JR Ward acknowledged that the number of readers who contacted her after Vishous’ book was released and who were confused and upset by the story means one thing: “I didn’t do my job.”
Ward said that if readers didn’t understand the story or were upset by it, she should have explained more and added 10 more pages to the end of the book to allow for the reader to understand Vishous and Jane’s relationship (not Jane from Dear Author). A conference attendee who saw the session told me afterward that she was SO impressed with both speakers, partially because Ward owned up to the controversy and took responsibility for the uproar.
And then came humor! And Cussing! While discussing the use of slang and characters who speak in a casual, slang-filled grammatically incorrect manner, Ward said that allowing characters to embrace that language is often difficult in the face of copy editors who try to correct slang usage in dialogue: “Copy editors are wonderful people but they eat, sleep, live, and breathe the Chicago manual of cocksucking style.”
Ward was so horrified that she said that aloud that she got up and put herself in the corner for a timeout, and turned bright, bright red.
Jessica Anderson, whose book based on Mayan mythology comes out this year, is Ward’s critique partner and she talked about the critique process with Ward, and her hatred of Ward’s heroines. She said she thinks they’re weak dishrags and she especially hated Marissa.
Seems when Ward sent Andersen the draft of Butch and Marissa’s book, Andersen’s response to Marissa was along the lines of “I hate her, I wanna kill her, she’s a dishrag.” So Ward took it back, and she says she worked and worked and resent it with a note that Marissa was much better and so much stronger. Andersen’s response, as she tells it? “I don’t see any difference.”
The upshot of the candid, hilarious session? Two authors, one with an established, dare I say rabid readership, and another who is brand spanking new, earned great feedback and prospective sales by charming and cracking up the audience of readers. Author rapport and humor, with cussing, makes a big difference around here, and charms the pants off people.