Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gasp! What Do People Think of Me Now?

Last week I wrote about writing evil, and how we can't be afraid of writing it if the story calls for it. All stories need conflict, a bogeyman to give the main character something to fight against. Where would Luke have been without Darth Vader, after all?
But for every choice there is a consequence. And while we as writers like to say that we write for ourselves, 99% of us also hope to get published. To get from point A to point Z is a long a twisty road for most of us, but what happens after we get published? Do you care what others think?
Big confession here: I care. I want people to like me, to like what I write, and tell me so. (No ego problem here, huh?) But as I work the path to publication I'm finding myself worrying that what I write may be offensive to people. I find myself editing things out of my stories that might be offensive to somebody sometime down the road.

I guess my question to you is how do you shut off all your internal editors so you can write what needs to be written, regardless of what some faceless audience might possibly think?


  1. Hmm.I don't write for myself. I enjoy writing, but I write always mindful of my audience and what they were like.I have no internal editor on the first draft. It comes out and waits for clean up time. That really helps.

  2. I write it the way it comes, and cauterize the infectious portions in my character manipulation edit. We have the power to present a story in whatever light we want. I'm a firm believer there's enough other "stuff" out there, that we as LDS writers should be concentrated on presenting the other end of the spectrum.

    That said, there is a power in extremes, in change. Characters who change for the better will sometimes show an uglier face near the beginning of a story--or the reverse. It's impossible to show good vs evil without majorly opposing forces being present. You just have to be selective--and VERY creative about presenting those extremes without exposing the readers to those extremes.

  3. Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. And if that doesn't work, pull your hair out!

    When you figure this one out let me know. I'm desperate for a solution.

  4. I know what your talking about here. Writing a blog is a good way to figure this out. Don't be afraid to let go of your editor in a blog post or two and see what happens. I found that the posts I just ranted on were the posts that people really related to me and who I am. This can translate to fiction writing as well, because you need to be able to be honest when you write. That includes showing the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly too. The person you have to make sure NOT to offend is yourself. If something is offensive to YOU, then take it out. If not, then leave it in. The idea is to make sure you don't regret any of your words and that includes not regretting something you should have put in your story. Another thing that helps of course is to always have a prayer in your heart whenever you write anything.

  5. On not offending my readers: What I can control? Not insulting their intelligence by trying to explain everything. Knowing my demographic and not short-cutting by using stereotyped characters. Not including gratuitous violence and immorality - keeping it totally plot or character relevant. What I cannot control? David Farland said everyone is afraid/uneasy about something different. Therefore, there is no 'safe' topic. Someone might be afraid of heights or sensitive to domestic violence, etc. If I worry too much about those things, my book might begin to resemble Barney or Seasame Street and who knows, I might have a reader with a dinosaur or puppet phobia!!! Good Luck!

  6. If it moves the story forward...

    No matter how hard you try, you will offend people completely unintentionally.
    This is something I think about often when I sit down to write.

  7. Hi Megan,

    The only way I can really do that is if I pray before I start my writing session AFTER reading my scriptures.

    There are times when I have to fast, too. Or ask for a blessing. I think, if it's important enough, medatating in the Celestial Room helps immensely!

  8. You won't be able to please everyone, no matter what. I know authors who refuse to read any reviews. I read all of my reviews, hoping that if someone doesn't like my books, or was offended about something, then the critique will at least be constructive.



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