No Offense Intended

No Offense Intended
April 2, 2015 11 Comments Writing Stephanie Ayers

*Warning: Today’s topic is controversial. Any demeaning, belittling, or mean comments will be deleted.

As a writer in this century, we face issues. Like our predecessors, there are topics that are taboo, and only the bravest make an attempt to rock the boat.

For example, one topic, while not necessarily directed at writing fiction per se, made Facebook rounds yesterday on April Fools Day. It told us that announcing a fake pregnancy was not only insensitive but offensive as well.

My newsfeed was filled with such threats as “If you post a fake pregnancy announcement today, I will unfriend you!” by people who recently lost one, and things like “I’m deleting jerks with fake pregnancies!” by others. It was enough to keep me off Facebook for the greater part of the day.

And today, it still has me buzzing. And it’s not because I’m insensitive jerk who would put something like that on my page, though I can imagine the hilarious reactions my 44 year old self would receive.

You see, as a fiction writer who writes by the seat of my pants, I never know where a story will lead me. I have written stories that involved rape, BDSM, dismemberment, decapitation, etc. As a “horror” writer, all things are an open topic for me.

It’s hard enough to fill a page some days. When you add to that the whole “Who will this offend” thinking, it makes an already difficult process seem daunting.

Whoever told you writing is easy lied. It isn’t.

When you tell me I can’t post a fake pregnancy or you’ll unfriend me, I’m offended. When you tell me I can’t write about rape or this and that topic, I’m offended.

I have a whole amendment that gives me the freedom to write whatever I want to, good or bad, naughty or nice. I’m not one for berating or bashing others and find it offensive when it’s done.That’s not what this is about.

I just don’t want you stifling my right to write, whenever I want to, whatever I want to. I object to being told “You can’t write this.” It’s like you’re offering me a challenge you really don’t want me to rise to.

So, tell me. How do you really feel as a writer when someone says “Don’t say this or write that?”

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Stephanie Ayers A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a community for writers and readers alike. She loves a good thriller, fairies, things that go bump in the night, and sappy stories. When she is not writing, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers and promotional graphics for authors.
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  1. 11 Comments

    Cheney

    You took the words out of my mouth, girl. I think it’s really annoying when people say things like that, and I don’t give any time to people in my life who ask me to censor myself for their own comfort. Like you said, we have an entire amendment in the constitution that let’s us say damn near whatever the hell we want legally, so what I’d say to that Facebook “friend” is buh-bye. Don’t read my posts anymore.

    Reply
    1. 11 Comments

      SAM

      But what about in your stories? Do you ever find yourself questioning “Is this going to be hard to market because it’s a taboo topic” or because you might offend someone?

      Reply
      1. 11 Comments

        Cheney

        In fictional stories? Never. On my blog and Facebook, constantly.

        Reply
  2. 11 Comments

    2old2tap

    Sometimes I dip my pen into horror. There may be blood. Some of my characters are characters. There may be vulgar language.
    I’ve found myself leading my work with “trigger warnings” for the easily offended.

    And I spent a lot of time this week posting kittens and dragons. To water down the hate in my news feed. (hint..I live in Indiana)

    Reply
    1. 11 Comments

      SAM

      So, in essence you are feeling the affects of “censorship” and it is having a some impact on your writing. Does it ever bother you to have to place warning labels?

      Reply
      1. 11 Comments

        2old2tap

        The only thing that bothers me is trying to determine whether or not I need a warning on a particular post.

        I was called out for a graphic scene once. It was done politely, and the reader said they just would have liked some warning. It wasn’t censorship, the reader was just blind sided.

        I guess I’d rather someone chose not to read than be offended.

        Reply
        1. 11 Comments

          SAM

          That’s a good theory.

          Reply
  3. 11 Comments

    elizabethyon

    I can honestly say I never spare a thought as to whether what I write will offend someone. I write dark fiction. I’m up front about my genre. There’s no tricky snare here for unwary readers. If you choose to read, I have to assume it’s because you like that genre. After all, I choose my own reading material from the genres I enjoy. I avoid genres I don’t enjoy. As a writer, I insist on complete freedom to follow my story where it takes me. As a reader, I do not feel it is anyone else’s responsibility to safeguard my sensibilities.

    Reply
  4. 11 Comments

    k~

    When it comes to writing, it depends on the purpose and audience how I will use my voice. If I am writing fiction, all things are fair game. When a person tells me they would be offended by “a, b, or z” I might jokingly tell them not to bother reading my work then, because those things which are difficult, uncomfortable, potentially offensive are what I believe writers need to delve into. Censoring another person because of my own thoughts is not necessary. There are some things I don’t like to see, read, or be a part of, so I don’t spend my time there, but I don’t expect other people to change who they are, or why they do what they do, to please me, nor will I conform to their way of thinking without an intelligent argument about why it is important to do so.

    To hell with em. 😉

    Reply
  5. 11 Comments

    A.K.F.

    OMG, I couldn’t agree more! It’s so lame that “important” people of this world seem to get far more freedoms than us, and we get censored in so many ways-look at how many writers/journalists, etc have been jailed or so much more for something we are supposed to be free to do. I like being bold and truthful and receiving that back. Thanks for posting this!

    Reply
    1. 11 Comments

      SAM

      Thanks for your input!

      Reply

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