Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy what you find here. Whilst you may not agree with everything I post, if you respect my right to my opinion I'll respect your right to disagree with it and we should get along just fine. :)

Disclaimer: the views expressed by the characters in these works may not necessarily represent the views of the author. Got that? Good.

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Friday, 28 May 2010

#FridayFlash: Constructive Criticism


The Pixies are taking a break this week owing to my having spent much of the past few days hanging around doctors' waiting rooms (and no, not for the purpose of indulging my penchant for ancient magazines!). They will return soon, but in the meantime...

_____

I bumped into an old friend last week, and over a cup of tea happened to mention my writing.

'Oh, you've become a writer now?' she asked dismissively, 'When did that happen?'

I know I hadn't seen her for a while, but she made it sound as though I'd been in for major surgery, or had grown an extra head or something. I don't know what annoyed her more, that I'd started writing, or that I hadn't told her; she never had the courage to try, you see.

'Well don't expect much from it,' she continued. 'There are thousands of people out there who think they're God's gift to literature, most of them starving in garrets, or wherever writers, err...'

'Write?' I ventured.

'You'll never make any money at it,' she called after me as I went to put the kettle on for a second cup.

She stopped criticising after her second cup of tea, which might have something to do with what I slipped into it.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a new chapter of my novel to write, The Life and Times of a Tea-Drinking Serial Killer won't write itself. That's only a working title, if you can think of a better one, I'm open to constructive criticism; you're welcome to pop round, we can discuss it over a nice cup of tea.



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49 comments:

Marisa Birns said...

Hah! Well done, Sam! I hoped he'd send her on her way. I was thinking more along the lines of her home. :)

But, there was nothing constructive about her criticism, so...

Let the main character know that I love the title of his new book!

And tell him that while I appreciate his offer, I really don't need a cup of tea!

Josie @safetycomfort said...

Says it all: "she never had the courage to try, you see." Double ouch, for her and for you.

What did you slip into her cuppa - pixie powder?

Gracie said...

Aagh, I despise that attitude when people find out you write.

Hmm... I feel a tea party coming on. Sam, can I get your recipe? :)

Too funny. I think the title of your novel is great.

ajk said...

Thats fantastic, really enjoyed that, very neat, quite cathartic and involved tea

Laura Eno said...

Oh, I love that! So many people will actively discourage you or make snide remarks about writing. Some just don't get it, others are jealous. Don't let them get to you...you have an awesome talent!

John Wiswell said...

Can't imagine why you broke up with her. Letting her get away meant she might survive in the wild. Better to do the humane thing and... well. Happy writing.

peggy said...

This made me smile. I'll put on my thinking cap for a more impressive title.

Hey! I'm a tea drinker!

Sulci Collective said...

Quite frankly, while hard to empathise with a serial killer, she deserved everything she got for some hackneyed opinions on writers. "God's gift"? yes, our egos tell us that it must be so. "In a garret"? Well there was that spate of flat conversions in the 1980's but this isn't France you knwo....

Let's see now...

"Brew's Up"

"Just let it Simmer"

"Until The Whistling Stops"

"Tea, Leaves"

"Cup Of Char From A Right Charmer?"

"The Indigestive"

This was great fun> I enjoyed it very much.

marc nash

Sam said...

Marisa - So, not a trea drinker, eh? Probably just as well, under the circumstances! ;) Thanks for your great comment.

Josie - Hehe! No, not pixie powder, I have no idea what my MC slipped into her tea, though I suspect it wasn't just something to make her sleep. Just so's it's clear, this is not an autobiographical story! :)

Gracie - A tea party? Sounds like a great idea, I'll send the recipe over.

ajk - Thanks for those kind words. Glad you enjoyed it. My MC asks if you fancy a cup of tea? ;)

John - LOL! Thanks John, glad you enjoyed the story. BTW, I'm not the MC of this tale!

Laura - Thanks for the kind words about the story and my writing. Whilst this isn't an autobiographical story, I daresay I will receive this sort of reaction at some point, maybe I'd better lay in supplies just in case?! ;)

peggy - Thanks. You're welcome to pop round for to discuss any ideas you may have, my MC would just love to make you a nice cup of tea.

Sam said...

Marc - Thanks. This story seems to be striking a chord with my fellow writers. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the brilliant list of alternative titles, my favourite of which is "Until the Whistling Stops." I'll pass them along to my MC, who will no doubt invite you over for a cup of tea to discuss them.

Diandra said...

And haven't we all considered this option one or two times already? *lol*

"Ooooh, you're writing! How charming. Do you have any other hobbies?"

Sam said...

Diandra - Glad you enjoyed this little tale. Other hobbies, eh? Well, my MC is a dab hand at preparing dried Hemlock. ;)

Tony Noland said...

Ha! This was terrific, Sam. I'm just glad I don't need to do this in real life; I'd quickly run out of places to pile up the bodies!

Laurita said...

Haha! Nice abrupt turn there. This was a great chuckle. :)

jim wisneski said...

Damn straight!

We writers know how tough it is... so don't rub it in our faces... or you'll some tea... haha!

Jim

alisonwells said...

Very entertaining. This woman was a character well worth killing and I've done some killing in my time. (fictionally, of course).

ThomG said...

Wicked good. This just made my Friday - and my day.

Valerie said...

The only place I ever went where people were genuinely excited and interested to hear I was a writer was Dublin. Everywhere else we're sort of like the odd uncle no one talks about. I'm so glad you've found a foolproof method of coping with those kind of people. Very fun read.

Jodi MacArthur said...

Sam, you've discovered Hitchcock's secret! How else could he have nailed with such accurately?

Why do people give us such funny looks when we say we write? They don't get what's it like to create and explore and entertain others while you do it.

Great friday flash. Uh, I'll pass on the tea, thank you. ;-)

Aislinn O'Connor said...

Knew there had to be a reason why I drink a lot of coffee...!!

Great story - don't you just hate when someone who's never had a proper go at anything patronises you like that?!

I was going to suggest she'd make a good meal for the Wyrm, but she'd probably give the poor creature indigestion.

Would love to read the rest of that novel!

Josie @safetycomfort said...

oooh.... that will teach me read very late at night when my ability to add 2+2 is somewhat impaired. I get it now - "tea drinking serial killer", "what I slipped into her tea" = a fiction piece. Was I the only one who didn't quite realize the first time round? *blush* heehee!!

estrella05azul said...

My gosh this was wonderful, Sam! Loved the whole thing, and... I could, but I won't criticize the title... :P

Sam said...

Laurita - Hehe, glad you enjoyed it.

Tony - I suspect I may end up the same as you if I keep writing; we don't have much body-hiding space here to start with!

Jim - Any problems with anybody, send 'em round here and my MC will put the kettle on. ;)

Alison - I am soooo glad you clarified that! Thanks for a lovely comment.

ThomG - So pleased to hear you enjoyed the story. :)

Valerie - Strange isn't it, that we should be appreciated in some locales and avoided/shunned in others. My MC's tea recipe is available if you need it.

Jodi - Aw go on, just have a small cup, you know you want to. ;) Seriously though, many thanks for your comment and support of my writing.

Aislinn - Even I wouldn't do that to the Wyrm! Unlike my MC, I'm a coffee drinker too; can't be to careful, eh?

Josie - Heehee! I just thought I'd better qualify who my MC was, just in case I ended up with a visit from the boys in blue; they'd ruin the bathroom floor excavating it! ;)

estrella - Very wise, or my MC might have to ivnite you over for tea. ;) So glad you enjoyed this short tale.

mariblaser said...

I had naively accepted your cup of tea, before Aislinn warned me about your doings.

Am I in heaven now? Or maybe hell? lol

Eric J. Krause said...

Too funny! Research and shutting her up all in one fell swoop! Good story!

PJ said...

Sam - so well done... I will have a secret chuckle now when I encounter people who are not supportive of my writing ;-)

ganymeder said...

OMGROFLOL, that must be the best way I've ever read of dealing with harsh critics! And if we ever have tea together, I'll be sure to tell you what a wonderful author you are. It shouldn't be hard, since it's true. :)

Danielle La Paglia said...

Nice job, Sam. People have no idea how much courage it takes to sit down and write and then share what you've written.

PS - I will never have tea with you :)

Sam said...

Mari - lol! You'd be fine with me, I drink coffee! My MC on the other hand... ;)

Eric - Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

PJ - Hehe! Nice to know there are ways of dealing with such people, isn't it? ;)

ganymeder - Thanks so much for the lovely comment. You're welcome for tea anytime round at my MC's place; you'll be fine, he says he likes you!

Danielle - Thanks for the great comment. Yes, you're right, it seems to be only fellow writers who appreciate what we go through.

PS - if not tea, how's about a nice cup of coffee instead? ;)

Heather Lloyd said...

Short and sweet, you make it disturbingly for every frustrated writer out there to empathise with a serial killer! Make mine an Assam.....

Sam said...

Heather - Thanks for your great comment! Assam it is then, coming right up...

Interesting how our empathies can be influenced, isn't it? ;)

mariblaser said...

Whew! Since I'm alive and not re-living my subconscious perceptions/desires, I can accept your kind offer Sam. So, coffee it is. :)

As for your story, you put down beautifully what every writer wants to do with this kind of jerk. (men-jerk, woman-jerk, who cares? heh)

Can I borrow some of your special tea? lol

Sam said...

Mari - Coffee coming right up...c(_)

Borrow some special tea? Of course you can! I'll have my MC drop some over, you can let him know what you think of his WIP. ;)

Gary Harmon said...

Pfft, as if writers don't know what they're getting into.

Becoming a writer to make money is like joining the priesthood to get poontang.

Nice one. Needed more dismemberment though... :D

Sam said...

Gary - Haha! Thanks for the great comment, Gary. I take your point about more dismemberment and I'll ask my MC what he did with the body if that'd help?

Alan W. Davidson said...

A wee bit of sedative goes a long way...nicely played!

Some folks don't realize there's more to the game than money.

Sam said...

Alan - Thanks for the great comment, Alan, very much appreciated, though sedative? Oh no, not a sedative, we can't have her waking up half way through the dismemberment, now can we?! ;)

Emma Newman said...

This made me grin from ear to ear. You know, I think you have a real knack for the first-person POV - you should play in it more...

jdanetyler said...

I loved this. Brief, to the point, a nice touch at the end ... great job, Sam! Brilliant!

...and who hasn't wanted to do something like to a critic, I asks ya? ;)

Icy Sedgwick said...

See, that's just rude. I've been led to believe that the element of support is an accepted component of the friendship paradigm...so if she fails to show support, or even interest, then perhaps this implies she is not a real friend?

Sam said...

Emma - Thanks so much. You know, I think I will... :D

jdanetayler - Hehe! Thanks for reading and for leaving such a great comment.

Icy - Yes, that's what my MC thought too. Looks like she's not going to (be able to) make that mistake twice!

Cecilia Dominic said...

LOL My suggestions would be, "Steeped in Blood" or "The Red Tea Charm."

The first evening of a past short story group, one of the other members said much the same when I said I wanted to be a professional writer. I was angry for weeks. Alas, no tea at hand.

Great short!

CD

Sam said...

Cecilia - ...and that's why I don't do groups. I'm not sure I could have stopped myself from putting the kettle on. ;)

Thanks for your lovely comment and support of my writing, very much appreciated.

Anne Tyler Lord said...

LOL! Sam, I love this story! Oh, you could sell that tea, for sure, especially if it is untraceable. This illustrates the reason that many of us gravitate to horror or crime once we have been writing for awhile (maybe?) hehe!

That reminds me of a title I used recently - Are You What You Write? - How about this for yours - You Are What You Drink - Poison!

Sam said...

Anne - Thanks for your wonderful comment, I'm so pleased you enjoyed this story. Sell the tea, eh? I'll have to mention that to my MC, I think he needs money to rent another storage place to put the extra freezers in. ;)

You know, you could well be right about why we turn to horror or crime (writing) after a while. Hehe! Love tht title BTW.

T.S. Bazelli said...

I had to do a double take. Was that fiction? Thanks for the laugh! You know, I would like to read "the life and times of a tea drinking serial killer" LOL

Sam said...

T.S. Bazelli - Haha! Glad you enjoyed it, about 90% is fiction, though I'll let you decide which 10% isn't!

I'll mention your wish to my MC, maybe he'll invite you over for a nice cup of tea when the ARCs are available. ;)

Michelle said...

Ah haaa funny!

Sam said...

Michelle - Thanks. Glad you got a laugh out of it. :)

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