Apple-Obsessed Author Fella

GISHWHES: In Which Authors Are Asked For Their Fiction

Apparently there’s this Internet Scavenger Hunt thingy run by Misha Collins — the handsomely smirksome gent from Supernatural. I’ve seen it in years past and always thought it had something to do with a convention, but that’s totally wrong, as I have learned this year.

I have learned this year because one of the items on the scavenger hunt list is to get a sci-fi writer to write a 140-word or less short story featuring various elements (Misha Collins, Queen of England, an Elopus, whatever the fuck that is).

I’ve been asked about a dozen times for a story.

I have said yes to one person.

I will say no to everyone else.

(You have to give the story directly to the people asking, as I understand it — can’t just post it publicly and have it work for the scavenger hunt. Or so I’m told — I honestly have no idea what’s happening, which is par for the course for me. Ignorance is not only bliss, but frankly, it’s just plain easier. YAY FOR IGNORAMUSES LIKE ME WOOOOO.)

There has been some kerfuffles and fracas over this, though.

Because writers are being asked to work for free.

Further, some folks have been more than a little abusive about the asking.

(Link here.)

To those asking, I say:

Be polite, please. Writers are not obligated to interrupt their work to provide you with a free story, regardless of how short. It’s like asking a comedian to tell you a joke — it’s very difficult to always be “on.” So, greet us with kindness and you will likely be met with kindness in return.

To those authors being asked, I say:

Be polite, please. Also: fucking relax a little. I know, maybe you’re a bit overwhelmed by the attention — but, really, is this the worst thing that’s ever happened to you? First, it’s for charity. Second, there’s basically a bunch of horrible things happening all around the world right now, and you have the privilege of being a published sci-fi author, which is actually kind of rad. Third, nobody’s devaluing the price of literature by asking for this free story from you — this isn’t like, some publisher snootily saying, YEAH WE’RE GONNA PUBLISH THIS AND PAY YOU NOTHING, STUPID WRITER, HA HA HA. This ain’t cause to raise Harlan Ellison from the dead (okay, he’s not dead, but he’s always been quite spectral) to yell at you about ‘paying the writer.’ I’ll admit a moment of sympathy for someone like Neil Gaiman who is probably so inundated with this request he’s almost certainly actually on fire, but then it’s also vital to remember that he’s Neil Motherfucking Gaiman, married to Amanda Fucking Palmer, and he writes from a magical gazebo in the woods and is handsome with or without a beard and so he’s probably going to be just fine. My suggestion, then? Take the requests as an honor rather than an irritation.

I mean, unless someone’s an asshole about it, then hell with ’em.

Everyone be polite.

Nobody be a bully or a jerk.

Go forth and be rad. As always:

Be the best version of yourself that you can be. In this, and in all things.