A Question For You

A while ago I did a little poll – well, no, it was a huge poll, actually – about what it takes to be a writer.

I was asked to add to the original answers because I had missed some obvious ones, and I agreed. That list is a combined effort of our author minds. Currently there are 29 attributes to choose from, and multiple choice is enabled. Here’s a link to it, to refresh your memory:  https://ellamedler.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/what-does-it-take/

The answers are not that different from what I expected. The most votes went to determination, imagination, passion and commitment. There is no way I would dispute that.

But there has been one surprise, for me. I’ve been waiting and waiting to see whether anyone, at all, would consider this one to be something a writer should feel strongly about. I’m talking about Responsibility.

I don’t understand the complete lack of votes for responsibility. I can live with no votes for humanity, morality and ethics – these concepts are so subjective, so hard to define. But how can a writer not feel any sense of responsibility? How can we not consider the effect our published words might have on our unsuspecting readers? However loosely, however remotely, however lightly – we are putting the germs of our ideas into other people’s minds. We are transplanting pieces of ourselves into others. The way we are, the way we feel, the way we deal with situations, as well as the way we are not and we do not.

Every story has the potential to stick. You can’t think yours will be overlooked and slip away into literary oblivion, because if you did, you wouldn’t be writing it in the first place.

So… just wondering… Am I the only one?

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4 Replies to “A Question For You”

  1. I guess ‘Responsibility’ comes into question depending on the subject matter you are writing.
    If someone is writing lighthearted fiction, they may not need to think about the effect their words have on their readers.

  2. Ella, I spent a lot of time pondering the responsibility issues in writing my books, as you will find out during the editing process that concern was justified. On the other hand there is a voice screaming inside my head that is yelling that to not publish them would be irresponsible. I have decided to go ahead with the project and let the cards fall where the may. We need a little shaking up anyway.

    1. I agree, Ronald. The point is exactly that – to ponder the effect you may have. That doesn’t mean you should keep things hidden from your readers. Knowing that the concept of responsibility is no stranger to you, I bet you have given careful consideration to the way you are revealing your message.

  3. I have frequently thought about boundary’s and what lines should or should not be crossed – especially when writing in the YA genre field. My book mentions incest for example, and I have had a few reviews that frowned on the mention of it in this genre. to me YA means just that. Young Adult – not teen – young ADULT. It isn’t that many years ago in history though that incest was common among highborn families and royalty to keep bloodlines pure. I certainly don’t condone the idea but I have no problem writing about it. I’m sure me writing about it wouldn’t make anyone consider the idea. Well I hope not 🙂

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