The first Wednesday of the month, the Insecure Writers Support Group hosts a sharing of blog posts. The Group generates a question to stimulate bloggers’ thoughts about the insecurities of writing.
Below is a link to others who have participated and are possibly participating this month:
I’ve missed a couple of months since I got a restart in January. I’m back this month.
The writing prompt question this month is:
April 7th, 2021 question – Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?
Here is an answer:
I was prepared to take a risk in my writing quite recently. I was persuaded to back off.
I was planning on doing something totally new and different, something I had never heard of anyone doing.
I wrote up a blog post about it, generally how it could be done. I then invited my spouse of nearly 42 years to read through it, mainly for proofreading purposes.
When she finished she said, “You’re not going to like what I have to say.” She was right in two ways. She was right because I didn’t like what she had to say, and she was right because the reasons she had for telling me I shouldn’t do it were accurate.
I had this idea where people would audition for parts in my fiction and play the parts of the characters as the story went along. I was in the process of setting this up with software on my website. My spouse pointed out the possibility of a person becoming too connected with their character and experiencing unanticipated negative consequences, like having a melt-down when the character had something bad happen to them in the story. There could be legal and liability consequences for me if a real person suffered because they had become involved and got too closely linked to their character. I thought it unlikely, but it could happen.
My spouse thinks of those kind of things. Having worked in mental health, she explained it was not as unlikely as I might imagine.
I took getting shut down remarkably well. I only moped around for half a day feeling like a rug had been pulled out from under me.
It was a double-whammy day. While I was still moping around my spouse discovered someone had already developed the online and mobile application I had been working up for almost three months.
I’ve still got some tricks up my sleeve. (“Hey Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.” — “Again?) I hope to contact people who have the same political or religious leanings of the characters in my story. It may be personally uncomfortable for me to listen as people whose views differ from mine explain their take on things. It’s necessary, though, in order for my characters to come across as real people and not caricatures.
Interviewing people to get flesh out characters is probably something most writers do. It probably isn’t really the kind of risk this month’s question addresses, but I feel vulnerable while doing it.
The risk in the writing comes as the character in my story articulates their point of view intelligently and well. There are going to be readers of my story who don’t share the character’s viewpoint (and that of the real person I’ve interviewed). They may rather prefer I hadn’t done this kind of due diligence so the viewpoint would come across less succinctly. They (and maybe even I) might like it better if I didn’t take the risk of having my character either reinforce a point of view for those who agree, or even change the point of view of someone who disagrees.
I risk angering readers who might actually share my viewpoint and not that of my character. I also risk having a character in my story change my own viewpoint.