Tag Archives: reader

I am not what I write

I started writing this with clear image of what I wanted to say. Now I don’t think it’s that easy.

We all remember the article about a teacher, who was socially blackmailed for writing fantasy erotic novels. I call it social blackmail, because what else would it be if other grownups start a campaign against someone? I had completely forgotten the article until I saw an old video I had liked on youtube from one of her graduate students and it made me think of the values I am presenting in my writing or what I’m expected to present.

The latter is what made me think if I’m possibly risking the same faith?

When I write, when I create a character, I never thought I should play fair with it and write someone that reflects me. Yet when I present the story, with girl, who kills a woman, man who rapes another, youth with drinking problem, a serial killer, grownups playing hide-and-seek, I receive this weird glance filled with questions. They just are what they are – different people, animals with their own characteristics and their own problems.

There is a movie called Crossing Over by Wayne Kramer.  In that film a 15-year-old girl, Taslima Jahangir presents a paper in school that is so misinterpreted by the authorities she gets deported from US. I have seen parts of this movie several times, but it never called for me to watch it. I don’t like this kind of humane dramas, because I can’t afford falling apart before the tv like that. Until I saw this part of the movie and it did exactly that. It made me think how many of such “probable threat” youth have been mishandled like that in real life? Is it really so that you can be turned into terrorist for what you write? How far will be the time where fantasy becomes a taboo for not suiting the leading world? 

Everything has to be same color throughout. If you present yourself one way, it is appaling to western world that there could be different side of you that you don’t present so openly. You are what you write, you eat, you drink, you watch, you say.

Just because I write on these topic and write through their POV doesn’t make me support their cause more or justify their actions. To me there is strict line between literature and reality. For someone even to think that I would go and kill someone I don’t like, because I was capable of writing about this in my work is appalling to me. Good writer can write their characters whatever their own background compels them. I write about the serial killers, questionable characters and weird folk because that’s who they are. I won’t stop writing about them just to please anyone. Even if this means the story will not get published, I’m not writing for numbers. 

 It scares me that this is the world I’m entering with my writing, so I’m making the disclaimer right here:

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
I, as a real person, do not support killing anyone in real life, torture against both animals or humans, criminal acts, immoral behavior or anything else that is not in compliance with law or common ethical standards.
 

Now that this is off my chest I can turn back to writing my book, because I just found mighty interesting way the story could go…

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I am afraid of the reader!

It just struck me, that one reason I might have difficulty of writing what I have in my head is, because I’m afraid! Of the READER!

When did I develope that fear? How did I even get it?

I have the story in me and I feel that I can’t write it down, because I’m afraid to write it.

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Writing about itching and scratching

 I want to write about something that even mentioning the topic makes people squeamish on their chairs. I love it. On the other hand, publishing folks might not like it that much. It surprisingly thrilling to read something that has been banned, too. Why is that?

Also, being around people a lot lately, who preach the freedom of thought and ideas, are surprisingly judgmental of things around them. Like one lady that I’ve come to respect over the past year – she was the most amazing lady, preaching about freedom of speech and harmony and loving each other and Earth as our Mother… and following her on FB this past few months… All her testaments talk about protesting against one thing or another or how the government is poisoning them. That woman is so afraid!

Or a friend I’ve admired for close to 6-7 years. She is amazing artist, but quietly loosing her touch with reality. She also talks about freedom and happiness and ideals, yet she constantly comes back to her little truth of being harassed constantly because of her gender.  

Yet I’ve got several, who consider themselves conservatives, opinionated people, who speak of everything, not just preaching, but really talking about things that hurt and things that bring them joy. Surprisingly, they are unhappy and ok with it – they get angry, then they calm down again.

I took up a little chats with my friends on those topics and came to alarming results. I tested my book idea, giving each the same amount of information: “I’m writing a book about two men having sexual relationship, but who are not lovers.”

People, who said they are opinionated conservatives, listened this one sentence, burst laughing and then asked questions on relations and the reasons. Also, they asked about how I would represent it to the local editors, adding they would like to read it. Over all – they were interested what took the characters to take the path they are taking.

People, who said they are free minded people, I got very different responses. The one concerned of her own sexuality, immediately took the approach of the sexuality in the book and said it won’t be published because of it. The entire conversation turned into discussing intimacy between two people instead and how erotic and sensuality is the same (which I preferred to differ on the opinion).  The one having “old religious” views gave me long questioning stare, cheered on the topic, but didn’t get past that. Later I saw an article she had posted on her page about traditional family model. I hadn’t even mentioned homosexuality, because that’s not the main idea, nor had I said anything about cheating on their partners or threats of family life.

It has made me think if those conservative people really are to blame for censured books and topics?

General stand is that they are to blame, but how then is it that if I talk to them, they can find the point of the story and they care enough to learn more about it while free-minded, free-sexual-oriented just blast-hatch on it without any interest of any deeper thought? They just seek what goes together with their cause, but neatly leave all the rest out?

Perhaps I should re-orient myself to write for those opinionated folks instead of blasters, because the last month’s experiences have led me to believe there is very little freedom in free thinking.

Still, I appreciate having both of them around, because if I think back on this, they do make a nice sphere and together I can talk both on details, moods and backgrounds, see the problems it rises and find the solutions.

But when it comes to scratching the ideas that irritate – both are to blame.

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When research is too much research

I found out today there exists a book how to write fanfiction. My first reaction was surprise, the second one shock and third laughing my head off. This has always been one field I’ve felt that person ought to write what comes as it deals with emotions and your feelings towards some made-up characters.  Apparently you need a book nowadays to give you clues.  

What clues could they be? Research the character? Make a solid background? Just spray your emotions all over the characters? Use them as puppets? Ignore your imaginary friend telling you what to do? Make your OC less bimbo?

Interesting new topic found, I headed over to the ultimate today’s learning tool – youtube! I am being ironic here, so even though there is loads of good information there, there is equal amounts of just awful videos by teenagers, who don’t quite comprehend the meaning behind their words yet.  So, after typing the topic in question in the search field, I received quite a list of videos.  I fear I didn’t get further than few, but the ones I shuffled through both raised my mood and made me think I had to do something totally wrong. Oddly the responses to my fanfiction have not been as bad as I expected, so I don’t think I did that bad.

There was one video though that stood out. Clicking it I thought I get another 9 minute lecture on how to construct, research and do things, but instead I got a nice instruction on typical mistakes, which I can’t say I’m that free either. Foreign language’ grammar is sadly one thing no one can protect us from.  In information given, it was fine, but the way she did it irritated me more than chilly in the back of my throat.  Yet I found myself constantly thinking – wow! That’s one angry reader.

So instead of getting fired up over a mocking grammar lesson, I felt like I was watching a genuine reader’s response to a bad book. And in my mind I could just as so count up all the books that I’ve come across that have the same problems – bad editing and no-one reading it through twice.

There was a young local writer, who (surprise, surprise) thinks he’s a genius.  So I went in the shop and quickly scanned the book, too.  I’m back to my original problem of reading too much in English and too little in Estonian, but I’ll get to this some other time.

Anyway, I was going through it, hoping it would give me some light on what the book was about. Stopped next to the table and quickly read some random page. Unless educational, that’s how I choose books, usually because I’m searching certain style.  It seemed interesting the first two lines. Then it started. First grammar mistake – period in the middle of a word. Ok, perhaps was left unnoticed. Then another and another and oh! One more. I counted 25 simple mistakes on that same page that could have been avoided. Simple, straight-to-your-face mistakes, which showed how little the writer had cared. And so I put the book down.

 I think most locals know whom I’m talking about. It’s like a local urban legend already – he even had a reading at the library and if I recall it right, said that he never reads them over again, because there’s no need. I beg for second opinion. I’m surprised the editor let it through without asking the man fix the mistakes. I understand here we don’t have editing included with the service, but that was just ridiculous.    

I liked tonight’s lesson. How searching “writing fanfiction” can bring you more than just the topic – it can also give you raw impression what really irritates readers, be them old or young.

Keeping this in mind I now will return to my own writing.

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