Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Authorial Constructs

I finally got around to reading the Elizabeth Bear essay. It's not a problem I can remember having, I think because my writing doesn't lead people to fantasize about me.

Having said that, I think it's possible for any author to become an object of obsession for someone who has mental health problems. This is creepy. One does not want it to happen.

What Bear is talking about is having fans who are seriously emotionally engaged with one's work and (therefore) with one as a person. This is more likely to happen if one is famous, or if one writes fiction that pushes emotional buttons. Fame has its own charisma and its own drawbacks. If you write fiction that really digs into people -- rouses their emotions, fires their daydreams, you will get more passionate fans. The plus side is, you are likely to sell well. The minus side is, your fans may sometimes freak you out.

This is all theory. I can't remember ever meeting a reader who had an idea of me that was clearly wrong. What I get is people who know me saying, "You write exactly the way you talk, Eleanor. I can always hear your voice when I read you."

Of course, it's always possible that I have met people who misunderstand me, and I've forgotten, because it didn't seem important. What bugs me is when I find people who misunderstand my writing.

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

One thing is true: the relation between a reader and a writer is oddly one-sided. The reader knows a lot about the writer from his or her writing. The writer knows nothing about the reader. The reader may intensely like or dislike the writer's work. The writer has no emotional response to the reader, at least at first. So when writer and reader meet, one brings information and emotions. The other does not.