Things You Should Never Say to a Writer

Just a few snarky insights. Sadly, I have heard almost all of these at one point or another.

Is your book available in a bookstore or on Amazon?  Duh – it’s a book. You do know that you can do a search in Amazon to find out, right?

Some of your character dialogue isn’t good English.  Have you ever listened to people talking in real life?

A charity I am supporting is doing a fundraiser.  It would be great if you would donate some autographed books so we can auction them off.  Sure, you work as an accountant – it would be great if you could do my taxes for free.

Your book is good except for ______  Bite me

I found eight grammatical errors in your book.  Gee, my editor with an actual Master’s degree in English feels differently. It’s ‘cute’ that you believe you are so good at English.

Your book was good except for the parts you got totally wrong.  Did your mother have any children that lived?

I liked it, but I wish it was longer.  Is that what you said, or your wife?  The story was as long as it needed to be, period. Last time I checked it had a beginning, a middle, and an end.   

I started reading it but got bored.  It’s hard for my work to compete with Pornhub.

Writing sure sounds like an easy gig.  I mean, you work a couple of hours a day, at home…  You do get that this is work, right? It must be nice to have a normal job where you don’t struggle with the voices of your characters in your head. 

I always wanted to write a book.  You say that now, wait until you start.  And no, I don’t want to hear your pitch.

It reminded me of a book that ______ wrote.  Thanks for accusing me of plagiarism.  Want to go for murder?

There are parts of the book you repeated.  Yes, I thought they were important and that most readers need to see something more than once to have it sink in.

It was clear to me that you are paid by the word.  I have a word for you…

The main character didn’t seem realistic to me.  You do get this is science fiction, right? And, if this is on of my non-fiction books – you do get that this is a real person, right?

The ending felt rushed. Did it sneak up on you?

You should have referenced _____ to make your book better.  This would have been useful information before I wrote the book.  Or; I read that reference and it was false – so I didn’t waste time with it, asshat.  

This is exactly the story idea I came up with.  Somehow, I doubt it.

You don’t look like a writer.  Good, I’m disguised as a serial killer and they look like everyone else.

I gave it three out of five stars on Amazon because I had a hard time downloading it to my Kindle.  True story.  What a jackass. 

You should have made this a trilogy.  If it helps, you can tear the book into three parts.

I have an idea for a book.  Let me tell it to you and you can pretty it up.  I don’t ‘pretty up’ anything.

All of the good stories have already been told.  A part of me just died inside. If you believe that, never read a book again. 

I hope it comes out as an audio book soon.  I have no idea if it will.  No one tells writers about this kind of stuff. Since I hate hearing my words read out loud, I want to assure you, I don’t care!    

I wish I had the time on my hands so that I could write.  I love how you are implying I have time on my hands.  Yeah, all you need is time.   

I only read books that are hard-copy.  1.  I don’t care.  2.  Most books are.  3.  I don’t care. 

I hear most writers are alcoholics.  I am considering taking it up after this conversation. 

I got your last book from the used book store!  Hey, thanks for telling me that you are reading my book and I’m not getting a penny of royalty from it nor am I recording sales of the book.  I hate you.  All authors hate you. 

I only got halfway through your book, the plot was a little slow.  Perhaps you should learn to read faster. Perhaps you had to constantly pause to look up words you didn’t understand. 

Your book was ‘okay.’  Are we talking about my book, or the last time you had sex?

I was going to buy your book, but I didn’t like the cover.  (Facepalm) 

I just don’t have time to read.  Perhaps I can do the next one in crayons for you. 

Are any of your books good?  Only if you have brain cells. Something tells me you won’t like mine.   

I wish you’d hurry up with your next book.  Aw gee, I was just goofing around.  I’ll get on that right now.

My high school English teacher taught me that writers are always supposed to ___________.  I appreciate you are holding me to a standard of a high school English teacher who likely has never written a book in her entire life and has no idea what a writer is supposed to do.  Wait.  No, I don’t appreciate it.   

How’s the new book coming along?  One fucking word at a time…

I don’t think I’ve heard of you. I KNOW I’ve never heard of you. That’s what separates us.

Your book cover was misleading.  Oddly enough, I didn’t paint the book cover. 

Your book title was misleading. Or you didn’t get it.

It was an okay-read.  Maybe you weren’t trying hard enough?  Were some of the words hard for you to understand? 

Your lead character didn’t seem realistic.  You do understand it was set in the 32nd century and he pilots a three story war robot?  I didn’t realize you were such an expert on life then.   

Your story conflicts with (another book).  You do realize I wrote that other book? 

It would have been better if you had included a (insert BattleMech name).  So you judge books based on the hardware I write about?  THIS is how you evaluate the story?  Please, don’t read my books. 

4 thoughts on “Things You Should Never Say to a Writer

    1. I have heard most of them. My favorite was at Gen Con two years ago. Waiting to join the BattleTech meeting, my name badge was flipped around. He started talking BattleTech with me. I asked him if he read the novels and he went off on a rant for five minutes about how he likes every author but Blaine Pardoe. “He’s a hack. He steals his stories from good authors.” I nodded and said nothing…letting him have his fun. After five minutes or so, I flipped my name badge but said nothing. Eventually he saw it, then he was all apologetic. The guy literally was the human embodiment of the Internet in terms of blasting someone until you have to sit next to them. He backpedaled and hemmed and hawed to try and recover. Believe me, there’s a lot of that out there.

  1. captainfathom

    “I gave it a low score because I’m a fuckwit who can’t discriminate between content and the technology I use to access it” – this is the downside of a democratised internet, where the opinions of non-thinkers weigh equally with those of well articulated responses.

    This is why so many otherwise decent books and apps have such an unfairly low-rating – there’s never just one non-thinker…

    I feel you pain, Mr Pardoe…

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