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Writers and readers

Recently, GalleyCat ran a story about a soon-to-be-published novelist who works as a contracts specialist for a book publisher. I can't decide if that's the fox guarding the hen house or a hen hired to lure in foxes.

The author in question works for G.P. Putnam's Sons and The Penguin Press, but she's publishing her book with Dorchester. It didn't say much about the book, but she had some advice to writers (miladyinsanity already commented on the advice in her blog) about not writing to the market. What intrigued me was this list of three things the author/contract specialist liked about her "day" job:

"1) You don't take your work home with you. Contracts are confidential so when you leave work, you can mentally leave it, too.

"2) You can read for pleasure. There are only a few departments in which you don't have to read your own company's books for some aspect of your job, and contracts happens to be one of them.

"3) You don't have to put your creative energy into others' creative endeavors. You get the creativity stimulation of being around writers and books without having to actively take part in the creative process. This means the creative energy within you is truly our own."

It's very true that becoming a writer ruins you for reading, at least for a lot of reading for entertainment. When my brother worked as a projectionist at a theater, I used to hate to go to the movies with him because he paid too much attention to the mechanics of showing the film. He would mutter under his breath things like, "Out of frame!" or (after hearing a dinging noise) "Change-over coming!" I'm like that now, when I read. It takes a really good writer to make me lose myself in a story. Anything less and I pay more attention to technique and character development than a reader should.

Fortunately, there are plenty of good writers out there!


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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
miladyinsanity
Aug. 4th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
I think being able to leave your work at work is a great thing to have if you're a part-time writer/artist/whatever.

Tamara Siler Jones thinks the same way. She also said that if you're a writer and your dayjob involves a lot of writing that not everybody will be able to come home and write some more.
karen_w_newton
Aug. 5th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC)
Very true! I actually work for a legal publisher, but I'm in Systems, not Editorial. One of my friends/co-workers writes mysteries, and I think she can do it only because our company's material is so dry it doesn't count as creative writing at all.

Her stuff is funny, BTW. She write the Lacey Smithsonian mysteries. The first one is called Killer Hair</a>.
miladyinsanity
Aug. 5th, 2007 12:20 pm (UTC)
I remember the post, and TSJ did mention something about creative energy. Everybody has only a finite amount of it, and if you spend all of it at work, then you wouldn't have anything left over. Which I understand quite well.

Are those cozies?
karen_w_newton
Aug. 5th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
No, they're more chick lit. Lacey is a young Washington journalist who gets stuck on the fashion beat because she loves clothes but still she manages to solve crimes. The titles are great. After Killer Hair there's Deigner Knockoff and Hostile Makeover..
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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