Thursday, December 29, 2011

The accepting reader

Over the holiday break, I've been doing mostly reading, rather than writing. I've read several excellent novels, all very diverse...none of them kinky, I'm sorry to say.

But I've noticed something about myself as a reader that perhaps relates to those of us who read and write kink:

I am an accepting reader.

When I read out of my usual genre, or perhaps more surprisingly, when I read in my favored genre, I'm very willing to put away what I wanted the author to do and just accept the author where they're coming from. So the level of kink doesn't fall in my sweet spot? I'm okay with that. So the characters didn't make choices I liked? That fascinates rather than annoys me. So the ending was completely not the ending I would have chosen? Cool.

I call this being an accepting reader. On the Dear Author website this week, there was a big, mostly unrelated discussion about The Entitled Reader. It concerned price more than content, but I think as kinky authors, readers, and in many cases, practitioners, entitlement or demanding behavior is not so widespread in our little worldview. Most actual kinky practitioners have learned to be understanding of other's kink, even if it's too hard or too soft for our liking.

I know that's how I read. I would rather observe what the author was trying to do than wish for any particular author's work to fall into parameters of my own desire. I would rather be surprised by the author than soothed. Not just in kink literature...but in everything.

What type of reader are you? Accepting or demanding? Do you get annoyed when books are not what you hoped they would be? Or will you follow a good author just about everywhere?

(Of course I'm not talking about irritatingly clumsy and clueless authors who seem to set out to turn readers on their ears due to...who knows why. I'm talking about good, well written books that just don't go your way.)


  1. I've been thinking about that lately, too. Kitty Thomas had a couple of posts up about her work, and how being branded as erotic romance for her would be a bad thing. I wrote a follow-up post about safewords (it was related...the path was kinda convoluted :) ) because they are so expected in BDSM novels that if you don't do it, you're considered wrong, wrong, wrong, when I know several people who don't use them and most of the people who would complain about a lack of safeword don't even kink. I just made kink a verb, I guess, but anyways, I do think there are a lot of expectations surrounding genre. To some extent, that is to be expected. After all, that's kinda what the whole genre categorization is there for. But I do love to be surprised, assuming we are talking about the thoughtful kind and not just deus ex machinas every which way.

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