Okay, look

The pages of the authors that made it into the second round at Fangs, Fur & Fey have started going up. It's interesting to see what people are responding to and what they aren't. It's interesting to see what I'm responding to and what I'm not. It's also interesting to see what asses authors can be.

There are a couple of people who, in response to their critiques (either of the hook or the first pages), have decided to get indignant. They've decided to explain to the judges that, if the reader got to see more of the story, of course they would love it. Or that the judge didn't get what they were trying to do. Or that the writing errors are found in other books so why should they worry about them? It's not too many people, just a few, but let me tell you that I am writing down the names of these people in my book notebook to make sure I never accidentally pick up one of their books, because I don't like giving money to jerks.

Here's the thing - this is a free contest run by published authors where the prize is a review by a reputable agent. There is no public response that is appropriate except for a gracious thank you. Disagree with the critique you're given if you want (I did, in fact, a little bit), but don't get all "parents just don't UNDERSTAND" in the community blog.

I personally feel that if the reader, ANY reader, is having a problem with part of the story, then it is up to the writer to take a good hard look at that part and say "am I doing what I need to do here? Is this really working, or am I too in love with myself?" And, I'll be honest, there have been times that I laughed aloud at the "advice" I was given, because it sucked. But I did so in private, after closing the door behind me. Because when someone takes the time to give you advice about your writing, the only polite response is attentiveness and gratitude. They don't have to pay attention at all.

2 comments:

Hi Jay,
I always find it funny that writers, who should know better, don't appreciate that you need to show grace with the written medium. I am always far more dignified and thoughtful in writing than I can ever claim to be verbally; I think I learned the lesson well that once it's written, there's a record there, and you don't want it to be a record of what a jerk you were.

Cheers,
AM

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 at 8:10:00 AM EDT  

"once it's written, there's a record there, and you don't want it to be a record of what a jerk you were."

Truer words were never spoken. I suppose, with the advent of the internet, a lot of these writers never went through a good workshop class where defensiveness wasn't tolerated, so they're thin skinned and think defending themselves is a good idea.

Yeah, it's not.

I'm not going to lie and say "oh, criticism doesn't bother me at all," because HA! But my rule is to listen to it all, say thank you, and decide later, privately, whether it has any value. I think that's the only thing one can do if one wants to get criticism and not seem like a jerk.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 at 3:09:00 PM EDT  

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