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I know it's been a while since I've done a 5 Tips (working on my novel has taken all my time), but boy, this one smacked me right in the back of the head. I know I've talked about people you might encounter in your writing groups and stuff, and about young writers. But today I'm going to talk about one of the scariest types of people you'll meet on your writing journey.

An adult type.

"Soccer moms" are my personal metaphor for (one of) the worst writer types, because they present such a benevolent and personable facade. They can even become a friend or a writing buddy, and that's what makes them so dangerous. They don't have bad intentions, but their fear paves the road to hell anyway. (I believe Stephen King refers to them as the Christian Ladies's Reading Group in On Writing; they go by many names.) Underneath their goodness, they're wracked with anxiety and uncertainty, and will spread it until you can't see straight or know up from down. Soccer moms are largely female, affluent, often overburdened with kids and a job (but not always), and most of the time fairly new to this whole writing thing. Their ignorance never has and never will stop them from giving their opinion on your whole deal, as they try to relate it to and make sense of their own. While there's a chance soccer moms can pull out of a tailspin and become decent writers, they are largely defined by their flustered ignorance and anxious flailing that somehow keeps them in place, treading the literary waters for decades, if not eternity.

1. They just heard this urban legend that just happens to apply to your book situation. Are you writing about unicorns? Or troubled teens in spaceships? Are you writing about X? Well, they just heard from the grapevine that X is going out of style, the market is oversaturated, and agents aren't looking for that stuff anymore. Also, someone else who got a book deal with that genre just saw it fall through. What should you write? Something totally different that you've never written and have absolutely no interest in! That's what you've got to write if you want to get published, because after all it's going to be another ten years before X comes back in vogue again. And make sure it's not dirty: no sex, and no cursing, because controversy is death to books! (It definitely never sells them like crazy, that's for sure.) And them? Oh, they're writing a first-person YA romance or sword-and-sorcery with a funny twist, really trying to push that voice because agents are so big on that, you know? They don't know where they heard this from, or have agent names or publisher names, but they know for certain the traditional publishing world is against you. Towering over you, threatening to crush your motivation and creativity, because whatever your writing has an icicle's chance in hell of ever getting an agent's attention, and why not go agonize about it over coffee? Isn't being a writer, like, so HARD?

2. They make idiot problems for themselves. One of the absolute surest signs of a soccer mom is some iteration of "I haven't ever written a first draft before, or finished one, but how do you market your book?" You can replace that last part with "What are agents looking for?" "How do I write a query?" or "How do I know what genre I'm writing?", among others. The cart being about fifty miles before the horse means nothing; these are important questions, dammit! If you end up writing a manuscript and have no genre you'll have just wasted your time! Soccer moms can't find the time to write (they're too tired or too busy), they don't know what an outline is or how they work, think the Hero's Journey is a strict blueprint for storytelling and every motion has to be followed to the letter, and they've never known the special, painful hell of rewriting, but they need to know how to get an agent's attention right now. They need to know how to do social media for their book. They need to know how to do everything except sit their ass in the chair and fucking write, because despite that being the easiest part of the whole shebang, they just don't have the time for that. Forget that every notable writer in existence is notable for writing (and that the most famous are known for writing a lot); it's important to figure out if agents are into urban fantasy this year because if they don't get published what's the point of writing?

3. They want you to have an idiot problem, too. Do you have a blog? Are you tweeting? Are you on social media? What platform? Wait, what do you mean you're writing? Agents want authors with Web presence, didn't you hear that urban legend just now!? They're having such a hard time, waiting for inspiration to hit, because discipline and the ability to work when you don't feel like it, what are those? Marks of a professional? Ha! They can't find time for writing, you know? It's so hard with the kids in all the after-school programs and they just can't say no to anyone or anything that might make demands on their time, so they just whine on Facebook and coffee shops with friends how hard it to be a writer. You outline? Oh, how boring! They're too spontaneous for that. (One of my best and worst experiences with a new writing group was meeting a young soccer mom who had spent the last three hours talking about how she'd been working on three or four unfinished manuscripts for years, then saw one of my working journals with an outline and said said "Do you have ANY fun with your writing?" I came right back with "Sure, I have lots of fun. With my finished manuscripts." It was the first and last time I attended the group, for obvious reasons.) If you don't have an idiot problem, and are just putting your nose to the grindstone, then you are obviously in need of an idiot problem, and they will be happy to provide you with one.

4. They always find a way to naysay, but nicely. A good part of idiot problems is the lack of confidence that comes with them, and soccer moms love building impassable walls around themselves and you. Or, failing that, a labyrinth. Nothing is solvable. Everything is amorphous, unknown, unknowable, and mysterious. Take your pick: marketing, querying, agents, genre, the writing itself. Marketing is completely terrifying, and there's no market for your book anyway. Your query is weak and bad, and that's why agents are rejecting, or there's no market for your book. Agents have to be meticulously catered to; you have to browse their Twitter feeds for their personal likes and dislikes to tweak that query just for them, unless there's no market for your book because then you're just wasting your time. Genre is so hard;what if you have Greek gods AND aliens in your book? Oh god! It's too complex and hard to pitch; there's no market for your book! Your writing doesn't have a strong enough voice and there's not enough tension on every single page; how are you going to find a market for this, anyway? And if none of that works, they've got an urban legend for you! Isn't writing so HARD? They're in the trenches with you, though! Struggling together and helping you along! Right?

5. They are insulated, protected, and ignorant as hell. Let's face it: most writers are female, and white, and if not insulated by their middle-upper-class upbringing, they're terrified of the SJWs coming after them for their book. They've never had any real problems, and don't have one now, really; they just have to make ones for themselves because drama is so much more interesting and sitting down and writing is too much to ask. If you've ever been afraid of someone scolding you for cursing in your book: you're thinking of the soccer moms. If you're afraid of controversy as a bad thing instead of a necessary purpose of an artist speaking truth: the soccer moms are in your head. Remember that a soccer mom is largely defined by their ignorance: what they don't know they fill with the foolishly plausible and unverifiable. Real problems such as addiction, rape, abuse, or poverty are not statistically something the average soccer moms have ever experienced (the possible exception being sexual assault or harassment), and you writing about it is icky at best or unforgivably, explicitly disturbing at worst. Especially if it's in a "non-serious" genre like fantasy, horror, or science fiction that doesn't deserve to discuss such weighty issues. "Think of the children!" is an oft heard cry of the soccer mom, since they are usually raising kids of their own and concerned with the developing morality of them and a moral argument against the unknown? Total win! A soccer mom is an unfortunate occurrence, because there's not a single part of them trying to hurt anything on purpose. The formula of write, rewrite, submit is tangled and confused and made infinitely more difficult than it already is, half because the stupid little darlings don't know how hard it gets, and half because they never will. Their own lack of confidence and time at the keyboard will be their undoing. Be nice to the soccer moms, gentle and encouraging as you can; people make their own hell. But don't internalize them or give too much weight to their silly possibilities, either, because hell is most assuredly other people.

deviantID

Droemar
Laura Jennings
United States
Current Residence: Kempner, TX
Favourite genre of music: Pop, dance, techno, alternative
Favourite style of art: Cel shading, comic
Operating System: Windows XP
MP3 player of choice: Winamp
Wallpaper of choice: Zelda: The Twilight Princess
Favourite cartoon character: Scar, from the Lion King
Personal Quote: Compassion for things I'll never know. - David Byrne
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:iconryssa-aquicoine:
Ryssa-Aquicoine Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
OmygoshI'msoexcitedfortheebookthatIcan'tcontainmyexcitement! :excited:
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner 4 days ago
Eeeee, me too! I hope it's everything people are wishing for!
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:iconryssa-aquicoine:
Ryssa-Aquicoine Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
I'm hoping for the same! I can't wait to read it! I've waited for a dinosaur focused story my whole life!
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:iconnataliadriscol:
NataliaDriscol Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I found out about MotC WAY too late to KS it. Will it still be possible to purchase it at a later time? I love the concepts. Amazing stuff!
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2017
The book is currently in proofing. Should be available for purchase around mid-December/January in three forms: ebook, softcover, and hardcover.
Thanks for your interest!
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:iconfinnley93:
Finnley93 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2017
Нi. Im lооking men for sex. My nude рhotо hеre: www.deviantart.com/users/outgo…
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2017
Whoa, you are really in the wrong place.
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:iconanimalkrazed:
AnimalKrazed Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2017
Hey Droemar, how are things going? Hope that you aren't pushing yourself too hard on your Conifer deadlines. I'm wishing you the best of luck on getting everything finished in regards to that. 

Just read through your Canis comic and really enjoyed it. I liked the points you brought up throughout it too. Something that I think fits with what you said in that thus far into it is a comic here on dA called Africa by ARVEN92. They have managed to do a lot of good work on keeping animals, animals. The only truly 'human' elements thrown into the comic thus far have come from an leopard raised by humans. Maybe you'll enjoy it? Just thought to share it with you.

Anyways, best of luck in your project. :D
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2017
I'm moving slower than I would like on Conifer, but I am getting work done. I suppose that's the important part.
I have read Africa once or twice when it's come up on my feed, but I don't think I've sat down and really read it all the way through. It's pretty good, though, especially for being all hand-done.
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:iconanimalkrazed:
AnimalKrazed Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2017
Yup, take as long as you need. So long as you stick with it, you will do great.
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