The writing industry has a plethora of conferences, workshops and mentors, all promising answers and connections to help build your writing career. Of course, all of this comes at a price – conferences from $400 to $3000, mentors at around $150 an hour – which wouldn’t be a problem if so many of those offering advice weren’t flim-flam carpetbaggers. I offer excerpts from one such guru on my bad side:
I fear that for the beginning of a novel, the (pages) don’t grab me, fascinate me, make me love the character enough to keep reading.
(Forgetting this mentor’s redundancy, she also completely misses the shooting that takes place on Page 3.)
She goes on: There’s a lot of “fucking” and too many exclamation points and then semi-colons.
(There are three of each over the first ten pages.)
My “comps” – comparative stories used as short-hand to help editors understand themes of a book quickly – are decried: Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (is) about a woman mourning her mother’s death. I’m not getting the connections here.
(A principle theme of my bad side is coping with being an orphan.)
The conclusion of my $150 analysis was this: Do you want to try a personal essay? That’s the first assignment I give my students that they publish most often.