There’s someone in one of my writing groups – who shall remain nameless – who offends me. For the sake of ease, I’ll refer to this person as a “he” (though “he” could be a “she”).
In any case, this dude’s an asshole, his critiques are mean, and on the writer’s forum we both belong to, he’s kind of a dick there, too.
There are two kinds of people in the world I can’t stand. People who are assholes for the sake of being assholes, and people who are bullies. This guy is both. His crits are unnecessarily harsh, even borderline cruel, and he doesn’t seem to add much to any of the conversations he’s engaged in. Simply put, he’s inflammatory. He’s condescending and his crits are nitpicky and unhelpful. He critiques with the assumption that you had a brain fart, that you couldn’t possibly have phrased your sentence that way intentionally, that you couldn’t possibly have meant your characters to do that when surely they should have done this.
He’s making me want to quit my writing group.
I realize that in any group setting there’s going to be mix of different personalities and temperaments. Different opinions, different agendas, different goals. It would be boring if we all wrote in the same genre and all read the same kinds of books and all had the same opinions on everything. Dissonance can be a great learning experience. But the ultimate purpose of a writing group is to help each other become better writers, through open and honest discussion. Without insults. Without pettiness. Without condescension. Same as you’d expect in any other relationship.
Call me old fashioned, but I still believe in manners. Politeness. Sensitivity. And, above all, respect.
His novel is out on submission now and I can’t lie when I say a part of me hopes he won’t get published. But that’s bad karma, I know. Putting vibes like that out into the universe might result in them boomeranging right up your own ass. I’ve seen it happen and I don’t recommend it.
So I’ll send this message out instead: May he get what he deserves. Whatever that may be.