15 September, 2015

Authors and Opinion

We've discussed this in the past, and tonight I decided to rehash this touchy topic.

Because a Facebook 'friend' set me off with her opinion.

As trite and childish as it might sound, give me a chance to explain first, and then decide if I am wrong or right -- childish or not.

She is an author, with the title Author before her name, and I met her through a game we both play on Facebook.

Today, she posted something I could have overlooked, ignored, or just rolled my eyes at and moved on, but I didn't.

I didn't because it was too insulting for me to do any of those things, and so I chose to respond.

This author posted an article and added her personal opinion about the topic.

No, big deal, right?

It was what she wrote as opinion above the posted article that got to me, and it read something along these lines: that ANYONE who doesn't believe in these issues is an idiot and needs their head examined.

Harsh words coming from a person you would THINK should know better, right?

And, naturally, as opinion online goes, her friends put in their two-cents worth as well, calling me more names -- unbelievable, backwards, stupid, sticking my head in the sand, being a religious zealot, and not getting with the program -- to name a few.

I don't know these people and they certainly don't know me, so for them to accuse me of being any of those things simply because I disagree with a harsh opinion seems more childish than my having said anything at all in defense of myself and those who might not agree with her assessment of my brain.

Before this gets too convoluted and right-wing/left-wing for anyone's sensibilities, let me just say that everyone is entitled to an opinion about any topic known to man. I would never deny anyone the right to voice their opinion, and I certainly don't argue with those whose opinions don't align with my own.

I do, however, take offense at being labeled, name-called, and put down for sharing an opposing view.

That is what is wrong with opinion.

I had a job once via a friend who told me that he never cared when people would disagree with him. He told me how laid-back and easy-going he was and that nothing ever really bugged him; especially online BS.

And then I posted something by Michael Moore, and while I was away at a funeral, my former friend/boss commented on the post, to which my cousins jumped on him, called him a few foul names, and even accused him of being gay . . . because of his opinion; which didn't coincide with theirs.

When I got back online the next day and saw what happened, I PM'd my cousins and told them how upset it made me to see what they'd done to not just a friend but my boss. One apologized and the other told me to stuff it; that it was his opinion and he was sticking to it.

That same week, my friend/boss phoned and was snippy, rude, and short with me before accusing me of being a liar and a thief.

At the end of that same week, I was let go of that online job and have been unemployed ever since.

And, all because of people's opinions.

Or, people feeling the need and right to slam anyone who has an opposing viewpoint.

So, to say I felt like I'd been tossed under the bus and run over a few times -- especially by the guy who said he was a laid-back kind of fella who didn't let anything get to him -- is an understatement and makes me doubly wary of expressing an opinion online.

But especially in my novels.

And yet this author felt it was her right to say that anyone who doesn't agree with her opinion needs their head examined.

Authors are welcome to express their personal views through their writing. I don't care one way or the other, but it isn't something I'd ever do.

On the other hand, when I read novels that spout what I might consider to be nonsense or that do not jive with my belief system or morals or outlook, I tend NOT to want to read the rest of the story and won't likely purchase any more of their work, either.

It is one thing to write a story about an atheist protagonist who conflicts with his or her religious lead, and it is another thing entirely to write a novel depicting the atheist as a hero who vanquishes any and all religious folk.

Or, the other way around and the religious lead succeeds in 'saving' all those around him/her with a lot of religious thought, dialogue, and message.

"I don't believe in global warming and my romance novel will prove my point," is not my idea of a good read.

But, that is just my opinion.

However, if you intend to write a non-fiction novel that sets out to prove your hypothesis, I'm probably going to want to read it just to find out how much the author actually knows or is able to persuade me to rethink my own ideals on the topic.

The same thing goes for a critique or review of ones work.

Helpful, constructive criticism of my writing is wanted, needed, encouraged, and enlightening, to say the least. I think that a majority of authors would agree with this assessment, too.

On the other hand, your opinion about my work is not.

There is a difference.

Attitude does not help an author improve their game whereas constructive criticism of the work itself based on knowledge of things like sentence structure, flow, plot, mood, and conflict do.

Anyway, my point in all of this is kind of simple, I think: she (that judgmental author) just lost a paying customer because of her hard-headed, narrow-minded, one-size-fits-all 'attitude'.

Which is why I cannot condone the inflicting of opinion inside my novels and won't likely ever make the attempt regardless of how passionate I might feel about a subject.

It is fine to use a specific character to voice an opinion, but only if I also surround that character with other characters who form and voice opposing views. That way no one is being singled out, made to feel unworthy to join in on the fun, or is insulted.

I haven't UN-friend-ed her, but I am no longer interested in her work or want to buy anything she is selling.

Kind of sad, right?

Your comments, thoughts, suggestions, issues, and insight are always welcome. Please feel free to reply to any of my posts.


  1. This is one of the reasons I do not post things. I have unintentionally started many wars on lists just by stating my opinion. I hate being attacked.

    1. Hello, Debby, and thanks for your input. I'm not afraid to post opinion on FB or Twitter, but I am very afraid of sounding as if I am a goddess and everyone else is a peon. :D