Tuesday, July 10, 2012

TUTAW: You Won't Be There

A long, long time ago, a published author told me odds are, I won't be there when a reader picks up my book. I won't be standing beside them in the store. I won't be sitting next to them when they turn the first page. I won't be able to explain anything they don't understand.

This led to my first rule in accepting critiques: don't argue.

I will not argue with a crit partner when she brings up something that bothers her. I may ask more questions to get to the root of the problem, but I will not try to explain what I meant and leave it at that.

Because I won't have that chance with a reader.

If my meaning isn't clear, it's my fault. I'm the writer. I'm the one with something to say. It's up to me to say it as clearly as I know how.

It's true some people will never understand me. Not because of any lack on their part or my part but because our life experiences are so different we have no point of common ground on which to build. Those people will glance at my stories and move on. I'm OK with that. I suspect they are, too.

However, there is no reason for the vast majority of people, especially those people who would normally read my genre, to misunderstand me. My meaning should be clear, even if the meaning is "I'm not going to give you a definitive answer to that question."

TT: Be very careful how often you do that, btw. It irritates the snot out of people.

You've been warned. You won't be there. Write accordingly.

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