Think Before Typing

06 Jul
Driving into a storm, Wyoming, August 2013 (KB)

Driving into a storm, Wyoming, August 2013 (c. KB)

At the end of May this year, I responded to a suspect question via e-mail as if it were legitimate instead of snarky: A potential reader called into question a synopsis of my novel, and asked how a plot point could be possible, given the circumstances.

Well, read the book, was my first thought, but — to be fair — that particular part of the story is actually central to the second book, so it’s not broadly explained in the current novel.*

On the other hand, there was a distinct tang of antagonism to the question, and it made me not want to respond at all.

However, giving the inquirer the benefit of the doubt, I answered honestly and unemotionally.

I won’t reveal either the question or the answer, because they don’t really matter. The problem was the attitude underlying the question, and with the confrontational way in which the question was posed.

One would think that — with all this proliferation of faceless, voiceless communication that has the potential to inspire online disputes and conflagrations over even the pettiest of misunderstandings or disagreements — folks would take care with their words so their intentions are not misconstrued.

Or perhaps, sporting a nifty avatar, they think themselves immune or powerful. As a friend says, “People are brave behind that perception of anonymity.”


* The Lost Sword duology consists of Dragon’s Rook (January 2015) and Dragon’s Bane (coming in 2016).


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2 responses to “Think Before Typing

  1. nissa_loves_cats

    July 6, 2015 at 6:52 am

    It’s hellish these days to cope with all the anonymous hostility floating around the internet. And it makes us cynical about those who contact us— are they hostile but just haven’t fully shown it yet? I suppose it’s best to presume these people innocent until they get openly hostile.

    • Keanan

      July 6, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      I second that cynicism. 🙂 And, knowing how many times my words have been misconstrued — be they written or spoken — I’ll endeavor to do my part in dampening the hostilities.


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