Wisdom for Writers

I'd like to offer some wisdom in the form of encouragement today. Though it's thinly disguised as admonition, here it is, in the words of my Granny:

"If you don't have anything nice to say, shut the hell up."

Or keep your fingers off the keyboard, as it were. Please forgive the harsh language, but I believe we're dealing with a harsh reality.

I've noticed a disturbing trend. On the very same blogs where they post their hopes and dreams about one day being published, some bloggers choose to trash certain authors. Publicly. And often. Let's pick an author example out of the ether ... completely at random ... oh, let's see ... surely I can think of someone ... how about ... Stephenie Meyer.

I have read more vile venomous sentiments about Stephenie on the internet than there are directions about what to do to oneself sexually (and how) on every bathroom wall in every gas station from the dirty South to the Pacific Northwest. Her religion, her writing, her story world, her accessory choices - you name it. All up for grabs. People are entitled to their opinions. This is fine. But posting blogs/writing articles/excessively tweeting about how much you hate a writer and his or her work can be DANGEROUS.


The publishing world is small. You have your Nathan Bransford's and your Rachelle Gardner's who are located outside New York City (although they do have internet, hem hem). But the vast majority of literary agencies and publishing houses are, in fact, in NYC. And most of these industry professionals know one another. They hang. They drink. They eat.

They talk.

I often wonder if bloggers realize that when they slam Stephenie Meyer and her abilities, they are basically throwing down a ginormous "YO MAMA" gauntlet at the feet of Jodie Reamer, ESQ. And Writer's House Literary Agency. And Hachette Book Group, as well as all their divisions and imprints, including but not limited to Little, Brown, Orbit, Megan Tingley Books and the list goes on and on.

If I were going to "YO MAMA" anyone in the free world? None of these people would make the list.

I personally know authors (published) and writers (unpublished) who don't share my enthusiasm for the works of Ms. Meyer. To the last one, they very respectfully air this view by simply saying, "They aren't my cup of tea." And that's it. Because these writers/authors are professionals.

I often wonder if some writers think that expressing their views by trashing someone who is such an easy target will garner them more attention. Get their voice out there. Get them noticed.

So will pulling your dress up over your head so everyone can see your Day of the Week panties. But that's generally reserved for children and drunk people. Who, for the record, don't often make the best choices.

I guess my point is this ... slow down on the vitriol. Harness all that energy and eviscerate someone in fiction. And write your story well.

'Cause a blogger might come after you one day. And it's hard to run with your dress over your head.


  1. I MIGHT be wrong, but I think it's a little thing called jealousy? Because really, if you don't like Stephy or anyone else out there, then um, don't read their books. I'm just sayin'.

  2. I used to pull my dress over my head when the little kids choir would sing in front of church...but I was only 4.

    I think that you make a vital point. You may find that there are numerous people who comment on your blog agreeing with you after bashing Ms. Meyer, but I highly doubt any of them will be from the literary world. Certainly not agents or editors.

    Oh, and, YO MAMA!!!! ;-P

  3. Girl, this is well said and thank you for posting it. Think I'll have to link it on my blog. =) And since I have to get ready to leave right now, I may have to come back for more in depth comment.

  4. Good post. Worthy of debate. I would do so here, but nobody reads long comments, so I'll defend the bashers (well, kind of defend them) on my own blog later tonight.

  5. A - Yesssssssssss.

    HC - Hopefully age has lessened that desire. Yo mama back.

    J - Thank YOU! You are one of those professional ones who respectfully (and hilariously) disagrees.

    PMP - I am going to email you the post that got me all excited. Read it before you post. Or don't. Yanno. Whatever.

  6. Thank you so much for taking the time to point this out. I agree. You hate the "style" but you can't knock 'em especially if you're not a master of the arts already...coming from Stephen King...he has merit. I have to agree with him but I'm not going to dedicate a blog entry to something I'm not going to read. ;)

  7. Okay Myra.

    Taking a deep breath. : )

    There is a huge difference between discussing the merits of a work of fiction, reviewing it, and slamming the writer.

    I was slow to jump on the Twilight train. Read the first one, thought okay. The second... not bad. Read the third one in one night... yup, one night. While reading (especially the last one) the editor in me popped out from time to time and I had issues with some of her plotting (think last book) and characterization.

    That said, I still enjoyed the books. She is very readable and I give her kudos, but I'm just not a big fan.

  8. I'm not totally onboard with shutting the hell up if you don't have anything nice to say, because some people need to be told to shut-the-hell-up. Like Jon Gosselin... he can just shut-the-hell-up! And the guy who kidnapped that girl when she was eleven... he can shut-the-hell-up too.

  9. Carrie - EXACTLY. To each his own.

    WriterMom - Agreed and well put.

    Tracy - Preach it.

  10. I also wanted to say that this blog post is *kind of* in response to a post someone else made today that called SM a complete failure as a writer, amongst other things.

    I respect when people dislike a style or a genre or a writer for valid reasons, but rampant jealousy and bitter accusations should be left for close friends and family members.

  11. Hilariously disagree? Okay then. LOL But thank you for the "professional" remark. I'm all aflutter. =) Um, yeah, I've had some wine in me so screw the in depth crap.

    I think one can discuss another author or their books with tact, and I agree with Writermomof5. You're only burying yourself if you actually "attack" an author and their work. While I may not care for Ms. Meyer's writing style, I do hold respect for her in that she had something that obviously caught someone's eye. As a writer who is going through the query process at this time, I know that it's not an easy thing to do, and anyone who gets noticed and published deserves my respect.

    Okay, that's all I've got for now. LOL

  12. I do agree that is dangerous territory. You can diplomatically say that you don't care for a book without trashing it. I love that most bloggers celebrate other authors, because authors love books and you are promoting your own industry! Duh!

  13. Great post! And sadly true =)

    I made the decision when I started blogging that I wanted to stay positive. If I loved a book, I would say so, but if I didn't like a book I just wouldn't mention it. Famous people have feelings too...

  14. Poor Twilight, taking such a bashing. I read them. The writing drove me crazy until I could turn off the writer & editor in my mind (it gets better by the 3rd & 4th books); the heroine is hopelessly passive & codependent; and some of the plot devices are rather convenient and contrived. But I was able enjoy the ride, for the most part.

    I don't wanna be anyone's dream-killer (I'm actually writing a blog post about that subject right now, in fact), so I will let Ms. Meyer be. Who am I to point fingers and make criticisms anyway? I'm still trying to get published; she's on the best seller lists.

  15. I don't think I will ever understand why people feel the need to blatantly bash others. There is a way to state your dislike of something without being insulting. I agree it is dangerous territory.

    Also, I just wanted to say that I love Chucks too... I just got a new pair of plaid hi-tops :)

  16. I can't say I'm a huge fan of Stephanie Meyer, but I'd never publicly humiliate her or myself by being so crude as to slam her. I enjoyed the Twilight books, recognized where it could have been improved, and left it at that.

    There is no such thing as perfection, there is always subjectivity, and sharing their opinion in a rude way on a public forum such as the internet only hurts, in the long run, the person declaring their thoughts.

    On that note, this is an awesome post! Great job! =)

  17. Thank you for your wonderful sentiments. Being a fan of Steph Meyer (and other writers who are constantly bashed), I get to the point where I want to punch anybody in the face who said a bad word against her. Nobody has the right to criticize another's work. Especially, and I know this is true with most of the people I hear talk crap about people like Stephenie, if they can't write a darn thing themselves. I remember once I went swimming with my mother and a friend of mine and my friend was trying to gather the courage to jump into the deep end, but she was afraid. I laughed at her. My mother said, "Hey, why don't you go jump in?" That shut me up, because I can't swim.

    Sorry for the long comment, but great blog.

  18. This is excellent advice! It baffles me when I see unpubbed writers trashing pubbed authors in such a public manner. Makes me cringe just a little.

  19. Amen. I said something very similar on my blog not too long ago, complete with uber-professional Twilight-related LOL cats.

    Subbing to your blog and Twitter!

  20. Reminds me of what an acquaintance of mine often says: "If you can't say something nice about someone, come and sit by me." Seriously, no need to trash the competition. Just do your thing, do it well, and be thankful that tastes vary (thank goodness).

  21. Reminds me of what an acquaintance of mine often says: "If you can't say something nice about someone, come and sit by me." Seriously, no need to trash the competition. Just do your thing, do it well, and be thankful that tastes vary (thank goodness).

  22. This is excellent advice! It baffles me when I see unpubbed writers trashing pubbed authors in such a public manner. Makes me cringe just a little.


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