Why this Author will never “Tell”

Open Book | OpenSource Clip ArtIt’s pretty rare for me to get upset about my work and the submission cycle because, like so many other authors, I’ve dealt with quite a few editors in my time. This time was a bit different, however, because as I find myself enjoying my work more, I am gravitating toward a technique that allows me to play around with semantics and words. What I’m talking about here, is something that many people call “the tell.”


If you’ve watched Japanese anime, you can often follow the imagery along just far enough until there is a sequence of events where the pacing slows to a halt — you are forced to listen to a lengthy diatribe of “who-what-when-where-how-why.” Horror and suspense fans know this to be true for most Hollywood films; there either “is” a satisfying ending, or there “isn’t.” In my work, I avoid the diatribe like the plague. I also steer away from writing exactly what will happen for a character or how they’re feeling. Both are wholly intentional and part of my writing style, which “works” sometimes for some and doesn’t for others.

The reason why this technique is so intentional for me is a very straightforward one. My “author’s intent” if you will, is to proffer work where, as a reader, you’re not quite sure what happens next because it makes you wonder. When was the last time you felt emotion while reading a book? Were you creeped out? Saddened? Shocked?

I don’t want to write a story where every reader gets the same thing out of what I’m writing, because that defeats the purpose of telling a story. Semantically, there is absolutely no way that I can write a story where every reader will respond in the same dull, predictable, and boring manner. If you want a story like that, then you’re looking for a technical writer.

Truthfully, I may never have a “best-selling” book on the market. My work may get criticized nine ways since Sunday and rejected by editors because they didn’t like the endings. Sometimes, yeah it stings a bit because this is really what I love to do, even though I’ve got a lot of experiences under my belt the tiring cycle of “write-submit-reject” gets pretty frustrating. My one point of non-conformance will be my endings, and I will go down kicking and screaming before I give up that part of my writing style.

Books, like artwork and music, are meant to be shared — not to sit on a shelf somewhere collecting dust. There are so many great authors out there who haven’t been mentioned as household names, but should. Somehow I don’t think the world is ready for another Neil Gaiman right now, even though that’s really what all of us writers need. We need another inspiration to show the world that there are writers out there who can do it “their way.”

Even though my emotions are dripping all over this page, I know there are two things I can do. One? I’m going to keep writing, and I’ve got two games, a novel and a novella in the works. Two? There are a ton of other authors sitting on the bookshelf next to me, and tonight I’m going to pick up a brand, new book and show another author my appreciation. I hope some of you have the chance to do the same, because there truly is nothing like a good book.

2 Responses to Why this Author will never “Tell”
  1. Peter Mark may

    ooooh Pick my book.

    You do your own thing your way Mon, I always do.

    Pete May

  2. Frootbat31

    Wow, this post really strikes a chord in me. Recently I’ve encountered a number of issues concerning success, good writing, and making it in the publishing world, which led me to the conclusion that ultimately, I write for myself. Getting caught up in ‘proper’ writing lends to never seeing your story finished or seen in print.
    What a marvelous blog you have here.
    Keep up the great work!



Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

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