After reading two dozen articles over at Mythcreants it dawned on me after the third “trigger warning” and the eighth “patriarchy-is-the-root-of-all-humanity’s-problems” that it’s not a writing site so much as a political site for SJW types — the kind of internet warriors that treat their readers like infants and elevate women beyond their position as the other half of a very flawed species. Nevermind the fact that this worldview is misguided and counter-productive to social justice: whether you subscribe to it is irrelevant. The real problem is that it dilutes every article and gets in the way of the whole point of a writing site.
Teaching people how to write better.
You don’t teach people how to write better by injecting your insane politics into their heads at every opportunity: that’s a brainwashing tactic, not a teaching tactic. You don’t teach them to freely express themselves by enforcing the use of “trigger warnings” so as to avoid traumatizing the poor babies who might have actually suffered a traumatic experience at one point in their life (read as: everyone on planet fucking earth) and ensure that they never recover from their trauma. You don’t teach them to avoid stereotypes by constantly talking about women as poor widdle victims and men as the scourge of humanity, however blatant or subtle you are about it (and no, one little article about sexism towards men doesn’t balance it, especially when you continue blaming men for their own situation). When you do these things in your writing, you’re appeasing a single dizzy cult on the internet, and pissing off everyone else. Sane people do not want to be treated like sniveling infants, nor treated like they’re the cause of the world’s problems; and sane authors do not treat them as such.
There are tons of blogs and websites dedicated to helping authors improve their writing. None of them do what Mythcreants does: use it as a platform for hypocritical internet politics. No reputable writing site needs to get more political than “Write people. Not men, not women, not blacks, not whites, but PEOPLE”. When you make their cultural club membership a mere trait — like hair color or Spotify playlist — you focus on them as an individual. Political BS and personal prejudice take a backseat, allowing you to flesh them out as a person and not worry about making them into misrepresentative stereotypes. You focus on WHO they are and not WHAT they are. It’s that simple. Later, when you’re a more mature and finessed author, you can find ways to use gender or race as an important part of their identity, but not until you’ve first learned how to flesh out a character without relying on that shit.
Here are four great writing resources that give the same advice as or better than Mythcreants, without the childish and intellectually stunting internet hippie bullshit:
Dan Alatorre’s Blog – Posts all kinds of tips and links to other articles on the subject on a regular basis, and responds to all comments and questions.
Writer’s Digest – Formerly a magazine, it’s still a great resource for writers.
Poets and Writers – Also includes contests, MFA programs, and other stuff.
Creepypasta Wiki – Believe it or not, there are a lot of great blog posts about how to improve writing, and other advice, such as “don’t be a whiny bitch toward criticism”. Highly recommended is ImGonnaBeThatGuy’s Unsolicited Writing Advice.
There is indeed a lot of bullshit on Mythcreants; but they keep the social justice stuff seperate from their quite excellent writing advice.
Your doing yourself a disservice if you ignore it simply because you dont agree witj their politics.
Although the social justice stuff is a bit over the top (i’m quite sure no amount of research will quallify me to write about family life during The Blitz (and my ansetors are at least half british)) they always back themselves up with interesting facts that will help you look at things through a new lense, which is what writing is all about.
I don’t recall reading articles where they kept them separate, honestly. Their writing advice too often comes off like it’s meant less to be about writing well, and more about writing their way. Besides which there are other sources like the ones I listed where you get the same kind of writing tips politics-free.
Little late to this, but thank you for this post. I remember first finding Mythcreants not long ago and seeing some pretty good advice, but red flags popped up here and there. I’m the type who wants to stray from politics, both ways, when it comes to games; I subscribe strongly to the idea that politics have no place in a game unless they’re in-game politics. I started picking up on stuff like “trigger warnings”, links to other articles talking about “tropes” to avoid including avoiding “abhorrent politics” which they follow up with a Trump jab. Seeing this has made me realize that, in fact, they’re not there to give writing advice, but to give THEIR advice through a political lens. Can’t stand that stuff and it’s getting more common by the day.
Fortunately they’re not very good at masking it. Another dead giveaway is how often they use Doctor Who in their examples, pretty much a go-to show for that crowd. They probably use a lot of Steven Universe as well, but I haven’t been back to find out.
Thank you. Mythcreants has good articles but the SJW attitude gets in the way too often.
Weird, I was just talking about this in a facebook group today. Always glad to know I’m not the only one who sees this and gets frustrated with it.