Today I welcome writer Amelia Foster onto my blog, who discusses the responsibility of writing. Enjoy!
Big thanks to Amelia for being today’s guest poster, please make sure to check out her links and details at the end of this post.
the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone.
For many authors, writing is a stress-relieving, creative outlet. It’s therapy. It is as natural as breathing.
But it isn’t without responsibility (and you will hear that word echoed often throughout the article because it is a hefty one).
We have a duty to our readers, and the public as a whole, to not simply focus on the craft and the technique, but to pay attention to our content. Just because we work in fiction and entertainment doesn’t negate this.
What the heck am I talking about, right?
For romance authors (really, any author who writes a sex scene across any genre) it can be something as little as remembering to have your characters use condoms at the beginning of their relationship and discuss other forms of contraceptive.
Is this sexy? Not always, but it can be done. More importantly, it is setting a good example that the standard should be having this kind of conversation with your partner.
This is also a good place to address abuse. Because while I do have a soft spot in my heart for the broken, bad boy type, this does not excuse abusive behavior.
Or allowing their love interest to put up with it because “they can change” or “they have a good heart.” Yeah, no. Sorry, not buying that.
Domestic violence is real and ugly and takes many forms from physical to emotional to financial. We need to use the voice of fiction to empower victims by setting examples of strong characters who get away from the ugly face of abuse.
Our responsibility isn’t limited to the types of relationships we portray either.
Over the past few years, there has been a large push for diverse characters which makes for some FABULOUS additions to my readerly-world, however, this is a path that should be pursued with caution if you are not a member of that particular community.
Simply throwing a black, Hispanic, gay, asexual, disabled, etc. character in your work so you claim diversity is a dangerous path to tread.
Not only are you at risk of hurting an entire community of people who already are marginalized and deal with prejudice on a daily basis, but could also further exacerbate stereotypes in the minds of people not in those communities.
In addition, diverse authors already have the struggle to get their words read and voices heard.
When you are not part of that group and try to be a voice for them (which you really can’t) you are at risk of taking a role that could be occupied by an author from whatever community you are portraying.
Now, that said, I am not telling anyone to limit themselves. We need to see diverse characters. We need to have every walk of human, able to pick up a book and see themselves reflected back in the pages. But we need to exercise caution when we do.
So now to the nitty, gritty… how?
First things first, investigate. Just like you’d dig around to find out information on a career your character may have or the place they live. However, for this, the best way to do this isn’t a Google search or reading a book.
Talk to various people from within the community you’d like to have represented in your book. Explain your desire for inclusion and for the love of all that is good, check any preconceived notions at the door. Listen with an open mind. Because these people will be invaluable humans in your life.
Which leads to step number two: sensitivity readers. These are wonderful humans that will read your rough drafts and point out the areas where you fed into a stereotype or otherwise offended their group.
They will save you from heartache and pain and being on the receiving end of much-deserved backlash once your work hits the public. You should treasure and adore the people in your life willing to be sensitivity readers and feed them lots of chocolate.
Stepping outside of your world isn’t a bad thing, but doing it without taking a few necessary steps is.
Even though you may write simple, entertaining fiction, your responsibility to society is not negated. Weigh your words and their message carefully, then have a few other people offer thoughts as well.
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About Amelia Foster
Books, coffee, and chocolate make up both the heart and body mass that is better known as Amelia Foster.
She has been a lifelong lover of the written word, both as a reader and an author, and completed her first manuscript at the ripe old age of five complete with illustrations.
Sadly, her art was a medium that never improved over time although thankfully her writing has.
From sweet to salacious the only requirement Amelia has in books she reads—and the ones she crafts—is an excessively satisfying happily ever after… and then a little bit more.
Meant to be Kept
One night. One too many drinks. One mistake. That’s all it took to derail my marriage.
Now, all I can do is beg for a second chance. To try and redeem myself in a bid not to lose the love of my life.
I’m determined to use every second, every moment I have to show my wife how much she means to me—to rebuild the trust I shattered.
But the harder I try, the more I start to realize our marriage had fallen into a routine of complacency and misplaced priorities long before my indiscretion.
Isabelle is a strong, passionate, beautiful woman—a wife who has sacrificed so much for me.
I just hope it’s not too late for us, and that I’ll be able to convince her that our love is meant to be kept.
This post was written by a guest writer. Please check out their details above.