Total words to date…… 27575

Total fiction words for June……… 21591
Total fiction words for the year………… 33368
Total nonfiction words for June… 7450
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 88060
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 121428

Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 66
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. I’ve never said WITD is “the only way” to write, nor will I ever. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among other topics.

2 thoughts on “The Journal: The Reason for the Perpetuation of the Myths”

  1. 1., 2., 3. – yes!

    And ditto: if a reader can’t afford my book (and the almost finished next one), I’ll be happy to send them an electronic copy if they ask; I’ll request a review – and tell them it’s optional and I don’t nag.

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