Take this example:
Maya is a modern-day teen, born of extraordinary Native American blood. Her mother, Autumn, discouraged her from learning about her extended family’s superstitious customs; legends, dances, dream catchers, and Kachina dolls? Forbidden!
Look at that second sentence. Why the hell is that a question? You're stating a fact: her mother discouraged her from learning about her family's customs. There's no question. And why is there a semicolon and not a colon after customs? A semicolon is primarily used in two instances: to join complete, related sentences or sometimes in a list if that list has subsets of things using a comma. The latter is sort of like using a bracket inside a parentheses. But neither of those cases applies.
So I said:
Poorly written queries, especially when they're rife with grammatical errors, send up red flags to anyone reading them. They're not going to want to read a whole manuscript like that. Learn your craft first and then worry about querying.
Yeah, I guess it's harsh but it bugs me that these newbs send off queries when they clearly don't have the skills yet to write a decent book. It wastes the time of agents or their minions who have to wade through that dreck. And I like to imagine this scenario where you have one writer who's done their work and written a polished query and manuscript and then you have someone like that up there. If the agent or minion reads the bad one first, it'll probably put him or her in a bad mood and so maybe he or she isn't very receptive for the more polished one. Or maybe the bad one makes the good one look better. I suppose it could go that way too. Still, you're cheating yourself and the agents/minions by submitting before you're ready.
But as I said the newbs on Critique Circle love playing this bluff where they say their manuscript's already done and edited, so no problem. But the above author really took it personal and private messaged me:
I paid an editor to edit this, and all of the grammar and punctuation is correct. Saying that I should "learn my craft first?" Actually, you should know the craft before making incorrect assumptions and incorrect corrections on my query. The sentence that you said was not a question is in fact a question
LOL. Um, how is that "question" a question? If it's a question, what's the answer: 42? If there is a question there it's pretty poorly written. It's missing a word like, "Did her mother...?" or "Would her mother...?" "Should her mother...?" Any editor who says that sentence was right is obviously not one worth the money. Like I told this author, you should ask for your money back.
At pretty much the same time you had another newb with the same shit:
Both are trying to keep a low profile from ruthless jewel thieves ring who have already murdered a man.
All are fourteen-years-old.
And again, maybe I'm being a little harsh:
Anyway, from some of the errors ("from ruthless jewel thieves ring" "All are fourteen-years-old") I doubt you're ready to submit anyway. Take some time and work on your craft.
But clearly you can't think this is your best work.
First he/she tries to laugh it off:
The story is finished and been beta read so that's not a concern. It's just that I can't write a query worth a toot.
Well no, that's not the issue. Not being able to write a query affects the overall content and structure, not the basic grammar. That's independent of being able to write a query "worth a toot" or not.
Then this author does that old newbie thing of singling out some other person for thanks, slighting not just me but a couple of other people who weren't as harsh. It's a passive-aggressive dick move and I said about as much. (Not that it's a dick move, but it is.)
To which the author whined:
I don't mind what you say to my work - you haven't read what I wrote, you haven't seen the final manuscript (which has been grammar proofed by a professional, btw) - therefore you cannot comment on that. But you did.
First that sentence doesn't really make sense. I don't mind what you say...therefore you cannot comment on that. How does that make sense? The two halves don't add up to a coherent thought. What's meant is that I haven't read the whole thing so I can't say you need to work on your craft.
Which is complete bullshit. Of course I can still comment on it! First off, naturally I CAN comment on it; you can't stop me from doing that. Only the lame ass den mother moderators can. Also, first impressions count. The example I made (twice) is that if you go to a job interview in a stained shirt and wrinkled pants, it's not going to matter how good your experience and references are; the interviewer is going to think you're a slob. If you come in with a poorly-written query with basic grammar errors, I'm going to assume you don't know what you're doing. The impression you cultivate is on you, not me.
At this point the moderator came stomping in, deleting my post saying the gist of the last paragraph. No one tell the newbs they aren't very good at writing and need to work on it. Let them make all the errors they want because telling them otherwise might hurt their feelings. And that's what's important, right? Not hurting their delicate feelings, not actually helping them get better at writing.
I suppose their argument would be that you can do it without hurting their feelings. But I've already posted a couple of instances here where I barely said anything and got an earful. An earful of personal insults when I didn't personally insult anyone, not even these pathetic newbs. Just because you take something personally doesn't make it a personal attack.
I told them to delete my account but instead they suspended it for "two weeks" that was more like three weeks. After that expired I should have just left but I'm lazy so I decided to stick around...for about 10 days it turned out. Then of course trouble found me or I found trouble--or both.
Someone posted this long request for information about broken ribs. Not just in general but someone's mannerisms and on and on. It had been a few hours so since no one had said anything yet I said, "Have you tried Google or sites like WebMD?"
And of course fragile newb got all pissy about that. Again I didn't really say anything personal but they took it as a personal attack. Someone finally did have an answer about broken ribs but then couldn't help himself from saying in another post, "I'd never tell someone to 'piss off' and look somewhere else." To which I said I never said for anyone to piss off and all the hostility was from the original poster. And he's like, Well, I didn't say you did. To which I said, well no you didn't LITERALLY say it but the implication was obvious.
Finally in comes the moderator again with a snide comment that people (they know who they are) shouldn't try to start arguments. Which I didn't try to start an argument. I just pointed out the obvious. If you want to know about injuries maybe go to a medical site instead of a writing site. Anyway, that morning I had to scrape 1/4 of ice off my car and drive through icy slush to work so I was not going to take Barney Fife's bullshit. In no uncertain terms I told the mod to take his "they know who they are" and shove it up his ass--all up in his ass.
So then they finally banned me. Probably should have done that weeks earlier. Because I...stated the obvious, told people they should learn basic grammar, said people don't have to pay $2000 for an editor, didn't like someone's query...what a fiend! It's pretty much me and Hitler. SMH. I guess no one will hurt their precious little feelings now.
It seems in these groups it's usually like in hockey. A guy crosschecks or slashes another guy, who turns around and slashes or hits him back. Guess who gets the penalty? The guy retaliating. These dumbass newbs overreact to something and lash out at me and I'm the one who gets in trouble for giving it back to them. When am I ever going to learn? Never, probably.
The saddest thing is now I can still play Hangman but it doesn't count it in the statistics. Unless I use another email to set up a new account. Bwahahahaha.
Anyway, where am I going to get fodder for blog entries from now?