Thursday, July 23, 2009

The arrogance of the expert newbie . . .

This is one of my biggest pet peeves in the community of writers. There are a few unpublished writers out there who have taken a class, read a book, or attended a conference, who now think they know exactly how to write a novel the correct way.

But the kicker is, they feel the need to impose their newly found "truth" on the rest of us. Even going as far as commenting on successful author's blogs in an argumentative fashion of how wrong they are when said successful author gives free advice.

Now I'm not against anyone expressing their views, but you might want to listen to an author who sells a lot of books. The readers are the true arbiters of "correct" writing.

I have seen this psychosis before. Someone discovers the secret of something, has an "Ohhh, I get it now" moment, and then develops an arrogant gestapo like attitude toward the rest of us dumb rubes who don't employ these truths.

There is no one way to write a novel. Editors culminate years of experience to offer valuable but sometimes flawed advice. The reading public, however, can be hard to pin down. They want a good story, period. It's up to editors to figure out what that means this week. They all admit that if they knew exactly what makes a bestseller, then every book they put out would be one.


Kat Heckenbach said...

ooh, good comment--that if editors knew exactly what made a best seller, then every book they put out would be one!

I've met writers like that--and nine times out of then, they can't see the flaws in their own writing!

I read an article once in which a woman said she only takes advice from people who are living the life she wants for herself. (She happened to be a writer, but she wasn't talking just about writing.) Ah, and since she IS published, and I want to be, I think I'll take that advice...

Kay Day said...

I agree, Dayle.

And I have recently sort of adopted the philosophy Kat mentioned. If I don't like someone's writing, I'm probably not going to heed their writing advice.