Monday, October 12, 2009

I Disagree. You Should Too. Contest!

I Disagree. You Should Too. Contest!


Yes, I’m holding my first-ever WriteRunner blog contest!

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately. We’ve become a bloggy nation of yay-sayers. I subscribe to 200+ writing-related blogs, and every comment on these blogs is almost identical: “Way to go.” “Sounds great.” “You’re amazing.”

What every happened to good old-fashioned disagreement? Discussion? Conflicting points of view? Have we come to worship Bloggers as some kind of Deities? Nothing they say can be wrong because they write a blog or published something once? Or are we so afraid of disparaging anyone that we hold our tongues, not wanting to be known as “that commenter” who has a differing opinion? Then, when someone does speak out and counters the blogger’s views, they are summarily vilified by the other commenters. Seriously, is this what you want out of blogging? A bunch of sycophants who agree with and verify everything you write, no matter how ridiculous it is? (BTW none of this applies to my lovely blog readers. You are all awesome). I’m not saying that praise isn’t welcome and warranted (especially on this blog of course). I’m just saying sometimes it’s okay to disagree.

Here’s the thing. I’ve never read a perfect writing blog. Published, unpublished, editor, intern, publisher, etc, all offer various degrees of writing advice. Sometimes, this advice is wrong. I’m sure you’ve heard some if it: “Remove all adverbs and adjectives. Don’t use ‘was’. Start your book with the main conflict. Have a professional write your query letter.” If no one ever says anything, this advice just sits out there for the next unlucky aspiring writer to stumble over.

What ever happened to critical thinking? To sound judgment? To speaking one’s mind despite the prevailing notion of what’s “correct”? At least questioning the blogger to achieve a better understanding of the material.

Therefore, in order to help you practice your critical blog reading skills, I’m holding a contest on this blog. There are two ways to win. In some upcoming posts, I’m going to offer a blatantly wrong piece of advice. Here are some examples (that I won’t use):

  • “Crossing the Threshold” is when the protagonist defeats his arch-enemy.
  • The best writers only write 20 minutes a day.
  • When submitting a manuscript, instead of the Em Dash(—), use the Not Sign (¬).
  • The Yankees deserve to win the World Series.

The first person to comment with a corrected piece of advice wins! So if you replied, “no, the Mariners deserve to win the World Series,” you would win!

The second way to win is to find something you disagree with in one of my upcoming posts, and convince me that my version is incorrect and yours is better. This is completely at my discretion.

The prize will be a book from my recycle pile. You can view the current list here, but this isn’t everything I have available.

Here are the rules:

  1. First person to find the incorrect advice and post a correction in the comment section will be the winner.
  2. Not every blog post contains deliberate misinformation.
  3. Typos and unintentional punctuation/grammar mistakes do not count.
  4. You may only win one prize. If you have won before, don't "give away" the incorrect advice in future posts.
  5. If no one notices the mistake, I’ll be sure to call it out on the next post.
  6. Please find something unintentionally wrong with my upcoming posts if you can. I’m not perfect, I’m not published, and I’m doing my best, but at times I know I throw crap up here. Find it and you can win!
  7. I make no guarantee of the condition of the books in the prize bin. They’re all used to some degree but should be intact. If you win, you can choose your prize.
  8. You agree to not sell your prize and that you will find a way to pass it on or donate it.

The contest starts with my next blog post (probably Friday). If you disagree with anything in this post, sorry. Good luck, and good hunting!


  1. I gonna have to agree to disagree. Is that acceptable? ;)
    Kidding, I'm totally with on this one... A little praise is nice, but come on... sometimes, shit sucks. And I call it.. and if it mine, I'd want to know about it.

    Btw, I can't argue with you on Chuck Norris. Anybody who drive a Chevy Blazer out of sand pit on sheer will alone (and a modified Supercharged turbo engine) can kick some serious ass... The man can sneeze with his eyes open.. bet you didn't know that.

    Oh, and Great post. Way to go. Sounds great. You’re amazing.

  2. Chuck Norris can pick up spit.

    Thanks for the kinds words. I promise I won't let it go to my head...any more than usual ;)

  3. Chuck Norris can strangle you with a cordless phone.

  4. Well, you know, you DO encourage nice comments with your comment header .... (specific number of)nice comments. :)

    We try to encourage discussion over at the Literary Lab, and we usually do get people who disagree and discuss. It's refreshing and fun.

    Fun contest! Not sure I'll have time to participate, but I'll try. :)

  5. I will say that my nice comments on blogs are because I follow the ones that I generally agree with. If I tend to disagree with much of the advice, I stop reading it. :)

  6. Lady: Good point. Maybe I'll change it to "Intelligent comments are welcome" ;)

    Laura: Another good point. First of all, I want to point that my argument is not to be disagreeable. I don't think people should go out and find stuff to disagree with, or be smart-asses, or anything like that. What I'm saying is that if there's a blog you generally like, but one day the blogger posts something questionable, then speak out. Otherwise you're denying both you and the blogger the opportunity to learn something they might not have otherwise.
    What I'm trying to do is to encourage discussion, which you can't really get if everyone agrees with everything and doesn't approach blog reading with a critical eye.

  7. I blame Joe Peschi. Its his fault that blogs are the way they are.


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