Asma A.J has written a letter addressing all writers with her opinion on writers critiquing other writers. It was an interesting read indeed. Enjoy!
Dear Untitled Chapters members and writers,
First let me ask—isn’t this place awesome? A virtual hub where writers flock around and share their inner most secrets—their imaginations, thoughts, beliefs, perspectives. Everything.
At some point, before Untitled Chapters, every one of us writers probably felt like an island of unsaid words. We were passionate about the pen, but was really there to help support and guide us? Who else understood that passion?
And that’s what I like to believe Untitled Chapters is here for. It’s a platform that helps us writers develop and grow, not only in our writing, but also in our perception of what other authors around us write.
The other night I stumbled on a tweet by a writer claiming a book by another writer should not have been published because—well, I don’t want to presume what the reason is. It could be different perceptions and different beliefs.
What really worried me is that I could see a potential Witch Hunt in the outburst. As writers of from this region, we never thought that we’d see others like our selves that understand a lot of the aspects that make up fiction writing, and what we want, deep down, is the freedom to experiment and share our weird, out of this world ideas.
I believe that when a writer attempts to push the opinion of what should or shouldn’t be published out there is shocking and alarming.
It goes against what we all want, and that is less restraint on our imaginations. It also makes me think that such writers don’t really understand the concept of what it’s like to judge or learn from what you read, and how you transfer that into writing.
All human beings— see things through a different lens, all the time. People have shared experiences, but come from different backgrounds, be it family, religion, personal experiences—but all humans can interpret all this the same way, or differently.
What writers do is transfer this perspective on to paper. Writers themselves don’t necessarily have to agree with what they’re writing, but it’s an idea, and it’s out there, and it’d be a damn shame to leave it just because others are likely to disagree with you.
“Write what you think you’d like to read.”
I review books in my free time, and I’ve come across books I did not like mainly because it’s not to my taste. That is my opinion. I do acknowledge however, that there are other readers who would enjoy them more than I do. More power to them. I’ve come across a series, read through it all, and despised the story, but others liked it. What I do if I don’t like what I read—I simply move on to another that might be to my taste.
My reading so many books also helps me learn as a writer—yes, even the ones I don’t see eye-to-eye with. What could have been done differently, in this scene why didn’t I like it, what could have made me like it, and so one. All writers can learn from each other, if they’re willing to.
But what writers shouldn’t be doing, in my opinion, is to start throwing their fellow craftsman into the fire at a point of disagreement. Because that opens more doors, and more writers clamp up, and all those voices that fought its way on to paper…why stifle that?
We are here to share and grow. We are a community, perhaps even family—and we should think of ourselves as such.
Author: Asma A.J