“My vampires are nothing like Edward Cullen” And Other Unnecessary Disclaimers

Originally posted on Monday, ‎May ‎30, ‎2011, ‏‎2:10:00 PM

Okay, writers, readers, and media-mongers, listen up. I’m only going to say this once, because I’m tired of hearing it. I’m tired of thinking it. I’m tired of hearing other people say they’re tired of thinking it. So this is once and for all, a general, blanket-statement for all authors who would like to be included:

I write _____ (fill in the blank: horror, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, YA… ), but my _________ (vampires, werewolves, love story, characters… ) are nothing like _________ (Stephanie Meyer’s, JK Rowling’s, Carrie Ryan’s, Stephen King’s, Charlain Harris’s… ).

I am a horror writer. I used to answer the question “So what do you write?” with some degree of discomfort, knowing certain books and stereotypes I would instantly be associated with. But the truth is, I think any commercial genre faces this, and we all have to screw up our courage and own what we write. We love it, other people do too, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I think all of this instant disclaimer business is unnecessary embarrassment. It’s not about one genre or another; it’s about self-esteem and taking pride in what you write. Write about people being hacked apart by a circular saw? Own it. Write about sexy vampires seducing virgins? Own it. Write highfalutin lit-fic about seemingly mundane things? Own it. That’s my vote, anyway. We should all take pride in what we do, and we should try to find ways to respect what other people do as well.

So all together now, for one last time:

I write horror, but my vampires are nothing like Edward Cullen (or, for that matter, like any of these).

I write fantasy, but my wizards are nothing like Dumbledor.

I write romance, but my heroines are nothing like Elizabeth Lowell’s.

Get it?


Now we can move on, right? Write.

Share this:
This entry was posted in Advice for Writers and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • A. B. Davis

    I so needed to hear this just now. Thanks for the swift kick in the ass on this one, because I am totally guilty of doing that. I am trying to work through it. I need some sort of support group I think. 🙂

    • Happy to help! Although, to be fair, even if we learn to resist this disclaimer-impulse, many times the person we’re talking to will go, “Oh, like ___,” so we end up having to disassociate anyway. =/