One of my guilty pleasures is America's Next Top Model (ANTM). Last nights episode was filled with all kinds of drama and I couldn't help but make the connection to the writing world.
You see, there's been some tension building up between Alexandria and Britanni.
Alexandria started out with major attitude issues, taking over photo shoots, even offending guest judges and photographers. She's basically spent every episode saying things like "The other models don't talk to me anymore, but that's okay, I don't need them." [Uh... If it didn't bother you, you wouldn't be talking about it in every freaking episode.] Anyway, she's shown some progress in that she keeps all the drama at the model apartment, and has even begun letting the professionals do their jobs and is sticking to her job: modeling.
Britanni's been watching Alexandria for weeks now, being "fake" to the judges in panel and "acting all sweet" during photoshoots and she's been the most outspoken about her feelings for Alexandria. In last night's episode, emotions were running high after a photoshoot about breast cancer and when Nigel picked Alexandria as the winner (she won a freaking car) Britanni snapped. She started talking about Alexandria in hushed tones to the other models, and when Alexandria said, "I can hear you, you know," Britanni lashed out with some hurtful words that Alexandria, Nigel, and even the Ford execs that were present picked up on. Britanni apologized profusely and seemed to learn her lesson after the panel put the smackdown on her.
So at panel (when they decide who stays and who goes home that week), the outburst was brought up and when asked about it, Britanni said... Well, actually, here's the clip: (start it about four minutes in for the real drama stuff.)
Nigel comes back to Britanni's comments saying, "As far as being a role model is concerned, to be that outspoken, at a photoshoot, in front of the photographer, in front of the clients by the way, Ford were there, was extremely unprofessional. There's a reason why we don't know all of Alexandria's business. It's because what you do at home, is what you do at home. It's worth bearing that in mind, cause now I have a different idea about you."
Then Tyra says, "In terms of sportsmanship, what you have done is probably one of the weakest things that a role model can do. No matter what you feel inside, if you think that somebody else is getting something that they don't deserve, you shut your lips. Especially in front of a client. This is a business. You have to respect the client, you have to respect your co-workers, and you have to respect yourself."
Without getting into the whole viewer drama about Tyra being hypocritical when it comes to second chances, what, as writers, can we learn from this?
Well, lets plug in a few new words to the two quotes from Nigel and Tyra from above:
Nigel, "As far as being a role model is concerned, to be that outspoken, on a blog, in front of the readers, in front of the publishers/agents by the way, they could have read the article too, was extremely unprofessional. There's a reason why we don't know all of Alexandria's business. It's because what you do at home, is what you do at home. It's worth bearing that in mind, cause now I have a different idea about you."
Do you see how that can have an effect on you as a writer? Spouting off to reviewers and like this author did, isn't the way to go about doing things. Potential readers see those comments, agents and publishing professionals see those comments (especially when they go viral on GalleyCat and twitter). Every single thing you put online is there for the whole world to see, for practically forever. Just because you delete it doesn't mean it goes away. There are screen shots, caches, etc, ways of pulling those things back from oblivion. And those things can hurt you. They change the way the reader sees you, and could make some of them not want to pick up your book. Agents/publishers won't want to go into business with you when they see how combative you are.
Tyra, "In terms of sportsmanship, what you have done is probably one of the weakest things that a role model can do. No matter what you feel inside, if you think that somebody else is getting something that they don't deserve, you shut your lips. Especially in front of a client. This is a business. You have to respect the client, you have to respect your co-workers, and you have to respect yourself."
I didn't change anything in that quote because I think it can stand just the way it is, but a few lines stand out. THIS IS A BUSINESS. Your co-workers are your fellow writers, book bloggers, social media friends, agents, editors, publishers, etc.
Leave the drama and mistakes to the TV shows. It doesn't matter who is wrong or right or unfair or undeserving. You stick to your job, WRITING.
C.A. Marshall is a freelance editor, lit agent intern, YA writer, and loves to play with her dog Mollie. She dreams of one day owning a small house near the water, preferably in England, with a shelf full of books she has written and has helped others to write. She is currently single. And unagented. She can be found in Emmett, MI, at camarshall.com for writing, editorcassandra.com for editing, and on twitter @CA_Marshall.