This post isn’t about a reaction to the person on the internet spreading gloom and doom. Most likely, not matter what you say, they’re going to have a sassy–though most times ignorant and untrue–comeback. Their goal is to stir the pot, make people feel terrible about themselves, and spread negativity. Yes #Pitchwars, I am talking about that troll that has come into our community trying to abash so many hopes and dreams. They claim to be speaking the truth, but let’s dig into that a little shall we?
1.) They won’t show their face or say who they are.
Why do you ask? Oh I’m sure the person will claim the anonymity gives them the ability to say what they want without fear of backlash. What backlash? The risk of agents and publishing houses seeing what this person is writing. The publishing community is a small community. Prestigious agents look at the #Pitchwars feed. They see who is being positive and who’s causing a stir. Yes, your social media does matter. And yes, if you engage with a mentor, agent, or anyone else in this industry in a negative way, word gets around.
So, the logical conclusion is that they refuse to say who they are because while they are attempting to destroy the dreams of others, they are still pursuing their own.
2.) Mentors are lying by saying everyone has great manuscripts.
We ARE putting positive vibes out there. We say most of our submissions are great. Yes, in one way or another they are. Doesn’t mean they don’t need work. Hell, even once we submit our manuscripts to an agent, they still go through edits. When you get to a publishing house, even more edits. So this person trying to imply that if your manuscript doesn’t get picked it’s automatically a suck fest–not true.
Several factors go into picking a mentee.
-What are the agents looking for?
-Am I passionate about the story?
-Are the amount of edits needed able to be done in the amount of time we have?
-Is this person open to rewrites and changing major things?
-Am I going to work well with this person?
-Back to point one: is this person being a positive influence in the #Pitchwars community?
-Other things I can’t think of right now.
So you could have the most grammatically perfect manuscript on submission, but the voice didn’t grab me. Saying that your manuscript didn’t get picked because it sucked is like saying an agent rejected it with a personalized letter that said, “This is a great story, but I just didn’t connect. Keep querying, you’ll find your champion!”
Sorry, where in there does it say a manuscript sucks? It’s a compliment, but the story just wasn’t for that person. It is the SAME thing with mentors. We have to find something we know we’re capable of helping. I challenge you all to find one legendary author (Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Harper Lee, Ernest Hemingway, etc) who has perfect reviews. There are ALWAYS people who don’t connect or don’t like something.
So the logical conclusion on this point, is that the troll recently got a rejection (or multiple ones) and is feeling bitter. Thus referring to the reasoning of the first point. This person wants to bash other people and make them feel bad because said person already does.
3.) Assuming things are ‘easy to say from someone already published’.
News Flash. Not all the mentors have books out. I don’t. I have an agent, but my book isn’t sitting all shiny on a shelf yet.
I’ve been through rejections, revisions, and yes, I still think that my writing sucks half the time. I’ve been a novice. Some of the entries aren’t as strong as others. Doesn’t mean it sucks. It means it needs work. It means it’s time start learning the skills you lack. That is what every mentor has done in one form or another. So no, it’s not easy to say something from a standpoint of being already published because many of us are not. We have pushed forward, learned, found people to help, etc. It’s just as hard on this side of the competition as the other. I’ve been on both. I know from experience.
So the logical conclusion, is that this person is bitter because they are not yet published and trying to diminish the word of someone already published claiming they ‘just don’t understand.’ We’ve all been where every mentee is. Why do you think we try so hard to help?
4.) The #Pitchwars community doesn’t matter.
This is probably the most untrue statement the person is tossing at you guys. The community IS THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of #Pitchwars. By putting yourself in the community you’re going to meet people who are at the same stage of your journey, ahead of you that can help you, and even find some opportunities that you didn’t know existed.
Last year. I entered my manuscript Blood Moon. An urban fantasy about werewolves, ghosts, and shamans. In no which, way, or form was that sucker ready. The plot was subpar, I had way too many POV’s, and not enough to distinguish it from other UF’s. While in the community I learned my strengths and weaknesses. I got feedback from mentors. I set Blood Moon to the side and started a new project with everything that I had learned. That new project landed me my fantastic agent.
But let’s go back. Even before starting my second project. While eagerly awaiting to find out who would be the lucky mentee’s, a friend and I started a webshow, just on a whim to bring together everyone in our hour of nervousness. Brenda Drake came on the show. Other mentors came on the show. When #Pitchwars was over, we stopped broadcasting, but people wanted us back. So we started broadcasting again. Now, Whiskey, Wine, & Writing is pretty damn good web show and blog where we talk about all aspects of the writing community.
So the logical conclusion, is that this person hasn’t made the effort in the #Pitchwars community to help others or them-self.
What do you do when trolls come-a-knockin?
Remember the above points. The main one being that while they are trying to achieve their dream, their hoping to destroy yours. Don’t let them. There’s no point in arguing. No point in trying to justify things. Don’t let them be the seed of doubt. Push forward, learn, write, edit, rewrite, etc.
For clarification I’m not justifying anything. I’m pointing out the logical probability of why the person is doing this because I don’t want other people wounded by someones bitter, harsh words.
If you let the troll tear you down, then they win. Instead, let the #Pitchwars community build you up, help you achieve that next step on your journey. It helped in mine, and I have no doubt, for those who choose to utilize it, it will help you too.
No one’s journey is instant. There are always trials, tribulations, and setbacks. There are always things to be edited, things to work on, things to change. Factors weigh in. Walking the road with others help. Learning from the things you come across on the path is important.
So, in order to tip the scales on this troll. Let’s talk positive. Today, on the #Pitchwars hashtag, I want everyone to start tweeting something positive about their work. Whether it’s a character you created, a name you love, a strength you have in world creation. Whatever. Let us mentors know the positive about you AND your writing.