Dear Authors Everywhere…

Dear Authors Everywhere…

Emma Hughes, Page Editor

Dear Authors Everywhere,

Let me first start by commending you for the bravery and courage you must possess to put your own writing out into the world: that is certainly a valiant feat. I applaud your ability to be subjected to the scrutiny of others and admire your eagerness to be heard. However chaotic or brilliant your writing may be, it is quite the endeavor to put your thoughts onto paper and serve it to the savage public on a silver platter. Good for you.

Nevertheless, there is something we need to discuss. I, being a member of said savage public, have a complaint. As I have already mentioned, it is not easy to let others criticize your writing, yet here I am giving you the opportunity to censure my own, so at the very least, please take into consideration my minuscule appraisal. You see, the problem is that I get so deeply involved in the characters of the story and I get so submerged in the writing that my own reality ceases to exist. I suppose you believe this to be a good thing, a success on your part as an author. Wrong. Because as the reader, my feelings sync with those of the characters — which is not another success — and I have to say that I am absolutely, positively, enervated at the judgy looks that are pointed at me when I inevitably react to the story.

For I consider myself to be an avid reader and I don’t go anywhere of consequence without a book. I also don’t try to hide my emotions when I read, because I often forgot that I am out in public and that what is happening in my book is unbeknownst to those around me. Whether I’m experiencing immense sorrow over the death of a character and happen to shed a few tears, or perhaps I burst out laughing when the protagonist ultimately humiliates the antagonist, either way, my erratic display of emotion goes unexplained to the unsuspecting public. This is my problem. How can I be expected to keep my expressions and reactions neutral when the writing in every book I read evokes such raw feeling. 

I believe my grievance is justified, and I will prove it to you. 

Once upon a time, on a typical Tuesday morning I was reading a book, submerged in the plot and compelled by the characters. The world around me became nonexistent, my reality coincided with that of the book I was reading. This means that when the heroine of the story was publicly degraded and humiliated and she didn’t fight back (it was still early in the book, character development hadn’t really begun yet), I took it upon myself to feel enraged on the lead’s behalf. So naturally, I slammed the book closed and crashed it on the table next me. I practically growled out in wrath. That is until I looked around ready to tear anyone apart only to find my entire biology class looking at me like I’m psychotic.

Most people were still finishing the test we had that day; however, I had finished with twenty minutes left of class. Of course, I had decided to pull out my book and get a few extra minutes of reading in. But because the book was so enticing, I had completely forgotten my surroundings. I shot a few apologetic glances towards my peers and shrank back into myself. My anger was soon forgotten as I was engulfed in embarrassment.

So you see, dear talented author, that if you continue to write such passionate, enthralling stories, I simply will not survive. Firstly, I cannot pass up the opportunity to read a good book and there are so many good books to read that I will never run out, so I have to take any chance I get to read. This means that even when I’m out in the open for anyone to see, I just might be reading and reacting. So because there is simply nothing that I can do to fix the problem, seeing as I’m an extremely expressive person and refuse to give up reading, the only solution is for you to stop writing such captivating stories.

I have to admit that I love your work and everything you are doing. But I can’t keep subjecting myself to the appalled stares of random people. And I also cannot, for the life of me, control my reactions. Believe me I’ve tried. So all I’m asking for is a little rewrite. A simple substitution. Remove anything that could potentially cause an outburst, and replace it with something tamer. Or maybe, add a warning before anything too cumbersome occurs. It could read: “WARNING: the following passage you are about to read might provoke an emotional response. Please take the time to survey your surroundings and mentally and physically prepare yourself.” That’s all I’m really asking for here.

From one writer to another, with my deepest regards,

Emma Hughes

P.S. I aced the bio test in case you were wondering. I don’t know how I did it considering all I was thinking about was reaching inside my backpack to continue reading. But nevertheless, my embarrassing display of second hand fury did not detract from my brilliance.