Author Topic: A must read  (Read 7656 times)

Fairestheart

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A must read
« on: March 03, 2009, 01:39:20 PM »
There is something I would like to say and I would like for every one to stop and think about it for a moment.

You come here, to a writers forum, looking for advice and for people to critique your work. To help you learn and improve your writing. There are some people on this boards that do just that. They are here of their own accord. Using their own time to help you. And yet some of you turn on them.

If you don't like the advice they give you, thank them for giving it and move on. No need to be rude or ugly about it. This is the reason more editors and agents do not come to forums such as these to help you. Some of you get it. Some of you listen and are thankful for the advice whether you follow it or not. But there are some of you that run off these people that want to help.

You are here on these forums for a reason. They are as followed:

1.Actually looking for advice and help to improve your writing.
2.Your here to “listen to yourself talk” and be damned what any one has to say.

Its these second people that run off those that are willing to help. Do you see Stephen King here asking for advice on his work? Danielle Steel? Nicholas Sparks? James Patterson? No. If you are as good as they are you wouldn't need to come here looking for someone to “Review” your work.

So please, if you post something and ask for a critique or advice do not get nasty when someone gives it to you. Thank them and move on. Other wise your going to run off the people that do actually want to help. I promise you, they are far and few in between. Be nice to them. It is your discretion if you want to take their advice to heart or throw it out the window.

If you are critiquing someone's work, again be nice. Critique their work and not the writer. If you have an issue with the writer stay away from his threads. Its as simple as that.

Fairestheart

cadey

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Re: A must read
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2009, 02:00:32 PM »
publishing is a particularly tough world. If you only want nice and encouraging reviews, why not state this or have a page where only nice reviews are allowed, then those who don't really want advice, only support (which is fine) could avoid the devastation of a poor review !!! I speak from experience.

Fairestheart

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Re: A must read
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2009, 02:21:25 PM »
I am not saying that all reviews should be nice. I am saying do not attack the person that is reviewing your work. There is no need. If they have the experience and wish to share it with you then take it for what you feel its worth. There is no need for hostility all around. You can critique the work with out critiquing the writer.  You can give a harsh review. Just don't make it personal. If you don't like how they critiqued your work don't attack them. Just move on.

cadey

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Re: A must read
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2009, 02:30:00 PM »
I'm sorry I think you misunderstood me, when I said 'you' I meant it as a generic 'you' directed at anyone. I was really agreeing with your point but suggesting that people who really get upset by a poor review might feel more confident posting in a forum where support rather than review is the purpose.

Offline pb

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Re: A must read
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2009, 02:33:05 PM »
aren't artists like famously temperamental though?

i do love a big diva strop

but anyway i don't think fairestheart is saying 'nice reviews only'; the emphasis is on the writer taking criticism well.

talking of stephen king... 'it's your faith, against his face'

cadey

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Re: A must read
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2009, 02:39:07 PM »
I agree, there's nothing more satisfying than a diva strop (for performer or spectator). I was actually agreeing with the point made by fairestheart and trying also to be subtle - failed there I think. I was suggesting diplomatically that people who do respond badly and attack the reviewer are not really looking for a review, but rather they want someone to tell them how great they are. There, very undiplomatically put, now I will suffer!

PaulW

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Re: A must read
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2009, 02:49:29 PM »
The funny thing is, nobody really knows who is on this forum. There are thousands of members. If Stephen King was here then he'd be unlikely (extremely) to put that as his screen name or announce himself. The same would apply to editors, agents, publishers, etc. They'd be deluged by crap in no time. In fact, I'd be very surprised if there weren't at least one or two such people as members. People in the industry are curious, particularly about writers and if you look for writer's forums, you'll end up at MWC at some point.

Some of the advice you'll get is crap. Some is brilliant. Working out the difference between the two is the trick. This applies out in the real world as well as on this forum. Listen to what people say. If it really annoys you, take some time and then listen to it - it's possibly the best sort of advice if it cuts that deep. Then, having listened to the advice do it the way you prefer.

If Stephen King (say) was to give you some advice, it may be excellent advice, but not right for you. There is no magic formula. You can always learn from people though, even if it is what you shouldn't do. If the advice is honest and well-meant, that is the most you can expect from it. You have to do the rest yourself.

 




Wolfe

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Re: A must read
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2009, 02:51:20 PM »
Writers often wonder why agents, editors, and published authors don't respond with feedback to queries or manuscripts.  Why do they remain silent or slip a generic rejection letter? I once asked this of my fellow editors and authors as well.

Why don't we help our novice brothers and sisters?

Because most novice writers cannot or will not hear the truth. Don't ask for an honest opinion, and then get into a pissing contest when you read something addressed in your work.

And keep this in mind: I, like most in the field, have a long memory.  Whenever someone displays a round of foolishness, I mark the name as someone I will not deal with again.

This includes seeing your query letter or manuscript.  This includes asking for a reference.  This includes when an agent or editor asks for a recommendation for your book.

I'll say no.  Then, they'll ask why.

Don't burn your bridges here. You never know who's reading your responses.

Edit: And ironically, Paul mirrored my thoughts before I posted this.  :)

Wolfe
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 03:04:22 PM by Wolfe »

cadey

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Re: A must read
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2009, 03:04:13 PM »
 Wow Wolfe, I am shocked at your posting, it was threatening and arrogant.

'I, like most in the field, have a long memory.  Whenever someone displays a round of foolishness, I mark the name as someone I will not deal with again.This includes seeing your query letter or manuscript.  This includes asking for a reference.  This includes when an agent or editor asks for a recommendation for your book.'
I'll say no.  Then, they'll ask why


When someone displays 'foolishness' you vow never to deal with them again - can't people learn from mistakes? Are you so perfect that you never did anything foolish? How power corrupts. I have a very responsible position and allow all to make mistakes, and learn from them - including myself.
I imagine I will be banished from this land for making this foolish mistake.

Wolfe

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Re: A must read
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2009, 03:08:31 PM »
No, you can't make mistakes like that.  Ever.  If you responded to an agent with the silliness shown as of late, in a query letter, do you really believe the agent will 'forgive' your mistake?

And agents talk.  Editors talk.  The business talks.

Your name gets around. Some agents and editors even keep a file of the 'undesirables' in their offices.

It's harsh, yes.  But it's also reality.

Wolfe
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 03:13:22 PM by Wolfe »

PaulW

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Re: A must read
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2009, 03:16:17 PM »

Wolfe is just being honest Cadey. In the same way I have certain people on this forum that I will never waste time reviewing. It's not a big deal, I've just wasted as much time on them as I'm prepared to. New people are always coming along and I'd rather give my time to them rather than waste it on lost causes. I'm sure there are people who ignore me for just the same reasons. I'm not talking about someone who just disagrees with me - I have great respect for some people who *never* seem to agree with me. I'm talking about idiots who go out of their way to cause hassle.

You are right, people can change, they may have just had one bad day and are normally receptive to comments. Life is harsh though and how you deal with other people reflects how they will deal with you in the future. If someone is being a pain in the butt on here, where it doesn't really matter, can you imagine how much more annoying they would be if dealing with them in a business context?

So, I'd absolutely agree with what Wolfe is saying. It's nothing contentious or arrogant - if there are a hundred submissions on your desk and one pops up by someone who irritates you, what are you going to do? Exactly - straight in the round filing drawer on the floor.



 

cadey

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Re: A must read
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2009, 03:28:32 PM »
I am in a very competitive profession and know very well the harsh realities of business and of reviews. I still think the comments were ill-judged and presented in a way that was aloof, you too Wolfe, do not know to whom you are talking all the time.

My point is really that irrespective of the truthfulness of what was said - those  who actually 'do' what was said are the people who make these things harsh - nothing happens in a vacuum. Sorry Wolfe I think the tone in what you said was ill- judged and made you appear a little full of yourself. I need no more lessons on how harsh the world is - I am no wet behind the ears novice, that is no excuse.

Anyway I am not here to argue with anyone or to create bad feeling, so if I have offended I humbly apologise.

Offline Spell Chick

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Re: A must read
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2009, 03:41:47 PM »
This has been rehashed for maybe five million, two hundred and seventy-three thousand, and six hundred, twenty-eight times. I don't understand what is so difficult about the concept.

In sports it is called play the ball, not the man.
Here it is critique the work, not the writer.

And when you don't agree with the previous critique, the method of winning hearts and influencing people is to give an even BETTER critique pointing out YOUR points of view and listing why YOUR point of view is valid. You don't need to insult other people who have taken the time to critique. If the only way your critique can have any merit is to defame another poster, your critique can't stand the scrutiny test.

When you disagree with someone or something, you don't need to denigrate your opponent. In fact, that weakens your premise. It screams: Mine is only good if I can weaken the previous offering.

If your critique has merit, it has merit. Not because you are smarter, wiser, better employed, or with more letters after your name. If your critique has any merit, it is because it is a good critique.

There are many of us who came here to learn. I certainly did. I can't take as serious, any argument presented in a "contest" manner. Mine is better than [fill in the name of the opponent]. No. It isn't.

Yours is either better because it is a clearer, better fit with reality or it isn't. When the only way you can make a point is to make an enemy, you need to re-examine your strategy. That isn't a way to get along in the world at large. No man is an island [someone famous said that].

* all "you" words here are generic you, not a particular person.

** respect is earned, never granted.
Little Bits of History A short essay on something that happened on any day.

Imperfect Reason My thoughts, such as they are.

Fairestheart

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Re: A must read
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2009, 03:48:39 PM »
I think what is being said is that in the public eye people form opinions about you as to what you do and say. For instance, I work at a dealership, if I make a mistake on my paperwork it is corrected and forgiven. No harm no foul. But Chris Brown beat up Rhianna. They are in the public eye. More than half of all radio stations have pulled his music vowing to never play it again. He says he made a horrible mistake and is taking steps to correct it and never to do it again. How does his world, the music industry, perceive him now? As a woman beater. How does his world, the fans, perceive him now? As a woman beater.

The same holds up in the writing world. Its not as large as you think it may be. Here you have a bad day and just let loose on someone that was trying to help you. You manage to finish your manuscript and shoot it off to several agents. Someone gets it and recognizes it and remembers how you treated them. Because we are only human what does that person do? Tosses it. If a fellow agent asked them to review it asks their opinion do you think they will shrug and say it was okay? Likely they will rant about how you treated them when they tried to help you and the other agent who may have though of giving you a shot ends up just tossing your work as well.

If you feel you have been slighted or do not like what someone has said then before you make a rage/haste post on your feelings then take a step back and a deep breath and think before you post. If its rage mail someone will always remember and talk. I say if you feel rage about what someone has said politely thank them then move on and never bother with them again.

Fairy

cadey

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Re: A must read
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2009, 04:09:40 PM »
with all due respect this was another lecture on the harshness of the world. Do not make the mistake of thinking that people do not know how harsh the publishing world is and need a course in the school of hard knocks as the answer to every single comment they may choose to make.

The guy who beat up Rihanna will be forgiven, believe me it will happen - she has already forgiven him. Jonathan Ross has been forgiven, Peter mandelson has been forgiven, it happens. The press have short memories, making money is the driver.

Grudge holding is not defended beacuse a few people in privileged positions in publishing do it.  If a person has no talent, then they are rejected, fair enough. People who are temperamental may be very talented - I'm sure you could give me a huge list of talented divas so don't tell me that foolish behaviour is always punished.

My point, and it seems to have been missed, was only that Wolfe was warning people not to be foolish, then giving his own personal practice of grudge holding as example and warning to all of us, with the undertone that on this forum you better be careful because there's lots of big boys here with long memories. The tone, especially for a man skilled in words, was ill-judged.