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Time, Energy, Vitriol

steelflower The third Steelflower peek is now up for my Patreon folks! This one is a glimpse into Kaia’s past–one of those scenes you write because you know it has some importance, you’re just not sure WHAT yet. Hope you guys enjoy it.

I’ve finally gotten past the second assassination attempt, and now I know why I was having trouble with it: I had to compress what I thought would be three or four separate scenes into one and a half, and make that one and a half do all the work. (Lo, I am a cruel taskmistress for my poor characters.) Now that those 2k words are out of the way, I can go on, and make some decisions about who goes into the frozen North and who stays behind.

I finally sent off Gallow 3 to my editor. I grew tired of poking at it; it needs another set of eyes, and the wrenching emotional load of the ending was beginning to wear on me. So now I can begin the process of separating from that series. That’s probably some of the problem I’ve been having lately, emotional exhaustion from Robin and Jeremy. Poor things. While no character is me, a great deal of myself goes into each one–one of those paradoxes, and it takes massive amounts of time and energy. No wonder I’m exhausted.

Reader V.M. kicked over an interesting news article today, about Joanne Harris laying some hometruths down.

“This breaking down of barriers has … created a false sense of entitlement, giving some readers the impression that artists and writers not only inhabit a privileged world, in which there are no bills to pay and in which time is infinitely flexible, but that they also exist primarily to serve the public, to be available night and day, and to cater for the personal needs of everyone who contacts them,” Harris will say.

But fiction, she will assert, “is not democratic”, and while “without readers, writers would have no context; no audience; no voice … that doesn’t mean we’re employees, writing books to order”. Joanne Harris, in the Guardian

I scanned some of the comments, and Lord, I should not have. I’ve already seen the vitriol directed at Harris for being a woman on the Internet, and further for being a writer. She goes on to note that not everyone can or should be a writer, just as “not everyone can or should be an accountant, or a ballet dancer, teacher, pilot, soldier or marathon runner.” The ease of self-pub has led to an incredible glut of unedited, indifferently crafted trash[1], and the ease and perceived anonymity of the internet has led to a lot of abuse. The Venn diagram of the two overlapping has a very, very nasty black hole in the middle.

In the end, quality will win out. (That’s my optimism showing.) But the sea of trash is poisoning the literary ecosystem, and the cure is a long and difficult one. I can’t help but wonder what sort of wonderful books we’re missing because writers get tired of the internet shitshow and the hatred when they don’t dance to a particular tune, or because the vast mass of steaming, regurgitated crap is choking the airwaves.

On the other hand, as I’ve said many and many a time before, the internet isn’t ubiquitous, it just feels like it is when you have the luxury of the hardware and leisure time to access it.

Meh. Time to turn the glowing box off and go for a run. And then, when I come back, to keep the ‘net off and get some more writing done.

Over and out.

[1] Yes, yes, I know, “not ALL self-pub”. Put that straw man away, or it will be ruthlessly dealt with.

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Wolf Lahti

Sadly, it is not just self-published work that makes up the stinky trash. Increasingly, books from major publishers appear to have slipped past the one-time gatekeepers of correctness, making me wonder whether copy editors and development editors even exist anymore and have been replaced by bean counters with no sense of language or story.

The saddest thing is, the reading public appears not to notice (or care), with some of the worst-written books in the history of literature going on to become runaway best-sellers.


This will be easier once someone invents the stupidity filter for the internet.


It is running rampant through most (if not all) creative avenues, mediocrity. Even the word leaves a bad tasting film on my tongue. Music, art, writing in all of its forms, food………….utter shyte is being heralded as works of art. Bullshit. In all honesty it makes attempting new to me authors akin to peering down a dark alley after you’ve heard a muted moan. *shivers* Scary.

Thankfully I have a handful of trusted authors that have yet to let me down 😉

Teagan Kearney

If someone thinks they can knock out a novel, stick it up on amazon and make a fortune, although I hear it does happen, most learn a hard lesson. Others may be taking a chance and fulfilling a dream. Nearly all careers in the creative arts are extremely competitive, and the internet does allow all comers, qualified or not, to enter the market – whether that’s good or not, is another discussion. But the fact is, whether a book is indie, self or trad published, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

Teagan Kearney

Oh, for sure, after all, we’re supposed to learn by our mistakes – and if somebody doesn’t point them out … I heard a Russian proverb that says ‘Better to be slapped by the truth than kissed with a lie.’
Thank you for answering.

Teagan Kearney

The same mistakes you refer to in your article as ‘a glut of unedited, indifferently crafted trash’. You said we can point out the problems; I was (probably erroneously) assuming some might learn if made aware of said problems.