Chuck Wendig on why he doesn't write guest posts

by Ksenia Anske

It's been a while since I've hosted a guest author. One of them was practically jumping out of his pants to guest post on my blog. I tortured him, of course, by making him wait. Well, here you go then. PLEASE WELCOME Chuck Wendig, a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He's the author of BLACKBIRDS, DOUBLE DEAD and DINOCALYPSE NOW, and is co-writer of the short film PANDEMIC, the feature film HiM, and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative COLLAPSUS. He lives in Pennsylvania with wife, taco terrier, and tiny human.

WHY I DON'T WRITE GUEST POSTS: A Guest Post By Chuck Wendig

I am routinely asked to contribute guest posts to people’s blogs, either in support of a novel or just to, I dunno, go and insert my digital DNA into someone else’s blog space. I don’t dislike guest blogs. I enjoy reading them and occasionally host them at my own blog, terribleminds.

Just the same, I generally don’t like doing them.

And so, I don’t do them.

Here, then, are the reasons why.


It’s true! I do! It’s got a web address and everything (ahem, cough cough, terribleminds-dot-com). I commit usually five thousand words of bloggery to my own blog every week. And it’s fairly well-trafficked, these days. Closing in on 4,000 subscribers, with another 10k of daily visitors coming in from Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Myspace, Squareblock, OkCupid, Buddy-Town, Fisters Connection, Cyberknitters Union, and Oprah’s website. (No, really. I was linked there once.)


I write about 5000 words per week on my own blog. And, as a full-time author, I write bare minimum 2000 words per day on talking to imaginary people – uhh, I mean, “writing my novels.” Plus: scripts and comics and the other kind of scripts where I steal a doctor’s pad and write myself prescriptions for drugs both real and invented. (“Hello, CVS? I need 40 milligrams of Putreskenol, and also a shitload of Vicodin. KAY THANKS BYE.”)


I use bad language. It’s naughty up in my brain. And I’ll probably dump some of it in your blog space – like I have here, already – and smear it around like a toddler playing with his mashed potatoes.


I know there’s a kind of expectation that authors have to do a certain kind of social media dance to sell books, but I don’t know that it works. I haven’t seen data that it does – it’s just sort of expected and accepted. And sometimes I feel like I’m dancing to make it rain in yet another unproven publishing ritual. Guest blogs are cool when it’s for people you like – less cool when it’s for a blog you’ve never heard of and they just want some free wind to fill their sails.


Blog. Bloooooog. Blaaaaaaahhhg. It’s a boggy, sloggy, sluggy word. I know it’s short for “web-log,” but that sounds so antiquated it’s damn near irrelevant. We need a new word. Somebody get to work on that. Oh, and don’t even get me started on “vlog.” That sounds like Dracula’s dipshit cousin. “I’m Vlog the Impala! I vant to suckle your toes!”


I always feel a little weird at somebody else’s blog. It’s like I’m sleeping in their bedroom. Or worse, in their closet while they sleep. Which I’ve totally never done, by the way. *shoves stack of restraining orders under desk*

Point is, a blog is a great space for a writer to shine, and when I show up I feel like all I’m doing is dulling your darling gleam.

But mostly it’s because I’m busy. And lazy. “Blazy,” let’s call it.

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How I got the idea for SIREN SUICIDES, and more...

by Ksenia Anske

Photo by Sara Haas

Folks keep asking me how I started writing and how I came up with the idea for Siren Suicides, my 1st novel. Since I have answered this already in several guest blog posts and in a couple of interviews, a brilliant idea struck me. How about I do a quick compilation of all those posts here with summaries for each, so I can refer everyone to this post in the future. Smart, eh? I know. But, hey, I'll also give kudos to all those folks who were gracious enough to let me ramble about my story on their blogs, and that's a big thing. Right? Right. Here we go:

Wren Doloro asked me to talk about MAGIC. And that spilled into me reminiscing how I escaped into magic when I was little, and how it eventually got me to writing diaries, poems, screenplays, and, finally, after my daughter gave me to read Twilight (yes, THAT TWILIGHT), I decided, if she can do it, I can do it, and the idea for Siren Suicides was born, back in 2008. 

"In 2008, on one pre-Christmas weekend I asked my 14 year old daughter if she could suggest anything to read. Something light. She handed me Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

"All my friends have read it, it’s light and romantic, and it’s got vampires." “No, not a teenage flick. Anything else?” I turned the book in my hands.“You asked, so I gave you what you wanted.” She stomped down the stairs.“Ok, I’ll try it. Thanks for advice!” But she slammed the door two floors below." MORE HERE.

Digital Journal asked what inspired me to write my book. They sent me a long long list of questions, and it took me forever to answer, but it made me really dig deeper into WHY I'm writing, and WHY this book in particular. In short, I wrote for therapy, for trying to understand why when I was a teenager I was preoccupied with the idea of killing myself.

"I ran away from home at the age of 16 and have been battling suicidal thoughts, until I got pregnant with my daughter at 17 and gave birth to her at 18. She gave my life a new meaning, yet at age of 33 I started having suicidal thoughts again and decided to examine what it was that drove me to wanting to kill myself when I was a teenager. You can read more about it on my blogWriting my book was, in fact, part self-therapy, part an attempt to reach out to teenagers and hold their hand, hopefully stopping them from taking their life. And, even though my book is not published yet, I have managed to help one teenager talk about wanting to end his life - and I felt like my life was accomplished at that moment." MORE HERE.

Jeff Shear asked me how I started writing. So this is not so much about my novel, but more general info on how I started and what kind of base did I have to begin with. It made me think, indeed, how DID I start?

"My first stories have been written in my head, literally. When I was 5, I’d imagine entire movies, except I didn’t know how to write them down yet. At 15 I started my 1st diary and it snowballed from there. Flash fiction, essays, poems, a couple screenplays, short stories. And, finally, this year, a novel." MORE HERE.

Tony Riches asked me how I stared writing this particular novel. I thought about it long and hard, and realized that my friends pushed me into it, my boyfriend supported me, and that's how I stared. Without them, I wouldn't even dare, especially because English it not my first language.

"I've wanted to write a book for years and most of my friends knew it. They also knew that I started on a novel, got stuck, abandoned the effort. Started again, abandoned again. Then did it again the third time. Why? Oh, the reasons were very simple. It couldn't be any good, no way. I'm not a writer, never studied it in school. How dare I write in English, it's not even my first language! Who do I think I am trying to finish a whole novel without practicing first on short stories like normal people do? And so I thought, all right, to hell with all these doubts. I'll give it another try." MORE HERE.

I will be writing another post for Corey Seeley this week. Corey asked me to pinpoint that exact moment when the idea struck me. I'll try to do that and will post an update here with a link to his blog when done (this week). In the meantime, check out his blog because he is a very talented writer who doesn't know it yet.

THAT'S IT! Hope this answered your questions, and then some. And now, without talking more ABOUT my writing, I'll go do the actual writing, if you don't mind. Cheers!

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