Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Social Politics of Writing Fiction

The social politics of writing fiction extends beyond the page, beyond the rounds of edits and publishing. It's a necessity of marketing and sales. It's the joys of peer networking and consumer reach. It's navigating participation in a community without sticking your foot in a steaming pile.

Traditionally when we think of genre authors and politics, we think of the rebels we aspire to be--authors whose stories permeated the public consciousness to the point of affecting real-world change. Our passions about a certain topics or themes provoke our need to write about social injustice, climate change, agri-business, religion, war, etc. We start our stories with the state of what is then weave a tale around what could be. Cautionary or inspirational, often it's both. It doesn't matter if the story suits a publisher's business model. It matters only that we're planting a seed to make a total stranger explore a different point of view. It's long been the place of genre authors to expose government hypocrisies and to speak up as harbingers against complacency through fiction. What great company to want to keep, right?

However...

The fertile bed of social politics can turn against authors when it becomes the censor of creativity. We're currently in the throes of a resurgence in pre-print censorship. There are a lot of opinionated voices given platforms via social media and the Con circuits dictating what authors are "allowed" to write based on the characteristics of the author. Some of those voices are angry, some are well-intentioned, and some exemplify the behaviors they seek to quash. This has given rise to a tide of shaming authors for daring to write something other than "what they know...first hand." Far beyond the usual critical review that dismantles the book, this trend goes after the author for being "unqualified" to write particular aspects of fiction. It's a tragedy because too many stories that fill the narrative need aren't being submitted because of the social politics and the bullies feigning authority.

Authors, be confident in your story. Submit. Publish. Don't let social politics limit your imagination or your ambition.

No comments:

Post a Comment