Let me preface this entry with a disclaimer: I am an arrogant bastard.
Yesterday I thought I'd expand the sphere of my writer's influence by joining an online writers community. The idea of joining other writers, giving and getting feedback, and just being part of a support group is quite appealing. Writing can be a lonesome business.
A quick google search brought me to WritersCafe.org - "Post Your Writing, Get Reviews & Suggestions, Befriend Other Writers, Join Writing Groups, Enter Writing Contests!"
So I set to it and found a short story to digest. It was all right, showed promise, I identified a number of things to improve, but first I looked at the other reviews of the piece. "A great story! Is it part of a longer one? I can't wait for more." Well. That's cute. Now let's write an actual review. I sharpened my tools and put my writer's screws to it. I wrote up a thorough critique pointing out the weaknesses and how to fix them. They were all rookie mistakes, common issues, things I'd done myself in the past, easy to fix.
Then I took a step back and looked at what I'd done. My review sounded like Shakespeare talking to a ten-year-old. It was so high and mighty, so condescending, I had to scrap it and start over.
The second go was much better, much more supportive. I really believed I was helping, pointing out the flaws and how to improve them. I posted the review.
A few days later and nothing. No comments, no revisions, no replies. Am I getting the "don't feed the forum troll" treatment?
Fine, I said, I'll look for more. I've been reading short stories and chapters from full novels and I'm seeing the same things, the same novice mistakes, and wondering what to say about it. Do I play the wise teacher and try to fix everything? Maybe this makes me a guru whose insight becomes sought-after, and maybe I get universally ignored. Or do I just roll with the crowd and say its all great and stroke the egos like they want, for the sake of the community and social skills and all that?
Maybe this just isn't the site for me. I'll give it a few more days and see what happens.
is a link to the story and review in question.