Friday, March 19, 2010

The Impact of Words

I've belonged to various writer's forums for the past four years. Without exception, there are always a few writers who do not seem to grasp the concept that some words are inflammatory. That phrasing one's thoughts in a certain manner can get people riled up.

Words can be very powerful. And the manner in which something is phrased even more so. People who write propaganda know this and use it to great effect.

What blows my mind is the number of people who are writing fiction who do not or can not grasp that concept. How can they hope to write a great story, if they can not choose their words and express themselves in such a manner as to not be offensive?

But, what really blows my mind are the people who excuse their inability to have a conversation without attacking the other person with the justification that that's the way they are and their not going to be mambypamby about how they express themselves.

Seriously, they're writers, and they can't figure out how to express their opinion without attacking someone?

How does that work?


  1. This calls for one mammoth facepalm. Argh ... yes.

    Less likely to cause explosions and bruised feelings (usually ;-)), but people who don't try to at least approximate basic grammar in posts ... ON A WRITING FORUM ... drive me bonkers. A few typos, colloquialisms, sure, it's a chat venue, too - but especially if you're going to ask for help / opinions, make the effort.

  2. I found you by way of Lindsey Duncan's blog and I wanted to say hello!

    I know just what you mean. I've belonged to for two and a half years, where members read and review each other's work. The untactful, inflammatory voice some writers use when expressing themselves sometimes shocks me. Especially in our modern, computer-driven modes of communication, the words we choose must be carefully thought-out, since our listeners don't have the luxury of visual cues like facial expressions or audio cues like tone of voice. And above all else, we all have to remember that out there in cyberspace, a real human is going to read what we type, one with feelings who deserves the same respect we demand for ourselves.

    Great post! I'm signing on as a follower; I look forward to reading more from you!

  3. In my experience, the offense is almost always intentional. If not, they would be apologizing and rephrasing their statements, not justifying them.

  4. Yes, there are some that are definitely like that. And some who are clueless as to how their words are impacting others.