Thursday, April 4, 2013

Opinions vary

Sunday marked the end of the third season of the Walking Dead, and as the internet melted down into its usual seething cauldron of hissy fits, discussions, and  snark-filled diatribes, I will confess to being amazed and bewildered. Why? Because I actually really liked the season finale and just didn’t see what the others were complaining about.

What I saw as a powerful, well written and emotionally charged episode filled with plot twists and action, others considered a complete let-down and posted at length about how they were bitterly, terribly disappointed. It was as if we had watched two different television shows. When the confusion faded I realized it was just another example of differing tastes, and yet another reminder that everyone has their own preferences and tastes, even when it comes to the zombie apocalypse.

 So if a group of hard-core fans can’t even agree on what makes a hugely popular television show great, what are the odds that a much broader, more diverse audience is going to share a collective opinion over what makes a good love story? I’ve had reviewers refer to Kyra, my heroine from Whispers in the Dark, as kick-ass, tough, sassy, and a “mewling kitten.”  Clearly at least one reviewer didn’t like Kyra, or my story in general. I winced and moved on, because if everyone in the world loved my books, I’d have to assume I was dreaming.

What I don’t understand though, is why some people take great offense to someone having a different opinion. Be it over a television show, a book review, or well…pick a topic, the same thing applies. I’ve had adults snark at me because I admitted to actually enjoying the Walking Dead episode. As if there was something innately wrong with me that had to be pointed out and “fixed.” I’ve been told I’m going to hell for the book genre I have chosen to write in.  There are groups of people who roam Amazon and Goodreads deliberately hitting any and all books in the erotic romance genre with 1 star, having never read it, because they don’t approve of the subject matter.

In the brief time (not even a year yet!) I’ve been a published writer I’ve known of fellow romance authors have been threatened with job action because they dared to write under their own name. I’ve seen writers get harassed and stalked via Facebook and twitter for what they write about.  I’ve even known of one author’s family member being fired for supporting a romance writer they were related to by liking their fan page on Facebook for heaven's sake.

This world is large enough for all sorts of interests, beliefs, lifestyles and opinions, so if yours varies, wonderful. Diversity is a good thing and conversations from different points of view help us all come to a better understanding of the world around us. Just keep it civil, sane and remember that every single one of us is living in a glass house, so put down the rocks.