If you’re a writer or a writer-type, you probably have writer friends on Facebook and Twitter. I know my feed is full of them, and they run the gamut as far as what they post about. Some are relentless self-promoters — and while I understand the need for that (trust me), posting nothing but promotional messages is a good way to get me to tune out. Some talk about random bullshit (I fall into this category a lot). And then there’s the inexplicable category of writers or aspiring writers who seem to do little else than complain about and trash other writers.
This is a thing I really don’t get. There’s the usual “hate on Stephanie Meyer or the lady who wrote 50 Shades of Gray,” but that’s only the start of it. I often see not-so-subtle jabs at writers in the same genre — as if it’s a turf war or something. Like, I write space-opera sci-fi… but so does that guy, so I hate him.
It would be one thing if this kind of trash-talking was fun to watch, but it’s not. It’s not like we’re the audience in a rap battle here.
No, this is trashing folks you could, with very little effort, probably grow to like as people. And I don’t understand it.
Some writers will point to a perceived lack of quality in the stuff they’re hating on. Even if it was a novel written entirely in netspeak — which is actually a cool idea, come to think of it — what does trashing that novel accomplish? Especially if it gets popular? Trashing something that gets people back into reading when your entire career is focused on the hopes of people reading your stuff — well, that just seems kind of stupid.
So, how about we writers start sticking together, and realize that a success for one of us is kind of a win for all of us?
Well, at least until we can make writer battles look half as cool as rap battles. Or dance fights.