Sunday, 23 December 2007

Pity the readers

One of Vonnegut's pieces of advice for aspiring writers was 'pity the readers'. Perhaps he meant 'don't make the going too hard on your readers'; but that's commercial, not aesthetic or writerly-ethical, advice. The truth is that readers do not need pity; generally speaking they are able to look after themselves very nicely, thank you, and writers affecting to 'pity' them are just being condescending. What readers need is writers who treat them as adults ... as, indeed, equals.

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