As an editor, there are a few constants in my life.
One is that when I point out that a manuscript’s structure is flawed, and that in order to fix it, some basic elements might need to be altered, the writer fights me like they are the Russians defending Stalingrad in 1942.
(When I’m the writer, of course, these editorial “suggestions” make me feel like a Spartan at Thermopylae, 480 BC…)
It’s too damned hard. That’s what the reasoned and detailed responses come down to, in the end.
And that’s what all the current, real-world resistance to inclusivity and simple human decency come down to, as well.
It’s too hard to stop making racist and sexist jokes.
It’s too hard to learn new names and pronouns.
It’s too hard to examine our internal and learned-in-childhood biases.
It’s too hard to work for justice and joy.
But if a writer wants a book that people will enjoy reading, and will recommend to friends – a novel that satisfies, that sings to the reader – those changes will be worth it, and deep down, the writer knows it.
A good writer will evaluate the critique, and make the effort, as much as they are able.
A good writer knows that “hard” does not equal “impossible”.
If you want to write a good book, then the hard changes must be made. The work will obviously be worth it.
And a good person will look at those current, real-world issues, and see the same equation and the same result.
If you want a good world, then hard changes must be made. The work will be worth it.