Critique is a hard pill for any writer to swallow. We love our darlings, we sweat, worry, fret, fuss and promote them – so then is it any surprise that we take it badly when someone criticises them or the methods we use to write as imperfect. Like a parent preening at the achievements or wonder of their child, we think of our writing as genius laden and this in turn allows us a sly egotistical pat on the back for creating such a wonder. This is common among writers, however there is another breed of writer that thinks themselves above even our ego-laden sensitivities.
We all collectively roll our eyes every time we hear from that proud parent about little Johnny who is the wonder of the modern world, set to break the Mensa record for IQ, Olympic records for sporting prowess and the social records for breaking fair hearts and making friends and influencing people. So too do we roll our eyes when another round of hyperbolic, ego laden authors lay their work or their view on writing before you as the next piece of literary wonder that will astound and bring innovation to the world with its insightful view, its poetic prose and thematic genius. Actually, it leaves me in wonder that so many fall under the spell of these literary bigots who are so far up their own asses they proclaim their work to be above the credence of needing a readership, after all the populous mass know nothing of literature and literary fiction in their view. It leaves me in wonder that other authors tolerate this arrogance towards the reading public.
But hey this is the internet and apparently a lot of the more gullible authors seem to feel the need to be ‘led’ and ‘taught’ by internet ‘experts’, rather than relying on their own ability to seek out varying sources, critically analyse approaches and seek methods to improve their craft. They need the discussion board guru to tell them what to think, and will follow it verbatim rather than seeing both the strengths and weaknesses in that approach and all others . People like to hear simple answers – It’s easier to hear, ‘Do this and you will be a better writer’, than it is is hear ‘ This may work but….’ Perhaps it is simply that they are mesmerised by the guru’s continued repetition of their mantra of ‘achievements’ (normally mid to low level achievements that sound much more impressive than they are) and overly simplified non compromising responses to questions of how to hone the craft of writing.
So often we hear these same ego blown authors proclaiming how great their works are that it is not surprising that they take it badly when another writer or collection of individual writers challenges the validity of their view. Because in challenging their approach we are piercing at the ego of the author themselves and for some that is unbearable. Be careful when you challenge such authors, their only retort will be to try to represent you as untalented, unproven and unknowing of anything about the craft. For it is simpler to try and denigrate the opposition than to admit that your view is not without shortcomings.