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Day in the Life of an Idiot

The Journal of Lyda Morehouse


March 9th, 2009

Why Saying "It's Just Fiction" is a Cop Out @ 10:04 am

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From:seawasp
Date:March 9th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
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Well, no, the public doesn't own it at all. They can see any rorschach blots they like in my fiction but that won't make them real.

OTOH, fiction generates feelings. Fiction depicts things that affect people. In some ways it does so BETTER than reality because reality doesn't compartmentalize stories, concepts, etc., in a way that maximizes their delivery and impact most of the time. So dismissing a reaction to a story as "just fiction" ignores the fact that emotional reactions come from mental perceptions.

Moreover, that "just fiction" can also represent a LOT of investment of time and energy by the person reading it as well as writing it. In my case, I get peeved by authors who fail at some basic consistency in the universes because, apparently, it doesn't matter to them, while it DOES to me in order to maintain my WSOD. So I WILL become peeved.

Of course, in those cases it's important enough to actually affect me, I just rewrite the fiction that annoys me.
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From:lyda222
Date:March 9th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
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I think the public does "own" it, though, particularly things we literally take home with us, like books. I'm not saying that your (or my) writing is public property, but I do think that public reaction to my work has change it -- when people noted an anti-Catholicism in my romances, I not only toned it down, but changed the Vatican Witch Hunters into a rogue agency, rather than one directly under the Pope's ageis, even though it was one fan's comment on Amazon.com... I think that made my subsequent books both mine and the women who commented's.

But I hear what you're saying, I think. And I absolutely agree that part of the dialogue betwenn writer/fan (movie/viewer, etc.) is fanfic, and I did get a chance to imply that on the panel at least.

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From:seawasp
Date:March 9th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
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Well, that's a difference of perspective. If someone were to note anti-whatever in my writing, either I'd say "no, it's not there", or "yes, it is, and that was intended". I certainly wouldn't be changing my writing to accommodate one person's comments, or even a DOZEN people's comments (unless perhaps that was all of the comments that I got).

My beta-readers help me write material by pointing out what works for them and what doesn't, but I'm almost completely interested in the mechanics -- i.e., did X get across the point I wanted, did Y have the effect I intended.

This is quite possibly from a difference in writing perspectives. Even when I'm being paid, I'm not writing for the reader at all. I'm writing for me. I'm writing stories I'd like to read, but no one else will write.

Day in the Life of an Idiot

The Journal of Lyda Morehouse