Stand by your beds because this is a quick, writing orientated blog today.
I guess it all has to do with the genuineness of people. And people in the writing profession in particular.
You see, I think I am a genuine person. If someone asks me something I reply with what I consider to be the truth. If someone asks my opinion I give them my opinion This can sometimes cause varying degrees of discomfort and/or displeasure because, you see, if someone asks for my opinion that is exactly what they get – my opinion – based on the evidence that I have to hand at the time.
Yes, sometimes I sugar-coat it slightly, especially if the person asking is prone to beating their head against a hard rock at the slightest unkind syllable. But it is still my honest opinion, be it sugar-coated.
I was one of the founder members of a local writing group many years ago. The group started out lovely. Happy virginal writers all there for the same reasons – to grow and produce something worth publishing. Before long one person set herself up as Queen Bee, commenting on people’s work, advising them on this, that and the other. She loved quoting bits from her writing mags, pretending they were her own. In fact she loved the sound of her own voice – period.
She took it upon herself to set stupid assignments that were of little or no value to anyone. ‘Let’s all write a sentence without using vowels.’ ‘Let’s all jump up and down and wave our knickers in the air!’ OK that wasn’t an assignment but it could well have been. It was along the lines of her usual suggestions!
The person in question came down hard on one member of the group, slamming into her with nasty comments that were of no use whatsoever. The member in question was the best writer in the group. Fact. Not opinion. She is now a published writer.
Queen Bee wrote a load of stilted, old-fashioned crap. No Horlicks needed there. No two ways about it. Just take one of her short stories to bed with you and you’d be in the arms of Orpheus in two seconds flat. Because of her, the group splintered and members left, myself included. In fact, I left first. I never could, never have and never will, cosy-up to self-centred, big heads who think that they are the meaning of life. Many writers, who didn’t know any better, listened to this woman’s crap, briefly believed it and then abandoned writing altogether. Queen Bee left the group eventually because it wasn’t good enough for her. She needed to hang out with ‘proper’ writers. To this day she still hasn’t produced anything.
How can these people set themselves up as oracles? Hey? Riddle me that, sunbeam. No don’t bother because I’m going to tell you. They set themselves up as oracles because …wait for it …big breath …WE LET THEM.
Do you not think that maybe we should question these Queen Bees? Should we not look at what they are producing before we let them rip our work to shreds and advise us? What if the only things these winged wonders write, on a regular basis, is a shopping list – badly?
If you wanted your house rewiring you would ask for references. If someone turned up at your door wanting to read your gas meter you would ask to see identification (hopefully) so why wouldn’t you question your unfriendly neighbourhood Queen Bee? Why would you let her (I’m using her it could just as easily be he ) give her unqualified opinion on your writing? Because, trust me, unqualified opinions will smash the delicate and faint-hearted to smithereens. I’ve seen it happen. It happened to me.
There may be some reading this that will disagree with my final comment but I will make it anyway. There is a certain degree of jealousy harboured in these people. They think that if they can keep you down to their level, or just slightly below their level, they will continue to be better than you. And you will continue to worship at their shrine. Well I say don’t!
Ask for advice. Ask for opinion. Ask for help. BUT check the qualifications of the person/persons you are asking – and if they are prone to wearing yellow and black striped sweaters avoid them like the plague. Ah! Now then, is that a wasp? Could be. Wasps are a whole new ball game! But at least you hear those buggers coming …
Take care my lovelies x