Welcome to the Writing World by Mike Nemeth – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mike Nemeth will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to the Writing World

Writing isn’t a vocation you can choose like deciding to be a lawyer or a doctor. People who “try” writing to see if they like it generally fail. Writing is a vocation that will choose you, if you are compelled to put your thoughts on paper, if you can’t help but imagine emotional or exciting scenes in a story, if you must communicate your ideas to people you don’t even know.
If writing is a compulsion and you’ve been chosen by the vocation, you have entered a world in which you are naked and everyone else is wearing clothes. Through your writing people will learn your deepest thoughts, your closely-guarded secrets, and all the information necessary to form opinions of you, your craft, your style, and your entertainment value. When art is released to the public, it becomes fair game for relatives, friends, agents, publishers, critics, reviewers, social media trolls, and readers to criticize (or praise). Get ready, because to write is to be judged.

As a result, well-meaning people advise writers to grow thick skin and/or stay true to their craft and vision and ignore criticism. The urge to embrace positive input and ignore negative feedback is powerful but it leads to Einstein’s definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If we don’t listen to criticism, our craft will neither improve nor evolve.

My advice to a new writer is to accept all feedback as potentially instructive but to analyze the criticism carefully to find the useful nuggets.

Friends and relatives are prone to be nice so probe them for deeper reasons for their praise. Why did they like your book?

Agents and publishers occasionally include provide insights beyond “It’s not right for me” or “Keep trying.” When they do, take heed. If they don’t provide anything useful in their rejections, claim them as a badge of courage. Agents and publishers aren’t infallible, and they usually have reasons for a rejection other than the quality of your writing or the quality of your story. Legend has it that Stephen King pegged rejection slips on a nail in his wall and when the nail could no longer support the weight of all the rejections, he replaced the nail with a railroad spike.

Professional reviewers are most likely to provide valuable advice about your craft, your style, and storytelling expertise. Believe them and adopt their advice when compatible with your style and genre.

Social media trolls can safely be ignored unless they have something nice to say about your work. In that case simply thank them and hope their post goes viral.

The last group, readers with verified purchase reviews, provide the input to which I am most sensitive. These people were attracted to my work—the good news—and took the time to provide a reaction after reading some or all of the story—the possibly good news and possibly bad news. If an audience for your thoughts and ideas is your goal, these are the people to whom you should listen. You may find that they “just didn’t get it” and that’s on you as the communicator. On the other hand, they may have liked facets of your work that you can leverage in future works.

The bottom line is, don’t be afraid of criticism, use it to improve your craft. But do as much input-gathering before publishing as possible. Once published, the input can only be used in the next book. So, a final word of advice is to surround yourself with the members of a prepublication critique group, an excellent developmental editor who can furnish advice on content and continuity, and trusted beta readers. The work you do after finishing the manuscript but before publishing it will save the anguish of negative criticism after publication.

Framed by cops and chased by crooks, a white ex-con and a rebellious black woman become fugitives. They didn’t plan to fall in love.
After serving time for a crime he didn’t commit, Parker and his wife, Paula, hide from an old enemy in an Atlanta suburb. Their fresh start is disrupted when his new boss demands his involvement in a fraudulent scheme that will replace thousands of white collar American workers with artificial intelligence and offshore labor. Parker unfortunately suspects his secret and elusive birth father is mixed up in the fraud. Then a body is pulled from the Chattahoochee River and Parker believes Paula has murdered his enemy, but the police think Parker did it. He and his brilliant colleague, Sabrina, a woman who can trace her roots to Virginia slaves, steal the “smoking gun” that will expose the fraud and go on the run, pursued by cops and crooks. After a violent showdown in a frightening New Orleans cemetery, they connect the dots between a murder, fraud, and a man from his mother’s past. Parker’s loyalties are torn, but he must choose.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The terror Parker felt was what an antelope feels when it is about to be eaten alive by a pride of hungry lions. He took shallow breaths through his nose to mask the sound of his breathing as he listened to the blood coursing through his carotid artery—whoosh, whoosh. Where the hell is my backup?

In the crepuscular light, Parker saw her then. She emerged from her hiding place in the boathouse and assumed the shooter’s stance she’d been taught at the gun range. She gave the hunter no warning, just fired her compact Beretta once, and the man crumpled onto the Cool Crete surface with a thud and a rush of expelled air. That hadn’t been the plan. She was only supposed to balance the threat Parker suspected Meredith had posed. She wasn’t supposed to shoot anyone. It’s so easy to get these things wrong.

A scan of the house’s back windows revealed no sign of Meredith. Parker put a finger to his lips—don’t talk—and motioned for the woman to hurry into the shadows. The wounded man moaned softly, and Parker’s quick check confirmed that he was semi-conscious and neither moving nor watching. Parker took the woman’s pistol and shoved her toward the neighbor’s property. The snowbirds who owned the place were away enjoying the mild Canadian summer during the Florida off-season.

“Run,” he whispered.

She loped into the darkness. He counted to twenty—one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi—then he dialed 9-1-1.

About the Author:Mike Nemeth, a Vietnam veteran and former high-tech executive, writes love stories tucked inside murder mysteries highlighting America’s social issues. THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY won the Beverly Hills Book Award for Southern Fiction and the Frank Yerby Prize at the Augusta Literary Festival. The novel inspired singer/songwriter Mark Currey to compose the song Who I am. PARKER’S CHOICE won a Firebird Award for thrillers and American Fiction Awards for Diverse and Multicultural Mystery/Suspense, and for Romantic Mystery/Suspense. Other credits include The New York Times, Georgia Magazine, Augusta Magazine, Southern Writers’ Magazine, and Deep South Magazine. In 2018, I was named Atlanta’s Best Local Author by Creative Loafing magazine. Mike lives in Villa Rica with his wife, Angie, and their rescue dog, Scout.

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