• These are the nine rules of Write Club ... pay attention ...





    This is Steffan's mind on an all-too quiet friday night ...

    With the world changing as drastically as it is regarding publishing, writing, making a living and selling books, several things have been floating around in the garrett rooms of my mind lately. While I wrote a twenty page dissertation on each of these points, I'll save you all the angst of having to read or ingest it as it's likely to cause many to wilt and come across as opinionated bombast. It seems that I did you one favour already. Mark one in my column ...


    The first rule of Write Club is ... there are no deals.

    The second rule of Write Club is ... there are NO deals!

    The third rule of Write Club is ... his name was Winston Groom.

    The fourth rule of Write Club is ... you are not your book deal.

    The fifth rule of Write Club is ... we write novels, not IKEA catalouges.

    The sixth rule of Write Club is ... you're not here to follow in someone else's footsteps.

    The seventh rule of Write Club is ... self improvement? Try self-destruction.

    The eigth rule of Write Club is ... your book doesn't own you, let it go.

    The ninth rule of Write Club is ... Editor before Agent and not the other way around.




    Did you understand all that? Fill in the blanks if you did and think further on it. If not, your homework is to write twenty pages on each point. Be specific.



    6 comments:

    1. Josh Keil11:42 PM

      Let me try my hand at the homework.

      The first rule of Write Club is ... there are no deals.
      -In a world of exponentially increasing number of "writers," the odds of landing a "deal" are exponentially lower. One only hears of deals, but do they really exist?

      The second rule of Write Club is ... there are NO deals!
      -In case you missed it the first time, it is really, REALLY difficult to get a publisher to swoop down out of the sky and bless you with riches and fame. It supposedly happens, but does it really?

      The third rule of Write Club is ... his name was Winston Groom.
      -Some people create a work that supercedes their own person. They get a "deal," but their work leaves them far behind, still lingering in obscurity. Money... yes. Fame... no. You may tell someone at a party that you are "the guy that actually wrote Forrest Gump," but they'll just think you're drunk.


      The fourth rule of Write Club is ... you are not your book deal.
      -A book deal does not validate you as a person or a writer. You are a writer because you write.

      The fifth rule of Write Club is ... we write novels, not IKEA catalouges.
      -Novels are fiction. They are an artistic expression that endeavors to capture some component of life as interpreted by both the author and the reader. You can not judge them in an objective fashion and wonder if they are correct.


      The sixth rule of Write Club is ... you're not here to follow in someone else's footsteps.
      -Self-explanatory. If you are not blazing new trails to some extent, your writing is not capturing your unique perspective on the universe, and therefore fails as a work of art. This rule may be at odds with one's desire to get a "deal" though.

      The seventh rule of Write Club is ... self improvement? Try self-destruction.
      -Hmm... You must practice writing to perfect your skills, but on the other hand you must also lay waste to your soul in order to open it and let inspired writing come forth.


      The eigth rule of Write Club is ... your book doesn't own you, let it go.
      -If you've written a book, and it's truly done, put it out into the universe. Don't clench it tighly to your breast waiting for your one narrow vision for it to come true. You will both die in that scenario.

      The ninth rule of Write Club is ... Editor before Agent and not the other way around.-Only approach an agent with a professional piece of work. Genius can be obscured by sloppiness.

      Do we get grades or any sort of online degree for this?
      -Josh Keil

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    2. Wow ... very nice. Well thought out and good delivery. Perhaps I'll send you an ARC of Greyhound for your troubles ...

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    3. Almost forgot ... everything good but #3.

      Winston Groom got royally screwed due to the standard contract that he had at the time and never knew what was going to happen to his book. But sadly, how could he?

      He went down a dark road, both personally and mentally because he felt he got cheated, which was really kind of sad. Zemeckis et al, told him there was no money or profits from the film that grossed over $200 Million and that he wouldn't be seeing any check at all. Which is where the term 'Hollywood Accounting' came from.

      On a final note though ... Gump & Co. is rumored to be in production with Hanks and there are efforts underway to right the previous wrongs.

      The follow up to Forrest Gump, was Gump & Co., and was a jaded and very bitter tale of Groom's own personal reflection regarding his personal failure with the movie.

      The point?

      Make sure that when you do sign a contract, that you don't give everything away for nothing without realizing it. Read everything at least twice and remember Winston Groom as you do, lest you suffer under the same fate.

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    4. Josh Keil11:43 PM

      You are a very educated man. I will now always remember the "Ballad of Winston Groom." Would love an advanced copy of GH. Thought the first chapter was great. Sounds like the wheels of the machine are still grinding slowly for you then. That is good news.

      My father-in-law read my galley for Delaying Death over the past three days. He showered it with praise, said he couldn't put it down, said he choked up a few times, said he's so happy to have an author in the family, and asked if I had anything else he could read. Good stuff, but of course, that's family. I will share it with you when it's ready.

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    5. Hi Josh,

      "Greyhound" is excellent but I preferred Steffan's "Yellow Fever". Maybe just my weakness for Asian women. Or something to do with "moral sensibility". But Marcus is worth getting to know as is the young Sebastien.

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    6. Ha! As I have travelled to Thailand twice with the military, I think "Yellow Fever" will be my first "Piper Novel" as soon as I clear out some space in my to-read pile. I may see reflections of people I know in there, and that is always the mark of a good novel. Thanks, calmly.

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