Someone I used to work with recently sent me a link to their fictional blog. After receiving the link twice I finally had a chance to look at it this morning. I tried for the sake of their feelings to find something nice to say, but couldn't. So, I wasn't going to say anything at all. That is until I read further and became more and more insulted.
Is there anything more infuriating as a reader than having something you find personal (like your heritage or your body) insulted? Even for the purposes of fiction I think it is inexcusable. If you write something and post it or publish it publicly then the purpose should be to entertain. That's just the way I feel about it. If you want to write your personal opinions then don't say it's fiction and have your main character (or in this case ONLY character) insult your audience.
This person states that it is an honor to be southern and that they would not include anyone from Florida or Atlanta in this honor. Oh yeah, I was pissed. I left a comment saying that just ten minutes over the state line into Florida we still consider ourselves southern and so does my family up in Atlanta. I also said that I found the comment insulting. Hey, they asked for my opinion. It was my personal opinion, but I didn't attack them nor did I make the comment "personal" toward them. I was commenting (as I had been asked to do) on the content of the blog.
Next thing you know I get back a page long email full of self-important blather ranting on about that's what they meant to do. That they intended to "alienate" the audience. Um ... you did want people to read this, right?
They ranted for a whole page and then insulted my work personally. This person looks down their nose at romance authors. Okay, my comment was professional and about the content. Their email was just flat rude and uncalled for. Although I can't understand why anyone would want to alienate their audience all they had to say was that what they had done was intentional. End of story. If you are going to write (and I've learned this the hard way) and ask for opinions you will hear some that you don't like. You'd think that they'd rather have a friend point out that they just alienated a large portion of their audience than submit it to an editor and have them say so.
I was trying to help. Would you all like to hear my response to this email? Names have of course been removed to protect the rude, but here is my response. For obvious reasons I have paraphrased their comments, but here is my email in full.
"That (all of that) was not what I was saying at all. The point of any writing (in the public eye)as far as I'm concerned is to compel the reader to read. If you alienate your audience they'll just stop reading.
By pointing out how my writing is "not your cup of tea" you've just insulted me again. If you don't like what I do that's fine, but this wasn't personal and you made it that way. The entire tone of your email is self-important and rude, as is the entire tone of your blog.
Don't worry, I won't make any further comments. Seeing as how your purpose (as you stated) is to make the audience feel alienated on purpose you've accomplished your point. Bravo.
Oh, I left out the part about them calling women who shop at Lane Bryant fat. Rude, rude, rude.
Sorry for the rant, but I was really upset about this.