Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Will Never Do This.

Writing groups, conferences, and forums all have their own personalities. If a writer is lucky, he or she will find a community somewhere where they feel they belong. And he or she will also find a few where they don't feel they fit, and figure out why, and learn something.

I like Nathan Bransford's forums, but I don't fit in there. Part of it is chronology— I'm a decade or two older than most of the folks over there. Then there's the fact that my reading list does not overlap with theirs. Mostly it's something I've seen in post after post that drives me straight up the wall. Posts like this one:

"I know we're told never to use Crappy Writing Technique X, but Writer Joan Doe uses it and sold a zillion books, so I'm going to ignore that advice."

Followed by a dozen "me too" or "you go, girl" posts. No matter how egregious the writing technique, how epic the fail, some will embrace it. Or rather, not bother to root it out of their own work.

Three thoughts:

1. It is true that any bad writing technique can be found in the work of some successful writer out there. It is also true that successful writers can get away with things that new writers cannot.

2. It is true that I feel a certain level of sangfroid in reading posts by new writers who are cheerfully deciding to hobble their chances by ignoring their craft.

3. I will NEVER agree that you can let craft go and ignore problems just because someone who has already earned their publisher a pile of money has let their work slide.

Now get back to the hard work of writing well.

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