Thursday, July 29, 2010

Getting hard

The more I interact with amateurs, the more I am inclined to move to a cave and live like Thoreau. It isn't because they're stupid (they are) or that they're unprofessional (yep, that too) but because they are rude and ignorant and take delight in trampling all over everything that isn't theirs.

I recently critiqued another writer's work. It came up in the queue. In order to get a critique, I have to give one. This person sought me out the next day and trashed my hard work, giving me the lowest scores possible. At first, the comments seemed unnecessarily vicious and hammered away at literary writing techniques that have nothing to do with genre writing. I decided to check the person out to thank them (teeth gritted) for their carefully considered comments. That's when I found out I had written a critique of their work the day before. I pointed out the cliches in their work and the too obvious plot devices, never giving a score below 3/5, and offered suggestions that would elevate their work above the cookie cutter style they had chosen (beautiful, rich, bored woman in expensive car seeks out starving young man living in hostel and selling newspapers in the rain for food offers hot bath, gourmet food and top shelf alcohol for the night in her secluded, well appointed hideaway). There was no sense of place. The dialogue was stilted and obviously pulled from some television show or 1900s melodrama. The characters were one-dimensional and the situation trite.

Unlike my usual methods where I state flat out that someone has screwed the English language with a broken skewer and trampled it with jump boots into the quagmire of a tar pit, I used tact. He used none and simply had a screaming tantrum all over my hard work. I feel like I'm flying with turkeys. It's enough to dishearten and depress, and it has done both in the recent past.

On a hunch, I checked out the other negative critiques and they were also people I had given low marks for horrid, misspelled and grammar-deficient writing. Flying with turkeys again.

I know professionals can be rude and snarky, but at least they have some credentials backing up their comments. These amateurs have none, as their lack of understanding or familiarity with the English language and basic grammar show. Now I know why successful writers refuse to read amateur work. It makes them despair for the future of literature. And I certainly do.

I don't expect everyone to love everything I write, but I do expect a certain level of professionalism and tact. I give what I expect to get -- the golden rule. Too bad no one has taught these literary anthropoids that being able to use a computer keyboard does not mean they can write.

Oh, well, time to go back to my cave and read good writing or even marginal writing with promise. I have so many to choose from.

That is all. Disperse.

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