The Problem With Aspiring Writers

I also include myself as an Aspiring Writer.  Since I was fourteen I have been writing original fiction and posting it on various “Critiquing Sites”.  We tend to call ourselves “Critters”, which is short for Critiquers.

When I first started the internet was young and you didn’t have many trolls or spammers.  People were more honest in their thoughts.  It was a good time to post and really have some sink your teeth into your work.  

My early works were awful. We’re talking stinkers. I didn’t know dialogue or characterization or voice.  I’m still not close to professional, but I’ve improved a lot. I can tell from how even my friends are surprised.  They don’t have to fake engagement anymore. I don’t see that strained smile of “Um…. you really uh… captured the uh… coloring on that lampshade.”

I do feel I’ve improved a lot.

However, to get even this far it took growth and listening and accepting.  I use an original critique site now that I really like, but I’ve learned that these days you cannot give “your opinion”.

So many posters seem to be what you’d call “special snowflakes”.  They demand you be honest about how wonderful their work is and remind “I worked really hard on this”.  As if “hard work” automatically means it turned out good.

They seem to want a participation award for finishing a chapter.  Critting places are now rampant with these types.  Fortunately, you can still usually find the good writers. The ones who actually want feedback and care.  Unfortunately, some of these snowflakes can really fool you.

For example, I recently critted this one woman, she was a mother of three and a housewife who enjoyed soccer. She had done several good crits on my stories.  So I thought I should repay the favor.

I should have known something was up when her summary included “I worked really hard on this. I’m sorry if it’s a little rough. I threw this together.”

Anyhow, I made the mistake of agreeing with her statement of “it is a little rough”.

Oh, she blew up in the comments. I received a two page rant calling that statement of “it is a little rough” as “hard, cruel, and mean-worded”.  She went on and on about how dare I imply she isn’t good at grammar (which I never did).  She even quoted from her crits of my stories to prove “see, you’re not good at writing!”

Say, what?

I never claimed I was.  If I was brilliant at writing, I’d be published and I wouldn’t be posting on a critting site.  Same as her.

I was shocked because this was someone I believed okay. I didn’t realize she was a snowflake-in-disguise.  One of those types who loves ripping other people’s stuff apart, but then can’t handle even the slightest questions about her work.

I get tired of that type. They’re really hurting the writing community with their antics.   They usually aren’t bad writers, they’re just not great either. They seem stuck and often seem very frustrated that people don’t recognize how awesome their stories are.

It’s not their fault the reader is not engaged, it’s our fault for being blind to the potential of their masterpiece.  I miss the early days of critting sites when these types were fewer in number and far less annoying.

I trusted this person to live up to their word of “I can take it”.

On and on it went on that vain attacking me for not “understanding” the magic of staring sentences repeatedly with “And”.

I will never crit her works again.

I won’t reply to her two page long whine fest, but I’ll definitely be ignoring her works. What’s weirder is she ended it by “I look forward to critting more of your stories”.

Okay?  I won’t be returning the favor after her antics.

It is thanks to people like this Writer Snowflake that no matter how many times I tell a person that I have thick-skin and can take an honest crit of my story that they don’t believe me.  It’s also why I seldom believe others when they say they can take an “honest opinion”.

You hear that line all the time these days and few ever mean it.  You get told “I have a thick-skin” and then you finally give some honesty in what you think is a flaw.  Suddenly, that thick skin is gone and a finger is being waggled in your face as they attack you and say “You don’t know what you are talking about. I worked hard! You’re just too stupid to understand my talent.”

It’s why I can never be truly honest with someone on their story until I really, really trust them and believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have “thick-skin”.

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