Adventures in novel writing.
This really applies across the entire spectrum of writing –blogging to novel writing and everything in between.
I wrote a post a few months ago called Writing Romance In the #MeToo Era. In summary, the post was about how we as writers need to be conscious of how we portray the development of a romance, not as semi-stalker behavior (guy chases girl until she finally gives in) but in a healthy way (still can be exciting). There is one thing that has been rattling around in the back of my head since I wrote that piece. An extension, if you will, of the idea that writers have responsibility to the reader. In the context of my previous post, I still believe that is true. But…
There is a difference between writing an uncomfortable theme into a story and glorifying it. I believe in making that distinction clear. Isn’t some of the most compelling fiction that which explores the most troubling aspects of human life: heartbreak, betrayal, injustice, psychosis, and even death? How much greater is the satisfaction at the end of a story when the characters successfully overcome what seem to be the most insurmountable odds? The direst of circumstances? The writer must plumb the depths to pull the hero from the mire. And the mire might be pretty revolting.
Nevertheless, in the way that writing about a serial killer doesn’t make you one, neither does writing about any other abhorrent behavior make you guilty of that particular sin. In this confusing atmosphere of political correctness, we may feel the heat of closer scrutiny. It is my personal feeling that even truly awful themes can be explored and written about with tact and style rather than shock and vulgarity. However, not every writer will have the same set of standards or comfort level. Fortunately, we each have the right to set our own. But as a reader and viewer, I always have the option to look away.