Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Non-Writers talking to Writers about Writing

Okay, okay, I know, that’s a hell of a mouthfull when it comes to a subject line.

In a soon to be released episode of Fangs and Fonts where we talk about communication, I tell the story of an encounter I had with my brother and I wanted to know if anyone has ever encountered a similar situation.

Now, before I tell the story, I am not looking for advice on how to handle something like this, because I handled it. What I am curious about is if any of you have dealt with similar situations.

The whole thing came about from an episode of Writing Excuses where one of the hosts talks about how most inexperienced writers will try to solve plot issues by throwing more characters into the story. I had asked my brother if he felt this was the case with ‘Wheel of Time’ and ‘Game of Thrones’, as both series have an overabundance of characters.

What I got in return was two sentences telling me that he did not feel that was the case, and then a lecture on how I should write a novel. (which included handling characters, plot points, etc) I grinned and sat through it, then switched the subject as soon as was politely possible. Now, my brother has read my work before, and his comment was “This reads like a professional story” and it was one of my first works. So he knows I can write.

Have you ever had someone who doesn’t write, nor has ever shown interest in writing, lecture you on your craft?

I have indeed. My experience is that the less someone knows about writing, the easier they think it is. What’s even worse are people who try to tell you what to write based on assumptions about the publishing industry they’ve extracted from their behinds.

Amen, squared. A co–worker has been pestering me to write a TV script that is nothing like the kind of stuff I normally write for over a decade now because it’s sure to make “us” rich. This despite the fact that I know nothing about script-writing, which he keeps claiming isn’t important because the “idea is so good”, and don’t own a TV. I’ve heard so much manure about writing emerge from the mouths of so many ignorant people over the past decade and a half that clearly know nothing about the subject that, for the first time, I begin to understand where all the fad diets come from. (They come from people who know absolutely nothing about nutrition, but are convinced they do and can convince others they’re right.)

I quite like getting a reality check from non-writers. Hanging out in places like this forum, where we’ve all picked up a lot about the industry and the craft, it’s easy to forget that not everyone shares this specialist knowledge. I had to grin when my karate instructor said he wouldn’t submit the book he’s convinced he’s got in him to an agent in case they pinched his idea :slight_smile:

Oddly enough, I too had a friend try and convince me to pick up a book on writing scripts and screen plays because she felt it would be something good for me to get into.

As long as we’re on the subject, how about those who want you to write their ideas and also demand full credit for allowing this supposed privilege? Madness. And there are droves of these.

I already found out that listening to advice from non-teachers about teaching can pay off…not necessarily following advice given by these people, but listening to it. There’s a big difference.

It could be the same here…

Of course, the flip-side to this is that when you tell non-writers that you have a book out, they’ll ask whether it’s on Amazon and be impressed that it is – without any knowledge of the difference between self-publishing, small indie publishers, and the big New York publishers.

Well there’s no notice popping up that this is a dead thread, so I’ll post in it xp

I get this a lot, especially from people who have no idea how much blood sweat and tears can go into the craft x.x The worst culprit is my ma, who doesn’t seem to understand why I don’t just make a living off of writing already and quit my day job xp

I don’t think this thread is dead yet!

I usually experience these sorts of things when I’m at home. Nothing is more frustrating that having my parents (yes, I’m a young’un at home still) tell me I’m spending all my time on a computer playing video games. I have a little netbook that I write on, and it can barely run multiple word documents. Ah…

Still, we do have to pay attention to some of the non-writer’s opinions, only if they are actually readers. We live in a society today where everyone has a right to voice their opinions, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be wrong.