August 13, 2012

How to Be Friends with a Writer: Guest Post by Melissa Tagg


Today my amazing friend and critique partner, Melissa Tagg, is guest posting. She is officially my first guest post-er…and I couldn’t be more thrilled!! Yahoo! Melissa is so kind, sweet, and just all-around pure awesomeness. She's listened to me whine and celebrated small victories with me...and I haven't even met her in person yet! That's about to change in about 5-1/2 weeks.

Watch out, Dallas! Here we come.

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I’m so tempted to spend this entire guest post gushing about the awesomeness of Lindsay Harrel. I am crazy blessed to be her critique partner, and even more, her friend. And I’m
p-u-m-p-e-d to get to hang out here today. Thanks for having me, Lindsay!


Every writer needs a Lindsay in her life.

By which I mean we need those amaaazing fellow writer friends who so totally get us. You know, the ones who know exactly what we mean when we say things like, “I’m trying to figure out my MC’s black moment and my GMC feels all muddled and I’m scared my own personal HEA is out of reach!”

We’ve got our own code, yeah?

But alas, writers must live in the real world—which means we’re going to have to interact with the others. The non-writers. The people who may sometimes look at us like we’ve got silly putty for brains.

I think it’s only the kind thing to do to help ‘em out. So below I offer…

Tips for Being Friends with a Writer

1)   Try to avoid using scary words around us. Words like synopsis, query and pitch. They make us uncomfortable. And by all means, avoid the doozy: rejection.

2)   If you see us staring at a wall or out the window, don’t ask when we’re going to get to work. We are working.

3)   When you’re tempted to say, “But your character isn’t a real person. Stop worrying about her.”…resist! Or else be prepared for the stink eye.

4)   Don’t ask us when we’re going to be rich and famous. We’re wondering that ourselves, and we’re pretty sure it’s not going to happen because of writing. That’s why we come up with crazy plans to marry Tim Tebow or go on Wheel of Fortune. (Okay, fine, maybe that one’s just me…)

5)   Bring us chocolate. Or coffee. Or both!

6)   Don’t worry about us if it seems like we’re always babbling out loud when no one’s around. Truth is, we’re not just talking to ourselves. We’re talking to our fictional peeps. See, we’re so not crazy.

7)   If you find us tied up with rope, stuck in a tiny space or, really, any matter of “Why in the world did you attempt that?” positions, don’t ask questions. Just know we were probably testing out something from a story…and help!

8)   Unless you’re our parents, spouses or we owe you big-time, don’t ask for free copies of our books. Shell out the mullah, buy the book and we’ll love you forever and probably even forgive you if you’ve disregarded all the above tips!

I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface here. So if you’re a writer, what other tips would you offer for braving friendship with our kind? And if you’re not a writer, is the list do-able or are you now fearful of us crazy writers?

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Melissa Tagg is a former reporter turned fiction writer who believes faith, laughter, and love are the perfect mix for a fabulous novel. She is the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, 2010 winner of the MBT Frasier Award, and a past ACFW Genesis Finalist. She blogs regularly at www.melissatagg.com and loves to connect on Facebook and Twitter (@Melissa_Tagg). Represented by Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary, Inc.

46 comments:

  1. Ha - here's a little addendum I'd like to see attached to #7:

    If we ask YOU to let us tie you up and shove you into a crawl space or find yourself wanting to ask us "Why on earth would I let you do that to me?" know that we haven't gone psycho-freaky-wacko on you. We're just testing out something from the story...and we'll help you get out.

    Melissa - GREAT tips. Great post. I'm sharing this one today.

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    1. Haha, I love that Becky! That's way smarter than testing things out on our own. Brilliance!

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    2. Good friends totally should let you lock them up in a car trunk, right?

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  2. Fun post, Melissa and Lindsay! And right on. ;) I particularly love #2!

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    1. Hehe, yeah, if only I could get #2 to be relevant at my day job and not just my writing. Hehehe...

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    2. If only the stories would write themselves from our thoughts...sort of like ESP with the computer...

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  3. Lovin this post today, ladies! Ya'll are awesome and I can't wait to hang out with you both in Dallas!

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    1. I can't wait to hang out either! We seriously need to have a "meeting of the blog friends" party at some point!!

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    2. Gonna be completely awesome!! Yay!

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  4. I love the one about staring out the window and I love what a match you two are as critique partners! So cool!
    ~ Wendy

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    1. Staring out the window...I love that other writers understand how that is, in fact, working. I love being crit partners with Linds!!!

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    2. Mel is the best CP ever. :) God knew what He was doing, I tell ya.

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  5. Fun post!

    Love the "scary" words to avoid around a writer.

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    1. Haha, yes, just the word synopsis gives me hives... :)

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    2. Another scary word: deadline.

      Ooo, and one-sheet. Which is in fact one word...depending on who writes it. I've also seen it as one sheet. But I digress.

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  6. I love it! You've captured the reason why writers really need to have good friends that our other writers. Just cracking up :)

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    1. Indeed...writers just plain get each other!

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  7. Hahahaaaa! This list is perfect! I'll have to share it. :-)

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  8. I love it! And both of you - I can't wait for Dallas. :) This list is perfect and I should print it out and post it on my wall so that my non-writing friends know what they're dealing with! I'm so happy I came across this blogging world - all of you make me feel so normal.

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    1. Yay, can't wait to meet you in Dallas, Gabrielle!! Hey, guess what, in October I think I'm coming up to Storycrafters for the day on Saturday, too. Turns out I'm going to be in the Twin Cities that Friday, so I figured why not head out to the retreat on Saturday. Woohoo!!

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    2. Yay for Dallas and Storycrafters! We're all going to have a blast.

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  9. Hahahaha! I smiled simply at the title of this post. It never occurred to me that people needed guidlines on being friends with a writer. Y'all are too cute for words! I can't wait to finally meet you both in Dallas.

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    1. Yaaayy, it's going to be so fun to meet you, Donna, and so many other blogger friends in person in Dallas!!

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    2. Writers ARE a different breed, so of course there are guidelines for being friends with us. :P

      And yay for meeting up in Dallas!

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  10. Ha! Great post, ladies! Does this mean I get to see you both in Dallas?!

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  11. So Funny! Like Gabrielle, I feel very normal and truly a part of the writer's world after reading this list. Loved the staring off into space comment.

    How cool that two of the sweetest bloggers I follow are critique partners! I didn't know that about you. No wonder you two are a great match. I can't wait to meet you both!

    Only additional comment I might add is : Just bear with us writers when we begin to analyze and critique the plot and GMC of every movie and show we have just seen. ( This drives my mom, sisters, and kids crazy, but my sweet husband plays along).

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    1. Oh my goodness, yes, Ava, I do the same thing. I've lost patience for badly plotted movies. I'm really not a movie snob! It's just that I work so hard to make my plots work that I feel like movie-makers should be required to do the same. Hahaha... :)

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    2. Aw, you're so sweet, Ava! Mel and I are a great match...cuz we're both loco. ;)

      Can't wait to meet you too! I can't remember...will you be at ACFW? Hope so.

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  12. Love it, and I can't wait to see everyone in Dallas!

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  13. I must confess that I'm just a bit envious that y'all are crit partners -- I can only imagine the fun you two have together plotting and sharing your characters conversations!
    And, yeah, the whole "please buy my book" thing mentioned in #8. I was heading out for a speaking engagement last week and someone said, "Going to give away lots of books?"
    My reply: "No, I hope to sell lots of books."
    Although I always give away at least one book when I speak as an enticement ...
    Marketing, you know, marketing.

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    1. Oh yes, we do have fun, Beth! Last week we talked for three and a half hours straight... :)

      Nice reply to the question! :) But yeah, I'm sure giveaways are good too. Smart marketing. :)

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    2. We definitely have fun! I can't wait to have fun with you too, Beth! Dallas is no that far away.

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  14. Great fun!! I am jealous too! I wish I had a critique partner who understood kids books. It would be fun to talk about why we write what we write.

    Yep. I get asked about giving away books too. I don't mind donating to schools but I have to sell these books too!

    See you in Dallas Melissa!!

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    1. Yep, I can see how it'd be important to have CP who actually understands the genre you write. :)

      See you in Dallas!!

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    2. I just know God's got the perfect CP for you in mind, Ruth!

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  15. What a fun post! I love it and I can see you two are a great fit as CPs. Look forward to meeting you both in Dallas! :)

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    1. Yay for Dallas! So many fun people to meet!!

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  16. Linds, thanks so much for having me as a guest yesterday! I had a blast. And you're quite simply the best CP ever! Love ya!

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    1. Thanks for being here! It was so, so fun to have you. And I echo your words! YOU are awesome.

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