On who should/shouldn't be writing

I've been thinking about this on and off for days since I posted a few comments about the Mercedes Lackey book I was reading from my iPhone, and then didn't bother to reply to them since I hadn't bothered to turn the computer on and replying on LJ/DW with an iPhone is an exercise in frustration. And I'm not sure I've really got anything coherent to say, and most of it revolves around two different things. :) Which are different enough that I'd rather put them in two different posts, so as not to get one sidetracked by another. And I may even tick off a couple of people with this.

So here goes #1: It really bothered me when a couple of responses to "Mercedes Lackey shouldn't attempt dialect" were to the effect of "Mercedes Lackey shouldn't attempt dialect writing. Fixed that for you!"

I know it was meant as a joke. Unfortunately, I don't find it particularly funny to suggest silencing someone just because you think they write badly, even in jest, and it's certainly not something I believe, for two reasons:

(1) She has an absolute right to write whatever she wants the way she wants it. I don't have to like it - I've called her "Hackey" before - and that's as far as it goes. If that's amended to "She shouldn't be published" - that's another beast entirely, because nobody's got a right to have someone else risk their money on attempting to find a market for their works.

(2) There are an approximate metric fuckton of people out there reading and buying Lackey's works, several of whom read this LJ/DW. Hell, at least one reading this journal who writes in her works -- authorized, no less, not just fanfic. I suspect that the vast majority of her readers see her writing weaknesses and forgive her, because she's supplying something else they enjoy. I've certainly run into people who credit her books with literally saving their lives.*

However, the phrase "Lackey should not be writing" comes across like an elitist dismissal of these people who buy, read, and enjoy those books. I don't think anyone who's said that to me recently meant it that way (although I've known people who definitely meant it that way) ... but that's the hidden baggage packed up in there.

* Mostly in regards to finding the Vanyel trilogy as an outcast gay teen and finding a way out of suicidal depression with the message that you are not alone and you are okay just the way you are. More than one person, yes.**

** Word to the wise: do not complain that an author's writing could be improved to someone who conflates being the Right Book at the Right Time with being a well-written book. I can still feel the scars from that one.

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Tags: mercedes lackey
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