NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Do you have protection?

Writing Romantic Suspense poses a few...dilemmas...for a woman like me. As a little kid I was so shy I hid behind the sofa when people came to visit. I'm a little more mature now but some days I'd still rather hide behind the couch. I've always been private and extremely secretive (blame my nosy, older sister). I had a personal diary that she stole and exposed to the world and I didn't write down another thought until she'd left home, got married and had kids (even then I was careful, because she's very, very sneaky :)).

For a long time I didn't tell anyone I was writing novels.

However, for the record, I'm married to a loud Irishman and he'd tell everyone and anyone I was writing books--whether I liked it or not :) The first person he bragged too? A good friend of ours who is a frickin' professional poet--I wanted to evaporate on the spot. He's...enthusiastic (I'm thinking brash) and doesn't understand that writers have delicate egos and sensitive natures.

Except--that's bullshit.

Yes, I swore. Sorry.

The moment you decide you want to be a published author you cannot afford either a delicate ego or a sensitive nature. You will get tromped over and spat out like last year's...what, last year's what? Christmas turkey? Christmas pudding (no, that lasts forever), last year's failed political candidates.

That is a terrible simile, and you know what? I don't care. Well, I care, but I'm not going to let it eat me alive while I try to think of a better one. Because there comes a point in time when you have to let the words go. And after that, you need to grow skin as thick Kevlar and the sort of unfeeling personality that normally gets people locked up for being narcissistic sociopaths, because otherwise the criticism will destroy you and your creativity.

So IMO, unless you're Lady Gaga and BORN THIS WAY, you need to develop some personal body armor. Because at some point, be it your father-in-law saying you write 'filthy books' during a family luncheon, or getting slayed on a review site, you will get some negative feedback. Not everyone will love everything you write. And, if you want to keep writing, you need to strap on your protection and just smile as you take it.

You can be sensitive beneath the armor, but don't forget to reapply when the arrows start flying.

Excuse the pictures of two of my heroes (my models for STORM WARNING & SEA OF SUSPICION)...here's a third, without armor, Henry Cavill, who I used as my hero pin-up for my next Carina Press story, EDGE OF SURVIVAL. Actually, he looks good even without armor :) Oh, Theseus.

11 comments:

Clare London said...

Oh my goodness, what wise words! I really think we have no idea when we make that first submission that there are so many people out there, who will read it, love it, hate it, judge it, ignore it, tell you what they think about it whether you want to hear or not etc. That is, many more than your closest family and friends :).

To me that's the great difference between writing and publication - making yourself vulnerable.

And while I *also* like to hide behind the sofa (have we got a big enough sofa for us all ...?) I've been practising the armour impression ever since. I think I'm more Boudicca than Game of Thrones...LOL.

Wynter Daniels said...

Very true. Early in my writing career, a published member of my RWA chapter gave me a scathing critique and I considered throwing in the towel. I've since grown a thick skin to rejections, negative reviews and hurtful comments. It's all worth it in the end.

Marcelle Dubé said...

I like your inspiration, Toni. You're absolutely right, of course. Writers do need to develop a thick skin or quit. It's a weird juxtaposition--most writers are by nature introverted, yet we toss our babies out into the world to be judged and thus leave ourselves open to other people's opinions of our parenting skills. We're all nuts.

Rita said...

I have several areas where I’ve built armor for writing protection. The first is the ‘comments when I say I’m a ROMANCE writer. I say it quite loud now BTW. When I first got the “I don’t read THOSE kinds of books” and “Those books have no plots and are nothing but filth” it really threw me. Now they can’t pierce my armor and I sling a few arrows back. To the THOSE kinds of books comment I give the person a good up and down look smile knowingly and say “I know. I can tell.” I sometimes ask if they’ve ever read one and they always answer no. Even though I can tell, some are lying. Anywho I say if you never read one how can you say you don’t want to read them? Gotcha! To the others I sweetly ask to define plot and filth. I ask what they read instead and it is always the NYT best sellers. So I rattle off some romance NYT BS’ers and I’ve had some say oh yes they love those books. And I love the look on their faces when I say those are romance books sista. Actually had two tell me I was wrong- Brenda Novak and Roxanne St Clair do not write romance.
Everyone needs to understand bad critiques and contest comments are only the harbinger of things to come in the big time-reviews. And there will be some we don’t like or I should say don’t like our writing. Curl into a ball and suck you thumb for awhile and move on.
Is anyone out there a chemist? How about developing a cream authors can slather all over them to deter all of the above.

MaureenAMiller said...

It's easy to curl up into the fetal position when someone has something bad to say about your writing, but if you hold your breath for thirty more seconds, someone has something good to say about your books. So I've developed an erratic breathing pattern, but I'm working on the thick skin.
If one reader comes forward and says, "I couldn't put your book down", then it's all worth it. Now, if they had my book up in the air to kill a fly...well, that's a different story. :)

Rita said...

Marcelle
You're right we are all NUTS. LOL

Elise Warner said...

You said it all, Toni. Oh--keep that husband--he's a winner.

Shirley Wells said...

So, so true. I've developed a thick skin over the years, but it's taken a lot of stern lectures to myself. We writers are usually shy, retiring types and yet we want our work to be read - and loved. It's difficult.

I used to cringe when strangers asked "What do you do for a living?". I'm over that. Now, I try to sell them a book. :)

Anne Marie Becker said...

Toni, thanks for the eye candy! :)

I'm definitely NOT Lady Gaga and admire people who can put themselves out there that way. (Though, technically, I think having personas like that is a kind of armor in itself.)

For the most part, I have no regrets about putting myself out there (in the form of my stories), but then, my book doesn't come out until September. Ask me again then. LOL

Toni Anderson said...

Thanks guys--it can be a real shock the first time. I think of it as my naked hermit crab stage :) I've been hellish lucky with reviewers (touch wood) but there's always someone happy to make a scathing comment. And, Elise, I am keeping him :) He's a sweetheart.

Alexa said...

GREAT reminders/advice! (And even better pictures!)

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