Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Writing Advice from the Simpson Sisters

Yes, those Simpson sisters.

I know, I know, who knew that these two could possibly dole out valuable writing advice? After all, they might be the only celebs who haven't started a new series for young adults. (Don't even get us started on Tyra, Hilary and LC. Seriously. It will get heated.)

Anyways, thanks to Zoe Courtman's Caturday blog feature, I was inspired to use a celebrity picture to demonstrate a specific writing tip.

And now for some writerly wisdom from the Simpson sisters: Do NOT take writing advice/criticism from those who are not qualified to be doling it out. Also it's probably best not to ask people who secretly hate you and would like to destroy your budding writing career to beta read your manuscript.

I mean, just look at poor Jessica in this picture. Anyone with an ounce of fashion sense would have sent poor Jess hightailing it back to her ginourmous closet to find a more flattering dress (or perhaps one that wasn't designed by skeletor Victoria freaking Beckham). I mean the girl has a killer body. Why is she choosing dresses with hip wings and wonky strips of boob-hugging fabric?

And Ashely, Ashley, Ashley. Either you're completely devoid of fashion sense OR you're doing everything in your power to destroy your sister's "career." (I use quotation marks around the word for obvious reasons.) And considering the fact that your ensemble is generally inoffensive (albeit boring), I believe the latter to be true. Shame on you.

And so, dear readers, learn from the doomed J. Simp. Consider the source when accepting feedback on your writing. If your critique partner is writing the literary equivalent of a fugly dress, maybe take their crits with a grain of salt. Likewise, if the feedback is "go ahead and query agents without editing a thing because your book is totally perfect as is," (which, for the record, is literary suicide) put your guard up. WAY up.

Take it from the Simpsons, good critique partners, like honest fashionistas, are tough to come by. But once you've found the perfect stylist...er....beta reader, they're worth their weight in gold.

33 comments:

Matthew Rush said...

Great advice, entertainingly presented. Thanks as always LiLa.

My own advice would simply be to seek crit/feedback from multiple sources. Don't change too much unless you are hearing similar things from more than one person.

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

Lisa and Laura, as usual, you do a great job of making a useful point in the world of writing via humor. The Simpson sisters... oh, so much I could say. But back to the relevant piece of advice, I completely agree. This is a challenge I think we've all come across in critiques. It's hard to weigh the advice we're given through the lens of the source. Finding a good critique partner/group is no small feat. You need someone who is not only knowledgable in the craft, but trustworthy. You need to feel like they are looking out for you. I am BEYOND blessed with my critique group in this way. Thanks for the engaging post!

Marissa

Christine Danek said...

Great advice. Also, if your family happens to read your work and they have absolutely no business trying to critique--don't listen to them. I'm learning that the hard way. Family wants to read it and I refuse until I'm finished.
Thanks!
BTW--hilarious as always. That is an awful dress J. Simp. is wearing.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Poor Jessica. Yeah, she's gorgeous, but she never wears flattering clothes. *sigh*
Good advice! Definitely good to know. :)
(By the way, this is a completely random/unsolicited piece of information, I changed my blog url like a week ago, and I thought it would automatically transfer people through, but it doesn't, so if it doesn't work for you, could you pretty please refollow? beyeager.blogspot.com is the new URL. Sorry!!!)

Jen said...

So insightful thank you for sharing. Sometimes we turn a blind eye to critiques (in the simpsons case fashion sense) but eventually we always figure it out (well some of us do, I doubt the simpson girls do)

Candyland said...

Haha! So true! Damn those Simpsons (and Tyra, and Hilary and LC....)

middle grade ninja said...

This post is very caty, but also very true. Thanks for the tip and the wonderful illustration.

salarsenッ said...

I love how you wrapped it all up at the end. Sounds about right. I've struggled with this exact issue--as you both know. Still have to thank you for your kind words on my blog.

Well said.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Oh, dear. That is a god-awful dress Jessica is wearing. Eek.

I have amazing beta readers. I don't think they'd ever let me go out in a dress like Jessica's. ;)

Jonathon Arntson said...

Excellent point and done in an entertaining way!

Carrie Harris said...

Makes mental note: "Writing advice from LiLa: Avoid hip wings."

The sad thing is that this now has deep meaning for me. Well, maybe it's more funny than sad.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great advice. I love your example. :)

Lou said...

Someone probably should have told Jessica to put on a better bra too. Yikes.

Erica Chapman said...

So true! I agree about Jessica's dress. Ugh, I mean boobs aren't supposed to be squished in there like that. #fashionfail

Love the advice ;o)

Sara B. Larson said...

Amen, sistas!!

Marsha Sigman said...

Pretty good advice but I can hardly stand to look at the Simp sisters now that I know Jessica never brushes her teeth and Ashlee named her kid Mowgli.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Great advice. Good CP/Betas are amazing to have. :)

Tere Kirkland said...

So true! And I love this pic too much, for all the wrong reasons.

LOL, Posh's clothes only look good on Posh. And hangers, not that there's much difference. ;)

Natalie said...

There is so much good advice wrapped in all this hilarity. I'm with you on JSimpson's clothes. I think she's so pretty - like, I think it would be hard to find dresses that don't flatter her body but she always manages to do it. I think she's prettiest in pap shots when she's walking off an airplane with no makeup and non-pouf hair. Ken Paves and her stylist need to take it down a notch. (Says the girl who is wearing pajama pants as she types this...)

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

LOL. Love it. And it's so true. I mean, 99.9% of the people I've met in this industry so far have definitely had my best interests at heart. But I have found that .1% too. It is le sad, but it happens--especially with girls. I guess that's why we have brains (poor Jessica doesn't stand a chance) to help us know which type of person we're dealing with. Still annoying though.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ha ha ha. This is why we love you guys - you are too cool for words! And this post is so true. I make a similar point on my blog today, too. :-)

B.E. Sanderson said...

How bad is it that when I saw 'the Simpson sisters', I thought of Lisa and Maggie first? D'oh.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Wow, I posted about beta reading today too! Only I didn't have the good sense to include the Simpson sisters :)

Natalie said...

That dress is truly heinous.

Jill Kemerer said...

Why is she wearing something designed for (or by) Victoria Beckham? I mean, their bodies are at the extreme end of the spectrum. Something that works for the anorexic type will not work for an hourglass figure. Please.

Tahereh said...

OMG B.E. SANDERSON, ME TOO!!

i totes thought this post was about the Cartoon-Simpson family at first. hehe.

but this is a great analogy. poor jessica always seems to get the short end of the stick lately..

SWK said...

Hilarious. Also want to add on the issue of taking advice and beta readers, it's not just the WHO to ask but the WHEN. Getting advice too early in the process takes the story away from you, the writer. Asking if your story looks okay with weird black wings as your rushing "out the door" to submit ain't exactly genius either.

Jemi Fraser said...

Those are some scary outfits! :)

I was lucky enough to find some golden crit buddies - they rock!

jessjordan said...

Poor J Simps can't get a break with the clothing choices. Sheesh!

And ugh ugh ugh ... you freaked me the heck out and made me believe that those 2 were writing a book. My stomach actually turned over when I saw it. I just posted about the whole Tyra/LC/Hilary nonsense. I'm terrified that the craze is going airborne, and when that happens, the Simps are totally gonna cash in on it.

Lisa_Gibson said...

I hear ya' there. I need to be on the lookout for good critters and betas.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Yes they are, LiLa!

Susan Fields said...

Great advice, and very creatively delivered. :)

Jessica's dress is pretty awful. Hip wings? What was she thinking?

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Ha! Definitely good advice :D Poor Jessica knows she made the wrong choice, too. :( Hey, thanks for the shout-out! Feel like moseying back overto help me pick a winner for the interview contest??? :D