Guerilla Girl Writers
by Fiona Crawford - February 14th, 2012
I’m not normally a proponent of sass or swearing (although I may, ashamedly, bear a striking resemblance to a truckie when it comes to the latter), but the Guerilla Girl Writers website is, well, just too no-holds-barred refreshing to bypass.
I know not who writes it, although the fact that they do so anonymously both simultaneously slightly annoys and hugely intrigues me. Regardless, I think for the most part the site stays safely on the side of sass rather than cynicism (were it the latter, it wouldn’t appeal to me). That and that contained within their text, there’s a bunch of truths we know but dare not speak.
That includes debunking the moral panic that ‘kids these days’ don’t read or write as well as highlighting the cyclical, slightly confused we-have-to-get-an-app-although-we’re-not-sure-why conversations currently playing out.
The Social Media 101 for Writers blog post particularly struck a cord with me, because although I’m seeing some writers doing social media well, plenty are not. Tech-savvy Queensland Writers Centre CEO Kate Eltham recently tweeted something we’ve all be thinking in recent times (and I’m paraphrasing here): Twitter’s been around a while now. It’s about conversation and providing something useful. If you’re just tweeting about your new book, you’re missing the mark.
I’d kind of like to retweet lessons numbered 1–5: don’t be boring; don’t take yourself too seriously; calm down; don’t be annoying; one exclamation mark is all that is necessary. In fact, I’d like to retweet lesson #5 twice.
That and frame and wall mount the kinds of things that Guerilla Girl Writers remind us shouldn’t be part of a book review, such as (and I in-part quote):
- OMG, I want to marry [insert male protagonist name]
- I don’t usually read [insert genre], so this isn’t really my thing, but…
- I hate this book, because [insert annoying character name] was too annoying
- Incomprehensible literary terminology (No. It doesn’t sound brainy. It sounds f&%king stupid.)
- I always try to be nice, no matter what I actually think of the book.
For those us pummelled by the pervasive attitude of ‘who needs editors or a grasp of spelling, grammar, and punctuation?’ Guerilla Girl Writers have posted (and I quote):
Forget that boring old-world paradigm of producing a decent manuscript, redrafting, editing, more editing, submitting, even more editing, and maybe acquisition.
YOU CAN BE FAMOUS AND RICH WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING WHERE THOSE STUPID APOSTROPHE THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO GO!
On a more serious note, they question the wisdom of promoting the exceptions-rather-than-rules stories of self-made authors who bypassed the traditional publishing model and who now make a motza. You know, the ones that get everyone else’s hopes up. The ones that are so rare it’s like winning the lottery and striking gold all at once.
Perhaps that’s why I like this site. It’s a bit sassier than I’d ever purport, but it’s also unflinchingly, reality checkingly, humorously honest. Sometimes we all need a bit of that.