Monday, 28 February 2011

Lesson Learned (a writing tip)

I don't consider myself a political beast, in fact I'm one of those that has mixed emotions about most political agendas (sometimes known as apathy). One thing I'm not, and never have been is right wing - despite what people might think from Joe's sometimes uncompromising attitude. Like Joe though, I hate injustice, I hate bullies, and I hate racism. I think this does come out in my writing.

When leakage occurs it is inevitable that you will make a statement of sorts - deliberately or not.

When writing Blood and Ashes, I wanted the villains - a group of Neo-Nazi White Supremacists - to come over as truly deplorable and had to look to their targets in real life to make them a plausible enemy. Something I didn't consider was that the fictional elements of the book would have an impact on any of the ethnic groups I chose to use in the book. Therefore I was very surprised to see the accompanying story reported in The Jewish Telegraph, on Friday 25th February 2011.

I'm thoroughly pleased to see that Joe (and his actions) was taken in the context that I intended, and that he has been hailed as a defender of the Jews of Manhattan, as much as he is of every other race. Like I do, Joe judges people by what is in their hearts and souls, and not by race, creed or colour. His best friends Rink and Harvey proves that point.

When writing, do you consider the reaction your writing engenders in your readers? Personally I did not give it much thought before, but the lesson is learned.

6 comments:

Dean Crawford said...

I do consider it when writing Matt, chiefly because one of the characters in my debut novel is a radical, fundamentalist Christian... A tricky line to tread when being published in the USA, where religion runs strongly through the population. My efforts were directed into showing how absolute belief was dangerous, as opposed to work-a-day faith. It remains to be seen if I got things right, or will need to go and live in a small tent in Namibia for 20 years to avoid assassination :o)

Glaznost said...

Interesting point Matt. I've had to do exactly that in the latest one as it inlvolves Al Qaeda style terrorists. I wanted to get the point across that these were very bad men without making it sound like i thought all Muslims were terrorists, which i very much don't. I was concerned when picking the home countries of my terrorists, because i'm aware that it's a very evocatice subject right now, and the last thing i wanted was to cause offence, but at the same time i wanted to use a real life basis for the characters.


As Dean says, i was portraying fundamentalists rather than the usual believers of any faith, but it remains to be seen if i managed to walk the line without falling off on either side...

Michael Malone said...

You raise a fascinating point here, Matt. Writing about such big subjects as we do has its responsibilities. I try to write without judgement or bias and let the truth speak for itself. After all, readers are a bright bunch.

Glaznost said...

Agreed Michael, but is it the readers or the reviewers we need to worry about not getting the right message...

Matt Hilton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Hilton said...

One thing I worried most about was the language - basically racial hatred - spouted by the bad guys. It is pretty inflammatory, whichever way you look at it, but I thought it necessary to make them ring true. I actually listened to recordings and documentaries of white supremacists too hear the kind of dogma preached so i got it right.

Never thought that I might upset a few racist skinheads along the way, but, hey ho. If you give it, you have to learn to take it, right? ;-)