Offended

There is something I have noticed. Some have claimed it is recent, other say it has been around a long time. I take a stance somewhere in the middle: I believe it has been around a long time but is steadily growing more and more common. What is “it”? The appearance that our culture is increasingly more easily offended. As a writer, it is important to keep an eye on these trends and learn what offends people and why.

I saw on the news a few months back that certain comedians refuse to do stand-up on college campuses because they feel these institutions are too “politically correct.” Maybe that is true, maybe it’s not, but that is the consensus of some comedians. On social media, every political group or ideological camp seems to have someone who is perpetually offended by something. It often seems like people look for a “hidden” meaning in everything, whether it actually exists or not.

An artist, whether an author or a film maker, should not necessarily refrain from making something out of fear of offending, but I feel it is important to understand the culture. As artists, we need to know how to effectively communicate with our audience, but we also need to say what we mean. It seems that it is so easy for something, even if it is satire, to be construed into being seen as sexist, racist, or generally intolerant. This highlights the importance of authors choosing to convey exactly what they mean in the clearest way possible, but realizing at the same time someone will inevitably be offended somewhere along the way.

I think it is important that we attempt to convey our message without offending someone, but we also can’t live in fear of offending someone. Sometimes it is unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

More Writing Lessons

I have started a new comedy project. Writing comedy is something different for me, and anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I prefer to write Fantasy. The Goandria series has been a part of me since I was a kid, and that is where my passion lies. However, I also want to dip my toes into other areas of writing. This is a way for me to continue to grow and expand my writing abilities, and after a little over thirteen thousand words, I have already learned quite a bit.
My favorite parts of my new book don’t necessarily come from my imagination but from reality. What I mean is that the funniest things in a comedy aren’t made up, but are rooted in reality. One character is based on a person I used to know who was a little off. What makes this so funny is that some of this stuff actually happened! Sure, I changed the name and the circumstances to fit the book, but the essence is still there. Which leads me to the next lesson. When writing comedy, if I don’t laugh, the reader won’t laugh. That is so simple, but you must understand.

The other day on Twitter, I saw a meme that had a Robert Frost quote, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader,” In order to convey emotions, we must feel them as writers, which is really difficult for me. While I am not devoid of emotion, I simply don’t always show it. In knowing that about myself, I have to take great care when writing my books.

Writing constantly evolves for a writer, and I’ve only just begun. I look forward to learning more about this craft and continually refining it so that others may enjoy the stories I love to tell.

Why I Write Fantasy

This is something I alluded to in past blog posts, but not a topic I delved very far into. Of all the genres to choose from, why Fantasy? I happen to enjoy several different genres, especially speculative fiction, but for me, Fantasy is special.  In celebration of my newest release I would like to share with you why I chose fantasy.

I love the world-building involved in Fantasy, and writing Goandria causes me to explore every region of this new land, discover its secrets, and see where the characters lead me. Fantasy opens so many possibilities. Literally anything can go, and the author sets the boundaries for that particular world.

Imagination is the core to Fantasy, but it still reflects reality. It is a beautiful paradox that captivates me. Fantasy is just that, a fantasy, but at the same time it touches on real issues. It is a way to use metaphor and imagination to address the spiritual, political, and relational situations in the real world. Definitely not all Fantasy does that, and not all of it aims to do so, but I feel this particular genre has so many more possibilities. Meaningful fiction is intertwined with reality, and that is what I try to accomplish with Goandria. I want to write a good story, but I want it to be filled with meaning that people can relate to.