Censoring Our Writing

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Censoring Our Writing

How far should a writer go when they create a story? Should certain things be taboo? Should the writer censor their work for fear they might offend someone? Should they censor their creative endeavor by not touching on some topics? Is the writer responsible if a reader acts out something from their book that harms or kills another? What about books written for children and young adults? Should every story carry some sort of lesson? These questions have popped up and they trouble me.

Most people that read do it for one of several reasons:

Entertainment. The reader wants to escape into another world, free from his or her own worries and cares.

They read to learn something: maybe they want to learn about ancient civilizations, or the history of a county.

Improving their life. They want to improve their memory or a certain set of skills they have.

Curiosity. They find a subject that sounds interesting and they read about it.

Whatever reason a person picks up a book, must we, as writers, be careful of what we write?

Now, I can see where adding something like a rape scene to make the antagonist look bad is nothing but bad taste. The villain can be bad or evil for hundreds of other reason. However, if a protagonist in a story was raped years before, and the event still affects them now in the story, using minimal details can get the point across, not a full-blown recall of the incident. The same goes for any scene that contains abuse or assault of any sort.

Suicide is another touchy subject. If you mention or write out a scene where a protagonist or main character attempts suicide, are you setting the stage for a reader to try the same thing?

I believe most readers are intelligent and not about to commit crimes or harm themselves because of something they read in a fiction book. Dealing with these topics can be done if they are needed in the story and are part of the plot. Personally, if I’m reading a book and come across a scene that involves rape or abuse and it has heavy detail, I skip over it. Same goes for hot and heavy sex scenes. If I wanted to read that, I’d buy a fiction erotica book. I want to be entertained, not bombarded with all that other stuff. If it doesn’t advance the story and the plot, then don’t put it in! It’s that simple. Readers have imaginations and can easily fill in the details for themselves.

When it comes to children’s books, not everyone you write needs to be a lesson. A child needs to dream and stretch their minds. They get enough lessons from their parents and in school. Write so they can follow a favorite character as they go through a myriad of adventures and make new friends. Let the story you write inspire them to write their own stories or draw or make things out of clay. Let them be kids and not mini adults. With all the children books out there the child’s parent or guardian will decide what is and isn’t appropriate to be read to their child. Write the stories you feel comfortable writing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Think back when you were a kid, why did you read? Did you read because it was fun and the story good? Or did you read to learn life’s lessons? If

Ah, young adults. The teen years. Since they believe they already know what there is to know, they read for fun. Write that way for them. Give them characters to identify with and a story to transport them out of their troubled minds and hearts. Let them explore new worlds and meet new creatures. Heck, toss in a bit of first love too if you like, but make it fun.

Now, if you write a manual on how to do something, like committing a crime or what have you, you’re on your own. If you deliberately publish something that can lead to a criminal act of some sort, the axe should fall on your head and no one else’s.

 May the words ever flow!

About Anna Dobritt

Anna Dobritt is an independent eBook author and an indie publisher of RPG PDFs and fantasy maps through Cartography Unlimited for RPGs. She loves to read and write, and lives in Michigan. Anna enjoys watching Dr. Who, both the classic episodes from the 1960s-1980s and the current episodes. Anna has three trilogies in the queue: Ravynwyng Chronicles Universe – Volume 1: The Beginning has been released, and Volume 2: Discovery, is going through the editing and revision process, with plans to self-publish in 2016. Volume 3: Truth is currently being written. Two other trilogies are The Archivist — Lenara Lenquil Adventures, and the Guardian Blades Trilogy. Anna has self-published Volume 1 of the Ravynwyng Chronicles Universe titled The Beginning; three short stories: The Hunter, First Raven, Raven Voice; a novelette titled Raven Flight, and a collection of short fiction titled Whispers from Within. Where the imagination soars on glowing wings! May the words ever flow!
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8 Responses to Censoring Our Writing

  1. Tracy K says:

    Interesting post, I haven’t thought much about this before. I have a similar writing blog if you ever want to stop by. http://tracykauffman.wordpress.com. My latest post is called: Which is Better Words or Pictures. You might find it interesting.
    Also, I offer help with writing content, and book marketing, if you are interested. http://writingcoach.wix.com/fullspeedahead

    • Anna Dobritt says:

      I belong to a critique group and this topic came up a few times, with one person believeing we shoud be careful of what we write. I became irritated and wsrote this 😀

  2. The advice was great to me. It solves the main questions of writing but I have one more question in my mind. Does the main character has to be shown with some strongbfeelin. Is it necessary for it?

  3. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    How far do you go in censoring your writing? Check out this interesting post from Anna Dobritt on this topic.

  4. Nothing should be off limits. People are too afraid to write about taboos or so called taboos.
    But it comes down to reader expectation. If I buy a horror book, and people die horrible gruesome deaths, thats to be expected. In a summer romance? Not so much.
    As for being responsible for the reader? Never. If we thought through every possible consequence we’d never leave the house let alone write fiction. If someone cannot distinguish between fiction and reality, then that’s their issue not mine or anyone elses.

  5. Writers should seek truth. That means the elements of the story should support the plot which elaborates upon some aspect of humanity. I don’t believe in sensationalism or appealing to peoples’ prurient interests. I also don’t believe in trigger warnings. Writing is truth, and life doesn’t warn you before it punches you in the face.
    If a publisher chooses not to publish based on offensive content, that’s the publisher’s right. If the public chooses not to buy a book because of content it finds offensive, that’s the public’s right.
    Great post, Anna. I remember this issue popping up in my writing group.

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