Keeping opinions to yourself?

8 months ago | AdamBolander (Member)

When you're chatting with other authors, and possibly readers, do you think it's better to speak your mind or keep your opinions to yourself? I'm on and off the WattPad forums, trying to get people interested in maybe checking out my stories, and every week or so we always get a new thread about "diversity." It's always the same, someone doesn't think we're representing whatever minority they've decided they represent, and that needs to change. Every single time, I weigh in with my opinion (the plot itself is more important than representing real world people, pushing political agendas can only hurt a story, etc) and it always turns out the same way: "You're racist!" "No I'm not, I just--" "You're homophobic too!" "Hater!" "White supremacist!"

So, yeah, is it worth it to speak your mind about things like this, or should I just stay out of it? At first I hoped that someone who has similar views to mine might decide to look at my stories, but more often I'm worried that I'm just scaring people off.

Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com

Read responses...

Page: 123

Responses

  1. nippoten (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    That's for you to figure out for yourself.

  2. Dary (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    If you're wondering whether or not authors should voice their opinions in public, you can't follow many authors on Twitter XD

  3. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    It's frustrating. Like, I'm not against diversity. I'm against people using fantasy as a way to push their political agendas-- or worse, telling other people they need to push their agenda for them. And that's all I ever say. Don't worry about making connections to real life, or representing people who feel left out. Just tell a good story. By the way they always react, you'd think I'd showed up wearing a freaking KKK hood. And yeah, I'm worried it'll have a negative effect on my readership. But at the same time, why shouldn't I be able to express my own opinion?

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  4. Dary (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    I'm against people using fantasy as a way to push their political agendas.

    Yet that's very much what fantasy is about, and has been about for thousands of years. You'll never escape that.

  5. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    No, that's NOT what fantasy is about. Fantasy is an escape from the real world. Sure you get some idiots who use it to try and preach to their readers, and very very rarely you might find someone who actually does it well, but "Guys I put a black guy in my book aren't I progressive?" Is not the right way to do it.

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  6. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    Welcome to the internet, where you can't say that water is wet without ten people immediately pouncing on you to point out every exception, and another twenty pounce on you to throw you under the bus as an example of everything wrong in society.

    Diversity is something that's been part of the writing culture for a long time, and its currently the super-hot-top-topic at the moment, so its going to be pushed, especially by those who make it their mission in life to educate the masses anyway they think they can. And then you get the people who are just angry or trolling dipshits who will just call you anything to try and break you and make you their little lolcow. And whatever important message or discussion there ever was to be had (which has already been had ad nauseum, but people still have to have repeated) gets lost in the mire of filth.

    People who try to bully creatives into pushing a message for them are not themselves creatives, but they know art has the power to influence society, and they think they can perform social engineering by manipulating art. Either that, or they really are upset and want someone to write more diversity, but they don't know how to go about making it themselves or funding someone who is willing to do it, and are lashing out in frustration.

    I wouldn't worry to much about it. Say whatever you say, you are going to be shit on, regardless, by somebody. If someone just wants to scream "Nazi" at you because your main character isn't a black lesbian in a wheelchair, it is not your responsibility to cater to their needs, and they make themselves look like a brat more than anything.

    If you feel your words are falling on deaf ears, if you think the reputation damage inflicted by disagreeing what what appears to be the masses will sink you, then maybe don't engage in that topic, and proceed to follow your vision. Otherwise, you're wasting your time on brick walls that will never hear you out, and will never be satisfied even if you follow their every demand.

  7. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    @Sharkerbob, you wanna know what's funny? Whenever I enter into these arguments I always point out one thing: I actually have a pretty diverse cast. Amber Silverblood has three black characters and a strong female main character. The Slayer and the Sphinx has a black character, two Japanese characters, and an Arabian character. The Gray Ranger's (white) main character is married to a black woman who's also probably my strongest female character. Juryokine, admittedly, has an entirely white cast, but has probably my second strongest female character. And that's not even taking into account the literal dozens of nonhuman characters that are in all my books.

    Their reactions when the "white supremacist" has a more diverse cast than they do is priceless, especially since I do it without telling everyone and their mother how progressive I must be.

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  8. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 8 months ago

    The thing that I keep in mind regarding arguments on the internet is this:

    People have done research on what happens when you argue with someone regarding a topic where you disagree. You know what the result is? The result is that the person that gets argued with becomes *more* confident of their point of view—not less.

    If you actually want to change someone’s mind, you have to do something along the lines of be someone they like, explain your point of view and don’t preassure them to change. They still may not change their mind to match yours in the end, but they’ll at least consider your point of view.

    In short, arguing with people is a waste of time—unless you want to reaffirm their previous opinion. If that’s the case, argue away.

  9. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    @Adam - Oh, but I'm sure you're an exceptionally rare exception. :P

    @Jim - I disagree! Fight me! :P

  10. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 8 months ago

    @Shakerbob: Heh.

    @Adam: I’d argue that fantasy often ends up being a reflection of how the author imagines our past, specifically the Middle Ages. That’s the sense that I’m guessing Dary was referring to. The funny thing is that often authors don’t know much about the Middle Ages. As a result, they often end up wriiting all white versions of say, King Arthur. Oddly enough though, if you read older versions of the stories of King Arthur, there’s constant reference to knights who are “Saracens.” Saracen is an older word for Muslim—meaning they would have come from the Middle East or Africa. Thus, many a modern version of the King Arthur stories is actually less diverse than the source material.

    I’m not for diversity simply to be diverse, but there are plenty of people who don’t do the necessary research to understand the period or place they’re writing about. That tends to irritate me. That said there are places and times that simply aren’t particularly diverse and you can’t stuff it in without a long and improbable explanation.

  11. Dary (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    Pick any author of fantastical or imaginative fiction over the years, from Ovid, Dante and Shakespeare through to Wells, Tolkien, Herbert...and you will find politics, subtext, allegory.

    No work is apolitical: that is simply an illusion created when you consume works that conform to the status quo.

    The idea that fantasy shouldn't be political and should instead just be about escapism is not just absurd, it's ignorant. And to hear such a statement mere days after the passing of Ursula le Guin, of all people!

  12. LadyAnder (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    Am of the mindset of chose your battle wisely.

    That doesn't mean I stay silent but that means I come in saying the first thing that pops in my mind while being on an emotional high. You learn to spot people who have ears to listen and who doesn't. I don't suffer myself with fools within an echo chamber. It's hard to get differing opinions, views, and approaches and not where everyone is wearing the same a pair blinders and headphones.

    Also, fantasy can serve more than one purpose. I find it disappointing that so many people believe that fantasy should always be about escaping the real world because that's its only purpose. That you cannot do anything with it other than having a bunch of character fighting some big bad in a heroic fashion. It's really very disappointing and just adds to how stale fantasy can be when you adhere so strictly to fantasy only being about escapism.

    A cross-genre fantasy stories about elves-->http://brotherhoodarchive.com
  13. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    @Dary, I'm aware that an author's personal beliefs always bleed into their work. But there's a difference between "bleeding into" and "outright preaching." The second one is the one I have no patience for, because it brings the story (What everyone is here for) to a screeching halt so that the author can get up on a soapbox and shove their opinions down the readers throats.

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  14. Dary (Member)

    Posted 8 months ago

    The second one is the one I have no patience for, because it brings the story (What everyone is here for) to a screeching halt.

    I mean, maybe try not to presume you know what every individual is interested in reading? You might read fantasy to escape the real world, but that doesn't go for everybody.

Reply »

You must log in to post.