The Plight of the Thinking Writer
So, in my testing life, I ran across a forum piece the other day asking whether people could be taught critical thinking. Opinions are divided: some say it can be taught, others say not so much.
Me, I figure you can teach the skills, but you can’t make someone use them. And one thing that I’ve seen over and over again is that most people will do anything including lose it completely and scream at you in preference to thinking.
That means that those of us who think about what the hell we’re doing and try to reason out the worldviews and cultures we’re creating are actually doing it wrong, in a sense. We’re adding stuff that makes us happy (waves in Sarah’s direction – thanks for sending me off on this tangent) even though realistically most of our readers won’t care and won’t want to.
Now I’m the kind of person who will go and look up some odd tidbit I found in a novel somewhere – and if I find that the author got it right I’ll be even more impressed. But I’m an eensy minority, and I’d guarantee most people don’t do that kind of thing. I’d bet most people don’t even notice the things that send the likes of me or Sarah or Amanda or Dave on a tearing rant if we don’t just wall the book and look for something else.
I’ve seen enough of Sarah’s rants about highly ranked historical romance that is really costumed fantasy romance using historical place names and some historical people names. Hell, I’ve seen enough alleged science fiction where the science in question appears to be highly advanced bullshittium and the laws of physics bear no resemblance to the poor abused laws we know. And that’s not going near the festering swamp of undead porn, dino porn, space raptor porn, (whatever else Chuck Tingle does or did, that piece was actually decent science fiction with a lengthy sequence of one-handed typing) and all the other forms of porn masquerading as erotica or even romance.
Not that I have anything against any of this. I reserve the right to mock all of it without mercy should I ever be gulled into reading it, but I’m not against people writing it or publishing it. To some extent I wish I could. It sells a crapload better than my weird stuff does, and I have issues trying to write anything that I can’t trace through mentally and figure out the rules. Alas.
Which means that if I ever wind up appealing to the masses who don’t want to think for themselves about anything it’s likely to be a fluke.