Don’t Insult My Intelligence: The Cardinal Sin That Writer’s Inflict Upon Readers

Writing. Word weaving. Storytelling. It is an art form, one that is not easily mastered nor is it for the faint of heart. Words hold power that is far greater than any other creating medium in all creation. If you are a fellow Believer in Christ then you know all creation was born from Words and words alone.argument-238529_960_720

So when we as creative beings take up the mantle of weaving words like a glassblower before a fiery furnace we must act with the same depth of care that said artisan takes when handling the molten medium. One wrong move and not only is the piece they are working on ruined but they just might burn a hole through themselves in the process…neither are good outcomes.

It only makes me wonder, as an aspiring author myself, why so many published authors act so carelessly when handling the wordy flames as if we, the reader, are just not going to notice.

News flash…WE DO! And it’s infuriating!

And yet, even with this knowledge, some authors still choose to insult our intelligence with sloppy character behaviors and plot “twist”. Truth is they twist something far beyond their plots, they twist our last nerve!

Here are a few examples of this sinful, insulting behavior:

  • Example 1: A young woman with a wounded past, one that involves the abuse of men and a fear of being abused again would not, and I mean NOT, seek to use the toilet in a seedy strip club filled to the brim with drunk men. She’s just not going to do it.
  • Example 2: A knight who is the lead of a large regiment of men, who knows that there is a price on his head and a handful of his men have gone missing while out on their own, is not, I repeat, NOT GOING TO GO OUT ALONE JUST BECAUSE HE IS ‘THE GUY!!!’ Thinking that he, by himself can capture his foe. He knows better.
  • Example 3: A seasoned detective who is known for having an uncanny sixth sense will not ignore the nagging itch that something might be wrong at home but because he needs eggs for breakfast in the morning he heads to the corner store for a quick stop.

What happens with this scenarios?

  • Example 1: Girl gets attacked and just barely gets away, but her boyfriend whose trust she is trying to win sees her and becomes suspicious of her secretive life and ways.
  • Example 2: The knight is attacked but though wounded he manages to get away but not before grabbing a clue of who his enemy is.
  • Example 3: While waiting in the line at Walgreens (or Boots if you are in Europe…I love me some Boots) our discerning detective’s wife is being attacked by the very person he is tracking.

Someone PLEASE insert eye-roll!!!! All three of these “tension building plot twist” have not done the story any favors. In fact its made us either chuck the book across the room while we rant about the ridiculousness that just took place; made us erase the offensive tome from our tablet while we rant about the ridiculousness that just took place, or makes us write blogs ranting about the ridiculousness that just took place. Or maybe we just cry about the betrayal to our friends…all of them…on Facebook and WordPress and beyond.

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Hey, I get it. You need to create a scene. You need to get from plot point A to plot point C, but don’t do so at  your readers expense by creating a rickety bridge called  B, and then think we are going to be okay with it. If we’ve dedicated time to your written piece then you, the writer, should dedicate thrice as much in making sure that we won’t feel betrayed 100 or so pages in.

We’ve gotten to know the characters. We are invested. If we recognize that what you are making this person do is just not believable to the point we are grinding our teeth, then the odds are that you felt that itch of shame while you were writing it, because you knew better!

Just as the glassblower has a final vision for his work, so too do writers, but it seems to me that writers tend to lack the same level of patience to work through their creative piece insuring that it is indeed at the pinnacle of quality it deserves.

Some works are so carelessly thrown together that it leaves the reader with a throbbing headache and a poor attitude. Almost as if they’d gone on a date with someone who held promise who only turned out to be a complete turd in the end. And this, only because they simple didn’t care.

All stories need tension. There is always the pause that takes place when a writer must figure out how to carry their plot from point A to point C while B remains a mystery.

What happens when B is a mystery and the writer refuses to take their time? We the reader find the characters doing things that not only DON’T make any logical sense, but is so incredibly ridiculous that the story-even a great one- becomes infuriating.

Why? Because we the reader are left as witness of a writer’s crime scene that never should have happened.

It’s tough bridging one’s story into literary perfection. There are always going to be issues with word count, rambling, in excess of unnecessary scenes, grammar issues and so on. (Gosh, I am sure there are several in this blog post alone.) These things are expected and mostly forgivable. But ludicrous, inexplicable behaviors that are beyond out of character with your characters is absolutely not.

What it is is insulting to your readers. It breaks down our trust and willingness to give you another chance in the future.

Moral of the story? If you are an aspiring author, take time with your stories, don’t insult your reader’s intelligence by making a joke of once respectable characters. It just ain’t right, ya hear.

Til we meet again…

Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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8 thoughts on “Don’t Insult My Intelligence: The Cardinal Sin That Writer’s Inflict Upon Readers

  1. Yes to every single word of this post! You perfectly summed up one of the biggest problems with fiction writing. As you wrote, it is extremely annoying, and I find it even more unexcusable when it happens with YA literature. It’s as if authors of that genre (not all of them, fortunately) thought they can get away with it simply because their work is targeted to a less experienced audience. Their objective should be to help young readers develop good taste for quality literature, rather than exploiting their (supposed) lack of critical sense.

    1. High-five to you! Thanks for your input here. I have noticed the same thing with YA fiction, which unfortunately is one of the reasons I haven’t read much of it lately. But it truly frustrates me to know end when adult fiction goes down this road. YA, yeah you have a tiny bit of forgiveness there but not much. Here you get none.

    1. AHAHAHA! As I said to our Blonde friend, I wish I didn’t feel the need to write such a post but I needed to do so to remind myself and others to not get slack!

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