Ask the Author: Chuck Wendig

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Chuck Wendig all penmonkey is suffering
Chuck Wendig I didn't worry about listing comparative titles in my query -- my agent and I figured those out (er, once she was my agent, obviously). If you genuinely haven't read anything like it -- I'd say not to sweat it. Just make sure that feeling implicitly, not explicitly, comes out in the query.
Chuck Wendig 1. I read books for:

a) research
b) blurbage
c) enjoyment

but all of them end up in part as

d) analysis.

If a book truly entertains me and I fail to analyze it, it's because the book was so overwhelmingly good I forgot to deconstruct it. (If I'm asked to blurb a book, that's one of my measures of a book worth blurbing.)

2. MY OWN HA HA HA HA GREED okay, seriously, check out the books by Lawrence Block, read the Stephen King one, look for Save the Cat.
Chuck Wendig Beta readers and non-professional edits can have value, but it's worth noting that they can also go the other way.

A professional editor is a safer bet (though even there you're not guaranteed anything). Vet your pro editors. Check their references. Talk to them. See if you're a good fit!
Chuck Wendig I have honestly no idea. Ideas ping my radar all day. They're like hail hitting a car hood.
Chuck Wendig I don't get inspired so much as, I wake up, and I do the work. Some days that work feels inspired. Some days that work feels like I'm pulling teeth from a rabid dog by going through its asshole.

The thing is, when I feel inspired, the work isn't necessarily better. Sometimes its worse. And on the days when writing is hard, when every word feels like I'm carving it out of my own hide -- the work isn't necessarily worse, either. Most times, months down the line, I can't tell by reading the work whether I was feeling inspired that day or not.

Inspiration is overrated, maybe.
Chuck Wendig I'm working on a little something-someting called ZEROES.

Hacker anti-heroes versus an NSA hive-mind computer. Whee!
Chuck Wendig THE RAGING SELF-DOUBT. So scrumptious. Delectable. Subject to the finest intellectual terroir -- it tastes only of me, of me, of me! All my shame! All my fear! Ha ha ha! Ha!

*sob*

Wait, you said best thing. Never mind.

The best thing is that I can drink at noon and nobody yells at me. Except my characters, but let's be honest -- they were gonna do that anyway.
Chuck Wendig I shove it out of the way and keep writing.
Chuck Wendig Nope! No special story. Hint: the "dub" is because of my last name.
Chuck Wendig If this is your first night at Write Club, you have to write.

Also true if it's your second, fifth, or 257th night.

Make time. Carve it from the hide of your calendar. Use it to write. A lot or a little every day until that story is done.
Chuck Wendig Because sometimes I sell the rights (generally through the book's publisher) and sometimes I don't. It's not always an automatic, I'm afraid!
Chuck Wendig I carve open rock-pigeons and study their intestines.

That usually yields me no answers at all, so then I have to do something else called "thinking," which hurts my head but I do it anyway because I like the pain.

More seriously, most of my long-form fiction goes traditional -- for me, being an author-publisher is when I have risky material in some way, material that takes advantage of the freedom that arena offers. Risky in format, content, whatever.
Chuck Wendig I am sympathetic.

That said, always remember that there are others doing worse than you, and some of those doing worse have written and published whole novels. Sometimes more than one.

Life will not afford you sympathy breaks, and so if you want to do this thing called writing, you must snatch time from its crushing jaws and claim your career in whatever fits and starts you can manage.

You wanna write, write. Even if that's just 100 words a day.

And you can write 100 words a day sitting on the porcelain throne, so.
Chuck Wendig ELBOW DEEP.

I was just going to leave that as my answer, but Goodreads thinks I need at least 15 characters.

I go as deep as I need to, meaning -- I worldbuild to support the story, I do not write a story to support the worldbuilding.
Chuck Wendig There's zero risk because the people who are "just readers" will never go to my blog. The people that go to my blog are fans or are other writers, and this stuff is useful to them. My writing advice milkshake has brought a lot of readers to the yard. Way more than if I had been quiet the whole time.
Chuck Wendig A great agent is the best thing that will happen to you. A bad agent will be the worst. Choose wisely. An agent is more than just a business associate. And they should represent you more than they represent individual books.
Chuck Wendig
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