Tuesday, January 10, 2012

readers' rights AGAIN!

What with the Week of Writerly Whingeing just past, it seems time to repost this, so's y'all can hold me to it should I ever be widely published.

My Pledge of Readers' Rights
If my books are sold and published, and people I've never met read them, I hereby admit the following rights to any and all such readers:

1) The right to not like my book, and to think it is crap.
2) The right to stop reading and to judge my whole book on howeverlittle you read.
3) The right to completely miss my point.
4) The right to dislike any of my characters, even based on a partial or inaccurate reading.
5) The right to dislike my prose style and to quibble with my word choices.
6) The right to find fault with my plotting, worldbuilding, or other big-picture aspects.
7) The right to share these opinions in person, twitter, blog post or other social media as they appear.
8) Other rights that seem good and reasonable and occur to me later.

I do not grant to the reader the right to make me change something already published.

I have the responsibility to act like an adult.
That is, the responsibility to listen to criticism with attention, using my own critical faculties to find what's useful and what's not (just as I would with a workshop critique).
That is, the responsibility to not hold grudges or look for ways to do down someone who doesn't like my writing however they express it.
I was tempted to weasel here, to say something about tone, about even-handedness, but given that writers generically want nothing but praise, in bucketloads, even-handedness is way too difficult to quantify. As a reader, you have a perfect right to think that anything I've written is a load of crap and to say so, in those words or similar.

I retain the right to bitch in private to my friends about how you completely missed my point, dear god do these people have no reading skills at all?


Terri-Lynne said...

I recently got a review from someone who follows my LJ. Just for giggles, go check it out on Amazon (StacyK.) It was a very strange review, one that made several friends who read it ask WTF??? But I refrained to comment, or to point out all the ways I disagreed for reasons you'll probably deduce as well.

#1--it's just not worth it
#2--no one has EVER regretted taking the higher road. :)

batgirl said...

Found it - not her genre, I gather, so perhaps not surprising she was looking for something that wasn't meant to be a major part of the story.
Yeah, the high road does have the best view ;)