October 6 question – In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?
I’m not a huge swearer. It’s not so much a line, as a natural inclination. I used to average about two “fucks” per book, when I was writing thrillers, and usually just as expletives or intensifiers. That’s less, now that I’m writing Sci Fi and Fantasy. I don’t run around making up cuss-words for aliens or anything like that.
Topics are something I find myself struggling with. I don’t draw a line on writing topics… but I’ve definitely been thinking twice about publishing some of those stories. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all full of opinions. But I’m beginning to realize that I have to choose which ones are worth fighting over, or my whole life will be a battlefield. I don’t like arguing for argument’s sake. Lately, I’m finding myself looking at this story or that story, and wondering if it’s worth it to publish. Do I want the hassle of putting this out there, or would I be happier shoving it in a drawer somewhere.
Everyone has a hierarchy of opinions that starts at “Hey, nice haircut.” and goes all the way up to THIS IS THE END OF THE WORLD!!!
I’m trying to find a balance I can live with. That’s meant trunking certain stories because they’re on topics closer to “Hey nice haircut” (for me) than THIS IS THE END OF THE WORLD!!!
I don’t want to be a topics writer. I don’t want to write the adult equivalent of “So Grandpa’s Dying of a Horrifying Hereditary Disease, and You Will, Too.” I don’t want to be one of those writers where people list their political party before the fact that they are a writer. (George Smith is a (political view) writer). And sometimes, that means toning it down, and selecting topics more carefully.
I also like to avoid the topics which will make me miserable. That’s one of the reasons that I switched to writing science fiction. It’s just more fun than writing murders. More… for me, at least… mentally healthy. And sex? Well, let’s give the poor characters some privacy.