Head ups. This is going to be a bit of a rant and a vent. I rarely do this. I normally let things slide, but I know I’m not the only author impacted by this.
I just reported comments on Radish for the first time. I wouldn’t normally do so, but there are people who can’t separate reality from fiction.
I know that some of the things I write will challenge a reader’s mindset because it is unconventional, or crosses the line of socially acceptable behavior. When that happens, I have no issue with comments that say that chapter bothered you because it crossed the line for you.
As a writer, you have to accept that you can’t please everyone. You have to have thick skin because you are going to get negative criticism on your work and you will have people tell you they hate your story, your writing style, the characters, the character’s lack of social boundaries, etc. The list goes on. I’m a reader, so I understand all of these things. I rarely comment on them other than to say ‘it’s not for me’, but I get it.
What’s not okay is attacking the author personally.
Telling me I’m a sick individual because of a torture scene in a book, calling me a misogynist because I wrote a novel about werewolf mates, suggesting that the sex scenes I write are my personal fantasies or suggesting that they reflect my personal sex life is all out of line. It’s also not true.
The torture scene specifically that I was called ‘sick’ for writing wasn’t something I made up. Margaret Attwood famously said about when she wrote The Handmaid’s Tale,
Every horrible thing that happened in that book has happened before in human history.
She is not the sick and depraved person who thought it up in some sick and twisted fantasy. Everything that happened in that book has happened in reality. Her characters simply utilized it. The same goes for those sorts of scenes in my books. They are not the imaginings of my sick mind. They are human history that my characters have picked up and used.
Now, don’t ask me why someone who feels that ‘Mates’ are a ‘misogynist construct’ would be reading a Werewolf mate’s story. The blurb wasn’t misleading. But sure, whatever. Calling the author a misogynist and suggesting their upbringing was ‘not okay’ because they wrote a book where females are giving up themselves and submitting to the males in their lives is not acceptable. It’s especially not okay when you haven’t even finished the book where the main character does not give up her career or freedoms for her mate. But let’s leave the ‘jumping to conclusions’ issue out of it.
It’s Fiction. It is listed as Paranormal Romance Fantasy.
Yes, I’m emphasizing that word for a reason. Fantasy. Because my fantasy might use realism as its basis (Urban Fantasy), but it is not confined or held accountable to reality. Do you believe I think werewolves are real? No, you don’t. So if you don’t believe the author thinks the paranormal creatures in their book are real, probably don’t assume the character’s personalities reflect the author either. I could name several authors that should be arrested if that was the case.
Can I just say, the reason mates, alphaholes, dominant males in romance books are so popular is because some people, even, dare I say it, strong independent women–who would never be controlled in real life by another person, let alone a male–sometimes enjoy the fantasy of a possessive, dominant, alphahole who will love them, adore them, treat them like a goddess, and protect them coming into their life and providing them security.
I write, for the most part, beautiful and deadly female characters who are strong independent women, or kickass women. I write trauma because it is something I understand well. I write death because it is something I am intimate with in different ways. I write instalove, torturous love, soul mates, and enemies to lovers because who doesn’t want to feel that instant connection, to meet someone who feels like they fill the emptiness inside you, to have someone love you despite knowing the worst side of you?
Now, on the last point. Suggesting my sex life is reflective of what I write. If I had a harem of supernatural men blowing my mind with intense and amazing orgasms multiple times a day, I wouldn’t have the time to be writing about it. I’d be sleeping in my downtime. Seriously! Do I even need to point out the ridiculousness of such a comment? Apparently, I do.
Reading is meant to open your mind. If a story pushes the walls of your narrow-mindedness to the point of you needing to express the discomfort of enduring a different view/approach/lifestyle, by all means, say it made YOU uncomfortable. Because that’s the reality of what you are actually saying. The story has challenged your mindset and it made you feel something you didn’t like or weren’t ready to experience. That’s also perfectly okay. Just be honest and admit it.
Yes. It’s a you problem. Not a me problem. I know who I am and how my life experiences have affected me. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be bullied into believing I’m a bad person because someone doesn’t like a character in a book or what they did. Because I’m going to tell you a secret. (Actually, it’s not really a secret if you know me). I’m not always comfortable with the things I write either. I was raised with strict morals, with clear black and white definitions of acceptable behaviors, but I love challenging social norms and exploring the gray areas of behavioral psychology.
The shadows are not for everyone. But there is a really good solution for that too. Close the book. Follow the emergency lighting to the nearest exit and the bright light of day. There are plenty of sweet and fluffy romances out there that won’t disturb the deep slumber of the primal part of your brain.