1. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Style Should I be afraid to offend?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DeathandGrim, Nov 12, 2013.

    I've been constantly dodging this point for a while now but it's getting to be a bother. My writings are offensive sometimes.

    My style incorporates the analysis of humanity through the terrible the philosophy of no true heroes existing.

    I explore themes like
    • Racism
    • Political Corruption
    • Social Unrest
    • Poverty
    • Teenage Runaways
    • Religion
    • Military Corruption

    Anyway sometimes when I'm brainstorming and I think of sometimes I edit the idea to tone it down because I have the fear of offending someone it may pertain to.

    Bad habit?
     
  2. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    To me it seems a little silly to be worried about offending people when your themes are those topics. Sometimes those themes should offend, unless you're aiming for subtlety.
     
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  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Never be afraid of offending anyone. In case you're still unsure, there are many examples of rape, pedophilia, incest, necrophilia, etc. in literature.
     
  4. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Racists, homophobes, necrophiles, rapists, pedophiles, murderers, incestuous couples and so on exist in reality, so why should we sweep them under the rug in literature? I say don't worry about offending someone, and this is why: We live on the planet Earth. Sorry to say there are some people out there that are offended simply by you breathing air. In other words, no matter what you do, someone, somewhere will be offended by something you write so just write!
     
  5. Sheriff Woody
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    Sheriff Woody Active Member

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    No.
     
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  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every book that gets published is practically guaranteed to offend someone. Write your story the way you believe it should be told.
     
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  7. Aurin
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    Aurin Member

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    There'll always be someone who's offended but that shouldn't stop you from writing. I have rape in my novel, I don't care who gets offended by it. Just because people are offended by things doesn't mean those things should be swept under the rug.
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's hard to answer this question without knowing what your angle will be. Where will your perspective come from? Are you planning to blame certain races or religions for the problems in the world? I would be worried if that was your angle, but then of course there will be people who will lap that up.

    Are you planning (I'm assuming fiction here) to write from the perspective of a 'bad' character, that is someone who espouses the kinds of destructive, anti-social beliefs you want to address? That can be tricky, unless there is clearly another perspective as well. Maybe another character who does NOT support your MC's point of view.

    I would say to be fearless about the topics you choose to write about, but be careful how you present them. Make sure they will have the impact you intend, and not the opposite! Also think about whether you are trying to persuade somebody to your point of view, or merely pointing out where society's problems lie.

    As to giving Aunt Zelda the vapours because you've included sex in your novel, or annoying Uncle Quigley because you're not a racist like he is, well ...no. Don't worry about offending them, or the portion of world readership who think like them.

    Only worry about saying something in your story that you didn't actually intend to say.
     
  9. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Offence hunters are happy to point out plenty of things you didn't intend to say but what they interpreted as offensive.

    Here's a short checklist to avoid offending people:
    -lesbians shouldn't be sharpshooters, it's offensive
    -your characters can't have unpleasant medical conditions like IBS. They can have supposedly sexy and cool things like BPD, they can also be bi-polar, unless they're women because that's offensive.
    -if your gay characters don't have sex, it's offensive
    -unless it's lesbians having sex, in which case you're a wanker and being offensive
    -if your black, gay, handicapped, and female characters don't survive, you're being offensive
    -don't use the word 'slut', it's offensive
    -kill and torture only white men
    -if you want to make it interesting take the point of view of the villain
    -don't write from the point of view of the villain, you'll just make them look sympathetic and that's offensive
    -no violence or rape, all depictions of such activities are gratuitous ie. offensive

    And just in case someone just got their panties/boxers in a bunch, I wasn't entirely serious with the above list.

    My advice: write what you want the way you've envisioned it. Someone will always always always be offended.
     
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  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's a difference in coming across as an author that condones racism, or abuse, or crime or what not, and an author who simply explores themes. Some of your characters can be appalling human beings, but as long as the overall message of the story isn't encouragement of violence and crime, most readers will understand. Bottom line, nobody has the right not to be offended.
     
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  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I like that!
     
  12. Dean Stride
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    Dean Stride Contributing Member

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    If you're afraid to offend, then you're afraid of the truth. That's my take on it.
     
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  13. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Damn, guess I'm gonna have to rewrite that lesbian ex-sniper who is suffering from PTSD and eventually has sex with my female MC then...
     
  14. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    :D
    T and I have written one with a lesbian sharpshooter as well, and needless to say a couple of people were offended by the very idea. They never read a word of that story.
     
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  15. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are evil people in this world who feel that they have the right to hurt innocent people. Black supremacists, White supremacists, Christian supremacists, Muslim supremacists, Atheist supremacists, Male supremacists, Billionaire supremacists, Heterosupremacists…

    If you want to write about the aggressors being wrong to hurt people because they don't deserve it, but know that they would be offended when you take the victims' side over theirs, then don't worry: helping the victims by insulting the aggressors is not a problem.

    If you want to write about the victims being wrong to complain because they do deserve it, but know that they would be offended when you take the aggressors' side over theirs, then you should worry: helping the aggressors by insulting the victims is a problem.

    Unfortunately, I don't know which side you're worried about offending, so I'm completely not sure how to react. Are you comfortable narrowing it down for us?
     
  16. Dean Stride
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    Dean Stride Contributing Member

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    Nothing says evil like killing in the name of not believing in something. You forgot to mention the non-stamp-collecting supremacists and non-baseball-playing supremacists. Now those guys make me flip the switch.
     
  17. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Unfortunately it doesn't always seem to be this simple. Whenever the writer takes the bad guy's pov, they are, in a way, bound to take their side as well. You go into a villain's head and you easily end up insulting the victims. Even pointing out that hey, this serial killer was abused as a kid calls for sympathy. But I don't think we should refrain from writing about them because it'd be difficult to discuss e.g. racism convincingly without making the racists multidimensional -- even redeemable -- as well. Life is not black and white, so literature doesn't have to be either.

    We do love our monsters, though; Dexter Morgan, Patrick Bateman, just about any novel from Satan's POV because he tends to be a funny guy in addition to being ee-vil.
     
  18. We Are Cartographers
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    We Are Cartographers Active Member

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    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
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  19. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Self-censorship isn't a bad idea, it just depends on how far you take it. Being purposely offensive
    should never be anyone's goal even if you're out to expose bigotry - as the tactic just undermines
    the message and becomes tit-for-tat. I like Jazzbel's comment of exploring a theme. Show all sides.
    A fresh view, a new idea can seem offensive even if its not. Take Jesus in the Bible - he was nearly stoned
    for breaking the Sabbath and healing a man. Let your mc handle the theme, don't let the theme override the story.
    Your story will be less offensive when your readers can understand your characters motives. They'll
    connect and not see it as an attack.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  20. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    And I don't have a problem with specific characters being written as Villain Protagonists, just as long as the world of the story as a whole reinforces that their disregard for basic human dignity makes them the Villain.
     
  21. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    XD you're really just too much
     
  22. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I was actually inspired to take on these subjects in a certain manner because of the movie Menace 2 Society

    That movie was full of grit and terrifying realism and a shocking ending. It left me in complete shock when the credits rolled because movies of the kind before it had an actual ending as if it were a story with some sort of closure. Menace 2 Society closes out with the MC fatally wounded in the arms of his friend by antagonists who he had angered by murdering one of their own. There was no closure, no happy ending, no true ending, but the message was VERY loud and clear. It was the type of shock I want to emulate that pushes the true gravity of a certain subject to its limit.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, you should avoid offending anyone. They might go berserk, track you down from halfway across the globe, and pummel you viciously. They might even try to get their money back from buying your book.

    Of course, if you're really offensive, some people will refuse to buy your book. They might even outnumber the ones who buy your book because they heard it was offensive.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid...
     
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  24. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    I don't think you should write scared.
     
  25. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    Not everyone is going to like what you write but not should not stop you from writing what you want to write, if you want to write about subjects that my offend other by all means write them after your the writer and you have the right to write about whatever you want.
     

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