In your opinion, what should be the responsibility of a writer? Your replies are welcomed and appreciated.
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A writer should change readers into better humans. He should urge them to recognize the reality of life, the nature of the world, and the relationship between humans and the world. He ought to inspire readers, without obscuring the seamy side of things, to face the world or even the distress in the world from a positive point of view. He ought to equip readers with wisdom and courage to face and to fight against potential difficulties. He ought to help readers learn how to control over their own destiny. If he is treated to a bright and beautiful world, he should tell his readers, showering them with love, hope, and happiness which he has got. His works may be entertaining, promotional, informative, or educational, but no matter what he is aiming to do, he himself should be good-willed, public-spirited, and serious and sincere to his readers. He also has the responsibility for bridging the gaps between people and for building the world into a better one.
All that sounds just great but just let me ask you, isn't writing something that you do on your own, in your moments of loneliness? Should the writer be thinking of a potential reader when he writes? Should he imagine the reader, the type of life the reader is leading? The kind of imagination the reader has?
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Grace,
I didn't say this in my previous post here (about ambition) but I usually find the topics you bring to the boards very interesting. Even when I may not always respond to every post here, I read almost everything. Emotion: smile

To some extent, I agree with Maj in that a writer may not necessarily write with an audience in mind. In my opinion, the only real responsibility a writer has, if they want their books to be actually read, is to write cohesively and coherently, and even that has a limit. I've read books written in a very bad style, but I read them anyway because I was interested in the topic. It's not the ideal situation, though.

I've read your paragraph about the responsibility of a writer several time and, no matter how nice what you've written may seem, it is not really the responsibility of every writer to do that. If you're writing a book about self-improvement, for example (I'm not sure they are called that), then you will surely want to show your potential readers the possibility of a better world, etc. I'm not sure, however, that you'll do that out of responsibility, but because the topic you have chosen is connected precisely with improving ourselves.
If you're thinking of writing a cookbook, you'll probably include only edible things in it. And if you're writing a book on human anatomy, you won't say the human body has 280 bones if that's not true. I insist, however, that this is not necessarily an example of responsibility. It may be, of course; but you may also want to write such books for other reasons. Perhaps just because you know about those topics and the books will help you make money, even if the information you povide in them is not 100% accurate. I'm not saying this is what happens all the time, or even most of the time; but it does happen.

On the other hand, there are many genres in which I don't see how the writer can be said to have or not have any responsibilities whatsoever. What should we think about Bram Stoker, Conan Doyle, science-fiction writers, horror book writers in general, etc.? Or about the screen writers who are behind many really bloody T.V. series and films? There are many books that will teach you how to commit the (almost) perfect crime. What about even traditional fairy tales? Some are scary for a child. Think of Snow White, for example. Even when "good is triumphant over evil" in the end, the child will have to read about a mean stepmother and poisoned apples before getting to the "happy end". But, can we truly say that those writers are not being "responsible" only because they don't show us a world filled with love and happiness? I think that the world of literature would not be so rich as it is, and it might be much monotonous and boring if only what you have described as "responsible writers" could publish their books.

I'd rather say that readers are responsible for whatever they do with what they read in a book, a newspaper, or any other medium. Some people will read a chemistry book and will be happy because they will have learned how to make a bomb; others will perhaps be happy with finding out how to put a certain substance to a 'good' use.

A very interesting topic. Emotion: smile

Miriam
What a marvellous topic Grace. Most authors write about things that interest them. Not many go deeply into the meaning of life. Nor do many have a recognisable ethical approach. I see writing very much asI see painting a way of showing a reality one can come to terms with.
Most of what we grasp is a partial truth and what one may see as moral may be far from so to others. How lucky to have so many enthusiastic people on this forum. You will make a great philosopher Grace.
I’ve thought about this a lot and I’m lost for words. Maybe it’s like composing music, brushing a canvass or tapping on a block of stone. I believe that writing is instinctual. Why do little kids throw pebbles on a lake? Because the stones are under their feet. We just do it. Why not.
Maybe there’s a difference when the writing comes at a real personal cost. We all remember Salmon Rushdie and the reasons why he hid for years. Good investigative writing has penalties too.
May I limit my response to journalism? There are truth-Sayers and there are prophets. Maybe good writing flows in-between the two walls of this canyon.

Quote
The book that is worth killing people and burning flags for is not the book that
I wrote," Salmon Rushdie, 41-year-old author of The Satanic Verses, told Time
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The first and foremost requirement for a writer is not to present biased views. He should state facts as it were.
A writer is responsible for directing his/her readers as to make them easy to understand what she/he is writing about.
they should learn and go to college to become a writer and that they should study alot and not lie about anything that is going on in life on earth and about celeberties and that i want to say is that good luck who ever wants to become a writerEmotion: big smile
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