1. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    I'm hoping this is normal...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AxleMAshcraft, Apr 22, 2011.

    Deciding what to use or what not to use...Do any of you have this problem?
    I am currently facing that.
    I'm in a writers workshop and we periodically "turn in" pieces for others to look at and critic, which I have just gotten used to and then this happens...
    I guess part of what I'm feeling is apprehension:
    I have written something, which I like, but what lots of people might get offended by. The whole thing is about how Joan Of Arc wasn't really a saint, it was a lie and a conspiracy of people who would go to her family if she refused to do this (I only have the first chapter done so I am still figuring out how the rest of the plot will work out). Basically, its going against God, the Church, the Bible and hopefully I will get into a bit of the aspects of Satan and Demons.
    Should I be scared to offend people or just plow onward and not give a damn?

    And I totally understand that there are people who are going to say "it's your choice, do what you think is right." But I was hoping just for a second opinion, nothing more.

    I'm not sure where this thread should go...
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Just my opinion - (want to state that clearly before I type another word)

    Okay, well, since you are writing about an actual event, and an actual person you are going to need to twist historical events the way you need them to go. Now if I felt the desire to do that, felt I had the skills and resources to do that, and just plain felt like I wanted to? Hell yes I would do it.

    You will never be in a place where someone, somewhere isn't offended by what you're writing. As long as you're not infringing on any copyrights or breaking laws I say write whatever you want to. And if people get offended and throw a hissy fit it'll be good practice for when PETA flames you on every board in the world cause one of your characters wore a fur coat :p
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Knowing your audience is al=ways a good idea. Check with the leader or instruction about content restrictions.

    A good leader will keep members on the topic of the writing, and limit people from turning it into a bull session on the subject matter.

    But sometimes it's better to not tempt Fate. Save the controversial topics until you have a better feel for the greoup dynamic.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good advice above...

    besides, you can't say she 'wasn't a saint' because no one is a saint while alive... they're only 'made' saints by the Church after they're long dead...
     
  5. cassieopeia
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    cassieopeia Member

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    Run it past your tutor but don't be put off if he/she says 'no'.

    If an idea gets under your skin like that you should write it anyway - or at least jot down the ideas so you can come back to it when you've got more free time.

    Good luck,

    Cas
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I planned to write something like this. Something I knew was controversial, so I ran it through with my Fiction Writing teacher (who was a published author herself) and she told me that unless I knew the material, I should put it aside.

    A cardinal rule of writing: "Write what you know and have experience in."

    Would you be pissing people off? Look at it this way: Dan Brown wrote a book about a scenario where Jesus Christ did the hokey-pokey with Mary M. and had a baby. People got pissed, but I doubt he cared. People are always looking for reasons to get pissed off. That's just a fact of life.

    I'd just write it and let your teacher tell you what he/she thinks.
     
  7. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    You should always write for yourself. I agree what others said about people just finding reasons to get offended. Unless it's something really off the wall it will probably be fine, and I haven't met many writing snobs in the classroom. I think you'd more likely be praised for 'creativity'. :)
     
  8. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is always going to be the possibility that you're going to offend someone with your writing. I think you should just go for it, and write it. Like Pea, you should be praised with having that idea by your tutor because you've got to put your own spin on historical events and persons anyway.
     
  9. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    As was said, consider your audience. If the group isn't the proper audience (those who would be interested/helpful/open to) the topic, then posting it for crit isn't going to do anything to assist you in improving or knowing whether the work is on the right track.

    If the group is critical but open, and you post the first chapter for discussion, and when questioned about aspect/direction/consistency/logic, etc., you have to say: "I don't know. I haven't gotten that far yet--I haven't actually figured out the plot yet."--you'll lose credibility.

    Take the time to think through the basics of the plot—the hows and whys and such. It will help with the group provide useful input, and also help you from writing yourself into inconsistencies, or a corner--requiring a lot of time in revision. It is better to have your ducks in a row as best you can, so that a group of readers can point out weaknesses that remain (in addition to strengths). Otherwise, they'll end up focusing on what you could have fixed/had correct or written better/plotted better, on your own in the first place, and you'll have wasted a valuable resource: intelligent eyes and thoughts working to bring a piece up to the next level, not a substandard work (compared to your ability) up to an adequate level. I hope that makes sense.
     
  10. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    Heyy

    So just incase for the odd reason that you're actually checking up with little ol' me, I did turn in my rough of the first chapter and it went over pretty well. One woman (who was a little older than me), read it, looked at me, read more and then stared me down for the rest of workshop time.
    I'm no expert but I think that annoyed her a little...
    But other than that my group was more than constructive :D
    Thanks you guys for the second opinion, it really helped me.
    Later this week we are going to do anonymous reading and I plan to write a short disclaimer for the top of my piece warning any overly religious readers to shy away from this because I don't want to offend anyone (or enter into reading this with an open mind and not take it personal).
    Thanks :)
     
  11. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I'm glad it went well :D Very happy for you, Axle!
     
  12. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    Interesting stuff. This kind of reminds of the Da Vince Code debacle that went on a few years back.

    I firmly believe that no matter how amazing a story is told/put together, there is always going to be at least someone/group of someones who is going to either:

    1) Hate it outright
    2) Not care for it
    3) Get offended
    4) All of the above

    I mean, God forbid there are 76 people on Amazon that gave the 1st Harry Potter book 1-star. Truth be told, as long as the writing is well constructed and the story flows nicely, you will find a market of people that will sing your praises.
     
  13. Arathald
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    Arathald Contributing Member

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    I don't mean to start a discussion on the relative merits of Dan Brown's writing, but, without making judgment on the work as a whole, there are legitimately some significant flaws in his style and research. We would do well as writers to recognize errors in others' writing and learn from them rather than to pretend they don't exist. I, for one, thought the Eragon series was great, but it also contains many good examples of how not to write scenes. Likewise, many of Dan Brown's works would make a good case study on why it's important to do proper linguistic and geographical research. No writing is perfect, and we shouldn't ever pretend that it is. If there are people who can't stand such foibles in writing, then let them dislike the book (if someone got the basic geography of my hometown wrong, I don't think I could reasonably like the book, while people halfway around the world may not care at all, even if they knew). If you like any book, it's only because you are able to look past its flaws. No book is unequivocally good.
     
  14. LaGs
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    LaGs Banned

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    There wouldn't be so much scrutiny over the accuracy of what dan brown writes if he didn't claim at the start of his books that much of what he is writing is true haha
     
  15. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I like the others, have no problems with you writing what you want to write. The only caution I would give is that you either need to make it clear that its fictional, ie this is just a story based around an historic figure, or that its a legitimate interpretation, in which case you're saying you've done the research and this fits as well as anything else. Dan Brown gets into trouble in my opinion because he seems to want to span the divide, making his audience believe that what he says is correct as well as entertaining. Still his is a nice trouble to have!

    Cheers
     
  16. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    It seems as though I should read Dan Brown's books, (I know, I live under a rock) I understand what you guys are getting at though. Plus the chances of this getting any further than my workshop (not to sound like Johnny Raincloud or anything) are slim...I mean, I would love for it to be put into ink, so to speak...
    I guess I get what your saying about there always being critics and people who will get the mean face and be all "YOU SPEAK LIES! Go AWAY"
    figuratively...
    :)
     

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