One day, Sam will move to the beach…

Category: Rant

All the ways to say said

Fun story with a twist ending.

I worked with kids in an ELL program. That’s ELL for English Language Learners, not ESL/English as a Second Language, because for many kids learning English in the American school system, English isn’t a second language, but a third or fourth.

With one student, we were working through a novel intended for teenagers about her age. (16-18) She went through the words she knew easily, and her vocabulary was pretty impressive; after a year of English, she knew words her US-born contemporaries would have scratched their heads at. She liked to read, and it helped build her vocabulary a lot.

Anyway, every other paragraph or so, she’d stop and ask me what a word meant. And after a while, it almost became a game. Because every single time in this novel, the word she was asking about was a clumsy replacement for “said.”

“Don’t do that,” she yelled.

“I’m not angry,” he hissed.

“You can’t make me,” she growled.

“I didn’t mean to,” he sobbed.

Okay. Sometimes I understand this necessity. It’s important that he’s sobbing, and we need to know that. But seriously, there’s a limit–and there are better ways to say these things.

If my student would have to stop five times on every page of your manuscript and ask what that word means? You need to rethink some of your word choices

So stop it, okay self? Now get back to writing.

My Ration of Anxiety

I know that every author has been through this moment.

Everything is done. The files are ready and waiting. All that’s left is the actual upload and release. As of next Monday, I will become a published author.

Yeah, yeah, it’s ‘only’ self publishing. Whatever. The point is that I’m putting my first novel out there to be judged and rated, but hopefully mostly enjoyed.

Every author I know has admitted to being nervous about putting their first book out for sale, and right now, nervous doesn’t really cover where I am. I’m going to spend my time between now and Monday wondering if this is actually a terrible idea. Then, I’m probably going to keep wondering that.

But I’ve dreamed of becoming a published author since I was a little kid, and at this point, nothing is going to stop me from pressing that button, short of being hit by a bus.

That’s it, I’m not leaving the house till Monday.

Content Warnings

One of my fellow writers pointed out to me this afternoon that I should include a content warning on my novel to indicate that there are sex scenes that are intended for people who are 18+. I thought this was an excellent idea, and assumed that other people must have been in the same situation, so I started searching the web for information on how other people note content warnings in their works.

Interestingly, what I found was a mix of often angry opinions. Many think that content and trigger warnings are either necessary or at least acceptable, and offered suggestions on things that they might warn for, and where they would put that information. A surprising number of people, though, seemed personally offended by the idea that they should offer warnings, for reasons ranging from the idea that it would spoil their content, to rants about ‘special snowflakes’ that I’m not interested in going into.

For myself right now, I’m not worried about spoiling people. Guess what? My non-sweet romance novel has sex scenes. If that offends you, I’m not sure how you navigate the treacherous waters of romance novels. So I will shout from the rooftops that there is sex in my book, and if you don’t want it or can’t legally read it, please don’t buy it when I release it.

I’ve got to say, though, that if I ever have triggering material in my books, I’d much rather warn for it than not. Being a PTSD sufferer myself, I’m all too aware of the need for trigger warnings. Some days I just can’t handle reading about certain topics. Other days I’ll read them and be fine. So someone warning me about their content gives me the choice of when to read their work and enjoy it most. It gives others a reason to avoid them altogether. Yes, avoid them, and that’s a good thing, because you don’t want your fiction to hurt people, and you don’t want them to leave a nasty review on your work because you couldn’t be bothered to say ‘warning: domestic abuse.’

I’m curious. If you disagree with content and trigger warnings, why do you think they’re a problem, and what do you say to people who want them?

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