Since the question has popped up once I again... I reprint this to make myself clear...


I'm sure that some of you might be thinking, "Who the hell does this guy think he is, telling me I'm wrong about X, Y or Z? I've seen Scary Movie 9 and he's a bunch of ass."

Let me be clear that I say these things to you because I'm humble. I'm humble about the relative quality and worth of my work, I'm humble about what I've achieved so far, and I'm humble about where I stand in relation to my peers.

No matter how far apart you or I might be in our paths, we are likely united in one very important way: we are desperate to do better.

Well, some of us are, I think.

That's where the hubris comes in.

I know it's hard to hear that you're wrong, totally wrong, fundamentally and brutally wrong about something. It pokes you right in the spot that's supposed to be protecting you-- your smarts.

But it's okay.

I'm completely comfortable telling some of you guys that you're just wrong about things, because I was wrong in the same way once. If you haven't worked in this business steadily, then you simply have no idea.

It's not like you think it's going to be. Well, it's very, very difficult. You probably do expect that. What no one ever really sees coming is the *how*. How it's difficult.

Imagine wondering through a dungeon. Lots of monsters and traps (I've been playing Skyrim). You can't see more than five feet in front of you.

First time you go through that dungeon, you're scared, and you're guessing. You're clinging to What You Know as your shield, because without that, you're naked.

Then you encounter things that turn "What You Know" into "What You Were Wrong About." And so on and so forth.

Until finally, you complete the dungeon.

Now start a new dungeon. Different, but a few of the same things.

Now start another one.

Now another one.

Start your 40th dungeon, and let me tell you, the fear is gone. And your shield isn't "What You Know" but "Knowledge You've Earned."

We're not here to make you feel bad. We're trying to share what we've earned through many, many years and many, many battles and many, many successes and many, many failures.

I hope it can be of use to you.

But mind the hubris.

We develop hubris out of fear. To admit that we do not know is to appear weak.

That's okay. You are weak. Me too. I'm only relatively stronger than you.

I'm relatively weaker than lots of writers I know. You know what? I love that. I have to feel like they're making me better.

No, I *know* they're making me better.

And occasionally, when a writer who has achieved in ways I haven't says something to me that doesn't feel quite right, you know what I say?


And then I really think about it.

Better to improve than to protect my pride.

Anyway, I only write this to explain what might appear like arrogance. It isn't. I come here in good faith to help you (hopefully), just as others come to me to help me.

Oh, well, I guess I also wrote this to ask that if you have an instinct to be a defensive know-it-all, consider not doing that. You'll learn more.

At least, that's what works best for me when I'm learning.