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Old 05-07-2013, 06:21 PM   #91
Catlady
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Originally Posted by Felicity Grope View Post
Even if people can't respect the talent, they should at least respect the time and effort. It saddens me to see any writer discouraged by people who are effectively yobs.
Why should I respect the time and effort put into producing drek?

It's not my job to encourage a writer, and it's often a public service to discourage one who has no discernible talent.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:52 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Felicity Grope View Post
Even if people can't respect the talent, they should at least respect the time and effort. It saddens me to see any writer discouraged by people who are effectively yobs.
I work in an accounting sort of job. I've had people come in, you spend hours and hours training, and you can tell they're never going to pick it up. Their brains are never going to have that "click" that "gets it". I'm not talking about intelligence level, just strengths and aptitudes.

Other people, they pick it up immediately - and those are usually the ones who moan that they're not learning fast enough (since they know what they're really capable of when all the pistons are firing).

I think it would be more discouraging to the person who doesn't have an aptitude for the work for me to keep telling them, "you're doing a wonderful job", "I can really tell you're trying" when I also have to turn around and fix mess after mess behind them. I think there comes a time when you have to say "I don't think this job is a good fit for your strengths". (See, I don't mean it would be kind or even honest to say "you're an idiot and you'll never get this!")

There are people with great ideas but a poor understanding of how to put a sentence together, let alone all those things that take a "good" story to a "great" one. I think it's more fair to be honest about that - especially if they really want to be a good storyteller.

But I do agree, there are ways, and there are ways. I love a good snarky review on a poorly written book as much as a good gushing review on a well-written book - but I also save my "snark review" reading to sites where I know they attack the book (when it's needed) but never the author (comments may be otherwise, but not the reviewers themselves).

Last edited by FizzyWater; 05-08-2013 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:47 AM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
Why should I respect the time and effort put into producing drek?

It's not my job to encourage a writer, and it's often a public service to discourage one who has no discernible talent.
Strewth! I assumed we are all writers together and that we all share some level of common decency towards each other. Not everybody is blessed with a natural ability to write or write well. However, we can at least be supportive and poor writers can be shown how to improve.

As to offering a public service: your consideration to your fellow readers is admirable but who holds you to account and where do we draw the line regarding who should or should not be allowed to write or publish? Frankly, about 99% of the ebooks written are dross and muddy the market for better publications. But it’s not my place to attack the books I hate and people should never be discouraged from trying to create anything. The big publishers might dominate the market because they control the media but this still remains a democracy of effort.

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Originally Posted by FizzyWater View Post
there are ways, and there are ways.
And that's all I've been meaning to say. Of course there are people who cannot write but you don't set out to hurt them. All I've ever tried to suggest is that people treat each other with a level of dignity.

I can be scathing, vicious, and downright hurtful at times but I only attack people in positions of power. Only a coward attacks the weak and my main reason for contributing to this discussion was to suggest that writers who feel self-consciously vulnerable about their work should not take the criticism of bullies to heart. I forget which Bronte sister is was who used to cover her manuscript when anybody walked into the room but it shows that all writers are precious about their work, even the greatest.

I’m new here so perhaps I misjudged the tone. I tried to offer some constructive advice to fellow writers but some of the replies make it feel like a dog pit in here and I can do without the snarling.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:41 AM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felicity Grope View Post
Strewth! I assumed we are all writers together and that we all share some level of common decency towards each other. Not everybody is blessed with a natural ability to write or write well. However, we can at least be supportive and poor writers can be shown how to improve.
This is not the writers' section of the forums; I'm a reader, not a writer.

If a writer publishes a book, the reader has a right to expect a finished product--something that shows at least minimal competence and skill--and if it falls short, the reader has a right to complain about it. If a writer wants encouragement or helpful critiques, that writer should turn to a support group or a mentor or a teacher BEFORE foisting the work on the public.

People who don't have the ability to write well shouldn't be writing for publication. It's a talent that not everyone has, and it's silly to think that mere effort is enough.

Quote:
As to offering a public service: your consideration to your fellow readers is admirable but who holds you to account and where do we draw the line regarding who should or should not be allowed to write or publish? Frankly, about 99% of the ebooks written are dross and muddy the market for better publications. But it’s not my place to attack the books I hate and people should never be discouraged from trying to create anything. The big publishers might dominate the market because they control the media but this still remains a democracy of effort.
"People should never be discouraged from trying to create anything"? Why not? Especially when what they create is garbage! Of course they should be discouraged from wasting their time and mine! As I said above, the support can come from a support group; once the author publishes, the reader has no obligation to stroke the author's ego.

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And that's all I've been meaning to say. Of course there are people who cannot write but you don't set out to hurt them. All I've ever tried to suggest is that people treat each other with a level of dignity.
And that means a reviewer should not attack any author personally. However, the work is fair game.

Quote:
I can be scathing, vicious, and downright hurtful at times but I only attack people in positions of power. Only a coward attacks the weak and my main reason for contributing to this discussion was to suggest that writers who feel self-consciously vulnerable about their work should not take the criticism of bullies to heart. I forget which Bronte sister is was who used to cover her manuscript when anybody walked into the room but it shows that all writers are precious about their work, even the greatest.
So people in positions of power have no feelings? Frankly, I don't care if the person is powerful or not, the criticism should be of the work, not the person.

Quote:
I’m new here so perhaps I misjudged the tone. I tried to offer some constructive advice to fellow writers but some of the replies make it feel like a dog pit in here and I can do without the snarling.
This is the general section of the forum. There is a dedicated writers' forum.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:06 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felicity Grope View Post
As to offering a public service: your consideration to your fellow readers is admirable but who holds you to account and where do we draw the line regarding who should or should not be allowed to write or publish? Frankly, about 99% of the ebooks written are dross and muddy the market for better publications. But it’s not my place to attack the books I hate and people should never be discouraged from trying to create anything.
Creating is one thing - participating in the commercial marketplace is something else entirely.

As for who should be allowed to write or publish? Anyone is allowed to write, as they should, but I do sometimes crave "quality checks" for publishing. Sadly, I don't think there's any fair way to institute a process for it. Which is why we have reviews, and why reviewers are important to readers.

And the "how many of those people could write a book themselves" nonsense (somewhere up thread, I lost the post) stopped holding water at the exact moment when the number of self-published books in the marketplace provided an answer: "Most of them, apparently."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Felicity Grope View Post
I can be scathing, vicious, and downright hurtful at times but I only attack people in positions of power.
I don't get this. People either deserve respect or they don't, but it should be based on their actions, not on their "position of power".

A book, however, is a thing, not a person, and deserves only an honest review. If an author can't handle the truth about their book being less than great, then they need to either get better or go home.

I don't advocate being mean to authors (or anyone else), but I also don't advocate coddling the creative types. And I say that as a creative type myself. Honesty, even brutal honesty, can be a much greater gift than meaningless kudos and "participation awards".
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:40 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felicity Grope View Post
Strewth! I assumed we are all writers together and that we all share some level of common decency towards each other. Not everybody is blessed with a natural ability to write or write well. However, we can at least be supportive and poor writers can be shown how to improve.
Plenty of poor writers have no interest in improvement and get quite defensive when the flaws in their books are pointed out.

Quote:
As to offering a public service: your consideration to your fellow readers is admirable but who holds you to account and where do we draw the line regarding who should or should not be allowed to write or publish?
"We?" Who's we?

Anyone can write. These days, anyone can publish. And if the writing is lousy, they should expect critique, which doesn't have to fit any particular literary standards any more than the writing does.

Quote:
Frankly, about 99% of the ebooks written are dross and muddy the market for better publications. But it’s not my place to attack the books I hate and people should never be discouraged from trying to create anything.
Sure they should. Some people are bigots. Some are promoting hate, violence, and oppression in their books--and not even being entertaining about it. I'm under no moral obligation to appreciate all flavors of "creativity."

Quote:
I can be scathing, vicious, and downright hurtful at times but I only attack people in positions of power. Only a coward attacks the weak
Authors who can't tell the difference between attack and critique are amazingly common. I'm not going to hold back because they might be sensitive. It's not like "people get harsh about books they don't like" is a big secret, and a new author wouldn't know that.

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I’m new here so perhaps I misjudged the tone. I tried to offer some constructive advice to fellow writers but some of the replies make it feel like a dog pit in here and I can do without the snarling.
Some of us on the reader side have run across quite a few authors, especially self-pub authors, who take any comment less than a five-star "OMG I LOVED THIS!!!" as a slanderous attack on their character, morals, upbringing, religion, and choice of houseplants.
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:44 PM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felicity Grope View Post
Strewth! I assumed we are all writers together and that we all share some level of common decency towards each other. Not everybody is blessed with a natural ability to write or write well. However, we can at least be supportive and poor writers can be shown how to improve.
I belong to a writers' group. When people bring their work there, I offer positive comments about things they did well. I offer helpful comments about what to improve. Some of the stuff is dreadful, but I do the same, regardless.

However, once you say "It's ready!" and start wanting people to give you money for it, I don't have to be supportive. If someone tries to sell crap, don't be surprised that people call it crap.

Quote:

...people should never be discouraged from trying to create anything...
Oh, yes they should. There are far too many lousy books/movies/songs/plays/paintings/poems in the world. Try reading Fifty Shades of Grey. That should never have seen the light of day.

Quote:
And that's all I've been meaning to say. Of course there are people who cannot write but you don't set out to hurt them. All I've ever tried to suggest is that people treat each other with a level of dignity.
Taking someone's money for a piece of work that isn't good certainly isn't treating them with dignity. Since one has to pay up front, they're taking a risk and shouldn't be sold dross. Honest reviews are an important tool for readers. I don't mean hatchet jobs, not something malicious, but a scathing review of something that is terribly bad is very helpful. One can usually tell by the writing of the review if it is intelligent criticism or not.

Quote:
I’m new here so perhaps I misjudged the tone. I tried to offer some constructive advice to fellow writers but some of the replies make it feel like a dog pit in here and I can do without the snarling.
Rather passive-aggressive. You make the assertion, in a forum for people who are passionate readers, that people shouldn't say that lousy books are lousy and your comment (your comment, not you) is criticized and you want to play the victim? Everyone in this forum has bought a bad book or two or a dozen. Readers are the victims of lousy writers.
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:52 PM   #98
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I admit to reading things I am pretty sure I'm not going to like. It is usually so that I can participate in a discussion about it. I do need to read it if I'm going to do that. However, when left on my own, I will bail out if I'm not liking something. Usually after twenty pages at most. Though John Iriving's In One Person was allowed about fifty pages to catch my attention. It didn't. I only gave it that long because I loved some of his other stuff.
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