How do you deal with sensitive subjects in writing? - Page 5


Page 5 of 10 FirstFirst 12345678910 LastLast
Results 41 to 50 of 94

Thread: How do you deal with sensitive subjects in writing?

  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Joker View Post
    I'm a libertarian, and that reflects on my views on literature. No one should be burning books, because what follows is the burning of men. Left, right, I don't care. I want open and honest debate.
    The only response to free speech is more speech. It is never trying to shut someone up.

  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Joker View Post
    I wonder how some of the people in this thread would have reacted back in the day to A Clockwork Orange, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, DOOM or anything else that caused a moral panic...
    Simple, our generation was not part of the 'easily offended' ... 'politically correct' brigade. I prefer to read books that deal with 'real life' warts and all. I don't want to read sanitized PC bullshit.
    Check out our showcase
    Hidden Content
    Hidden Content
    or check our my personal blog Hidden Content






  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by PiP View Post
    Simple, our generation was not part of the 'easily offended' ... 'politically correct' brigade. I prefer to read books that deal with 'real life' warts and all. I don't want to read sanitized PC bullshit.
    Sanitized anything really, if people want to read Mein Kampf or The little red book, let them have it unexpurgated. What they make of it is up to them, and not necessarily what the author intended. And how about the nineteenth century prescriptive grammarians who 'corrected' Jane Austen's punctuation, don't get me started! What did Mark Twain say? Something to the effect that "God invented idiots and simpletons for practice and then went on to typesetters and printers"
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I didn’t say you can’t still write about racism. The point is to take into account sensivities and your place. Assuming you’re white you are less equipped to write about racism from anything other than a white perspective. periodendofstory
    To say that an author can only write about something from their own perspective would be pretty limiting. No author should have to asume "your place." Did Harper Lee assume her place?

    Besides, whites can also experience racism. Ask a person born in germany or of immigrant german parents, if they have had racism directed at them. There is another "n-word" that may get used. Would they be less equipped to write a story about racism?
    Last edited by Taylor; August 1st, 2020 at 09:51 PM.
    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unknown

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Joker View Post
    Nobody? Literally nobody? I find that hard to believe.
    Literally pretty much nobody, yeah.

    I'm not pulling this out of my ass, either. My first novel was a time travel science fiction that involved time travel back to the 1930's. I had to revise/resubmit several scenes and edit out parts that included graphic racial violence against black people because the publisher did not like the language and the way I was dealing with racism -- specifically because of a white savior issue I wasn't even aware of, and some of the slurs. And this is a small publisher. The big Random House publishers are going to be even more concerned about this stuff.

    Besides for this being condescending, I'm going to guess those are intended for younger audiences. I could also point out to you a bunch of recent media (written by white people) that uses context-appropriate racial slurs. So I don't see how these anecdotes show that using racial slurs should never happen in ​any context ever.
    You guess wrong -- both of those suggestions are very much adult, commercial bestselling novels. This is why I am suggesting you read more historical fiction, to better understand the best way to depict history in a way that is effective and also sensitive to audience -- that was a question you asked.

    There really is no other way. We can debate endlessly, the proof is in the pudding. It's not intended to be condescending and I apologize if you interpret it that way. There is no better way to understand how to handle [subject] than to look at what has worked.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    To say that an author can only write about something from their own perspective would be pretty limiting. No author should have to asume "your place." Did Harper Lee assume her place?
    Yes, she did. As a white person, she wrote about the subject of racism from a white person's perspective. To Kill A Mockingbird verges on autobiographical, which is the definition of 'assuming your place'.

    I said: Assuming you’re white you are less equipped to write about racism from anything other than a white perspective.

    Besides, whites can also experience racism. Ask a person born in germany or of immigrant german parents, if they have had racism directed at them. There is another "n-word" that may get used. Would they be less equipped to write a story about racism?
    I believe a white German being called a Nazi is not the same experience as systemic racism against people of color, so yes I believe they still wouldn't really have the same foundational experience to draw from. This kind of thing has been debunked a lot.

    But, even if it was similar, and perhaps that could be argued (people have certainly tried!), I'm not trying to say any of this is optimal. I wrote in an earlier post, I'm not saying this stuff is right I am saying it is how it is.

    You don't have to take my word for it, and you shouldn't. I find it frustrating too. As a white male, it is frustrating to me to read so many manuscript wish lists that ask for #ownvoices because I cannot change my voice.

    The point is, your hypothetical German writer isn't going to persuade that many people who matter that they suddenly have an open window into writing about all forms of racism because they are German and have been treated rudely on occasion. They do, of course, have a very good window into writing about a specific kind of experience -- that of being German. Likewise, a black writer probably can't accurately write about a German experience as well as a German writer.

    This isn't about demonizing white people, it's about matching writers' personal experiences to fictional ones as closely as possible to obtain the best insight. There will always be exceptions. American Dirt was written about Mexican immigrants by a white author and that was generally considered incredibly good -- the author did her research. But these are exceptions and that is why this stuff gets difficult.

    This is supposed to be a writing discussion, so I think the realities of writing matter as much as, if not more than, the I-think-we-should-be-able-to stuff. All too often it becomes a philosophical discussion of ethics.

    Like, the fact somebody on a forum feels maligned or somebody else is 'sick of all this PC crap'....so fuckin' what? The 'PC crap' is here, it dominates -- the publishing industry is absolutely dominated by tea drinking liberal women who live in New York and who aren't going to change their mind about representation just because some angry white guy like me on a forum thinks it's B.S. It might not be fashionable to say "I acknowledge reality and will do my best to work within its bounds" but that's the world. Want to fight against it? Start a blog or run for office or get on Fox News. Or, better still, do what the writer of American Dirt did and write about it but also take into account the sensitivities and be careful.

    Either way, I wish you the best of luck.

  6. #46
    Your entire post assumes that you have to get published by tea drinking liberal New York women, or not get published at all.

    Someone had to publish Donald Trump Jr.'s book...
    Current Project: The Huntsmage ​Book 1

  7. #47
    The 'PC crap' is here, it dominates -- the publishing industry is absolutely dominated by tea drinking liberal women who live in New York
    It isn't going to dominate forever, though. The industry is fickle. That doesn't mean opinion is going to lurch back towards Lord Horror-era ideals of absolute artistic freedom. Most likely, something entirely new will emerge, something none of us can quite predict. Though I personally suspect it's going to have something to do with the band Sabaton, and similar forces currently percolating up from the underground...

    This is why I believe it's important to identify what truly 'moral' behavior is within the sphere of fiction writing, and abide by that, rather than pragmatically trying to cram our work within whatever appears to be currently expedient. Chasing public opinion is equivalent to chasing after the wind. Quite frankly, I have absolutely no idea what people want, and I'm not sure 'the people' do either. Could anyone have predicted the runaway popularity of something like Minecraft? Of course not. Nobody knows they want the new thing until they have it. Besides, what if what 'the people' want is actually immoral? Should we still provide it? This is where my anti-capitalist leanings come out...
    Stranded in Babylon

  8. #48
    It's a struggle sometimes to stay away from editorializing - but it helps to be a libertarian-conservative, so no one ever knows where I'm coming from.

  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Joker View Post
    Your entire post assumes that you have to get published by tea drinking liberal New York women, or not get published at all.
    No I don't. Self-publishing is a good way to go for anybody who wants to be 'free' to write outside of the establishment and for certain niche genres it absolutely is the best way. I have consistently framed my perspective as only being relevant to what I have learned from traditionally publishing mainstream fiction.

    The fact that self-publishing exists makes the disgruntlement over publishing norms even more hollow, in my opinion. It's not like anybody can claim they don't have options or are being 'silenced' because The Jennifer Spoon Literary Agency didn't want to buy the rights to Diary Of A Klansman.

    I fail to see how a writer can on the one hand hold that they should be able to write whatever they want 'and if you don't like it, suck it' then complain about people reacting to it however they want, and if those people happen to hold positions of power over editorial, that's the free market, baby. So-called libertarians should be totally fine with that.

    By all means self-publish and assert your own tastes (and the financial responsibility for those tastes). Otherwise I would not then complain about the mainstream publishing industry for not wanting certain things. You can't have people assume the costs and legwork for writing they do not like.

    It's like kids who want their parents to pay for their college then get upset because their parents then want to have some say in where and what they study and we're all going to act hard done by because we are constrained by the people who are funding us, helping us? "No, Jimmy, you can't do your degree in New Age Herbology at Willie Nelson University, I don't like it and I'm not paying for it!"

    Someone had to publish Donald Trump Jr.'s book...
    Don Jr. already has an audience. Having an established market, as I said several posts back, changes things. If you can prove you'll get gainful, financially plentiful employment from studying New Age Herbology at Willie Nelson University, that would change your parents' perspective on that too -- possibly.

    If you can round up a million people who will buy your book no matter what it says, you can probably do what you want. The bestselling author Stephen King can include school shootings and child orgies. It doesn't mean the broke-ass-Stephen-King-living-in-his-Bangor-trailer-while-working-at-the-laundry could.

    What's the difference? One had readers, the other didn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by BornForBurning View Post
    It isn't going to dominate forever, though. The industry is fickle. That doesn't mean opinion is going to lurch back towards Lord Horror-era ideals of absolute artistic freedom. Most likely, something entirely new will emerge, something none of us can quite predict. Though I personally suspect it's going to have something to do with the band Sabaton, and similar forces currently percolating up from the underground...

    This is why I believe it's important to identify what truly 'moral' behavior is within the sphere of fiction writing, and abide by that, rather than pragmatically trying to cram our work within whatever appears to be currently expedient. Chasing public opinion is equivalent to chasing after the wind. Quite frankly, I have absolutely no idea what people want, and I'm not sure 'the people' do either. Could anyone have predicted the runaway popularity of something like Minecraft? Of course not. Nobody knows they want the new thing until they have it. Besides, what if what 'the people' want is actually immoral? Should we still provide it? This is where my anti-capitalist leanings come out...
    I agree about trends, but I think it's different when we talk about stuff like race.

    I don't see the industry as going backward with regard to social justice issues. I just don't. These aren't 'trends' in the same way that minecraft is. These are values that are increasingly embedded with each year.

    Everything points to the movement either staying where it is or becoming more important. Certainly if things are going to change, I doubt it will happen within, say, the next 10-20 years, and I guess I'm not that interested in such timescales. Who's gonna wait for that?

    I also don't think this is so much about morality. There are plenty of books that can be pretty 'immoral'. The morality of the stuff I was asked to revise and tone down wasn't really the problem, I don't think. It was the language, the tone, the visual.

    A friend of mine who worked as an editor explained it to me like this: Imagine being the only black kid in a Literature class. Imagine if the books you are studying, sometimes being read aloud in front of everybody, are rife with racist language and attitudes because their 21st century authors thought that it was 'gritty' or 'accurate'. Imagine if that suddenly became okay.

    This is where this 'I can do what I want' stuff breaks down. This is where it starts to be a problem that goes beyond a strict author-reader, laissez faire relationship. There are all sorts of situations where such material can go 'beyond the page'.

    Granted, most of us will never have our books in a high school or college classroom, but from the publishing world's perspective that is the ultimate destination of any manuscript they read, that's what they want.
    Last edited by luckyscars; August 2nd, 2020 at 04:17 AM.

  10. #50
    Wow, I ignited a powder keg! Iím still here, reading everything that is said. As for me, I think I have decided to change just a little of the theme in my story. Iíd rather not deal with a huge issue in my first writing, one that could draw focus away from the story itself. Iím not trying to send a message or promote any ideas with this, I just wanted to write it for the enjoyment of doing so.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.