Thursday, December 6, 2012

Should a Blogger Be Discreet or Discrete?

Stretching only a little with the literal definitions of the two homophones involved, bloggers can be discreet about their controversial opinions—keeping quiet about them—or bloggers can be discrete about their controversial opinions—using those opinions to separate them from other bloggers.

And I say that as someone who adheres to some mighty controversial opinions.

Most of them, I'm discreet about. You can identify at least some of them if you find me on some specific sites online, but I don't use my blog as a pedestal and proclaim to the world that I'm a six-day creationist. (Er, oops.)

Okay, so I don't use my blog to proclaim or explain why I'm a six-day creationist.

But some opinions, like my thoughts on how to price your writing and my belief that there are no bad words—those opinions, I announce, proclaim, and explain.

Why am I obvious about those, but not about others?

Any time a blogger gives an opinion, they're giving some readers an excuse to stop reading.

And any time an author gives an opinion, they're giving some readers an excuse to avoid their writing, be it fiction or non-fiction.

This blog is entitled "Another Author's 2 Pence", making obvious from the get-go that it's an author's blog. I therefore have no qualms about admitting writing-related opinions, because authors write. That's what we do. So duh, we'll have opinions on it.

(Frankly, when an author has a blog and never so much as mentions writing, it bewilders me. Even the so-hilarious-her-books-are-on-my-to-buy-list-and-I've-not-yet-read-one Twitter feed by Kiersten White sometimes mentions writing. Often facetiously, because it's mostly intended for her YA-reading fans. Lindsay Buroker's often-O.O-worthy Twitter feed is more chatty, but it still mentions writing at times.)

Authors/writers write.

And we have therefore opinions on the process.

Other things, like my my allergies, my hobbies—I really need to finish knitting that garment, because if it works, it'll save me a good $250—my faith, my beliefs about the world… Those color my writing, so there's a sense in which they're pertinent.

I mean, Zoe Winters is a Buddist. Her paranormal romance world features reincarnation. Those two things are kinda related.

Zoe Winters even comes from a Christian background—possibly Southern Baptist if not fundamentalist, from what she's mentioned on her blog—so when she explains a point of view on her blog, the line of reasoning she sets out makes sense to me. I won't exactly agree, but I can at least follow what she's thinking.

Her novels and blog aren't preachy. Her beliefs are…there, and she doesn't hide them, but she doesn't prosthelytize, either.

Some folks believe that such presentation of personal beliefs is unprofessional.

By that argument, the only "professional" way to write is as an effectual agnostic.

That type of writing has its place. (Example: Press releases.) But agnostics generally believe people are basically good. That produces an entirely different way of looking at the world from someone who believes people are basically bad—a perspective that colors opinions, story worlds, character development…

See the problem?

Your beliefs affect what you write, be it a story or a college essay.

So let's step back and bring up the detail I mentioned about being a six-day creationist. That's actually very pertinent to my writing.

Say what?

Standard evolutionary thought is that mankind is getting smarter through the generations, better, as mutations improve the human race with each generation. I doubt that's news to any of my readers.

Due to how mutations have only been demonstrated to delete or rearrange already-existing information (never creating information), six-day creationists believe mankind is actually losing ability and intelligence with each generation.

That's a fundamental detail that influences the development my characters and story worlds.

For example, due to the belief that genetics are getting progressively worse, my Darkworld stories feature a world wherein originally, everyone could do multiple types of magic, like Destiny Walker of Destiny's Kiss. But by the twenty-first century, she's a freak rather than the norm. Most folks can't do magic. (And that world's scientific community attributes that change to bottleneck effect.)

I'm sure some of you readers are intrigued by that detail—you might not agree with me, but you might like the peek into how another person views the world.

And I'm every bit as sure that some of you readers will now refuse to read anything more that I write.

Will the number of readers who like my forthrightness outnumber the readers who dislike it?

I don't know.

I can't know.

And therein lay the danger of being discrete as a blogger.

Being discreet offends no one, while being forthright about opinions will offend someone.

There's a marketer whose e-mail list I stay on for the sole reason that he's unapologetically Christian. I get a kick out of analyzing his writing, which combines intentionally low-brow grammar and unabashed declarations that "Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life"…

So unprofessional, if you ask most experts.

But he gets attention. (Mine, anyway. ^_^)

Discretion is one tactic; forthrightness is another.

I think every blogger should evaluate the potential gains and losses before picking which to be.

And I think it's rude of folks to pitch fits when others don't adhere to some ideal view of "professionalism". Everyone's opinions and worldviews are different.

What's rude to one person is polite for another. And vice versa.

Unfortunately, a lot of folks are stuck on one definition for "polite" and get indignant over others' presumed idiocy when they demonstrate other perspectives.

Do you prefer when a blogger is discreet about their opinions or when they let their opinions make them discrete from other bloggers?


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