Thursday, February 4, 2010

Good Idea/Bad Idea

If you ever watched the '90s cartoon show Animaniacs, you probably saw a segment in the program called "Good Idea/Bad Idea." If you've never seen Animaniacs, here's a two-minute compilation of some of the Good Idea/Bad Idea sketches (courtesy of Youtube). Hilarious!

Now then: in the publishing world, there are very often scenarios in which what would otherwise be a great idea is actually a terrible idea due to one or two crucial detail(s). As part of your (and, frankly, my) continued education in this industry, I present to you the following examples:

Good Idea: Venting to your friend, spouse, significant other, &c about a negative review of your book.
Bad Idea: Venting to Twitter, Facebook, the Internet at large, &c about a negative review of your book.

Good Idea: Following an agent's guidelines when submitting your novel.
Bad Idea: Following an agent to his or her office/car/home to submit your novel.

Good Idea: Reading industry blogs to improve your writing and querying.
Bad Idea: Reading industry blogs instead of writing or querying.

Good Idea: Selling yourself in order to promote your novel.
Bad Idea: Literally selling yourself in order to promote your novel.

Good Idea: Setting aside a specified block of time to write each day.
Bad Idea: Setting aside your family, friends, and day job to write each day. (May lead to the above scenario.)

Feel free to create your own good idea/bad idea in the comments!


  1. Good idea: Be aware of the Rules of grammar and traditional storytelling when you write (e.g. no passive voice, show don't tell, etc.)

    Bad idea: Blind adherence to the Rules, leading to missed opportunities to build your own unique voice by bending and breaking Rules when appropriate.


  2. And now it's time to spin the Wheel of Morality! The moral of today's story is: COMBREVIATIONS RULES!

    (Hey, in Animaniacs, the moral's not supposed to be related to the actual topic at hand.)

  3. Good idea: Responding with an "I-O!" when a fellow Ohioan says "O-H!" on a public forum.

    Bad Idea: Living in Ohio and claiming to be a Buckeyes fan and not responding in the above manner or worse, not knowing why you should.

    That was for Rick. Now my real one. :)

    Good idea: Giving a fellow author public praise of their work because you enjoyed reading it and want to offer sincere support.

    Bad idea: Kissing ass to get ahead/ get noticed/ make yourself feel more important than you are.

  4. Oh, man, I loved that show so much. So glad to see I'm not alone (and I'm not the only one who thinks of that every time I see someone comparing a good idea/bad idea).

    Let's see. Good idea: Rewarding yourself with chocolate for completing your manuscript.

    Bad idea: Rewarding yourself with chocolate for completing a sentence. (Unless it's REALLY been one of those days.)

  5. LOL @ Rick Daley!

    "Good Idea: Reading industry blogs to improve your writing and querying.
    Bad Idea: Reading industry blogs instead of writing or querying."

    That's one I learned last year. Sigh.

    Good idea: Realize at age 9 you want to be a writer!
    Bad idea: Realize at age 9 you want to be a writer. It's a tough life.
    (Worse idea: Whine about what you love. Lol.)

  6. Good idea: Send a SASE along with your query!
    Bad idea: Send a HEAD SHOT along with your query!

    Good idea: Pitch your novel to an agent at a conference!
    Bad idea: Pitch your novel to an agent in the conference bathroom.

    LOVE THESE! :)

    Helloooooooooo, Nurse!

  7. @Lydia: That is the best advice ever! I mean, I'm brilliantly smart, but you are almost as wonderful as me. I can't wait until can be BFFs and have joint book parties together ZOMG!!1!


    Good Idea: Watching Oprah interview Gerard Butler whilst eating bon-bons.

    Bad Idea: Telling "Dear Agent" that Oprah will surely pick your book for her club.

  8. Good Idea: Pitching a novel to an agent.
    Bad Idea: Pitching an agent.

  9. Awesome post!

    Good idea: Blogging to share lessons learned, build community, and make connections with other writers.

    Bad idea: Blogging to vent about rejection, the publishing industry, and your mother-in-law.

  10. @Lucy,
    Almost as wonderful as you?
    Ass-kissing fail.

    Wait... you have bon-bons? Never mind then. We're good.

    Good idea: Having a fake BFF with an ample supply of bon-bons.
    Bad idea: Sorry, I don't see a down side to this.

  11. @Lydia
    Would some Quick After-Battle Triple Chocolate Cake be good enough for BFF status? I'm even within a few hours drive.

    Good Idea: Reading fantasy authors who like chocolate cake.
    Better Idea: Reading a fantasy author who will create a chocolate cake recipe on her editor's request. (Patricia Wrede mentioned this cake as the winning entry baked by a barbarian swordsman in "Utensile Strength," an Enchanted Forest story featured in Book of Enchantments. Jane Yolen asked for the recipe before talking revisions. Wonderful ladies, both of them.)

  12. Good idea: Reading and commenting on other writers' blogs in order to network, share and learn new things.

    Bad idea: "Hey you! You like writing, yeah? Check out my blog, okay? Cool. Bye."

    We're writermanie,
    Totally insaney,
    Inks and quills and brainy,

  13. Good idea: Write what you know.
    Bad idea: Write what you know.

    (WV: Ugnes. Hey, Eric, I think your blog's word verification is saying nasty things about the way I look.)

  14. Coming here today was a Bad Idea.

    But at least it's pointed me back to my keyboard.

  15. You said:

    "Bad Idea: Reading industry blogs instead of writing or querying."

    This is so me. I'm an aspiring YA novelist. I had a prologue and two chapters when I started reading writing/publishing blogs. Since then, I've done a third chapter, and strengthened the prologue - but that's all I've accomplished in 3 months.

    I've accumulated a HUGE portfolio of witty (or not) blog comments, however.


  16. haha, I love the animaniacs and some of these are great.

  17. Good idea: write a high concept novel.
    Bad idea: write a time travel, werewolf and vampire, psychic soul guide ghost with amnesia historical romance novel with fantasy elements.
    (Guilty as charged but only once, I swear!)

  18. I agree with the bad ideas! and also I think would be a better idea, reading a fantasy author who will create a chocolate cake called Viagra Online recipe on her editor's request! Sounds very funny too.

  19. Superb, what a website It is! This site offers beneficial info to us all, keep it up. Have a look at my personal web blog. |

    biketowork2013 | | |

    camorhino |

  20. Forte schools offer a FREE trial musical classes Sydney for classes and some offer Learn Piano, Guitar, Singing, Saxophone, Flute, Violin, Drums and More a Free Trial private lesson.