Hello everyone. I hope you all are having a wonderful and productive day. I want to pose a question to anyone in the community who wishes to answer. For the past few months, I have been working on a Fantasy/Horror anthology novel, but considering the heightened state of uncertainty that world seems to be in, i'm wondering if a collection of stories with protagonists who meet grizzly deaths is appropriate. While my stories do tend to be more "Twilight Zone" than "Saw", I'm still hesitant to proceed due to concern on how they will be received. Is anyone else dealing with a similar issue?

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Can't say I'm dealing with this now (my book about bigotry (always a timely subject) came out a little over a year ago), but I'd say keep on. If your book reflects the uncertainties of the times we're currently living in, then maybe it will resonate, rather than turn people off.

Don't worry about the external. That's just resistance talking (read Steven Pressfield's THE WAR OF ART). Let the muse take you where you need to go.

I definitely see your point and while I can empathize with your struggle (and its motives) I think that you have chosen this narrative (killing the protagonist) because it speaks to you.

I have had an internal struggle with a similar issue. I have a storyline I'm developing that deals with the civil war era and while using a "steampunk-esque" approach to science fiction alternative reality, it also dealt with history in a brutally honest manner. 

The kind of manner that Texas educational textbooks tend to "exclude", "rewrite" and "whitewash", if you catch my drift.

But at the same time, the question came up of whether it was "my story to tell". I myself am not black - so do I have the right (or the privilege) of telling stories that "aren't my own", especially when they aren't particularly happy or 'clean', for that matter?

An example of this was how many black slaves were "institutionalized" (aka brainwashed by their existence) so much that leaving slavery was actually too great a cognitive dissonance for them to handle. It's a known fact that Harriet Tubman had, on more than one occasion, threatened to kill those who tried to turn back with a gun. I don't fault these people for wanting to turn back, despite the horrors of their existence. Human beings, all human beings, have a tendency to chose the devils they know than the freedoms which might exist in the unknown.

I guess the thing that I am exposing which might not be taken well is how "weak" most of us can be in the face of adversity and change - even when it is extremely clear what consequences we are paying for the failure to stand up. I also point out the cases where "standing up for your beliefs" may also result in literally driving you insane - and that your insanity is actually how you protect yourself from acknowledging your vulnerability to the realities of the world. It's not a flattering picture of humanity, to be certain, but I think there is some "hidden beauty" in the clarity I'm trying to portray, which is why I continue.

So - while you are dealing with a different issue, I'd say the answer is "yes, you should still do it."

You are going forward with open eyes and as a writer, isn't that really what you're supposed to be doing?

- Ryan

 

Hi Roxanne! You're right. Your response reminded me of the power of metaphor. A story that doesn't seem to reflect the times on a surface level can still speak directly to the EMOTIONAL truths that people are dealing with. Thanks for the encouragement!

Roxanne Bland said:

Can't say I'm dealing with this now (my book about bigotry (always a timely subject) came out a little over a year ago), but I'd say keep on. If your book reflects the uncertainties of the times we're currently living in, then maybe it will resonate, rather than turn people off.


Hey Zeke! Wow you know what man? I own that book and have read it more than once, but I guess I need to grab it again because you are absolutely right!! Half the damn book is about resistance!! Nothing should stop me from putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard! Thank you for the slap on the back of the head! Haha


Zeke Springer said:

Don't worry about the external. That's just resistance talking (read Steven Pressfield's THE WAR OF ART). Let the muse take you where you need to go.

Glad to be of service to a fellow artist. Your concerns got me thinking about my own writings.

Yes  am writing about an ancient ahosi (female) warrior that reincarnates in present timesso the idea of a fierce female with swagger confronting roles today intersts me

Yes Gerrence, I'm working on my shifter novel that I started 5 years ago.  The protagonist is currently building a team in the 2nd draft to keep fighting the good fight in case she is vanquished; that is the only change I am making since that started with the novel.   Have a productive time. Ashe.

Current events always find their way into my works, particularly the way business is done and how the same actions done by different peoples yield disparate results.

Hi Ryan! You bring up some interesting points. Thanks for reminding me that stories that feature character being revealed through major obstacles will never truly go out of style. As long as the means of communication are made available, stories will have a place. Thanks for the response!

Ryan Hemphill said:

I definitely see your point and while I can empathize with your struggle (and its motives) I think that you have chosen this narrative (killing the protagonist) because it speaks to you.

I have had an internal struggle with a similar issue. I have a storyline I'm developing that deals with the civil war era and while using a "steampunk-esque" approach to science fiction alternative reality, it also dealt with history in a brutally honest manner. 

The kind of manner that Texas educational textbooks tend to "exclude", "rewrite" and "whitewash", if you catch my drift.

But at the same time, the question came up of whether it was "my story to tell". I myself am not black - so do I have the right (or the privilege) of telling stories that "aren't my own", especially when they aren't particularly happy or 'clean', for that matter?

An example of this was how many black slaves were "institutionalized" (aka brainwashed by their existence) so much that leaving slavery was actually too great a cognitive dissonance for them to handle. It's a known fact that Harriet Tubman had, on more than one occasion, threatened to kill those who tried to turn back with a gun. I don't fault these people for wanting to turn back, despite the horrors of their existence. Human beings, all human beings, have a tendency to chose the devils they know than the freedoms which might exist in the unknown.

I guess the thing that I am exposing which might not be taken well is how "weak" most of us can be in the face of adversity and change - even when it is extremely clear what consequences we are paying for the failure to stand up. I also point out the cases where "standing up for your beliefs" may also result in literally driving you insane - and that your insanity is actually how you protect yourself from acknowledging your vulnerability to the realities of the world. It's not a flattering picture of humanity, to be certain, but I think there is some "hidden beauty" in the clarity I'm trying to portray, which is why I continue.

So - while you are dealing with a different issue, I'd say the answer is "yes, you should still do it."

You are going forward with open eyes and as a writer, isn't that really what you're supposed to be doing?

- Ryan

 


Hello Dr. Your main character sounds interesting. Please keep me posted on your progress!
Dr. Janice Helena Hawkins said:

Yes  am writing about an ancient ahosi (female) warrior that reincarnates in present timesso the idea of a fierce female with swagger confronting roles today intersts me

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