Literary Bullying?

I read this post today from the blog, Write In Between. The writer talks about the attitudes expressed to her for showing an interest in popular fiction rather then focusing on that which is “literary”. This got me thinking….

Lately I’ve come across several displays of judgmental intolerance concerning the written word. You know them–the stone-throwers–people who can’t come to terms with the fact that not everyone is just like them. There are many who thrive on building themselves up by tearing others down. But if you are a writer, behaving toward others in this manner is almost as smart as shooting yourself in the foot.

I said almost as smart…

But, not quite.

Recently I came across a blog spouting horrible insults at any woman brainless and pathetic enough to ever enjoy reading a romance novel. Turns out the writer is a fiction author. I think he writes “guy” novels–action, espionage and the like. I suppose he believes his own writing is far superior to anything the romance genre could ever produce. Who knows. He could be right.

Here’s the thing…

I sometimes read “guy” books. I was such a voracious reader as a girl, I would often pick up stuff my dad had lying around the house. As long as it wasn’t too violent (I’m not big on horror) I’d read it. Even now, I am still drawn into these types of books from time to time. And I doubt I’m the only reader in the world who is tempted to cross genre lines and try different things. So… do you see what this guy does? He cuts off a portion of his own potential audience by slinging his vicious attitude directly at readers of a certain genre.

Might I enjoy reading one of his books? Maybe. Will I ever buy one for myself or as a gift? Not a chance.  Perhaps I am stupid enough to to read the occasional romance novel. I, however, am not stupid enough to give this jerk my money.

To wrap things up, I’ll say this: every author has the absolute right to act like a pompous ass. We would never deny them that right. On the other hand, readers have the absolute right to choose which authors they do and don’t support. If you are a writer, even one who is not yet published, do yourself a favor and always keep that in mind as you tweet/Facebook/blog your opinions to the world. It only takes one thoughtless comment to destroy a career.

And if you experience “literary bullying” here’s my advice. Read the genre you want. Write the genre you want. Be who you are!

Laura Ritchie

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Don’t Ever Stop Learning

I’m very excited! In the near future I’ll be packing up my latest manuscript, my shiny new computer, and my even shinier dreams, then I’m travelling out of state to attend my first writer’s workshop.

But a few days ago, all participants received homework to complete beforehand. We must read the sample works of others, and write critiques for each. Simple, huh?

Not really.

It took me hours to get through the first one—not because the story was horrible or anything. I just realized this is an area where I need a lot of improvement.

I can read a story and see that something is wrong. However, putting that problem into clear and concise words is more of a challenge than I expected. Also, there were a whole lot of little things.  See… if it were me, I’d want to know about every single one of them. I’d want to be told, then decide whether to change them or not. But everyone isn’t like me. I realize that some folks only want to hear what they did right.

I had this nearly overwhelming urge to fix the whole thing myself. Just to prove to myself that it could be fixed. Knowing that plan was, well, completely ridiculous, I listed some of the main issues. Then I spent  time listing the things I liked.

It didn’t look too bad when I was done. Not heartless nit-picking, but suggestions, along with some compliments. I think it will suffice.

Now… that’s one down. No more blogging until I finish all the rest!

Keep Writing!

Laura

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