Amber Michelle (myaru) wrote,
Amber Michelle

Disclaimers (or lack of), and what's going on when I talk about writing.

Despite recent talk elsewhere about disliking disclaimers, I've been thinking of making a sticky post with links to things like the personal policies post I made a while back, where to look for updates to fandom projects (eg. translations), things a newcomer might be interested in but reluctant to ask for whatever reason. It's a good opportunity to write about what's going on when I talk about writing - a disclaimer, in essence. The only one I'm going to make.

Most of you know I write fan fiction; some of you even follow it on occasion. I used to read a lot of it elsewhere, too. Most of the people on my list, or who watch this journal from elsewhere - if anyone does at all - associate me with fanfic. Fair enough, since I've spent so much time doing that the last decade or so.

But here's the thing: I take writing seriously. I'm worried about my plotting, the realism of my dialogue, potential cliche, the fine points of characterization. These things are always on my mind, whether I'm writing my own stories or reading someone else's work. And when I talk about what I read, they'll come out in my commentary and criticism, because this is how I think about writing. It is not me thinking I'm better than you, that you shouldn't write, that everyone needs to do things the way I do - it's just my opinion, and it's the way I would do it. Period. That's all.

So let me be perfectly clear:

When I talk about writing here, I'm applying my own standards-- and I'm not always talking about fan fiction. I am not going to lower these standards just to make a few people in fandom feel better. For those people, fan fiction is whatever - fun, meta, I don't know - but for me writing is a skill I'm serious about, and I'm not going to stop talking about it that way, or apologize for doing so.

This is not about you. I don't care what you write, how you write it, or what your preferences are. If I choose to write about, oh, how to best divide longer stories into chapters, and I criticize a technique you happen to use, it is not about you. If I criticize the use of cliches in fiction, it is not about you and your use of cliches, whoever you are. It is about me, my opinion on them, and why I don't want to use or see them. This is the most self-centered journal you've ever read.

When I look at this issue and see complaints like "the elitists probably hate what I write," I don't see the problem resting with this imaginary group of snobs, but instead with the people gnawing on their own insecurities. You can take what I say personally, but be aware that you're taking that burden on yourself, because I'm not writing about you. I'm not invalidating your fan fiction, or your existence, and you might want to question why you feel I have the power to do that before complaining that the Elitists don't want you to write. Further, demanding we curb our elitist propaganda is contradictory to the other prevailing sentiment in fandom, which is all about how terrible it is that people feel pressured to hold their opinions in to avoid drama.

That I need to be nicer when I talk about/refer to fan fiction is beyond question. I get it. But I'd like it to be clear that my intent as the author of any given essay isn't necessarily the same as your interpretation of it. The internet is not all about you, reader. Check yourself the next time you have a knee-jerk reaction to what you're reading. Is that sentence really about what you wrote last week? Really?

Just a wild guess here, but: probably not.

In short, I'm not going to add disclaimers to anything. My opinions are what they are. I'm going to talk about them. I'm not fooling myself into thinking they're important beyond my own blog, and I don't see why anyone else would either. If you just can't stomach these posts, move on, find someone else to read, and we'll both be happier.
Tags: public: writing
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