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Matt Dovey

8:00pm, 7th March 2018

Hurt and Harm: An Apology

I had a story come out on the 1st March in Galaxy's Edge: Things Said to Me in the Anxari 12 Station Bar When I Said I Wasn't a Xenosexual (and the Things I Wish I'd Had the Courage to Say in Reply). It's a small thing; only 444 words. Please don't read it if you're queer, especially genderqueer, at least not until you've read this post.

A week ago I'd have said this story was a silly thing, but it turns out that's not true. It turns out it's quite a harmful thing, fails to do the things I meant it to do, and then fails even more for other reasons I completely failed to anticipate. It's my biggest fuck up in writing, and something I need to apologise for unreservedly and explain at length.

I'm very fortunate that people have had the grace, patience and forbearance to send me private emails detailing the ways I got this so wrong and thus allow me the time to process this fully and react correctly. You know who you are, and sincerely: thank you, thank you, thank you. I'll be quoting anonymously from their emails, with permission, because they phrase it better (and more authoritatively) than I could.

And let me say this up front, because no-one should have to dig through more of my words to get to this important point: I am sorry, without deflection or excuse, for the hurt I've caused and the harm I've perpetuated. I have done both of those things, both upset people personally and contributed to stereotyped narratives that create and support real world problems for people. I'm mortified I didn't catch this one, and I can't apologise enough. I've donated my payment for this story (£25) to Mermaids UK, a UK charity supporting trans and gender nonconforming children in the UK.

This will take a few thousand words, and it'll be broadly split into two parts: the specific failures here, and the general lessons to take away. Please bear with me, because this apology is

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TAGS: apology, harm, lessons, new story, responsibilities, writing


10:30pm, 19th October 2017

On Offence, Harm, and Near Misses

KittenI have a story out today! The Lies I've Told to Keep You Safe went up on Daily Science Fiction today, and I'm rather proud of it, because I don't think I've ever been quite so concise in my heartbreak.

I was so very nearly ashamed of it instead. It wasn't until six hours before it went up that I had a reply from DSF saying some last-minute edits had been made; until then, I was chewing myself up over the realisation that despite all my best intentions, despite all my vocal and public efforts to the contrary, I was about to perpetuate harm and ableist stereotypes.

So I want to talk about that. About the responsibility that comes with being a writer. And I also want to include kitten pictures, because this is going to get long.

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TAGS: harm, lessons, new story, responsibilities, writing


11:53pm, 8th December 2015

First-and-a-Half Person

Like all right-minded people, I think the second person is a pretentious and wanky way to tell a story, so I hate myself when a story ends up written that way. But it's ok! I've figured out I'm not really writing second person at all.

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TAGS: writing


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About

Matt Dovey is a professional writer of short science fiction & fantasy. He is very tall, very British, and probably drinking a cup of tea right now. His surname rhymes with “Dopey”, but any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. More →

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