The world is looking for an organized and motivated writer to entertain, inform, and affect us. Candidate should be able to elicit a wide range of emotions at the stroke of a few keys.
Skills and Abilities:
Must be proficient in a wide range of plot choices and tropes as well as character quirks and flaws – but make sure they aren’t too flawed or quirky.
Self motivated, independent and highly-driven to get the words just right is strongly preferred…in the editing stage. In actual writing the eh-eff-it-it’s-good-enough-for-now words are, well, good enough for now.
.An aversion to adverb-filled dialogue tags and purple prose is a plus.
Capability to slaughter your darlings mercilessly with minimal tears is required. And by slaughter I mean move to a Cut or Delete file to use on another WIP. Jeez, we’re not monsters here.
- Maintain extensive knowledge of your characters’ jobs, quirks, personalities, nicknames, clothing preferences, hair and eye colors from two books ago if writing a series.
- If writing romance, ability to keep track of body parts is a must (avoid the oops he’s got three hands scene). If writing sci-fi, ability to keep track of species, planets, etc. is a must. If writing fantasy, ability to…you get the picture.
- Elicit customer satisfaction on the endings – if you’re gonna leave a reader hanging on a cliff, a heads up is essential. You can leave them crying or leave them laughing, just leave them satisfied.
Familiarity with grammarology is required. They’re/their/there are not interchangeable. Ditto for your/you’re. Those who think otherwise need not apply. You may also silently correct other people’s grammar. To do it out loud is a writer faux pas, also known as being an asshole.
Must be proficient in Word or Scrivener or similar writing program. Long hand scribbling on yellow legal paper is fine but no editor or agent will touch that, so learn it, love it, and BACK THAT SHIT UP. Trust me. *sighs* June 27, 2016, the day I lost it all (well, most).
Words that strike fear into a writer’s heart: hard drive unreadable. Omg BACK UP YOUR SHIT
Must be able to lift 30 pounds of ideas daily and discard 29 pounds nightly without crying…much.
Flexibility to work nights, days, weekends, and lunch hours at our day job for little pay. Enjoy!
Ability to go days without showering. Maybe that’s just me?
Must maintain plentiful stash of coffee, brain food i.e. peanut M&Ms, and a variety of alcoholic beverages on hand during the sprint to deadline. This task can be passed off to family members who may be frightened of you during this time and looking for an escape anyway.
Proven experience leading and implementing a project across multiple locations, fancy talk for extensive travel to coffee shops, backyards, and libraries with laptop (or yellow legal pads and multiple pens) will be required.
But that moment when the story comes together – omg
It. Is. Bliss.
That makes it the best job in the world. Lucky, lucky us.
This (now updated) post originally appeared on the awesome Em Shotwell’s blog June 2016. She’s the author of Blackbird Summer. Check her out at emshotwell.com