Tag Archives: literary critics

In Defense

The writing world is full of haters.

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Author: Mohylek 16:38, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

Before I became serious about turning my writing into publishable works, I was one of many armchair critics. As I sat behind my glowing computer screen, writing reviews on Facebook and Goodreads (that – honestly – no one besides my two best friends would really ever read), I found it easy to dismiss a story as trite, pretentious, boring, vapid, or amateurish. The words would vomit into a hastily written post that would reiterate my own selfish belief that the consumer was the ultimate judge of literature.

And while I still believe that the reader is a key component to the complex relationships between author, agent, editor, publisher, and fan, I believe we all need to take a deep breath, step back, and learn when to shut up. Let’s reevaluate ourselves for a moment.

 1. Have you ever written a novel?

If no, shut up.

2. Have you ever edited your finished novel?

If no, shut up.

3. Have you ever rewritten entire sections of your novel?

If no, shut up.

4. Have you ever shared your novel with a group of friends?

If no, shut up.

5. Have you ever written a query letter?

If no, shut up.

6. Have you ever written a synopsis?

If no, shut up.

7. Have you had an agent invite you to be a client?

If no, shut up.

8. Has your agent managed to sign your book to a major publisher?

If no, shut up.

9. Has your novel survived the editing process and made it to the press?

If no, shut up.

10. Have you received an advance for your book series–an advance in the realm of $750,000?

If no, shut up.

11. Has your series appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list for 142 weeks? How about for even one week?

If no, shut up.

12. Have you signed a movie deal for your novels?

If no, shut up.

13. Have those movies based on your books made millions of dollars?

If no, shut up.

14. Is your estimated worth around $125 million?

If no, shut up.

 

Stephenie Meyer is constantly bashed on, ripped apart, and mocked for her success. And I have to admit that I have ridiculed her work from time to time, but I sometimes have to get my own reality check. I can’t answer yes to very many of those questions, but Mrs. Meyer can say yes to every single one.

Stephen King and other professional writers can critique all they wants – how many of the previous questions could those individuals answer with a resounding, “Yes”?

And before anyone jumps on me for making this about money and notoriety, it’s not. That’s not why most writers write. But let’s be honest. All of the money and notoriety helps. And it’s oftentimes how authors are judged.

Do I write despite not being able to answer yes to very many of those questions? Absolutely.

Do I still critique other writers’ works? Yes.

But I take those few seconds to take a breath, think of the person behind the words, and keep my reactions in perspective. There is no use adding more hate to the writing world. It’s a cutthroat enough industry as it is.

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