I think most people walk away from the occasional book or movie going “My god, I could have written that better”. When you’re a writer trying to get your work out, it’s a doubly irritating thing, because not only has someone wasted your time with a weak story, but they also are successful doing so. The result is there is some times just as much a cult of hatred surrounding some works (think “sparkly vampires”) as there is a love of any particular series or story.
I’ve known people who follow a certain author just so they can rag on them. I don’t entirely understand it, even if sometimes I look at the tepid efforts of certain storytellers and have the rewrite done in 10 minutes in my head, with 50% more awesome. I get putting energy into what you love, but not so much what you disregard.
While I’m willing to critique an individual work or author’s style, I try to be careful whose work I just dismiss out of hand. Part of it is that if someone has found an audience, even if the storytelling could be better, who am I to judge? I may not understand obsession with trite examples of well travelled themes, but someone does and I can’t fault them for that when they’ve found an audience who want to hear that story.
Also, I look at the stacks of books written by those authors and note they’ve done the one thing I haven’t: written stacks of books. I’ve got ideas galore, but my actual output is not a 10th of what it could be. Even if it’s crap, they’ve put in the work to produce the volume of crap it’s taken to get noticed, to build a following and to make a living in a tough industry doing what I’d like to be doing.
There are books I’ve only read a little of that I will dish on. There are authors of whom I will testify my loathing. But still, I try to keep it to a minimum and give props where props are due. Even if it’s not my sad, oily, rancid, bitter cup of tea.
Besides, if I’m ever lucky enough to look at these people and call them colleagues, I’d like our first conversation not to be “Wow, I’ve been trashing your blood, sweat and tears for a decade!”
I should be so lucky that one day I have my own cult of haters. Because likely, though not guaranteed, that means I have my own fanbase as well.