We interrupt your regularly scheduled fluff for a bit of a rant. And I wouldn’t be doing this during Nanowrimo season, but it *really* needs to be said.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word ‘Dystopolitics’. And my idea of Dystopolitics is actually linked to my own books, but it goes beyond that. The politics of dystopia, right now, is pretty much looking at stuff like ‘A Handmaid’s tale’ and going, oooh, we’ll make sure our political views never get that radical.
And you know, the politics of dystopia. The radicalness….it’s seeping into everything going on around us. I’m days from a graduation ceremony I never though I’d make. I’m getting a 2:1 and I couldn’t be happier. But I’ve found myself in a community of radicals that many refer to as entitled, and I just look at and think ‘You’d be so much happier if the world wasn’t actually democracy, because that’s what you’re campaigning for.’. And you know, that cuold be a horrible thing to think about people, but when they say what I’ve heard lately, I think you’d question whether then understand free speech, a scale of awards, and the rights of others….let me give you an example….
I’ve been reading a lot of ‘I don’t need to worry about grammar and editing, all that matters is I’m writing’ or ‘you’re jealous because your book isn’t out yet’, or ‘would YOU accept a C from your kids if they came home with it on the report? Then why accept a three star review?’.
All of this has kicked off since I started working as an editor – and a lot of it comes out when people discover that it’s going to cost money to edit their books.
There’s two insidious lies I’d like to address today. It’s getting a bit dystopolitical in here if I’m honest. As in, this is the politics of dystopia. The politics of not doing what we’re actually experincing. And that’s wrong.
First – Editing and grammar ain’t important. O’rhyleah? (sorry, been looking at lots of Lolthulu lately). Seriously? Would I have gotten away with that in a very post ironic way on my degree, or, would my tutor have kicked me from here to next week about run on sentences, and the occasional tense mistake? I think I’d have been kicked. I know I would have been – in fact, I was.
So, while I don’t agree with the idea that we need to be locked to rules (and I’ll talk about that more a bit later) if you’re not at least flirting with the acceptance that mistakes aren’t acceptable, then you’re not a professional writer.
There – I said it – it’s not the idea that you can’t afford to hire an editor that doesn’t make you a professional writer – it’s the idea that you can excuse your behavior by HIDING BEHIND not being able to afford a professional editor.
Can’t afford an editor? – I’m writing a book, and I teach classes – check them out.
The other insidious lie is that we’re not all on the same side as writers and readers. And while that’s true, in some cases (you can’t be ‘on the same side’ if you’re buying something from someone), when it comes to literature, readers and writers ARE on the same side. We all want good literature, and the best stories.
So – there’s a second element to all of this:
If you are charging for your work, you have an obligation – a paid service provision – to be professional.
Kai is a writer, author and avid reader. A mental health advocate, Ludosport athlete and coder. She’s the mother of two young adults, owned by two cats, and lives with her beloved in the Cotswolds.