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Content Creation on Trigger Warnings

I am writing this article because I am honestly looking for feedback. I realize that in my day to day life I write a variety of topics but the one essential theme I always find myself writing is horror. However in this day and age it is considered appropriate to preface such content with a warning label of things that might upset viewers whose life circumstances have often left them struggling with these issues.

For example, one might be triggered by guns or the mention of guns. But the problem I face is that a lot of my work might contain themes and elements that are not as obvious. How do I then navigate this maze blindfolded so to speak? Something not a lot people realize is that there is only so much redaction one can do. Once a book is published you can only modify it so much before it is no longer considered to be the same ‘form’ as the previous work and must be resubmitted through the entire process again.

Which means that in my line of work my options for providing quality trigger warnings is somewhat limited. I could resubmit by book several dozens times or I can try to cover the majority of the concerns others might have. But what then of blanket statements? Such things aren’t considered respectful either.

I’ve had some people tell me “Then don’t write about this” or “Go here and no further.” but the thing is writing is an incredible medium for telling not only stories but also self-expression. Some of these elements might be drawn from my own life and are a very personal reflection of who I am. How then do I express these things in the medium I am best suited to express them without feeling that I am now intentionally isolating my readerbase?

We see what happens all the time with content creators who even in passing make a remark or say something unintentional that is to them not a problem but is a big problem in the lives of their consumer(s). We also unfortunately see a lot of a hive-mind mentality arise as well, avoid this person! They did a bad! While this is important to help protect a lot of people it is also very damaging to the individual who did the thing. There are things that are truly horrid or express a deeper layer of darkness but it would be inaccurate to say that this is true of everyone.

What then is the appropriate course of action? Shall I only tag the big ones and risk the one small subtle element that I wasn’t aware of? Or is it worth the extra work to constantly not have my material (While not my primary income it is my art) available for the consumers I am trying to reach?

Overall, please understand that my intention is to be respectful. To seek a common area that I can comfortably write from without fear, something that is very important to me. Something that I am driven to not only create but also to share with the world.

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post and please I look forward to your helpful commentary and insight.

PS: This was hastily written at 2AM, please ignore any glaring errors, I'll try to fix them as I find them when my eyes can focus again ahah. This is just something I needed to share to get some insight on.

Comments

At the risk of turning this into another incarnation of some previous train-wreck threads about this topic-

Know your intended audience.

Know that the simple act of choosing anything (intended age group, genre, theme, location of your story, who your character is, etc.) will restrict your audience. Simply having an opinion will make some people hate you if they happen to think it's the wrong opinion. The same goes for beliefs. But your character has to have opinions and beliefs, and whoever *you* are, Tobias, will come across implicitly in your work.

Appealing to everybody is an impossible task. Your job is to not offend deliberately unless you have good reason to. When I'm talking about being offensive, I'm not talking about having gore or violence in your story. I'm talking about consciously insulting a group of people, whether it's those who suffer from a mental disability, a race, a gender, etc.

For the record, this is all coming from me, a guy who could really give a shit about whether or not somebody is offended by my work. I don't want the insufferable adult-children of the world to read my work. If they get offended and put it down, it's a blessing. Let them riot in the streets and bring me publicity.

But for your purposes: you will not please everybody in the same way that you can't be friends with everybody in real life. Your story cannot be about anything and everything at random in the same way a piece of food cannot be everything at once without making whoever eats it puke at the first full-bite, if not at the very look / smell of it. A song cannot be every kind of music at the same time because it won't be in harmony, in the same way that your story cannot be everything at once because it won't be coherent.

Write the story you want to write, and write it well. The stronger your convictions and choices, and the more you are in control of your craft, the better the writing will be.
 
Welcome to customer service.

I understand what you mean. You have a particular vision or point to make and moderating it due to the sentiments of others ruins it. Personally, you don't have to do anything. If you want to write a story of the most obscene nature you are free to do so. And people are still free to react to it as they wish- including ignoring it completely or throwing flaming pieces of it through your windows. And that's as true a feedback of your personal vision as you're going to get.

If you want to go through a medium like a publishing house or something, you are going to have to compromise with them as their aim is to actually sell what you write or something similar which means appealing to a large, diverse group of people. People have succeeded in pushing controversial content through and being successful, but getting that deal depends purely on you, the support you can muster, and just what, exactly, you're trying to push.
 
kaminoshiyo;bt11632 said:
Welcome to customer service.

I understand what you mean. You have a particular vision or point to make and moderating it due to the sentiments of others ruins it. Personally, you don't have to do anything. If you want to write a story of the most obscene nature you are free to do so. And people are still free to react to it as they wish- including ignoring it completely or throwing flaming pieces of it through your windows. And that's as true a feedback of your personal vision as you're going to get.

If you want to go through a medium like a publishing house or something, you are going to have to compromise with them as their aim is to actually sell what you write or something similar which means appealing to a large, diverse group of people. People have succeeded in pushing controversial content through and being successful, but getting that ideal depends purely on you, the support you can muster, and just what, exactly, you're trying to push.
 

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