JR Ward, Jessica Anderson, Humor and Cussing

Book Cover From the session with JR Ward and Jessica Anderson on Worldbuilding comes a report of an author using humility, humor and cuss words to strengthen her audience.

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.

Book Cover 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.


General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    closetcrafter says:

    Very cool

  2. 2
    Anne Douglas says:

    Lol – the author time out chair.

    But sometimes, eloquence just doesn’t cut it, does it. *dreams of the all times she wanted to tell her boss to shut the fuck up, but instead put on a polite smile*

  3. 3
    MaryKate says:

    I’ll be buying Jessica Anderson’s book without one word of buzz. If she’s willing to tell JR Ward what the rest of us are thinking, I’m an instant fan!

  4. 4
    fiveandfour says:

    The better thing for that Vishous book would’ve been some other ending entirely, but I respect Ward for acknowledging and owning up to the WTF reaction it seemed nearly everyone had to that story.

  5. 5
    Rinda says:

    I would have loved this!  This is the best kind critique partnership.  I have this kind with mine.

    We have different styles and keep this in mind at all times, so a lot of the characterization comments are more suggestion than anything else, but we’re painfully honest. ;)

  6. 6
    Rachel says:

    Wow, you mean an author actually admitted that people who hadn’t liked her book weren’t all jellus haterz, and that there might have- gasp!- been something wrong with said book if so many readers had issues? Damn. If only LKH had been at that session…

  7. 7
    rebyj says:

    I’m glad the audiences reaction was laughter instead of throwing rotten tomatoes lol
    I tossed Vishous’s book against the wall with some blue language when I read it, then rushed online to bitch about it!
    That said, can’t wait for the next book!

  8. 8
    orangehands says:

    I’m with MaryKate. Definitely adding Jessica Anderson to my TBR pile.

    Both seem very funny.

  9. 9
    karmelrio says:


    <3 cussing.

  10. 10
    KCfla says:

    Wow! Points for Ward in admitting that she “didn’t do her job”.  That has to take some courage to say in front of all those people.

    Oh and too funny about her putting herself in “time-out”, concidering all the cuss words in her books lol!

    And I’m with the rest of you- J. Anderson is soooo getting my $$ when that book comes out!

    costs38??? Well….maybe that would be a bit much………..

  11. 11
    Elyssa says:

    Wow, that’s really cool of JR Ward to admit that.  I was so not going to buy her next book b/c of that ending but, I might buy the next one.  Sigh.  I know I’ll buy the next one.  It’s Phury’s story after all.

    But I’m so with MaryKate… I’m buying Jessica Anderson’s book.  Yes, to JA’s reaction about Marisa and her viewpoint on JR Ward’s heroines.

  12. 12
    Shannon says:

    hahahahaha!!!!  I have yet to read any of JR Ward’s books (hey! They are on my TBR list!)  After the cussing and owning up to her poor writing choice, I am moving her up to the top of my list. Oh, and Jessica Anderson is being added, as well.  Damn, that TBR list is just growing and growing…

  13. 13
    JessicaMcG says:

    I enjoy the J.R. Ward books… though it did take me a while to get over the way they speak.  I guess theres a bit of the editor in me, for a while their expressions would create a little snag in my reading.  Now of course I have gotten over that and just enjoy the sexy sexy men. :)

  14. 14
    Jill D. says:

    I knew there had to be more than just man titty to this conference.  That is so cool about JR Ward!  Fascinating!  Keep us posted.

  15. 15
    Lleeo says:

    Okay, Jessica Andersen is seriously my hero now. :D It should also be mentioned that for all the ghetto slang and music Ward uses for her characters, there isn’t mention of one black character. That’s always really bothered me too.

    But Ward’s writing is addictive and entertaining so I will continue reading her books. ;) And will definitely be buying Jessica Andersen.

  16. 16

    Hey y’all!  Daily lurker and sometimes poster checking in, and having a squee moment at seeing my name in lights, especially associated with a word like ‘cocksucker’

    Thanks for the props on the panel- it’s been great fun to bust the
    Ward’s chops in public for a change!  [BTW, all of it was said with respect and admiration for the many things she does very, very well.  Okay, so maybe the respect and admiration aren’t exactly obvious when you see us together, but it’s there.  Honest!!]

    And thanks to those of you who’re considering checking out the new books.  I’m loving writing them, and hope they’ll find an audience so I can keep on going. . . for the next four years or so, anyway :)

    Off for a nap.  Or caffeine.  Or something.  Must recharge for fairy ball thing tonight…


  17. 17

    Ahem. Of course I missed this grand opportunity to heckle you two, Jess. :) I’m so wishing I were at RT this year.  I was able to go the last two years, but decided to sit this one out. 

    SB’s, you rock.  I lurk a lot here, but wanted to say that I loved reading this recap of Jess and JR’s session.  You made me feel like I was there!

    Deidre Knight

  18. 18
    azteclady says:

    *humoungous pout* Why aren’t I right there? *stomping foot*

    (thank you for the reports, SBSarah :sigh: )

  19. 19
    sherry thomas says:

    Jessica Anderson FTW!

  20. 20
    SonomaLass says:

    the Chicago manual of cocksucking style

    Yes, yes, yes!! OMFG hellz, YES!!

    I have never read Ms. Ward, but I love her for that alone.

    More thanx to SBSarah for blogging all this fun RT stuff.

  21. 21
    Jaci Burton says:

    *bowing down to JR for saying what we all sometimes think of the Chicago Manual of Style*

    Sometimes character dialogue is just not representative of proper grammar, ya know?

    And it sounds like it was a really fun workshop.

  22. 22
    Susan/DC says:

    Chops to Jessica Andersen for speaking her mind and more chops to Jessica Ward for being self-confident and gracious enough to take it.  I find the idea of a Mayan mythology book way cool.

    My word is question47—there’s got to be some deep meaning in there somewhere.

  23. 23
    Julie Leto says:

    Jessica Anderson may have her debut single title coming out, but she’s written a bunch of Intrigues and she’s a fabulous writer.  I’m glad this was posted so I could learn about her Mayan book.  I love, love Mayan stuff.

    Would have loved to hear that session!

  24. 24

    Boy, do I wish I’d been at that session. Thanks for recapping it. I’m a huge fan of both writers. I actually thought the Vishous book had a romantic ending.  But I do agree with Jess about J.R.‘s heroines… But folks, those books are so not about the heroines ;-)

  25. 25
    ShadowDancer says:

    As someone who has had to slog through the Chicago Manual of Style for way too many years, I laughed myself stupid over the CS comment.

    So, is Ward going to flesh out Jane and V’s story in future books?

    It’s definitely nice to have an author take criticism.

  26. 26
    Nora Roberts says:

    I don’t attend many workshops at conferences, but I’d have enjoyed this one. A lot.

  27. 27
    karmelrio says:

    I also had no problem with the ambiguous ending of V’s book – in this series, Ward continues to develop characters who have been featured in previous books.  I think there is more of V to come.

  28. 28
    Lorelie says:

    Dude, that is filled with the funny.  And the wee bit scary, too.  If the version of Marissa we got was *after* the CP called her a dishrag and she got beefed up. . . . what must the first version have been like?

  29. 29
    S. W. Vaughn says:

    I just wanted to say…

    Best. Poem. EVER!

  30. 30
    KCfla says:

    Just be glad we didn’t have to “go there” as it were!
    Though Melissa wasn’t/isn’t my favorite, I don’t think she came out a total *dishrag*.

    ( history51- Yup, that version was history!)

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