Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Costumes for Writers

© Embe2006 | - Halloween Background Photo

Halloween is nearly upon us. I'm too old to trick-or-treat, according to at least one judge and the content of a sternly-worded restraining order, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the holiday.

Maybe you're an author, or married to one, or keeping one chained up in your basement in the hope that she'll finally finish that final book of the trilogy that you've been waiting for since 1998. If so, here are some Halloween costumes you might consider trying, because each is designed to strike fear into the heart of an author (note: if the author lacks a heart, as is so often the case, these costumes will also impact liver function, or what little remains of it). 



Conan the Grammarian -- The Grammarian can spot dangling participles, split infinitives, comma misuse, or tense shifts in your manuscripts even after they have been corrected. The Grammarian will ring your doorbell, present his treat bag, and then deliver a scathing appraisal of your writing skills so virulent and brutal you will later be found unconscious, bleeding from your ears, unable to speak or distinguish between its and it's for weeks.. 

The Wicked Slush Reader of the West -- The Wicked Reader will appear on your steps holding your most recently submitted manuscript in her green clawed hands. Before you can comment upon the inaccuracy of the published response times, she will read aloud the first paragraph of your work, cackling with insane glee as you realize how hackneyed and trite that hook you were so proud of sounds now. She will then order her Flying Red-Ink Monkeys to storm your house, marking up any works-in-progress with the classic 'We regret that this work does not suit our needs at this time' kiss-off. 

William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White -- The authors of the legendary writing reference book The Elements of Style simply stand in your doorway, shaking their heads in silent yet profound disappointment.

Ebook Pirates of the Caribbean -- This clown ain't Captain Jack Sparrow. And he's not here for treats -- instead, he steals your ebooks, distributes them through shady 'subscription' ebook sites, and cuts your legitimate sales in half while claiming to do you a favor. "Arr, it's free advertisin' for ya, mate," he cries, as he speeds away as fast as his thrift-store rubber dinghy can take him. "Information just wants to be free."

Count Genre Snob -- It doesn't matter what you write. Somebody you know hates that genre, and this collective disdain is personified by Count Genre Snob, who reveals his face with a flourish of his cape before remarking '"Ven are you going to write a real book? No vun vants to read that <insert genre here> vut you write, blah!" The only way to dispel the Count is to confront him with royalty statements cut into the shape of the New York Times masthead. 

AmaZombies -- You've seen them. We all have -- they roam the Amazon ebookstore by the tens of thousands, and more appear daily. You know them by the awful Microsoft Paint do-it-yourself covers, the complete lack of any editing, the haphazard formatting, and the instant and furious response to even constructive criticism. Alone, each AmaZombie self-published upload is harmless -- but if your book is surrounded by thirty thousand of them, they are a terror indeed. Barricade your house and begin immediate rationing of your Halloween candy.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Stay safe, and keep reading!