"If I don't answer when you Skype, I might be locked in a trunk."
It gets that real, doesn't it? Which brings me to our October topic, suggested by one of you.
How do we balance the need to portray our villains realistically with the need to be sensitive to our audiences? You know, how dark is too dark? Is there such a thing if a story needs to be told?
Before you brush that off as a dilemma faced only by the writers of fantasy and thrillers and crime novels, hear me out, because it's an issue I think we all deal with on some level if we want to write real.
Case in point. When I was proposing the novel Antonia's Choice to a Christian publisher, about a woman who discovers that her five-year-old son has been the victim of pornography, the acquisitions editor asked me, "Will it be palatable?" My reply: "What about this issue IS palatable? If what I write goes down easy, I'm not doing my job."
That doesn't mean I wrote graphic descriptions of the photos. Nobody needs to read that. But I was very explicit about the pain the little boy and and his family went through because people DO need to be aware of that or nothing is done to change the frighteningly pervasive situation.
So, yes, there's much to think about on this topic. Some writerly questions to ponder:
- How deep is deep enough before it becomes unnecessarily scary?
- How dark is too dark, where there's just no light?
- How dangerous is too frightening until it allows for no rescue?
- How decadent is too salacious and becomes too 'only for its own sake'?
- What do we have to employ to strike the balance?
This is heavy stuff, so just to lighten things up a a little, some celebration is called for:
* KAREN finished her first draft. BIG accomplishment!!!!
- SKELI launched her blog, Skeli's Closet, which you totally need to check out.
- LILY is submitting This Is Love to agents. Big, scary step.
- SUSAN has completed her final draft. HUGE deal.
- SCOTIA has been invited to by-pass the agent piece and submit her non-fiction proposal directly to a publisher
- HEIDI is dipping her toe into the fiction world -- who knew?
- AMY has discovered she's actually a poet, and a fine one.
- PAM HALTER'S first novel FairyEater will be released by Love2ReadLove 2Write Publishing on October 22. See the cover here , but I'll do a big ol' spread for Pammy on release week. This is SERIOUSLY ginormous.
It happens - because we take those risks. Let's do it together.