Allison Temple Blog

Awkward and Thoroughly Kissable
Posts tagged pet peeves
Worst. Review. Ever.
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What I learned from my worst review

(this post is based on the Marketing for Romance Writers 52 Week Challenge)

Dudes. I have one published novel. You didn't think I was actually going to call out a particular review, did you? That way lies madness and possibly career suicide.

Here's what I know that I didn't know five months ago.

Don't. Read. Reviews.

Especially don't read early reviews. Good or bad, they will do nothing for your mental health. Nada.

Also don't respond to reviews, even those that totally missed the boat on what you were trying to convey. You don't know that reviewer. By putting a book out there, you are inviting people to read your book, but also you are inviting criticism. That's how it works.

So yeah. Stay away. No good can come, really, from reading reviews. If you must, get a trusted friend to vet them and send you the good ones. And recognize that you can't please everyone. What you think is earnest and heartfelt, may be silly or bitchy to someone else. Write your book truth, then go write another one.

Step away from the reviews.

Please Don't

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Worst Writing Advice I've Ever Gotten

(this post is based on the Marketing for Romance Writers 52 Week Challenge)

That is an excellent question. For every aspiring writer there is a book, course, website, blog, podcast, or man on the street with pamphlets, with helpful tips on how to BE a writer. Many have conflicting points of view. So what might be the worst advice for me, might be the exact motivation you need.

I can tell you the things that I do and don't do.

DO

  1. Plot
  2. Write sequentially
  3. Skip sentences and paragraphs
  4. Tell your inner editor to shut up while drafting
  5. Deviate from your plot, but find a way back to it by the end
  6. Make time for your writing and guard that time fiercely
  7. Read your book out loud at least once before you let anyone else read it
  8. Keep looking for ways to improve your craft and your process

DON'T

  1. Mix editing and drafting. Fix a typo if you must, leave the rest until the draft is done
  2. Skip whole scenes. If you don't know why you need this scene, go back to your plotting
  3. Write every day if you don't feel like it
  4. Jump into a draft because you're sure you know what's going to happen, even if you haven't finished plotting
  5. Compare your progress to anyone else's
  6. Get discouraged when you realize your first (or sixth) draft is crap. Everything is fixable
  7. Start drafting something new until you've finished the first draft you're currently working on

The worst advice? Someone (Stephen King? Obama? I don't know) said that if you haven't finished your draft within six months (a year? two years? I don't know that either), then you're probably never going to finish it. This is crap. See my list above. If you want to write, commit to writing, but don't set a time limit on whether you pass or fail. The Pick Up took me two years to write the first draft. I just wrote Cold Pressed in five weeks. Neither is more or less valid. As long as your still making progress, it's all good.

Keeping it Real on Release Day

My book: out today!

My car: won't start :(

Funny story, one of my favourite places to write is in the customer lounge at the car dealership. It's so peaceful. There's good wi-fi, bad TV, and no one to disturb you unless you count the guy who is trying to upsell you on a cabin air filter, and that's usually pretty brief. My favourite thing to do is to write the sexy bits while I wait for an oil change. Don't ask me why. Maybe it's as close to exhibitionism as I'm comfortable getting. I wrote Kyle and Adam's first kiss at the dealership. Their first love scene too.

Today though. I did not plan to do any writing at the dealership. Or to do any writing at all. I planned to lurk on social media for all the release day feels. Then I was going to have lunch with a friend. Do a little work this afternoon. Then dinner with Mr. Temple. Huzzah! A special day.

You know what curbs many of those plans?

Having your car towed when it won't get its act together on a Monday morning.

It's not even that cold out today!

Anyway. If you've read The Pick Up, you know Kyle's van is a beast with unpredictable functionality. Maybe I'm just going for the truly authentic release day experience.

If you haven't read The Pick Up, you can get it from Riptide, or click here for the other retailers. I hope you like it.

I'll just be here, keeping it real!

My Mom Might See This

caleb-woods-182648 Last week there was much righteous angst and furor over Romance's 'feature' in the New York Time Book Review. Apparently it started out promising, with an entwined couple on the review's cover. The NYT promised readers a Roundup of the Season's Romances. Then things started to fall apart, the roundup written by someone who either has an axe to grind or couldn't be bothered to do anything like research.

By the time I heard about the sexist and patronizing drivel contained in said roundup, the editorials and angry rants had already started happening online. I mean, some of the books cited weren't even published this season, or even in this decade. What was the point of the title? And then the review's author rounded it all up with "Why shouldn't women dream?"

Thanks. I didn't need your permission. I'll dream on my own terms.

 When I got married, Jane Austen loomed large in speeches from family. My cousin played a guessing game of romantic quotes (she might have spiked the deck with a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, just because she could). My mom referred to the ubiquitous accomplished woman, but pointed out that in the 21st century, we liked to snorkel, could rock a hard hat on a job site, and our extensive reading now included sparkling vampires (it was the height of the Twilight craze, don't judge).

I don't feel the need to defend my reading preferences, or my writing ones. I like what I like. There are so many moving and beautifully written romances out there. It's disheartening to see articles like the NYT that perpetuate the attitudes that romance novels are something that should be hidden under your mattress, and that the genre only includes heterosexual dukes, governesses, billionaires and pregnant virgins. I know that's not true and, if you're reading this, you probably know that's not true too. Those of us who write queer characters, or space pirates, or even Scottish lairds not in the Regency period, are all very disappointed to hear that we don't write 'real' romance.

My bio is up on the Riptide website. I showed it to my boss, who is white, male, and in his fifties. He poked around the website for a minute. "I'm noticing a trend in what they publish," he said. Nary a heterosexual duke or pregnant virgin to be seen. I just raised an eyebrow. He's an observant fellow, my boss.

I shared the bio link on every social media channel I have. Mid-day today, Facebook told me my mom had liked my author page. That made my heart skip a little. She's been very supportive my adventures in publishing, going so far as to scoop up a stack of my newly printed business cards to give to friends the last time she came to visit, but she hasn't hunted me down online until now. On my drive home, she proudly told me over the phone that she has added my blog to her Wordpress favourites (I didn't even know she knew how to do that). Cue another heart skip.

All this to say, my mom might see this post. I'm not stuffing my writing under the mattress. I started dreaming about this long before the New York Times told me it was okay. I'm lucky I have family who support this crazy publishing dream, when so many people, both strangers and others, are more than happy to roll their eyes and snicker at the inhabitants and creators Romancelandia.

My mom is going to see this post. Leave a comment to say hi, so she knows how cool we all are.

 

Dear Grammar Nazis

If you're one of those people who enjoys correcting people who mix up 'their', 'there' and 'they're' in social media posts, stop reading here. Seriously, there are lots of great posts on this blog (try this one, have you met Kyle?), but this one is not for you.

stop-863665_1280Still there? I assume you've been warned.

Look, I understand that no one likes a grammatically weak book. Or blog post. Or status update. But the very term of Grammar Nazi makes my skin crawl. Here's why.