Friday, August 24, 2012 | By: Megan Held

Writers Attacking Other Writers

First, let me be frank. I am a writer. Now, more honesty:
  • Is my writing amazing?
    • No.
  • Perfect?
    • No.
  • Good?
    • No.
  • Does it make sense?
    • Sometimes.
  • Will I ever be good at writing?
    • Probably Not.
  • Do I think writing as much as I have gives me a reason to be judgemental?
    • No, and even if I had only written one book I would still not be that way.
  • Do I attack other writers about their writing?
    • NEVER!
  • Will I stop writing?
    • Probably not. It’s been a part of my life for almost 12 years. Hard to say goodbye.
I have mentioned several times now that I get easily frustrated with writers attacking other writers. When I mean attack, I mean trying to get them to stop writing. Most of these people involve indie writers, or people just starting out writing a novel. And one person has written a novel or a few and goes all egotistical on the newbie's. No, I am serious, some of these people I see “offering help” think they have some big-ass ego. Don’t mind my swearing, I do it when I get angry, frustrated, annoyed and hormonal.
Now I shall search this forum site for the rude comments that make my blood boil and I turn into the Mr. Hyde form of me.
Examples:
  • Someone asked if other people find when writing in first person if ‘I’ appearing often was a common thing.
    • Egotistical response: “If your first person story has more I's than a colony of Beholders, it's a sure sign that your narrator is too self-absorbed.”
    • My thinking: Um…wait a second here. I thought the who point of using first person was to see the world through the narrator’s point-of-view. Guess I screwed up that one. Of course, no need to use it every sentence, but still, it is going to appear often.
  • “I just feel that this would be both fun and a helpful tool to have as another reference point, just like the world map. So, my question is: Does anybody else do the same?” (Create a world map to visualize a fantasy novel and a small background of the history of the places, like Game of Thrones of Lord of the Rings.)
    • Egotistical response: “It's a great way to avoid ever starting on your actual writing.”
    • My thinking: Well then, guess most fantasy writers that are famous are completely wrong and should never have been writers.
  • “I don't even know where i should start to get the ball rolling on my plot. How do you guys do it?”
    • Egotistical response: “I don't. I work out a plot, and then work on writing it in an engaging and interesting way.
      It's not the plot or the storyline, it's how you execute it.”
    • My thinking: Not what the person asked. The person asked for tips on how to combine ideas into a plot, not getting told to write well.
  • “I am wondering if there is an active verb that defines someone looking someone in the eyes? Or is there another word that has a similar effect for someone looking at some really seriously? Usually I would go look around for a word, but I am really busy with my novel (I need the word for a short story) and I can't find time between writing, social time with friends, and sports.”
    • Egotistical response (one of the best to get my blood boiling): “I do express my opinion, a very similar one, in such cases. And I catch crap for it, because, in fact, people who ask these things are asking for others to think for them.Worse than that, they feel they are entitled to an answer.Maybe I will give an answer in some of these, especially a hunt for an elusive word, if I happen to have one that I feel works. To be honest, no such word leaped into my head. So I would instead settle for a phrase or a sentence.
      However, my primary point remains. Writers don't go running to others to solve these kinds of problems. They use the resources available to them, and they use their imagination to find some way to express themselves. Sometimes they fail, but they learn something in the process. Sometimes they succeed, and learning again ensues. It isn't the answer to the question that will make you a better writer. How you go about finding the answer makes you a better writer. And that truly is the point.”
    • My thinking: Sometimes I cannot think of a word, and searching the thesaurus and dictionary do not help. I may think of a word that just doesn’t suit the characters. Getting outside help can provide more information about what other people think and use to describe something.
  • A person asked if mixing writing styles into one novel would be a wise idea. The person discussed how they would go about it and explained their reasoning.
    • Egotistical response: “Mixing writing styles will generally result in a very murky, disorganized-looking piece of writing. A master writer might succeed with it if there is a good reason behind it. However, if you have to ask, I would say it is probably doomed to failure.”
    • My response: Well, crap. I guess all the genres created through mixing writing styles are a failure too.
  • Someone asked for answers or ideas on why a spy would want to protect a person. They posted what they had so far and asked if it worked or if other people had other suggestions.
    • Egotistical response: “Brainstorming? Exercise your own imagination, and trust in your ability to do so. Leaning on others to provide you with ideas will not help you grow as a writer. Quite the contrary, in fact.”
    • Me: I knew it! I am a failed writer! Alas, the truth has been discovered when I ask for help with an idea. Finally, I can give up a hobby I love because I ask people for their opinion once in a while. (100% sarcasm)
  • Sequels. People always ask about writing trilogies and sequels because they like an idea or set of characters.
    • Egotistical response 1: “If you try to sell the first of a trilogy, and you are not an experienced writer, I can practically guarantee you will do a poorer job than if put as much work into a truly stand alone book. Why? Because for one thing, you'll be holding back for books two and three. Second, you'll leave dangling plots to bootstrap your second book -- bad idea.”
    • Egotistical response 2: “Forget sequels until you are published. Thinking of sequels will corrupt your writing, if you start leaving loose ends to carry into a sequel. Publishers balk at any mention of series or sequels by unpublished writers. They want to see writers with more than one idea, not ones trying to capitalize on the same characters and setting. And if you leave little coupling points in your story, they WILL notice. It makes your story look ragged.”
    • Me: Let the people write what they want! Who cares if you are jealous or hate trilogies and sequels. If people want to write them then stop discouraging them. Not once did people mention going to publishers. Guess I better toss out my sequels and the one I am working on. 
I am sorry about this long post, but I am frustrated! I cannot wrap my head around people saying some of this. The people responding call it constructive-criticism; I call it destructive-criticism. There is no need to attack people because they are trying to write a novel. We should be encouraging other writers, not hindering them. Writing is an art form and people have the freedom to express themselves. Those that want to destroy it should be silenced.
Reading some of the responses makes me wonder how much of a failure as a writer I would be to them. I encourage people, not criticize. I ask for help when I cannot decide between an idea or a few. I use ‘I’ often in my novels. Lastly, I am a writer and I write for myself. Not the need to get published and brag and hurt other aspiring writers. Here is what I find amusing, the people that do the critiquing have written 0-3 novels. I have written 17 books and my ego is nowhere near theirs.
For all those writers out there: Help people. Encourage people. Don’t let people make them not want to write. People should get to experience the array of emotions while writing and the pride of being able to do so. No one is perfect, or gifted, or amazing right away…or at all in my case. Please yourself first before others. Writing is a private manner in which you allow those close to you in first. Dream big and never be discouraged. Enjoy your talent. And never get a big ego and think you are better than everyone…unless you are famous like Stephen King, J.K Rowling, Nora Roberts of Iris Johansen.
Writer

2 comments:

Karen Magill said...

Great post! As a writer, I so agree. There are so many out there who think they know it all and if so, why aren't they more of a success?

Akshdeep Singh said...

I liked this post very much :). 17 Novels... that's a big deal... Takes lot of stamina which I don't have... interested in knowing you...
what about mailing me at sathcooperation@gmail.com

:)

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