Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An Eric In The Myst

My old critique group in Florida had a great mix of folks who wrote a variety of things and offered fantastic feedback.  We also had a fellow I'll call Eric.  Eric passed himself off as the real author of the group because he'd had a book published.

The problem with Eric was that he attempted to turn every group meeting into Eric Night.  It may have been subtle at first, but still annoying.  Eventually, he actually suggested we only talk about his writing.  Someone finally let him have it and Eric stopped coming to the group.

My new group in Michigan appears to have its own Eric.  Again the "published" author who makes every critique an opportunity to point out what he did in his "published" book.  He's loud.  And boisterous.  And pretty naive.

I got a chance to look at a query he'd written to a local publisher.  It was pretty bad and subsequently rejected.  New Eric took offense to this rejection, pointing out the great market that exists for his subject matter and if this publisher was any kind of salesman they would have been able to sell thousands of copies.

I was not the first in the group to point out the tried and true, "but if they don't love it themselves," line, but New Eric would have none of it.  He was the expert.  He should be winning Pulitzer Prizes.  He will continue spouting off his greatness and the others in the group will continue licking it up.

I sense my days in this new group are numbered.


Steven J. Wangsness said...

This is why I don't belong to groups. I can barely stand my family and friends, so a group of strangers would be impossible.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Sounds to me that someone is an egomaniac and wants people to worship him as a god. You should remind him that these are writing groups and not a place to start new religions.

MC Howe said...

Wow Steven! It sounds like we'd get along great. If we could stand to be in the same room.

Michael - The problem with gods is they don't respond well to critique. Which makes one wonder why he would be in a critique group.

Jeanne said...

Interesting experiences. I cannot imagine being in a group with an "Eric" and feeling like he considers himself to be way above everyone else. I think groups are tricky. You do get people who can be personally annoying or on a power trip, and then favorite ones move far far away, leaving you bereft. It is hard once you have broken in a small group of people to take on others. But I still think it is important. How many times have I looked at my writing, thinking "Wow! This is really good." only to find that it really wasn't and it needed tons more work.