What She Said


You want to know the real secret to great writing?

As we continue to explore the concept of beauty in writing, I offer a slightly different but intimately related take on the concept: there’s beauty in persistence, too.

There's all sorts of news floating about whether books are selling or not. This from Anne R. Allen and Ruth Harris. (Agents, The Good, The Bad, and the Disgusting, 2024) 

This is the story of my writing life, to a tee. It’s frustrating and depressing and angrifying. But it’s also typical whenever one tries to fit the roundly creative into the square peg of business. When the bottom line rules the roost, it becomes less about the creative and more about that which sells fast and sells most, and sells in the cheapest way possible.  Pandemics, trends, recessions, internet, and AI. Scams. And more scams. Too many competing for too little.

For more context, there’s this article making the rounds, how no one is buying books anymore. (No One Buys Books, 2024)

Then, there’s this one about the ten awful truths about publishing, from Steven Piersanti, Senior Editor, Berrett-Koehler Publishers.  (The 10 Awful Truths about Book Publishing, 2023) 

Here’s a thought. Don't give up. Indeed. Focus on that which you can control, the creative, and just keep writing.  For me, at this point when I'm old as 15 timelords, it's about The Story. About making it a good one. Everything else is just a banana.

Don’t believe me? Consider these wise words, from Alice McDermott’s Literary Debutante Ball Address: (Literary Hub, 2024)

“Say it whenever someone tries to suggest that there are prohibitions to our art: that you’re not allowed to imagine yourself into certain worlds, or certain characters, or certain cultures. That you are barred from creating situations that you haven’t actually lived. That you are barred from borrowing too much from so-called “real life.”

Say it when you’re told you are too late with your fictional premise—it’s been done before. Or too early—it’s never been done before.

“Ah, fuck ‘em.”

Say it with a laugh. Or a shrug.

Say it kindly, in the same way you might mutter, “Poor fool,” or “Oh, well,” or, like a dismissive Southern lady, “Why, bless your heart.” Or say it patiently, ruefully as the Irish might say, “God help us.”

Indeed. What she said!

 And if you need more inspiration, try this!

Remember my recent review of The Emotion Thesaurus (An Emotional Deep Dive, 2024)?

Considered “the gold standard”, the ultimate show-don’t-tell guide for emotion, I've found the entire series indispensable in my writing and as teaching aids in my MFA classes. There’s a new book out for the series, The Emotion Amplifier Thesaurus! If you’re interested, you can find out where to purchase from here!

And there’s a giveaway!

Do you find it hard to show character emotion? If so, you might want to enter this giveaway for a Zoom workshop with Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. It’s going to cover emotion amplifiers and how to use them to make characters more emotionally reactive (and therefore prone to errors in judgment and mistakes). 100 seats are up for grabs! You need to enter by May 17th here

Now you know the secret to great writing: Just Keep Writing!

Thank you for reading!

-- Bobbi Miller



  1. Thanks for the encouragement, Bobbi.

    1. Thank YOU, Yvonne, for your support and wisdom through the years!

  2. So true. And I LOVE the emotional amplifier books.

    1. I agree, Holly! The entire series is a must-have! I've been enjoying their blog, Writers Helping Writers. Lots and lots of info of the story engineering process.

  3. Thanks for sharing all that, Bobbi! (There's a rebuttal to the No One Buys Books post from Kathleen Schmidt if you're interested: https://kathleenschmidt.substack.com/p/please-stop-bashing-book-publishing?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&triedRedirect=true ) I can't wait to check out The Emotion Amplifier Thesaurus book!

    1. Thank you for the link, Teresa! It's an excellent follow-up. (I don't buy into the doomdaysay of the original article, so I really enjoy the rebuttal!). You'll love the Amplifier Thesaurus!


Post a Comment