Not If I Can Help it! #MFRWauthor Week 28 #BlogChallenge
(In case you haven't noticed, I spent a few days revamping my Blog.
The color scheme never seems quite right to me, and if there is something about the whole thing that sets you off, jars your senses, or makes you want to look away, I'd really like to know!)
Hi everyone, and welcome to another installment of the MFRW.org 52-Week Blog Challenge.
Week 28 here, and this time we are asked to talk about any Life Lessons in My Novels.
This is a bit like asking if I believe violent video games promote violence.
Or if I agree that rap music is morally and ethically unstable.
That wearing a seat belt is the law for a reason.
All of which are valid points to ponder but none of your business and certainly not worth arguing about or berating someone for not agreeing with your opinion on.
And, I'm beginning to suspect that whoever came up with these weekly challenges left my personality out of the equation.
Here is a cool pic I took of a storm cloud...
Life Lessons in My Novels
I will go with NO, there are no Life Lessons in My Novels.
I resent them in any novel that isn't autobiographical or textbook historical since, if I'm going to read either, then I'd like to think I'm going to learn something.
Just not in a Romance Novel or any work of fiction that interests me, and since I think this way about reading, I think this way about my writing as well.
And, by LESSONS, I'm going to assume we are talking about the truth and not the rhetoric heard and sadly swallowed whole on the news, through social media, or anywhere else on the internet.
The truth versus Social Justice Warrior brigades and Opinionated Reasoning.
I read fiction to ESCAPE reality, not wallow in it, so I try super-dee-duper hard not to inject my opinion, world views, beliefs, or SJW anything into my work.
I didn't set out to become a Romance Writer to save souls, believe me!
And as a professional substitute teacher, my idea of lessons include things like waiting for the kid to harm himself and then giving him the grandma eye before saying, "See! I told you!"
That's about as helpful and lesson-y as I get in life and in the pages of my novels.
As a reader, I do not like or appreciate reading a line in any Romance novel about
"Even if she is on the pill, she is still a smart girl who insists he use protection."
"They're at the bar drinking, but made darn sure to appoint a designated driver!" (it's called Uber, dumbass)
"As evil and wrong as drugs are, she somehow slipped through the cracks and ended up strung out."
"His parents were extra brutal and he has a ton of mental scars to deal with, so that's why he is the way he is."
Reader's Digest is a good one if you are interested in lessons about life.
As for learning FROM them, well, that's a whole other story.
Real life is fascinating, don't get me wrong, and like the Reader's Digest and The Moth, I can never seem to get my fill of real life stories being told to me by the actual victim, survivor, etc.
I don't feel entitled as an author and will not assume my readers are lame enough to 'need' my help via preachy or subversive messages meant to help them tow the line on a straight n narrow path toward glory
... to behave themselves throughout their lives.
I feel just the opposite as everyone else on this topic and did promise myself (and my son) that I wouldn't go off on an anti- tangent in anymore of these posts.
But, here's the thing ~~
if someone is (dumb) enough to believe everything they read, see, hear, and assume, that is their problem and not mine.
If someone is (dumb) enough to say, "Well, that woman in the romance novel didn't use protection and she didn't get sick or pregnant, so why did I?" then... well... I don't know what to say other than I refuse to believe anyone is that (dumb) OR is reading my work.
I simply refuse to believe that 1, my opinion matters, 2, readers NEED saving, and 3, no one but me knows these things!
If it sounds arrogant or insulting, I'm sorry.
I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume RESPONSIBLY that people are not as dumb as we tend to make them out to be, or the Media makes them out to be, or the internet or whatever / whoever is filling our heads with so much nonsense!
I am not a Social Justice Warrior or a Feminist and do not believe a majority of the crap being forced down our throats about Today's this or Today's that, so it isn't ever going to show up in my work.
(takes a few deep breaths, and...)
IF by Lessons you mean Parable-style writing, then no as well.
This isn't my style of writing and I never thought to include parables in my fiction.
Why would I?
Be super honest now and ask yourself how many fictional novels you've read that saved your life or made you do a 180 in the thinking department.
Okay, if you raised your hand, bravo!
I honestly and admirably salute you.
It has yet to happen in my life, so I don't presume to hope it will occur to someone else through my stories.
And if it ever does, I'll be the first person to stand there looking dumbfounded, believe me.
In my 1st novel, Sing to Me, the heroine comes from an abusive background and suffered a horrific injustice while in high school (actually based in-part on a real-life situation with an old friend) and it takes my heroine a long time to recover before eventually stepping into her own.
The Hero in the same novel came from a single-parent home, never knew his real father, and didn't actually suffer under any stepfather, but there had been a few mother's boyfriend issues that had turned him into an over-protective and overly mature fella at an early age.
He harbored resentment once he discovered the truth about his real father and carried it over to their eventual first meeting (even if he was going on 30) but soon discovered how silly he'd behaved and learned how to get along with not just his past, but also with his mother's life issues and his biological father's absence.
However, I wouldn't permit them to just change into someone else even after the reader realizes those issues are now resolved.
Reality-based fiction my style.
In my 2nd Novel, Love Over Time, I again chose to have both the Hero and Heroine grow up in awkward and less-than-ideal families -- because I base my characters in large part on someone I actually know or an incident from someone's life I read about in a magazine article.
In both novels, I had NOT set out to write what would work to bring about change in a reader's life.
I don't WANT that kind of responsibility heaped upon me any more than I want to be blamed for not mentioning condom use in a sex chapter or harping on seat belt usage, drunk driving, etc.
To me, being 'responsible' that way in my writing is like saying I am 'preaching the good news' inside my stories, and I find that distasteful as well as indulgently irresponsible.
Just because something works for you or someone you know doesn't necessarily mean it will work for everyone else.
You are on your own when you read my novels, and I do not under any circumstances presume to be your savior, your educator, or your guide in life.
If I choose not to issue PSAs within the lines of text so that the hapless among us don't take it too literally, that is my business.
If my character is riding a bike, I wouldn't DREAM of adding the fact that he/she is also wearing knee and elbow pads, a helmet, and body armor... just to be safe, people!
It is insulting so won't include it in my work.
And, at the end of the day, it is about 1st World opinion versus someone else's and NOT right from wrong or good from bad.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't want to have to read a lot of Liberal College Professor parroting (or BuzzFeed regurgitation) in a fictional novel that attempts to sway me to 'the proper side' as it were.
Preachy writing makes me cringe and turn away from the story.
Presuming to be someone who might touch a troubled soul is too 'presumptive' for me to handle, too.
I get where most of it is coming from, and that it is believed to be doing a social service by mentioning safe sex, responsible drinking, anti-drug campaign rhetoric, seat belt usage, and having a character make that face if someone smoking a cigarette enters the picture, etc. into a body of work and that is fine... entirely up to the individual author.
I do get it; I just don't buy it.
What I will never believe or buy into is that we have the right (or moral obligation) to judge or condemn another for their faults, flaws, or life choices simply because they do not coincide with our own.
Which is precisely what is done in a novel that advocates 'safe', 'effective' 'harmless' or 'responsible' anything in the form of a passive PSA being pawned off as responsible or even helpful 'advice'.
I don't want to be that author and work extra hard not to inject personal or popular opinion into my work.
Enjoy reading my fictional endeavors with as much excitement as I had in writing them, but don't expect a Life Lesson to crop up to somehow make you switch gears in your own reality.
As always, I appreciate you stopping by and reading my post.
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