Do you write “angry?” I try not to. However, I will admit there are times when I let loose.
I have all too often sat in front of my PC or Microsoft Surface, found myself feeling infuriated, and slammed keys and took it out on the pages. Briefly, I’d feel better, yes. But after I went back and reread my “tantrum,” I usually toned it down considerably.
For eventually I remember what I’ve also written about here recently. Be careful: your words are forever.
One of the major benefits of fiction is the ability to make points about “real-life” in a fictional realm. I readily admit there are certain individuals I know personally who I can’t stand in real-life, and find they serve as excellent fodder for certain characters. Writing can be a means of release.
That’s entirely the personal, though. No one other than myself truly knows who I’m talking about or why. More importantly, none of it draws wider social judgements.
Beyond that, though, are hatreds and narrow-mindedness towards groups and nationalities. I’m sure we’ve all heard some real doozies from real-life people around us over the years. And the news media is full of it, too.
Yet putting such views on paper, even fictionally, feels almost dirty. But denying hatred exists, or attempting to “water it down,” is to deny some of real-life as well. Striking a thoughtful balance is a dilemma for an author.
I’ve seen it argued elsewhere that when racism, bigotry and so forth comes hurtling out of characters’ mouths, it’s really “the characters” speaking, not the author. Technically, that’s true. But I don’t believe an author can hide behind the argument that merely because it’s fiction that you as the author are absolved of all responsibility for what’s on a page.
There has to be some rationale for whatever it is, and clear context. It needs to make sense within the tale. Writing fiction isn’t about freeing some suppressed inner bigot. I feel strongly that what’s “bigoted” on your pages also requires a response in a way that we might not be able to when “Uncle Lou” mouths off at our real-life family gathering.
Have a good weekend. 🙂