Examples of Bad Writing Advice Provided on Absolute Write

As it says.

This thread is for posting concrete examples of actual bad advice given to writers on Absolute Write. Please provide a link to the bad advice in your post.  Bad advice can cover fiction craft, market, and whatever else.

Since we've included this post as evidence that Absolute Write claims of serving writers good advice on writing fiction is blatantly, and at times even laughably false, we've received scores of emails thanking us. We're happy that at least some writers have been spared the futility and embarrassment, and of course, spared the circumstances that might have allowed them to be bullied and publicly trashed by Absolute Write mods, members or owners (as so many have for so many years).

The overall situation at Absolute Write can be summed up best by a few of the writers who commented below and gave their time to help spread the warning to everyone:
  • You'd be surprised how many young writers aren't well read...aren't really "read" at all. That does make it difficult for them to have any clue what they're doing when they're just starting out. But I get your point, and I agree, AW's advice is amateurish at best and downright harmful at worst.

  • Their credibility isn't helped by the fact that several of the published authors on the site are self-published (not inherently bad), and most of the published works (both self and not) are horrible supernatural romance/horror romance/fantasy romance (notice a trend?), the kind with well built white vampire dudes on the cover. [link to post on WAR]

  • Look at it very simply: hundreds of untrained writers on Absolute Write Water Cooler posting hundreds of posts on the topic of writing novels, fiction, whatever, and no one with any real savvy in the fiction arts stepping in to say no, no, no, that's not the way it works. Of course you're going to get stupid commentary every where you look. It's just inevitable given the set up.

  • How am I supposed to take career advice seriously from someone called SuperModerator, when I can’t tell if they’ve ever published anything? I asked a specific question, and when I questioned politely but firmly the uninformed and negative advice an anonymous writer gave, she harangued and condescended like a fishwife. On another thread, she jumped into a productive discussion and tongue lashed not only me, but every contributor!

  • I tried to offer editorial guidance in the fiction forums there, but trying to be heard over the perpetual howl and drone issuing from dozens and dozens of amateur writers hurling "advice" at each other is completely impossible... I came to see it that on the whole the Absolute Write forums are an arena of juveniles acting out their fantasies and retaliatory urges on a continuing basis while honestly trying to give each other writer advice, and all the while watched over by people who are just mean spirited and unethical.
  • The site is far from conducive to learning how to write, as you soon find you must tiptoe around and make sure you grovel for the "mods", who all run the site with threats and intimidation. I'm not sure what their deal is, but they all have a serious case of self-appointed tin-plated godliness, full of themselves and delusions of grandeur.
  • Lisa Spangenberg posted her credentials on the Writer Beware thread. She has a doctorate in English, helped write and publish tech manuals. None of this qualifies her to give advice to fiction writers and poets, or novel writers, but this is what she does.
In other words, the very nature of Absolute Write makes it next to impossible to ever be sure you are getting decent writing advice. When you combine moderator and owner bullies with scores of amateurs all babbling and posturing about like immature kids, this is what happens.


If there was ever an attempt at subtle deception, it's the collection of Amazon-sold books on a store set up by Spangenberg. Are we led to assume that AW played a role in getting these writers "published"? Are we led to believe that hundreds of amateur writers chattering on the Water Cooler banged enough keys to properly enable these success stories? Possibly. The owners lead us to that conclusion in more than one way on the AW forums. However, upon closer examination, the assumption proves unfounded.

Several of the authors like Strauss and Elrod were editing and publishing independent of AW. They both have affiliations with the owners Spangenberg and Stone (Sherman)--Elrod advertises her editorial business on AW and Strauss advertises her novels in thousands of posts on Absolute Write Water Cooler. The bulk of the store titles are by self-published or e-published (half a rung above self-published) writers, and that's odd considering the enormous amount of time the mods and owners have spent flaying self-publishers (but as it turns out, these were self-publishers who were not officially in the owner's camp or else they ran afoul of the owner's incessant wrath for whatever reason).

Btw, we recommend trying out the Elrod book, but steer clear of Strauss unless you like juvenile fantasy lacking imagination. The Stacia Kane books, btw, are ho-hum and even fans grow fatigued with the predictable story lines. And speaking of Victoria Strauss, it's fun to talk about her self-serving and stupid HATERS GONNA HATE diatribe transparently designed to make the scores of critics and victims of Absolute Write look like one super troll.


Relevant Links

Who are The Top Ten Cyber Bullies on Absolute Write?

Let's vote on it.

Please only one post per vote and add a link to a specific example of the cyber-bullying behavior on the Absolute Write forum. We must have concrete proof because we do not condone falsity in any form.

Also, if you know the real name of the bully, please state it and the evidence you've gathered to expose the culprit.

Results will be published after we receive sufficient vote posts.