Sit Down and Shut Up: Authors and Criticism

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Title: Sit Down and Shut Up: Authors and Criticism
Creator: Emily Brunson
Date(s): June 24, 2004
Medium: online
Topic: Fanfiction
External Links: Sit Down and Shut Up: Authors and Criticism, Archived version
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Sit Down and Shut Up: Authors and Criticism is an essay by Emily Brunson.

It is part of the Fanfic Symposium series.

It is a response to an essay posted the day before, called Expect the Inquisition, and Get the Flying Circus by Rana Eros.

For additional context, see Timeline of Concrit & Feedback Meta.


I really enjoyed and agreed with many points made in Rana Eros’s "Expect the Inquisition" essay. So true, to such a large extent. Yes, there’s a "but then" coming along, right about…now. Heh.
As a writer first and foremost – a few forays into criticism notwithstanding, my qualifications are limited as a reviewer/critic, primarily to those issues that do in fact have a direct meaning for authors, as opposed to readers – I find this a fascinating and meaningful tangent from the broader idea of criticism as a whole. This closed circle, if you will, does seem very often to relegate the author to the role of bystander, even when his or her own work may be the direct or indirect subject of critical discussion. As such, it often presents a challenge in terms of the author’s interests. I’ll digress a moment and explain, hopefully briefly, where I’m coming from with regard to this subject. As a writer, participating in numerous workshops and more individualized critique sessions, I had it impressed upon me almost from the very beginning that there was at least one cardinal rule for authors in such situations. You may not defend your work. Within certain distinct guidelines one may explain it; if you are asked to clarify point A or C, you may do so. But you may not justify it – you may not essentially perch on the reader/critic’s shoulder and attempt to sway how he or she responds to it.