Friday, 19 October 2012

Words have power



As writers we can influence people’s emotions. We can make them laugh or cry or feel good or hate a character. I know I have sobbed over books. People tell me that my stories have made them cry. Heck, they make me cry when I write them.
We can also influence people’s opinions. I blogged a while ago about how one person told me, that after reading my fanfic ‘Best friend share Everything’ that they were not as anti-gay as they had been; that my story had given them a better understanding of issues for heteroflexible boys.

I was honoured by that comment.

So, any words we put on paper or computer screen are our responsibility.
We hold ourselves and our viewpoints out there. And we should be especially careful that if we are writing something that could be negatively viewed, that we couch it in the right words.

Words hurt. Far more than the stick or stones of the old saying, I reckon.

So if you write a scene that is any way controversial and that upsets people, then you have to expect that some of them are going to say something. If you write that scene without putting an author’s note to say that you do not condone what is happening. Then people will assume that you do condone it. After all, you wrote it. And if you seem to be condoning something that you actually hate, then you should be prepared for your readers to feel betrayed when they work that out.

Lately fanfic has veered towards an exploration of bondage and more extreme sex. I know my own stories have gone a little further from the norm, and all I seem to write are threesomes, now. I just got bored writing plain vanilla sex. I blame ‘50 shades of Grey’ for the bondage fad and most, like that story, get it wrong. They don’t do their research and they don’t obey the rules. I’ve read a bit of that type of work in real fiction recently. Just finished ‘The Siren’ by Tiffany Reisz. Gah! Damn that writer. She made me feel sympathy for a character I wanted to hate. I soooo wanted to hate Søren and couldn’t.

See? Words.

As I understand it, the big thing in bondage is the rules and the safe word. The submissive has the ultimate power because if they say their safe word, it must all stop. And the essential word there is ‘must’.  If it doesn't stop, then it becomes non-consensual and is now just plain abuse. It’s all about trust. Readers trust writers too, and it hurts when they betray their readers.

[edit: March 16th 2013- I would also add that if you are writing what your readers believe is a BDsM fic and you have been quoted as saying that 'spanking is sick and wrong' then the whole thing is as valid as a homophobe writing a slash fic.]