Have you ever noticed how offensive “offended” people are?
Howdy Folks! Brian here, sitting at the boss’s desk again.
This week, since we have been busy having tons of fun down in Florida, celebrating Frank’s graduation from dental school, and his new title of “Dr. Hoy,” – we’re handing our readers a special treat, and a really easy article for me to write!
As most of you know, we bring you our “World’s Worst Query Letters and Proposals” on an infrequent, if not irregular, basis. We love sharing with our readers a tiny (and I do mean tiny) glimpse of the mountain of absolute crap that we slog through just to be able to come up with TWO decent freelance articles from outside writers each week.
Whenever a “World’s Worst” comes out, 99% of the feedback we receive from all of you is either in the category of positive or incredulous. But, whether you find yourself shaking your head in disbelief, or spewing your soda out of your nose from laughter, we can all agree that these collections of half-baked query attempts hold a certain comedic quality to them. And, if you are an up and coming writer, it gives you plenty of “what NOT to do” fodder for consideration.
But then there are the 1%’ers.
The “social justice” tyrants who, if they followed a rainbow to a leprechaun offering a pot of gold, they would protest because a little green guy owning all that gold is racist and “non-inclusive.”
Yes, we also have to occasionally hear from those poor, wretched souls who spend their existence searching for the dark cloud behind every silver lining, as they wag their fingers at the rest of us for daring to live our lives with a modicum of humor and levity. Their comments and emails ooze with venomous disdain. They demand to know how we could dare to act so callously toward those poor, underprivileged, marginalized scribes who are just trying to get a break on a writing gig. They heap their sanctimonious judgment upon us, all the while knowing nothing more than we do about the true origins of the queries we highlight as just plain trash.
I say, “SIMMER DOWN, Karens!” We’re just having a little fun with some emails. We’re not drowning kittens, or crucifying people on the road to Rome, here. Don’t you have some protest march to attend, or a city to burn down??
We were lucky enough to have one such screaming meanie, named Taryn, send us her comments in the comments section under my article. Of course, as you all know, the comment section under our articles is a PUBLIC FORUM where there is not the same expectation of privacy as, say, an email. So, I thought I’d respond to Taryn the Karyn here in this week’s Publisher’s Desk since she clearly wanted everyone to see her grievance in the first place.
Below is Taryn the Karyn’s comment, unedited and in its entirety. If you have a functioning brain, you may want to wrap some duct-tape around your head before reading because it is painful and your head might explode.
First, I concur with the notion that the person ridiculing those with aspirations or dreams of breaking into the writer’s market might rethink his own style of posting responses to query letters.
It is backwards, and, quite frankly makes him look a little – ok, ALOT – dumber than those he strives to ridicule.
Treat us all to a link of your best writing, Sir…would love to see it, and would particularly love to read the critique of your work.
So, here’s the thing:
ANGELA, I am disappointed that you perhaps ignore or close your eyes to the abrasive overtones of unabashed “isms” that run rampant through Brian Whiddon’s joyously crafted nastiness.
Moreover, if we as writers are looking to your site for helpful hints and encouragement and a reminder to not give up, and possibly connecting to those with similar dreams, I question why you would even allow this nonsense to be posted. Where are the re-writes, the helpful hints, the absolutes that we MUST remember when crafting a query? Is this person also someone who helps judge the 24 hour writing contest? Yuck.
It is clear that a number of his choice writers’ quotes come from English as second language submissions. This Brian guy whose woefully biased article you highlight is reminiscent of the lawyer who screamed, “Stop speaking Spanish” to the New York baristas. That fellow lost his job…and his dignity. Hmmmm…
I have in the past submitted stories to your contest – a bit nervous, always hopeful, but determined to forge ahead, mistakes and all.
To see the disdain that you have for folx who are struggling to word their dreams just right, and rather than reword, edit or reframe a sentence FOR THE GOOD OF ALL, Mr. Brian thingabob berates and ridicules, and you thank him for doing a good job( ??) begs the question if you really know what it means to embrace all aspiring writers, warts and all, deficiencies intact, dreams gently embraced. Do better.
Oh, and Brian,
Please refrain from calling yourself a Managing editor until you manage to edit. And by the way, it takes more courage to submit text, questions, etc., in a 2nd or 3rd language than it does to sit back and ridiculous one’s efforts.
Well, I guess I should start at the beginning. The email address accompanying the comment above is not on the WritersWeekly subscribers list. Also, it’s not in our database of past 24-Hour Short Story Contest entrants. Is Taryn a troll? Or, is she simply too afraid to use her real name. Why?
Taryn the Karen attacks my “style” of posting responses to query letters – and how “dumb” it makes me look. I’m sure it made Taryn feel really warm and fuzzy to come right out of the gate with the hate. But, like most Social Justice Warriors, she didn’t educate herself prior to attacking.
The “World’s Worst” format is not my style – it’s Angela’s.
The World’s Worst feature was started by Angela in 2005. The “answer first” style is how it’s always been. Angela and I didn’t even meet until July 2015. I didn’t come onboard WritersWeekly until June 2016.
As far as the style, I think Angela was trying for an effect reminiscent of Johnny Carson’s “Carnac the Magnificent” act. For those that don’t know, Carnac was a spoof character that Carson would occasionally play on his “Tonight Show.” He would dress up in a black robe, and put a ridiculously huge turban on his head. (It was total culture appropriation, Taryn. You’d have a heart attack if you saw it. The rest of the world thought it was a hoot.) As Carnac, Johnny would place sealed envelopes up to his head (like a psychic), and utter some word or phrase that, at that point, had no meaning or context. Then, he’d open the envelope, and read a question inside. Only then did the answer complete the joke – in a sense, making the question itself the punchline.
Several months back, Angela asked me to bang out the World’s Worst article for her because she was busy with another project. The feedback we got was so overwhelmingly positive that she decided to hand the feature over to me. Out of respect, I didn’t change the “answer first” format.
As a bow-hunter, let me offer some advice, Taryn. If you’re going to shoot arrows, properly identify your target first.
Taryn the Karen also demands links to my writing. Well, that’s easy. Here’s the first one:
That’s right, Taryn. I’m also a published author. You’re welcome to purchase and scrutinize my book (written and edited by Yours Truly). Be sure to buy the hardcover. I make more money on it, and that seems more socially equitable to me. And, I will happily give you a full page on our Publisher’s Desk column to list all the writing errors you find in it. I’m guessing it would be a very short piece.
Additionally, there are 35 (now 36) articles I have written here on WritersWeekly, Taryn. We don’t hide them. I’ll let you search the archives yourself. If you’re going to attack someone, it helps if you put just a little effort into collecting evidence.
Speaking of evidence, Taryn, you can also find literally THOUSANDS of examples of my writing going all the way back to 1990. Just contact the US Army and have them provide you with all the police reports I wrote as an MP. You can also check in with the 9th,, 10th, and 15th Judicial Circuit Courts of the State of Florida. Many of my civilian police reports sit in their public records as well. You see, Taryn, I was writing professionally long before I ever called myself a “writer.” And, my writing has stood up to far more qualified scrutiny than some petulant wokester with her hair on fire. My writing has been reviewed by prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges, and even the media. My writing has literally put real criminals in prison for decades. Just do a little digging and you can find these literary gems.
So, Taryn is off to a horrible start. Lesson to be learned here, dear readers: If you’re going to write a hit piece, be mature and professional enough to actually research the reality of the situation. Do not fly off half-cocked, and just pour words into your laptop based solely on what you “feel.” It makes you look really dumb to those who who honestly know the facts.
Most of the rest of Taryn’s screed is basically a cart load of stinky virtue-signaling manure, complete with the Marxist dog whistle re-spelling of “Folx.” Her main point is that we should be “embracing all aspiring writers.” So, let’s unpack that.
We DO support all writers…including “aspiring” ones. But, we need not “embrace” anyone. Those that send us quality pitches are accepted and we publish their articles. We pay for the articles we publish. We expect quality. If you are looking for a free ride, WritersWeekly ain’t your Huckleberry. Howevery, WritersWeekly IS free for our readers. Taryn didn’t pay a penny to come here and read my “woefully biased” article. She can always go somewhere else – just like I don’t drink Bud Light or shop at Target anymore.
Becoming a professional writer takes intelligence, a desire to learn, and HARD WORK. WritersWeekly is not about how to write. WritersWeekly is a publication to help those who want to write professionally. That means that our target audience has already excelled past “aspiring” to write, and wants to step up to the next level – making money with their writing. It is neither my job nor Angela’s to teach anyone how to write. We are running a business that has been successful for more than 25 years. I know that people like Taryn see this as “evil capitalism,” but our end goal is to earn money.
We earn money to pay our writers, to pay our employees, to pay our mortgage, to put groceries on the table, to get our teenage son through school, to contribute to our chosen charities, to pay for our electricity and running water, and to someday have a retirement to live on. If we wasted time giving free writing lessons and free English lessons to every person who slapped together a nonsensical query, we would make no money. Our business would fail. And, perhaps we would have to become baristas. I don’t want to be a barista. Heck, I don’t even speak Spanish.
Why would I re-write crappy pitches? I have to weed through dozens of queries each day. That is in addition to all my other responsibilities. I don’t have time to spoon feed the process to anyone who didn’t want to take the time to learn it for themselves. If you want an “absolute that you MUST remember about queries,” Taryn, here it is: Be a professional adult – not a half-effort child. And, NO, it is not courageous to send a pitch to a publication in a language you don’t speak. It’s actually very stupid because it’s a waste of everyone’s time.
I loved my time in Korea when I was stationed there. I loved the people and the culture. But, I’m not going to ask a Korean publication to pay me money to write an article for them. Know why? BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW HOW TO SPEAK OR WRITE FLUENT KOREAN!! And, no Korean editor is going to hold me by the hand and teach it to me. It would be stupid for him/her to do such a thing.
As a professional adult, I see it as my responsibility to acquire whatever skills I need to be able to succeed in whatever endeavors I choose. That includes learning the language of any culture I want to succeed in. No, it is NOT racist, or cruel, or bigoted to insist that the people who want us to pay them for their writing do so in the very language we publish.
People like Taryn are constantly seeking the “injustice” hiding behind every tree, and around every corner. It makes them feel really good about themselves to bash the rest of us for not being “diverse, inclusive and equitable.” What she doesn’t grasp is that we don’t live in a woke Utopia where everything is rainbows and unicorns. We live in the real world. Nobody owes you anything in the real world. We all have to be responsible for ourselves. Half-measures produce half results. Not every kid gets a trophy. And, if you own a business, and don’t produce a quality product, you don’t eat.
Rather than bashing us, Taryn the Karyn, go start your own publication. Become better than WritersWeekly. Pay people who speak Arabic, Spanish, or Swahili to write for your English speaking readers. Spend lots of time trying to explain to foreign writers how to write the English language – for FREE. Don’t charge people a dime for your publication. Publish a collection of drivel that makes no sense to anybody. Try to pass it off as serious writing. Be “inclusive,” and publish every article you get pitched that has nothing to do with your publication’s message. See how long you survive before you find yourself in a green apron, serving “folx” like me our double-shot caramel mocha frappachinos (and getting yelled at by New York lawyers.) Hmmmmm.
I want to tell Taryn to pull on her big-girl panties. However, she didn’t include her pronouns in her woke rant, so I don’t even know if she identifies as a girl, a boy, or a Cocker Spaniel.
Most of you actually enjoy our World’s Worst feature. It’s levity. It’s humor. And, no one is named. So, we will keep on rolling forward with World’s Worst, despite ruffling a few woke feathers here and there. And, when Karens like Taryn start shooting spitballs up at us, we’re just going to have a good laugh, and keep the pedal to the metal.
And, by the way, in order to continue to call myself a Managing Editor, I managed to edit Taryn’s whine-fest with red marker and uploaded it back to her. Check your in-box, buttercup. You’ve Got Mail!
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- Because We Refuse to Buy Bad Articles, Now We’re RACISTS?! by Brian Whiddon, Managing Editor
- Brian Takes His “Home Office” on the High Seas! – Days 1-4
Brian Whiddon is the Managing Editor of WritersWeekly.com and the Operations Manager at BookLocker.com. An Army vet and former police officer, Brian is the author of Blue Lives Matter: The Heart behind the Badge. He’s an avid sailor, having lived and worked aboard his 36-foot sailboat, the “Floggin’ Molly” for 9 years after finding her abandoned in a boat yard and re-building her himself. Now, in northern Georgia, when not working on WritersWeekly and BookLocker, he divides his off-time between hiking, hunting, and farming.