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Thursday, August 19, 2010


Please welcome guest blogger Sara Brookes

I'm guilty of doing something I've always been told not to do. Comparison. Everyone tells you not to do it. Don't compare how you write to how someone else writes. Don't compare what a review said about your book to that other book the same review gave a higher rating. Don’t compare one author’s career with your own—no two people are alike.

Sometimes, it's a very hard thing to do.

Most human beings have a competitive nature and want to be their very best in most things they do. So it seems only natural to compare something you write to others. No matter how much someone tells you not to do it, sometimes you just can’t help it. I’m not completely convinced that it’s bad. It both is and isn’t.

For instance, you can read something a fellow author you like has published and say to yourself “I’d really like to write something of this caliber one day.” I don’t see anything wrong with that outlook at all. It doesn’t seem harmful to me if someone wants to strive to be a better writer overall, maybe even one that could write something that is good enough to see its way to a publisher and sitting on the shelf next to that very same author’s books.

However, reading that very same book and saying “I can’t write like this.” or “I’ll never be able to write like this.” is the harmful way to look at it. Of course you won’t be able to write like that—you didn’t write it. It’s not how you write. You have your own style of writing, just as that author does as well. That’s like comparing (you guessed it) apples to oranges.

I’m not completely convinced that all forms of comparison are detrimental to your career as an author. Some, like the first one I spoke about, could actually help you become a stronger writer because you set a higher expectation for yourself. That’s something you should always strive for in writing, or at least I do. I always want to improve my craft, make my stories stronger, richer and more vibrant. And just because I’m guilty of the occasional comparison, doesn’t mean that I’m not happy that another author received accolades that they surely deserve. By all means, they do! They’ve worked just as hard to get their achievement. As I said, the vast majority of the time, it just makes me work harder. I’m of the opinion that you can’t improve if you aren’t a reader and I became a reader long before I started writing. I love reading and even hate that sometimes, my writing takes away from the time I spend reading. I won’t stop reading and along with that reading will come my inclination to want to do something special, better.

We all have enough negativity to deal with, without adding more on ourselves. Making statements like the one I mentioned above, just adds another layer of something you have to deal with in a business that is sometimes already filled with bad juju. So, make healthy comparisons that help you blossom as a writer. There’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t get bogged down by the other side of the coin which can end your career before it even starts.

Sara has always been fascinated by the strange, the unusual, the twisted and the lost. She enjoys writing about reality with a razor sharp edge and loves where that sometimes takes her during the journey. Sara lives in Virginia with her husband, who long ago accepted the fact she converses with imaginary people. They are the proud parents of an energetic daughter who constantly wonders why Mom doesn’t just have the laptop surgically attached to her hip. The entire family is owned by two cats, Galahad and Loki, who graciously allow them to live in their house.

Blood Fever

Evande walked out on her lover, Quinn, fifty years ago without looking back because he wanted too much from her. Now, after she saves a dying human by turning him into a vampire, a wanted notice shows up demanding her death and she knows Quinn is the only one who can help her.

Standing on Quinn's doorstep with Logan, she quickly finds herself fighting her attraction to both men. Thing is, both men don't make a secret of the fact they want her. As if that wasn't enough to deal with, she also learns she isn't the only one the Elders are after.

Deception, secrets and corruption.

Evande's survived worse - but this time it may just kill her.


Unknown said...

The comparison factor killed my writing for many years. I'd look at what I wrote, compare it to what I'd see in the books I'd read, and throw up my hands in despair because I knew what I wrote didn't sound at all like what they wrote. I thought that meant I was no good. Thankfully, a year or so ago, the characters I'd put away finally got tired of being locked up and demanded I write their story. It loosed the writing bug once again and now I understand that the difference between what I write and what others write largely comes down to a matter of voice. I have a good, strong one (so I've been told) and I'm finally over comparing my style to others.

Alexis Morgan said...

I think you're right on the money when it comes to comparing ourselves to other writers. Concentrating on the positive is so much more productive. For example, I try very hard to concentrate on what I can learn from someone whose work I admire. I also try to pay attention to what other people are doing that seems to be working for them (in promo, etc)to see if it will work for me.

wnjd said...


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