As fiction writers, we tend to think we can write anything without too much care. I mean, really, we are making it all up, right? However, it helps to check our facts on occasion, as I discovered the other day when I mislabeled the RCMP. A kind reader caught the error and let me know about it in a very gracious way (thanks btw!) Of course, we need to stay away from libel issues, too. Getting too personal in our writing is a slippery slope and I, frankly, don’t have the money for bail, let alone a decent solicitor.
Here in the States, we are in the throes of an election year. In countless commercials, facts are twisted, statements are taken out of context, and some things are probably outright invented, all in the name of proving one candidate is good and the other evil. Who writes these commercials? And how is this different from my concerns about truth and accuracy?
So what responsibility do we have, as fiction writers at least, in portraying our characters in a truthful way? Let me explain. In Witt Kepler, the main character is an alcohol-fueled, nicotine addicted private detective. His female acquaintance makes her living as a prostitute. Another character’s sexual orientation will cause misunderstanding and personal turmoil. And these are just the good guys.
While it would be easy to play off the addictions and such using stereotypes, is this really, morally, what we as writers should be doing?
I think exploring the issues by seeing how the characters deal with their problems will only enhance the characterization. How many of my readers have had problems with alcohol or cigarettes? Or know someone who has had those problems? While I do not have first hand experience with the sex trade industry, I have it on good authority that it is an awful place to find oneself, with brutality, inhumanity and hopelessness at every turn. Is it fair, or more accurately stated, morally correct to ignore these issues in my “fiction” writing?
Heavy subjects for a Saturday night, but it has been a heavy kind of week.
What think you?
- Avoiding the Morality Motif (newauthors.wordpress.com)
- Fiction and Social Justice ~ Can They Coexist? (nfaa.wordpress.com)