I've been thinking a lot since a certain anonymous person tagged my SSS 17 post with a... not entirely friendly comment. I wanted to address it and say that I will not be changing my blog settings to prevent anonymous commenters.
So let's be clear, I completely respect that person for their own reading/writing tastes. There's no witch-hunt going on here. I'm not angry, upset or even necessarily bothered by what they said.
In fact, this post is going to rag on me a little, not them, 'cause I don't like spreading negativity.
I know the style of 'Simon's Oath' (my SSS story) is not universally loved. I'm well used to getting a love/hate reaction to it and, just so you know, I am planning to cut/trim some of the description from what you SSS readers have read. Right now it's out with beta-readers and I'm waiting on their feedback before returning to the story with my blow-torch and machete.
I recently linked back to an older post of mine on voice/honesty, and I'm not going to pretend that honesty doesn't have its downsides. I have never done so intentionally, but I know I've hurt people in the past by being too blunt. Understanding where that line is... well, let's just say it's a lesson that seems to be taking my entire life to pin down, but luckily enough, an upside of being an honest person is that I'll always admit when I'm wrong.
Everyone had a different idea of what 'being honest' means, just as I'm sure not everyone would answer the same way if your spouse/partner/kid/best friend asked if an outfit is flattering on them or not.*
In my mind, if someone takes the time and effort to ask my opinion, I will try to show the same respect in return by being honest, while still maintaining a healthy coating of 'tact'.
When I put my writing up online, I'm asking a question. I'm hoping you readers show me respect by being honest and telling me what you really think, good or bad.
...and I try to do the same in return.
I think I might be one of the few SSS members who actually visits every single site** every week***. Except for the (clearly) naughty ones, I read every person's sentences. I think about them, I usually re-read them, sometimes re-vist previous weeks to refresh my memory, and then I comment with the most honest reaction possible. And part of the reason is because I love getting comments myself, especially when I can tell that someone is paying attention to my words. If you drop by, I like to know who you are, even if all you do is say, 'hi'.
I think one of the greatest things about SSS is the chance to get many different eyes looking at the same, small bite of writing. The chance for others to weigh in and say, 'I got confused here...' or, 'this sentence could be re-written to be clearer/smoother/more effective.' If I see something wrong, I always try to say someone constructive. At least, that's my intention.
I think not everyone takes this as seriously as I do... but I'm dyslexic. Reading/writing has always been serious work for me, so I can't NOT take it seriously. I get tripped up easier than most people, quickly confused, I often miss important details or nuance. You've heard the term "idiot-proof" before, right? Well, if I can get through a piece of your writing without stopping, having to back-track, re-read or becoming otherwise stuck, then your writing is just about the best it can possibly be. Congratulations, I'm your free idiot-proof-tester (or monkey), so use me.
I once was in the difficult position where I wasn't sure whether to tell a friend of mine she was using the term 'knocked-up' incorrectly. She thought it meant fooling around or messing around.
I told her (after taking her aside) because I have been embarrassed many times by my own mistakes, especially in writing.
Personally, I'm thankful every-time someone tells me I'm wrong and points out how I can do better. I want to be a writer, therefore I want to push my boundaries and improve until the quality of my work is good enough to get published.
So, for all your SSS submitters, if the way I read/comment on your work upsets you, let me know (my email address is on the 'Contact' page) and I won't comment on your posts anymore. And yes, I'm specifically talking to the SSS people because the anonymous person most likely wouldn't have commented on my own SSS post unless they were also a participant. It just seems logical...
And I offer out a blanket apology to anyone I've unintentionally hurt by speaking my opinion on your writing. Sometimes I can be too blunt/harsh, and that certainly can be the case after reading 100+ SSS entries in a row.
It may not be a problem much longer 'cause I've got to admit, all this extra thinking about negativity is wearing me out, especially today. This is why I wanted to address this subject and move on. 'Cause I've got more important things occupying my brain and energy right now.
See you Sunday.
*My husband will not beat around the bush and tells me to go get changed... and it's one of the reasons I love and trust him.
** except last week when I caught a horrible cold and barely got out of bed for days, and once in September when Safari kept crashing over and over again until I nearly threw my laptop out the window.
*** Often it takes me a couple days because I easily get migraines from repeatedly trying to prove I'm human