Being Brave (about what you write)

Monday, September 15, 2014

via Pinterest
I've had a thought that I'd like to share - and I'd love if you continued the discussion with me.

I've read countless posts on the importance of being brave with your writing. Rah rah! they cheer. You're going to write this novel, slay those characters, and burn the hearts of your readers on a post.

Have you read them too? There seems to be a glorification in the world of literature these days of punchy, bloody, gutsy stories. I don't mind it, to be honest. If there's one thing I despise, it's dishonesty; forced gentleness. What I don't like is blood for the sake of blood; vulgarity for the sake of 'honesty'.

There is a time for bloodshed, possibly in every story. There will definitely be places for tears and emotions, if your book is any good. But when your writing becomes entirely raw, emotional struggles, or hardcore battle scenes? That's too much to work through. Reader's shouldn't be made to suffer that much. Yes, in buying your book they are choosing to live in your world for the duration of the plot. Yes, you as the author have the freedom to write the book the way you feel it must be written. But at the end of the day, people will not read a book that holds a sword under their chin from page 1 to page 100. That's just not fair.

So what exactly is being brave in writing, if you can't terrorize your readers and give them reason to believe there's no escape (until the last second).

Being brave in your writing means holding your own.
That means that whatever the world says about life is not necessarily what you say. It means while the rest of the world writes cheap fiction, while your friends write in styles that you admire but could never master, you hold to your own style. It means using gentleness and punchiness in their turns, for specific purposes, and not simply to catch readers with your saber-tip title or to look like you know what you're doing. Violence might be a part of that. But you must not be afraid you use weakness, too. All bloodshed and murder and gore only deplete the sanctity of life. Even if your story requires death, even if it requires a lot of it, give your readers (and yourself) a breather. A small peaceful moment. One person's life that isn't destroyed. Two characters that eventually do find love. A happy ending for a minor character at least. It might not be what everyone else is doing, but your story will be the better for it.

Brave doesn't mean blood. Brave means you don't back down.

2 comments

  1. This is a great post, Bree. I would add that being brave in writing also means saying what other people are afraid to say. Any writer, but especially a Christian writer, has a duty to God and to his readers to tell the truth about the world and man with his stories, but often, the truth is the last thing people want to hear. It takes a lot of courage to write an honest story, but writing a dishonest story isn't worth it.

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  2. Very encouraging. Your an amazing writer! -Bethany! http://bethanysbrightlife.blogspot.com

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