Write It Sideways

Writers Face Off on 13 Hot Topics

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed there were certain topics writers just can’t agree on.

Discussion seems to be a huge part of the writing life, especially because there are so many hot topics to choose from. And, as we move toward the digital age, I believe the number of friendly arguments will continue to grow.

If you had to cast your vote for one side or the other, which would you choose?

  1. (S)he, S/he, Him/Her vs. They, Them. Should ‘they’ be used in place of ‘he’ or ‘she’ when the person’s sex is unknown? If not, do you prefer to see said person referred to as ‘he or she,’ ‘he/she,’ ‘s/he,’ or ‘(s)he’?
  2. Literary vs. Genre. Which style of writing are you committing your life to–literary or genre–and why? Which do you prefer to read?
  3. Print books vs. E-books. Will E-books take over print books, or will they continue to be secondary? If you could only choose one format, which would get your vote?
  4. Kindle vs. iPad. Devoted reading device, or multi-functionality? With all the recent hype over the iPad, do you think you’ll be converted?
  5. Self-Publish vs. Remain Unpublished. If you knew you had a good book on your hands, but you were certain to never be offered traditional publication, would you self-publish and market your book yourself, or remain unpublished? Would your answer be different for fiction and non-fiction?
  6. Plotting vs. Pantsing. Do you outline your projects before writing them, or do you pants your way through a number of drafts?
  7. First-Person vs. Third-Person. Which point of view is more effective–first-person, or third-person? Does one POV work better for certain types of writing than for others?
  8. Self-Edit vs. First Draft. Is it better to edit yourself as you’re writing (so you end up with a polished piece of writing on the first try), or to bang out a quick first draft (and be able to see the overall story before going back to add details and edit)?
  9. Routine vs. Random Creativity. Do you commit yourself to either a strict writing regimen or a somewhat flexible schedule, or do you just write whenever the muse takes over? Do you force yourself to write even when you don’t want to?
  10. Prologue vs. No Prologue. Are prologues more awkward and annoying than anything, or are they a useful tool? Would you include one in your current work, or should they only be used when absolutely necessary?
  11. Library vs. Amazon. Would you rather grab a much-anticipated book from the local library for free (and maybe have to wait until it’s available), or fork out the money to purchase it online or from a bookstore?
  12. Rhetorical questions vs. Not. Some agents claim to hate them in queries,  and here’s The Rejectionist‘s not-so-polite look at why rhetorical questions don’t work. Do you think a ‘no rhetorical questions policy’ is too harsh, or are there circumstances in which they’re effective?
  13. Agent vs. Direct Submissions. When your work-in-progress is complete and polished, do you plan on searching for a literary agent to represent you, or will you go the route of direct submissions?

So, how do you vote?