Saturday, August 27, 2016

Please, Can We Respect Authors?

This is an unfortunate post.  It's all because of some things that have happened recently.  I must warn you, I will likely mention spoilers for the first four ToG novels.  So if you haven't read them, BEWARE.  Also, this rant is very long.

So.  Empire of Storms was released early by some booksellers, and there has been a lot of hate going around the community after some spoilers were revealed.  I have personally not seen these spoilers.  I avoid them like the plague.  But still.

People have been attack SJM for many different things, and I would like to address that here.  First, these people, who are attacking an author about a book that hasn't even been released yet, shame on you.

Shame on you for sending hate mail.  Shame on you for shitting over an author's hard work.

You are perfectly welcome to critique a book.  You're welcome to dislike or even hate it.  But what has been happening is unacceptable.  Threatening people is serious.  It's a crime.  Don't be like that.

People tend to forget that authors are people too.  Just like them! (le gasp!)  Yes.  Sarah J Maas is a real live person with feelings and wants and needs.  She has likes and dislikes.  Sending hate is harmful on all fronts.  Authors are notoriously self-conscious.  So saying her book made you suicidal?  No.  Just no.  You're allowed to not like a book.  That's fine.  Don't be an ass about it.  How do you think the shit you're sending her makes her feel?  She could be within her rights to decide to not finish the series or not write for publication again.  Hell, the readers are just too much to deal with, right?

Many people also forget that Throne of Glass is not their story to tell.  So you didn't like the story.  So fucking what?  Sarah has been working on this story since she was sixteen.  It's hers and hers alone to tell.  No one else's.  So your ship didn't sail?  Well too fucking bad.  That's not how the story goes.  Maybe go write some fanfiction with your OTP to make yourself feel better.  But you don't get to decide what is right for the story.  The only person that does that is the author.

Veronica Roth caught a lot of shit for how she ended Allegiant.  Did I like the ending?  Nope.  Nope nope.  But that's that.  That was the ending she planned from the very beginning, and since I'm not in her brain as she writes, who am I to argue with her?  Just like who is anyone to argue with how or what an author puts into a work of fiction.

So.  I don't know what these spoilers are.  I have suspicions, but nothing is confirmed.  I have, however, been seeing a lot of people trying to shame SJM for her lack of diversity.  Really people?  Say it with me.

Not every book needs diversity.

Yes.  We need diverse books.  But adding it just for the sake of diversity is asinine.  It doesn't work.  You can't just add it in at random and think everything will work out.  Not all books require it to be good books.  We need a balance of good books from all walks of life in the publishing industry.  I'm fully aware there is an imbalance currently.  But saying a straight white story is bad simply because it's straight white is no argument.

Edit for clarification: I want to clear this up.  I love diversity in books.  But when it's thrown in because the book community is yelling that it's a box that needs to be checked off, we see problematic representation and misrepresentation. End Edit

And I saw people yelling about how Nehemia died and it was just to further the agenda of the white female.  Ooookaaaay....  I am pretty certain that Nehemia dying had nothing to do with her skin color.  She had a plan and in that plan she died.  Get over it.  So let me tell you a little story about the first book I ever wrote.

The first book I wrote is permanently trunk.  It would have been a duology.  At the end of the first book, one of the protagonists gets infused with lots of power, goes a little wonky in the head, and then ends up turning into the antagonist in the next book.  The thing is, everything he did throughout the first book and everything he would've done in the second were all justifiable by the way he saw things.  He was trying to do what was right.  Just in a warped way.

My point is, that character was homosexual.  I didn't know this until I was halfway done with the first book, but there it is.  I am not saying anything about homosexuality.  It has absolutely nothing to do with his turn to villainy.  In fact, there are other homosexual individuals in the book that are still on the side of "good" (and in reality I had planned for him to be redeemed in the end).  One of my best friends is gay, and I love him to pieces.  Making a homosexual character gay or die or whatever has nothing to do with his sexuality.  It's all about the story.

This rant has gone on long enough, so I end with that.  Sarah, if you're reading this, please know that I support you and all authors.  Thank you for doing what you do. 💖

Another Edit: Over the past day people have been yelling about authors should make the effort and do the research to always include diverse characters.  That's nice and all.  But you're yelling at me to write something I don't feel comfortable with.  And then you will yell at me when it doesn't come out right, because research and sensitivity readers still aren't enough to really do a community justice.  Why can't authors just write what they want to write?  What's wrong with that?  People telling me I have to write something... Well, it makes me feel like shit and like I want to stop writing altogether.  I've loved writing since I was a small child, but maybe I should just stick with my day job.  Because this negativity is making me super uncomfortable.

Really.  I want diverse books.  I love diverse books.  If you don't believe how much I feel like we need them, please read my post about the Orlando shootings.  I'm a local to the Orlando area.

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