There are advantages and disadvantages to having the Thursday slot. I have plenty of time to think about what I wasn’t to write, and I can also play off of what the first three have to say. On the other hand, sometimes it seems like by Thursday, all the good ideas have been covered. I imagine this is even worse for James on Friday.
Author responsibilities. We’ve discussed our responsibilities for marketing, to our editors, and to the safety of our readers. So what’s left?
Well, one responsibility I do think we have is to do what we do, well. It may seem silly and old-fashioned, but I don’t want to be part of the dumbing down of language. When I write, I use slang and incorrect grammar freely in dialogue, but I try not to in narrative. While my natural style of speaking is very casual, I do think it’s good to use language properly at least some of the time. It is not archaic to know how to use the word whom, and to do so upon occasion.
Another responsibility I think we have, or maybe it’s more of an opportunity, is to show our readers a world where tolerance, environmental responsibility, and consideration for others is the norm. My books feature complex characters with varied backgrounds and acquaintances. One of my first heroines was raised by a Lesbian grandmother. Another has to deal with being a New-Age vegetarian in a conservative cattle town. I try not to hit readers over the head with any particular philosophy, but the general message is that differences are to be respected, even celebrated. In an upcoming novel, the two heroes are of different races, and the only thought either of them give to it is to be glad it doesn’t matter to the other. I think we have some responsibility, just as people, if not as authors, to refuse to perpetuate stereotypes or foster intolerance.
Finally, I agree that we have a responsibility to ourselves. We owe it to ourselves to believe in what we do, and to keep pushing ourselves to do better. When an author gets lazy and complacent, or is writing a book they don't enjoy, the reader can tell. And that doesn’t do anyone any good at all.
What are your thoughts? Do authors have responsibilities to their readers? I’d love to hear some feedback on this one, and I’m looking forward to what James has to say tomorrow. And by the way, Dakota was right.
We are all, definitely, crazy.