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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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Mark's next door neighbour and business partner Pat kept telling him that power flowed through his veins. He took a breath and closed his eyes, trying to will the power back out again and into the ash wand in his outstretched hand. He pointed it at Pat's door. A narrow beam of blue light squeezed out of the end and hit the lock. Nothing happened. Sighing, he folded the wand and put it in his pocket. He took out his key and let himself into her house.

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