Monday, January 28, 2013

Offending Your Readers

When we start a new writing project, the hope that it will be fruitful lies right beneath the surface, never straying. Every one of us works hard on the stories, articles and poems we write. We seldom casually toss words on a page without some thought as to why we are writing the piece or what publication we might send it to. 

We want our words to be fruitful to the reader as well as to our goal for the story we're writing. Fruitful to the reader in that he/she finds some satisfaction in what is read, some entertainment, some knowledge--all things positive. 

When we write, we seldom aim to achieve negatives, but they rise up sometimes like bubbles in a boiling pot on the stove. We might write something that offends some readers. Well, that's too bad but they can stop reading at the first offensive line. What I write is my opinion and may not necessarily coincide with all others. 

Mabye something we write ends up depressing an already depressed person. We could even write something that hurts the feelings of a reader. But I don't think it is necessarily what was written that was so negative. More likely, it is that the reader has some kind of emotional baggage that allows them to read negativity into something that may not have been written with that goal in mind. They may have some personal problems that cause them to have a different perception than some others. 

What I'm thinking about is that, if a reader rakes the author over the coals, it is not reason for the author to become defensive and/or angry. We can't write perfection for every reader. My greatest hope is that I can be honest in my writing  and reach a few readers who like my work. I do not purposely set out to offend anyone. I'm sure it's happened at times for some of the reasons above. 

If a writer's intent is to offend their readers, they've got a few hang-ups to deal with. Their own. If a writer offends someone unintentionally, they should feel no guilt. They should also write what they truly believe. It's their opinion and hopefully will be respected as such. 

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