It is within human nature – the need and desire to feel superior to others. Writing is far from an exception to that. There are many writers who come across in a condescending and arrogant manner, thinking themselves above those around them. Rather than taking the time to learn from said fellows, they lord it over them and give them snide little “good work” comments; when they bother to read something other than their own work.
Age is one of the common reasons given for such an attitude. “I’m older therefore I know better”. Of course age is far from a good marker for the intellect and skill level of someone – there are plenty of writers twice my age who’re incredibly immature and poor writers. This can come across is a straight up attack “Well, you’re only 25, what could you possibly know!?” Or more of a back handed comment “Well, you’re very good for your age”.Personally I fail to see quite what age has to do with much of anything. Of course this must be taken with some good old fashioned common sense – you can’t complain at a 13 year old for having a lower comprehension of the technical side of things. They haven’t learnt that yet. However! If you happen across something written by a 16 year old which blows you away, don’t take away from that by rolling your eyes and becoming snide purely because they’re younger than you! Quit being so damn petty and jealous and congratulate them on a piece well written. Either learn from them or move on.
More often than not those writers who feel the need to treat others in such a manner are in actual fact very poor writers themselves. They live in a little bubble where they’re absolutely fantastic, everyone loves them and they’re the next J.K Rowling or Dan Brown. This in a roundabout way brings us round the perceptions of the genres.
Erotica is a good place to start, as a good friend said “the standard of erotica is very poor – it only does as well as it does due to the horniness of humanity!!” I’m not going to deny I turned away from erotica because I believe it would have put a black mark on my resume when I approach traditional publishers. A lot of people do frown upon erotica and it’s writers (it could be argued with good reason!) however, the same can be said for fantasy as well.
Which brings me onto another little gripe – the obsession with fantasy sub-genres and splitting everything into teeny, tiny, pedantic little groupings. There’s much arrogance and ranking involved in this as well. The epic/high fantasy people look down upon the contemporary fantasy writers because they’re not true to fantasy or some other rubbish.
To be perfectly blunt – when exactly did you last walk into a reputable bookshop and find the shelves split into “Epic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, supernatural, steam punk, cyber punk, low fantasy, sword and sorcery, magical realism” and the list goes on!! It’s completely absurd! At exactly what point did the love of writing and the dream of becoming published decend into this?
I have no doubt there’s just as much pathetic, pedantic nit-picking within the other genres. People can’t help themselves it seems – they get so wrapped up in boxes, labels and putting themselves above those around them they completely lose track of the actual point. As same friend from above also said “who cares what the genres say? They only help them put it in the wrong place”. They’re just more labels. Should we not be writing our stories as we see them then let the publishers stick the labels on them for marketing purposes?
It would seem many people think it’s far more fulfilling belittling and playing one up manship with others. So with the rant ended I will bid you a good luck with that. I’ll be off writing my novel, my masterpiece – Red Spiral.