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Are We Entitled to Anything at All?
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:32 am    Post subject: Are We Entitled to Anything at All? Reply with quote

+IHS+

I guess I'm wondering how everyone else understands the two threads on entitlement. Speaking as someone who has published a tiny bit of fiction in the past, I'd find it hilarious if a disgruntled reader complained about one of my stories: "I'm entitled to better than this!" Laughing

Anyway, I don't think the relationship between writer and reader is about entitlement at all. Well, at least until money comes into it. If you pay for a Historical, then it's only fair for you to get something as true to the period as possible.

Still . . . entitlement??? Confused
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:58 am    Post subject: Re: Are We Entitled to Anything at All? Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
+IHS+

I'd find it hilarious if a disgruntled reader complained about one of my stories: "I'm entitled to better than this!" Laughing

Confused



Well, if they said that, there is a chance they didn't like your book. I'm just guessing here. Smile Actually, there has always been a thread on and off about historical errors and how it really sets some readers off. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss, because I don't notice much historical error unless it it glaring in my face. So entitlement? Perhaps a bad choice of words. Maybe "deserving" would be a better word. Some readers take it personally when an author misses the mark. As for me, I just reach my hand out to grab yet another book. Generally, I'm a happy camper that way.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, yes, I think we are. We're entitled to whatever value whatever is being offered is purported to supply--entertainment, if nothing else. Unfortunately, entitlement does not insure receipt.
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Kass



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think at bare minimum we are entitled to proofread works without errors on every page. This is why Incubus Dreams really pissed me off. I understand the occasional error, but I've seen books that look like they haven't even been checked, and they're on sale. That to me is insulting to every consumer out there.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kass wrote:
I think at bare minimum we are entitled to proofread works without errors on every page. This is why Incubus Dreams really pissed me off. I understand the occasional error, but I've seen books that look like they haven't even been checked, and they're on sale. That to me is insulting to every consumer out there.



Oh, yes, I agree that spelling and grammatical errors are extremely annoying, but shouldn't that be a given? We really are entitled to perfection in that area. I read widely, and while there are errors in all genres from time to time, I tend to see it mostly in the romance genre, in the past 3-5 years or so.
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Amanda



Joined: 25 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm self employed and believe my clients are 'entitled' to accurate information and advise from me. Authors are also self employed. As such their clients (readers) should be entitled to the due diligence of the author. If they are going to present inaccurate info, they could at least add an author's note at the end of the book. I know Lisa Kleypas and Judith Ivory have both provided them the explain historical inaccuracies and why they were used for the purposes of the story.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:02 am    Post subject: Re: Are We Entitled to Anything at All? Reply with quote

xina wrote:
Schola wrote:
+IHS+

I'd find it hilarious if a disgruntled reader complained about one of my stories: "I'm entitled to better than this!" Laughing

Confused



Well, if they said that, there is a chance they didn't like your book. I'm just guessing here. Smile


Fair enough! Laughing It just doesn't make much sense to me as a critique. I'd prefer something like, "Your story sucks, and here's why . . ." Razz

Amanda wrote:
I'm self employed and believe my clients are 'entitled' to accurate information and advise from me. Authors are also self employed. As such their clients (readers) should be entitled to the due diligence of the author.


I agree that people in all professions should deliver what they promise. The word "entitlement" is just raising my eyebrows, for some reason. It's as if readers are in the position to send a book back for multiple revisions until the author finally gets it right.

Now, I've read my share of crappy books and have at least once in my life felt absolutely betrayed by a writer I thought I could trust, but I can't wrap my head around the idea that my dissatisfaction was due to not getting what I "deserved."
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Elaine S



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose it's a bit like rubbish on TV. You can always switch it off. If an author produces what is, IMO, rubbish, I don't purchase their books again. It's always a matter of choice but I do prefer the contents to reflect the label - so if it's a work of historical fiction, for goodness sake, get it right. If it's fantasy, sci-fi, whatever - it ought to be true to itself and not something akin to trashy pulp fiction. I don't like poorly written fiction - if I avoid it, it's utlimately the author's loss. In the wallet.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the term 'entitlement' can be a loaded word, I've heard it used a lot lately in a negative way such as spoiled young people with a sense of entitlement.

What I think folks are asking is can they or should they expect to receive historical accuracy? Contemporary accuracy? Obviously many people do and are disappointed when they do not receive it. They feel entitled to it, even within fiction. Are they expecting too much? It tends to come up for discussion every so often. :)

Linda
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that it's a very loaded word, Linda.

It reminds me of a writer who once said, in an interview, that she had heard maybe two or three good sermons, tops, in her church in the past year. A few weeks later, her priest was quoted as saying that he had had maybe two or three good congregations, tops, in his church in the past year! Laughing So it really depends on where one is coming from.

We may have certain expectations of writers, but don't writers also have certain expectations of readers? I remember Adele Ashworth being flabbergasted when someone couldn't get over the champagne flutes in one of her books. Two little words, it seemed, outweighed all the other words in her book. Yet wasn't she also "entitled" to a better reading than that?
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MarianneM



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: 'Entitlement' is a dangerous concenpt Reply with quote

Ever since the topic was introduced here, "Are we *entitled* to historical accuracy?" I've been waiting for someone to question the use of the word "entitlement" in this context. This is a shaky premise, to say the least. Yes, indeed, we need historical accuracy for an historical novel to be an interesting, entertaining, convincing read. At least I do. But many commenters on this subject have said they don't mind inaccuracies, 'wallpaper' historical books, etc. They just want a fantasy story about a world which never really existed which they find entertaining.

Fine. That's their choice. It bores the heck out of me, but the reading world is a free country.

Part of this problem emerged when our governmental language gradually pulled a switch on us, and redefined the word 'benefit', which is an advantage given by a person or organization, and equated it with the word 'entitlement' with its connotation of advantages held as a 'right', inalienable or otherwise, not to be revoked. A 'benefit' is given and could be revoked. An 'entitlement' is nailed tight to the person or persons receiving it and can't be revoked, no matter how circumstances change.

So ... okay. Are we 'entitled' to historical accuracy in a book we purchase or withdraw from the public library? In a perfect world, maybe. But a book is only as good as the mind of the author who wrote it. And some authors don't care about or don't like historical accuracy. They do the best book they can write, and hope that some publisher will buy it and print/distribute it.

So what we come down to, in the final analysis, is the old axiom, "let the buyer beware." And that's the axiom I live by.

MarianneM
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love semantics! I think "buyer beware" is probably the best approach, but I also think that "entitle" is not quite so completely linked to "inalienable right" as some suggest. It's broader meaning is that one may "lay claim to" if he chooses, which seems to me the meaning used in these strings. An author lays claim to having written a book which people will like reading. The reader lays claim to deciding whether the book is historically accurate or worth reading. Both author and reader are entitled, because both may lay a claim to something.

Even a title deed does not preclude that a prior claim will not take precedence nor that the title will prove faulty.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is true that (hopefully) there isn't a gun to our head to buy a book or make the long trek up those library steps to choose, check out, trek down again and drive home. I most of the time don't understand the disgruntlement. Can we handle no disappointment at all? No wonder so many sit in front of their TV with a clicker in their hand. Unimpressed? Change the channel. Only if the reading of stories was as easy. Rolling Eyes
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clutterconqueror



Joined: 15 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a reader, I approach a piece of fiction in two ways-as entertainment and then as a source of information. If an author deals in general statements with little or no detail, then I have the expectation of entertainment only. If, however, the author includes many details, I begin to rely on the author as a source of information.

For example, an author may write, "She took the bus to his West Lawn apartment." I would be perfectly accepting of that statement as part of the entertainment. However, should she write, "She took the #64 bus to his West Lawn apartment, got off on 64th Street, and walked a block to his apartment." then I have a greater expectation of accuracy from the author. By giving me these additional details, the author has led me to believe that she has done research. And, yes, I feel I am entitled to believe that that research is correct.

Just because a work is fiction doesn't mean that it should be inaccurate.


Joyce
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KarenS



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read a book by one of my favorite authors several years ago where the story was set around the world in several exotic locales. It was a veritable travelogue which I enjoyed immensely as I got to read of places I have not visited and may not visit in my lifetime. So I really enjoyed the various locations and the descriptions of these places. The author has the characters at one point visiting an area in my state that I have visited several times so I know a little something about it. The locale is the Florida Keys. FWIW, Miami is also mentioned in the story. The author describes the Keys as being mountainous! The Florida Keys are mountainous??? WTF? If you can say 20 feet above sea level is mountainous, then I guess they are. But one does not think of the Florida Keys as being bumpy, hilly, or mountainous. Flat accurately describes the Keys.

So did this one small comment mar my enthusiasm for the story? To a degree it did. Only because I possessed enough knowledge to know the description was erroneous. Overall, it didn't lessen my enjoyment but I wish the mistake had not been made. If an author becomes so consumed with research, verifying information and generally consumed with errors will many authors soon despair of writing? Should everything be perfect or should passes be given to some things that are actually irrelevant?

To be honest, not knowing the terrain of the Florida Keys wasn't really a big thing. The story was wonderful, well-written with great characters and a terrific plot. All this definitely compensated for her teeny error but that error is one of the main things I remember from the story.
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