Writing Tip for Today: What are the advantages and disadvantages of writing about difficult issues?
- Ready, Aim. You're automatically on the firing line. Some readers are going to love your treatment of the issue, others will take you to task. It's hard to predict which readers will triumph. You must be firm in your conviction that the issue needed to be written about.
- Relevance Does Count. The readers who love your work are likely to say, "I'm so glad someone has brought this out in the open." Even in the general market, certain subjects have been considered taboo. These readers will applaud you for giving a voice to their hardships, struggles and fears.
- Book burning, Anyone? The readers who object are likely to be fueled by fear. If a writer dares to say aloud what others only think, that brings the feared thing one step closer to the reader. It's harder to then close one's eyes.
- To Thine Own Self Be True. Yet if you've respected the reader who may have related to your writing, written about the subject from a neutral or non judging place, and injected some hope in the work, chances are you'll be able to get across your point without being sentimental or advancing an agenda.
- Spread the Light. Readers want stories they relate to. Saying you can't publish books about "x" only causes those with heartbreaking situations to feel more marginalized. I have not experienced a child's death, thank goodness. But I have "lost" my son to drugs for many years. At first no one was daring to write about meth addiction--too depressing. Now some are shedding light on this very difficult issue.
- Keep Trying. Overall, I've been disappointed that no publisher has taken a chance on my story about the boy who died. Yet I'm glad I wrote about what is called the "worst tragedy a parent can know."
If you'd like to read Deb's essay, go here. I think there is an excerpt of my novel Hiding From Floyd on Createspace, and I'll let you know the link when I find it.