I recently joined this network because I am turning my attention to crime writing. I've been writing for about 12 years and have around 30 short stories published - all 'literary'. I've been a part of the editorial board for a couple of magazines (most notably Pindeldyboz which recently folded its print edition) and I have to say that, outside of that specific magazine world, the mystery writers society is unbelievably friendly compared to the 'literary' writing world. There is so much competition in crime writing, yet this does not translate to jealousy or arrogance in the writers themselves. I have to say it's refreshing having, for so long, been on both sides of the literary writing world (by this I mean, a lowly author who was always being asked 'Yes, but what have you PUBLISHED?' to being an editor who 'doesn't appreciate good writing when he sees it.'
I'd heard about the good nature of crime writers and the community, and I'm glad to see it is all true.

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It's because we get to kill people if they piss us off. Gruesomely, if necessary. Relieves a lot of stress. All we have to remember is to change their names in the story; we can think of whoever we want while we type it.

Welcome aboard.
that's so true. Only the other day I killed off an inlaw! it's so exhilerating!!! (in a chapter that is)!!!
Yeah, crime writers are a good bunch. I think it's because they're all looking to right some wrongs. Nothing's more noble than investigating why an innocent person had to die before their time.
From what I've heard Romance Writers are the nastiest of the genre writers. Watch your back there. ... Another good step to take after joining this fine group (mystery writers' forum-- mwf, or http://mwf.ravensbeak.com/forum/ I would say is another fine one, along with Backspace) is seek out your local Mystery Writers' of America Chapter, or Sisters in Crime, and join one or both of those. Attend a meeting and rub actual elbows with other crime writers. (Eh? but wear long sleeves). ... And seek out your local mystery bookstores as well.


PS: There's a list of various genre related groups on the Writ's website: www.mysteriouswrit.org
I agree with your comment about romance writers. I found them very nasty indeed and switched genres! Of course there are exceptions, I suppose.
I found myself accepted right away, from encouragement on the Val McDermid site to just go ahead and try it (Which included our own Sandra Ruttan...Thanks Sandra!) to the private writing group a bunch of us started when we met on the Sue Grafton site (which includes another member here, Rose Mercer...Thanks Rosie!)). My first attempts were on the fabulous Flashing In The Gutters (Thanks to you, too, Tribe!) and my latest was this winter's Spinetingler. Everyone I have met has been gracious, encouraging and supportive and I think that if I had encountered a lot of back-stabbing nastiness, I would never have continued.

It's a great community and I am happy to be involved with it.
Perhaps compared to the LitFict world, Crime Writers are friendly. In general, in have found them to be as well.
On the other hand, I have met the cruelest and most viciously mean people that I have ever come across after hanging out my "shingle" as a crime fiction writer. I have been called names that would make my mother blush, and she was married to a former US Marine (my dad). A few of them are on CrimeSpace, so I can't mention names.
People who hadn't read anything I wrote (except email posts) declared me an idiot wannabee troll, and then the really bad name calling started. When I dared to challenge them on their opinions on something, I was lambasted. Many of them promised to do everything they could to hurt my chances of success in the industry.
It's been a few years, I;ve sold 3 novels to a US publisher, and signed a big-deal European publisher. Not bad for a wannabee troll writer. They are still active in their hatred -- I've been shut out of some review circles where they have incluence -- even after three years of non-contact with the meanies.
So, I believe that the Crime Writers are 95% Dr. Jekyll and 5% Mr. Hyde. The hurt I experinced from the brutish behavior of the Hydes was enough to make me gun-shy toward the crime writer community. I tend to mingle only with those I already know.
Newt, I'm sorry this happened to you...you've always been okay in my book. Anyone you think I need to have a word of prayer with, I'd be happy to see what I could do if it's someone I know. I don't like to see my friends fall into karmic error :-). And congratulations!

Now to the main topic: I think a lot of us realize that there's little to be gained and much to be lost by jealousy and backbiting. I mean, really, can you think of a single benefit to your career that might come from stewing over someone else's success? Or think of any way you could do actual damage to a successful person's career by talking smack about them? I mean even if I was inclined to diss, say, Lee Child (which I would never do because Lee's a great guy and one of my favorite writers), who do you think would come out the worse in THAT pissing match? And if it's someone LESS successful than you...well, what's the point of that, either?

In the long run it's just easier and more fun to be nice to people.
I'm with you on this topic. I started off in the art world, and my wife is an artist. Most of them know that they need each other. To create an art event, like the 1st Sunday Arts Street Festival in Annapolis, MD (1st Sundays, May - October), it takes lots of artists. Having few attracts a few, but having a lot attracts a lot of ourists and patrons. Big events become a big deal.
Does any artsit tuly compete with another? Not really. Individual taste dictate purchases. No two artists offer the same painting, scupture, jewelry, et cetera. So, they band together to attract customers, hoping that some of them will buy their stuff, knowing that the collective participation was what draws the customers.
In writing, few writers -- except Bob Randisi -- can turn out a dozen books in a year. That still wouldn't be enough to satisfy hungry readers. We need our other authors to keep our fans entertained while we get another book out. Then we entertain them for a few days while the other authors get their books out. If we want to keep the crime fiction and non-fiction industry thriving, we need all of us to keep the readers we have interested.
I hope that some agree with me.
Angela: the stock answer is, "we leave it all on the page." And there's something to it.
Ms. Zeman, Angela,
First, let me send a big hug your way! My first publisher -- a one woman company (for now) -- is Rockway Press (rockwaypress.com), owned and operated by the author Alexandria Szeman, who wrote most of her novels and non-fiction under the name of Sherry Szeman. I'll bet there is a family tree connection somewhere on the European side of Ellis Island! Alexandria is from Russian stock, but it gets murky the further back you go, as I'm sure you understand.
You wrote, "from people in mystery-related but non-writing positions." Yes, that is the source of the most "enfant terrible," but in my case, it includes authors as well.
If you go to groups.google.com and search the USENET newsgroup rec.arts.mystery, you can find (the Internet never forgets) in the archives from three and four years ago, how I crossed horns with Karin Slaughter. I dared to question a few gaffes in Blindsighted, and for that, she unleashed the hounds. She was the one that first called me "wannabee." I also had the audacity to ask about something in a Tess Gerritzen novel, and was promptly cut-off from further contact. Many folks in rec.arts.mystery are proficient in their use of the "kill list." K Slaughter was especially enthusiastic in her encouragement of everyone adding me to their kill list. Fortunately, some of the level-headed ones in that group said that my points were valid about mistakes in their novels, so I wasn't banned outright.
Recently, a few of the rec.arts.mystery folks posted reviews of my debut novel, saying how good a writer I am. It's a good group, in general.
There are other mean people, but this is not the place to air dirty laundry. The only reason I mentioned the rec.arts.mystery brou-ha-ha is that anyone who googles me is likely to come across those Internet records. I cannot keep those private.
Yes, I do regret loosing my temper a few times in that newsgroup, but after I had tried other tactics, and failed to achieve "satisfaction," I chose the "last resort of the incompetent," and became (verbally) violent. I should not have, and regret it, and have appoligized several dozen times.
The other, more egregious attacks on my character occurred in private groups, that do not allow public searching of their posting archives. I will remain silent about the details of those events.
Those who know me, know that I donate many hours each year in "paying it forward" to new writers, and am very active in private philanthropy and charitable organizations. If needed, I can get signed sffidavits from the hundreds of people I have directly helped, or am currently helping. I do not need my critics to tell me what kind of man that I am.
On the other hand, one reviewer told me -- two years before my debut novel hit the streets -- that it will be long after he is dead before my name, or any of my novels are mentioned in any publication or on any web site that he is involved with. That prejudice hurts me, my publisher, and readers who might enjoy my novels, for no purpose other than to get even with me, for not kowtowing to his assumed omnipotence in all matters literary.
I've probably said too much, but I won't retract it. It is all true. If they ever open the private archives, and release the undoctored record, I will be proven to be accurate in what I wrote above. I certainly hope that my main persecutor doesn't go to Dan Hatadi in private and get me kicked off CrimeSpace for posting this. Please Dan, don't do it! I didn't say his name! If I get removed without a word, you will know what happened. No matter, I am a success, with or without CrimeSpace.
I love all you authors that I have met on CrimeSpace. This topic thread is right, Crime Writers are a good crew, except for the few meanies, and they aren't on CrimeSpace that I know of!
Blessings on your paths, newt
rec.arts.mystery did not originate the "kill list."

USENET is the original Internet. It was one of the first list servers. Anyone could join and post to any of the lists in the wild-and-wooly cyber-space frontier days in the late 1970s and 1980s -- I;m a geek from that era, having written a few small pieces of what became the Internet.

Given the nature of the beast -- no control over content -- if someone who had the online equivalent of Turret's Syndrome got onto your list, it was horrible.

Rather than limiting free speech, those who controlled the creation of USENET -- which foreshadowed the Internet -- decided to implement the "kill list." It allowed everyone free speech, but allowed listeners to cancel the offender;s spewing before downloading, thereby reducing the consumption of the available traffic capacity on the fledgling ARPANET, BITNET, EDUNET, and FIDONET topologies. When those nets merged to become the Internet, the USENET newsgroups migrated too, and are still with us today, one of the earliest remainging artfacts of the societal evolution available today for techno-anthropologists to study.

So, don't blame rec.arts.mystery for using the available tools. Blame the followers of folks like KS who believed that the "kill list" should be used to silence the minority opinion of upcoming authors who dared to challenge their nobility in their ivory towers.

Those folks were only a small number on rec.arts.mystery. The majority of the folks are great! They are fans, reviewers, and most importantly, buyers for chain stores and Indie booksellers.

Hope that this helps!


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