20 June 2011

Do as I Say, Not as I Write

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
So far in my writing most of the situations, and the characters' reactions to them, align with my personal moral code. I know that in a future book I have planned, the lifestyle choices of the MC will certainly surprise conservative friends and family.

I admire the stance Nicholas Sparks takes to never use infidelity as a plot device. His reasons are to refrain from glorifying such things, and to keep his works original. I thought I'd take a similar stance but l
ately, I've been toying with taking plots and motivations further. Could I take characters beyond what I think is morally acceptable? Have them do things that would make me gasp?

I've been wondering...

-What lengths would you go to to pay the bills... petty theft, fraud, embezzlement?
- Is it possible for a blissfully married woman to be strongly attracted to another man?
- Could jealously make someone intentionally and secretly sabotage another's happiness?
- What if you don't like your own children, or one of them?

These situations don't relate to my own experience at all, and I know if I wrote about them I'd feel sort of scandalous (not to mention ill-prepared!). I fear those I know (or possibly more those I don't know) thinking that I condone my characters' behaviour. However I also know that I'll never improve if I don't push myself.

I know what makes me gasp would scarcely cause some readers to blink. These are tough issues for me. Does anyone else struggle with this balancing act?


  1. We've discussed this some, but I wonder the same things--especially with regards to writing stories that probably aren't suitable for the Christian market. One of my favorite authors is Jodi Picoult, because she's not afraid to ask hard questions and deal with tough subject matter. Still, my biggest weakness is worrying what others think of me. I tend to let my characters surprise me, and there are times they make me squirm.

  2. I want my characters to have a moral compass so even if they do bad things I want them to work through the consequences of that. There are some scenarios that will never be in my books, either because I feel too uncomfortable to write them or because I can't condone them (or both =)