Thursday, May 1, 2008

Top Ten Reasons I Became an Author

First: Those stupid Celtics. Why do they have to make so many shots?! It's ridiculous and unfair. I mean, who could root for a team that looks like THAT? (to your left) I'm not listening to Enya for a full month in protest.

Second: It's been awhile since I've done Q&A. If you have a question you'd like me to answer in the next few weeks, please post it in the comments.

Now, for your pleasure, I'm going to post a Top Ten List I presented at a writer's conference 3 years ago. This was back in the days when I only had my little books with my little publisher, and was struggling big time to make a name of myself. You can feel that angst in this list.

(I'd like to thank David Letterman for making Top Ten lists so popular. And for doing the velcro suit.)

Okay, here ya go. A lot of these will only be appreciated by aspiring writers and brand new authors.

Top Ten Reasons I Became an Author

10. I love receiving letters from people that start out “Dear Author” and have the words “unfortunately” and “regret” in them.

9. So I could experience that special moment when you finally quit thinking that authors are weird and psychotic and begin thinking that NON-authors are weird and psychotic.

8. The humility that comes from having lunch with a world famous author and hearing him give his five pet peeves about writing—and realizing you did every one of them in your book.

7. The heart-swelling pride that comes from seeing your book listed on Ebay with the minimum bid set at fifty cents—and no bids.

6. That good feeling you get when you sit behind a rickety old table in the back of a bookstore, pen in hand, and watch person after person avoid eye contact with you like you’re the freaking Elephant Man.

5. So that after running from the computer in excitement to tell my wife that I finally figured out how to pull off a difficult scene, I can hear her say, “That’s nice, honey—will you change Dallin’s poopy diaper?”

4. The joy of figuring out things like this: For every single book I’ve sold, Harry Potter has sold 15,000. (Ha! No longer true!!!)

3. That tingle you get when a sexy woman with lusty eyes approaches you at a book signing and asks, “Where is your bathroom?”

2. The thrill of looking on Amazon to see that your book has climbed from 145,678th to 123,743rd on their bestseller list.

And the Number One reason I became an author:
Two words: The chicks.

Hardy har har. Give me some questions and I'll do some Q&A in May. Hey, that rhymes!

Lyrics of the Day:

I get up, and nothing gets me down.
You got it tough. I've seen the toughest around.
And I know, baby, just how you feel.
You've got to roll with the punches to get to what's real.
Might as well jump.

- Van Halen


Ron Simpson said...

I just figured out a way to make a scene work better. I tried to explain it to my wife. I got a ho-hum reply. Thrilling to know she is behind me.

Anonymous said...

#8. Yeah.

Like when Orson Scott Card gives a conference keynote, in which he declares: "Don't write in the first person or present tense. Just don't," and directly afterward you win an award and read a story that is completely first person and present tense. It's always a bit disconcerting when you launch a reading with the following disclaimer: please disregard the recent advice of Mr. Card because, naturally, I know better.

#8. Yeah.

Sara Z. said...

Now that you are constantly surrounded by a bevy of lusty-eyed beauties, #1 doesn't seem like a such a stretch, does it.

So are you going to meet your deadline tomorrow?

Melinda said...

It's been awhile, but you've got me laughing out loud again. (And my husband looking at me strangely, shaking his head, and muttering, "That Dashner guy again?"

Anna said...

Q & A:

I'm writing a fantasy novel that I hope will be the first in a series. I have started a gazillion different drafts of it (okay, maybe not a gazillion...but you MUST get the picture) and I can never keep myself inspired on one for long enough. I mean, I start one, I get nearly a hundred pages done, and then I don't like it anymore. I was reading an older draft, glancing at it , you know, and it looks like it is actually BETTER than my NEW one. what are you supposed to do with two drafts that are completely different from each other when you are in love with both of them? Plus, I'm not sure I know what kind of fantasy I want it to be. Epicish and great like Middle-Earth, children's tale like Narnia, quirky like Harry Potter and Roahd Dahl? How do you decide? is it possible to combine ALL OF THOSE?
I'm sure that some of my friends think that is is ridiculous for me to keep starting over, to change my mind in a manner of minutes and then change it back again....but do you have ANY advice on this subject? I would appreciate ANY that you could POSSIBLY give. From one author to another (although you obviously make far better progress than I do) I'm on my knees here. :D
No pressure.

James Dashner said...

Ron, I feel your pain.

Clint, I feel your pain.

Sara, YES! I've never missed a deadline and never will. Yeah, that's right.

Anna, you are officially next in line for Q&A. And, I feel your pain.

Anna said...

THANK YOU, thank you! I'm glad you feel my pain, because it isn't only the kind that really HURTS, it's also the kind that drives you crazy and annoys you to the ultimate DEATH, like a toothache or an itch. Okay, maybe that was a hyperbole, but it was still a good description.....

Cherry said...

My question is how does a productive author, with a job and family, get any sleep? I’m asking because, as a writer, I only seem to make progress when I cut into the hours I should be in bed.

Macotar said...

Well isn't this just DUCKY! Since I've decided that in my widely read blog, I would only publish top 10 lists. Now you have to come with your BIG grammar and your pithy statements and turn of phrase and take MY top 10 lists. Sure Letterman has been doing it for ages, sure there are other top X lists, but none of that matters, since you are successful and I am riding your coat tails naturally I will blame you. I'm really not sure yet what I will blame you for, but your glamor indicates that you deserve it. BAH! (nice list. I especially liked the one about ebay). Also, if you want me to read at any readings at all just say the word I would be happy to.

Luisa Perkins said...

You crack-a me up, Dashner.

(Did you ever see DL's Alka-Seltzer suit? It was awesome.)

Brillig said...

Oh my gosh, hilarious. Now I really can't wait to get my book published. It really sounds like a glamorous lifestyle. (And I've TOTALLY been one of those customers at a bookstore who avoids eye contact with the book-signers at all costs. hahahaha.)

Crystal Liechty said...

I love the top ten list... everytime I hear it. ;)

And that picture of the Celtics guy is priceless!!!

Scoops Mangum said...

Hawks win! Hawks win! Hawks win! Game 7 baby! How happy are you?

Irish said...

*grrr* stupid blogger just went all crazy and gave an error when I tried to post. so now an abridged version of what I said.

Don't let the fact that your team has tied things up get to your head. Goofy pics aside the Celtics are the better team...and they deserve the win. Game 7 will come and the Celtics will be on top. Because Boston rules.

(I also had a funny pic of my own in retaliation but it got lost when blogger went psycho and I can't seem to locate it again...I is tired and my brain is shutting down.)

Scoops Mangum said...


Yes, of course I got your manuscript. Would you believe I'm already finished reading it?! (yeah, me neither :)

Seriously though, I did start reading it and I am already to chapter two and I'm loving it!


James Dashner said...

Lisa (best editor ever in the history of human editors), you got my heart goin' there for a second. Chapter 2, huh? It gets better. :-)

Irish, I had no idea you were a Celtics fan! Can't imagine how you got your username. Well, ready yourself for a bloody battle in Game 7.

Scoops, thank you for your Hawk support and showing us all how reasonable and intelligent you are.

Oh yeah, saw the Alka Seltzer suit. Nice.

Anna said...

I finally got my book in today! Thanks James. I'm looking forward to reading it. Very exciting. I love it when I get a nice, thick hardback book.

Anonymous said...

Hawks vs. Celtics: Game 7? I think Mark Twain said it best: Reality and fiction are different, as fiction has to be plausible.

If your Hawks win this series, James, then I'll take you on an all expense paid ski trip to hell, which will have frozen solid. We'll take flying pigs, it'll be great.

Lauren said...

Nice list. Thanks for reminding me why I don't want to be a writer. They're so weird.

James Dashner said...

Better get your bags packed, Clint.

Sunbum, hate to break it to you, but you ARE a writer. I can tell from your comments. Don't fight it. You're as weird as the rest of us.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx said...

I feel your pain with #6....That is soooo true!

Anna Maria Junus said...

I can totally relate to your list, except for the women part and for me the Harry Potter thing would be like in the millions.