Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Respect Your Fellow Writer!!!

I decided to wait a day to write this post after deciding that I was going to because, quite frankly, I needed to cool down a bit. One of the forums I frequent (I'm not going to mention any names here, although I imagine some of you have seen the thread) has a woman who I consider to be little more than a troll who is basically bashing any genre she doesn't write. Among others, she compares "short" (less that 100K) books to Readers Digest Condensed and Golden Books. She also referred to romance novels (which comprise over half of the paperback industry these days) as "slim Wuthering Heights-style knock-offs with smoldering women and Fabio clones on the cover," and pretty much everything that isn't either extremely long or a classic as "rubbish" and "inconsequential." She then proceeded to be quite abusive to anyone who dared to disagree with her.

In my opinion, especially on a writing board, this is unacceptable. If you are a writer who has started a novel, you know how hard it is to start. If you are a writer slogging through the middle of a novel, you know how hard it is to keep going. If you are a writer who has finished a novel, you know what a huge accomplishment that is! (And in my personal opinion, if you have ever attempted poetry and short stories, you know how hard it is to actually produce something decent. I do NOT write short fiction because I am not talented enough.;)) Because you know this, you ought to respect anyone else who has been down the same path. Anyone. I don't care if you don't like the kind of books they write, I don't care if you never read their genre (I don't care if you never read any of their work at all!) you still owe them respect for what they have done.

I think I have a friend in pretty much every genre at this point: non-fiction, commercial fiction, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, YA, and even *gasp* erotica. And you know what? I respect them all. (I don't think I personally know any mystery writers . . . what a shame. I LOVE a good mystery and am simply not smart enough to write one.;)) I am happy to know so many writers because, well, they're writers. I don't care what they write! They are weavers of words, purveyors of plot, creators of characters, just like me. I have a couple of special friends who I e-mail with frequently and none of them write in the genre I am currently shopping. That doesn't keep them from understanding what I'm going through and vice-versa. We still cheer at each others' successes and moan at our losses. And more importantly, keep each other company through this mostly solitary journey.

In my opinion, you never, never, have the right to think of yourself as superior because you write longer/more literary/more commercial books. (You are welcome to think of yourself as more successful, after all, some of us are more successful than others. *cough, cough* Pat *cough, cough* :)) And hey, since you just mentioned her (;)) mentioned her, does anybody (personally) know any debut author more successful than Pat? And more importantly, does anybody know a more genuinely kind and respectful person than Pat?

Personally, I think there's some Karma involved here. And I would much rather follow in Pat's footsteps than this other woman's.



Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I'm a lurker over there (as I am here) and frankly I wonder whether the questioner has even written a book --- a definite troll (I think of the variety called a "concern troll"), and everyone is being so nice. Well, that's why I lurk there, because pretty much everyone is nice, and enormously helpful and generous to others. But you had the right idea opting out of that discussion and staying out.


Levi Nunnink said...

Ugh, trolls.

So I guess Oscar Wilde, G.K. Chesterton, George Macdonald, C.S. Lewis, Philip K. Dick and Edgar Allan Poe were only writing "Readers Digest Condensed and Golden Books". Makes sense.

Anonymous said...

I am so amazed and awed by people who accomplish writing a book. Its a talent! I freely admit that I couldn't do it. I will willingly take the responsibiliy of enjoying the hard work of authors though. :) Trolls live in fantasy worlds...she must be living in one of her own...and she's the bad guy.
May the good guys win!

:) KC

P.S. I have jam....

Michelle Zink said...

Great post!

I couldn't agree more. IMO, there's something to be learned from every genre.

And every writer.

Alex Adams said...

Ohhhh yes! I imagine quite a few of us are fuming over that troll right now. Honestly, when good people who are published(or in the process) speak up, I sit up and listen to what they have to say.

And it's just WRONG to bash other genres. There are some genres I don't read very often because they're just not my thing, but I can still appreciate the talent and hard work that it takes to write it.

David L. McAfee said...

I must have missed that one. My In-Laws are visiting so I haven't been online very much. Still, for you to post about it here it must have been something bad. I personally can't stand that "better than thou" attitude some people seem to have, and from a fellow writer? I can't imagine.

Now, there are genres I don't like and won't read, but they obviously have a market or they wouldn't exist. That's fine. Who am I to say what is pulp and what is fine literature? No one. Give props to those who suceed in those genres, they deserve it. I hope to follow them in my own genre someday.

On a totally different note, I see my little name over there in your links, Aprilynne. Thanks. I feel special. =)

Demon Hunter said...

Since you and I belong to the same writing community, I'll have to go and check that out. Don't forget that you know a Horror Writer! ;*) I also write dark urban fantasy. Now you can add another category of writer friend to your repertoire. Only people who have no tact or writing skills bash other writers. That person could just be one of those scam agents anyway...blah.

midwife said...

Hey Sweetie! First time posting on your blog (though I keep looking for your news that you sold your book! It will be soon, I know!)

Just wanted to applaud your post. I have followed the threads and just groaned inwardly. I find self-destrictive behavior rather interesting...but now I will avert my eyes from the wreckage!

Just wanted to say you can claim me as your mystery-writing friend if you want. : )


midwife again said...

umm...destructive, of course!

Maprilynne said...

Yea! Add horror and mystery!!And technically David writes horror too.;)

Kari Diane Pike said...

Well said, Aprilynne!

writtenwyrdd said...

Thanks for saying this. Sometimes people need to be reminded of their manners. Of course, the troll probably won't hear such a thing even if you hit him/her over the head with the obvious.

Jordyn said...

Yeah, I commented on that thread. She was quite... uh... INSULTING, to say the least.

~Em~ said...

I looked at that troll's website. Interesting reading.

There was something seriously wrong with that woman's postings. She was the most arrogant person I've come across on the boards. By far.

Twill said...

Well, after all, everything not written by *her* is utter crap.

I laugh in her general direction. Clearly, the stress of being an unrecognized genius has stretched her ability to properly exercise noblesse oblige. It's not as if everyone has the ability to pad a 60K story to 120K, after all, so royalty must be kind to those less well endowed.

Ghost Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ghost Girl said...

Thank you for saying it! I, too, have been watching a heated bash session going on as well. I found it difficult to stomach some of the comments slapping around on the boards. Just too snarky! So I vented on my own blog.

I always look forward to the boards because there is usually so much support there, and many of us writers know that look--"you're a writer...are you published...?" (cue the rolling eyes). I rely on my writer friends for that support, that understanding of the enormity of this undertaking. Honesty is good, criticism too, but bashing is uncalled for.

Trolls...does she have neon orange hair that stands straight up, about 2 feet in the air? Harumph!

John Elder Robison said...

For the most part, criticisms like you mention come from people who are themselves scared and insecure, and lashing out at others makes them feel a little better.

If they are better than you, someone else is at the bottom of the barrel, as it were.

The facts about book length remain the facts, whatever that poster might wish. If the typical book is 80-100k words, no amount of commentary is going to give an aspiring writer's 250k work an edge.

Many posts by new people express a similar way of thinking, what you might call, "possessed of superior knowledge."

But if they really believed it, why get into arguments? Why comment at all?

It's just scared, insecure people, lashing out.

ORION said...

uh gosh